The coup and its derivation

Image: Collective Manifest


By naming the 2016 coup, Lula takes an important step towards redemocratization

The right raged at Lula's references to the 2016 coup.

An obscure Bolsonarist deputy saw this as a reason to file an impeachment request against the president. The head of the weakened and aging youth wing of Brazilian neo-fascism (the MBL), Kim Kataguiri, called the Attorney General's Office (AGU) against Lula for “disinformation”.

Cheap factoids, but that gain disproportionate space in the mainstream press. Editorials and columnists also rage against Lula, for the crime of calling Dilma Rousseff's ousting by her name.

The argument is always that impeachment is an instrument provided for in the Constitution, so its use is legitimate. The question, however, is whether this instrument was properly deployed.

Rubens Casara explains in a didactic way: “Check is a payment order. 'Bulky' check, however, is a scam. Impeachment is an instrument of power control. Impeachment without 'crime of responsibility', however, is a coup. This is not an 'ideological' question, but a technical one”.

In 2016, Dilma Rousseff was removed from office based on weak pretexts, which in no way constitute a crime of responsibility. Even Michel Temer, in successive failed acts, has already called the episode a “coup”.

A coup occurs when parts of the state apparatus unilaterally decide to change the rules of the game, for their own benefit. This is what happened in 2016. As is usually the case in “new type coups”, the Armed Forces played a discreet role – although they gained greater prominence in their developments.

And it was not a one-off intervention, aimed at removing a ruler unwanted by some, which would already be illegal. It was the founding moment of a broad political realignment and the implementation of a political project that, subject to the current rules, had been repeatedly defeated at the polls.

The rupture of 2016 led to the implementation of a project that did not have popular support. Therefore, even if it is stated that the impeachment was not a coup (and it was), it is clear that at least it was used to strike a coup.

It is important to mark this to make it clear that Bolsonarism is just the metastasis of a project of democratic retraction that precedes and transcends it.

By calling the 2016 coup by its true name, Lula shows that he knows that the main challenge of democratic reconstruction is to reincorporate the popular field as a legitimate interlocutor of the political debate. This is what the coup and its derivation, Bolsonarism, tried to prevent.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Democracy in the capitalist periphery: impasses in Brazil (authentic).

Originally published on GGN newspaper .


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