Uprooting and collapse

Image: Marko Brecic


The disruptive and chaotic situation of the political and social crises in Brazil


In 2022, there is great worldwide concern about the conflict in Ukraine, resulting from the armed invasion of Russia in February. Rumors about the use of nuclear weapons go back to the Cold War angst and indicate that the West, according to Huntington's constructivist classification,[I] acts with decisive influence in this context of warlike upsurge through NATO.

Meanwhile, Brazil follows its trajectory of social suffering amidst the mismatched posture of the federal government in the internal political scenario. Poverty, misery, tragedy[ii] and violence[iii] [iv] plague the country, perhaps the most desperate situation since the democratic reopening in 1985. Even during hyperinflation, the feeling of disorder and helplessness was not reflected in the institutional framework of the state as it is now, in which we witness a deliberate action by the executive and legislative powers to attack gradually the Federal Constitution of 1988. Hence, a social condition of uprooting or collapse of moral values, standards and/or minimum conventions that we follow is speculated.


Brazil, from political crisis to anomie

In Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil, the social fabric seems to deteriorate every day, something that is perceived not only in the context of social deprivation, but mainly in the quality of the relationship between individuals and groups today. It is not uncommon to witness situations where opinions clash without a minimum respectability and courtesy filter, whether in commercial establishments, or in collective and even family fraternization environments, the climate is one of constant tension and animosity when it comes to political issues. Fierceness is natural, inherent to the democratic space, but ignoring reasonable norms of conduct and common sense has become commonplace in our lives, so that one can argue how, over the last few decades, Brazil has deteriorated this democratic space, the hard feathers being built, giving vent to a primitive and rudimentary feeling of aversion to one's own neighbor, brother, fellow countryman.

Historian and anthropologist Lilia Schwartz[v] analyzes how the historical formation of our country carried these tensions and contradictions and culminated, in 2018, in the election of a representative of the most obscure and brutal impulses of Brazilianness, whose roots are in elitism, racism and machismo. In debate with the philosopher Marcos Nobre, the issue emerged that we are witnessing, in (post?)pandemic Brazil, a society on the verge of a “Hobbesian state of nature”[vi], the result of stirring up these raw impulses in our society in the most negative way possible. Hate is a very strong drive and was irresponsibly fueled by politicians in the last majority elections (2010 stands out[vii] onwards, even though it is known that such an element is historical), so that Bolsonaro catalyzed in himself, in 2018, an anti-political and anti-system sentiment latent since the June 2013 demonstrations.

The logic of its strategy is to create chaos, “because it needs it”, points out Marcos Nobre[viii], if there is stability, it becomes irrelevant and becomes disposable and even uncomfortable. The permanent mobilization of its support network through the dissemination of bravado and fake news about everything they condemn as “the enemies of the good citizen” is the way to engage, via social networks, the diffuse and uncoordinated opinion of ordinary people in our society through hatred, in which resentments of all kinds weigh. For the political scientist Wilson Gomes[ix], Bolsonaro does not know exactly how he won the 2018 election, something linked to the very unique situation of middle-class visceral aversion to the Workers’ Party (PT) translated into anti-PTism, and to the undeniable and contradictory fact that he, Bolsonaro, was the greatest benefited from the knife attack he suffered in September of that year. For Wilson Gomes, the current president is now repeating the same strategy as then, with greater intensity, to retain the loyalty of the public that identifies with his conduct to his image.

The consequence of this political situation that we are witnessing is that, in the absence of possible institutional leaderships and under a conflict of narratives, which is conventionally addressed as a “hybrid war”[X], we fear the rupture of social bonds between individuals and the community, since economic and primary socialization rapidly deteriorates in an environment of unemployment and generalized discouragement, despite the fact that the corporate business world divulges that this is the era of technology and the “end of the work"[xi]. The mismatch between people's reality and narratives deepens, something that induces alienation and a dysfunctional inability to integrate into normative situations of the social world, as finding a job and perhaps succeeding in personal and community relationships seems to be increasingly difficult, given the degree of mismatch between personal or group standards and broader social standards.

In this sense, the deterioration of social ethics itself undermines the existence of minimal limits to the deadly impulse of hatred, so that Bolsonarism, lining up followers with all kinds of deeply rooted prejudice and frustration, assimilates the misinformation perversely propagated by the “myth” leader and behaves against the minimum of convention and judgment that is tried to be maintained in Brazil. For this reason, it is speculated that Bolsonarism threw the country into a state of anomie.[xii]. Opposition to Jair Bolsonaro's conduct is still scattered and not unified. Worse than that, the acceptability of his candidacy for re-election in October is verified by polls at a level of approximately one-third of the electorate in July.[xiii].


