The biggest risk

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By RAFAEL R. IORIS*

In a way, what we have been experiencing in recent times could be understood as the Sandification of Brazilian society

On the 8th of January, we watched in amazement the last, and certainly the most insane, coup attempt in Brazil. And even though the coup plotters of all stripes (civilians, military and militiamen) were not successful in their neo-fascist intent, the greatest risk we run today is not that of not punishing those directly involved - since actions in this sense are in progress. course; but yes, the risk of taking the part for the whole and, thus, losing the notion of how deep the coup logic and Bolsonarist ideals were rooted in our society.

It should be remembered that the recent coup logic began at the end of 2014, when Aécio Neves refused to recognize the result of the presidential election, which was followed by the shameful campaign for the illegal impeachment (since without legal basis) of a democratically re-elected president who took the streets of the country through a media-business boost only seen before in the months preceding the civil-military coup of 1964.

During Michel Temer's farsistic rise to power, the coup logic deepened as he sought to implement, in a Thermidorian way, the political agenda defeated at the polls. To this end, something began that would be deepened in the Bolsonaro (mis)government: the seizure of various areas of power by the old guard, reactionary and anachronistic of the generalate. This happened in a special way with the growing influence that General Etchegoyen assumed in the government, who, together with Augusto Heleno and Villas Boas, made the anti-left, and therefore anti-democratic, crusade the objective of his final years of public life.

The anti-popular, privatist and anti-nation logic of the algo military command was reflected in an impossible more explicit way when it launched its, ironically named, Projeto de Nação, in May of last year. Aligned with both Paulo Guedes' neoliberalism and Jair Bolsonaro's authoritarianism, the document was launched by the Villas Boas Institute, the new center of Brazilian reactionary intelligence, defending the end of the meager social welfare system existing in what increasingly became one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Rancidly echoing the logic of the Cold War, the document claims that there are still agents of a global communist plot infiltrated in the left and local social movements that should, as in the 1960s, be monitored, protected, if not eliminated – hence the form criminal as they treated the citizens of the Amazon, especially the Yanomami, in recent years.

The existence, therefore, of a collective responsibility (civil and military) for such crimes and the fact that such logic and events, which become more and more known every day, seem, tragically, to still have significant approval in various social strata, thus reflects that, no matter how bad and criminal he may be, Jair Bolsonaro is not the problem, but the most bizarre face of a much broader problem. In fact, in a way, what we have been experiencing in recent times could be understood as the Sandification of Brazilian society. Or was it not exactly during the most truculent period of the dictatorship, in the early 70s, when Arena was such a socially based party that it boasted of being the biggest party in the West?

In this sense, what Jair Bolsonaro did was to popularize and, perhaps even, legitimize the most hypocritical and violent facet of institutional logic and even of our own deepest social bases, but clearly present and functioning. Otherwise, the equally bizarre, truculent and mediocre Mourão, Pazzuelo, Damares, Moro and Dallagnol, among many others, would not have been so easily elected in order to continue 'the promotion of the authoritarian and neoliberal agenda that Jair Bolsonaro helped to institutionalize .

Yes, the majority of Brazilian society freely decided to start trying to put an end to this process. But if we do not understand that it is not a question of extirpating a man – however essential and necessary this may be –, but of restructuring institutions, civil and especially military, in order to eliminate, once and for all, the authoritarian traces of the past that atavistic and unacceptably still insist on haunting us, we will run the risk of losing the (perhaps last) opportunity to rebuild our society along more democratic and inclusive ways.

Our biggest risk is, therefore, not facing the institutional coup d'état that is still very present in our politics, in our security apparatuses and, especially in the Armed Forces, and which, thanks to Jair Bolsonaro, were so tragically revived and expanded in our country. society as a whole.

*Rafael R. Ioris is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Denver (USA).

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