Farce is a tradition

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By LUCIO GREGORI*

Brazil is constituted politically and discursively based on farces

After a good number of years living in our country and having experienced different political situations, I cannot help thinking that Brazil is constituted politically and discursively based on farces, customary in peripheral countries with their respective subaltern dominant classes and typical of the international capitalist standards. Some more grotesque and others more refined.

I begin with the traditional issue of our “discovery”, which was actually just our capture by the Portuguese Empire. I follow the “Christianization” of the Indians, in reality the practice of a catechesis of submission and defeat with the blessing of carnage. And then our division of the territory, a real “public-private partnership” that instituted hereditary captaincies (which comes from captain…) – the first sign of the failure of the private elites that have dominated Brazil since then.

Following the scheme of colonialism of the occasion, we made war on Paraguay, assassinated its nationalist “dictator” Solano Lopez and made our commander, General Caxias, a national hero and marquis. I continue with our independence proclaimed by a future emperor of Portugal and I culminate this first part, with our Proclamation of the Republic made by the commander Marshal of the Army, hurriedly taken from his bed for this purpose. Capitalism at the time demanded it, Emperor was gone...

Near the end of the last millennium, in 1945, with the world war just over, when I was nine years old, the dictator Getúlio Vargas was overthrown and elections were called that culminated in the victory of General Eurico Gaspar Dutra, who had been… the Minister of War of the same overthrown dictatorship. This was what the new phase of capitalism demanded, with its characteristic façade democracy.

Afterwards, I watched the election of former dictator Getúlio Vargas and his suicide due to a fierce campaign against, in practice, some of his nationalist policies (the creation of Petrobras, for example). With the resignation of President Jânio Quadros in 1961, I witnessed the impediment by the Armed Forces and conservatives of the inauguration of the elected vice-president João Goulart and, finally, the agreement to transform the country into parliamentarism that made his effective inauguration possible. After only two years, the return of presidentialism in 1963, through a plebiscite. During his government, Goulart promoted the expropriation of land located on the margins of highways, railways and public works, in the perspective of an agrarian reform aimed at a better productive use of land in general.

As events unfolded in 1964, the Armed Forces and conservatives overthrew Goulart in a coup d'état, and then I heard the President of the Senate, Auro de Moura Andrade, declare "the presidency of the republic vacant", when President João Goulart was still in Porto Alegre. , running away from the coup. In other words, democracy is fine, but government on the left is not, as required by the Western capitalist model. It better be a little dictatorship in disguise...

At the end of the dictatorship that began in 1964, came the partial redemocratization of the country in 1985. The Military Police still remained, as instituted by the dictatorship, as civil police and, after the death of Tancredo Neves, José Sarney ended up being sworn in as president indirectly elected. Remembering Dutra, José Sarney was the last president of Arena, a party created by the dictatorship to remain in the country's management by applying its rules. Democracy ok, but without exaggeration, that's what capitalism accepted then.

Finally, in 1990, Collor de Melo was directly elected president. He eventually resigned in 1992 following the House vote in favor of his impeachment. In 2014, after 22 years, I see him being acquitted, by the STF, of all the accusations that resulted in his impeachment process.

Before that, I saw President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, elected in 1994, proposing re-election in order to benefit from it himself. He was re-elected in 1998! I only remember one measure of his social democratic government: the exemption from income tax for corporate dividends, in 1996, meaning that a worker would pay up to 27,5% of salary in income tax, but the owner or partner would pass to pay zero tax on profits transferred to him by the company. Unrivaled in any other capitalist country! Democratic social capitalism of the time, that's it.

Then, in the next election, in 2002, I saw the Letter to the Brazilians of the PT which said, for example, “The path of tax reform, which relieves production” and “The premise of this transition will naturally be respect for the country’s contracts and obligations and the recent turmoil in the financial market must be understood in this context of the fragility of the current model and the popular outcry for its overcoming”. Something like "hey guys from above, don't worry"...

In 2008, I watched the Lula government renew the TV Globo concession for another 15 years without even opening a public competition for the exploration of this public radio and TV concession – as even Thatcher’s United Kingdom did and still does… Left-wing capitalism there are these things… He practices consenting subservience.

In the crisis of the 2012s and after the re-election of President Dilma, I followed Lula's suggestion of nomination for the Ministry of Economy: he would be the president of Bradesco Luiz Carlos Trabuco. Dilma decided to nominate Joaquim Levy, a conservative economist and superintendent director of Bradesco.

After Dilma’s impeachment, an initiative by Janaína Paschoal and Helio Bicudo, in a strange association, I saw Michel Temer, his chosen deputy, promote the approval of the state spending ceiling, something like, “instead of making the richest pay more taxes , for example, with the repeal of the income tax exemption on dividends and profits, we will make the poor have less money from the State”. All this in addition to other conservative and/or neoliberal reforms. Capitalism in crisis demands severe measures…

And the farce of the “huge tax burden that affects everyone” follows: JBS pays less than 3% tax on its revenue, while the poor, who need to spend everything they earn, when they earn it, pay 18% ICMS on their consumption – and all his income is equal to his consumption.

Finally, or rather, consequently, I experienced the fact that Jair Bolsonaro was elected against Fernando Haddad – after Lula did not support Ciro Gomes at the time when polls indicated him as the only winner of a second round against Bolsonaro and Ciro Gomes went to Paris in the second round – and which defends the 1964 coup and torture, as, for example, in the case of torturer Colonel Carlos Brilhante Ustra. In addition to many other well-known neo-fascist proposals and attitudes.

There was also the chapter Sergio Moro, judge of first instance in undue association with several public prosecutors, judging, condemning and arresting in 2017 – with sentence approved by TRF-4 of the Southern Region – a former president of the Republic, case of Lula, and with that, being elevated to Bolsonaro's Minister of Justice. But now, four years later, I am watching the STF annul this sentence and all the accusations (!) because a judge of first instance could not judge a former president of the Republic in the processes of the triplex of Guarujá, the site of Atibaia and the Instituto Squid.

Finally, I experience this period in which some doctors, a general minister of health and “experts” defend the use of medicines – condemned by world health entities – in the fight against Covid-19 , with the full support of President Jair Bolsonaro who, in addition to of not wearing a mask at various public events, including the UN, defends such treatments, whose results in many cases are the deaths of patients. His strategy put into practice was that of death by contagion, which intended to achieve immunity without vaccines (“so what? Everyone really dies”…). Such is our democracy in capitalism in the neoliberal phase.

These are some of my memories, the reader can add others. So I ask: at the age of 85, what should I think and do as a citizen? And I answer: I'm tired and I definitely want a radical change. So, don't come at me with traditional or similar schemes for 2022. I'm out. And that.

In time. I have, unless I forget, only a good memory of an attitude different from that endless farce. During the aforementioned coup against the inauguration of Jango Goulart, the then governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Leonel Brizola convinced the then commander of the III Army, headquartered there, not to agree with the coup. And he appeared armed with a machine gun next to the general in a photo in the newspapers. It was because of this that there was an agreement for the possession of Jango.[1]

So it is...

*Lucio Gregory, engineer from USP, was municipal secretary of transport in the government of Luiza Erundina.

 

Note


[1] Thanks to Rosimar Gonçalves, José Jairo Varoli and Mauro Zilbovicius for their comments and suggestions.

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