The "military party"

There is no vacuum in politics, if democratic stability is tenuous, there are opposing forces at work. Marcelo Pimentel Jorge de Souza[xiv], a reserve army officer colonel, publishes in his social networks and debate spaces a blunt and critical opinion regarding the behavior of important figures of the Brazilian Armed Forces (FFAA). For him, the deterioration of democracy in Brazil is the result of the interference of certain military[xv] in the political environment, in a clear deviation from the institutional and constitutional function assigned to them, evoking in a phantasmagorical way their protagonism during the dictatorship (1964-1985).

It is important to remember that the protests against former president Dilma Rousseff (PT-RS) have increasingly involved mentions of the intervention of the FFAA as a “means” to “guarantee” democracy since 2013, and the participation of Bolsonaristas has always been remarkable. The very rise of the then “low clergy” politician, known for his transit through the “Centrão”, is pointed out, by Pimentel, as being the work of committed military personnel, with a worldview limited by narrow interests such as “extirpating the left from politics” and restore the “values” of the “good citizen”. This protagonism, which would be highlighted in the tweet[xvi] acrimony by General Eduardo Villas Bôas when Lula's arrest was imminent in April 2018, is vehemently condemned by Jorge de Souza as proof that the FFAA intended to take political control of the country's situation.

The collage of an FFAA enthusiast as a bulwark of law and order to anti-political and anti-system sentiment in 2018 found support in figures such as Generals Augusto Heleno and Walter Braga Netto. The latter acted in the military intervention ordered by then-president Michel Temer (MDB-SP) in the state of Rio de Janeiro in 2018, having, therefore, commanded the action at the time when councilor Marielle Franco (PSOL-RJ) was murdered. , It seems[xvii], by militias in retaliation for its actions in local communities. Alongside Heleno and Sérgio Etchegoyen (former Minister-in-Chief of the Institutional Security Office of the Presidency of the Republic between 2016 and 2019), Braga Netto makes up the military hard core that supports Bolsonaro’s paths and would be behind, as verified by journalists[xviii], the attacks against the electronic electoral system, as well as the boastful and eminently anti-democratic mobilizations of September 7, 2021, the moment of greatest apprehension regarding a possible coup d'état called by the President of the Republic since the beginning of his mandate. Such facts already consummate, by themselves, a deleterious situation in terms of the quality of the social arrangement that exists in Brazil, none of those elected since 1989 crossed that line, either in speech or in the practice. And the role of the aforementioned generals, mainly Braga Netto, in promoting such an autocratic and authoritarian advance, was decisive in the scope and repercussion of the attempts.

Journalist Luís Nassif[xx] he has repeatedly warned of the unpredictability of Bolsonaro's actions when he is cornered by media opinion or even pressure from politicians. In the National Congress, the presidents of the Chamber Arthur Lira (PP-AL) and of the Senate Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG) are at the same time authorized to oppose arguments in the face of the absurdities propagated in the Palácio do Planalto and to accept demands from the mobilized Bolsonarist base , so as not to become indisposed in their respective electoral domiciles.

Both in the legislative houses and in the executive itself, political tendencies struggle to dictate the government's agenda under observation of the "myth" leader who reigns in chaos, but is also suddenly surprised by crises with public opinion, as in the case of vaccination of children, in the emergency of the environment and in Itamaraty's diplomacy. After sequences of catastrophic events, the result was the exchange of ministers Eduardo Pazuello (Health), Ricardo Salles (Environment) and Ernesto Araújo (International Relations), not to mention the disagreements that eventually occur with the superminister of the economy Paulo Guedes and the also put under pressure.

Also taking shape are the criticisms that the business community utters in reaction to Bolsonaro's attacks of rhetorical verbiage, in general phrases with foul terms, offenses and lies on national television, immediately applauded by the people who make up his base, real and virtual, known as "milícias digital” for constituting the armed wing of social network Bolsonarism. His sons Flávio, Carlos and Eduardo, all elected politicians, operate these networks[xx] and have military coverage at key posts. In this way, it is known that the authoritarian outbursts of Bolsonaro and his clan have as an aggravating backdrop the support of the generals.

In addition to Bolsonaro's impulsive personality, the entire democratic field is concerned about the constant calls to class categories made up of his potential voters, such as state military police (PMs) and truck drivers. Either through strike threats, or through possible rebellious and/or mutinous behavior, such parallel forces play a role similar to that of the military aligned to the president with regard to the institutional loosening that we are witnessing. Nor was this type of threat considered in the years of re-democratization in Brazil, and the panorama from 2018 to now has deteriorated in such a way that there were many times when there was a very real fear, throughout 2020 and 2021, of a new crisis of shortages by order of truck drivers in lockout or even PMs acting in disobedience to the respective state governments, facts that did not materialize[xxx], but which demonstrate the level of concern in society today.

Somehow, Jair Bolsonaro seems to have ironically shown a good part of the middle class how the residents of poor communities throughout Brazil feel, threatened as they are by militias and local police, living in a state close to barbarism. Any citizen searches for a minimum institutionality that guarantees security, and military aligned with the government denote that the exemption of the FFAA is not guaranteed, which could result in interference in the electoral process this year, a sign that was lit by the then acting president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) Luís Roberto Barroso and his colleague at the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Edson Fachin[xxiii].

