quinta-feira, 29 de Novembro de 2007

Sim, Sr. Presidente Zapatero


¿Porque no te callas?

Sim.. Como, também, os reis se excedem e são salvos pela fleuma e inteligência de homens sem sangue azul... Pedagogia política e dialéctica de Zapatero, verdadeiramente assertivo. Mas não foi somente para Hugo Chaves, não – o Rei deve ter ouvidos e os boquistas deste mundo também.

Sim, muitos deveriam ouvir o Rei de Espanha ou então ser instados a reflectir, a ficar calados ou em silêncio a bem dos povos que dizem defender ou de que têm saudades de senhorio...

Sim, todos Vós, os que nada tendes a construir, porque não Vos calais?

Salvador Dali, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War), 1936

A SALVAÇÃO DAS PEDRAS

As pedras,
sem vergonha ausente,
sem riso,
sem balanço nacarino,
sem o beijo derradeiro,
sem o olhar redentor de menino,
sem o teu toque singular,
têm medo de amar
nuas
enquanto Deus não se confessa
e removas o teu andar da vaidade dos viventes.
Virgílio Rodrigues Brandão

quarta-feira, 28 de Novembro de 2007

POESIA COM PERNAS

Large Vase, Antoni Serra

  • Estou constipado / vade retro gripe / e o meu computador nocturno teve um colapso informático. Será que ficou assim por solidariedade? Não tenho sono e dedico o meu tempo a depurar o texto do meu livro «O Morto Que Não Queria Morrer». Mas quero poesia. Leio a minha – gosto de ler-me, confesso. Entre coisas conhecidas descobri este Estela Canto e Felicidade e, concordando com ele, partilho–o daqui, da janela do meu quarto, do ponto de vista do mundo.
    Tenho, ainda, a noite langorosa, um chá materno e um nocturno de Chopin – que acaba de substituir Astor Piazzolla. Escuto um cão latinho... O que se passará na sua alma neste momento? O que ou quem terá por companhia nesta noite fria? Ah, deve(ria) ser poesia com pernas...


ESTELA CANTO E FELICIDADE

Redoma do meu umbigo,
primeiro útero
e mãe.

Lembras-me Estela Canto
nas penumbras tardes de Buenos Aires
à beira do café
com o tango dançando nos coretos
teus lábios de quinta-essência curva
e sorriso prenhe.

Confesso: lembras-me
porque me dói a alma,
todos os homens teus têm duas mães,
gemem quando amam
e procuram por ti sem saberem
- na verdade dizem-se ditames de dias novos
em corpo-longe.

Sim. Ah, sim. Lembras-me
que sou petros in natura
ansiando de trágico o teu riso em noite escura
apagada dentro de luz
em todas as auroras dos gemidos
que ficam nas sombras dos dias…

Sim, lembras-me Estela Canto,
as dores de parto letrino e de dentes
do poeta
e todos os anseios de amanhã
consumindo anos de mar refinado
para perceber de Deus em ti obra
e beijo que podem ser melhoradas…

Lembras-te de me lembrar,
ainda menino,
que posso ser melhorado?...
Recordo-me – expeliste-me de ti…

Lembras-me Estela Canto,
uma parte de Adão em Buenos Aires,
recortando sentidos,
apagando alma de amores,
criando caminhos do belo nas rasuras,
parindo luz numa íris cansada…

Será que sabia que daí chegava a ti
– ao teu Porto Novo e ao teu Fogo –
milho vermelho para construir seiva
para me gerar?

Lembras-me Estela Canto
pois nasci em ti, que foste apagando
o verde e dás sentido ao belo
mesmo nas noites escuras
e no medo cansado que espreita na voz
residente no teu ventre que também balbucia
como o poeta chorou em Genebra
e Buenos Aires quando eu nasci: «Ya no seré feliz.»
O que não sabe, é que é feliz!
Em ti…
Virgílio Rodrigues Brandão

domingo, 25 de Novembro de 2007

ARTE NEGRA

video

Este "Vissi d' Arte", da Tosca de Giacomo Pucinni e naVoz sofrida de Maria Calllas, lembra-me uma promessa: dizer porque ou porquê é que sou negro.

É uma pergunta ou uma afirmação? Se esta, é o constatar de uma situação sócio-naturalístico. Se aquela, lembra-me a resposta da Bíblia judaico-cristã - a culpa é do vinho, da alegria da juventude e de um pai sanguíneo e envergonhado. O resultado? A diversidade de cores, sons e culturas.

Assim é, naturalmente, a síntese. Depois, depois estenderei esta explicação do porquê sou negro neste jogo de adopções de culturas. Escutai esta herança, Noé, Cush, Ninrod... Agora, vê bem - tu que lês: a cantante, não canta, sofre de arte - como a negritude de situação.

quinta-feira, 22 de Novembro de 2007

DEUS E POESIA

Manhã. Luz branca à janela... Começo este dia com um poema na alma – mas tenho pena dela e deixo-a ir vaguear pelo céu dos poemas. Será que nos voltaremos a encontrar? Não sei; o que que sei é fico aqui com saudades dela - do seu corpo de volúpia e de veludo, à espera de uma visita nocturna. Talvez até nos tornemos amantes ou se dedique a consolar-me os filhos não nascidos…

Oh!... É simetria de poema ou de alma o que me espera nas horas seguintes?... Um corte quadrado e incisivo de luz, um buraco negro nas minhas mãos em jardim de estrelas anelantes anseio, uma super nova de gemidos doces - mas um beijo como desejares chega para aplacar o dia nomeado eu, penso.
Minhas mãos e pensamento pneuma em ti e tudo é perfeito, redondo rotundo como mil ais sonhados.

