There's only one like Lula

Image Bayram Er


The civilized world seeks a charismatic leader who makes sense, and sees this figure in the former president

We don't know of an epic that compares to the fortunes and misadventures of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's life. Art is incapable of imitating his life. Biographers and filmmakers strive to portray the real life of a unique character. It is magical realism, written by the fate of a single man, as his friends and enemies alike must recognize.

And much of it happened before our eyes, a great open-air show. Lula ended his second consecrated term to, a few years later, be betrayed by accusations of corruption, which would lead to his conviction and imprisonment for 580 days; prison from which he would leave, based on a series of judicial decisions that made him innocent and eligible, in order to allow his candidacy for the presidency in the next elections of 2022. And he has chances, as shown by polls of voting intentions, to win in the first round.

In these elections, Lula will face Jair Bolsonaro. But that will be no more electrifying than a clash that is projected against the judge who condemned him. Sergio Moro will have to face Lula, now no longer in his comfort environment, under the toga and with control of the decisions.

Lula's life is a thriller under construction. But it's not that, it's not those incessant wanderings that make him an absolutely unique political figure in the world.

His recent travels reveal an uncontainable desire, which is evidenced by the nobility and distinctions with which important heads of state received him, to find a world leadership capable of symbolizing the opposition against the alt-right, xenophobia, racism and denialism. The civilized world is looking for a charismatic leader who makes sense, who knows where to put his hands when he wields the flags of reducing social inequalities, fighting hunger, respecting minorities and protecting the environment. A politician who does not affront the requirements of political centrality and who does not frighten capital.

Lula is unique in the world (think of someone else!). Only he will be able to convince the masses that a return to the glorious past of globalism is still viable, weakened by the erosion of migration policies, the overcoming of the traditional framework of labor relations, the rejection of peripheral nations and even the imminent failure of promises to world peace. It is a chance to alleviate the generalized bad mood that affects inefficient democracies, captured by interest groups, harassed by undue influences that gained titanic muscle with the appearance of social networks. This is what largely explains his resounding return to the international political scene, even if internally the gray cloud on the horizon foreshadows an electoral war of biblical proportions.

Europe is the big target of the extreme right, and, in the US, Trump threatens to return, under the strong impression that Biden's victory will not be able to sew the wide tears in the American social fabric.

Hungary and Poland are governed respectively by Viktor Orbán's Fidesz and the Law and Justice Party of Andrzej Duda and Mateusz Morawiecki. These countries, under far-right governments, are waging legal battles against the European Union to reaffirm their sovereignty over the bloc's decisions.

Greece and Croatia, both run by right-wing governments, could be investigated by the EU Executive Commission after reports in the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that paramilitary forces from both countries have been detaining, beating and expelling refugees trying to cross their borders.

In France, the extreme right grows, as a block, in voting intentions for the April 2022 presidential elections. The controversialist Éric Zemmour, who is not yet officially a candidate, already boasts 17% of voting intentions. Marine Le Pen, from National Gathering, has 15%. The two together add up to 32%. The current president, Emmanuel Macron, has 24%, and the four parties furthest to the left, Greens, Socialists, Communists and France Insubmissive, add up to 25%. The scenario of the previous election, with Macron facing an extreme right candidacy in the second round, must be repeated, with the difference that, now, it is doubtful that a leftist alliance will support him.

The German Party alternative for Germany, from the extreme right, did not win in the last federal elections, but was well voted among the younger people of the former East Germany, massacred by unemployment and the high cost of living.

In the Iberian Peninsula, the extreme right articulates itself more and more and better, led by the Spanish party Vox, whose ideological matrix is ​​based on the rescue of the memory of the Francoist dictatorship.

A few months ago, in Rome, at the end of a demonstration called by extremist organizations against health measures, half of the 10 demonstrators present broke away from the mob in an attempt to invade the seat of the Italian government, the Chighi Palace, in Piazza Colonna, as well as similar to the invasion of the Capitol, in Washington. Prevented by the police, the crowd changed course to invade and vandalize the headquarters of one of the main Italian trade union centrals, the CGIL, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, in the style of Mussolini's fascism.

In this context, it seems evident that progressive and center forces cling to Lula as a lifeline, because they concluded that today, in the world, there is only one like Lula: Lula.

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

Originally published on the magazine's website Capital letter.


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