In parallel to this electoral offensive, with a view to making his candidacy for re-election competitively viable, Jair Bolsonaro acts in the front executive with measures to correct the negative impact of lack of price control on its image. The inflationary acceleration has multiple origins, despite the contractual indexation of the Brazilian economy and the market power of firms, but the impacts of the disorganization of production chains in the pandemic and the supply shock in the price of oil with the war in Ukraine made fuel more expensive and fertilizers, affecting the cost of transport and, consequently, of the entire distribution of basic items. And the pegging to the dollar of a large part of the national price system makes it reflect, in the internal scenario, all the impacts of an inflation process with an axis in the American economy.

Thus, the action of regulatory bodies such as Bacen is imperative to combat rising prices and this results in an increase in the basic interest rate, whose effects are materialized by the retraction of demand. The government has prepared economic stimulus measures to reverse the negative perception of the electorate, such as PLP 18/2022 of July, which reduces ICMS from 29% to 18%, putting pressure on state governments to accept this reduction in revenue, and PEC 1/ 2022, to release resources above the spending ceiling limit in an election year with Auxílio Brasil, the gas voucher and the creation of the “voucher” for truck drivers and taxi drivers, aiming at the support of these groups and categories. A minimum of “governability” is necessary to win votes and, in this sense, the Bolsonarist “intelligentsia” aligns itself with the military core.


Economic crisis as a symptom of social anomie

The Brazilian economic crisis resulted from a combination of structural deficiencies and cyclical shocks. On the one hand, the stagnation movement is widely discussed[xxiii] since the mid-1990s, and in the 2000s the GDP growth rates reached more satisfactory levels, which, however, was linked to a re-primarization of the productive structure, ie, to the concentration of investments and capital in activities linked to the primary sector, notwithstanding agribusiness in the center-southern axis of the country, as well as the exploration of raw commodities (minerals and oil) and their connection to the financial dynamics of international speculation.

On the other hand, global liquidity cycles had an impact both positively and negatively, as the same appreciation of commodity and primary product prices that boosted exports from Brazil and even other emerging countries in the 2000s was reversed with the financial crisis of credit between 2007-2009, with more severe consequences in the 2010s. In addition, the covid-19 pandemic meant a demand shock due to the contraction in consumption associated with restrictions on the movement of people, and, subsequently, a shock of also supply due to the interruption and/or disorganization of global production chains, since interconnection via international trade impacted prices and forced governments to adopt economic policy measures according to local needs, to the detriment of coordinated movements.

Evolution of GDP (% real quarterly) and unemployment rate (% monthly PNAD).

Source: IBGE.

The conjunction of these problems in both dimensions, in Brazil, resulted in this double nature shock, as the impacts of the pandemic were added to the weakness of the development path. It is at this point that the harmful situation of the federal government's posture is exacerbated since 2019, when much was said about liberal strategies for economic growth and reforms were aired as measures to improve the business environment, starting with that of social security, being also based, however, on unfulfilled, tax, administrative, etc. In general terms, the liberal proposal for development is anchored in encouraging individual initiative, closely linked to the utilitarian notion of business, but in its neoliberal version its hallmarks were fiscal austerity and the reduction of the role of the state. In the current government, space was given to liberalization without criteria and, during the pandemic, to a lack of coordination of expectations, as inflation accelerated rapidly after the monetary stimulus, with the reduction of interest by the Central Bank, and tax, with the payment of emergency aid in 2020.

Evolution of the IPCA (% accumulated 12 months) and the Selic rate target (%).

Source: IBGE and BCB.

Already in 2021, it was possible to perceive the imbalance of prices between sectors, in part because it was effectively an international price shock, but in part also because economic policies were not coordinated by the government according to a clear proposal of incentives. The Brazilian economy is fundamentally indexed by contracts that pass on inertial inflation, in addition to having oligopolies in key sectors such as banking, so that the maintenance of high prices on account of profit margins contrasted with the lack of demand resulting from unemployment. Attributed to the payment of aid, inflation continued to accelerate and received the biggest blow with the war in Ukraine, when Russian oil was embargoed and the barrel traded internationally became more expensive, affecting the prices charged by Petrobras and even more the cost of freight in Brazil .

The economic issue symbolizes “anything goes” as the logic of a crude (neo)liberalism and without criteria in the figure of the superminister of Economy Paulo Guedes, Bolsonaro’s “Posto Ipiranga”, once favored by the business community as a government guarantor. In recent discussions[xxv], the question was raised that the process of anomie consists precisely in the production and fruitful coexistence of chaos in these Bolsonarist terms of “general liberation”, something that becomes latent through concrete actions to dismantle the institutional democratic system, whether through legal means ( repeal of laws or even the intention to end class councils, for example) either through administrative law, through behaviors and through the proposed institutional culture, so that key positions such as the presidency of FUNAI, of the Palmares Foundation are occupied by figures respectively anti-indigenous and racist orientation, or even a ruralist politician in the Environment portfolio, which means dismantling, termite[xxiv] and misuse of instruments and tools of the Democratic State.