O que me dizes, sonho de letra, é que a via Ápia deseja ser dolorosa - como o melhor prazer, a hora do assentantamento ao lado direito de tudo.

Ah, és tu... És tu, minha passagem para Elohim...

segunda-feira, 19 de Novembro de 2007

MORNA ISLADA

Chove em Lisboa. As minhas árvores tremem de frio. O meu livro rebelou-se e é agora seu; até já tem nome próprio – rebatizou-se na noite só, confessou-me entre risos.

Tenho saudades do meu amor e declaro – agora – em forma de decreto e na voz do poeta, que é Natal. Não me digam que não é, pois Deus diz-me que os lírios florescem na morna do exílio e que esta memória é o sorriso que me espera algures nos seus passos em forma de beijo arcano.

Exilado, sim. Ah, como entendo o poeta do norte - eu que sou do sul e tenho o meridiano definitivo em mim vagueando: «É urgente o amor. É urgente um barco no mar.»

Ó morna islada em mim!... A chuva dói, diz-me a noite fria; mas para quê?

  • RENTE AO DIZER, Eugénio de Andrade
    É Natal, nunca estive tão só.
    Nem sequer neva como nos versos
    do Pessoa ou nos bosques
    da Nova Inglaterra.
    Deixo os olhos correr
    entre o fulgor dos cravos
    e os diospiros ardendo na sombra.
    Quem tem assim o verão
    dentro de casa não devia queixar-se de estar só,
    não devia.

domingo, 18 de Novembro de 2007

Letters of Marx and Engels - 1846

  • A opinião de Karl Marx sobre a liberdade, a escravidão e as causas da miséria. É a resposta inicial ao «Système des contradictions économiques, ou philosophie de la misère» (Sistemas de contradições econômicas ou filosofia da miséria) de Proudhon. Viria a escrever, mais tarde, a resposta definitiva com «Misère de la philosophie», não sem antes, a partir de Londres, no dia 24.01.1865, escrever uma carta a J.B. Schweitzer sobre estas questões. Depois partilharei essa carta - depois...

Letter from Marx to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov[1] - in Paris
My dear Mr Annenkov,
You would long since have had a reply to your letter of 1 November had not my bookseller delayed sending me Mr Proudhon's book, Philosophie de la misère, until last week. I skimmed through it in two days so as to be able to give you my opinion straight away. Having read the book very cursorily, I cannot go into details but can only let you have the general impression it made on me. Should you so desire, I could go into it in greater detail in another letter.

To be frank, I must admit that I find the book on the whole poor, if not very poor. You yourself make fun in your letter of the 'little bit of German philosophy' paraded by Mr Proudhon in this amorphous and overweening work, but you assume that the economic argument has remained untainted by the philosophic poison. Therefore I am by no means inclined to ascribe the faults of the economic argument to Mr Proudhon's philosophy. Mr Proudhon does not provide a false critique of political economy because his philosophy is absurd—he produces an absurd philosophy because he has not understood present social conditions in their engrènement,[2] to use a word which Mr Proudhon borrows from Fourier, like so much else.

Why does Mr Proudhon speak of God, of universal reason, of mankind's impersonal reason which is never mistaken, which has at all times been equal to itself and of which one only has to be correctly aware in order to arrive at truth? Why does he indulge in feeble Hegelianism in order to set himself up as an esprit fort?[3]

He himself provides the key to this enigma. Mr Proudhon sees in history a definite series of social developments; he finds progress realised in history; finally, he finds that men, taken as individuals, did not know what they were about, were mistaken as to their own course, i. e. that their social development appears at first sight to be something distinct, separate and independent of their individual development. He is unable to explain these facts, and the hypothesis of universal reason made manifest is ready to hand. Nothing is easier than to invent mystical causes, i.e. phrases in which common sense is lacking.

But in admitting his total incomprehension of the historical development of mankind—and he admits as much in making use of high-flown expressions such as universal reason, God, etc.—does not Mr Proudhon admit, implicitly and of necessity, his inability to understand economic development?

What is society, irrespective of its form? The product of man's interaction upon man. Is man free to choose this or that form of society? By no means. If you assume a given state of development of man's productive faculties, you will have a corresponding form of commerce and consumption. If you assume given stages of development in production, commerce or consumption, you will have a corresponding form of social constitution, a corresponding organisation, whether of the family, of the estates or of the classes—in a word, a corresponding civil society. If you assume this or that civil society, you will have this or that political system, which is but the official expression of civil society. This is something Mr Proudhon will never understand, for he imagines he's doing something great when he appeals from the state to civil society, i. e. to official society from the official epitome of society.

