The new composition of the STF

Image: Elyeser Szturm


There is no way Cristiano Zanin can be a good minister without defending workers

This text is a kind of open letter. First I will introduce myself. I am a basic education teacher and pedagogue at the Federal Institute of São Paulo (IFSP). I am a communist, Marxist-Leninist. I research the relationship between the ruling class and Brazilian conservative movements, as well as their links with liberalism. I recently produced two books. The first is called The birth of the nation: how liberalism produced Brazilian proto-fascism (vol. I and II), by Editora IFSP.[I] The second is called Discourse on white people: notes on racism and the apocalypse of liberalism, by Editora Alameda. In this book, specifically, I seek to analyze how capital, especially large banks and their foundations, appropriates the agendas of social movements, particularly the black movement. Lastly, I'm black.

I say I'm black because I can't escape. I would like to escape, but sometimes when I have suffered racism, I cannot escape. I can't get it anywhere. It simply doesn't work.

After the presentation and consideration, I try in this letter without a letter format to make an object of racist behavior present on the Brazilian left – there was no way to escape it. The left I speak of is a left led by a white middle class that qualifies any agenda or demand from the black movement as an “identity agenda”. The move, obviously, in addition to banning any debate, as if it were the “mimimi” of the extreme right, does not explain what this middle class is: white and identitarian.

This is what we see in the case of Cristiano Zanin and the STF.

Let's start with a simple question: which vote by Cristiano Zanin, called controversial by the conciliators on duty, would have a different outcome if Sérgio Moro were the minister? Probably just the sock sorted out about the ridiculous middle ground in the vote on the Marco Temporal created by Alexandre de Morais, the new hero of the left deserving of a giant doll. It is recorded, at the request of the government, that it saw a financial bomb with compensation to “good faith” land grabbers of indigenous lands.

Much is said about guaranteeism as a criterion for choosing STF ministers. Three months ago, when Cristiano Zanin's name was released, I argued that the issue was not Cristiano Zanin versus a non-white minister and/or a woman, since at that time the uncles of the bossano identitarian left accused the black movement and indigenous peoples of “identitarian”, as if they could not guide something.

Lula won the election with votes from black workers, women and the poor, not white people from a gentrified neighborhood in the center of São Paulo who write poetry and “critical” texts, meditate in orientalist temples in the outskirts of São Paulo and play the bongos for a bossinha , usually tucked away on balconies of any condominium or building where they live, or in bars that do that popular style without actually being popular.

Following the STF's vote in the areas of Lava Jato and labor rights, there is a firm perception that Lava Jato is, for now, resolved. For more than a year, there has been no climate or environment for car washing. On the contrary, it built an environment of guarantees like never before. But what guarantee? Cristiano Zanin responded and we will get there.

Regarding work and social security, there is an opposite movement. The court sanctioned and legitimized all labor and pension reforms, burying all questions from entities and unions through ADINs. All! In the eternal struggle between work and capital, capital wins hands down in the court, whose ministers occasionally lecture to banks, investment agencies and employers.

Luís Roberto Barroso, for example, is the typical progressive neoliberal.[ii] He was the rapporteur of the action that questioned the new calculation for widows' pensions, which suffered a huge reduction. He considered the section constitutional. The ministers followed. This is exactly why votes cannot be confidential. Why protect neoliberals with anonymity? Is it strategic for the left or for the owners of capital?

Paradoxically to Lava Jato, Rosa Weber and Edson Fachin always voted against labor and pension reforms. Gilmar Mendes and Alexandre de Morais always voted in favor of capital, that is, against workers. The two new heroes of the bossano identitarian left are a type of Campos Neto and Paulo Guedes in the economy, but guarantors (phew!). But the bossanovist identity left is still in vibe of “democracy as a universal imperative” of the 1990s, trying to rebuild the New Republic Pact that the bourgeoisie itself kicked off with Temer and Bolsonaro. Guaranteeism has become a totem. What guarantee? We will get there by explaining the taboo.

This shamanic, esoteric and bossanovist middle class has the hegemony of the Brazilian left, markedly legalist and social democratic, in the North American style. So, goodbye to labor rights, something today considered secondary and outdated. Proof of this is that no questions about labor reform and pension reform were asked to Cristiano Zanin in his hearing, leaving the right and extreme right with the usual questions for the neo-Pentecostal and punitive public, such as abortion, drugs and crimes against property ( of cell phones and land). In many aspects, they left satisfied with Cristiano Zanin.