It is still possible to mention the granting of grace to the allied deputy who attacked the STF and the policy of facilitating and releasing the sale of arms and ammunition[xxv] despite the Statute endorsed in 2005. Ironically, this is an economic measure by which Bolsonaro will certainly favor militia groups that support him, to the detriment of the advance of organized crime[xxviii].

Bolsonarism proposes to replace a democratic society with one liberalized by obligations, in the sense of Émile Durkheim's solidarity[xxviii], in which the process of socialization, with social integration, on the one hand, and social regulation, on the other, is described as the maintenance of the so-called social order based on different forms, namely, mechanical and organic solidarity. The transition from more “primitive” societies to advanced industrial societies depends on regulation in the moral and economic spheres, to maintain order, or organic solidarity, in society. Such regulation is formed naturally in response to the division of labor, allowing individuals to naturally reconcile their differences, in a peaceful way, as the division of labor allows for lasting relationships. As expounded by Steiner[xxix], engenders a lasting interest, with the maintenance of relationships between producers of mutually benefiting services, so that selfishness is contained and gives way to common, durable practices that produce solidarity.

For Émile Durkheim, in an advanced capitalist, industrial society, the complex system of division of labor means that people are allocated in society according to merit, and law would be more restitutive than penal, seeking to restore rather than excessively punish. In a “primitive” society, mechanical solidarity, with people acting and thinking alike and with a shared collective conscience, is what allows the social order to be maintained, social ties are relatively homogeneous and weak, and the law needs to be enforced. , in turn, be repressive and penal to respond to the offenses of common conscience.

Precisely the transition from a “primitive” society to an advanced level could, in Durkheim's argument, bring disorder, crisis and anomie. Thus, Brazil links economic and social crisis to a political blockade, since in the Chamber of Deputies any request for impeachment is shelved, as well as any accusation of common crime in the Attorney General’s Office, while Bolsonaro boasts of “combating the corruption” while favoring Centrão in an acrimonious way by the “Secret Budget”.


Broad Front for Democracy

Jair Bolsonaro's threats represent the disbelief of a considerable part of the electorate in the political system and even the generalized dissatisfaction with public power in the midst of the great crisis that erupted in the country with the re-election of Dilma Rousseff. Such dissatisfaction transubstantiated in the impeachment process, increasingly associated with a parliamentary coup, and in the popularity of anti-system figures such as Bolsonaro and later former members of the judiciary, such as judge Sérgio Moro and federal prosecutor Deltan Dallagnol, both currently affiliated with political parties (respectively União Brasil-SP and Podemos-PR).

Channeled in the anti-corruption struggle, feelings of dissatisfaction were appropriated in a, you see, political way, in such a way that it is not uncommon to find other people's regret and even shame in the face of the 2018 and 2020 results of the revolt that started in 2016. The organization of a front A broad democratic approach has been rehearsed since the pandemic showed its worst results, but it effectively took shape when former President Lula (PT-SP) created the most relevant political-electoral fact in response to the efforts of the “third way” (so dubbed, by the national media, the heterogeneous neither-Lula-nor-Bolsonaro candidacies). He waved to the former antagonist of presidential elections, the former governor of São Paulo Geraldo Alckmin, the possibility of his ticket to the presidency of the Republic in 2022 as a vice-presidential candidate. Alckmin joined the PSB after 30 years in the PSDB, leaving the party in which he participated in the founding amidst internal conflicts.

Although the rapprochement with Alckmin itself did not increase voting intentions for Lula's candidacy, the former governor plays a fundamental role in the alliance that is being built, that of being the PT's guarantor with the relevant portion of the electorate, mainly in SP, which is definitely not averse to the party, but has distanced itself from the party and the PT candidates for president and other positions since the 2005 monthly allowance crisis. The symbology of the Lula-Alckmin alliance[xxx], which is about to be made official by March, is still contested by a significant part of the political world and analysts of the national scenario. The Lula-Alckmin composition has the power, for example, to open the doors to the construction of a national unity candidacy, with important repercussions in many states, as is the case of SP, so that it functions as the expected “broad front” antibolsonarista.

It is no coincidence that, in his speeches, Lula has defended Alckmin and declared that whoever is his deputy will function as “a counterpoint to the PT”. That is, aware of the strength of anti-PTism, especially in SP, it is Lula himself who, based on an alliance with a historic opponent, proposes a counterpoint to his own party.

The idea behind this is to make a national unity candidacy viable[xxxii], who will present a proposal for the reconstruction of the country. Based on this concept of national reconstruction, Lula, from the point of view of electoral strategy and his political positioning, seeks to depolarize the political scenario.