Needless to say, man is not free to choose his productive forces—upon which his whole history is based—for every productive force is an acquired force, the product of previous activity. Thus the productive forces are the result of man's practical energy, but that energy is in turn circumscribed by the conditions in which man is placed by the productive forces already acquired, by the form of society which exists before him, which he does not create, which is the product of the preceding generation. The simple fact that every succeeding generation finds productive forces acquired by the preceding generation and which serve it as the raw material of further production, engenders a relatedness in the history of man, engenders a history of mankind, which is all the more a history of mankind as man's productive forces, and hence his social relations, have expanded. From this it can only be concluded that the social history of man is never anything else than the history of his individual development, whether he is conscious of this or not. His material relations form the basis of all his relations. These material relations are but the necessary forms in which his material and individual activity is realised.

Mr Proudhon confuses ideas and things. Man never renounces what he has gained, but this does not mean that he never renounces the form of society in which he has acquired certain productive forces. On the contrary. If he is not to he deprived of the results obtained or to forfeit the fruits of civilisation, man is compelled to change all his traditional social forms as soon as the mode of commerce ceases to correspond to the productive forces acquired. Here I use the word commerce in its widest sense—as we would say Verkehr in German. For instance, privilege, the institution of guilds and corporations, the regulatory system of the Middle Ages, were the only social relations that corresponded to the acquired productive forces and to the pre-existing social conditions front which those institutions had emerged. Protected by the corporative and regulatory system, capital had accumulated, maritime trade had expanded, colonies had been founded—and man would have lost the very fruits of all this had he wished to preserve the forms under whose protection those fruits had ripened. And, indeed, two thunderclaps occurred, the revolutions of 1640 and of 1688. In England, all the earlier economic forms, the social relations corresponding to them, and the political system which was the official expression of the old civil society, were destroyed. Thus, the economic forms in which man produces, consumes and exchanges are transitory and historical. With the acquisition of new productive faculties man changes his mode of production and with the mode of production he changes all the economic relations which were but the necessary relations of that particular mode of production.

It is this that Mr Proudhon has failed to understand, let alone demonstrate. Unable to follow the real course of history, Mr Proudhon provides a phantasmagoria which he has the presumption to present as a dialectical phantasmagoria. He no longer feels any need to speak of the seventeenth, eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, for his history takes place in the nebulous realm of the imagination and soars high above time and place. In a word, it is Hegelian trash, it is not history, it is not profane history—history of mankind, but sacred history—history of ideas. As seen by him, man is but the instrument used by the idea or eternal reason in order to unfold itself. The evolutions of which Mr Proudhon speaks are presumed to be evolutions such as take place in the mystical bosom of the absolute idea. If the veil of this mystical language be rent, it will be found that what Mr Proudhon gives us is the order in which economic categories are arranged within his mind. It would require no great effort on my part to prove to you that this arrangement is the arrangement of a very disorderly mind.

Mr Proudhon opens his book with a dissertation on value which is his hobby-horse. For the time being I shall not embark upon an examination of that dissertation.

The series of eternal reason's economic evolutions begins with the division of labour. For Mr Proudhon, the division of labour is something exceedingly simple. But was not the caste system a specific division of labour? And was not the corporative system another division of labour? And is not the division of labour in the manufacturing system, which began in England in the middle of the seventeenth century and ended towards the end of the eighteenth century, likewise entirely distinct from the division of labour in big industry, in modern industry?

Mr Proudhon is so far from the truth that he neglects to do what even profane economists do. In discussing the division of labour, he feels no need to refer to the world market. Well! Must not the division of labour in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when there were as yet no colonies, when America was still non-existent for Europe, and when Eastern Asia existed only through the mediation of Constantinople, have been utterly different from the division of labour in the seventeenth century, when colonies were already developed?

And that is not all. Is the whole internal organisation of nations, are their international relations, anything but the expression of a given division of labour And must they not change as the division of labour changes?

Mr Proudhon has so little understood the question of the division of labour that he does not even mention the separation of town and country which occurred in Germany, for instance, between the ninth and twelfth centuries. Thus, to Mr Proudhon, that separation must be an eternal law because he is unaware either of its origin or of its development. Throughout his book he speaks as though this creation of a given mode of production were to last till the end of time. All that Mr Proudhon says about the division of labour is but a resume, and a very superficial and very incomplete resume at that, of what Adam Smith and a thousand others said before him.

The second evolution is machinery. With Mr Proudhon, the relation between the division of labour and machinery is a wholly mystical one. Each one of the modes of the division of labour had its specific instruments of production. For instance, between the mid-seventeenth and mid-eighteenth century man did not make everything by hand. He had tools and very intricate ones, such as looms, ships, levers, etc., etc.

Thus nothing could be more absurd than to see machinery as deriving from the division of labour in general.

In passing I should also point out that, not having understood the historical origin of machinery, Mr. Proudhon has still less understood its development. Up till 1825—when the first general crisis occurred—it might he said that the requirements of consumption as a whole were growing more rapidly than production, and that the development of machinery was the necessary consequence of the needs of the market. Since 1825, the invention and use of machinery resulted solely from the war between masters and workmen. But this is true only of England. As for the European nations, they were compelled to use machinery by the competition they were encountering from the English, in their home markets as much as in the world market. Finally, where North America was concerned, the introduction of machinery was brought about both by competition with other nations and by scarcity of labour, i.e. by the disproportion between the population and the industrial requirements of North America. From this you will be able to see what wisdom Mr Proudhon evinces when he conjures up the spectre of competition as the third evolution, as the antithesis of machinery!

