2021 in ten faces

Image: Francesco Ungaro


We ended 2021 thinking only about 2022 and perhaps reflecting on the difficulties of 2023

This year ends with the taste of wasted time, not that every day of our lives should only have quiet days or long-awaited achievements or something like that, that's not it! I even consider that difficult days are very necessary for our learning as people, possible to improve ourselves and be more demanding with the world we want, but in fact there are some moments that could simply be suppressed that would not be much missed, so it seems to be that " year of the little mouse” and which is already swallowed up by the impossibilities and by what remains of our humanity.

We are going to associate each month in our balance sheet with an expressive aspect of what happened and how it marked us. The treated face does not necessarily represent a single moment, a single person or a single movement, rather we will understand that individuals and collectives are forms of a broad social being called humanity and, more specifically, the humanity that has arrogated to live in this vast territory called Brazil .

We started January with the images of the city of Manaus, our largest city in the Amazon was the scene of a strange and stupid experiment, alongside the largest, in terms of per capita mortality caused by COVID in world terms, the data are alarming: in less than 30 days 2.522 people died and more than 60 thousand were affected by the disease.[I]

The Manaus experiment was the result of a denialist certainty and organizational and social inability of both municipal, state and national governments. As the Covid CPI (link) showed, five bestial asperities came together there: (i) denialism as a condition of government policy administered by the federal government, with both the President of the Republic and the Minister of Health (Pazuello) at the forefront ; (ii) the encroachment of the private health system with the barbaric techniques of using Chloroquine and dispensing patients with supposedly “terminal” conditions; (iii) almost complete social indifference, something very worrying, as the thermometer in Manaus showed a society that was not only apathetic, but cynical, facing the death of siblings as something indifferent and even acceptable; (iv) a skeletal and fragile left, incapable of reacting and mobilizing, something that will only be reversed in later episodes of our cognitive drama that was 2021; (v) finally and more worryingly, the Manaus experiment was something thought by part of the Brazilian business community to destroy SUS and show the possibility of complete neoliberalization of the country. These bestial misconceptions were swallowed up by the horror of reality. Our first face of 2021 is the terror of Manaus and its people!

In February, the main image that comes to mind are two sad decisions, whose impacts are yet to be analyzed, but that there is no way to deal with them even in this brief chronological whirl: they are the preposterous decisions of “autonomy from the Central Bank ” and “privatization of the Post Office”. In several aspects, these two decisions are consistent with a single expression: loss of national sovereignty, that is to say why.

The Central Bank constitutes a core institution of the National State, together with the National Treasury and the Federal Revenue, these three institutions are the core of the contemporary capitalist State. The interaction between these three institutes is carnal, it is only possible to think of governance with the flow of resources (tax revenue) withdrawn from society, in the case of peripheral societies basically arising from indirect taxation, therefore with great tax regression, and its transfer via the National Treasury to Central Bank accounts. Thus, thinking about the idea of ​​Central Bank autonomy is illogical and assumes that the control of all public wealth can be indifferent to the political logic of the State.

Finally, a second key problem, control over the monetary mass in capitalist societies takes place through control over the credit system, money in capitalism is always credit money, that is, anchored in debt conditions, whether private, but mainly public, via State Debt. The idea of ​​central bank autonomy is “nonsense” and is linked to the only possible possibility, which is the destruction of national sovereignty.

The privatization of the Post Office constitutes a double measure of social ridicule: first, a highly profitable company[ii] it is liarly treated as having a deficit, and most of the putrid National Congress “turns around” over its own lie; second, the Post Office for its social logic, either in the distribution of goods under efficient and socially necessary conditions, or for its reach in a country whose size and regional and municipal inequalities require an institution of this type. February marks the complete disconnection of the Brazilian bourgeoisie and its political elite with Brazil itself.

