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By Marilena Chauí (auth.)

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Extra info for Between Conformity and Resistance: Essays on Politics, Culture, and the State

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On April 28, 1953, the French Communist Party summoned workers to a demonstration against the Korean War. It then called for a general strike on May 4 to protest against the imprisonment of the party’s general secretary Jacques Duclos, which had taken place during the preceding month’s demonstration. Neither of these actions received mass support from the French workers. Sartre published his first article for the series The Communist and Peace in Les Temps Modernes in which he spoke out against Duclos’ imprisonment, anticommunism, and the workers’ weak response to the French Communist Party.

Engagement is a state of constant vigilance. Merleau-Ponty refutes this form of engagement for two reasons. First, by commenting on each event, the intellectual enables his readers to understand individual occurrences only in isolation. This approach does not impel readers to see the wider picture and it may allow readers to dismiss isolated occurrences as exceptional, whereas a comprehensive perspective may lead them to a fuller understanding. This type of engaged vigilance is then an example of bad faith.

Perhaps it is not surprising that in this age of indeterminacy, a number of myths from the past have been symbolically recuperated. Most significant here is Brazil’s foundational myth itself. The 1990s saw an emphasis on “Brazil” in a way that reunited politics and culture. This return to the past culminated in the year 2000, the year of the country’s quincentenary. The 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil saw the commemoration of the nation in a number of official celebrations elaborately prepared by the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

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