Brazil: The Great Opportunity

Published on ZNet, by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, July 4, 2013.

History shows – and current events confirm – that periods of acute crisis or deprivation are typically not the times when citizens will rise against an unjust state of affairs, forcing institutions and those with political power to significantly change the course of government.   

Although comparisons are always difficult to make, one would expect young people in Greece, Portugal and Spain, ruled by conservative governments that are hijacking their future in terms of employment as well as health and education, to take to the streets and rebel more forcefully than Brazilian youth, ruled by a progressive government that has pursued social inclusion policies, even though the latter government is undermined by corruption and occasionally equivocated with regard to the relative priority of economic power and citizens rights.

Given these realities, one would also expect the Brazilian left not to be caught by surprise by the outburst of accumulated discontent, just as one would expect their counterparts in Southern Europe to be bracing themselves for the impending protests. But I’m afraid that has not been, nor shall it be, the case.

So we have, on one hand, a left in charge of the government of the country while dazzled by international ostentation and the boom of natural resources, and on the other a left brainlessly performing its opposition role, and in the case of Portugal, paralyzed between the Socialist Party’s stale, power-at-any-cost centrism and the Communist Party‘s mummified immobility.

The Left Bloc is the only political force with an interest in more comprehensive solutions, but it knows that it will accomplish nothing by acting alone … //

… The fourth sign is the vehemence with which the social movements that have fought for social inclusion and were the anchor of Brazil’s World Social Forum distanced themselves from the violent, fascistoid groups that infiltrated the protests and from the conservative political forces (served by the major media) bent on reaping dividends from the popular outcry.

The right’s gambit consisted of turning the popular classes against the party and the governments that, on balance, have done the most to improve their lot, but the manoeuver seems to have failed. This was also a consequence of the President’s promise to appropriate 75% of oil exploitation rights for education and 25% to health (Angola and Mozambique, wake up while there is still time!) and to bring thousands of foreign doctors into Brazil’s unified health service (SUS).

In these signs there resides the great opportunity for the progressive forces both in government and in the opposition to seize the extra-institutional moment the country is currently experiencing and make it the driving force for strengthening democracy in the coming political cycle.

If they fail to do that, the right will do everything in its power to make sure that the new cycle is as exclusionist as the old cycles it led for decades.

And let us not forget who will then be by its side: the big brother from the North, to whom every stable leftist government in the world is unwelcome, especially if it happens to inhabit what it still views as its own backyard.
(full text).

Links:

We must avoid a two-speed Europe: a Video interview with Janusz Lewandowski, 8,19 min, on english Toute l’Europe.eu, July 3, 2013;

Les huits premières cellules de l’embryon sont ‘immortelles’, dans Rusty James, par blog owner, Avril 2011: ces huit cellules d’origine correspondent davantage à notre vraie nature, à ce que nous sommes vraiment, que notre corps physique. Je sais que cela pourra vous paraître curieux, étant donné notre habitude marquée à nous identifier à notre corps physique. Mais ces huit cellules correspondent beaucoup plus à ce que nous sommes réellement. Les anges précisent même que ces huit cellules sont immortelles par rapport à notre corps. En fait, vous reformez un corps tout neuf en l’espace de cinq à sept ans ; chaque cellule de votre corps meurt pendant ce cycle de sept ans et est remplacée par une cellule toute neuve, sauf en ce qui concerne les huit cellules d’origine. Elles sont les seules à rester vivantes depuis le temps de votre conception jusqu’à celui de votre mort, ce moment où vous quittez votre corps pour de bon. Toutes les autres cellules n’ont qu’un cycle de vie de quelques années seulement, mais pas ces huit-là …;

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