Cristiano Zanin became minister without us knowing what he thinks about labor and pension reforms. And look, you wouldn't even need to ask. It was enough for it to be minimally known on the left – for that, it would depend on Cristiano Zanin being on the left and being used to left-wing spaces; It's not, and that should have been an important sign. Why did the left disconnect criminal guarantees from labor and social security rights? In this way, guaranteeism suffers from something that the black movement has always accused: the guaranteeism agenda only emerged because the accused became rich, white and politicians, therefore, members of the dominant class in some way.

Therefore, the guarantee practiced by progressive groups is identity-based. It serves the middle class, the bourgeoisie and surrounding areas, whose point more or less outside the curve, or in a straight curve, was Lula, the political representative of those economic sectors that should be destroyed by judicial terrorism in the name of the end of social pacts and complete financialization linked to slave-based agribusiness.

With the denudation of Bolsonarist fascism, part of the bourgeoisie took a step back (just one step), and the STF went along with it, starting with Gilmar Mendes,[iii] the one who prevented Lula's inauguration as Dilma's minister in favor of Eduardo Cunha and who now resolved Arthur Lira's life with the robotics scandal after a pleasant dinner in Lisbon.[iv]

Guaranteeism for this white identity left is synonymous (exclusive) with anti-lavajatism. This is what Cristiano Zanin proved in three trials. He refused the Public Defender's Office's request for recognition of the principle of insignificance for two workers who stole two gallons of gasoline, a car jack and a half-empty bottle of diesel.

Part of the white bossanovist militancy fought to prove that Cristiano Zanin was a technician, because the two would be repeat offenders – defending the technique of a bourgeois judiciary heir to the Empire and the Old Republic was the pure juice of conservatism; but defending the statute of recidivism with the present example of the São Paulo Police a month ago in Guarujá, arresting and killing without any protection from the law, knowing (I hope) the existence of “flagrant kits” and “shooting kits”, is as fascist as Bolsonarism.

Technically, the STF has established that the principle of insignificance can be valid for repeat offenders – just read the HC 93.393/RS, from the STF.[v] Cristiano Zanin could have used it at his pleasure, if he had been a guarantor for the poor and black. He voted not to recognize the violent and fascist action of the Mato Grosso do Sul Police against the Guarani Kaiowá indigenous people, despite the bombing of villages and towns using helicopters – very serious, as there is no lack of data and records of the genocide of the Guarani Kaiowá.

It broke the tie in the vote on municipal guards having police powers, increasing the use by mayors of institutional violence against poor and black workers. What is Cristiano Zanin's guarantee, so ardently defended by Bossano's white identitarianism? That guarantee restricted to the bourgeoisie linked to heavy engineering and the Lula case, for which Cristiano Zanin was very well paid and won, probably out of gratitude that is difficult to understand, a seat on the STF.

And see, I defended and fought for Lula to be released. I campaigned for Lula. But this does not prevent me from noticing a sociological restriction on the legal concept of guaranteeism, so used (and worn out). The person who started talking about criminal guarantees and always defended it in Brazil was precisely the black movement! And for obvious reasons. But the white middle class loves to erase the past and even the present to show itself as owner of the “new”.

For the working class, there is no guarantee, as seen with the young man tied up like an animal for slaughter in the south zone of São Paulo.[vi] As seen in the massacres of Tarcísio de Freitas (still ongoing), Cláudio Castro and Jerônimo (sponsored by Rui Costa).[vii] The worrying thing is that Cristiano Zanin replaces Ricardo Lewandowski, the only anti-lavajatista, guarantor (in the broad sense) and labor minister. The only coherent one in the incoherent court.

The bossanovist identity left that idolizes Xandão and Gilmar Mendes has forgotten that work exists, no matter how much it promotes “the return of reindustrialization”, even with a fiscal framework that is demanding, for who knows why, zero deficit in 2024. What is the relationship between zero deficit and reindustrialization? How does zero deficit have a positive impact on a reindustrialization process?

There's no point in boycotting whole grape juice if you don't oppose it and fight for an end to outsourcing. Slavery and outsourcing are brothers. There is no way Cristiano Zanin can be a good minister without defending workers. Not knowing his position was the big mistake in this nomination, as the choice must be strategic for the working class and the left, just as the ministers chosen by Jair Bolsonaro were strategic for groups in the Bolsonaro camp, such as evangelicals. The deification of part of the Bossanova left that identified with Lula, which made any criticism prohibitive, was also an immanent part of the problem. The pathetic “Lula knows what she’s doing” proliferated.

