The Vale-Tudo and Vale-Nothing

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By FLAVIO AGUIAR*

Behind-the-scenes Remarks on the Presidential Election

“I know the wind\ By the breath where it comes from,\ And the face of Calavera\ When it's not worth a penny!” (Das Coplas de a Viramundo, by Gaspar Machado and Lenin Nunes, sung by Elio Xavier, Porca Veia).

“Calavera”, in Spanish, is “Skull”. In portunhol castiço, from the gaúcha-gaucha border, it means “smart”, “cheeky”, an individual who steals at cards and is worthless. It's Jair Bolsonaro and his crowd. No one there is worth anything, and they imposed a free-for-all and free-for-all on state policy in Brazil.

There have always been lies in Brazilian politics. By the way, in the world. The wise and conservative German chancellor Otto von Bismarck once said that “one never lies so much as after a hunt, during a war and before an election”. Ukraine, the United States and its accomplices, and Russia say so. They are involved in a war about which almost nothing is known for certain, except that Ukraine is being destroyed. The United States and the United Kingdom must proclaim that Ukraine can win the war, come what may. Otherwise, how can you justify to your taxpayers and allies the billions of dollars invested in weapons? On its side, Russia has become involved in a trap of the type “if you run, you'll catch, if you stay, you'll eat”. You can't believe the communiqués from one side and the other.

An earlier example of wholesale and retail lies: the war in Iraq, a country that should have weapons of mass extinction that did not exist. but the media mainstream from the West bought and propagated stocks of non-existent weapons.

Some Brazilian examples: (i) The entire campaign in Brazilian journalism and elsewhere against the rebellious peasants in Canudos, alias Belo Monte, presenting them as agents of an international campaign to overthrow the young Republic (Republic?) of Brazil and restore the Monarchy . (ii) Another example: the infamous Cohen Plan, forged by the future general Olimpio Mourão Filho, the same years after the 1st. of April 1964, used to justify the Estado Novo coup in November 1937. (iii) One more: in 1964 opinion polls that pointed to the majority support of the population for the Basic Reforms projected by the government of João Goulart were carefully hidden. In its place, mass popular support for civilian and military coup plotters spread in the mainstream media. And the coup was called the “Revolution”.

We could continue citing examples, such as the legal heresies and media idolatry surrounding Lava Jato, which even received international laurels with invitations for judge Sérgio Moro to speak in other countries and the task force award for the organization Transparency International, in Berlin.

Let's move on, however, to what is our main objective: what is the specific nature of the Bolsonaro-lie? Is it an amalgamation between fascist fanaticism and religious fanaticism? An amalgamation between the effectiveness of the complete shamelessness of the gesture authoritarian, self-sufficient, in words and choreography, and the collective implementation of a parallel reality that naturalizes lying as truth and criminal behavior as virtue? A composition that sanctifies the confusion between cleverness and intelligence, between opportunism and discernment, naughty and morality? A behavior that at the same time establishes MMA, with immoral and amoral attitudes raised to the condition of virtue politics (poor Machiavelli!), and worthless, the tabula rasa of any decorum in the choreography of power, where it's as much worth eating spitting farofa on the ground as mocking suffocation by COVID?

To begin with, fanaticism and the creation of parallel worlds are strong in Bolsonarism, but they are not an exclusive privilege of it. For 50 years, the neoliberal universe has been based on a belief that is as continuous as it is fallacious in its effectiveness, with its bunch of fiscal austerities, cuts in rights and social investments, contraction of the role of the State, repression or neutralization of trade unionism and other tricks. None of this works.

But it continues to be sung in prose and more prose in the media mainstream Worldwide. Anything that escapes this litany is immediately labeled “populist”, whether on the right or on the left, bringing together these two antagonistic worlds in the same discursive bag. At the end of the last century and at the beginning of this one, many European social democrats, greens and “socialists” converted to this conceptual universe. They became one of the most determined to apply it.

Against all evidence and crises, the neoliberal mantra remains as a reference for most rulers, economists, media commentators, in Europe, the United States, Japan, Australia, etc., despite some contrary inflections, notably due to the inflationary implications and energy of the war in Ukraine. For these “market” fundamentalists, the Latin American lefts appear as an uncomfortable point outside the curve, and make Latin America, at the moment, especially after Lula's victory in Brazil, the most important reference of anti-neoliberalism in the world.

Therefore, a kind of “non-world” was created, based on rhetorical artifacts, in opposition to the real world of hunger, unemployment, brutal concentration of income, outsourced wars, exploitation of the most vulnerable countries and the nature that empire of neoliberalism industriated as a form and formula of “good living”. That is, the victorious neoliberalism in the Cold War imposed the dissemination in the “democracies” of the West, practices that went back to the fascist tradition, boosted by the increasing digitization of the spheres of communication. It was in this melting pot that Jair Messias and his entourage of organizers and followers, starting with his own family and the militia neighborhood, began to surf.

Since the beginning of his political career, Jair Messias and his acolytes have built a messianic profile based on lies as an enticing method. It was like this with the “sexual booklet” and also with the “gay kit”, in addition to the “dick bottle”, for example. And messianic tone, rhyming with his name, underlined the propensity to institute a “parallel world” that eliminated the alternatives, whatever they were, a political “new order” that not only defeated, but eliminated its adversaries.

I think that the elimination of alternatives is at the root and frontispiece of Jair Bolsonaro's successive electoral successes, until his first major achievement, the election for president in 2018, defeating the lefts and also displacing the traditional liberal rights. To do so, he and his band mobilized a paradoxical mix of resentments and frustrations with pride and contempt for others, Pentecostal fanaticism with unbridled opportunism, fierce individualism with a sense of herd, aggregation of the like with segregation of the “rest”, praise of ignorance with computer savvy, and so on.

