Democracy in Brazil is at risk

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By USP COLLECTIVE FOR DEMOCRACY*

Manifesto of USP professors, employees and students

“If not every moment will be considered opportune to tell the truth, especially if it is bitter and hard, [...] it is everyone's duty, when disfigured, to proclaim it without frills and half words”. (Anísio Teixeira, Once again summoned: Manifesto to the people and the government.

Democracy in Brazil is at risk. Enough.

For this reason we, professors, technical-administrative servants and students of the University of São Paulo, propose to broaden the debate on the uncertainties and apprehensions of the political conjuncture, affirming, as a democratic demand, the need that the social rights declared in the 1988 Constitution must be respected and duly implemented. The next elections will be decisive for the destiny of our country, at a time when social inequalities are deepening at an accelerated pace and when violence against vulnerable populations has become routine and frighteningly naturalized.

In January 1959, male and female teachers, feeling “once again summoned”, wrote a historic text in favor of the right to public and quality education, referred to in the epigraph of this document. Today we also feel summoned once again: Democracy in Brazil is at risk!

And it is at risk because the authoritarian past seems not to have passed at all, when torturers remain unpunished for their crimes and are still publicly praised in the “Casa do Povo”. This inconsistency, perpetrated by those who should protect the Democratic State of Law, opened space for the emergence of situations of legal instability, as well as for all kinds of violations of fundamental rights.

From then on, the fake news more abject and practices of lawfare, already used for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, combined events that started the process of deconstruction of the institutions of the Brazilian Republic. The forces that represent the current government operate in favor of the interests of neoliberal necropolitics on a world scale; and, by stimulating the expansion of militias, the land grabbing of native peoples and illegal mining, they indicate the serious erosion of internal political sovereignty. Irreparable ethnocide and ecocide.

The dismantling of science promotion and cultural heritage preservation policies jeopardize the future of the next generations and the achievements consolidated in the last four decades. The neoliberal attack on public education, in which businessmen became mentors of educational policies, amplifies the threat against which the 1959 Manifesto also rose. Scientific denialism, associated with anti-intellectualism, has been the hallmark of action and omission government, responsible for the death (and also the debauchery) of hundreds of thousands of people during the Covid-19 pandemic. This whole picture is intensely aggravated by PEC 95 which froze and defined for the federal government, for twenty years, a ceiling on spending on social rights, a measure demanding immediate revocation.

As those who had their freedom revoked and their expression silenced by prison in the lead years of the dictatorship, we feel obliged to react to attacks on the public university and the democratic rule of law.

We call upon the USP community for a debate capable of expressing our indignation at the violations of Brazilian democracy. It is imperative that the public university reaffirm its commitment to policies that address social inequality and discrimination, in defense of public, free and quality education, as well as in maintaining permanence programs and socio-ethnic and racial affirmative action.

The democratization of rights implies, moreover, the strengthening of public Basic Education, which ensures the appropriation of knowledge and everyone's access to the University. This access, however, has been made unfeasible by the new Secondary Education Law, which must be repealed. In the same direction, we express our concern with the expansion of philanthropic programs for day care centers, with the recent liberalization of home education and the militarization of public schools.

Our academic action must also focus on the right to the city, health, housing, public safety, decent work, culture, leisure – in short, the foundations of a fully democratic society.

The University harbors, as is well known, several ideological and party-political tendencies within it. But the moment demands, from all and all, the greatness to recognize, as an unavoidable moral and political duty, to act together for the reconstruction of Brazilian citizenship.

Democracy in Brazil is at risk. Enough.

The Manifesto will be read at the Open Class “Public University and Democracy”, with Lula, Fernando Haddad, Marilena Chaui, Ermínia Maricato and Adriana Alves, on August 15, starting at 15 pm at the History and Geography Building (FFLCH-USP) .
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS-YnI5F7ekee34caVhdCLQ

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