The Bicentennial of Oblivion



On one of its most relevant dates, Brazil reaffirms that it is a country without memory

“Who controls the past, controls the future. He who directs the future, conquers the past” (George Orwell, 1984).

In this year 2022, Brazil celebrates its bicentenary of political independence from Portugal. This date calls for a wave of publications, celebrations, reflections…. But it is shocking, not to say shameful, the level of collective oblivion that is projected on this September 7th of this year. Any country, on a date of this magnitude, such as the USA in 1976, France in 1989 (its revolution), Argentina in 2016... makes a commemorative plan. But the oblivion with which the bicentenary of the Independence of Brazil is being projected is pornographic. And it is already a historical fact in itself, which calls us to reflection.[I]

In 1922, the centenary of Brazil's Independence was planned in advance, with exhibitions mounted from Rio de Janeiro[ii](at Morro do Castelo), and with the organization of the Modern Art Week in São Paulo. Artistic and cultural landmark of Brazil, which was invoked on the occasion: on that centenary, a national artistic elite, invoked the European vanguards, to overcome the always criticized Brazilian backwardness. But they did so by looking at, and valuing, Brazilian popular culture, placing it as a source of symbolic and material renewal, of what was sought as a nation. On that date, there was a lively debate, full of disagreements, but full of propositional agendas, taking place in Brazil. And today: what is happening?

The origin of the word “celebrate” means: to remember together. It fits celebrations, but also collective criticism. Not even a frivolous vainglory has been called public today in Brazil…. And such an absurdity is, obviously, the result of the internal moment that Brazil has been going through since 2013. It's no use blaming the pandemic, or even the war in Ukraine (sic), for this national emptying. The war in Ukraine would even be a factor in strengthening national memory, with such a war reminding the world of the importance of national sovereignty and its necessary territorial inviolability.

All evidence shows, since the pandemic, but above all, with this war, that the world is experiencing an intense ebb of globalization, with a strengthening of national structures: economic, productive, political and military. So, why is there no collective, contagious and present national remembrance being built in Brazil in this 2022??? Why such resistance, on this symbolic front, to any collective historical reflection?

Let's go back to the meaning of commemorating: remembering together, remembering at Polis. As in the quotation from George Orwell, invoked here, memory is never just looking to the past, but also looking to the future. How one looks at the past is always a project strategy for the future. So: what is the project for the future today in Brazil? Who has proposed it??? What are the groups proposing the “future” in the Brazilian public debate in 2022? Let us remember that such propositions are always political, hence the political character of this text.

We anticipate here as a response that Brazil is experiencing censorship of political groups in the progressive field. While in the reactionary field there is an emptiness of narratives, or rather: an absence of capacity to assume, in the Brazilian Polis, what in fact such groupings propose for the future of Brazil.

The reactionary group that reached the Brazilian presidency in 2018, did so with only a negative speech, Dark: against the PT, against corruption, against everything that is out there…. Certainly the lack of a minimally propositive agenda in them is the basis of this collective forgetfulness. But curiously there was a propositional aesthetic in them with green and yellow: a declared nationalism, against the political project identified with the PT, which was previously the winner of 4 consecutive elections to the Planalto Palace. They accused the PT of being a partisan project, while they had a national project. But where is this project of theirs in 2022??? Was it just an empty aesthetic?


The constant present of teletela novelized

Yes: the discourse of yellow-green nationalism was only shadow theater. as in the book 1984, are the opposite of what they claim to be: the Ministry of Peace wages war, the Ministry of Truth propagates lies (there is in Brasília, under the administration of one of Bolsonaro's sons, a Cabinet of Hate,[iii] which is literally that: a Ministry of Lies about digital networks). Therefore, nothing could be more Orwellian than those who claimed to be nationalists are the most colonized. In Bolsonaro's group, in reality, everything is the opposite of what is professed: the chronic lie, destroys any basis for communication, destroys the very idea of ​​Politics, of Logical construction, with Words, of the direction of collective life. Leading to political illness, to collective madness, through the tsunami of lies, destroying any base of mutual social trust. They are anti Logos. Invoking ghostly myths, in a compulsive mythomania, destroying any minimal political pact for civilized life.