For all these reasons, the Lula-Alckmin alliance means a shift to the political center, making it difficult to build a “third way” option and isolating Bolsonarism in its niche. Through this depolarization, Lula prevents Bolsonaro from reissuing the 2018 strategy centered, among other aspects, on the PT versus anti-PT debate.

Politically, Lula perceives that he has a quality deputy, his “new José Alencar”, while, on the left, where Alckmin’s administrative acts have been repudiated so much over the years, several facts have been pointed out that indicate repudiation of the strategy, among which their responsibility for the violent actions of the São Paulo Military Police against teachers and communities carry greater weight. Geraldo Alckmin knowingly supported the parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff, indirectly participating in the anti-PT protest in 2016, aiming to collect the votes in 2018, launched João Dória to the mayoralty of São Paulo and saw his creature turn into a monster, as he was sabotaged internally and fell into ostracism with the vote paltry (2,2 million votes) and the rise of the extreme right in that 2018 presidential election. But it is a fact that, between looking for a vice-president among the business community, and being able to convince someone like Alckmin, Lula and his core of close support quickly became convinced of the option.

The mobilized wing of the left parties alleged the mishaps of a possible coup d'état in the future, in the image and similarity of what happened to Michel Temer between 2015 and 2016. In this sense, it is important to remember that Temer's and Alckmin's trajectory in politics point to in a different direction, which strictly speaking does not guarantee anything in terms of blind fidelity, but indicates a trend. The history of Geraldo Alckmin, political sponsor of the late Mário Covas, is of a different order.[xxxi] in São Paulo and consistent with his party's directives for years. He led the state of São Paulo three times, having shared two of them with PT administrations in the capital between 2001-2002 and 2012-2016. He supported Marta Suplicy in the 2nd round of the São Paulo mayoral election in 2000 in return for the support received in the 1998 state election, when in both the strategy was to prevent the return of Paulo Maluf (PP-SP).

He was at the side of Fernando Haddad (PT-SP) when the freezing of transport tariffs was announced in 2013. Michel Temer, on the other hand, has a completely different trajectory, although today he is elevated to the status of “mediator” by the neoliberal “tamponato”[xxxii] from 2016 to 2018, or even for “saving/taming” Bolsonaro through the moderation letter written in September. In fact, the juxtaposition of social democrats with the physiology of pemedebism[xxxv] demonstrates, more than conviction, how much Lula's legacy is worth.

There is an interesting point here. Lula is getting old and his succession has been planned for some years now, something that was interrupted by the parliamentary coup followed by the attempt to destroy his biography. He returns to the political scene when he leaves jail in 2019 and achieves, in February 2021, the nullity of the unfavorable judicial decisions, as well as the suspicion of the executioner Sérgio Moro, initiating the construction of the candidacy of national conciliation, necessary, according to the tone of his campaign, to contain Bolsonarism and thus stop institutional dismantling. This postponed his withdrawal from the scene, and now, in the confused scenario we live in, the pieces on the board are starting to move.

The migration of many politicians to the PSB indicates an interest in assuming the heritage of Lulism outside the PT, which is why the most diverse nuances coexist, from Tabata Amaral to Flávio Dino, from Márcio França to Marcelo Freixo and even Alessandro Molon in Rio de Janeiro. In PSOL, the dispute is for the leadership of Guilherme Boulos and his followers (MTST and Povo Sem Medo) versus the old guard communist currents that split with the former PT colleagues, as well as in the PCdoB and in the smaller parties (PCB, PCO, PSTU, UP etc.). The federation between PSOL and the Sustainability Network was signed in June 2022 in the wake of this alignment.

Candidate for federal deputy for São Paulo, Guilherme Boulos emerges as a leader capable of leading, from now on, not only his militancy, but that of the entire PT, in an eventual change of party that may occur from his engagement and realignments parties according to the results of the elections. Ciro Gomes (PDT-CE), in turn, seeks to generate a peculiar engagement with a focus on youth, with the alternative program in its favor[xxxiv] on the left, as it is nationalist and taxing the rich, according to a greater alternative to liberalism, in defense of Leonel Brizola's legacy, whether in leading the party and its ideals, or in his effusive and controversial style. His “revolving machine gun” makes him uncomfortable, however, in several environments and the lack of support for the center makes him run outside, because he is seen with distrust and even disdain by the political and business environment.

Isolating Bolsonarism is not exactly a consensus in Brazilian society, since the electoral configuration of favoritism on Lula's ticket has much more to do with the PT leader's personal image than with the alignment of democratic postures. While Lula had 47% of the intentions and Bolsonaro 29%, Ciro Gomes had 8% and other candidates, led by the third way of Simone Tebet (1%) do not add up to 2%, and the most undecided whites and nulls add up to 11%[xxxiv]. Although the rejection of Bolsonaro is 53%, the materialization of half of the votes in the first round for Lula depends on a campaign to convince him that his ticket is the broad front.

