The museum of great novelties

Image: Marcio Costa


Watching centrão electoral victories in municipal elections makes up the reliquary of our eternal museum of big news

In a classic and well-known tale, The most serene republic, Machado de Assis tells the story of a fabled republic, in the tale inhabited by spiders, a place where the law and the interpretation of laws, including electoral ones, change according to convenience. O Bruxo do Cosme Velho was committed to criticizing the tricks of a Brazil that changes its rules at each election so that nothing changes in terms of political power. The great master, in his way of contradicting paradoxes in terms of allegorical realism, put his finger on the wound of the eternal municipal center of our vast interior solitudes. Once, in a debate during the dictatorship's lead years at the Faculty of History at USP, a well-meaning young student asked Nelson Werneck Sodré: – General, what is the great event in the history of Brazil? The old historian promptly replied: - The great event in the history of Brazil has not yet happened.

Watching centrão electoral victories in municipal elections makes up the reliquary of our eternal museum of great news. In these cities, the mayoral election polarizes between two candidacies and a third way is rarely imposed. Perhaps the most elaborate prototype of public administration is Sucupira – recently transferred to the federal government – ​​from the novel by the brilliant Dias Gomes. The famous declarations to God, to the family, to the hometown in the session of the chamber of deputies in the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff touched, for those who did not know, the depth of the soul of the basements of the really existing Brazilian politics. Even Jair Bolsonaro's declared love for the torturer Brilhante Ustra – a rhetorical coup that inaugurated the rush to the presidency of the republic – must be seen as part of the general Brazilian jam. Despite the secret of known things, ten out of ten analysts note, some with astonishment, that the centrão has just obtained a very important victory in the recent election – it has moved houses from the interior solitudes of the grotões to the large urban centers and medium-sized cities. Why so scared? How could this happen and what does it mean?

At this point in the championship, the reader must be tired of numbers, statistics and tables, exposed instrumentally to the mancheia and with the ability to justify victory or defeat of all ideologues of the political spectrum, a curious game of contortionist ambiguity lose-win – depending on the analytical parameters of the scribe –, and vice versa. The Brazilian political system is so chaotic that it is always possible to manipulate defeats and victories. I will deprive the reader of the qualitative routine, preferring to adopt a more qualitative and historical embouchure.

In any case, as it is too salient, I make a point of mentioning only two indices. First, the mayoral reelection rate increased significantly in 2020. According to data from the Electoral Court, 62,9% of mayors regained their mandate, while in the 2016 elections the continuity rate was much lower, 46,4% . In terms of indirect reserve, the performance owes much to the beneficial effect on the image of the situationist public authority provided by the provision of emergency aid. Secondly, the sum of votes from the political-ideological arc linked by the extreme right, traditional right and neoliberal right – expanded center (I explain my understanding of the expression below) – covers something around 75% of the valid votes in the first round.

In contrast to the numbers on the right, the modest numerical result obtained by the left, on the other hand, should not hide the fact that it was competitive in some large and medium-sized cities without hiding flags and showing its own face. Such partial results from the left allow for the relief of a discreet, but encouraging, celebration. Candidates such as those of Guilherme Boulos in São Paulo (SP), Manuela D'Ávila in Porto Alegre (RS), Margarida Salomão in Juiz de Fora (MG), plus the tight victory of Edmilson Rodrigues, in Belém (PA) demonstrated that there was potency and horizon for emancipatory ideals. In the case of the relationship between the PT and the other leftist parties, the result indicated that this party remains the most important, however it seems that a phase has begun in which the need for more cooperation between the different tendencies and sharing of space for power between parties. A front-line culture, on the streets and in the institutional field, relatively scarce in Brazil, urgently needs to overcome the spirit of a closed club.

Brazil religiously organizes elections in 5570 municipalities every four years, except, which confirms the rule, during the Estado Novo period (1937-1945). In all these elections, whether the right, the left or the military are at the head of the federal executive, the cluster today called “centrão” and before other codenames has always studded with a majority of mayors and councillors, a very important fact in the composition of the federal benches, hence the two years and in the political engineering of the elections of governors, but much less in the election of the future president of the republic. In the case of presidential elections, although the accounting of mayors and councilors should not be outright underestimated, it has less influence, since in the choice of president there has always been the gap of a candidate with a message overcome the structures, that is, to overcome the conservatism coefficient of the Brazilian political system, this immense apparatus of mayors, councilors, state and federal deputies representing small and medium-sized cities. The variations of this result, and they exist in the heat of the economic and social conjunctures of ebb tide or rising tide, are due more to the margin of error than to the production of a qualitative leap.

