reflex memories

Roy lichtenstein, Composition II, 1996


Lula's challenge for this third term is not just to be "better", but to be "another"

On the morning of December 29, 2022, we are – like many who have written incessantly about these four years of terror and hopelessness – assailed by a mixture of joy and expectations about the future. I am, like many of my generation, an ordinary man from a family coming from the interior of Rio Grande – Santiago, São Pedro do Sul, São Borja and finally Santa Maria – from the generation that joined socialist militancy for the heroism of the Vietnam Liberation War and for the utopia expected in the Cuban Revolution. I was councilor in Santa Maria and I owe Porto Alegre the national projection that allowed me to help my country in its democratic reconstruction that began with the 1988 Constitution.

The story was very close to us and could not be ignored by teenagers who, like me, loved politics, Chico Buarque, Glauber Rocha and Jorge Amado. Throughout my life, however, I was attentive to a sensible paternal lesson that seemed exaggerated to me at the time. I heard from Father, since I was a teenager, the following: “politics is not a profession, take care of having a profession.” And another sentence, in pre-adolescence, when I wanted to stop studying, because school bored me: “Forget it” – he told me angrily – “You can take the Gymnasium, even if it’s with a cane!”. With my mother I learned from an early age that I should read Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Érico Veríssimo and Pasternak and with him – my father – I learned French and the best lessons of tolerance, combined with the virtues of moderation without losing principles.

So I did and here I am. I continue as a militant “politician” – outside the elections – and I resumed my profession (permanent in my political conscience) in a double condition of life that I never abandoned, either in the autumn of some hopelessness, or in the fibrillations of happiness that also assail our lives. In this double condition, therefore, I claim the right today to write a somewhat ambiguous text, which mixes a little the feeling of happiness and the inauguration of President Lula, with the solidary concern about the character Lula who, in his almost epic figure, it is the deposit of our hopes. Two thoughts have assailed me since the narrow victory in that dramatic second round: the past is irredeemable, because it is constantly changing; and the future can be tragic when you think it can be written in our image and likeness.

I can say that I know President Lula very well to say that he will not be suffocated by either of these two myths that attack the great personalities of history who, through the illusion of omnipotence or arrogance, manage to dilute their past by losing their original ideals. , in moments of unprincipled pragmatism, or even obstruct their future, due to excessive youthful voluntarism. Lula is one of the four great leaders of the country in the last 100 years and his “Governo 3” – a new Government – ​​will be better than the others. But his challenge is not just to be “better”, but to be “other”: tuned into the real world where everything, money, prestige, friendships, memories, can quickly dissipate, like life itself in an experimental bomber in Ukraine or in the confines of Russian, no longer Soviet, much less utopian.

I think that the merely ordinal numerical acceptance of the “third Lula Government” precedes an issue – both broader and more complex – that gives a different meaning to this new Government. More than being a “third party”, it is a “new” Government. What is this meaning? It is that the “third Government” – “new Government”, must not only be the same, improved, but another one. Very other. It is more than a model Government in the fight against hunger, which was attentive to Drummond's prophetic vision, in a classic poem of his spectacular work, in which Drummond said that “men ask for meat”. "Fire. Shoes. Laws are not enough. The lilies are not born of the law."

It is not enough to offer good fundamental rights in the laws, Drumond seemed to say, without offering the substances for an elementary happy life. In the most universal message of his second government, Lula set an example for the world, which should not be replaced, but resignified, in these harsher times of war and planetary destruction. The fight against hunger precedes everything else, but Lula knows, to exhaustion, that this is just the initial foundation of a nation project that, in order not to stabilize itself as a mere compensatory policy, needs much more from the new Government. I believe that Lula understands that his third government will have to be joined by new structural priorities, but it doesn't hurt to jointly remember.

First, that the social work that makes up the basic fabric of life and wealth is rapidly shifting from the modern factory and its corporate unionism to speculative and productive money flows, cultural messages, new social demands, varied processes of scientific construction and diversification of new technologies; original systems of horizontal collaboration between companies emerge with the new productive bases on intelligent platforms, which arise and are soon overcome: research and production, new markets and new professions, shine and – at the same time – dissipate and degrade the system of capital in global and national scales. From these transformations emerges a new world of work and a new way of life, real and virtual, which is guided by the interests of classic industrial workers and has new demands and new forms of “union” organization and its political perspectives.

New schemes of global power, in a new moment of organization of violence and geopolitics of the countries that define the world-system, demand a special refinement of our foreign relations. About these, we have edifying experiences since the "Geisel era", with emphasis on the progressive governments in the area, from 1988, a period in which we shone in planetary terms, especially in the Lula Governments. The connection between the internal and the external – both in the economy and in Public Security and National Security – therefore demand a revision of the National Defense System, of the Economic Policy and of the Federative Pact itself, which is urgent in terms of Public Security, which – in the last period – was subordinated to a “new type” relationship between the militiamen and the State, in a completely perverse way and marginal to the laws of the country.

I understand that the formation of the Ministry of the Lula 3 Government, once again reveals its exceptional political talent and will allow it, immediately, to focus on the most important issue in the conjuncture, in view of the approval of the ceiling PEC. This advantage, however, will dissipate quickly, as the fight against hunger will be “naturalized” by the same political forces that naturalized Jair Bolsonaro’s necrophilic policies, in the areas of security and public health, until the situation broke down. The Bolsonaro government, then, imploded and exploded and its internal crisis, of increasing corruption and the murder of protocols, was combined with its complete international disrepute. The crisis, therefore, began to disrupt the legitimate and shady businesses of the ruling classes, at which point the framework of neoliberal unity with fascism collapsed without a bang, but with a groan.

In a forthcoming moment of crisis of neoliberal hegemony, in addition to the concessions that Lula must make to the diverse base of the Government, which supports us (part of it physiological) – at this very moment – ​​our foreign policy must be deeply articulated with our recovery policies economy and the resumption of our shared sovereignty in the international space. Then President Lula will come across another verse by Drummond, so that Brazil – once again sovereignly integrated into the world – will see that its “shoulders support the world and it weighs no more than a child's hand”. Difficult, complicated, but real. This is what awaits us in the next period on a planet torn apart by the voracity of capitalism, with societies that have lost their sense of human solidarity and minimal respect for the lives of others and that need more, not less, democracy to jump over the abyss.

*Tarsus in law he was governor of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil. Author, among other books, of possible utopia (arts & crafts).


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