The third way as a synthesis of antagonism between ideological positions was evoked from the figure of social democracy[xxxviii], whose tonic would be to combine the common points of the right and left lines of thought, of an economic policy guided by austerity with a progressive social policy. Norberto Bobbio[xxxviii] categorizes the two political currents as fundamentally valid in the contemporary world, in response to arguments for overcoming this dichotomy[xxxix] with the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the socialist experiments led by the then Soviet Union.

For Norberto Bobbio, the notions of freedom and equality would be those capable of defining the democratic political alignment according to the weight conferred by each worldview on social characteristics and proposals on how to evolve. In Brazil, the PSDB claims to be a third way since its origins in 1988, as a proposal to reconcile economy and society from an alternative to the then PMBD, being less radical than the left consolidated around the PT and far from the authoritarianism linked to PDS conservatives and even reactionaries who were enthusiastic about the military regime.

However, PSDB governments, national and state, in the 1990s, increasingly received support from the latter sectors, and PT governments, mainly at the federal level with Lula and Dilma, from 2003 to 2016, increasingly opposed their results to those desired by workers and the poor, in order to polarize the debate. Another interpretation of the third way is that of an alternative to “populist” opposites, according to a rationale that explains politics according to the German school of Realpolitik, so as to bring with it a superiority for not being restricted to ideological rigidity nor to the opposition of contradictions[xl]. It is as an expression of this superiority that most of the voices linked to the establishment economic and social therefore calls the third way the political way.

Bearing in mind a character even of impartiality and distancing from opposite poles, Ciro Gomes positions himself as the representative of a third way for Lula and Bolsonaro, something that Marina Silva and even the late Eduardo Campos tried, without success, in national elections between 2010 and 2014. However, the danger of this stance in the current context is ignoring the democratic emergence of the Bolsonarist offensive, for whom the election is not the high point of the political game, but an occasion to demonstrate strength. Evidence shows that Bolsonaro plans to keep his base mobilized by constantly publicizing acts and postures that are conservative in customs and stirring up emotions to guarantee a buffer against possible reprisals from legal and institutional instances in the event of a departure from the government.

This mobilization to release him from prison[xi] despite the series of crimes of responsibility committed throughout the mandate and even investigations that may be opened by both the Attorney General's Office and the Federal Supreme Court. Thus, the fact that Bolsonaro is tolerated, whether politically or institutionally, raises the argument of political and institutional anomie in Brazil in the face of this extreme right offensive, which nowadays has digital engagement to mobilize followers without it existing, effectively, consensus and even an organic force that links such retrograde and violent thinking.



The state of anomie in which Brazil is still trapped is perhaps the most worrying since 1985, when it was necessary to remove the ghosts of the dictatorship to set the country on a new path. That tumultuous environment, with so many demonstrations and an acute economic crisis, brings us back to the present day, due to the centrality of the decision we will take in October. Even the ghost of the Cold War has returned to haunt the world, so that, in Brazil, it is dangerous to evoke the “perfect storm” to mobilize public opinion, because it does happen. So let it be clear how urgent it is to foster the democratic spirit, but in a rational way, accepting that the country has gotten much worse and needs, first of all, to stop getting worse immediately.

The disruptive and chaotic situation of the political crisis we are experiencing, added to the social crisis, paralyzes and imprisons in a destructive vacuum between political currents that have no mediation. There is an urgent lack of democratic spirit in Brazil, something that will only be rescued by rebuilding the idea of ​​solidarity, in its sense of listening, acceptance and negotiation with what is different, but also, and mainly, by the meaning of a cohesive nation with virtuous foundations and of concrete application, that is, that respects its constitution.[xliii]

*Alexandre Favaro Lucchesi He is professor and doctor in economics at Unicamp.



[I] The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. RJ: Ed. Objective, 1997.

[ii] On February 15, 2022, a storm hit the mountainous region of RJ leaving people dead, injured and missing. Available in: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2022/03/sobe-para-232-total-de-pessoas-mortas-em-tragedia-em-petropolis.shtml

[iii] The young Congolese Moïse Kabagambe was killed on January 24, 2022, after collecting payment for a service he provided at a kiosk in Barra Da Tijuca (RJ). The president of the Palmares Foundation Sérgio Camargo offended the Congolese as a “vagabond” by saying that his death resulted from “an undignified way of life and the context of savagery in which he lived and transited”. Available in: https://www12.senado.leg.br/radio/1/noticia/2022/02/09/morte-de-moise-provoca-debate-sobre-preconceito-no-brasil

[iv] “The Brazilian indigenist Bruno Araújo Pereira and the British journalist Dom Phillips, who were already known for their activism related to the Amazon, became a landmark of violence in the region when the suspects in the double murder were arrested and confessed to the crimes [...]” crime reflects the consequences of the deliberate policy of the federal government to favor, through gradual deregulation, the economic and social activity of groups and militias linked to illegal mining. Available in: https://g1.globo.com/profissao-reporter/noticia/2022/06/22/assassinato-de-bruno-pereira-e-dom-phillips-profissao-reporter-acompanhou-buscas-no-vale-do-javari.ghtml

[v] About Brazilian Authoritarianism. Portugal: Ed. Purpose, 2020

[vi] For the philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the state, in the figure of the biblical monster “Leviathan”, needs to be imposed so that human beings can coexist in peace because, in their state “of nature” or “natural”, they are taken by characteristics such as selfishness and avarice, requiring a strong government to establish order.

