On the meeting between Lula and FHC

Gabriela Pinilla, Negotiation between Colombian government delegates and the M 19 guerilla, Oil on copper, 28 X 41 centimeters. 2014, Bogota, Colombia


A common “vision” of resistance against militia fascism installed in Brasilia

Legend has it that when Guimarães Rosa was a diplomat in the country's representation in Colombia (Bogotá), at the 1948 Inter-American Conference, our delegation was protected at the local Embassy for several days, since the insurrection was raging throughout the city and no one was able to afford it. of security to transit in the streets or even to travel to leave the capital. The assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, popular anti-imperialist leader, aroused the anger of the people which was translated into a great insurrectionary political movement.

After his return to Brazil, a journalist asked Guimarães Rosa what he had done in those historic days, getting the following answer from him: “I reread Proust”. Rosa was never politically alienated, nor insensitive to the fate of others, because as Brazilian Consul in Hamburg during Nazism – before Brazil entered the 2nd. War – “forged” hundreds of passports that freed Jewish families to travel and thus escape the Nazi massacre. By saying that he only “reread Proust”, the great writer was simply stating that, regardless of his political preferences, he recognized the concrete situation and his real impossibility of acting on it, contrary to what he had done in Hamburg.

Lula’s meeting with Fernando Henrique, adjusting – not an electoral alliance, but a common “vision” of resistance against militia fascism installed in Brasilia – shows that both were convinced, in my view correctly, that they would have no justification for “re-reading Proust ”, fleeing the impasse that surrounds us and them.

In this context of national tragedy and the pain of others, under penalty of going to the margins of History without dignity, they saw that what is at stake is not any social democratic claim, but the very existence of the Republic and Democracy, When we approach 500 thousand deaths caused by criminal denialism and the arrogant ineptitude of the Government their conversation is a jet of light in the conjuncture. At times, “re-reading Proust” is an act of omissive political wisdom, at other times it is omission that would be a crime, as it would have been in Hamburg, and, at other times, omitting to make a decision can be a denial of the truth and also a collaboration action with the disaster. Let us remember a significant historical fact for the world communist movement – ​​today in disuse and in expiration – which was the attitude of the communists before the rise of Nazi-fascism. At the Sixth Congress of the Communist International, in 1928, with the victory of Stalin's point of view, supported by Zinoviev's revolutionary verve, the view that fascism and social democracy were twin brothers was ratified. A position that put, therefore, the parliamentary democracies of the West and the rising Nazi-fascism on the same plane. The tragedy that followed is well known and the belated repeal of this supposedly revolutionary simplification failed to block the worst faces of barbarism.

The thesis endorsed in this Congress “patronized” the entire world communist movement, which, waiting for the revolution that would be on the horizon, accepted a false identity that led to impotence the resistance to fascism. What was at stake was the defeat of fascism on the horizon and not betting on a revolution that had not yet shown its egalitarian virtues in the land of Bolshevism.

The great political leaders who, at different times, assumed democratic governments in the Federation, from the 30s Revolution to the present day, never intended to lead their leaders – inside and outside their Governments – to a fight against the capitalist system. Its programs have always been “reformist”, sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left, and they never proposed socialist revolutions.

All these leaders lived with socialist, social-democratic and communist groups, and were – according to the personal history of each one – closer or more distant, both from traditional conservatism, and from the ideas of equality and solidarity of the democratic enlightenment, which have been going through the historical cycle of the French Revolution, of which the Russian Revolution was its most radicalized example. The cycle of the last sixty years of disputes for the reforms of capitalism in Brazil, however, has important political landmarks that must be remembered, which cannot be subsumed in the immediate debate of the fascist reaction and the discourses of the “myth”. Several exemplary landmarks were produced in the field of what is conventionally called the left, for the development of a fairer and more sovereign Brazil, such as the declaration of “public utility” (for expropriations destined for agrarian reform) that occurred at the end of the João Goulart Government: it designated 10 km along the banks of federal highways, if unproductive land, for the implementation of agrarian reform.

Getúlio, Juscelino, Jango, Sarney, Itamar, Fernando Henrique and Lula – not all appointed or self-designated as “left”, never defended communist or socialist ideas in any sense, but public policies of a social nature, more or less advanced (or progressive and “popular”) at different times, in greater or lesser proximity to left-wing thinking.

The apparent radicalism of their Governments came more from the discomfort of our dominant classes of slave extraction than from any sense of “expropriation” of the privileges of the rich. I think that some advanced political episodes in democratic terms, from this period, should be considered in this moment of necessary unity: Goulart's courage in search of the Agrarian Reform defended by Brizola, JK's "developmentalist" actions, the Human Rights policies developed in the FHC government by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Lula's strategic social projects that lifted 40 million Brazilians out of poverty and inaugurated a Brazil of global respect. The narratives of a good part of the socialist left, anchored in the dominant thinking of the III International, about these Governments – as if they were likely to become traveling companions for a socialist project – has always been a heroic discussion, proposed by those who failed to generate a party revolutionary with class independence and thus thought that piggybacking on progressive reformism would facilitate the advent of socialism.

Today, however, what matters is defending the country from fascist aggression, which limits a single field of resistance that, if it fails, will close the future for everyone in a country dominated by crime and hatred. Thankfully, Lula and FHC understood that it was not the legitimate moral and political moment to “re-read Proust” and re-read – each one of them – their democratic political memory. It might not work out, but this lunch is already in history and its political menu can help change it for the better.

*Tarsus in law he was Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil.


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