Finally, and generally speaking, it is truly absurd to make machinery an economic category alongside the division of labour, competition, credit, etc.

Machinery is no more an economic category than the ox who draws the plough. The present use of machinery is one of the relations of our present economic system, but the way in which machinery is exploited is quite distinct from the machinery itself. Powder is still powder, whether you use it to wound a man or to dress his wounds.

Mr Proudhon surpasses himself in causing to grow inside his own brain competition, monopoly, taxes or police, balance of trade, credit and property in the order I have given here. Nearly all the credit institutions had been developed in England by the beginning of the eighteenth century, before the invention of machinery. State credit was simply another method of increasing taxes and meeting the new requirements created by the rise to power of the bourgeois class. Finally, property constitutes the last category in Mr Proudhon's system. In the really existing world, on the other hand, the division of labour and all Mr Proudhon's other categories are social relations which together go to make up what is now known as property; outside these relations bourgeois property is nothing but a metaphysical or juridical illusion. The property of another epoch, feudal property, developed in a wholly different set of social relations. In establishing property as an independent relation, Mr Proudhon is guilty of more than a methodological error: he clearly proves his failure to grasp the bond linking all forms of bourgeois production, or to understand the historical and transitory nature of the forms of production in any one epoch. Failing to see our historical institutions as historical products and to understand either their origin or their development, Mr Proudhon can only subject them to a dogmatic critique.

Hence Mr Proudhon is compelled to resort to a fiction in order to explain development. He imagines that the division of labour, credit, machinery, etc., were all invented in the service of his idée fixe, the idea of equality. His explanation is sublimely naive. These things were invented for the sake of, equality, but unfortunately they have turned against equality. That is the whole of his argument. In other words, he makes a gratuitous assumption and, because actual development contradicts his fiction at every turn, he concludes that there is a contradiction. He conceals the fact that there is a contradiction only between his idée fixes, and the real movement.

Thus Mr Proudhon chiefly because he doesn't know history, fails to see that, in developing his productive faculties, i.e. in living, man develops certain inter-relations, and that the nature of these relations necessarily changes with the modification and the growth of the said productive faculties. He fails to see that economic categories are but abstractions of those real relations, that they are truths only in so far as those relations continue to exist. Thus he falls into the error of bourgeois economists who regard those economic categories as eternal laws and not as historical laws which are laws only for a given historical development, a specific development of the productive forces. Thus, instead of regarding politico-economic categories as abstractions of actual social relations that are transitory and historical, Mr Proudhon, by a mystical inversion, sees in the real relations only the embodiment of those abstractions. Those abstractions are themselves formulas which have been slumbering in the bosom of God the Father since the beginning of the world.
But here our good Mr Proudhon falls prey to severe intellectual convulsions. If all these economic categories are emanations of God's heart, if they are the hidden and eternal life of man, how is it, first, that there is any development and, secondly, that Mr Proudhon is not a conservative? He explains these evident contradictions in terms of a whole system of antagonisms.

In order to explain this system of antagonisms, let us take an example.

Monopoly is good because it is an economic category, hence an emanation of God. Competition is good because it, too, is an economic category. But what is not good is the reality of monopoly and the reality of competition. And what is even worse is that monopoly and competition mutually devour each other. What is to be done about it? Because these two eternal thoughts of God contradict each other, it seems clear to him that, in God's bosom, there is likewise a synthesis of these two thoughts in which the evils of monopoly are balanced by competition and vice versa. The result of the struggle between the two ideas will be that only the good aspects will be thrown into relief. This secret idea need only be wrested from God and put into practice and all will be for the best; the synthetic formula concealed in the night of mankind's impersonal reason must be revealed. Mr Proudhon does not hesitate for a moment to act as revealer.

But take a brief glance at real life. In present-day economic life you will find, not only competition and monopoly, but also their synthesis, which is not a formula but a movement. Monopoly produces competition, competition produces monopoly. That equation, however, far from alleviating the difficulties of the present situation, as bourgeois economists suppose, gives rise to a situation even more difficult and involved. Thus, by changing the basis upon which the present economic relations rest, by abolishing the present mode of production, you abolish not only competition, monopoly and their antagonism, but also their unity, their synthesis, the movement whereby a true balance is maintained between competition and monopoly.

Let me now give you an example of Mr Proudhon's dialectics.

Freedom and slavery constitute an antagonism. There is no need for me to speak either of the good or of the bad aspects of freedom. As for slavery, there is no need for me to speak of its bad aspects. The only thing requiring explanation is the good side of slavery. I do not mean indirect slavery, the slavery of proletariat; I mean direct slavery, the slavery of the Blacks in Surinam, in Brazil, in the southern regions of North America.

