The past is settled, the future is missing

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By LUIZ WERNECK VIANNA*

It is beneficial to settle accounts with the heavy legacy of our past, but it remains to present the new directions for the country's development

Four years of nightmares are left behind, the relieved society awakens still with the aftertaste of the bitterness it has gone through, but that does not prevent it from giving effusively to the celebrations for the return of hope on its horizon. It was a difficult victory, considered by many to be improbable, under permanent coup threats that it would not be achieved through acts of force. Barring its path, a number of obstacles arose, including an unprecedented instrumentalization of the State that poured a cornucopia of resources aimed at electoral purposes in selected social sectors, especially in the low-income population.

Difficult, improbable, and, moreover, out of line with our traditions in terms of electoral campaigns insofar as it was not supported by the presence of a government program. This was a presidential dispute in which the issue of the economy, in its traditional sense, went out of the spotlight. In fact, it was guided by the results of electoral polls, taking shape as it advanced, based on the social policies of candidate Lula and his past administrations. With this unusual procedure, the dominant themes soon began to impose themselves, such as poverty, women and regions disadvantaged by Brazilian capitalism, and they were the ones to pave the way for the narrow electoral victory.

In this sense, the presidential campaign took the unexpected turn of calling into question the support beams of our disastrous formation, based on exclusion, patrimonialism and patriarchy that the Bolsonaro government intended through its practices to confer legitimate permanence, as explicit in its interventions in the agrarian world favoring the monopolization of property to the detriment of the environment, when he facilitated the devastation of the Amazon, and in his preaching in favor of the traditional family under male leadership.

With this orientation, defeating his government in the present time was invested with the meaning of a denunciation of the authoritarian modernization that has always presided over the course of our history. Conscious or not, the reading of the results and their effects found full intelligibility in the way in which it was carried out in the victory celebrations, especially in the acts of going up the palace ramp and in the transfer of the presidential sash, with the participation of excluded people, blacks, women and indigenous people, symbolic manifestations endorsed in practice by the composition of ministries with members representing their social origins.

Undoubtedly, this reckoning with the heavy legacy of our past is beneficial, but it remains to present the new directions for the development of the country that has as its north the innovation of its productive system, mainly in industrial activities. In this direction, we do not lack scientific research centers and qualified staff capable of leading our entry into the closed world of developed countries, especially if we know how to exploit the advantages we have in the environmental issue and in the area of ​​health in which we have the SUS and centers of excellence, such as the Butantan institute and Fiocruz.

Reactivating industry and animating the world of work means reviving trade unionism, whose leaders must be promoted to strong positions in the management of the companies they serve, as is the case in Germany. Valuing work and the worker also depends on a culture that pays attention to this key dimension in the contemporary world, contemplating in its reflection and sociological perception of the world the problems and impasses it faces in the contemporary scene, afflicted by changes at an ever-faster pace.

For these purposes, we have a set of institutions both in technical education, such as Sesi and Senai, among many others. In this case, there is a lack of a coordinating agency that acts according to a plan aimed at this purpose. It is worth remembering that, in the 1930s, we left behind the primacy of the agrarian world and entered industry through a concerted policy that considered multiple interventions, including cultural ones. It is true that such an undertaking, victorious at the time, was carried out by the action of an authoritarian state. However, nothing prevents, at this time when democratic ideals are flourishing, a wide path for modern industry in the country being opened with new inspirations.

*Luiz Werneck Vianna is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at PUC-Rio. Author, among other books, of The Passive Revolution: Iberism and Americanism in Brazil (Revan).

 

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