Constitutional renegotiation

Image: Mitchell Luo


The re-constitutionalization of the country involves the resumption and reinvigoration of the Federal Constitution of 1988, in its positive object

The text cuts two areas of the same analysis, reality, namely: (i) Brazil moving to 2023 (2026); and, (ii) thus, enunciates the need for a re-constitutionalization (national renegotiation) and exposes the context announced by an electoral process that we divide into four acts – in an attempt to observe some procedure that is already espoused.


The urgent constitutional renegotiation

In the foreground: is the analysis correct that – in order to defeat fascism, the extreme right (in the ballot box, not in ideas) – the left renegotiated with the right?

If the answer is positive, the next question points to “reconstitutionalization” as a resumption of the bonds of the civilizing process, since article 215, paragraph 1, of the Federal Constitution of 1988:

Art. 215 The State will guarantee everyone the full exercise of cultural rights and access to the sources of national culture, and will support and encourage the appreciation and dissemination of cultural manifestations.

& 1º The State will protect the manifestations of popular, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cultures, and those of other groups participating in the national civilizing process.

Alongside this, we have ahead the immense and urgent global task for national renegotiation: (a) as a Federation, especially regarding the scope of the institutionality of power - since the bankrupt State (15 billion negatives in education alone) tensions the Union and presents problems that will not be small; (b) in the broadest sense, in which one can see the strong performance of public education in combating and dismantling the in-depth process of social deterioration and Nazification to which we were subjected. Let's call it societal renegotiation with civility.

Amidst the urgencies, the herculean effort to be employed in separating the State from the government still stands out, dismantling the institutions of personal interests, partisans, nefarious groups, as seen since 2016. This promiscuity between interests that cannot be publicly confessed has been corroding all signs and guarantees of the Republic, democracy, the rule of law. Briefly summarized, this is the result that comes when the State and the government intermingle in a single autocratic apparatus of instituted power. Obviously, public power is withering away, giving us the urgency deposited in the institutional reconstruction of Article 3 itself and of the caput of article 37 of the Federal Constitution of 1988: Art. 37 - The direct and indirect public administration of any of the powers of the Union, the States, the Federal District and the Municipalities will obey the principles of legality, impersonality, morality, publicity and efficiency...

The most pragmatic result of this reintroduction of minimally democratic institutionalities implies the functioning of the rule of law and, simply put, means applying the “maximum rigor of the law” in the investigation and punishment of the perpetrators of the most serious crimes against humanity, notably seen since the 2020 pandemic.

Within this general framework, we still account for the fate of the Bolsonarist military and the role of the FFAA in the Brazilian contraption: on what basis will we be able to articulate the necessary (and obvious) re-constitutionalization of the country? Will this be the force of law to remove us from the condition of a state of exception, permanently, and thereby reduce the enjoyment (so necessary, currently) of the unconstitutional state of affairs?

How far will we be able to advance or will we only be able to inhibit the retreat? Technically, we will bring back the civility of the Principle of Social Non-Regression - used, cynically, as a favorable argument of the process of impeachment from 2016? Or will we go further in the civilizing process, building the foundations of a plurinational State? Chile was defeated in its Constitution project. And we, will we advance in this ideal?

The institutionality of the Ministry of Original Peoples is important, it will be a landmark of civility, however, like all other ministries, its effectiveness depends on the organicity and public health of the State; as well as one of the first and main challenges will be to separate the spurious (fascist) unity that, by confining State and government in a single despotic apparatus, ended up ruining the environmental State and putting us in the gutter as scum and global pariah.

Underlying this perspective is the perspective of the disarming of public power (tainted by fascist public agents) and, at the end of this political-institutional clash, the exemplary punishment of those who committed crimes against the people, democracy, humanity.

In general terms, this is the political-institutional context of the first four chapters of this long soap opera called the 2022 election – and which is far from over. Today we will only see the summary:


Election in four acts

Act 1 – Lots of volatile energies, especially so there wouldn't be a second round. Research institutes fought each other a lot, and reality fought almost everyone. Ironically, the “less qualified” came closer to the result – that is, we would go to the next act.

