Another Lula under construction

The olive branch that did not germinate. Mural painting, 100 square meters, 2019, Bogotá, Colombia.
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By LUIZ ROBERTO ALVES*

It is not possible to understand the governments of Lula and Dilma without reading the results of the Conferences that worked on the various political and social actions

The PT is not rebuilding the union leader and former president, but rather the scattered forces in search of a third way and desirous of their tertiary. Such forces certainly do not yet know if and when they will use the references of the Tertius Gaudens or tertius iungens. Depending on the electoral polls, the competence of the available political cadres and the talent of the candidacies already put forward by Lula and Bolsonaro, those today dispersed forces – and their possible organizers – will work with different ways of engaging political partners and fans. However, there are no strategies for the scattered, on the fence or freeloaders. There will have to be a dense and conscious core of a political project.

Coming from the sciences of administration, such organizational and information strategies for networks and agencies can be used in different situations. An already solid political core will work on the outskirts of Lula and Bolsonaro's candidacies and there will seek its growth from the dispersed of various kinds, an action that recalls the tertius iungens, based on continually bringing and joining one more. Another reading implies placing oneself in the middle of the electoral process and finding gaps and fissures in the two current candidacies, so as to build the pleasure of victory for the benefit of the tertius gaudens.

However, there is no pleasure in the current dispersion and organization of weapons. In the “competition” experienced today (G. Rosa) there is a bet on the well-known way of governing of the current president, symbolized by the desired change in the depository of votes, the electronic ballot box, which will still enter as a democratic demand in future popular marches. And there is a still strong set of memories from the Lula administration, based on a labor leadership that far surpassed the Getulist way of thinking about work and built rights enshrined in the 1988 Constitution, partially destroyed by the “neoliberal wickedness” (Paulo Freire) and its swallowing all those fruits of the act of working and guaranteeing dignity for the peripheral and foundling world that fills the big cities since the 1930s. This solid action, however, does not avoid a world of accusations about covering up robberies and other ills, not fully proven by the law and already put in the sights of the dispersed and the president in office.

The possible tertiary would have to submit new. Although one should never say, to maintain the scientificity of an intelligent action, as was said of Jesus of Nazareth, that is, “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” the scattered forces have some time to rebuild. However, its headlights, today, point to despair.

This is what one reads in a columnist for the last day of May in Folha de São Paulo, Mrs. Rochamonte, vicarious face of the São Paulo newspapers. A biography that moves between transcendence and liberalism, the columnist is an adequate representative, both of the newspapers and of the moment of uncertain liberal forces towards the tertiary. The text follows conceptual conclusions and does not see a speck of historical or sociological rationality. If Bolsonaro's concrete actions, already compelled and proven also in the CPI documents and, before that, in the suffering of the majority of the Brazilian people, do not require textual evidence. However, Mrs. Rochamonte's “nefarious Lula” has the right to a few sentences of truth. At least search. In vain. It is enough for the columnist to transcend the mere hypothesis of authoritarian populism and navigate through desperate concepts and adjectives: old, worthless, corrupt, authoritarian, populist. A tedious chain of terms that boomerang and return to their own despair in the face of what the eyes see and the time that passes.

Mrs. Rochamonte goes so far as to affirm what FHC did not say. For her, the vote of the political leader and former president is guaranteed for Lula. She jumps, therefore, through his sentences and focuses on the vote instead of thinking about the electoral bipolarity that would lead him to vote for Lula. The fact activates the text. From the middle to the end of the desperate texture, the disparate political forces are called to the discursive mode of united order or “moral lesson” in the dispersed and aimless young people.

At this point, its threatened liberalism becomes a totem in the middle of the confused village and the primitive value is actualized as a prophecy of the destruction of democracy. Judging by the end of the text, Mrs. Rochamonte understands that Lula will be a destroyer of democracy. Incidentally, his fatalistic inflection on Lula is much greater than on Bolsonaro. Does she still see loopholes on the side of the current ruler for a viable negotiation?

The small text is a vault for irrationality. Could it be that many people are still capable, considering a healthy conscience, of disposing of the government that was in force between 2003 and 2010 as a destroyer of Brazilian democracy?

Before the brief argument, it should be said that this columnist was not educated to submit to bosses, party leaders and even rulers. It follows, therefore, that he does not have any party power of attorney to counter the charge. The only thing that prevails is the awareness that this country has gone too far in bravado wrapped up in reason, or in forgetting the native brilliance that in fact indicated a democratic path with a strong degree of originality, present in the great civilizing essays, in the aesthetics and ethics of the popular cultures, in the spirit of freedom of cinema and theater, in the effective prophecies of youth in dramatic moments, in the old and long-suffering struggles for decent work and in other phenomena that populate Brazilian writing and touch memory without needing to mention so many names at the risk of forget any.

Now, even though liberal hatred (and Lula did not stray too far from Liberalism) cannot be transformed into a historical-sociological explanation, the deeds and facts embodied in social policies demand more from rational intelligence. If the criticism that the summits of that governance partially tied the social movements that sought that generic consciousness that generated political consciousness is fair (as proposed by Agnes Heller and Paulo Freire), it is a historical fact that the intermediate levels of governance, along with movements, were brilliant in their propositions, namely the advances in the spheres of culture, education and participation via conferences. It is not only unfair but also absurd to object to government leadership without discussing the most worthy places in governance itself (intermediate levels and movements) since only they created the memory that today spreads through networks and builds the former president's candidacy. The president's simple support for the intelligence and praxis of these public agents would already guarantee him the mention of a democrat and a good executor of fundamental policies.

It is not possible to understand the Lula and Dilma governments without reading (having the pleasure of reading, as suggested by Roland Barthes and other readers, other readers) the results of the Conferences that worked on the various political and social actions: education, housing, culture, environment , urban management etc. They are the definitive proof that those governments built new facets in the suffered history of Brazilian democracy among authoritarianisms. No other democratic government had such good middle echelons! History has not yet offered them the place they deserve for the debate on governance and democracy, a fact also due to the messianic-type party-political burden that the Colony and the Empire placed on our backs, which still burns and causes fungus to proliferate. There was no Lula without public agents and social movements. Even in what was left to do to ensure longer memory and action and less subject to destruction.

No reading will be done, it seems, in the direction of 2022. Only exacerbations around the supposed read, the supposed heard, the supposed thought, which is organized as a simulation in the dark times. As a necessary intellectual act, the writer wishes to be contradicted.

However, a clear sign of this deteriorated world (which worried both the sincere capitalist Max Weber and the saddened socialist György Lukács) is Mrs Rochamonte's text. Pardon the word, a nefarious text.

Bah, how much more will we have to endure in the tortuous languages ​​that fill Brazilian politics, until there is no way not to cry out like Goethe: light!

*Luiz Roberto Alves is a senior professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP.

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