Brazil: return to dictatorship.

crebello crebello at
Mon May 22 10:08:29 MDT 2000

Dear Julio: The re-enforcing of the Law of National Security in Paraná - a Law that
had never been enforced since the mid-1980s, as it was a totalitarian attempt of the
military dictatorship to make everyone responsible for the preservation of the
military regime (art 1 of the said statute declared that "everyone is responsible for
the keeping of National Security, considered as the realizing of the National Will
against its foes) is, of course, proof enough of the increasing despair felt by
Cardoso and his allies about their ever higher unpopularity, as attested by every
poll held in Brazil. But there is something deeper, as we know, below that doubtful
taste "antic".

The idea of a "return" to dictatorship is wrong, if we are to suppose that repressing
landless peasants by means of tear-gas, rubber-bullets, and turning the face to the
other side when the landowners' hired killers begin their killing rampages is
something "new" in Brazil, or that had been suspended between the demise of the
military dictatorship and today. The fact was that - and that is the thesis I
advanced in my "Permanent Revolution in Brazil" - bourgeois democracy in Brazil bases
itself, not on the fact that the various sectional interests "from below" are to make
themselves represented through parliamentary mechanics, but instead that they are to
be *actively denied such means of representation* by denying them all means to
political empowerment and are to be confined to *presenting* demands to a
self-appointed state apparatus that exerts tutelage above society as a whole, During
the years between 1930 and 1985, such a scheme of tutelage - under various political
forms - functioned well, as the state apparatus - thaks to speedy economic
development - was flexible and nimble enough to  accomodate the various sectional
demants presented to it. Globalization and the imposing of IMF-friendly policies -
prompeted by the necessity of handling the unpayable foreign debt - which hit Brazil
specially hard, created long-term economic stagnation and considerable friction among
bourgeois interests competing for keeping slices of a now almost frozen cake. The
fact is that the Brazilian state simply cannot offer the sops it could offer
beforehand to placate those from below, and therefore the logjam where Brazil finds
herself, a logjam that, in the long run - a long run that is becoming ever shorter -
will be solved either by  a democratic - and of necessity socialist - reordering, or
by a *very* repressive arrangement.

Carlos Rebello

> Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 11:33:07 -0400
> From: Julio Pino <jpino at>
> Subject: Brazil: Return to Dictatorship
> Comrades: I'm passing on this letter sent out by the Pastoral Commision on
> Land of the Catholic church in Brazil.It speaks to the arrest of tend
> landless workers currently under arrest in the state of Parana on orders of
> Governor Jaime Lerner, on the charge of plotting against "the national
> security"---a law passed down by the military dictatorship(1964-85) and
> never revoked under the "democratic " regimes that followed.
> Julio Cesar
> (Lerner Confirms a Return to the Military Dictatorship)
> (Reviving the National Security Law)

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