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by Fabio de Oliveira Ribeiro Sunday, Mar. 07, 2010 at 8:33 PM

A good Brazilian book.

sp_metropole_das_utopias.jpg, image/jpeg, 343x490

Suitable reading for all that are interested in the things of Brazil, this it was the book of History that was lacking. Maria Luiza Tucci Carneiro and several other historians illuminated the political and cultural scene in São Paulo that it was gagged by the repression and buried by the traditional historiography. Falling back upon the files of the Political Police, the authors show as the dissidents from São Paulo built their Utopia and they suffered in reason of them for not suffering just in reason of the socioeconomic and political exclusion.

Included as “criminals” the communists, anarchists, socialists, syndicalists and popular artists moved intensely the “grave of the samba”. In the first decades of the century XX, São Paulo could not have good samba, but it had a lot of labor theater and engaged poetry, a lot of party and picnic of the “labor families” organized with the purpose of providing a favorable atmosphere to the diffusion of the political propaganda.

The release of this book is product and proof of the democratic renewal in Brazil, country that has been so marked by the political authoritarianism. The scientific and documental rigidity of the texts is notable, but happily it didn't transform them in arid treaties of official history or in alternative pamphlets. The prose is elegant and the resource to the citations allows to the reader to penetrate personally to that world that was hidden in the files of Deops (Department of Political and Social Order).

Therefore in the first text we see the contrast among the described city and wanted by the that occupied the top walk and the lived by the that filled the low walk. After all, for

“... if it understands the development of a city that is so much material (as houses, avenues, sewerage systems, services etc.) as subjective (in other words, the intellectual history, their representations, their desires, their frustrations), it is fundamental accompany and we relate those two fields. As it was already said, it is in that dialogue among the material goods and the subjectivity of the representations that give them sense that the man drives the transformations and the attributions of meanings for his own community's life.”

The first fragment belongs to the bourgeois Nicolau Fanuele, anarchist Gigi Damiani's second

“The great walk that the city dweller shows with the most legitimate pride to the outsider is the Paulista Avenue, immense street with some kilometers of length, located in the highest point of the city, all arboreous, enclosed of magnificent houses, whose architecture and ornamentation nothing is to owe to the most beautiful European buildings.”

“A beautiful day, ten or twelve dipped thieves of love to the practice solved that São Paulo didn't have the aspect of modern city and that it was lacking them money for the prostitutes and for the game; the patriotism burst! Of military Fanfulla to police Platea, of the suitable O Estado de São Paulo to the organ of stump gilded Correio Paulistano came out screams for the embellishment, for the sanitation of the city (...) it enlarges the city! We want theaters like Paris, gardens as Berlin, churches as Rome!

And only see... The dropped ruins, the huts thrown away, the dispossessed lands, everything that it should be beautified or destroyed, even and rebuilt, everything was property of the group... And who voted for the laws of the reform were the same members of the group. (...) That produced an exodus beginning, of the center for the periphery, in the search of new cheap homes (...). That was the sign of the general assault to the tenant's thin money: quickly the rents increased up to 200% (...)”

Starting from the dialogue of the two representations of the city, the author of the text DREAMS OF SMOKE rebuilds a whole São Paulo. He explains that

“... it is indispensable rebuild the intellectual history of the city of São Paulo of the point of view of the convergence between the old history of the ideas and the new history of the culture-‘that expresses through a tension between internal explanations and context explanations, external '- and the idea that that history, when it treats of the collective representations, it is approaching ‘intellectual and moral landscape of a time, the systems of values and the collective sensibilities '. It is in that sense that I think the intellectual history of a city: as an amalgam between the ideas and collective representations of the materiality of their streets and constructions, tends, in the man, his inflection point that, for his time, it is inserted in the interpretative context of the city.”

The author narrates the controversies that involved the construction of the Municipal Theater. For later to put two different and separate universes side by side. For the Municipal Theater it flowed the middle and high class and the “... aesthetic and symbolic ideal of that stage dialogued with the concerns of that groups inside of a humanistic and existential vision, but of a capitalist society.”. Already the working class only had access to the labor theater, to the mounted alternative stages in community living rooms and improvised rooms. From the first presentations the police “... present to repress the activity.”

The ideal from São Paulo of civilization was quite excluding. To the privileged ones it competed to administer their factories and the city, as well as to enjoy the benefits of the social life and of the high culture. The workers, for his time, they were constrained to work a lot and to live their thin lives without any socialization type. But in spite

“... of constantly watched, the working class organized cultural presentations that they were usually part of a larger event. Beneficent parties be promote by associations of the working class with objective of touching the workers for the social subject. Programmed, most of the time, for Saturdays at night, they were called of "veiled", it leaves a repertoire common to the working class.”

The artists that came in the Municipal Theater for a select public received applauses and space in the newspapers. The ones that wrote pieces and if they presented for the workers were arrested and annotated in Deops. The labor artists

“... they didn't receive the prestige of the headlines of the great press nor they were favored with bags or contracts for to accomplish his artistic work. The fact of they be respected by their same ones, class siblings and occupation, it didn't count credits nor it had effect to the authorities of Deops.”

