How to dismantle social hatred
We are seeing that too much hatred and anger now exists in society, either due to the general situation of dissatisfaction that humanity is experiencing, overwhelmed by a profound crisis of civilization, without anyone who can tell us how to overcome it or where this flight into the darkness will take us. The collective unconscious detects this malady, as Freud described in his famous text, Civilization and its Discontents, (El malestar en la cultura,1929-1930) that, somehow, foresaw the signs of a world war.
Our unrest is unique, and derives from the various victories of Workers Party, PT, with its politics of social inclusion that have benefited 36 million Brazilians and elevated 44 million to the middle class. The historically privileged, the upper class and also the middle class, have been frightened by the slight equality that has been achieved by those who were marginalized. The fact is that on one side there is a dreadful concentration of income and, on the other, social inequality that ranks among the greatest in the world. That inequality, according to Marcio-Pochmann in the second volume of his Atlas da exclusão social no Brasil (Cortez 2014), has significantly lessened over the last ten years, but still it is very profound, a permanent factor in social destabilization.
As Luiz Carlos Bresser Pereira, an excellent economist and social analyst of the PSDB party, noted and described in his dominical column (3/8) of Verissimo, this fact «caused a phenomenon to surge that was never before seen in Brazil: a collective hatred by the upper class and the rich for a party and a president; it is neither concern nor fear, it is hatred…; the class struggle has returned with force, not on the part of the workers, but by the dissatisfied bourgeoisie».
I consider this interpretation to be correct. It corroborates what I wrote in What lies behind the hatred for the PT?, that appeared in two articles in this space. It is the rise of millions of human beings, who used to be economical zeros and who began to acquire dignity and social participation, occupying places that previously were exclusively for the upper classes. This provoked rage and hatred against the poor, the Northerners, the Blacks and the members of the new “middle class”.
The problem now is how to dismantle this hatred. A society that lets itself be carried away by that spirit destroys the minimum bonds of coexistence, without which it can not sustain itself. It runs the risk of breaking the democratic rhythm and inspiring social violence. After our bitter experiences of authoritarianism and the painful conquest of democracy, we must avoid by all possible means the conditions that may cause us to return to the path of uncontrollable or irreversible violence.
In the first place, following the wise suggestion of Bresser Pereira, a new social pact that would go beyond that created by the 1988 Constitution is urgently needed; a pact that would unite businessmen, workers, social movements, the means of communication, political parties and intellectuals, a pact that better distributes the responsibilities for overcoming the present national crisis (that is a global one), and that clearly summons stockholders and the very wealthy, generally alligned with transnational capitalists, to give their share. They must also act like another Simon the Cyrenian, who helped the Master carry the cross.
Not just the music but also the lyrics must be changed. In other words, it is important to think of Brazil more as a nation and less in terms of political parties. We must give centrality to the common good and unite the forces around fundamental values and principles, seeking convergence in diversity, in function of a viable Project-Brazil that reduces inequality, which is another name for social injustice. I think that we have matured enough for this strategy of a collective win-win, and that we will be capable of avoiding the worst and thus not wasting this historic opportunity, which would hold us back even more as we face the global process of social and human development in the planetary phase of humanity.
In the second place, I believe in the transforming force of love, as expressed in the Prayer of Saint Francis: where there is hate, there I bring love. Love here is more than a subjective feeling. It acquires a collective and social form: love of a common cause, love for the people as a whole, especially those most downtrodden by life, love of the nation (we need a healthy nationalism), love as a capacity to listen to the reasoning of the other, love as an opening to dialogue and to interchange.
If we neither find nor listen to the other, how are we going to know what the other thinks and hopes to do? We would then start imagining and projecting distorted visions, nourishing prejudices and destroying the possible bridges that unite the borders.
We need to give more space to our positive “cordiality” (because there is also a negative one) that lets us be more generous, capable of looking ahead and upwards, of leaving behind that which belongs behind, and of not letting resentment feed rage, rage feed hatred and hatred feed violence, such as would destroy coexistence and sacrifice lives.
The Churches, the spiritual paths, the groups of reflection and action, especially the means of communication and all people of good will, can help dismantle this negative burden. And we also count on the integrating force of opposites, the Spirit Creator that traverses history and the personal lives of everyone.
Free translation from the Spanish sent by
Melina Alfaro, firstname.lastname@example.org,
done at REFUGIO DEL RIO GRANDE, Texas, EE.UU.