The face of March will be a double contradiction. On March 08, the “unsuspectful” judge Fachin annuls the convictions of former President Lula, related to Operation Lava-Jato. This decision, made in a clumsy way within the general framework of the Brazilian bourgeoisie and also pressured by the growing crisis of the neo-fascist government installed in 2019, partially reconfigured the social dispute, restoring the proactivity capacity of the PT center-left and putting in check the set of actions that the bourgeoisie associated with imperialism had established since 2016 with the coup d'état. Thus, the faces of March 2021 will be of an ideological (judiciary) member of the Brazilian bourgeoisie and of the political recovery of the greatest Brazilian popular leadership: Fachin the face of institutional confusion and Lula the face of the Brazilian social dispute.

In April 2021, Brazilian bourgeois institutionality seems to react to the approximate coup planned by Jair Bolsonaro and his military, the Federal Senate, following an authorizing decision by the STF, installs the CPI of Covid, the first and largest offensive by non-fascist sectors of the national bourgeoisie to the control of the regime by the so-called Military Party and its offspring. The COVID CPI operated uninterruptedly until November 2021 with three important repercussions: first, the wear and tear of neo-fascist mismanagement; second, it made it possible to accelerate the vaccination conditions of the Brazilian population and, finally, it established a fundamental political dispute stage to think about 2022. Thus, April has the face of bourgeois institutionality partially positioning itself and momentarily removing the Brazilian “eighteenth brumaire”.

May has always been a month of rebellion, not only in Brazil, but in our case it marks society's ability to react to the impostures and mistreatment that the Brazilian bourgeoisie has imposed on its people since time immemorial (since slavery). The face of May is the manifestations of 29M. The streets have been claiming their place of prominence in the Brazilian scenario for a long time, but the pandemic had hindered the performance of the biggest social agents in this drama: organized and non-organized workers, students and all parts of the population that somehow do not find representation in the choir of the lords of power. The 29M marks the replacement of the organized left, radical or social democrats in the scenario of the Brazilian social dispute in this choking that was 2021.

We reached the middle of this scenario that was less of building and more of waiting. June was marked by fires that spread through the two largest biomes still relatively maintained: the Pantanal and the Amazon. Inpe (National Institute for Space Research) recorded the greatest environmental degradation in recent years.[iii] Partially due to international pressure, one of the most ferocious enemies of the Brazilian forests and traditional peoples is finally removed from his privileged position as Minister of Environmental Destruction. The month of June has the face of two misfortunes (two more!): the fires with the destruction of the Amazon and the fall of a stupid puppet: the destroyer of the environment and who advocated that the “cattle had to pass” and in fact it happened.

July was marked by two faces: the continued movement of Brazilian society to leave the “unnamable” (3J) and the good Brazilian participation in the Tokyo Olympics, especially due to the performance of our black athletes.

The 3J marked, on the one hand, the ability of the left to maintain the organized movement and social pressure, including strengthening the echoes that came from bourgeois institutionality in the form of the CPI on COVID and, on the other hand, defining the social mobilization agenda that remained until October (2O), even if gradually weakening, especially after the “September” neo-fascist coup attempt, as we will see in an opportune moment.

The participation of Brazilian athletes in the Olympics has always been marked by the unorganized and very proactive actions of the athletes themselves. This has not changed substantially, despite the fact that in this event some of the organization came from the previous planning periods. It is in fact worth reflecting on the beautiful face of the young black athlete Rebeca Andrade.

August, a month so popular at other times, passes in this squalid 2021 without references, I'm sorry for those who think prisons or deaths are important, in this case the face of August is the intemperate emptiness.

The most critical month of our laughable year was September and let it be said, we run a very high risk of having 2021 as one more of those in which barracks become “revolutions” and “a very nasty animal” as the “Titans” told us become "comic book heroes". The Brazilian neo-fascists set up a well-organized stage, something contributed by the timidity of the left, all of them, and by the institutional pettiness of the Brazilian bourgeoisie.

