Three months – imagination to power



The exercise of alterity and solidarity illuminate the road that leads to the future – with dignity

To approach the three months of the new government, it is necessary to situate the events in time and space. In how democracies die, Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt list four indicators of authoritarian behavior in candidacies that present themselves as outsiders in elections: (i) the rejection or relativization of democratic rules; (ii) the denial of the legitimacy of political opposition; (iii) tolerance towards the encouragement of violence and; (iv) the restriction of the civil liberties of the opposition, including the media.

Characteristics present in the campaigns of Donald Trump in the United States (2016) and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil (2018), which have similarities. The citizens who voted, in both cases, did not take seriously the announcement of the specter of the State of exception. They rejoiced in the supposed bravado. Those who did not vote took the despotic promises to “arrest, beat, kill” to the letter. They were right. Never before has so many weapons and so much hatred been propagated. No wonder, the number of feminicides and attacks on lgbtqia+ groups increased dramatically. The greatest nations of the Americas became mambembe circuses of the meteoric neo-fascist world rise.

The defeat of the sociopathic clowns to Joe Biden (2020) and Lula da Silva (2022) evokes the episode of the Austrians in support of the Green Party candidate, to stop the rise of the extreme right. Like the French who opted for the upstart Emmanuel Macron, inventor of a party (On March!) to launch the race for Elysee Palace. They feared that right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen would rise to power and hide the key. The contemporary moderate right has not reprized the concessions that helped Benito Mussolini become prime minister of Italy and Adolf Hitler chancellor of Germany. Experience advises against playing with demons. In competitive elections, with narrow margins, small displacements influence the results of the polls.

Europe had sense this time. Among us, the so-called liberal politicians were not so cautious in the face of danger. They boarded the ship of fools that ousted an elected president, jailed the leader of the voting intentions in the next fight and swore in a vomiting representative. It was up to the trade union centrals, artists and journalists to play a leading role in alerting to the tragedy of the re-election of someone disqualified in the public, moral and cognitive dimension. Of the active politicians, the most significant supporters were Marina Silva (Rede) and Simone Tebet (MDB), whose party has its fingerprints on the 2016 coup d'état and the responsibility for vile attacks on labor and social security rights. Ciro Gomes (PDT) repeated the mistake made in the previous dispute, with an identical emotional and superb lack of intelligence. As in the song by Roberto Carlos, “Your stupidity doesn't let you see”.

The construction of authoritarianism

Executive. To circumvent the Supreme Court, the government of Viktor Orbán in Hungary passed a constitution to increase the total number of members of the court, with cronies of the ruling party. The ultra-right Benjamin Netanyahu intends the same in Israel, where the masses have taken to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest against the reduction of the powers of the High Court. The genocide of Brazil land he did not disguise his desire to intervene in the Judiciary to change the picture of the Superior Federal Court (STF), shield the family's impunity and dismantle the rule of law in the air.

Parliament. President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, a progressive former priest, suffocated in the polling booths, ended a 61-year protectorate of the Colorado Party. He was an outsider with few friends in Congress. He suffered the lawfare to erode its public reputation in the peripheries. Losing popularity, it suffered the impeachment. The ruling classes took revenge. Former President Dilma Rousseff was not the first victim of parliamentary betrayal; she was the only victim of misogyny.

Media control. Censorship is part of modus operandi of the state of exception. In Turkey, the tyrannical Recep Erdogan effectively wielded the law against the Dogan Yayin conglomerate, which owned 50% of the Turkish media market. A fine of nearly $2,5 billion flattened the corporation and forced the sale of portions of its assets. In Russia, autocrat Vladimir Putin shut up an independent television network. The owner was arrested on charges of “financial embezzlement”. In exchange for freedom, he ceded NTV to energy giant Gazprom and went into exile.

For Patricia Campos Mello, in The Hate Machine, the tyrannies of the XNUMXst century “know that the mainstream media is the biggest obstacle to the hegemony of factophobic populists”. Slow with the litter, though. If the post-truth incubated in the digital bubbles finds a contradictory in the conventional media, it does not follow that the western media are impartial or that they refrain from sponsoring the institutions. Or that they do not seek to exercise censorship on third parties.

Role of the politically incorrect. Language accompanies attacks to demoralize opponents. O Tea Party recommends in booklets adjectives to stick with Democrats (“pathetic, sick, liars, disloyal to the flag and family”). Olavo de Carvalho prefers profanity: “politeness is the straitjacket that binds people and forces them to respect what does not deserve respect – vaitodostomarnocu”. The objective is to deprive blacks, women, gays and intellectuals of recognition, and address those who interact through resentments, not through the articulation of rational arguments. “Could speech harm us if we weren't linguistic beings?” asks Judith Butler.

Deconstruction of authoritarianism

The arduous victory against the most dishonest elective campaign in history, with the use and abuse of the functional machine by the situationist candidate (the damage to the Treasury is estimated at R$ 300 billion), distribution of public money to truck drivers, taxi drivers , App drivers, interference in the ICMS of the federative units, private contributions from agribusiness, retail megastores, finance and gold, diamond and cassiterite mining in Yanomami territory – with revenues of billions evaded annually – all added up and multiplied not managed to erase the shining of the star in the rebellious heart of the voters. The resilience of the people was greater than the scoundrel.

