the etiolated labarum

Clara Figueiredo, blind goat, digital photomontage, 2020
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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

The scammers who kidnapped and destroyed the national colors will still be a lot of work. Institutions preparing

On the holiday of November 15, the date of the Proclamation of the Republic, the number of pedestrians who gather in front of barracks in some Brazilian cities to request a coup d'état rose slightly. It has been like this since the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) proclaimed the result of the polls, giving victory to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The group that does not conform demands that bayonets annul the election. One of the banners unfurled in São Paulo, in front of the headquarters of the Southeast Military Command, next to the Legislative Assembly, summed up the spirit of the people well: “Brazilian nation begs for help – SOS Forças Armadas”.

How to name this kind of thing? The press has rightly used precise adjectives: “coup acts”, “anti-democratic demonstrations” or “unconstitutional”. It is what they really are. In the language of journalism, the use of judicious qualifiers gives more objectivity, not less, to what is described. A public act that calls for a violent rupture of the democratic order can only be defined as a coup, just as a citizen who has Brazilian nationality and has a Brazilian passport can only be defined as a Brazilian citizen.

The agglomerations at the doors of the barracks bring an agenda of unconstitutional and illegal claims. So, they are scammers. Giving the proper name to the facts, with nouns and adjectives, is one of the most valuable duties of the press – and it is exactly this duty that the press is fulfilling when it calls coup manifestations coup demonstrations.

It is no use saying that these are just “peaceful” and “orderly” meetings. They are not, no sir. In the same way that a few truck drivers blocked roads across the country, in a criminal uprising and so far very poorly explained, this group wants to strangle the roads of the Democratic State of Law. More than the saboteur truck drivers, they want to make the country unfeasible. There is nothing “peaceful” about its purpose, nothing “orderly” about it. As for the barracks, instead of slinking around in mellifluous ambiguity, they should consider themselves offended by the harassment of barbarism that crowds around their walls.

What draws the most attention, however, is the childish bad taste in all of this. The images show adults in auriverde costumes profiled on the asphalt to play “soldier march”. The coup of the season has a puerile note, however perverse. Some salute. Others mark the pace, gangly and puffy, like scouts of the third age. There is always someone playing the bugle (and badly). Like frightened children, they ask for “help” to brute force to put an end to ghosts that do not exist. One there made a speech and said that the apartments of more than 60 square meters will be occupied and shared by the new government. Real estate delusions. The current president (now bent on quitting his job) met with Geraldo Alckmin and asked him to help rid Brazil of “communism”. Reactionary delusions. A ghost haunts the devastated imagination of aging children: the ghost of the ghost of the ghost of communism.

The clothing of the bystanders also deserves to be recorded. The national banner became a prop prêt-à-porter that the richest ladies wear like a handkerchief, a scarf tropical. Men tend to wear the same piece as if it were a superhero cape, and there are those who improvise a hood when it rains. The labarum frames the strilated barbarian.

What a bewildering spectacle. When you see the yellow-green spots on television, the scene looks like something out of one of those zombie movies. The types that move on the screen, imploring the intercession of brutality, resemble political undead adorned by the national banner and armed with cell phones. Disinherited by the extinct military dictatorship, they transit in a limbo between the defunct tyranny and the democratic order in formation. They did not know how to detach themselves from what history has already tried to bury and they are not sensitive to what the present nation is trying to build.

With an air of comedy, what has unfolded is a tragedy. It would be a mistake to mock the situation. One of these days, in New York, when being harassed by someone who was chasing him on the sidewalk with a cell phone saying phrases of the political undead, the minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Luís Roberto Barroso turned his face back, without slowing down , and shot: “You lost, dummy. Don't tease”. The magistrate's tirade sounds sardonic, but the impasse is serious. The forces that seek to turn back the wheel of national history are not there for a walk. By a hair, they did not win the elections. Their performances are cheesy, their aesthetics are silly and their speech is childish, but never, since redemocratization, have they been so organized and so determined as they are now.

The small crowds of yellow shirts that now camp in the vicinity of the soldiery have their element of ridicule, but what they express is deeper and more threatening. The scammers who kidnapped and destroyed the national colors will still be a lot of work. Institutions prepare.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (authentic).

Originally published in the newspaper The State of S. Paul.

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