Raymundo Faoro, in the classic book The holders of power, called these structures by another name – the Brazilian political patronage, in which he had a dose of reason, although he unilaterally placed our tragic heritage in the patrimonial bases of the Portuguese State in an eternal “round trip” of starting over from the beginning, neglecting slavery and the capitalist transformation through, paradoxical but real, a wild capitalism.[I] It is not superbly correct to call such structures “backward”, as they compose an amalgamated, functionalized and – allow the reader to use a paradox – dialectical totality. For all these reasons, the way for the Brazilian bourgeoisie to materialize, and also for the political systems unfolded over time, has always been through the combined movements of reiteration and updating of the oligarchy. Anything before la lettre more neoliberal than the Brazilian political system.

Florestan Fernandes, in The bourgeois revolution in Brazil and other prolific texts, captures the issue well by stating, in a subterranean Hegelian reference, that, in our country, the transition from slavery to capitalism took place through the transformation of the former master into a citizen-master.[ii] This passage generated the paradoxical assumption and permanence of a “civil society against the nation” (that is, the majority) and the correct call, certainly problematic in universal terms, but politically useful, that it is necessary to “civilize civil society” in the country .[iii]

The full political rights of citizenship in Brazil were restricted during almost the entire republic.[iv] Without dwelling on such a vast subject, just remember that the Communist Party, after a brief lapse of legal life between 1945 and 1948, only revived legality in 1985, so that the space for dissidence either took place on the margins of popular protest , or from within, through the detached offspring of the oligarchy itself, of which the most classic example is the celebrated “imaginary power of attorney” – a type of political representation by table – of Joaquim Nabuco's “slavery mandate”.

One of the paradoxical results of our political system is that there is no lack of parties led by oligarchies that call themselves “progressive”, “republican”, “democrat”, “social-democrat”, “socialist”, etc. Fine fantasy brands. For this reason, I understand by centrão what I call a combination of “restricted center” and “expanded center”.

The frontiers of the center are mobile, mutant, and its tentacles transformist. The entire conservative field is central, from the extreme right to the neoliberals. It includes the hard core of conservative right-wing and center-right parties (the three most important today are DEM, PSD and Progressistas, not by chance parties whose DNA goes back to the dictatorship), but it can extend without penance to the damaged “organic party” of the bourgeoisie from São Paulo – sorry for the involuntary rant -, the PSDB. Finally, they are the forces that created the Brazilian State in all its depth, an apparatus under the united order of the internal and external bourgeoisie that includes both the parties of order and the stratums of the military and judicial apparatus. As if it were a kind of party crasher, the left occupies governments, but even today it is a foreign object, foreign to the really existing state apparatus.

There is a mistake in the literature on the centrão, especially in a moralist reading of the concept of coalition presidentialism, of attributing the fidelity of this grouping exclusively to the give-and-take game of non-budgetary amendments. Certainly, this is the case of the “restricted center” and the formation of government shock troops (whose unequaled Roberto Jefferson, eternal president of the PTB, is the great paradigm). But the great seismograph of the centrão's behavior, if the grouping is extended to the entire conservative spectrum, are the internal and external bourgeoisie.

The government's popularity index is undoubtedly extremely important for centrão support. There are select moments when mass opposition movements take to the streets and no one holds the litter anymore. When it's time for the jaguar to drink water, the masses in the streets are fundamental. However, even so, the fatal and final decisive trump card in the fight is a stamp in the passport, continuity or bourgeois veto of the government. The center is acutely class conscious. The president has the full support of the conservative spectrum (expanded center) in the context of cohesion of the most important bourgeois fractions, while in the context of veto of the fractions, the president, harassed, needs to hunt for retail in congress, via -rule aimed at preventing the achievement of an impeachment. In vain. Collor and Dilma are alive to tell stories of isolation and defeat, not to mention Vargas's suicide or the coup against Jango.