Direct slavery is as much the pivot upon which our present-day industrialism turns as are machinery, credit, etc. Without slavery there would be no cotton, without cotton there would be no modern industry. It is slavery which has given value to the colonies, it is the colonies which have created world trade, and world trade is the necessary condition for large-scale machine industry. Consequently, prior to the slave trade, the colonies sent very few products to the Old World, and did not noticeably change the face of the world. Slavery is therefore an economic category of paramount importance. Without slavery, North America, the most progressive nation, would he transformed into a patriarchal country. Only wipe North America off the map and you will get anarchy, the complete decay of trade and modern civilisation. But to do away with slavery would be to wipe America off the map. Being an economic category, slavery has existed in all nations since the beginning of the world. All that modern nations have achieved is to disguise slavery at home and import it openly into the New World. After these reflections on slavery, what will the good Mr Proudhon do? He will seek the synthesis of liberty and slavery, the true golden mean, in other words the balance between slavery and liberty.

Mr Proudhon understands perfectly well that men manufacture worsted, linens and silks; and whatever credit is due for understanding such a trifle! What Mr Proudhon does not understand is that, according to their faculties, men also produce the social relations in which they produce worsted and linens. Still less does Mr Proudhon understand that those who produce social relations in conformity with their material productivity also produce the ideas, categories, i.e. the ideal abstract expressions of those same social relations. Indeed, the categories are no more eternal than the relations they express. They are historical and transitory products. To Mr Proudhon, on the contrary, the prime cause consists in abstractions and categories. According to him it is these and not men which make history. The abstraction, the category regarded as such, i.e. as distinct from man and his material activity, is, of course, immortal, immutable, impassive. It is nothing but an entity of pure reason, which is only another way of saying that an abstraction, regarded as such, is abstract. An admirable tautology!

Hence, to Mr Proudhon, economic relations, seen in the form of categories, are eternal formulas without origin or progress.

To put it another way: Mr Proudhon does not directly assert that to him bourgeois life is an eternal truth; he says so indirectly, by deifying the categories which express bourgeois relations in the form of thought. He regards the products of bourgeois society as spontaneous entities, endowed with a life of their own, eternal, the moment these present themselves to him in the shape of categories, of thought. Thus he fails to rise above the bourgeois horizon. Because he operates with bourgeois thoughts and assumes them to be eternally true, he looks for the synthesis of those thoughts, their balance, and fails to see that their present manner of maintaining a balance is the only possible one.

In fact he does what all good bourgeois do. They all maintain that competition, monopoly, etc., are, in principle—i.e. regarded as abstract thoughts—the only basis for existence, but leave a great deal to be desired in practice. What they all want is competition without the pernicious consequences of competition. They all want the impossible, i.e. the conditions of bourgeois existence without the necessary consequences of those conditions. They all fail to understand that the bourgeois form of production is an historical and transitory form, just as was the feudal form. This mistake is due to the fact that, to them, bourgeois man is the only possible basis for any society, and that they cannot envisage a state of society in which man will have ceased to be bourgeois.

Hence Mr Proudhon is necessarily doctrinaire. The historical movement by which the present world is convulsed resolves itself, so far as he is concerned, into the problem of discovering the right balance, the synthesis of two bourgeois thoughts. Thus, by subtlety, the clever fellow discovers God's secret thought, the unity of two isolated thoughts which are isolated thoughts only because Mr Proudhon has isolated them from practical life, from present-day production, which is the combination of the realities they express. In place of the great historical movement which is born of the conflict between the productive forces already acquired by man, and his social relations which no longer correspond to those productive forces, in the place of the terrible wars now imminent between the various classes of a nation and between the various nations, in place of practical and violent action on the part of the masses, which is alone capable of resolving those conflicts, in place of that movement—vast, prolonged and complex—Mr Proudhon puts the cacky-dauphin [4] of his own mind. Thus it is the savants, the men able movement to filch from God his inmost thoughts, who make history. All the lesser fry have to do is put their revelations into practice.

Now you will understand why Mr Proudhon is the avowed enemy of all political movements. For him, the solution of present-day problems does not consist in public action but in the dialectical rotations of his brain. Because to him the categories are the motive force, it is not necessary to change practical life in order to change the categories; on the contrary, it is necessary to change the categories, whereupon actual society will change as a result.

In his desire to reconcile contradictions Mr Proudhon does not ask himself whether the very basis of those contradictions ought not to be subverted. He is exactly like the political doctrinaire who wants a king and a chamber of deputies and a chamber of peers as integral parts of social life, as eternal categories. Only he seeks a new formula with which to balance those powers (whose balance consists precisely in the actual movement in which one of those powers is now the conqueror now the slave of the other). In the eighteenth century, for instance, a whole lot of mediocre minds busied themselves with finding the true formula with which to maintain a balance between the social estates, the nobility, the king, the parliaments [5] etc., and the next day there was neither king, nor parliament, nor nobility. The proper balance between the aforesaid antagonisms consisted in the convulsion of all the social relations which served as a basis for those feudal entities and for the antagonism between those feudal entities.

Because Mr Proudhon posits on the one hand eternal ideas, the categories of pure reason, and, on the other, man and his practical life which according to him, is the practical application of these categories, you will find in him from the very outset a dualism between life and ideas, between soul and body—a dualism which recurs in many forms. So you now see that the said antagonism is nothing other than Mr Proudhon's inability to understand either the origin or the profane history of the categories he has deified.

My letter is already too long for me to mention the absurd case Mr Proudhon is conducting against communism. For the present you will concede that a man who has failed to understand the present state of society must be even less able to understand either the movement which tends to overturn it or the literary expression of that revolutionary movement.