But the Brazilian social fabric was torn apart. Society does not see itself as unified. There is no consensus on the direction of the country. Neoliberalism presses for the withdrawal of rights. Rentism delights in Petrobras' dividends. Brazil became a trading post, forbidden to pursue the project of a nation with responsibility for general well-being. The concertation of the three republican powers around democracy, in the riot of January 8, was an auspicious milestone. It revived the “State-movement” to defend and advance in the socialization of civilizing values.

In a defensivist context, it is about subverting authoritarian logic with liberating pedagogy to: (1) enhance the democratic rules of the game, in negotiations that are not always ideal; (2) accept the legitimacy of political opponents, in accordance with the Constitution; (3) discourage intolerance and violence, strengthening public debate; (4) guarantee civil liberties, provided they do not infringe on collective rights.

The dialogic anchor for social harmony resides in stimulating endogenous development and in recovering an active and proud role in foreign relations. Government proposals need to emphasize coherence with such ideological vectors of action. Institute the new common sense.

The intensity of egalitarian activities depends on the evolution of the class struggle, on the organizational capacity, mobilization and awareness of social movements and on the unfolding of the international scenario in the direction of multipolarity, against the interests of US imperialism. The threat of nuclear war, the climate crisis and the risk to democracies hangs over the world. He blacked out the cat's eye. Gramscianly, the optimism of the will matched the pessimism of reason.

Now it's worth the truth, life

Two problems surround the Lula government. On the one hand, the state's political voluntarism for changes in the structures of domination, without the support of the streets and institutional injunctions. A tendency that would precipitate frustrations, pouring water into the mill of the triad of neoconservative, neoliberal and neofascist backwardness: the “three sad tigers” that were caged with the victory of the Front of Hope, but not yet subjugated. On the other hand, the accommodation in strategic posts of parties that yesterday were at the base of the defeated government is a risk, in an environment of shifting sands. In addition to not ensuring governance, the physiological, clientelist and privatist culture of the right-wing forces generates a gravitational field of attraction and alienation on the government as a whole – a burden.

The siege is completed in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic, where a majority composition of personalities takes advantage, without the intention of changing the status quo. The finishing touch is made by the pseudo independence of the Central Bank, in the arrangement of monetary policy at the service of finance. For the Nobel Prize in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, “the high interest rates of the Selic rate are a death penalty for the country, they cannot be justified by fiscal reality, which is totally distorted”.

The context requires the perspicacity of a chess player from the president-statesman to avoid pitfalls and blackmail, as well as dealing with the nonconformities of the Armed Forces metamorphosed into “mules” to carry drugs on FAB planes and millionaire jewels in backpacks, in the quadrennium. However, at the beginning of this government, the programs to combat abysmal inequalities returned (Zé Gotinha, Farmácia Popular, Mais Médicos, Minha Casa, Minha Vida; Bolsa Família, etc.) characteristic of previous mandates. These are social empathy programs, mind you. With class identity reaffirmed in Brazilian society (Lulism, in André Singer's description), the exercise of alterity and solidarity illuminate the road that leads to the future – with dignity.

The so-called “Development” that will seek to reintroduce millions of indebted families into the market, as a result of the government's anti-social and anti-industrializing policies, which were too late, constitutes an impetus for the future. A novelty to face the crisis that made Brazil grow like a ponytail, downwards. The expansion of the population's political rights, through social participation, will help design the progressive profile of the new governance. As the old saying goes, the road is long, but each step will get shorter. For that, you need ideas, creativity.

The militia mismanagement, corrupt, anti-popular, perverted, in the Ipec survey appears in the 24% of respondents who consider the government “bad or terrible”, now in progress.[1] The root Bolsonarism was reduced to this percentage, in the course of the emblematic and auspicious first hundred days. 41% consider the PT’s recycled mandate “good or great”. The false messiah, in March 2019, had a favorable contingent of 34%, for a slight comparison. Sociability is being regenerated, with convictions and evidence. At the moment, the challenge charges us with a dialectic of overcoming and emancipation. Which in the poem by Thiago de Mello: “It is decreed that now the truth is worth, / that life is now worth, / and that hand in hand, / we will all work for true life”.

Although important, founding, unavoidable, an agenda of resuming the initiatives that emerged at the dawn of the XNUMXst century is not enough. Fragile, the incipient Brazilian democracy that struggles to combine political demands with socioeconomic demands needs more than promises of eternal love to consolidate itself. The legacy of colonialism (racism) and patriarchy (sexism) is heavy, forging a capitalism averse to the needs of the people and the nation itself, based on the overexploitation of labor and the predatory relationship with the environment, with disregard for youth.

After the wild storm of neoliberalism, after the river of fake news, nonsense, hypocrisies and destruction that passed in our doors, the urgent time has come to unfurl and renew the banner of the insurgents of May 1968. Namely, “imagination to power”.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


[1] Data from the DataFolha survey released today are not very different. Cf.

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