Centrão parties are not mass parties, but well-oiled electoral machines eager for access to public funds in order to feed and expand structures. The formation of large mass parties has always been curtailed, concealed and recapped in Brazil. Studies on parties in Brazil, by Afonso Arinos de Melo Franco[v] and Vamireh Chacon[vi]noted, for example, that the first trials of mass parties among us emerged outside the system, especially in the rapid experience of legality of the Communist Party in the post-war period – mentioned in the previous paragraph. A decade earlier, in the stormy 1930s, it is possible to mention the very brief civil society mass mobilizations of the Integralist Action (fascist right) and the ANL (left-wing Popular Front), and even the Catholic Popular Action before 1964 as experiences with potential of mass parties swallowed up by the conjunctures.

In passing, it is worth adding that the form of a mass party appeared in Germany at the end of the 1918th century, in the form of the Social Democratic Party, specialized in the political representation of the working class. Thus, the party form sought to represent the majority, far beyond a group of professional politicians, provided with ideas and aiming to submit them to the selection of voters in the constitutional-representative regime. Much later, with a changed ideological signal, in the interwar crisis of liberalism (1939-XNUMX) the newly created fascist parties mimicked the forms of regimentation and mobilization of the left.

The most lasting experience of a mass party born to represent the voices from below, repressed by the political system in Brazil, is undoubtedly that of the PT. He was born averse to alliances and radically critical of the “Era Vargas” – which, curiously, he later revisited in government experiences. For this reason (this aspect is little explained by historiography), far beyond a depoliticized deviation or an instinctive worker reaction, the party attracted a current of intellectuals who designated themselves as independent, from ancestral experiences linked to the socialist left, but out of line with the traditions of the labor and communism, like Sérgio Buarque and Antonio Candido. One of the hidden components of Spirit of Zion – name of the well-known College that hosted the founding meeting of the PT –, recalling the gait by André Singer,[vii] it was not limited only to the evangelizing spirit of the Base Catholic Communities, a newly radicalized factory unionism or the revolutionary left, but also to a reformist, independent intelligentsia and a radical critique that gravitated to the margins of institutional politics for a good part of the XNUMXth century . But let's leave that portrait on the wall in the past.

Coming back to what matters, the Northeast is certainly the regional territory in which broad alliances within the political system have recently been most extended. Although it is a foreign body to the centrão, both restricted and expanded, leftist parties (PT, Psol and PCdoB), as in the case of the rise of leftist governors in the Northeast, only managed to gain a majority in power by operating broad coalitions with the oligarchy. In the case of the center-left (PSB and PDT) a different situation occurs, instead of PT and PCdoB, both parties are dominated by two families, Campos (PE) and Ferreira Gomes (CE), so to speak, left-wing oligarchies. Filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho, an astute intellectual, in a recent interview with Lilia Schwarcz, reports the presence in the public scene of a “certain leftist elite in the northeast”, paradoxical in such an oligarchic region.8 Even more paradoxical, remember, when Kleber portrays the mayor of Bacurau, the scoundrel Tony Jr., as the perfect prototype of the interior mayor in the sertão. This is a fact of Brazilian political praxis, but more common in the Northeast: it would not be strange for a Tony Jr. compose, in certain very concrete circumstances, the field of state alliances on the basis of a progressive government. I mentioned earlier the “imaginary power of attorney” of slaves in the XNUMXth century to Joaquim Nabuco, evidently a mobilizing fantasy of the incipient class of free men in the mansions. In special situations, the message of renewal of a leadership, even in the condition of a generic interpretation, infused popular joy and brought hope of change in the Northeast. Perhaps the most synthetic aesthetic representation of this political phenomenon is the film Maranhao 66, by Glauber Rocha, which shows an immense popular mass in the public square and José Sarney's speech full of hope in his inauguration as governor-elect in 1965. Flávio Dino would not instill more hope.

Sarney's renewal was fake, but there were three real impulses of political renewal in the Northeast:

  1. the Popular Front of Recife and later Pernambuco in 1960, by far the most important popular front experience in Brazilian history;
  2. the experience of Ciro Gomes as governor of Ceará in 1990;
  3. and the rise of progressive governors from 2002 onwards, following Lula's rise to the presidency of the republic.