Currently, part of this group defected from Cristiano Zanin after the clear observation that Zanin was a card-carrying conservative, without criticizing Lula for the uncritical and anti-political process of appointing him to a position that should be strategic to the left; others, like the Brazil Portal 247, continues to call critics identitarians, clinging to a supposed technicality by Cristiano Zanin, who demonstrated profound ignorance, comparable to Sérgio Moro himself. Worse, clinging to the ghosts of the New Resistance, Aldo Rebelo[viii] and Rui Costa Pimenta (PCO),[ix] with the myth of Brazil's separation through indigenous peoples – the existing separatist movements in Brazil are made by white supremacists from the south of the country and led by the extreme right, as Romeu Zema proved.

Everything would be an international plot to remove the Amazon from Brazil, a myth created by the Civil-Military Dictatorship to justify the genocide of indigenous peoples through the immigration flow of southerners to the Center-West and North, resulting in problems even for Paraguay (“ brasiguaios”). Allied to the “Indianist” ghost, the mediocrity of “black identitarianism” is shaken, a kind of supremacist diversionism among bossanovist and far-right white identitarians, such as Aldo Rebelo and Olavo de Carvalho, with the aim of ending any political debate . Which demand from the black movement today is not identitarian for this group of white identitarians?

Let's face it, what would have been Zanin's masterstroke if not to rebut truisms against Moro's arbitrariness? The operation spoofing, Lewandowski's performance and the change of atmosphere in the STF, which found itself besieged by Bolsonarism in 2020 and 2021, did much, much more than Cristiano Zanin. The white middle-class identitarian bossanovist left has fallen into the corner of a reactionary conservative that shares its profile with André Mendonça and Kássio Nunes. That simple. And it's not surprising. They are very similar to Cristiano Zanin. They identify with each other, even to the point of calling criticism “patrolling”, a term typical of the extreme right.

On March 10, a report was published in the Brazil Portal 247 on the appointment of STF ministers.[X] At the time, some advocated for a black minister. A priori, part of the game, including the appropriation of the nomination by big capital, which should be the central point of any criticism – it wasn’t! In the published report, Joaquim Carvalho, a columnist for the newspaper, concluded: “Run away from these identitarians who want to engage in demagoguery with nominations for the Supreme Court. You have to choose someone who has this constitutional commitment.”

He created an irreconcilable dichotomy: “black” x “constitutional commitment” or “black identitarianism” x “constitutional commitment”. And, to prove his thesis, he used Joaquim Barbosa, Mensalão's rapporteur. What is surprising is the lack of intellectual honesty. Barroso, Weber, Fux, Tofolli and Fachin (eternal Lava-Jato rapporteur appointed by a member of the MST) voted against the PT every time. Edson Fachin took Lava Jato to its final consequences at the STF, trying to save Sérgio Moro until the last moment. All were nominated by Lula and Dilma Rousseff.

But for such ministers, the meaning of polarization between “black” x “constitutional commitment” or “black identitarianism” x “constitutional commitment” is not applied. He could conclude that Lula cannot be required to nominate a white man without “constitutional commitment”. But he's not talking about race, an unsuspecting person would say. Yes, you just don't need to talk about white people, because it is simply normal and expected, to the point of asking for a “black” candidate, who, for the columnist, would not have “constitutional commitment”, like Joaquim Barbosa, the black man, or the damn black man.

Joaquim Barbosa incorporated a kind of curse for the bossanovista middle class left, or rather, represents the curse, which a black candidate would necessarily carry if he were nominated to the STF: that of betrayal against the left. A kind of curse of Ham, in which Joachim would be Canaan. Anything a posteriori would consist in perpetuating the curse.

At no point is it said that white ministers, because they are white, represent identitarianism. Joaquim Barbosa is an individual, but he is seen as black. All the other white judges, who “betrayed” Lula and Dilma Rousseff, are not seen as traitors based on race, since their races are not generalized to the point of distrusting a white judge. But the mere appointment of a black judge reminds us of Joaquim Barbosa's white bossano identitarianism, regardless of who he is. It's because? Because, even if he doesn't admit it, he assumes that black people are the same as Joaquim Barbosa because everyone is black.

Thus, black people do not have individuality, because they are black and, therefore, they are equal to Joaquim Barbosa. It is concluded, therefore, that the experience of nominating a black person is, beforehand, a failure or a mistake because Joaquim “was” a mistake (a posteriori). And if it was, it always will be. It's a kind of curse of Cam. There's no difference with neo-Pentecostals. This generalization is the pure juice of racism. Yes, this bossanovist white identitarian left is very racist. But they behave like Rose's family from the movie Run!. Give that disguise.