The only point upon which I am in complete agreement with Mr Proudhon is the disgust he feels for socialist sentimentalising. I anticipated him in provoking considerable hostility by the ridicule I directed at ovine, sentimental, utopian socialism. But is not Mr Proudhon subject to strange delusions when he opposes his petty-bourgeois sentimentality, by which I mean his homilies about home, conjugal love and suchlike banalities, to socialist sentimentality which—as for instance in Fourier's case—is infinitely more profound than the presumptuous platitudes of our worthy Proudhon? He himself is so well aware of the emptiness of his reasoning, of his complete inability to discuss such things, that he indulges in tantrums, exclamations and irae hominis probi, [6] that he fumes, cures, denounces, cries pestilence and infamy, thumps his chest and glorifies himself before God and man as being innocent of socialist infamies! It is not as a critic that he derides socialist sentimentalities, or what he takes to be sentimentalities. It is as a saint, a pope, that he excommunicates the poor sinners and sings the praises of the petty bourgeoise and of the miserable patriarchal amourous illusions of the domestic hearth. Nor is this in any way fortuitous. Mr Proudhon is, from top to toe, a philosopher, an economist of the petty bourgeoisie. In an advanced society and because of his situation, a petty bourgeois becomes a socialist on the one hand, and economist on the other, i.e. he is dazzled by the magnificence of the upper middle classes and feels compassion for the sufferings of the people. He is at one and the same time bourgeois and man of the people. In his heart of hearts he prides himself on his impartiality, on having found the correct balance, allegedly distinct from the happy medium. A petty bourgeois of this kind deifies contradiction, for contradiction is the very basis of his being. He is nothing but social contradiction in action. He must justify by means of theory what he is in practice, and Mr Proudhon has the merit of being the scientific exponent of the French petty bourgeoisie, which is a real merit since the petty bourgeoisie will be an integral part of all the impending social revolutions.
With this letter I should have liked to send you my book on political economy, but up till now I have been unable to have printed either this work or the critique of German philosophers and socialists
[7] which I mentioned to you in Brussels. You would never believe what difficulties a publication of this kind runs into in Germany, on the one hand from the police, on the other from the booksellers, who are themselves the interested representatives of all those tendencies I attack. And as for our own party, not only is it poor, but there is a large faction in the German communist party which bears me a grudge because I am opposed to its utopias and its declaiming.

Ever yours
Karl Marx

P.S. Perhaps you may wonder why I should be writing in bad French rather than in good German. It is because I am dealing with a French writer. You would greatly oblige me by not keeping me waiting too long for a reply, as I am anxious to know whether you understand me wrapped up as I am in my barbarous French.

December 28, 1846. Rue d'Orleans, 42, Faubourg Namur Source: Marx Engels Collected Works Vol. 38, p. 95, International Publishers (1975). First Published: in full in the French original in M.M. Stasyulevich i yego sovremenniki v ikh perepiske.

  • Footnotes
    [1] Marx wrote this letter in reply to the request of his Russian acquaintance Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov for his opinion on Proudhon's Système des contradictions économiques, ou Philosophie de la misère. On 1 November 1846 Annenkov wrote to Marx, concerning Proudhon's book: 'I admit that the actual plan of the work seems to be a jeu d'esprit, designed to give a glimpse of German philosophy, rather than something grown naturally out of the subject and requirements of its logical development.
    Marx's profound and precise criticism of Proudhon's views, and his exposition of dialectical and materialist views to counterbalance them, produced a strong impression even on Annenkov, who was far from materialism and communism. He wrote to Marx on 6 January 1847: 'Your opinion of Proudhon`s book produced a truly invigorating effect on me by its preciseness, its clarity, and above all its tendency to keep within the bounds of reality' (MEGA-2, Abt III, Bd. 2, S 321).
    When in 1880 Annekov published his reminiscences 'Remarkable Decade 1838-1848', in the Vestnik Yevropy, he included in them long extracts from Marx's letter. In 1883, the year when Marx died, these extracts, translated into German, were published in Die Nue Zeit and New-Yorker Volkszeitung.
    The original has not been found. The first English translation of this letter was published in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Correspondence, 1846-1895, Martin Lawrence Ltd., London. 1934.
    [2] intermeshing
    [3] Literally: strong intellect
    [4] Here Marx uses the word 'cacadauphin' by which during the French Revolution opponents of the absolutist regime derisively described the mustard-coloured cloth, recalling the colour of the Dauphin's napkins, made fashionable by Queen Marie Antoinette.
    [5] Parliaments—juridical institutions which arose in France in the Middle Ages. They enjoyed the right to remonstrate government decrees. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries their members were officials of high birth called noblesse de robe (the nobility of the mantle). The parliaments, which finally became the bulwark of feudal opposition to absolutism and impeded the implemation of even moderate reforms, were abolished in 1790, during the French Revolution.
    [6] the anger of an upright man [7] The German Ideology

sexta-feira, 16 de Novembro de 2007

ORFEU RESSURECTO

Quando em ti morreu
o amor, apareceu. Ressurrecto
de mão e lira no bolso
a cachear estrelas morenas,
a descobrir coisas sujeitas,
liberdades e garantias fêmeas
na fronteira magna cuum laude
do teu prazer recôndito
– ardósia quando era flor,
dizia à Lua confidente e ausente
em idos de Novembro setembrino,
Shamahym ajoelhado de ti,
e capim fresco nas bordas de um Sahara
a trilhar lira arcana, rota curva e contra-curva,
hora tardia de saudade sem idade,
ele mesmo incubado…, dizia...