They are very different experiences in very different historical times. Of the three, the densest is that of the Popular Front in the 1960s, violently aborted by the 1964 Coup. There is a lot of literature on the subject, but suffice it to say that the confluence in the same territory of characters (who fought a lot among themselves, but also lined up) such as Miguel Arraes, Celso Furtado, Paulo Freire, Francisco Julião and Gregório Bezerra produced a beautiful emancipatory political process. For a brief time, in the election of the ticket Cid Sampaio-Pelópidas da Silveira (1958) in the state government, a sugar mill owner and the popular mayor of Recife, there seemed to be a tenuous possibility of an organic alliance. But she soon fell apart. The northeastern, sugar mill, cotton, industrial and financial bourgeoisie — basically, faces of the expansion and reproduction of the same agrarian regional capital — feared the popular revolution but, little did it know, as Francisco de Oliveira superbly demonstrates in the classic Elegy for a religion, which was creating the foundations of its own hara-kiri, facilitating industrial concentration in the southeast and the definitive penetration of foreign monopoly capital into a region that was still forming its own capital.[viii]

Even today people ask about the fortress of the myth Miguel Arraes. Rivers of ink are written about the Fordist agreement between the workers, the bourgeoisie and the State that gave rise, after the Second World War, to the democratic capitalism project of the welfare state in Western Europe. It is necessary to study the first draft of a class compromise in Pernambuco, which was the famous “Acordo do Campo” (1963), the first paper agreement passed in the country between rural workers and sugar mills, arbitrated by Governor Arraes, raising wages and improving working conditions in the Sugarcane Forest Zone. In its peripheral way, a type of regulation was being formulated, if not Fordist, at least towards what would be the capitalism of a “democratic capitalism”, in which citizenship rights would be a constitutive part. As it turned out, the myth established itself. But the municipal elections in Recife, which put two young people claiming the same legacy, João Campos (PSB) and Marília Arraes (PT), as opponents, seem to demonstrate the strength of the created myth, but also — to see —, its exhaustion .

The case of Ciro Gomes is totally different and that is why I will be telegraphic. He ascends sponsored by Tasso Jereissati, who was also elected in 1986 with a discourse on the modernization of Ceará, and represents the moment of a Ceará bourgeoisie that seeks to assert itself and invests in its State. It was a time when people wondered if there was still a Northeast, if it made sense to still work on the concept of region, in view of the neoliberal dismantling and in the face of various micro-regional and metropolitan realities, of which the seminal work of problematizing the impasse in question is the paper by Tania Bacelar Northeast, northeast: that North East?[ix]It was not by chance that at the time the FHC government ordered the burial of a deceased person, Sudene, and created an anodyne “Development Agency” for the Northeast.

The third impulse is the recently ended “Era Lula”, in which the concept of region made full sense again from the income transfer programs, which had a lot of impact in the Northeast, but mainly due to the levers of structuring public investment in the region. On the political level, especially outside the region, people came to imagine, given important majority electoral victories, a “Red Northeast”. For me, there has never been an organic political red belt in the Northeast. There were, indeed, for circumstances that do not repeat themselves, important electoral victories in the region of progressive governors, and of Lula (2006), Dilma (2010 and 2014) and Haddad (2018). The so-called “red wave”, like every wave, was one of conjuncture and not structure. Not by chance, all the governors of the northeastern progressive bloc — despite the resilience of Ferreira Gomes in Ceará — left the recent municipal election reaping defeats and results far below expectations in the capitals and medium-sized cities (São Luís, Natal, João Pessoa, Salvador, Campina Grande, Vitória da Conquista, Feira de Santana, Petrolina, Caruaru etc.), which calls for an accurate balance.

Gramsci thematized in Italy a transformism whose modus operandi it consisted of decapitating the head of the popular sector by co-opting its leadership in parliament. Here in Brazil, we have innovated in recent times. The progressive sector pretends that it is trying to co-opt the oligarchy, both in parliament and in the executive. Francisco de Oliveira called the phenomenon “reverse hegemony”, that is, a process whose intellectual and moral direction it is symbolically progressive, but the foundation of political power remains essentially by guaranteeing the fingers and even without losing the rings.[X]

The centrão is always keeping an eye on the strings of power, not because of some secret protocol ritual or conspiracy theory, but because of a long history of political-practical command. A chain of significant facts, apparently fortuitous, has been relatively unnoticed by analysts. Although he had always been in strategic positions of command in the national congress, the election of Eduardo Cunha on 1/2/2015, followed by Rodrigo Maia (14/06/2016), although in different conjunctures and both are different characters, allowed the protagonism of the political crisis in congress by the centrão and the neoliberal right, that is, from the conservative field, without a counterpoint to the height of the left and center-left parties, in theory more bearers of the message what of structures.