[vii] The posture of opposition candidates in the election evoked moral issues and, with the election of Dilma Rousseff, expressions of hatred set the tone. Cf. MACHADO, Maria das Dores Campos. Abortion and religious activism in the 2010 elections. Brazilian Journal of Political Science, no. 7. Brasília, January – April 2012, pp. 25-54.

[viii] Full stop: Bolsonaro's war against democracy. São Paulo, However, 2020.

[ix] Chronicle of a Foretold Tragedy: How the Far Right Came to Power. Savior: Ed. Sagga, 2021.

[X] See FERREIRA, Wilson Roberto Vieira. Semiotic Bombs in the Brazilian Hybrid War (2013-2016): Why did that happen? São Paulo: Ed.‎ Publications Cinegnose (1st), 2020

[xi] See ANTUNES, Ricardo. Goodbye to work?: essay on the metamorphoses and the centrality of the world of work. Sao Paulo: Ed. Cortez, 2021.

[xii] Most sociologists associate the term with Frenchman Émile Durkheim, who used the concept to speak of the ways in which an individual's actions are combined, or integrated, with a system of social norms and practices. Durkheim introduced the concept in his doctoral thesis in 1893, but he never used the expression “absence of norms”. Anomie would then be an incompatibility, not simply the absence of norms.

[xiii] Voting intention in 29% of the 2.556 aged over 16 interviewed by the Datafolha Institute, in 183 municipalities across the country, between July 27th and 28th, with a margin of error of 2 percentage points, for more or less, an index of 95% trust, hired by Folha and registered with the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) under number BR-01192/2022.

[xiv] In Brazil, he was an officer in the Command of the 12th Infantry Brigade (SP), commander of the 18th Field Artillery Group (MT) and General Staff officer in the Army (DF). Abroad, he was a Defense and Army attaché in Guatemala.

[xv] Often associated with those who studied and formed their worldview at the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras (Aman) in the 1960s and 1970s, among them, Jair Bolsonaro.

[xvi] Two months before the 2018 election, Villas Bôas heard assurances from Dias Toffoli that the STF would keep Lula in prison. Available in: https://piaui.folha.uol.com.br/o-general-o-tuite-e-promessa/

[xvii] “Case Marielle: 'I had never seen such a well-planned crime', says delegate”. Available in https://noticias.uol.com.br/ultimas-noticias/agencia-estado/2022/06/20/caso-marielle-nunca-havia-visto-um-crime-tao-bem-planejado-diz-delegado.htm

[xviii] “PT calls the Public Prosecutor's Office against Braga Netto: 'Threat to the elections'”. Available in https://www.uol.com.br/eleicoes/2022/07/05/pt-aciona-ministerio-publica-contra-braga-netto-ameaca-as-eleicoes.htm

[xx] "Chess of how the electronic voting machine will be". Available in: https://jornalggn.com.br/politica/xadrez-de-como-sera-o-golpe-da-urna-eletronica-por-luis-nassif/

[xx] “'Hate Office' is the name given to a group of advisors who work at the Planalto Palace with a focus on social networks, including managing pages supporting the Bolsonaro family that spread misinformation and attack the president's political opponents”. Jamil Chade and Lucas Valença found that, in November 2021, a member of that cabinet was at a fair in Dubai interested in acquiring the tool DarkMetter, mostly made up of elite Israeli hacker programmers linked to the Israeli army. Available in https://noticias.uol.com.br/politica/ultimas-noticias/2022/01/17/gabinete-do-odio-usou-viagem-de-bolsonaro-para-negociar-sistema-espiao.htm

[xxx] Jaqueline Muniz, an anthropologist and professor of public security at UFF, studies the behavior of PMs and points out that a riot would not be sudden nor would it go unpunished. For her, if police operations create disorder and violence, they serve interest groups. Available in: https://ponte.org/jacqueline-muniz-se-a-operacao-policial-cria-desordem-e-violencia-a-quem-ela-serve/

[xxiii] “Fachin and Barroso defend electronic ballot boxes and freedom of the press in elections”. Available in: https://exame.com/brasil/fachin-e-barroso-defendem-urnas-eletronicas-e-liberdade-de-imprensa-nas-eleicoes/