The author of REBELLIOUS POETS IN HALLUCINATED SÃO PAULO reproduces several literary texts apprehended by Deops that were decades buried in the official files. To arrest the "no wanted" poets and to remove their texts of circulation, this was one of the main tasks of the Political Police. The political orientation and literature of Moyses Roithman , Haydeé Nicolussi, Arsênio Palaos and Paulo Torres were not very different from the one of Jorge Amado, Monteiro Lobato, Camargo Guarnieri and other, but the treatment released by the police for some and others were different:

“A curious fact is to verify as the Political Police ‘annotated ' some poets differentiating them of known artists. Without the abundance of flukes found in the official speech of the anonymous handbooks, the authorities policemen's right care is observed in mentioning certain personalities admired by the people. They left the larger repression for the anonyms, maybe for the fact of these they live in an underworld and for they be not recognized by their works. Along decades, from his creation in 1924, Deops sustained an entire theory, loaded of symbols and stigmata, with the purpose of arguing against the artists and anonymous poets. The intention was of obtaining support of the population against the communism turned diabolical like ‘red danger ' or ‘Bolshevik credo"; a faith different from the Catholic and that, for being a ‘deviation ', it should be combatted.”

The history of the feminists of São Paulo was approached in the text REBELLIOUS WOMEN, FEMINIST HERETICS. The author treats with the same care and emphasis the scandalous case of the prison and torture of Genny Gleiser, that it generated some public mobilization, and the one of an anonymous one accused wrongly of being subversive. In that time

“... a woman could be informed by a person of her daily conviviality, will stop at a police station. Anézia Corrêa dos Santos had a ‘misunderstanding ' with a neighbor. For not knowing to read, she asked this neighbor's son to read some pamphlets that it possessed. ‘For revenge spirit ', the neighbor denounced Anézia to the police, because the pamphlets treated of ‘subversive propaganda '.”

Of the told cases we can conclude that the Political Police had three types of objectives: the criminals for activism (that were arrested by to produce or to distribute texts considered dangerous, although under the art form); the criminals of conscience (arrested in reason of to read and to spread ideas transmitted in pamphlets or books considered subversive); and the criminals for suspicion (only arrested because they were foreign or they had in house books or forbidden pamphlets).

Reading with attention the texts, we noticed that the Political Police was a source of new problems impeding the solution of the existent problems. The severe surveillance gave to the “owners of the power” the sensation that nothing needed to be done. Besides, the “... Political Police stimulated the increase of the tension in the social relationships, when alleging that the foreigners were dangerous to the national security. Every citizen was suspicious; all were watched”. The investigations always resulted in prisons, tortures and even expulsion of the country in the foreigners' case. The policemen seemed to have "white letter" of the authorities. And in reason of this the injustices were frequent and safe rare exceptions didn't cart some type of the involved policemen's punishment.

In spite of the policeman's omnipresence repression the communists, anarchists, socialists, syndicalists and popular artists didn't give up easily of their Utopia and political and cultural activities. Sometimes, however, they were surprised by informers, infiltrated policemen and for former-militant. The history of some of these informers, infiltrated and traitors also deserved the authors' attention.

The literary quality of some texts transcribed in WORKING CLASS IS GOING TO THE PARADISE is evident. This poem fragment dedicated to the labor woman deserves prominence:

“For the current world you are, only,

The source of the money, the unconscious machine,

The fertile womb that it produces, at vile price,

The meat of the pleasure for the Dons Juans of the earth,

The meat of the cannon for the war pasture

And the meat that the industrial devours at his den!”

The rhyme is impeccable. The metaphors were well built and they are powerful. Besides alliterations, the text also has another important characteristic: it transcends his time. “The fertile womb that it produces, at vile price” it produced sense and synthesis when it was written (in the first half of the century XX) and it is still capable to do this in the present days in that 90% of the Brazilian population dispute 25% of the national wealth (data of IPEA).

Davino Francisco dos Santos, Northeastern migrant, entered in the Public Force of São Paulo as soldier and later she became political activist. After of abjuring openly of the convictions that took him to the prison, Davino was amnestied and promoted captain. His history is counted in the text THE PUBLIC FORCE AS NORTHEASTERN IDEAL IN THE BIG CITY. The text demonstrates that the political repression was never capable to scare or to reduce the dissidents' daring. The communists recruited and they made propaganda among the policemen and inside of the barracks. Though, even the policemen they were watched by the Political Police.

The book treats of many other subjects, but I won't remove of the reader the pleasure of the discovery. SÃO PAULO METRÓPOLE OF THE UTOPIA suggested me a painful inquiry. After all, the files of Deops emphasize that the institution was very similar with to Gestapo and KGB: are the used methods similar (prisons and tortures, besides of suspects) and the results the they be obtained identical (brutal suppression of the political dissidence). Which the differences between Deops and their double Nazi and Soviet?

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