To disguise the truisms between the lines, he cites the so-called “technical criteria” (not observed in Zanin and Toffoli, by the way), creating another polarization: “technical criteria” x “black”. When the argument is presented that requires legal expertise from black people that is not required from white people, there is talk of “political commitment”, obviously, forging another polarization, in light of Joaquim Barbosa’s curse. If the data is correct, it is worth asking: But how can a left-wing party not know black jurists, judges, defenders, prosecutors and lawyers, given the vast militancy of these professionals in the anti-racist struggle and criminal guarantees for poor and black workers? The answer says a lot about the range of social alliances of the current government.

How could a black person be nominated for this vanguard of Bossano's identity group? Through a purification that makes her trust the candidate, a kind of Bossanova whitewashing of the south of Rio and the center of São Paulo. Of course, such a process is far from being required by white candidates, as proven by Jorge Messias and Bruno Dantas, the last political godson of José Sarney and Renan Calheiros (MDB share in TCU). In short, Zanin had the right to be presented as Zanin, regardless of the past of Fachin, Barroso, Fux and Carmen – on the contrary, Zanin as minister would recover the individual betrayal of those mentioned. Here it is a question of loyalty. However, any black candidate is Joaquim Barbosa, because they are black and would be in the STF just because they are black. Joaquim Barbosa would not have broken trust individually, but his race would have broken trust with the current government, becoming universal for any and all black people.

Cristiano Zanin, the white identitarian par excellence, has the right to individuality and name. The black candidate was not even mentioned, but it is the black identity who must be repelled because he is a mirror of Joaquim, a product of the globalist plot of the Democratic Party, an organization that many in the current government are linked to, by the way – Flávio Dino is an example, generally silenced by this Bossanova white left linked to the “Indianist” and “black” plot.[xi] And even though we talk more about black women, race overlaps in racialized and racist discourses. In this crude and meaningless debate, this middle-class white left from the south zone and the expanded center of São Paulo “torn the veil of emotion and sentimentality from family relationships and reduced them to a mere monetary relationship”.

The way Cristiano Zanin opposed the criminal classification of homophobia and transphobia is pathetic. He questioned that the initial petition did not contain crimes of racism, with embargoes for clarification being an inadequate resource. The argument is nonsense. In practice, he demanded a new vote on the classification. After all, if his vote had been successful, what would have been the practical result? Technicality, as Tite would say, was a mere instrument for reactionary diversionism.

The expectation was that Cristiano Zanin would positively surprise workers in the first vote on something related to labor reform or pension reform; but, seeing your decision regarding the two workers, maintaining their prisons (guarantee is only with white and rich people), your vote in favor so that judges could judge cases from relatives' offices, your contrary and solitary vote against a modulation simple to recognize the act of homophobia and transphobia as crimes of racism, the decision on municipal guards, the naturalization of indigenous genocide, it can be concluded that Cristiano Zanin's social profile spoke louder, to the point of being able to transpose it. it for labor and social security cases. Consistently, Zanin asked for views on the judgment on the Whole Life Review, harming retirees.

What did this case show? What black movement, indigenous movement and other sectors of the working class serve to climb the ramp, for propaganda captured by a white, middle class, bossanovist and identitarian left. And that's it! There is no other role for this social democratic sector residing in the center of São Paulo and the south zone of Rio de Janeiro. The left can only succeed in Brazil if this “elite” that resembles the white characters of Run! is replaced by a truly popular left, both in its power project (class position) and in its class origin.

Leonardo Sacramento is a teacher of basic education and pedagogue at IFSP. Author, among other books, of Discourse on White: Notes on Racism and the Apocalypse of Liberalism (Mall).


[I] The two volumes are free, forming part of an extension course called Critical Studies on Brazilian Conservatism. They are available at, or addresses, respectively Vol.I e Volume II.

[ii] Barroso cuts XP card. Available in Available in Available in

[iii] We discussed this change in Gilmar's position in March 2021. Available at

[iv] Available in

[v] Available in The rejection of the principle of insignificance was denied because the act was committed by more than one and at night. These were the formal reasons of the 1st Panel.

[vi] Available in

[vii] For an analysis of the republican consensus on killing black workers, ranging from Tarcísio to Rui Costa, see

[viii] For an analysis of Aldo Rebelo's relations with Olavism and the Bolsonarist extreme right, see

[ix] For an analysis of the PCO's reactionism, with clear ideological ties, from a racial perspective, with conservative movements, see

[X] Available in

[xi] About event between Ministry of Justice and Open Society, see here. About the Sinophobic conceptualization of democracy, in the light of student democracy, see here.

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