One hundred days of Lula's government



One hundred days of Lulism that did not shake Bolsonarism

The inauguration ceremony for the third term of President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva has already entered the history of Brazil, hand in hand with sociologist Rosângela da Silva next to Vice President Geraldo Alckmin hand in hand with Lu Alckmin, going up the Palace ramp from Planalto next to Francisco, 10 years old, resident of Itaquera/SP; Aline de Sousa, 33 years old, collector; Chief Raoni; Wesley Rocha, 36, metallurgist; Murilo de Jesus, 28 years old, teacher; Jucimara Santos, kitchen; Ivan Baron, militant against capacitism; Flávio Pereira, 50 years old, craftsman; and the resistance bitch.

After four years of terror, horror and a pandemic in the middle of the way, the inauguration ceremony ended to the sound of “I spoke faraóóóó”, the population asking “no amnesty”, with President Lula signing 52 decrees and 4 Provisional Measures, such as the suspension of weapons and new registrations, reestablishment of the Amazon Fund, revocation of incentives for illegal mining and a good part of Bolsonarist secrecy.

A ceremony highly representative of the diversity that marked the choices for the 37 ministries, with 11 women ministers, and the second and third echelons, cadenced by historic speeches in inaugural ceremonies that last until today, including a samba circle for the placement of a lyrics on the facade of the Ministry of Culture and the national anthem sung in chapel by the beloved Minister of Culture, Margareth Menezes, for the inauguration of her office.

In 100 days of a “Union and Reconstruction” government of Lula III, we had the resumption of civility along with the return of the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of the Environment and the creation of the Ministries of Women and Indigenous Peoples, in addition to the reconstruction of paradigmatic programs of Lulism, such as Bolsa Família, Minha Casa, Minha Vida, Mais Médicos, the Food Acquisition Program (PAA), the National Public Security Program with Citizenship (Pronasci).

In addition, in these 100 days, Lula resumed the role of the Ministries of Human Rights and Justice by rescuing the Yanomami and 1127 workers in situations analogous to slavery, in addition to determining the 24-hour operation of the Specialized Police Stations for Women , the increase in the amount transferred by the Union for school lunches, a wide vaccination campaign against Covid-19 and other diseases and the creation of working groups for the elaboration of the new National Program of Affirmative Actions and the National Plan of Culture.

A highly positive balance of Lula III, especially when considering the coup attempt on the fateful Sunday of January 8, the attacks on schools and day care centers with the murder of teachers and children, the permanent threat of a coup with the return of Jair Bolsonaro to the country and the blackmail of the president of the Central Bank, Roberto Campos Neto, with a mandate until 2024, who has no qualms about trying to financialize Lula III's economic policy by maintaining the highest interest rate on the planet: 13,75%.

Not by chance, the Datafolha survey released on April 03 in the newspaper Folha de S. Paul, demonstrates that 80% of the Brazilians interviewed agree with President Lula's public criticism of the president of the Central Bank and 71% consider that the interest rate is higher than it should be. Despite this, the same survey shows that Lula III reaches the first 100 days with 38% of those interviewed evaluating his government as excellent or good; 30% as regular; 29% as bad or terrible.

This means that the 100 days of Lula III's government did not alter Bolsonarism's political support base, even after corruption scandals such as those involving Saudi jewelry, which became public through the revocation of some decrees placed under secrecy for 100 years. . Last year's Datafolha showed that 30% of Brazilians approved of Jair Bolsonaro's government; number that remains in relation to support for the former president, according to the release in March/2023 of the Paraná Institute survey commissioned by the Liberal Party (PL).

Political commentators have explained the stagnation of political support for the Lula III government by the correlation of forces between the “most conservative” National Congress and the most mercenary “centrão” in history. This variable is important in the analysis of Lula III, but it is not the determining one. I will risk another argument: the first 100 days of the Lula III government did not shake Bolsonarism due to the political demotion of the government itself, which ends up making Bolsonarist projects viable in a progressive government. Let's see how this has happened in the economy and education.