The September 7 episode must be analyzed from four perspectives: (i) the organized capacity of Brazilian ultra-right sectors is continuous and maintained throughout our history, it is worth remembering some of these moments, such as the integralist movement of the 1930s that reached more than 5 million affiliates at a time when the Brazilian population numbered around five tens of millions of individuals (see numbers), the famous “march of the family with God for property” in March 1964, one of the alleged justifications for the 1964 coup. Well, the right and the Brazilian fascist right have always been organized and, depending on the moment, they always have a great capacity for mobilization. It was like this on September 7, 2021. Bolsonaro's pro-coup demonstration was intense in the three main Brazilian capitals: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brasília.

(ii) the shyness of the left in its counter-reaction. Act 3J (July 3) marked the apex of the days that the social movements of the left were able to organize, despite the growth process, but a set of factors made the following movements fragile, and the ability to organize in the most peripheral places and the distance that the left built in recent years from the unorganized mass made it difficult for the movement to “impeach” the “neo-fascist bum” to expand.

(iii) the action of the Military Party, the great promoter of demonstrations for the coup, something that showed how much the Brazilian bourgeois institutional system is protected by gentlemen in caps. However, it is worth noting in an important way, the absence of any minimally coherent project for the future for a society as complex as the Brazilian one removed some of these Generals from their labyrinth and faded the coup.

(iv) the biggest crisis that the Brazilian bourgeoisie has faced in the last five decades, without political direction, with a clearly stupid “Bonapartist” project, finally deflated the coup.

Finally, there is no way to record that in September we were very close to a kind of reissued AI-5, the face of September was of dwarf grooms trying to imprison all of Brazil.

In November, news brings us the destructive face of this mismanagement: “a total of 52 researchers from the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Capes) announced their resignation from the body, responsible for evaluating postgraduate courses” (https:// istoe.com.br/tag/capes/), something that deepened the budget losses and deconstruction of science and technology in Brazil. We ended the month of November with the face of the destruction of research centers in Brazil, something that took decades to build, is quickly destroyed in months of neo-fascism.

We arrived in December and almost all of us said “UFAA what a malaise and tiredness!” We would like to express that there is nothing to register in this month that ends and what was destroyed and the resistance offered was already present in the previous moments, but unfortunately the Bahian tragedy[iv] does not allow us this peace of mind. Thus, the face of December 2021 takes the form of a tragedy, both a result of the environmental destruction already dealt with, and the continuity of a mismanagement whose fundamental motto is “each one for himself and God for all”, the result is death and destruction which could at least be alleviated.

Perhaps a last word for those who have read me this far: we ended 2021 thinking only about 2022 and perhaps reflecting on the difficulties of 2023.

But we have a lot to build!

*Jose Raimundo Trinidad He is a professor at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences at UFPA. Author, among other books, of Criticism of the Political Economy of the Public Debt and the Capitalist Credit System: a Marxist approach (CRV).



[I] Check: https://g1.globo.com/am/amazonas/noticia/2021/02/01/coronavirus-impoe-janeiro-mais-triste-da-historia-do-am-com-recorde-de-casos-mortes-e-internacoes-por-covid-19.ghtml.

[ii] Between 2001 and 2020, Correios accumulated a positive net result of R$ 12,4 billion in values ​​restated by the IPCA, see: https://economia.uol.com.br/noticias/redacao/2021/08/04/correios-lucros-dividendos-privatizacao.htm.

[iii] “The deforestation rate in the Brazilian Legal Amazon (ALB) stood at 13.235 square kilometers (km²) in the period from August 01, 2020 to July 31, 2021. The index calculated by the Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite (Prodes) represents an increase of 21,97% in relation to the deforestation rate of the previous period”. Check: https://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/geral/noticia/2021-11/desmatamento-na-amazonia-legal-tem-aumento-de-2197-em-2021.

[iv] “Dozens of cities in Bahia suffer damage from the heavy rains that hit the south and southeast of the state. So far, 18 deaths have been confirmed as a result of the floods. The state government estimates that the tragedy has already affected 400 people” (https://www.dw.com/pt-br/enchentes-deixam-rastro-de-destrui%C3%A7%C3%A3o-na-bahia/a-60261403).

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