In this theater of macabre absurdity, the institutional neglect of this (sic) government in view of our Independence Bicentennial in 2022 is part of their project of hatred of Brazil, of destruction of national memory, of destruction of any national project.[iv]

This total oblivion is part of the project: a country without a past has no future. And their project for the future is to transform Brazil into a commodity exporting colony, with the people as close as possible to slavery. If that includes the end of territorial unity, and the destruction of the political structure, so be it. Countries are not eternal: Yugoslavia, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, and now Ukraine, they teach us that. There was even a strong part of supporters of the current president of Brazil, increasingly unmasked as supporters of a racist agenda, calling for a ukrainization[v] from Brazil…. Curious... This was well before this war broke out openly.

There was a color revolution in Ukraine[vi], waves of neo-Nazis in the west of the country, including an indignant movement called “come to the street” (yes: that same name). Indeed, it appears that there are international plans for the destruction of some established national units. Ukraine, under the former actor Volodymyr Zelensky, subject against politics, against everything that was there… Ukraine has already thrown itself into this list of former countries… Bolsonaro, like this obscure Zelensky, is not only ridiculous: he is above all dangerous .

This text could continue, indefinitely, raising the catastrophes caused to Brazil, by the election of this miscreant/militiaman, anti-national institutions, which is Bolsonaro. But the focus of the text is the 200 years of the Independence of Brazil, and how to celebrate it. Therefore, how to remember the past, to discuss the windows of the future. That is, it only discusses the past, who has a project for the future (a confessable project, if the group has the destruction of Brazil as a project, they will never confess what they do). And what you see in 2022 is that, not just Bolsonaro and his entourage, but the entire political spectrum that brought him to power, they have no nation projects. As the amnesic silence of all of them, of all those who see themselves as elite, on this September 7, 2022, explains.

What is happening today in Brazil is the murder of public debate. Because the whole spectrum that supported the 2016 coup (impeachment without a crime of responsibility), and the illegal arrest (because without evidence) against Lula, lives in a delirium of the soap operas on TV. They created a dystopia that they would destroy Pete... They want a Brazil without Pete... In this 2022, the media, in an Orwellian way, is experiencing a dystopia that it created since 2013/2014: wanting to uproot the PT, the biggest party in Brazil, which he has been in ALL presidential second rounds since redemocratization (1989), which won 4 presidential elections in a row…of the public debate. Such media created the dystopia of a Brazil without the PT. That only exists in her head, not in reality. Such a political amputation of the public debate has generated this deafening silence in 2022. Which has become more deafening every day, as September 7th approaches.

Such a monopoly media, defender of international financialized interests, desperately sought(was) a so-called third way. But there is no such third way, for the simple reason that the economic agenda of the media coincides perfectly with that of Paulo Guedes. What is their project??? Production, employment and income??? There is a difference in the economic agenda between: Paulo Guedes, Bolsonaro, Moro, Globonews, Party New???

No, there is not. Their project is the slave liberalism of XNUMXth century Brazil (here's the memory guiding the future...). Barely comparing, they are from one Thatcherism anachronistic, ideologically mystifying, and absolutely outdated. Interestingly, they (all of those mentioned above), who have always accused the left of being ideological, are bovinely ideological in a far-outdated mystification of liberalism, condemned by history. And that in this XNUMXst century, with China getting bigger every day, and the US increasingly canceling/intervening[vii], such a neoliberal (gerontoliberal) speech[viii] it is increasingly embarrassingly ridiculous, in its intellectual dishonesty, in the face of this economic world increasingly governed by force.

