9 July 1932

Image: Şahin Sezer Dincer
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By GIOVANNI MESQUITA*

The day the São Paulo elite became democrats

They say that the Gauchos are the only people who celebrate a war they lost. In reality, the people of Rio Grande do Sul are the only ones who celebrate a defeated revolution. This is because the people of São Paulo celebrate a war that they also lost, with one detail: due to its political nature, it was a counter-revolution.

On July 9, 1932, President Getúlio Vargas was informed that São Paulo had gone to arms. And the great motto of those from São Paulo was: against the dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, for a new constitution. This cry for democracy, which captured the hearts and souls of thousands of São Paulo residents, is, if we look closely, quite peculiar. But why?

It turns out that São Paulo, since the imperial period, has always been a powerful state. With its powerful capital built, like a fortress, beyond the walls of a coastal country. Before the Getúlio era, São Paulo had four presidents. Then, on a beautiful day in 1930, when power left his hands, an outbreak of democratic sentiment occurred among São Paulo's elites. Viruses of this type, which generate sudden transformation, are detectable today among the Bolsonarista hordes.

Today we know how real the possibility of winning in the narrative is what was lost on the battlefields, or at the polls, to cite a more recent example. In Rio Grande do Sul there was a large military mobilization to combat those who slept longing for slavery and woke up thirsty for a democratic and constitutionalist regime. I met a lady, from Rio Grande do Sul, who had five brothers. Three fought in 1932.

In his family's collection you can see his brothers in uniform, touring São Paulo after the victory. They paraded through the main streets of São Paulo and posed at the Grito do Ipiranga monument and the Museu Paulista. It must have made the recently beaten cons angry…

We tend to think that our last war was in 1924, when liberators joined Prestes' troops to defeat Chimango. But not! In 1932 we supported the government that came out of the 1930 Revolution. We gave them a beating and then we salted the chopped loin.

Unarmed and shy, like pissed kids, they had no other alternative than to respect Getúlio's developmental government. But, demonstrating some cunning, they reacted in a cunning way: they founded USP. The institution's main mission was to paint in disguised colors the trajectory of the failed movement that aimed to restore the dictatorship of its oligarchy and, in addition, create leaders who would not allow themselves to be swayed in the future.

In any case, in the field of propaganda and historical review, they were victorious. They taught herds of historians, from São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul, to paint the Vargas government as the most terrible historical error of our nation. It got so bad that we don't have a single commemoration of the 1930 Revolution here, nor a single drink in its honor. Most people don't know, nor ask why there is an important street called October 24th.

Having defeated the Paulistas, the ignoble and barbaric gaucho frontier Getúlio Vargas subjected that state to a terrible punishment: he made it the center of the nascent national industry. Fortunes were built on the strong financial support of federal government policy. My grandmother always told me “the worst thing is ungrateful people”. Class hatred for those who made the CLT, the work card, the minimum wage, etc. possible. It is renewed annually on the 9th of July. A little intellectual honesty from this elite would result in a statue of Getúlio ten meters high in the middle of Avenida Paulista.

I keep observing the actions of the current governor of São Paulo and I keep asking myself: will we have a new 32 against Getúlio's heir, the one who actually defeated fascism in November 2022, 90 years after the reaction of 32? When I see Tarciso de Freitas making an effort to fascistize his police, transforming schools into barracks and forcibly evangelizing public servants, I start to suspect this. You know how it is, I'm a Gaucho and we Gauchos are suspicious.

* Giovanni Mesquita He is a historian and museologist. Book author Bento Gonçalves: from birth to revolution (Suzano).


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