Quando morreu em ti
o amor, de bordão franciscano,
alma de shadu e sardónia,
arrancou o nome dos nomes
do seu fôlego – eis que
do Zoe YHWH ermerges tu em letra
como no Crátilo arquétipo de si.

Tirou as mãos do bolso,
libertou as estrelas para passerar em Andrômeda,
e, de lira liberta, renomou-se Orfeu
e tinha uma caminhada a fazer.
Virgilio Rodrigues Brandão, 16.11.2007

segunda-feira, 12 de Novembro de 2007

«O mundo é apenas mudança; a vida apenas opinião.», Demócrito - segundo Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Marco Aurélio, Pensamentos Para Mim Mesmo, Estampa, Lisboa, 1978, IV.4, p.41).

sexta-feira, 9 de Novembro de 2007

E NO ENTANTO, JOSEPH CINQUEZ…


Em Fevereiro de 1839, mercadores de escravos portugueses raptaram um número não determinado de pessoas da Serra Leoa e embarcou-as para Havana, Cuba, então centro do comércio negreiro. Comprados por um comerciante espanhol – proprietário agrícola nas Caraíbas – 53 serra leoneses foram embarcados no navio «Amistad».

A 1 de Julho de 1839, Sengbe Pieh, conhecido como Joseph Cinquez pela história – nome que lhe foi dado pelos seus captores esclavagistas espanhóis – liderou a revolta a bordo do “Amistad” e, depois de matarem o capitão do navio, exigiram ser devolvidos à Africa.

O navio acabou por ir parar a Long Island, Nova Iorque, e – no dia 24.01.1839 –, abordado pelo U.S. Washington da marinha americana, os marinheiros foram libertados e os africanos do «Amistad» presos e enviados para a prisão em New Haven, Connecticut, e acusados de pirataria e de homicídio nos tribunais americanos.

Na verdade, como se pode ler no retrato e que terá sido o discurso de Cinquez depois de tomar posse do navio (1.7.1839) com os companheiros, o que o mesmo queria não era matar ninguém – era ser livre como sempre fora: “[…] estou decidido que é melhor morrer do que ser escravo do homem branco […]”.

E tinha razão. O caso acabou por tornar-se numa disputa sobre a “propriedade” de Joseph Cinquez e seus companheiros, com contornos políticos e diplomáticos complexos e que passavam ao lado dos africanos escravizados à força. O caso chegou ao Supremo em Janeiro de 1841.

John Quincy Adams, então ex-Presidente do Estados Unidos da América, terá representado – na qualidade de Advogado – Cinquez e os seus 52 companheiros junto do Supremo Tribunal de Justiça dos Estados Unidos e, em alegações que terão se prolongado por oito horas (certamente um mito), logrou convencer os Juízes Conselheiros do Supremo Tribunal dos Estados Unidos de que o seu constituinte e os companheiros eram homens livres, nascidos livres e com direito a lutar e resistir pela sua liberdade. Não eram escravos – coisas sujeitas a negócio jurídico – mas homens livres.

E, no acórdão «United States v. The Amistad», de 9 de Março de 1841, o Juiz Conselheiro (Senior Justice) Joseph Story redigiu o acórdão do Tribunal Supremo e leu-o. O Tribunal decidiu que os africanos do “Amistad” eram “pessoas livres que tinham sido raptadas e transportadas ilegalmente e que nunca tinham sido escravos”. Segundo o Juiz Joseph Story, «[…] it was the ultimate right of all human beings in extreme cases to resist oppression, and to apply force against ruinous injustice," the opinion in this case more narrowly asserted the Africans right to resist "unlawful" slavery.»

Este facto, tido como um incidente na história, deu força e ânimo bastante ao movimento anti-exclavagista para reclamar a abolição total da escravatura e foi uma das razões estruturantes que levou à divisão bélica do Norte e do Sul e que viria, a seu tempo, a estar na origem da guerra civil e na constituição da Federação dos Estados Unidos da América como a conhecemos hoje.

Os Estados Unidos acabariam por abolir a escravatura em 1865. Portugal, que foi o primeiro Estado europeu a escravizar africanos – trazidos da Mauritânia em 1444 – e conseguido que o Papa Nicolau V autorizasse a escravidão dos negros (1452), aboliria, também, a escravatura em 1869. Diz o Decreto Real do Rei D. Luís:

«Fica abolido o estado de escravidão em todos os territórios da monarquia portuguesa, desde o dia da publicação do presente decreto.

Todos os indivíduos dos dois sexos, sem excepção alguma, que no mencionado dia se acharem na condição de escravos, passarão à de libertos e gozarão de todos os direitos e ficarão sujeitos a todos o deveres concedidos e impostos aos libertos pelo decreto de 19 de Dezembro de 1854» (D. Luís, Diário do Governo, 27 de Fevereiro de 1869).

