Roots of the current government

Image Janko Ferlic


The Bolsonaro government was born with the diagnosis that the country would be ungovernable with the system of rights provided for in the 1988 Charter.

Children that we are of the relations between land ownership and slavery, in other words of the alligator with the water snake, until, five centuries later, we do not make a bad figure in the concert of civilized nations, although always under threat, in certain periods more than in others. , of giving ground to barbarism, as at the present time. At the time of our founding as an independent society, we barely knew the values ​​and institutions of political liberalism that had found animation in movements such as the Inconfidência Mineira and the Pernambuco Revolution of 1817, among many others, that will be present in the Constituent Assembly of 1823 whose text was rejected by the emperor who granted, in 1824, our first Constitutional Charter. It dates from there with the introduction of the Moderating Power exercised by the emperor, who brought sovereignty to the detriment of political representation, the baptism of our experience with political authoritarianism that in a larval state will continue to be present in our history.

Despite this serious limitation, especially in the second reign, the liberal ideology will persist as influential, acting as the revolutionary ferment, in the words of Florestan Fernandes, in the processes of modernizing changes in the country, even in sectors linked to the monarchy, such as Joaquim Nabuco and others, especially in the abolitionist struggles that will give rise to the emergence of public opinion as a new presence in Brazilian politics. With the advent of the republic, which was born under the liberal facade of the Charter of 1891, the social issue and new characters emerged on the political scene, such as businessmen and the military corporation, alongside the growing influence of positivist ideals with their scientism in matters of organization society, particularly among the military, who will soon act as a moderating power on the political scene.

The 1930 revolution will serve as a marker of a new history in which political liberalism loses its place to corporatist ideologies, and, with the 1937 Charter, to an illiberal conception of politics and refractory to parties and, as such, to the system of representation . The impetus for economic modernization operated within this conceptual framework that was maintained in the following decades under reformed modalities, with the admission of parliamentary life and political parties, in the country's modernization process.

Under the validity of the 1946 Charter, which enshrined the principles of political liberalism, once again the perception took hold that they acted as a ferment for Brazilian democratization by allowing the demands of subordinate sectors in the cities and in the countryside, especially in the latter due to the emergence of struggles for agrarian reform, putting at risk the conservative coalition that held significant sources of political power under control. The perception of this situation, perceived as a threat to its reproduction by this coalition, alongside the incompetence in the conduct of the Dilma government, was at the root of the articulation of Bolsonaro’s candidacy, a knight of fortune, and the conditions that led to his electoral victory .

The Bolsonaro government was born with the diagnosis that the country would be ungovernable with the system of rights provided for in the 1988 Charter that would be preventing capitalist accumulation, such as, among others, the legislation protecting the environment and labor relations, outlining its ministries in the task of overthrowing the constitutional text. Ultimately, in its crusade against the Constitution, it attacked the foundations of political liberalism on which it was based.

Conducting the search for the destruction of the democratic foundations of the political order with the impetus of a mission, the intention of the Bolsonaro government to align itself – in a pragmatic way, let’s say – with fascist ideals, unequivocally indicated by the attempt to present the head of the State as a mythical entity and interpreter of the nation's will, just as in the 1937 Estado Novo, Francisco Campos tried to introduce Vargas to the nation. Without further ado, the echoes of the preaching of Karl Schmitt, the jurist of the 3rd Reich of Nazi Germany, were heard among us in the profession of faith of illiberalism in politics cultivated by Bolsonaro.

The preparation for the assault on democracy, which mobilized the rabble obedient to the will of their leader, should have ended in the civic festivities of October 7th, which, for reasons still unclear, resulted in failure and the humiliating surrender of its author in a letter you wrote. The hard ordeal the democratic institutions went through demonstrated their resilience, implying in the benevolent result of admitting the elections to be cleared by electronic voting and the confirmation of the electoral calendar, frustrating yet another attempt by Bolsonaro's coup arsenal. Defeated in his pretensions as an absolutist ruler supported by the phalanxes created by him, he was left with the strategy of sustaining himself in the Centrão and trying to establish himself as one of the operators in the direction of this pasty mass that is guided by its own interests and that already extends its sights to the next presidential succession.

All in all, except for the unforeseen circumstances typical of a disjointed society like ours, it can be said that we are returning to the natural bedrock of political liberalism, lame as it is in the nature of our political tradition. The outcome of this political trance that the country is experiencing should be the next presidential succession, on everyone's radar, including that of the conservative elites, who are already mobilizing for it.

Barely out of a cruel epidemic, society and its action agencies will now know their time and their turn, starting with the proposal of an economic agenda that commits itself to the resumption of the country's development, oriented towards the creation of jobs in a perspective of social inclusion and defense of the environment, in favor of a broad movement in public opinion for the punishment of those responsible for the crimes committed, in the form of what was found in the Senate CPI, in the face of the pandemic that claimed the lives of more than 600 thousand Brazilians, and by imposing a policy as broad as possible in the sense of presenting a candidacy for the presidential term committed to democracy and civilizing ideals.

Within reach of our hands, via elections or a shorter route, as the case may be, the time is coming to get out of this nightmare with which the world will start again.

*Luiz Werneck Vianna is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). Author, among other books, of The passive revolution. Iberism and Americanism in Brazil (Revan).

Originally published on the portal IHU Online.




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