Throughout the recent crisis, the conservative bloc started to dictate the agenda, the rite and the rhythm of historic votes – especially the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff. Aside from important reforms, such as labor and social security, the conservative camp, taking advantage of the wave of anti-politics, took the lead in initiatives to change electoral legislation, veritable political micro-reforms, all for their own benefit. The rapporteur for the political micro-reform carried out by Eduardo Cunha following the impeachment of Dilma, already in force in the 2016 elections, was none other than Rodrigo Maia.

The historical vocation of conservatives in parliament, in a crisis process, is always the construction of the new order as restoration, by the way, not only in Brazil, but in the universal history of the process of bourgeois revolutions. The Brazilian particularity is that the dynamics of restorations always carry out their incomparable round trip – but until when? The time for the bourgeois revolution has passed, but the modus operandi.

It was like this in the 1988 constituent, when the mainsprings of the contemporary center reappeared. It was the famous “reaction of the plenum” of the “lower clergy” deputies, conducted – who remembers? – by Roberto Cardoso Alves (PTB-SP). Such a reaction, as a result, overthrew the most important progressive proposals previously approved in the Systematization Commission of the Constituent Congress. The proposals altered the role of land ownership, the military, the media, the political system and the 5-year term for President Sarney. Today is no different. As before, in mid-2015, the so-called electoral micro-reform, already in force in the 2016 municipal elections, was approved in mid-90, which reduced campaign time and free electoral advertising in the media from 45 to 10 days and redistributed radio time and TV. In turn, the STF judged that campaign financing can only be done by individuals (limited to 2017% of declared income in the year prior to the election) and via the party's public fund. The new rules, added to the end of proportional coalitions and the return of the barrier clause (PEC approved in XNUMX), finally came into full force in the current elections.

What is the importance of this subject, apparently boring and lateral in the dynamics of the crisis? In short, an exponential increase in oligarchization and autocratization, of historical Caesarism and Bonapartism, within the scope of the Brazilian political system. I explain. The political micro-reform measures agreed by Congress and the STF, and it wouldn't be any different, triggered a process of reorganization of the system erected by the messed-up transition of the "New Republic" and the 1988 constitution. ) until the coup impeachment of Dilma were the PSDB and the PT. According to much of political science mainstream, reviving old dualistic illusions that it is not the case to address in this space, spent years writing that PT and PSDB, roughly speaking, constituted two “modern” parties, linked to the São Paulo bourgeoisie and the former Fordist working class of the ABC, to whom fell the task pseudo illustrated and “enlightened” of directing with the pragmatism of alliances and subordinating the tail of “delay” (the various expressions of the centrão).

In the world of an ideal republic, the PT and the PSDB would operate in the comfortable position of leading parties, that is, the ruling party, which most directly influences the conduct of economic policy, international relations and the elaboration of social policies. In turn, the centrão carries the piano, in the provision of congressional services entrusted to the pivotal parties (the PFL in the FHC government and the PMDB, as well as other parties in the Lula and Dilma governments), equidistant to carry out the game dirty composition of the congressional majorities, and Lula and FHC would be the Machiavellian condottiers of the political system. From time to time, the tail began to wag the dog.


It is worth noting that, instead of the “virtuous” journey of the PT and the PSDB, distinct and complementary in “modernity”, as if they were faces of the same virtuous coin in the utopia of the constitution of a “civilized” and “cosmopolitan” nation , the hard face of reality overcame the system in the form of an acute crisis of representation of the representatives before the represented, whose first symptoms were the mobilizations of June 2013, and continued with the assumption of Lava Jato, the anti-political wave, which generated the magical belief in the discourses of outsiders, a gap through which Bolsonaro's salvationist discourse entered.

It would not be an exaggeration to call this set process, in Gramsci's terms, organic crisis (Florestan Fernandes would certainly call the oxymoron a crisis of hegemony of the autocratic-bourgeois domain) – an acute crisis of hegemony not only of the political system, but of the entire decayed social fabric.[xi]It is important to add that there will be no consolidated polarization, PT-PSDB style in the New Republic, until the organic crisis of hegemony endure. Excuse me for chanting the old cliché, but a situation has opened up in the country of epidemic morbid symptoms (hence the entourage of everyday unrealities and oddities of every single day in the life of a Brazilian), in which the old insists on surviving and the new it is not yet dawn.

