the distant dawn

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Alexandre Aragão de Albuquerque*

Guedes' ultraliberalism, Moro's police punitivism, combined with Bolsonaro's far-right fundamentalism are dismantling the foundations of the Constitution.

The year 2020 has among its indelible marks the celebration of the centenary of the birth of the great Celso Furtado, doctor in economics from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, member of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), director of the National Bank for Economic Development (BNDE), founder of the Northeast Development Superintendence (SUDENE), Minister of Planning in the João Goulart government, Minister of Culture in the José Sarney government, having been one of the thousands of people persecuted during the military dictatorship of 1964-1985. A phrase that marks his human trajectory: “Thinking about Brazil was the challenge that has always guided my reflection”.

the long dawn, a book published in 1999 by Paz e Terra, is a set of essays that intend to answer the following question: what margin of autonomy do we Brazilians have in running our country? This question arises from the realization that the continuous reduction of national autonomy makes it increasingly difficult to overcome our underdevelopment, our heterogeneous and unequal national structure.

As João Henrique dos Santos recalls, for Furtado, state planning is fundamental for national autonomy because the market will not replace the state, especially with regard to social policies, since the logic of the market is the maximization of selfish economic advantages while social development is what matters most to an autonomous nation.

Since the April 2016 coup, Brazil has been dismantling income distribution policies and social programs implemented by the PT governments (2003-2014), resulting from the determinations of our 1988 Citizen Constitution, through which we resumed our path of our democratic dawn.

As of 2019, with the coming to power of ultraliberalism (Paulo Guedes) and the extreme right allied with religious fundamentalism (Jair Bolsonaro), this dismantling is accelerating, for example, through the withdrawal of individual and social rights according to the labor and social security reforms, as well as the severe and long economic recession with a high social cost (25 million unemployed and underemployed) with a strong increase in income concentration. And yet with the set of law proposals, by the hands of Sérgio Moro, aimed at expanding the “punitivist” police power of the state apparatus against the general population, in order to ultimately criminalize the actions and agendas of struggle of social movements.

On March 02, 2020, we had the opportunity to get to know a little more closely some aspects behind the scenes of those who are at the head of central power, in the last interview given to the program Roda Viva, on TV Cultura – SP, by former Minister Gustavo Bebiano, general coordinator of Jair Bolsonaro's presidential campaign, before his premature death on the 14th of that same month.

In one of his interventions, he textually stated that in relation to the accusation that Bolsonaro is spreading that Bebiano had a connection with the episode of the said stabbing in Juiz de Fora, “his lawyer was preparing an interpellation to the president for him to clarify in court, because he does not have the courage to say it in public, revealing himself to be an extremely cowardly man”. For Bebiano, cowardice is one of the hallmarks of the main manager of the federal government. He continues: “Either a coward, or a madman. In either case, I think it is very bad for the country to be managed by a person who has such an irresponsible attitude”.

In another intervention, Gustavo Bebiano openly warned on national television: “His (Bolsonaro’s) arrogance lies in his considering himself a Messiah – he believes in that – not only in name, but as a divine role, he believes he is the Savior from Brazil, and thinks that all those who criticize something are against Brazil. So he poses as if he were Brazil”. And he concludes: “While he (Bolsonaro) was in Congress, the problem was the government; now he is in government, the problem is Congress. The president sometimes lies.” How many times? Bebiano failed to explain more deeply the relationship of lies and for what purposes they were and are practiced by Bolsonaro.

The great Portuguese writer José Saramago, in a public presentation of his work Blindness essay (Companhia das Letras), thus manifested: “This is a frankly terrible book with which I want the reader to feel how I suffered when writing it. It describes a long torture suffered. It is a brutal and violent book. It is one of the most painful experiences of my life. There are 300 pages of constant distress. Through writing, I tried to say that we need to have the courage to recognize our blindness”.

In present-day Brazil, whoever still has eyes to see, see, because the dawn is increasingly distant, especially when we have groups that systematically lie to an infinity of people who firmly believe in their lies, instead of facing the truth. The truth allows us to assume liberation processes. Some, unfortunately, prefer to remain in the illusion, like slaves.

*Alexandre Aragão de Albuquerque Master in Public Policy and Society from the State University of Ceará (UECE).

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