Umberto Eco, Fascism and the Government of Brazil 2019

In this small article, I seek to present the fourteen characteristics listed by Umberto Eco as constituents of he called your-fascism or eternal fascism and thus prove that the government that began in 2019 fills all these characteristics, may be called, according to the definition of ECHO, of fascist.

The first feature presented by the Italian author is the cult of tradition. As with thinkers like Julius Evola, cited by Echo and considered the largest theoretical source of the Italian right of the time, there is a kind of syncretism between the political thought of the Brazilian extreme right and classical thinkers, cited and Commented by the guru of the family who is in power. We also see an absurd species of syncretism between Protestantism and Catholicism in a president who declares himself Catholic and, at the same time, is baptized by a Protestant shepherd. Tradition is also present in the conservatism of customs which, apparently, is present only in discourse, but which persuaded a large part of the electorate.

The second characteristic is implied by the first, the refusal of modernity. This refusal has as main trait the rejection of the spirit of enlightenment, of reason and, therefore, a praise for irrationality. Often, it is necessary to affirm, there was a defense of technology as synonymous with progress, despite all the irrationality of the system. The current government disqualifies reason by attempting to destroy the humanities and philosophy, returning research only to technical areas, which also qualifies it as a fascist.

Thirdly, sustaining irrationalism is the cult of action by action, because the action is beautiful in itself. To retract this hatred of thinking and culture, Umberto Eco cites a phrase that is attributed to Goebbels: “When I hear about culture, I get the pistol.” Here, it is not worth continuing, for the similarity per se note.

In the fourth trait of fascism, the author speaks again in Syncretism and, especially, of the non-acceptance of criticism and disagreements, and all criticism is a betrayal. Evidently, the government in question does not accept criticism and everyone who does so is called Communists, in a real depreciation of the term. They also use other terms that they consider pejorative and a heavy bombardment on social networks. Also many journalists, even on the right, are persecuted for criticizing the government.

Your-fascism, says the fifth characteristic, does not accept diversity, difference and disagreement, seeks a unity, a consensus, also marked by racism. Racism is evident in the discourse, advertisements and prohibitions of advertisements present in this government. There is no way to mention the countless interviews in which racism appears and the appeal, of its leader, to us against them.

Sixth, your-fascism comes from social and individual frustrations, as noted in the middle class in the face of some major problem, as an economic crisis. The government’s discourse is mainly focused on this class, in addition to taking advantage of the frustrations of much of the population in relation to previous governments. Frustration is also present in the head of government who often acts moved by frustrations of his own personal life, as in the case of trying to transform Angra dos Reis into a locker room because he was fined practicing fishing or illegal hunting.

Seventh: Fascism is nationalist and, by virtue of that, seeks explanations in international plots. It is perceived the growing xenophobia in relation to immigrants and the constant citation to Cuba, Venezuela, China and other countries that are always, in the vision of this government, trying to take advantage and practicing mirolantes plans to harm the country. Moreover, the appreciation of the flag and the green and yellow colors, making an appeal to a nationalism too strong in the discourse, but entertaining in the actions.

Eighth characteristic: “Adherents must feel humiliated by the ostensive richness and strength of the enemy.” Government supporters are always afraid of the “Red Menace.” The left-wing parties, according to the far-right narrative “have enriched themselves through corruption and all the evils that Brazilians suffer from the corruption of the left. In this painting painted for these supporters, the left is seen as the great enemy, able to destroy everything that is green and yellow.

Ninth: There is no struggle for life, but life for fighting. Thus, pacifism is always understood as a collusion with those who consider enemies and, enemies, must be eliminated, mercilessly and seeking their total annihilation. There is not a day that someone from the government or the “real family thinks” does not attack the left and stimulate violence against those who have a position contrary to theirs. The head of government has already demonstrated, through gestures and words, the intention of strafing the partisan of the left, in order to rid Brazil of this “plague” and take it to a golden age.

Tenth characteristic. Elitism is a dominant aspect of all reactionary thinking. A head of government who claims that who likes poor is the PT, already claims that he himself does not like poor. He puts his family as a “royal family”, in which everyone has a voice and power within the presidency. It seeks to always highlight a military elite that stands by its side and exals the model of militarism. The economic elite is also always privileged, since the government, has been told, does not like poor.

Eleventh. Education is geared towards the construction of the hero. This education is, in a way, an education for death: The sacrifice of the hero or, as occurs almost always, the death of others. The government’s discourse defends the militarisation of schools and, as already happened in Rio de Janeiro, soldiers kill, in an “act of heroism”, ordinary people who are only living their lives. To die for the Fatherland, for God; All to stop the mighty enemy.

Twelfth feature. As war and heroism are not common things, there is a transfer of this to the field of sex and sexuality. His will of potency (Nietzschean expression) is diverted to the field of sex, hence, as we see in the speeches of the supporters of this government, machismo is exacerbated and there is a persecution of non-orthodox practices of sexuality. Homophobia PREVLS and anyone who doesn’t criticize it, even the Supreme Court, is taken as an enemy.

Thirteenth. Your-fascism is based on a “qualitative populism”. Citizens are not seen in their individuality, they are taken as a monolithic block, the people. The chief executive is considered, in Brazil, as an interpreter of the people, and these people are represented by their supporters, since those who are against him, regardless of political position (Communist, socialist, liberal, etc.) are traitors.

´ ´ Ultima characteristic. The “new language” is that spoken by your fascism. The expression is a reference to Orwell in 1984. Umberto Eco affirms that this “new language” is present in virtually all Nazi and fascist texts and has, as a mark, the use of a poor lexicon and an elementary syntax. The goal of this is to avoid critical and complex reasoning. With already been demonstrated by the pursuit of current governments to philosophy and the humanities, reasoning, and not only the critic, is permanently attacked, even with the use of words of low swill. Government discourses are always simplified and their preferred form of communication is the group formed by social networks and television channels aimed at the population with low schooling.

Umberto Eco himself states that it would suffice to have only some of these characteristics to classify a government as fascist, but, as was argued in this text, all characteristics are present in the Brazilian government that began in 2019.

Alexandre L Silva

Ex-professor de diversas universidades públicas e particulares. Lecionou na Universidade Federal Fluminense e na Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

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