The corrupt fight against corruption

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By Ricardo Manoel de Oliveira Morais*

Lavajatista “legacy” will be nothing more than a vacuum, appropriated by the worst in the political arena

It is interesting to note (and also regret) that whenever a certain form of “fight against corruption” takes shape in the republican history of Brazil, it ends with the republic, but never with corruption. Corruption, moreover, seems to deepen. And I say that “it seems to deepen” because the periods that follow the supposed “triumph of the law” against the “muddle of corruption” are marked by a lack of transparency. With this, it would not be prudent to state, categorically, that corruption is deepening. But let's leave the "opinion" aside, at least for now. Let us examine for a moment some cyclical elements of our more or less recent history. And when I say cyclical it is because the “fight against corruption” follows a more or less pre-established pattern. Although the cyclical notion of history has fallen into disuse, giving way to a progressive conception of the famous “timelines”, an analysis of the loops historical-temporal data may point out that the Lava Jatista “legacy” will be nothing more than a vacuum, appropriated by the worst in the political arena.

Before continuing the text, I would like to point out that the inconsistencies pointed out in the corrupt ways of fighting corruption cannot lead to the false belief that corruption should not be fought. The attempted usurpation of public property deserves state repression. On the other hand, it is part of the so-called “corruption cycle” that the fight against corruption takes on hypocritical overtones (to say the least), creating an angelic aura around individuals who corrupt the law and tear apart institutions to “end the corruption". And the most tragic part of this process lies in the fact that, often (and I emphasize “almost always”), those who suffer least from cyclical institutional degradation are those who provoked this process.

In a very brief way, I would describe the “corrupt fight against corruption cycle” as follows: 1) initially, certain facts emerge that, effectively, can be classified as acts of corruption; 2) from this, some voices of supposed and high moral rectitude started to denounce these forms of corruption as being systemic; 3) the “heralds of morality”, taken by the desire to appropriate a slice of political power, begin to echo these voices; 4) this echo gains a social force, starting to intimidate institutionality so that it will chance this clash, which leads to a fracture of institutionality; 5) with the institutional breakdown and the ghost of “systemic corruption” lurking, society turns to a messianic way out associated with an unintelligent “conservatism”, not at all empathetic and deliberately blind. From then on, what remains of institutionality is at the mercy of “a soldier and a corporal”.

As for the first part of the cycle, historical examples are multiplied. As Wanderley dos Santos points out, in The hindered democracy, “The denunciation of systemic corruption, another propagandistic coincidence associated with one and another coup, has actually accompanied Brazilian conservative politics since the return of Getúlio Vargas to the government, in 1951, in victory of elections as clean as they managed to be in the last few years. 50”. After a failed attempt on the life of Carlos Lacerda, the Air Force opens a military inquiry to investigate this act, conducting it from an instance called “República do Galeão”.

At that moment, the udenista voices were shouting morality, giving up national sovereignty without any shame. The US was asked to help resolve the situation. The country was said to be sinking into a sea of ​​mud. Morality was constantly at the service of an electorally defeated conservatism. Paradoxically, a military inquiry led to the intimidation of civilians. High-ranking officials demanded the president's resignation. The president loses his life. Whether or not there was corruption was never discovered. But what was institutionality begins to erode.

Another example from the beginning of the cycle, with a strong udenist essence, occurred with Aécio Neves. The latter, denouncing the systemic corruption of the federal government, refused to accept an electoral defeat. While asking for the recount of the votes, he associated himself with well-known names in the “Republic of Curitiba”. And of course, it is impossible to understand this plot without mentioning Vaza Jato. Under the pretext of combating corruption, the harbingers of morality exchanged information with the US (sound familiar?), confronted institutions by intimidating higher courts and spurred the population against the STF, whether through demonstrations or religious fasts. In short, they corrupted to (supposedly) fight corruption.

And if in 64 Lacerda had no qualms about placing all institutionalism in the hands of the military in the hope of winning the next election, the same happened with Aécio. Aécio, frustrated with the thesis of “electoral fraud”, decided to echo the fight against corruption, putting his integrity to the test in an impeachment process. It is noteworthy that neither its integrity nor institutionality has survived. Moro was also part of this corrosion process. I would say that he has already been reaping the fruits of his shaken integrity. However, it is still a little early for futurologies. We know how the udenistas and the military corrupted institutions in 64. But what about today?

I would describe that there is not (yet) such a thing as institutional acts. However, society has already been holding its Marchas da Família com Deus pela Liberdade. I don't know if God is there. Much less freedom. But yes, there is a fascist aesthetic. There is a strong messianism (“it's not my fault, I voted for Aécio”; “we are all wedges”; “close with Bolsonaro”). There is an unintelligent conservatism (after all, it cannot be said that risking one's life in the midst of the pandemic is a very genial attitude). There is a complete lack of empathy. There is a deliberate blindness (never mind the connections with the militias, with death squads, with schemes to embezzle public money). As for the absence of institutional acts, I believe that they do not formally exist. However, the militiamen who make up the government are already showing what they think of institutionality, especially when they refuse to accept “political judgments” (which they did not do when Collor and Dilma were Presidents).

When I listed the points in the corruption cycle, I mentioned that in the end, corruption deepens. Well then. Let's leave aside the issue of the Military Regime of 64 (nowadays it is important to specify which regime we are talking about, as we may be referring to the Military Regime of 19). There are already many studies on corruption scandals in this dictatorial period, scandals that the willful blindness of some people does not allow them to see. There are no more studies because “archive burnings” have occurred. However, as there is still some publicity left regarding the actions of the current government and some jet leaks, we see what we do not want: the “champions of morality” corrupted to end corruption.

Interesting paradox: corruption is in the fight against corruption. There is a strong resemblance to the anecdote of the son who questions his father about the death penalty. The son says: “Dad, if we kill all the bad guys, would the world be better?”. The father replies: “probably not my son, since only the murderers would be left”.

But what does that mean? For this question I only have a few clues. A judge agreeing the order of police media operations with the prosecution is an act of corruption. A public prosecutor concealing international cooperation and refusing access to investigative data by the top of his institution are acts of corruption. For a judge to opine on a prosecutor's ability to conduct interrogations and suggest her replacement is an act of corruption. A judge leaking confidential conversations is an act of corruption. For a judge to compose a government that he helped to elect, breaking the law is an act of corruption. The mainstream media argues that lavajatismo has advanced in the fight against corruption, disregarding the acts of corruption of this “movement, it is an act of corruption.

About the current government and its “fight against corruption”, I think its actions speak for themselves, as well as the 30% of deliberately blind people existing in what's left of the 6th Republic.

*Ricardo Manoel de Oliveira Morais é PhD in Political Law from UFMG. Master in Political Philosophy from UFMG. Bachelor in Law (FDMC) and in Philosophy (FAJE). Teacher.

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