Revolution, the unexorcised ghost | Florestan Fernandes

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Translated by Conttren, 2017.



In a provocative and intelligent book, Hobsbawm sought to demonstrate that the drama of Europe consisted in the combination (or tradition) of revolutionary intellectuals and a society that repels the Revolution. The historian, who lived through the post-Bolshevik period, was felt subtly dealing with internal convictions and justifying the Soviet Union’s intra-party errors, within both its borders and its international policy of concessions, during the “Cold War.”

In Brazil, we were not even able do this. Leftist parties saw themselves forced into tortuous opportunism, compensated with moments of pure theoretical glorification, having only come into practice once with the Aliança Nacional Libertadora [National Liberation Alliance], in 1935. This “subjective revolutionism” began to suffer rectifications exactly during the decadence of the “cold war” by proclaiming the new bourgeois belief of  the “death of socialism.” Intellectuals, in general, prefer to save their own skin when disconnected from practice as a way to not sacrifice their own consciousness… There was an incoherent and veiled shift towards social-democracy, which would not be an evil in itself. Evil proceeds from the disposition of conceding space without any struggle in Social Democracy’s orchestration as the Left-hand of the bourgeoisie. Such process continues and threatens us with the loss of the few partisan alternatives for the establishment of a new society.

I would like to deal with the theme as a sociologist. At PUC [Pontifical Catholic University], for example, where I have lectured in the last quarter of 1977, I was faced with the richness of the courses available. There was one focused on social organization. In an automatic impulse, I questioned why there was no course that dealt not only with social change, but specifically with social revolution. There, the two poles are given: order and its reproduction; order and its radical, or inverted, transformation. My postgraduate colleagues, who were open to critical thinking, soon agreed to this necessary addition.

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1. “Critique to a Dualistic Reason: the platypus”, Francisco de Oliveira

This series will attain itself in the translation of Francisco de Oliveira’s “Critique to a Dualistic Reason: the platypus”. It will be used, for the translation, the 4th reprint of the author’s work (OLIVEIRA, Francisco de. Crítica à razão dualista: o ornitorrinco. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013, primeira edição, quarta reimpressão). Notes from the translator will be identified with “T. N.” (translator’s note).

V. S. Quintas

This essay was written as an attempt to answer the interdisciplinary questions drafted by CEBRAP [Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning] regarding the socioeconomic expansion of capitalism within Brazil. CEBRAP’s endowment for such a peculiar intellectual environment of discussion, favored the author’s endeavor. The author is thankful for the criticisms and suggestions from his colleagues, particularly José Arthur Giannotti, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Octavio Ianni, Paul Singer, Francisco Weffort, Juarez Brandão Lopez, Boris Fausto, Fábio Munhoz and Regis Andrade, as well as Caio Prado Jr. and Gabriel Bolaffi, who participated in seminars about the text. Any fault or error found in this document cannot be attributed to any of them, evidently.

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1. “Imperialismo: fase superior do capitalismo”, Vladimir Lenin.

Em seu texto, Lenin busca <<decifrar>> as básicas fundamentações de um período de desenvolvimento do capital (e do capitalismo por si), que mescla em sua condição um assentamento geral da classe dominante e uma surgente inquietação nas classes exploradas. Decifrar como as condições do desenvolvimento do capitalismo se faz em um momento que a mundialização extensiva das forças produtivas, das relações sociais, dos meios políticos capitalistas se faz uma regra posta em prática, é o objetivo do texto.

Esta mundialização do capital é dada em uma etapa do capitalismo chamada de Imperialismo. Pode ser caracterizada através de uma cadeia hierárquica que retroativamente determina uma a outra categoria descrita.

A mundialização em si é uma característica intrínseca ao capitalismo, porém sua forma decorrente se faria uma nova mutação das forças exploradoras em delinear sua hegemonia. Em via de regra, podemos caracterizar a mundialização desta forma:

  1. Concentração e centralização de capitais, implicando na formação de monopólios e oligopólios;
  2. Fusão do capital produtivo (industrial) com o bancário, e vice-versa, constituindo o capital financeiro;
  3. Aumento da importância das “exportações de capitais” (IED e empréstimos internacionais), em oposição ao comércio tradicional.

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