Military strength and economic monopolies attached to these bellicose states. Liberal ideology is on the way to becoming a shredded mythology in the 40st century that is taking shape. Leaving the Brazilian business media even more mute in the face of the facts, after having spent 5 years with a neoliberal/monolithic discourse, and today it needs to talk about: central wars, sanctions and blockades (including the far from liberal American blockade of Chinese 200G technology… ), pandemics, remilitarization, energy security and sovereignty… All of this going directly against the mantra of the late globalization. Struggling, pathetically, to continue brandishing a liberal discourse, in a world like this, is a hallucinatory ideological prostration. The complete oblivion of even the XNUMX years of Independence of a country that they do not want to see independent of a globalized system is not impressive... that no longer even exists as we knew it. Except in their ideological minds.

The liberal mystification of this media ranges from news to entertainment. Let's remember that not long ago Rede Globo made a soap opera praising the century of liberal stagnationism[ix]: the fateful XNUMXth century. Idolizing the insipid figure of Pedro II, ruling that slave-owning empire, disguised as a liberal. The Orwellian and geriatric Novo party should assume that it is just a sound renaming of the old and slaveholding liberal party, of the unjustly exalted slaveholding empire of Brazil.

In short, the Brazilian right, with its monopoly media, seeks to criminalize every pro-industry and development narrative in Brazil. Since the 1980s, an Orwellian monologue has been repeated lobotomically, that liberalism is the only way out (There Is No Alternatives), and pursues, combats and criminalizes anyone who dares to think differently. With the criminal Lava Jato operation (made in collusion with this media), they sought to destroy national companies, under the pretense of fighting corruption. No country, to combat corruption allegations, destroys its companies[X], jobs, fixed capital, and its national productive security. Only mentally colonized countries[xi].

Why is the modernizing XNUMXth century, in which Brazil industrialized, with Vargas, and the productive solution of the state-owned companies, so ignored, not to say censored, in the memory made novel by the media? Brazil was one of the countries that grew the most in the world in the XNUMXth century, but the shameful XNUMXth century, with its lethargy in ending the peculiar institution of slavery, is the one celebrated by the media.

There is a project in this narrative imposed by the media. Because they romanticize the exogenous spaceship of a European royal family in nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro, incensing it with the air of a great institution... While the largest political institution in Brazil today, which is called the Workers' Party (PT), was, and is , criminally attacked by this same anti-institutional media.


Institutionalism as farce, of a Brazil without an elite

In the edited liberal narrative, the chronic repetition about the institutions reaches the level of mantra. But the curious thing is that they don't know this North American intellectual tradition, which they mechanically invoke. Institutionalism argues that legal, social, political and economic organizations must be renewed and influenced by the power of ideas, yes, but they need to dialogue with history, and the materiality of the historical reality in question. Never be pathetically imported, as if English or Chinese institutions could be mechanically replicated, by countries that have nothing in common with such national histories. As Sérgio Moro defended, about Somalia replicating England's institutions[xii]. Treating national institutions like costumes in a samba school parade, and not as non-replicable historical constructions. This is not institutionalism. It is just proof that Moro rhetorically invokes institutionalism, without having the slightest idea what it is about.

Curious how the media mystifies the Brazilian 1th century, and its late monarchy, already happily forgotten by the People, as ancient political institutions in Brazil... While ignoring the labor tradition, it ignores Vargas, and hysterically fights the Workers' Party. Being an institutionalist in Brazil means: (2) respecting the Labor tradition, as the greatest and deepest national political tradition: since Abolition, the regulation of Labor is the greatest struggle of the Brazilian People, and it was for Labor that such struggle has always had the greatest gains, and their greatest historical expression; (3) respect Vargas as a symbol of a founding figure of a Republic with popular participation, with industrial acceleration, and improvement in the living standards of the masses; (1993) respect the Republic as an uncontested form of political government in Brazil: endorsed massively by the People, in a plebiscite in XNUMX[xiii]; and respecting presidentialism as the only system of government agreed by the people, which twice (1963, 1993) gave uncontested victories to the presidential system in plebiscites (inventing any variation of parliamentarism in Brazil is just a coup); (4) respect the Workers' Party (PT) as the greatest political and historical expression of Labor in Brazil today, and since redemocratization (1988). Being in every presidential runoff since 1989, and winning half of them. With all due respect to the PDT: the great heir of Labor in the XNUMXst century is the Workers' Party (PT)[xiv]. And the hate campaign that the media directed at this party was an anti-institutional civil war against the history of Brazil.