But it must be recognized that this path was opened to him by the paths of Brazilian neoliberalism, which also sought to eliminate alternatives, presenting itself not as the best of them, but as the only possible reality, by the media. mainstream and its desire to drown the PT and the left, and by a dominant portion of traditional politicians who, especially after the defeat of Aécio Neves in 2016, also decided to go for vale-tudo and vale-nada, with complicity in the Judiciary: the fraudulent impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and Lula's arrest, resulting in a false, unfounded and “frivolous” process, as they say in legal jargon. Messias transformed the footpath into an avenue, the trail into a highway.

After the electoral victory, the second greatest success of the Messiah was the imposition of his agenda in national politics, including an invasion of left-wing rhetoric. He turned politics into religion and vice versa. And in several of the digital “bubbles” of the left, there was the phenomenon of reproduction without comments or criticism of Bolsonarist excesses, violence and stupidity.

The result, in addition to the establishment of what today is being called “cognitive dissociation” en masse, and which can also be called “negative and collective hallucination”, was to end up in the most dramatic election in our history and also, curiously, that of terms the most depoliticized. Depoliticized? Yes, because for a good part of the time programs and alternatives were not discussed, replaced by themes such as “thievery”, “freemasonry”, “God and the Devil”, in addition to eschatologies, sexualities, coups and counter-coups, regionalisms more varied, etc.

I even read a derogatory comment in the French media saying that this election was sui-generis because one candidate, the situationist, did not speak of the future and the other, the opposition, only spoke of the past. As a matter of fact, not a few voices from our lefts made the same criticism of Lula's campaign, saying, deep down, that he should focus more on the future and, therefore, make more predictions and promises, instead of nostalgic remembrances.

I think, however, that Lula was right, especially given the fact that he put together a very broad front to end up winning by a minimal difference in votes. Lula recalled not only a time when we were happy and we knew it, but a time when more civilized politics were carried out, despite the fake-denounces have always been part of the menu of the rights.

This was also the dirtiest election since the times of the First or Old Republic. The messianic and militia style of those in power mobilized the entire Brazilian and international repertoire of true electoral trickery: fake news, abundant and secret distribution of millionaire rewards and sinecures, favors for truck drivers and taxi drivers, intimidation and the most varied violence, police blockades on the roads of redoubts considered lulist, religious lowliness, anti-Lulism and anti-PTism allied to anachronistic anti-communism, homophobia, racism, misogyny, parochial prejudice, populism and elitism, etc.

The miracle, if indeed there was a miracle, was that all this immense effort of fraud and forgery ended up with donkeys, horses and cattle in the water. Did not work. In the second round, 60 million, 345 thousand, and 999 Brazilian men and women, overcoming that political kidnapping barrier, and abstentionism, said no to vale-tudo and vale-nada. The small difference, 2 million, 139 thousand and 645 votes, proved to be huge, because the other side had acquired the certainty of victory.

This is evident in the angry, resentful and frustrated manifestations that occurred with the blocking of roads, and still occur, with the gatherings at the doors of barracks and in riots in urban centers, sometimes with the complacent gaze of the police and local authorities and military. There are several analyzes that indicate that the preparation of these operations began some time ago. I agree: the logistical support for them, by businessmen and also by police sectors, shows that they are not improvised, but are part of a planned conspiracy.

But there is something about them that also shows a certain political disarray – starting with the loss, on the part of some of the demonstrators, of faith in their Messiah who, after all, was not even that much of a messiah: his vale-tudo failed, the expected new order did not take root, showing that, deep down, he was not worth much. And there are also signs of panic, as shown by the blackout in the computers at the Planalto Palace and the rush to apply for Italian citizenship on the part of the family.

Of all this trajectory, whose outcome is far from being defined, I was left with one doubt that won't shut up and keeps echoing in my very tired eardrums: the role of the Judiciary in it. The connivance of the highest echelons of the Judiciary was fundamental to eject Dilma Rousseff from the Planalto Palace and to open the way for the Messiah, allowing Lula’s removal and ostracism in prison, blocking his path in 2018. of this high judicial echelon was and has been fundamental to contain the coup impetus radiated from the same Planalto Palace, now in the power of usurpers.

Like this? What there was? quid accidit?, to use jargon dear to the legal world.

I have a chance. To begin with, perhaps it would be more appropriate to translate that sentence into English: what happened? It is known that in the United States there is something called "Deep State”, an amalgamation of think tanks, top echelons of the intelligence services, the State Department, the financial world and others in finance and industry, who dictate, for example, foreign policy for Democrats and Republicans. Because I am convinced that there is a “Deep State” in Brazil as well, and if I cannot determine who is part of it as a whole, I am also convinced that members of the Judiciary have some role in it.

I think that at a certain point in the events these two, with the cooperation perhaps of other dimensions of Deep States around the world, turned up their noses at the Messiah and his band, and raffled off the set that was increasingly out of tune. Maybe because they convinced themselves that deep down he wasn't worth much anyway. But for that very reason it was a very dangerous danger, endangering the balance of establishment. Evidence of this involvement was the true international plot so that, in the case of Lula's victory, international recognition would happen immediately, to help prevent the feared coup d'état. And recognition has happened, although the risk of a coup has not yet completely dissipated. To see.

* Flavio Aguiar, journalist and writer, is a retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP. Author, among other books, of Chronicles of the World Upside Down (Boitempo).

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