With the exception of the acute social, economic and cultural crisis, in the specific scope of the political system, which works according to its own rules and habits, the “tail” began to wag the dog through the tricks of repeated political micro-reforms, apparently small screw adjustments, but which in fact contribute to exponentially autocratize and bonapartize the Brazilian political system. Recently, Minister Luís Roberto Barroso, president of the TSE, candidly declared that Brazil is beginning to make a “transition to optional voting”, olympicly disregarding that the practical experience of mandatory voting among us has widened the representation of the political system beyond the margins. clientele and organized interests.[xii] If the crude liberalism of voluntary voting is imposed once and for all, voter recruitment by the structures will remain active, but it will be almost impossible to hear the dissonant voice of the disorganized masses, who will have the resources of civil disobedience or spasmodic protests without judgment.

In an interesting report, published a few days before the municipal election, journalists Joao Pedro Pitombo e Guilherme Garcia found a movement of migration of councilors in the window of party change, which occurred between March and April of this year, from smaller parties towards the main conservative parties, especially the centrão.[xiii]DEM, PSD, PP, MDB and Republicans are among the subtitles that won most councilors. They are municipalized parties, easier to comply with the calculations of the electoral quotient, access to the distribution of party fund resources and the prospect of releasing parliamentary amendments. Not by chance, the indefectible Giberto Kassab, president of the PSD, defined, in a recent interview, the new legislation as “healthy” for prohibiting “proportional coalitions”.[xiv]Optional voting, plus the condition of constituting the axis of the new party system after application of the barrier clause, will be the world of dreams come true for the centrão. Notice, by the way, the materialistic proof of eating the pudding, as Engels said, in the next party window, in 2022, in the migration of deputies from parties threatened by the clause towards the big parties in the center.

Between March, April and May of this year, Brazil was formally quarantined, the pandemic was in full swing and devotees of Bolsonarism called for coup demonstrations against Congress and the STF. At the height of the interpower crisis, precisely on Friday, May 22, President Bolsonaro announced the intimate decision, in a cabinet meeting of the “ministers of the house”, to send troops to intervene in the STF, perpetrating a self-coup. “Despite the extreme seriousness of the announcement, general Luiz Eduardo Ramos welcomed the president's intention to embark on a confrontation with a catastrophic outcome (...) At a certain point, general Heleno tried to temporize and said to the president: that".[xv]

Finally, the Bolsonaro government began to take its current form, whose accession of the centrão to the base of the government, under the blessings of the palace military, Luiz Eduardo Ramos, Augusto Heleno and Braga Neto, means a fact of crucial importance.[xvi] Governments that try to establish new orders only acquire clearer contours after a certain time. There is always a degree of indeterminacy. As the centrão was not born to be a road map, it is more a cluster of pivotal parties than a guiding party, it begins to reoccupy spaces in the State apparatus, which could provisionally be defined as an elected government of military command (not be confused with a military regime, dictatorship or guardianship of a high command, although it is possible to evolve into this in another context), susceptible to the personalism or Bonapartism of its boss. Preserve, as old Samuel P. Huntington said (Political Order in Changing Societies) in 1968, the content of the “praetorian orders” of countries of bourgeois autocracy on the periphery of capitalism (in 1968 Huntington explicitly mentioned countries in Africa and Latin America, especially Brazil, at that time just victim of a military coup).[xvii]

It is not, as some hasty analysts recite, a fascist government, much less a fascist state. There is still a long journey within the State institutions to be fulfilled so that such an extreme right desideratum happens. On the other hand, the government has, of course, a strong grassroots association with a neo-fascist mass movement originating from social media and the second phase of the June 2013 movements.

In May of this year, a first coup attempt by the Bolsonaro government failed, especially due to fear, on the part of the active military, of embarking on a voluntary adventure.[xviii] Due to the failure, Bolsonaro had to formalize an agreement with the centrão. In fact, the government always had the support of the centrão in the most important votes in congress, but the support was ad hoc. In sectors of government and in Bolsonarist social networks, the discourse, very strong in the first months of the government, of consolidating the majority through the so-called “thematic benches” or corporate (agribusiness, evangelical, bullet, etc.) still persisted.

