Some traits of the Brazilian right

Image: Ylanite Koppens


Contentless continents, prey to their own prejudices

He says that the word “tara” comes from another, Arabic, tarah, archaic bed, which means “discount”. Its original meaning is that of the weight of a continent empty of its contents, something like a train car devoid of its cargo. Hence, due to these metaphorical processes of life, generally riddled with prejudices, “pervert” came to designate someone who carries with him a psychological dead weight, a kind of obsession that unbalances him for “normal life”.

I put this last expression in quotation marks because we know how much “normal life” can be full of “perks”, and how much “good” men, “normal”, can carry with them unspeakable flaws. In Germany, at the end of the 30s of the last century, the “normal” was to be a Nazi, and the artists who were out of tune were seen as “degenerates”, and so on, or still will.

I made this initial preamble to consider what I see as some flaws of the Brazilian right, dead weights that it carries with it, in the process in which they have become, at least since the end of World War II, continents without content, prey to their own prejudices, from which they cannot free themselves.

This August 31st we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the parliamentary-media-legal coup against President Dilma Rousseff. This coup coexisted with the Lava-Jato coup against Lula and against Brazil, and opened the doors for the Bolsonarist coup in the 2018 elections, based on the ideological falsehood of the lies modestly called fake news.

Then came this series of coups by the Bolsonarist government that, to say the least, confuses “governing” with “driving a motorcycle” accompanied by a bunch of brainless grown men. Not to mention his Wizard of Oz, Minister Paulo Guedes, who often confuses “managing” with “sweet far niente”.

Well, with the help of a few more sinister figures, such as Chancellor Ernesto Araújo, Minister Ricardo Salles and Minister Damares, in addition to the endless procession of incompetent military personnel with a reputation for corruption, they managed to destroy Brazil's international image (which is little, an unprecedented feat in our history), laboriously built since D. Pedro I married Da. Leopoldina, of the Austrian House of Habsburg, and Pedro II with Da. Teresa Cristina of Bourbon.

Well, but the truth is that in its career, the right of our country, especially after the end of the Second World War, began to manifest a rather maniacal desire to break with the institutional order of the country, perhaps because it felt how difficult it was to win elections with their programmatic eagerness to hand over their hands, unaccustomed to work, even the office manual, to preserve the privilege of their rings.

In the series of blows that have been launched since then – in 54, against Getúlio; in 55, against Juscelino; in 61, against Jango; in 64 against the whole of Brazil; in 68, the pinnacle of a coup within a coup; in 2016 against Dilma and in 2018 against the elections, promoting the current usurper of the Planalto Palace – the Brazilian right manifested some behavioral constants that would recommend it for a clinical treatment that would help resolve its increasingly cynical behavior. Then let's see:

(1) The alignment of the coup leaders with the policy and interests of the United States, sabotaging the autonomous development of Brazil, whether during the Cold War or now, with the economic and political interests of Washington, in the face of pre-salt in territorial waters companies, or the attempts to block the presence of China and Russia in Latin America.

(2) The active role in preparing, ending and sustaining the coups by almost all of the traditional, corporate and business media in the country, which, not infrequently, practiced forms of self-censorship even before they were also censored by the arbitrary regimes that helped install.

(3) The brutal repression against workers' movements in the city and in the countryside, against the student movement and other resistance fields, accompanied by censorship of information, wage tightening and restriction of labor rights.

(4) Although the participation of civilians in organizing the coups and sustaining subsequent regimes has always been important, when the coup is successful, there is a growing militarization of the Brazilian State, with disastrous consequences in all spheres of public life.

(5) The coup plotters seek every form of legal and legal subterfuge to build, justify and support their actions, always in defiance of the law but seeking to present them as compatible with the nation's legal system.

(6) No less important is the selection of keywords and flags that hide the true nature of the coup actions and build a facade of respectability in the face of the country's history. It was and is like this with the flags of a supposed fight against corruption, as in the case of the “sea of ​​mud” against Getúlio in 1954 or in the most redemptive case of the Lava-Jato Operation against Lula and the leftist governments in the country; with the recurrent raising of the scarecrow of communism to justify repression; or as in the attempt to hide the coup character in 64 under the name of “Revolution”.

(7) All this effort aims, among other characteristics, at building a fanciful facade, where the use of religious images has been important, which replaces the vision of reality and justifies the naturalization of violence against all forms of opposition to the coup d'état , which often included assassinations and the use of torture.

(8) Last but not least, the deliquescent and delinquent behavior of this right has, over time, promoted figures that are increasingly escalated and crazy to fulfill their purpose of having no designs for the country.

After the anodyne and reactionary government of Eurico Gaspar Dutra (who, incidentally, won with the help of Vargas), the right once again promoted Brigadier Eduardo Gomes, the one who, rhyming with his military rank, was “handsome and single”. Then came the sullen general Juarez Távora, against Juscelino.

From then on, things started to go downhill. Jânio Quadros was unbalanced. The military presidents, although they maintained the decorum of the barracks (with the exception of Figueiredo, enchanted by the scent of a stable), were historical mummies. Sarney even made ends meet, promoted to president due to a medical-hospital accident. Collor turned out to be a bit of a crazy narcissus. I leave FHC for last. The Alckmin – Serra – Aécio succession turned out to be progressively melted, chayote popsicles, as one of them said.

Temer was a fiasco, he looked more like a cemetery caretaker than the president of the Republic. Well, as for Bolsonaro, not to mention it. It looks like genitalia that has definitely taken control of a head without a brain.

I left FHC for last. Why? Because to me he is an enigma. Was it Professor Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the “Prince of Sociology”, who managed this political façade called FHC, negotiating with what was most reactionary in Brazilian politics at the time, the PFL? Or was it the other way around? That is, did FHC always thrive under the façade that he was the professor-prince, blossoming into the current baronet of Higienópolis? Go find out.

Well, at least he had ecological principles, knew how to eat with a knife and fork and drink French wine. He didn't do poorly at the geopolitical feast, which is no mean feat for the elite Brazilian

* Flavio Aguiar, journalist and writer, is a retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP. Author, among other books, of Chronicles of the World Upside Down (Boitempo).

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