The future came quickly

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By BOAVENTURA DE SOUSA SANTOS*

Brazil will not go back to what it was before Jair Bolsonaro, at least for a few years

It is difficult to find in international politics such a turbulent beginning of a democratic mandate as the one that characterized President Lula's. Democracy hung by a thread and was saved (for now) due to a contingent combination of exceptional factors: the president's talent as a statesman, the right performance at the right time by a minister in the right place, Flávio Dino, soon backed by the active support of the STF. The institutions specifically responsible for defending peace and public order were absent, and some of them even colluded with the riot that depredated public goods.

When a democracy prevails under these conditions, it is both an affirmation of strength and weakness. It shows that you have more courage to survive than to flourish. The truth is that, in the long run, it will only survive if it flourishes, and for that, policies with different logics are needed, susceptible of creating conflicts with each other. And everything has to be done under pressure. That is, the future arrived quickly and in a hurry.

Brazil will not go back to what it was before Jair Bolsonaro, at least for a few years. Brazil had two badly healed historical wounds: Portuguese colonialism and dictatorship. The wound of colonialism was barely healed because neither the land issue nor that of anti-black, anti-indigenous and anti-gypsy racism (the two cursed legacies) were resolved. The last one only started to be faced with Lula's first government (affirmative actions, etc.).

The dictatorship wound had barely healed due to the pact with the anti-democratic military in the democratic transition that resulted in the non-punishment of crimes committed by the military. These two wounds exploded with all the purulence in the figure of Jair Bolsonaro. The pus was mixed in the blood of social relations via social networks and it will stay there for a long time due to the action of a legal and illegal, racial and sexist lumpen-capitalism, which persists at the base of the economy, a base resentful of the top of the pyramid, financial capital, due to its usury.

This poorly healed and now more exposed wound will poison all democratic politics for years to come. Democratic coexistence will have to live in parallel with an anti-democratic impulse in the form of a continuous coup d'état, sometimes dormant, sometimes active. This will be the case until 2024, the date of the US elections, due to the blood pact between the Brazilian and US extreme right.

The January 8 coup attempt profoundly altered President Lula's priorities. Given the worsening of the social crisis, Lula's agenda was destined to privilege the social area. Suddenly, security policy imposed itself with complete urgency. I predict that it will continue to occupy the President's attention for as long as the coup underground shows that it has allies in the Armed Forces, in the security forces and in anti-Amazonian capital.

This capital is committed to the destruction of the Amazon and the final solution for indigenous peoples. The photos of the Yanomami that circulated around the world are only paralleled by the photos of the victims of the Nazi holocaust in the 1940s. How could I have imagined that, eight years after welcoming the indigenous leaders of Roraima at the University of Coimbra (entourage in which the now Minister Sônia Guajajara was a member) and receiving from them the headdress and the rain stick – a great honor for me – would I witness the conversion of their territory, for whose demarcation we fought, in a concentration camp, a tropical Auschwitz? Brazil needs international cooperation to obtain international condemnation for the genocide of the former president and some of his ministers, namely Sérgio Moro and Damares Alves.

When the future arrives quickly, it makes demands that often run over each other. The media drama caused by the attempted coup demands a lot of attention and vigilance on the part of leaders. However, given the marginalized populations living in the vast outskirts, the drama of the coup is much smaller than that of not being able to feed your children, being murdered by the police or militias, being raped by your boss or murdered by your partner, seeing your house being carried away by the next flood, feeling the tumors growing in the body due to excessive exposure to insecticides and pesticides, banned worldwide but freely used in Brazil, seeing the river water where food was always polluted to the point that the fish were living poison, knowing that his young black son will be imprisoned indefinitely despite never being convicted, fearing that his settlement will be vandalized tomorrow by criminals escorted by the police.

These are some of the dramas of the populations that, in the near future, will respond to polls on the approval rate of President Lula and his government. The lower this rate, the more champagne will be consumed by coup plotters and national and foreign fascist leaders. We trust in the political genius of President Lula, who has always lived intensely these dramas of the vulnerable population, to govern with a heavy hand to contain and punish present and future coup plotters and with a solidary hand, to support and restore hope to his people. .

*Boaventura de Sousa Santos is full professor at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Coimbra. Author, among other books, of The end of the cognitive empire (authentic).

Originally published on Boitempo's blog

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