E Sengbe Pieh – sim Sengbe Pieh e não Joseph Cinquez –, voltou à sua terra natal como um homem livre e a sua luta pela liberdade foi causa da liberdade de muitos – dos 53 somente 35 voltaram às origem com vida. Ah, mas ainda – lembro… – no Alabama e no Mississipi há quem pense que a razão de ser da sua luta não existia.

O jornal "Sun" de Nova Iorque no dia 31 de Agosto de 1839 deu notícia da fotografia anexa ao texto e que foi em New Haven, Connecticut, enquanto se aguardava julgamento. A cópia data de 9 de Novembro de 1839. E, todavia, a escravidão segue…
Virgílio Rodrigues Brandão


  • Ah, foi – então – um dos dias em que a Justiça teve olhos e verdade; não foi Langston?

«That Justice is a blind goddess

Is a thing to which we black are wise:

Her bandage hides two festering sores

That once perhaps were eyes.»

JUSTICE, by Langston Hughes



  • Cópia da decisão da decisão do Supreme Court no caso «United States v. The Amistad», (National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Supreme Court of the United States, RG 267 Identifier: 301672).

quinta-feira, 8 de Novembro de 2007

MIL QUILÓMETROS DE LUZ

Tua alma em rosto
são mil Vénus de Milo
quando Zeus gritava mel de prazer
e exorbitava o cinzelo
teu ventre tábuo sem o nosso fruto.

Escuto o meu poeta a ardosiar:
«Calígula não amou Drusilla, não!
Nem Tarquínio, soberbo,
o seu ventre mater; digo
eu que sei que Romeu
não se equivocou nas horas pardas
de Veneza sem carnaval
– meus pensamentos e sonho de sonhos
subtraiu de Deus nas palavras que confessei
ao meu acordar sem ti.
Agora que tudo és tu
tenho uma eternidade de sonhos
a parir quilómetros de luz e de tudo.»

Ah, eu queria mil vozes
e apresento-te um espelho milenar
nas costas da ilha.
Virgílio Rodrigues Brandão

e apresento-te um espelho milenar
nas costas da ilha.
Virgílio Rodrigues Brandão

sexta-feira, 2 de Novembro de 2007

Auto retrato. Sim, pensava em ti - negra musa das horas ausentes.

  • MIGRADO EM TI

    Ah! Como pesa
    tudo isto além - terra-corpo-longe, diriam
    os antigos de Mindelo.

    No teu rosto
    de liberdade, tudo isto
    demasiado perto da completude do sonho.

    Talvez te beije
    as raias da alma negra
    e o meu berço no teu corpo.
    Amanhã.

    Virgílio Rodrigues Brandão

quinta-feira, 1 de Novembro de 2007


video

Brother, Alicia Keys & Angie Stone

Over There,

World War II.

Dear Fellow Americans,
I write this letter
Hoping times will be better
When this war
Is through.
I'm a Tan-skinned Yank
Driving a tank.
I ask, WILL V-DAY
BE ME-DAY, TOO?

I wear a U. S. uniform.
I've done the enemy much harm,
I've driven back
The Germans and the Japs,
From Burma to the Rhine.
On every battle line,
I've dropped defeat
Into the Fascists' laps.

I am a Negro American
Out to defend my land
Army, Navy, Air Corps--
I am there.
I take munitions through,
I fight--or stevedore, too.
I face death the same as you do
Everywhere.

I've seen my buddy lying
Where he fell.
I've watched him dying
I promised him that I would try
To make our land a land
Where his son could be a man--
And there'd be no Jim Crow birds
Left in our sky.

So this is what I want to know:
When we see Victory's glow,
Will you still let old Jim Crow
Hold me back?
When all those foreign folks who've waited--
Italians, Chinese, Danes--are liberated.
Will I still be ill-fated
Because I'm black?

Here in my own, my native land,
Will the Jim Crow laws still stand?
Will Dixie lynch me still
When I return?
Or will you comrades in arms
From the factories and the farms,
Have learned what this war
Was fought for us to learn?

When I take off my uniform,
Will I be safe from harm--
Or will you do me
As the Germans did the Jews?
When I've helped this world to save,
Shall I still be color's slave?
Or will Victory change
Your antiquated views?

You can't say I didn't fight
To smash the Fascists' might.
You can't say I wasn't with you
in each battle.
As a soldier, and a friend.
When this war comes to an end,
Will you herd me in a Jim Crow car
Like cattle?

Or will you stand up like a man
At home and take your stand
For Democracy?
That's all I ask of you.
When we lay the guns away
To celebrate
Our Victory Day
WILL V-DAY BE ME-DAY, TOO?
That's what I want to know.

Sincerely,
GI Joe.
Langston Hughes

******************
Escrevia um texto sobre Amilcar Cabral e não pude deixar de me lembrar de Langston Hughes, um dos poetas maiores da terra do Uncle Sam. Voz da liberdade, do sonho além do sonho, da resistência contra a opressão e pedreiro desconstrutor da discriminação racial.

Vejo-o aí, no céu dos poetas - para além do Eliseu e de Valhalla - marinado de musas, com a de Orfeu pela mão e a agarrar na sua caneta negra e tinta preta a escrever:

«There is no Justice in Jena, Louisiana.
Jim Crow laws still stands.
Dixie lynch me every day.»

E tenho a pena do meu poeta negro.