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[xmca] News from Brazil

Dear Achilles,

I am glad to see a Brazilian impression. Although Brazilian research
community in ISCAR is one of the biggest, we are "shy" to discuss in this
forum. I would like to see more comment from Brazilians, but I know the
costs of sustaining long discussions in a language that I am not completely
familiar with. Thus, I'd like to clarify some points that help us to push
the discussion further.

Firstly, I brought this topic (about protests in Brazil) for two reasons
that were hidden in my first message. Obviously I have personal interests
in this situation since it affects directly my daily life and I not
satisfied with metaphysical (formal) discourses that circulates in mass
media (including internet) and in the academic context. Moreover, I think
that "mass movement" along with collective behavior are study objects for
cultural psychology and also for activity theory. No one wold deny that
activity theory has relevant contributions for this scenario and at same
time it can provide powerful insights to enrich theory. Ultimately, I
advocate that activity theorists should take a look within mass movement. Of
course I am aware that I am not the first one to underline it. It also
concerns the concept of project elaborated by Andy, activity as unity of
analysis and some topic that have been discussed in parallel (maybe!?!?!).

The expression "historical reality" I used is dubious, indeed. On the one
hand, it can lead toward what you labeled as "enthusiastic" (unique moment
in history, perhaps!?!?!). I agree that is completely possible to have such
reading. I confess I am enthusiastic. However I am not "idealist" at all. I
“know” what I am facing and I am trying to “know” better. On the other
hand, (this is what I had in mind when I wrote it down) a possible reading
is the historical development of reality, flux above all. I sought to
emphasize the historical feature of reality. But it seems to be a minor
issue, isn't it?

My claim is that we must avoid simple and mechanical readings of the
situation. Unfortunately, from my limited perspective I do not see
significant advance in your comment. In times which even the "shampoo is
revolutionary", the categorical thought helps relatively little. Formal
definitions/categories such as "revolution", "insurgence", "number of big
popular manifestations" etc grasp only the abstract features of what is
happening in Brazil (and around the world). It just becomes meaningless if
we do not put it in a broader analytical framework. What I learned from/in
the very first page of Caio Prado Jr S study (Dialectic of knowledge) is that
a metaphysical interpretation of the dialectics is (still and always will
be) a metaphysical interpretation of the dialectics.

 I believe that the great minds that inspire me (Marx, Vygotsky, Gramsci
and many others)... they were NOT men far beyond their time. Rather, they
were men withIN their time... very sensitive to the issues of their time. For
this reason I not able to (indeed I am not allowed to) underestimate mass
movements that brought to the streets more than one million people at the
same time crossing the country over every single capital and many small
cities. I agree with you that there is no "real revolutionary claims". However,
this is only the surface and as you have already said: "Appearance do not
coincides with essence".

Best Regards,

André Rodrigues

----- Mensagem encaminhada de achilles_delari@hotmail.com -----
    Data: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 17:27:06 +0000
    De: "Achilles Delari Junior" <achilles_delari@hotmail.com>

Responder-Para: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
 Assunto: RE: [xmca] News from Brazil
      Para: "xmca@weber.ucsd.edu" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

Following Brazilian Scholar Caio Prado Junior, revolution in its deep
concept is not the same than "insurgence", but the radical changing in the
"production's mode". Here in Brazil, there is no kind of "revolution",
neither actual radical "insurgence". There is only a number of big popular
manifestations around the main cities of the country without any real
revolutionary claims, in Prado Jr's concept. Unfortunately, of course. Then
you, around the world, don't need stay so happy nor enthusiastic with our
revolutionary historical destiny, for the moment. "Appearance do not
coincides with essence", its all we already know, from Vygotsky and him
from Marx. Best wishes.

"The powerful play goes on, and you can contribute a verse" (W. Whitman).


 Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2013 13:07:42 -0300
> From: andremr@if.usp.br
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [xmca] News from Brazil
> Dear friends from xmca list, sorry for the cross-posting
> I believe by now all of you might be overwhelmed with news from Brazil. I
> think the international press translated well what is happening down here.
> For me the discussion about Ilyenkov's ideas and dialectical materialism is
> particularly valuable.
> It is quite curious to see the national news and Brazilian analysts trying
> to explain (and predict) what is going on. Brazilian people is well known
> for be a football lover and by its pacific, domesticated, cordial (although
> not so polite) behaviour. For Brazilian analysts and politicians the
> protests were an unbelievable nightmare. They simply could not accept that
> ?20 cents? in the public transport fares could bring people to streets.
> They were unable to understand how a country that is walking toward the
> centre of capitalism system and is going to hold the next football World
> Cup and Olympic games can complain.
> For me the main lesson we (Brazilians) have learnt is that who makes the
> History is, above all, the humankind and not any alienated force coming
> from elsewhere. I think this idea is still very new, fragile and immature
> even in the protesters' soul. For this reason today (the day after) is far
> more important than the day of protest itself ? in my view evidently. Today
> is the moment that people try to understand its own power and how to use it
> to promote changes. Many Brazilians on the streets see a clear connection
> with the inspiring moments of #Occupy (in USA and Europe) and mainly with
> the mass movements in the Middle East. Although I agree that this
> connection exist we are quite distant to reach radial issues (for now). I
> mean, no one in Brazil expects any radical change within the capitalism or
> in the government.
> It is also curious that president Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist fighter,
> is implementing the most ambitious Neoliberal program in the country. We
> are privatizing airports, ports, highways and every piece of infrastructure
> that we still have. The conservative opposition that saw in Lula and Dilma
> a "red danger" do not know exactly what to do since they are against the
> government but in favour of the Neoliberal program. Well, I believe we all
> read this page before (for instance, Labor Party in Great Britain ?
> perhaps!).
> The powerful synthesis of Ilyenkov help me to set my own agenda:
> ?When Marx and Engels worked out the concept of the proletariat as the most
> revolutionary class of bourgeois society, as the grave-digger of
> capitalism, it was in principle impossible to obtain this concept by
> considering an abstractly general trait inherent in each separate
> proletarian and each particular stratum of the proletariat. A formal
> abstraction which could be made in the mid-19th century by comparing all
> individual representatives of the proletariat, by the kind of abstracting
> recommended by non-dialectical logic, would have characterised the
> proletariat as the most oppressed passively suffering poverty-ridden class
> capable, at best, only of a desperate hungry rebellion? (Ilyenkov ? The
> dialectics of the Abstract & the Concrete in Marx?s Capital).
> The quote above is emblematic considering all the political analysts in the
> field of formal logic that simply cannot grasp what is going on (in the
> world). This morning on radio, sociologists and economists treat this
> moment only in terms of president popularity as if they were selling lemon
> ice cream on the beach... ("do you like the present or not?" "do you
> support the violent protests or not?"). For me, it is a clear sign that we
> need "much more theory" to understand and intervene (intervene and
> understand) in this historical reality.
> I finish this humble comment quoting Lenin from the postscript of State and
> Revolution. ?It is more pleasant and useful to go through the "experience
> of revolution" than to write about it?. So see you on the Brazilian
> streets.
> Warm regards,
> André Rodrigues
> PhD. Student at University of São Paulo
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André Machado Rodrigues
University of São Paulo
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