Act 2 – The second round was a pitched battle, with threats, embarrassment, violence and a lot of lies and deceit. The Federal Highway Police (PRF) did not let voters vote. The loser launched an Auxílio Brasil from the days of the pen-and-ink vote. But, none of that worked, and his defeat was the epicenter of the third act.

Act 3 – We call this third shift Transition, a huge patchwork quilt is being sewn together: politics is an art of sewing alliances – negotiation. However, it is also the moment of coup threats, called “military intervention” (aberration in legis), concrete fears of future imprisonment or The Hague. This phase is preparatory to the fourth act, that is, as a figure of speech, it can be said that 2022 will go through the municipal elections of 2024 and will only end in 2026. And under what conditions? It's a chess policy, with pawns tangled up with Kings and Queens.

It's also called political realism, because that's what we have for today. The agenda is to create “governability”. By the way, this picture (besides the election itself) illustrates very well how “politics is mathematics”, especially since we have already left the condition of electoral militancy. And with that, the fourth act is presented: “gaining power is not difficult, when compared to staying in power”.

Act 4 – The fourth round of the 2022 election will start on January 1, 2023: the day of the inauguration. It is the high cost of the diplomacy of power. In the midst of all the imbroglio, the fourth round also imposes on us the necessary obligation to keep a leftist front alive and active; not as systematic opposition, but as resistance.

We must put pressure, tension, right-wing governance, so as not to give in on everything. If social movements remain dormant, captured by the “sense of power”, as in the near past, then 2024 and 2026 will not be very pleasant.

Two initial years of truce will be necessary, because the State is destroyed, but without the social movements being trapped in the bargaining of positions, without the imprisonment of leaders with political power, so that we have chances of resuming important agendas, such as the of labor reform. However, without becoming a public office. This has already happened, and in the 2016 coup the civil resistance took a while to organize itself.

Our chance lies in tightening the “curvature of the rod”, without capturing the leadership. Governability will lead to the right, contention and a turn to the left will depend on organized streets, to incline the Legislative itself. In any case, one sees no other way than to “program” a resistance from the left.

In any power dispute relationship, it is natural (mandatory) to co-opt or annul the opposition, however, if we play this game again with the left leaders of social movements, every day we will be more and more hostages of the centrão, the right, the Faria Lima, from agribusiness – the same one who suffers threats in foreign trade due to deforestation.


On the re-contracting of public space

In summary, the re-constitutionalization of the country involves the resumption and reinvigoration of the 1988 Federal Constitution, in its positive object – inclusion, popularization, participation, emancipation – and, in a very pragmatic way, the proposition of a social State that is more distant from market liberalism and closer to the groups, layers, strata and social classes subordinated by social misery. This is the general cost of the 2022 election and its discharge will not be easy, after all, the fight will take place against the financial market, the big traditional media (reactionary by definition), the highest stratifications of the public service: the State's managerial castes who don't even call themselves public servants, some are “members” … as if they were brothers from the upper caste.

As a matter of principle, it is mandatory that we renegotiate the State with democratic law and the government with the people, not only with the market, the elites, with the military and that shell of the public service: especially the Judiciary and the Public Prosecutor's Office.

All public policies need to be oriented with a view to combating poverty, denialism and thus promoting what has been called (historically) denazification: putting civility back on the axis of societal renegotiation. In this sense, public education will form a decisive axis (or should be guided in this way), since children and young people must have the opportunity to receive knowledge independently.

We definitely need to study in depth what the phenomenon of Nazi-fascism was, what structural racism is and this resounding misogyny. Our historical roots tell us the striking residues of slave thinking, the disregard for democracy and the imposition of autocratic, elitist and excluding human dignity ideals. This is the task we have always set ourselves and it is what we hope to promote from January 1, 2023. In short, our hopes must be realistic and pragmatic.

*Vinicio Carrilho Martinez He is a professor at the Department of Education at UFSCar.

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