David Deccache, economist and one of the biggest critics of the Finance Minister Fernando Haddad's fiscal pocket, demonstrated this week that the increase in the minimum wage to R$ 1320,00 was included in the LOA/2023 authorized by Congress to be granted since January of 2023. Fernando Haddad decided to pay it only in May/2023, harming millions of poor and miserable people in that country to save R$ 2,2 billion. Soon after, Provisional Measure 1148, which had been in the drawer since the Bolsonarist government, granted benefits to multinationals in six sectors, including mining, which will cost the treasury BRL 4,4 billion.

In the same period, Fernando Haddad tried to anticipate the will of the president of the Central Bank and presented a package to cut from the 2023 budget the amount of R$ 25 billion approved by the most conservative Congress in history, which also approved the so-called transitional PEC. On Mars I don't know, but here on Earth the name of this is fiscal adjustment – ​​an economic policy that goes against the “Brettonwoodsian” economic policies adopted by the USA, France, India, among other countries

All of this to claim that if Fernando Haddad presents the fiscal pocket as it is to Congress, the government will give up playing politics and stop guiding the public debate on the attempt to financialize the Brazilian economy by sectors linked to rent seeking, which has the objective of making the State of Social Welfare, which is the essence of Lulismo itself, unfeasible. In other words: Lula III's economic policy as it has been presented will dehydrate the strength of Lulism.

This has also occurred in Education and Science and Technology. On March 13 of that year, the Rio Grande do Sul brand “Taurus Armas” obtained a loan of R$ 175 million from FINEP (Financier of Studies and Projects), a public company linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The transaction has a duration of 71 years with very generous interest and took place under the justification that Taurus will create an “Integrated Technology and Engineering Center”. It should be remembered that this same company had the most valued shares in the first 12 days of Jair Bolsonaro's government and, therefore, distributed millionaire dividends to its shareholders.

Days later, the Ministry of Management and Innovation and the current management of the National Archives signed Decree 11.437/2023, the dream of the governments of Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro, which opened the doors to the privatization of documentation from the federal public administration and took 33 “archive floor” positions to expand the executive of the National Archive. The justification for the signing of the decree and for the public loan to an arms company was the old scapegoat: cursed inheritance from previous governments.

This public disengagement from the current government's social representations in these two examples disregards the fact that the population enthusiastically followed the formulation of diagnoses by the Transition Groups on the legacy of the previous government. That these projects had been awaiting dispatch for years is known. What we don't know and would like to know without the frivolous accusation of “playing along with the right” is: why were they signed precisely during the progressive government of Lula III?

Claiming ignorance about the content of the reports produced by the Transition Groups is not consistent with the training and preparation of the current government. Is it a project then? The question is not rhetorical if we consider the political dispute surrounding the repeal of the New Secondary School, which the Ministry of Education suspended for 90 days to, only now, listen to students, teachers, specialists, and not just private schools and private foundations. Such institutions strongly defend the New Secondary School, but will not implement the reform in their establishments. If the so-called “training itineraries” are so good and “inviting” to students, why not make them mandatory in the private education network? Surely that would be the fastest way to repeal.

I want to conclude this article on the balance of the 100 days of the Lula III government with a story that helps us to think about the resilience of Bolsonarism after the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro at the polls. In a speech on April 24, 1995, at Columbia University, New York, Umberto Eco gave a lecture entitled “Ur-Fascism” or “Eternal Fascism”. At the time, he stated: “Today in Italy there are people who say that the war of liberation was a tragic period of division, and that we now need a national reconciliation. The memory of those terrible years must be suppressed. But repression causes neuroses. If reconciliation means compassion and respect for all those who fought your war in good faith, then forgiving does not mean forgetting. We are here to remember what happened and to solemnly declare that “they” cannot repeat what they did. But who are “they”?

The question is not rhetorical, but contains a fundamental irony for the moment in which we live. For Umberto Eco, the resilience of fascism in Italy can be explained not only by its political support base, but above all by the actions of groups that claim to be in opposition to the regime. By demonstrating the existence of a field of relatively common political actions between opposing political groups, the author concluded on the importance of intellectual criticism and the need for progressive governments to build public policies that are distinct from the extremism of totalitarian regimes, such as what we have experienced in Brazil in recent years. four years. That's what we want for the next 100 days.

*Patricia Valim is a professor of history at the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA). She is the author, among other books, of Bahia Conjuration of 1798 (EDUFBA).

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