The current moment of collective amnesia, in the 200 years of our political independence, is the result of this political campaign of hatred against labor, against the Workers' Party, and the criminalization and almost censorship of the entire developmentalist intellectual tradition in Brazil (economic heterodoxy). .

Monopoly media hijack national memory, celebrating only what identifies with Ricardian economic liberalism. In this 2022, the solid electoral favoritism of former president Lula, for the Planalto Palace, is yet another reason for silence, for a media that worked, partisanly, to prevent this return in every way. The hijacking of the national narrative by an ultra-liberal oligarchic media has obstructed any honest conversation with popular interests. The blind bet of this monopoly media on the destruction of the PT and Lula was of extreme irresponsibility against the political institutions of Brazil. Orwellianly, such media oligopolies want to rewrite history, to claim that they didn't say what they said. But they were so emphatic in the gamble of deciding which charges were life sentences, that they couldn't dodge it. And blocking progressive groups, full of proposals, such oligopolies impose silence and oblivion in Brazil in this 2022 of the bicentennial of oblivion.


Political renegotiation[xv] for a republican compromise of the dynamic center of Brazil

There is in Brazil today a dangerous leadership crisis. We need to agree with former president FHC: Brazil has no elite[xvi]. There is a wealthy rabble, who think like ignorant short-term traders, without any systemic vision, or generational thinking. Since the End of History talk of the 1980s, petrified in the corporate monopoly media narrative until today, there is an obsessively individualistic discourse, that there is no society, only individuals[xvii]. That only the I matters and exists. It has become an imposed and repeated anathema, which has become a destructive religion. And that goes against the idea of ​​State and Nation. Therefore, how can we expect this society, trained and novelized by the media to not identify itself as such, but only as individuals, to fraternize in a public debate about their common history of 200 years of political independence?

That is: a public debate on the construction of common life in Brazil. Life: ecological, productive, social and human, needs to be renegotiated. But this goes against the liberal mantras (or rather: liberaloides… because they are not even liberals) imposed 40 years ago by this monopoly media on Brazilian society. And which, in an Orwellian way, like any monopoly, only repeats that it defends free trade (Free Trade)… Attacking the internal monopolies (Petrobrás), and saying nothing about the global monopolies, or about their own monopolization of communication.

A national pact, a political renegotiation, needs to bring together the dynamic center of national politics, for the construction of a collective commitment. What in the American political tradition are the compromised. In which everyone concedes something, has part of their agenda accepted, in a political balance. The PT, obviously, is part of this center. Only very dishonest mystifiers pretend to believe in the PT's communism... Radical is the economic liberalism of the media, and Bolsonaro's colonial fascism. PT is center. And more: it has also been the gravitational center of Brazilian politics since 2003.

What has happened in Brazil since 2013/2016 is a right-wing hijacking of the public debate, distorting this debate. With media manipulation obsessed with assassinating the entire agenda of the forces in defense of Labor from politics. It is not anachronistic to identify in monolithic discourse thatcherist of the business media, a nostalgic yearning for slavery, with the denial of more than 130 years of republican struggle for the valorization and regulation of Work. This is Institutionalism: the real History, of a human group, as the political center of the debate, which cannot be hidden. And slavery is in Brazil's DNA: you can't deny it. Any mechanically imported fad will have its costume stripped before midnight... The Brazilian right dreams of dressing up as Tory British man, dreams of dressing up as Lady Thatcher, but before the end of the second glass, the slave driver's whip rips off any fantasized illusions…. Slavery is the bane of the liberal agenda, in a country that has never, in fact, exorcised its peculiar institution.

