The inconsolable children of democracy

Image: Elyeser Szturm


Despite Sunday's barbarism, a considerable portion of Brazilians still support military intervention

The Sunday of Shame displayed the attack against public buildings that symbolize the most sacred institutions of the Republic. We imagined that the eschatological scenes of vandalism would horrify the whole country and lead us to a unanimous defense of the democratic rule of law. But that didn't happen. Despite the immediate institutional reaction, opinion polls reveal that, after all, after the episode that shamed the country before the civilized world, thirty-five percent of our people still support military intervention. This is not enough to create a rupture under the armed hand of sectors of the Armed Forces, but it can erode to the last clod of land a government on which all hope of existential continuity of democracy rests.

There are some inconvenient truths behind this astonishment. Democracy has produced, all over the world, inconsolable and other ungrateful children. On the one hand, those whom democracy, under a capitalist production regime, has not been able to feed, provide decent housing, education and security. On the other hand, those who live in capitalist abundance, but feel resentful because they think they “pay the bill” by themselves.

The victory of Lula, one of the last statesmen on the entire planet, able to excite the masses in favor of democratic ideals, has still not been able to alter this state of affairs. And if you don't curb your discomfort with the Armed Forces, maybe everything will get worse.

Lula is a product of the social struggles that opposed the military regime. That is, it emerges and thrives with the democratic opening, under the guidance of military personnel like Geisel and Golbery, whom the extreme right considers infiltrated leftists. Lula is the son of redemocratization, which buried the political ambitions of officers and aspiring officers who gravitated around Sylvio Frota, a symbol of the hard line, removed from power in October 1977, so that the paths of the New Republic could be paved.

The lost generation of Sylvio Frota returned, in the womb of Bolsonarism, with a populism that the hardliners could call their own. Jair Bolsonaro was democratically elected and, like so many other representatives of the alternative right, of the no sense that animates the masses, almost ends democracy in Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro expanded the participation of military personnel in positions of trust and empowered police regiments throughout the country, under the affirmation of an ethical cornucopia that speaks to a large part of the Brazilian population. He fertilized, gestured and laid the serpent's egg that hatched on the Sunday of shame. And that generated a monster that feeds on the rupture and distance between traditional politics and part of the people.

There will be no solution without the President dialoguing with the top of the Armed Forces, mostly conservative and dissatisfied with the results of the polls. It's as if Mozart was writing a symphony and someone turned on a jackhammer in the street in front of his house. This task cannot be entrusted to third parties. Only Lula, the greatest political genius in Brazil's history, will be able to handle this situation.

Moreover, it will be necessary to look at democracy and its ills, seek a fine regulation of democracy, in order to prevent undue interference in the formation and expression of the popular will and, when this is not possible, balance it with legitimate public interests, create structures perennial planning and construction of state strategies, which cannot vary according to changes in government, as well as state structures to safeguard democracy, as was done by Germany.

Large democracies must be able to compete in efficiency with autocratic regimes that have more recently flourished in a market regime under intense state coordination. And in doing so, they must share the product of economic success equally, so that there are not a multitude of losers and very few winners.

But all this under the certainty that it is not possible to accommodate all wishes. As in the best of families, there will always be inconsolable children, for whom only a good correction by the law remains.

* Rafael Valim, lawyer, holds a PhD in administrative law from PUC-SP, where he taught from 2015 to 2018. Author, among other books, of Lawfare: an introduction (with Cristiano Zanin and Valeska Zanin Martins) (Countercurrent).

*Walfrido Warde, lawyer, holds a doctorate in commercial law from USP. Author, among other books, of The spectacle of corruption (Law).

The A Terra é Redonda website exists thanks to our readers and supporters.
Help us keep this idea going.
Click here and find how

See this link for all articles