[xxiii] For example, see BARROS, JRM and GOLDENSTEIN, L. (1998) “Competitive Economy, solution for vulnerability”, in VELLOSO, JPR (org.) Brazil and the World on the threshold of the new century. National Forum, and also CARNEIRO, R. (2002) Development in Crisis, the Brazilian economy in the last quarter of the XNUMXth century. SP UNESP/IE-UNICAMP

[xxv] The lack of political and economic coordination in the country, wide open by the pandemic, refers to the concept of anomie to explain the main points of Brazil from Bolsonaro, Guedes and the Coronavirus. Available in: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0h6o9a9PVpoFvjMkcLpp0E

[xxiv] The image of a destructive plague is often associated with Bolsonaro. Available in: https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/brasil/2022/04/4997483-carmen-lucia-acusa-cupinizacao-de-orgaos-de-meio-ambiente.html

[xxv] Since 2018, the number of Brazilians registered to own firearms has increased sixfold. Available in: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2022/07/pf-alertou-congresso-dos-riscos-da-politica-pro-armas-de-bolsonaro-mostram-documentos.shtml

[xxviii] “In terms of business, buying ten rifles at the CAC [collectors, shooters or hunters] generates significant savings”. Available in: https://www.istoedinheiro.com.br/investigacoes-mostram-que-pcc-usa-politica-de-bolsonaro-para-se-armar/

[xxviii] Social solidarity consists in the acceptance of other social functions as as important as the one performed by a given individual. Cf. DURKHEIM, Émile. (1893) On the division of social labor. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2nd ed. translation. Eduardo Brandão, 1999.

[xxix] Cf. STEINER, P. (2013). Religion and economy in Durkheim: two forms of social cohesion?. Post Social Sciences Magazine, 10(19). retrieved from http://periodicoseletronicos.ufma.br/index.php/rpcsoc/article/view/1934

[xxx] For Cláudio Couto, this alliance refers to the one sealed in the context of redemocratization in 1984. Available at: https://www.cartacapital.com.br/blogs/fora-da-politica/chapa-lula-alckmin-lembra-a-alianca-das-diretas-ja/

[xxxii]For Celso Rocha de Barros, the conciliatory strategy of this ticket is opposed to the feelings of discord and animosity encouraged by Bolsonaristas. Available in: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/colunas/celso-rocha-de-barros/2022/04/lula-com-alckmin-bolsonaro-com-ustra.shtml?utm_source=whatsapp&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=compwa

[xxxi] It is important to remember that the engineer from Santos, on more than one occasion, took a pro-labor position in the Tucana social democracy, even though he was contested by the civil service and teachers. He supported Lula in 1989, refused the PSDB boarding in Fernando Collor's government and guaranteed Alckmin's support for the PT in 2000 in São Paulo. His death from cancer moved the political milieu, a struggle that was repeated in the history of grandson Bruno in 2021. Good for debates, his style was remembered when Márcio França faced João Dória in 2018 representing a broad agreement to try to prevent the right’s arrival in power.

[xxxii] Cf. OREIRO, Jose Luis; PAULA, Louis. The Brazilian economy under Temer and Bolsonaro: a preliminary assessment. 13140/RG.2.2.28213.01766.

[xxxv] Term that reflects the political dynamics of Brazilian governance. Cf. NOBLE, Mark. immobility in motion. Sao Paulo: Cia das Letras, 2013.

[xxxiv] Cf. BARBOSA, Agnaldo de Sousa; SOARES, Guilherme Cunha. The shock of the left: the different theoretical visions of development between PT and PDT, from the 2018 plans to the paths for 2022. Brazilian Journal of Development, Vol.8, no. 5, 2022.

[xxxiv] Op. Cit. Datafolha of June 22 and 23 (BR-01192/2022).

[xxxviii] See GIDDENS, Anthony. The global debate on the third way. Sao Paulo: Ed. Unesp, 2007.

[xxxviii] Reasons and meanings of a political distinction. Sao Paulo: Ed. Unesp, 2012.

[xxxix] FUKUYAMA, Francis. The end of history and the last man. São Paulo: Ed.‎ Rocco, 2015.

[xl] STANLEY, Jason. How Fascism Works: The Politics of “Us” and “Them”. Sao Paulo: Ed. ‎ L&PM (1st), 2018.

[xi] Discussions of a PEC that makes the president who is not re-elected a senator for life indicate that the Bolsonarist base will mobilize all means at its disposal to postpone its reckoning with justice. Available in: https://oglobo.globo.com/opiniao/editorial/coluna/2022/07/e-absurda-a-pec-que-torna-bolsonaro-senador-vitalicio.ghtml

[xliii] Essay written as a continuation of the debate proposed in https://aterraeredonda.com.br/a-anomia-brasileira/. I thank the philosopher Sérgio Luís Tomioka for the essential comments that resulted in this final version.


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