Since 2013, the coup fight against the entire struggle for Work, in Brazilian society, is the continuity of the slave haunting over the country. The sly palliative of the liberal media, of quotas and inclusive discourses on race and gender, while this media fights full employment, the real increase in the minimum wage and labor rights, it is just cynicism. The fight against the absurd heritage of slavery in Brazil is, above all, a fight in defense of workers' rights. Today (and always in Brazil) the forces that fight the Labor agenda are, obligatorily, defending the specter of slavery. That's why the deafening silence in this 2022. That's why the bicentennial of oblivion: the future project for Brazil, of the so-called liberals, in the historical perspective, carries the noise of chains, and the blood of the Brazilian People watering the soil, on which live like exiles.


For the right to the memory of labor struggles, and Brazilian developmental thinking

To resume a propositional perspective on this date, against the chronic oblivion imposed on the country, I would end this text by defending the end of censorship of Economic Nationalism, and the memory of Brazilian developmental thinking, made in the (non) media debate. The brilliant Brazilian heterodox economic thought, accumulated over decades, and which even inspires and explains post-1978 China[xviii], needs to be brought to the public debate: Celso Furtado and Ignácio Rangel need to be part of the high school curricula. This is debating Brazil about its history! For a national renegotiation in Brazil cannot do without its greatest political tradition (Labor), nor its largest party (PT), nor its most original intellectual edifice in economics (the developmentalists). A national renegotiation needs to respect its history, and stop this forced displacement of the political center to the right: with deputies, parties and movements financed from outside the country. And a real, energetic national debate, in view of the immense possibilities for industrial growth and job creation, through the intelligent and heavily regulated use of our various energy reserve sources, in this ultra-competitive XNUMXst century, should be at the center of our current discussions.

But the silence continues to become more deafening every day... Meanwhile, in a crumbling Ukraine, it seems more and more that Karl Kautsky returns, along with Orwell, in a world in which Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia drag and trample the rest of the world on cables of forces. Today it seems that NATO will no longer accept national imperialism, against its unique ultra-imperialism. And so the field of strength, and negotiation, of Brazil's historical experience, under lawfare, threats and sabotage, tends to be squeezed under the colonial impatriotism of a non-elite, which ignores the example set by Vargas. That in the last intercapitalist war, between the US and Germany, he negotiated and tried to make the best of the conflict for Brazil. In order to generate a future for Brazil, we need a minimally national elite. That at least has some intellectual basis. To know the importance of stopping on a date like this, to reflect on the past, and thus, the future.

The Brazilian Institution University needs to be used and strengthened in this plan: to empower new thinking generations, with collective and generational thoughts, to have a national construction of the future. A new elite needs to be generated, urgently, in Brazil. Scientific, student and union leaders should launch a pro-restructuring agenda for state-owned companies in Brazil. As long-term productive axes, in strategic sectors such as: energy, information technology/communication, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers. And a strengthening, and expansion, of regulatory agencies. Especially about the Big Tech e Big Pharma.

On the side of the progressive agenda, there is no lack of themes and agendas, full of propositional possibilities. But all this purposeful construction, full of future and hope, coming from trade unions, civil society, and above all, public universities, have access barred in public opinion, by a media that imbeciles a novelized People. It is very symptomatic of the imperialism of mediocrity in Brazil today, under a constant presence of TV, and monopoly digital networks (the telescreen: digital or even television), that more social relevance is given to the remake of the Pantanal TV soap opera, than to the bicentennial of Brazil's political independence in 2022. This is the moral and cultural stage of a country without an elite: because an elite has to be a cultural elite as well. Or not elite at all. A country without memory has no project for the future. And Brazil is full of feasible and generous projects. Media censorship is what silences the future of public debate.

*Cristiano Addario de Abreu is a doctoral candidate in economic history at USP.



[I] With all due respect to what exists in official programming, the general emptiness, and the distancing of civil society from the scheduled events, mark the sad civic amnesia of Brazil in this 2022:








[ix] FURTADO, Celso. Economic Formation of Brazil. Company of Letters. 2007.










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