Harm reduction: An antifascist care ethic for neo-fascist times

In times of intolerance and denial such as what we are experiencing, it is increasingly important to open spaces and give a voice to people who really need to speak. Understand how the Brazilian Harm Reduction is magical, a swing between care, affection and public health. By historian and harm reduction agent from Alagoas @myrorolim

I always say that I stand up for a Harm Reduction that is an ethical political  approach for care. I  bring in this speech that the concept of care that I advocate in the HR is, above all, an ethics of antifascist care. I argue that supporting the field of Harm Reduction in alcohol and other drugs is to permanently oppose everything this ultra liberal Brazilian neofascism represents.  Is to oppose  everything that supports and finds meanings  in the mentality of the current government. The mentality we battle against, produces  the existence of one’s through control, selectivity, enmity and annihilation. Builds devices that deny people’s subjectivities and the multiple forms of subjects being in the world. Which  continues to make society more and more a uniform  lifeless one-dimensional mass, 

The HR must always  fight for a dignifying and political life.

Yes: the HR bet on lives, while neofascism bet on deaths. We believe in various ways of living, but, unfortunately, neofascism also believes in various ways of killing. And that is why HR is seen by this government as a barrier and an idea that must be destroyed but, we are here, existing and resisting.

Photo: Myro Rolim - Série Vermelha
Photo: Myro Rolim – Série Vermelha

The neo-fascism of the current government does not accept that the work of the HR with drug users, and vulnerable territories and communities,  builds and promotes care and affections that are worth experiencing. Nor, much less, that harm reduction agents   are constituted as social educators and policy makers, since, from micro to macro, harm reducers  must act in the construction and development of  public policies and  any and every action that arises from these policies. Always defending the sense of an inclusive, universal and holistic system of care  for vulnerable populations, such as drug users,  promoting policies and political beings .This “yellow-green” neofascism hates this idea, because it rather considering r people in an apolitical, shallow, submissive way, without subjectivities. And, with much less disagreements, conflicts or power, bodies and desires, for neo-fascismmust always be under the control of the neo-fascist machine.

The HR by which I militate is the one who bets on encounters, affections, speeches and silences, small touches and long looks. It advocates that the condition of drug users, meaning whatever the person’s relationship with the substance is, is not greater or more important than their life and its political conditions. So, we defend that these people do not lose their rights by making use of a substance, legal or illegal, and that everyone should have dignity and  a status as sovereign and respected political actors.

Photo: Myro Rolim - Série Vermelha
Photo: Myro Rolim – Série Vermelha

This HR  advocates for service networks that take care of people in a way that is appropriate to their needs and demands, and that respect the wishes and promote the autonomy of their patients. Not like the ones we have, which aim only for economic capital, strengthening the great industry of the population’s illness, betting on future sources of funds from the “Minimum State”,  as s well as favoring neofascism by  pathologizing  individuals , giving medical-scientific endorsement for the implementation of social control, repression and system of exclusion of specific populations .

We do not want this form of (lakeof ) care. Enough of psychiatric asylums, whatever they are!

Photo: Myro Rolim - Série Vermelha
Photo: Myro Rolim – Série Vermelha

This HR that I am talking about here repeats every day that as a worker and activist of the  substance use field, that approaches this field thru the lens of holistic care  it is vital to understand that the phenomenon of drugs is not detached from other one’s social struggles, such as the endurance of  racism, lgbtqiphobia, social class divisions, the struggles   of free identities and queer folks,  homelessness ,, target  imprisonment of specifics communities,  poverty, the defense of the public healthcare system and several other struggles that cross the social spectrum and   the individual , their families and their communities. We must never forget that one of the great goals of a neo-fascist government , more and more, is the institution of legal systems of punishment of poverty realities  and a death policy for the undesirable individuals. The Harm Reduction that believes in an ethical political approach  of care does not accept the idea of individuals being killable or disposable bodies, bodies that must be imprisoned, considered unworthy or without political voices.

Divulgation picture of Myro Rolim
Divulgation picture of Myro Rolim

For this reason, the neofascist Brazilian project, which works all the time with the effects of fear and hatred to support its death policy, does not accept HR. It abhors it because it fears this idea of universal care, which bets on individuals and their freedoms and demands changes in the political, economic, social and governance structures. A HR that is inspired by Paulo Freire and preserves the knowledge of the reduction agents,  have historically built the idea of self-management of bodies, desires and  co-responsibility for care.

For all these reasons, the HR, as a ethical political approach  of care, is an anti-fascist body per excellence, which does not die by decree, because, like all insurgents, its existence does not depend on decrees, permissions or laws. It is beyond that. As long as woman  and man and queer people consume substances to alter their minds, there will be those who need HR, as well as those who defend and fight for it.

I have no doubt: Harm Reduction, in itself, is anti-fascist.

Myro Rolim.

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Twitter: @myro_rolim

Facebook: @myro.rolimBy @myrorolim

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