Now, after the election and consolidation of the centrão's membership in the congress that, at today's price (11/12/2020), will have a candidate for president of the chamber of deputies, deputy Arthur Lira, it comes to the case to remember the conservative origin of the centrão in the old Arena of the dictatorship to observe that the roots of the pact are ancient. Undoubtedly, the first item of the pact is the very survival of the government, killing any impeachment proposal in the chest. It should be remembered, however, that Arthur Lira is a candidate from the restricted centrão, not from the expanded centrão (this was the case of Rodrigo Maia's management, in the last days). Behind the alliance of the boots with the so-called grotões, it must be remembered, the bourgeois order is always lurking. The trials of 2021 will be tough.

*Jaldes Meneses He is a professor at the Department of History at UFPB.

Originally published on Pink Magazine.



[I]Raymundo Faoro, The power holders – trainingãthat of Brazilian political patronage.Rio de Janeiro, Globo (3rd ed.), 2001.

[ii]Florestan Fernandes. The bourgeois revolution in Brazil – essay on sociological interpretation.Rio de Janeiro: Globo (5th ed.), 2005, p. 61.

[iii]Florestan Fernandes, “The transition and the tasks of the working class. Interview conducted by Ozéas Duarte”, Theory & Politics, Year 2 [no. 8], 1987, p. 21.

[iv]José Murilo de Carvalho. Citizenship in Brazil – the long road. Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian Civilization (9a ed.), 2007, pp. 200-206.

[v]Afonso Arinos de Melo Franco,History and theory of political parties in Brazil. Sao Paulo: Alpha-Omega (3a ed.), 1980.

[vi]VamirehChacon. History of Brazilian parties – speech and praxis of their programs.Brasília: UnB, 1981.

[vii]Andre Singer, The senses of lulism. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2012, pp. 87-95.

[viii] Francisco de Oliveira, Elegy for a re(li)region: Sudene, Northeast, planning and class conflict. Rio de Janeiro, Peace and Earth (3a ed.), 1981.

[ix] Tania Bacelar, Northeast, northeast: what northeast?,In: Observanordeste, Joaquim Nabuco Foundation. Available in: Access: 11/12/2020.

 [X]Francisco de Oliveira, “Hegemony in reverse”. In: Oliveira, Francisco; Braga, Ruy; Rizek, Cybele (eds.), Reverse hegemony.São Paulo, Boitempo, 2010, pp. 21-27.

[xi]Antonio Gramsci, Prison notebooks. Machiavelli. Notes on State and Politics (Vol. 3).Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Civilization, 2000, pp. 60-70.

[xii]Matheus Teixeira and Leandro Colon, “The country has started the transition to voluntary voting, which is ideal, says Barroso, president of the TSE”. In: Folha de S. Paulo, 06/12/2020. Available in: Accessed on: 08/12/2020.

[xiii]Joao Pedro Pitombo e Guilherme Garcia, “Councillors migrate to major parties after coalition vetoes in elections”, In: Folha de S. Paulo, 16/10/2020. Available in: Accessed on: 07/12/2020.

[xiv]Igor Gielow, “Election rejected radicalism, but it is not a message for Bolsonaro in 2022, says Kassab”, In: Folha de S Paulo, 17/11/2020. Available in: Accessed on: 07/12/2020.

[xv]Monica Gugliano, “I'm going to intervene”, In: Revista Piauí, Issue 167, Aug. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 07/12/2020.

[xvi] IgorGielow, “Alliance of the military wing with the centrão also aims at a post-bolsonaro”, In: Folha de S Paulo, 20/05/2020. Available in: Accessed on: 11/12/2020.

[xvii] Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies. New Haven: Yale, 1973, pp. 192-263.

[xviii] Reinaldo Azevedo, “Pujol's civilizing elbow and the risk of a coup without a coup. Watch out, STF!”. Available at: -stf.htm . Accessed on: 11/12/2020.


See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Impasses and solutions for the political momentjose dirceu 12/06/2024 By JOSÉ DIRCEU: The development program must be the basis of a political commitment from the democratic front
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • The strike at federal Universities and Institutescorridor glazing 01/06/2024 By ROBERTO LEHER: The government disconnects from its effective social base by removing those who fought against Jair Bolsonaro from the political table
  • A myopic logicRED MAN WALKING _ 12/06/2024 By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL: The government does not have the political will to make education a priority, while it courts the military or highway police, who do not move a millimeter away from the Bolsonarism that they continue to support
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives