Brazil: Cardoso warns against "populism".

crebello crebello at
Sat Jun 30 11:30:19 MDT 2001

Hello again, mates! After a long interval, I'm again able to keep track
of the Marxlist.

Welll....Amid a deep energy shortage that has as its main cause the IMF-
imposed ban on public investment in hydroeletric facilities ("deficitary
expenditure") , Cardoso goes to the border state of Mato Grosso do Sul,
ruled by a compliant governor from the Workers' Party (lost more than
ever in the cheapest parliamentary cretinism and finding itself more
than ever unable to challenge neoliberalism turned political
commonsense) and warns against...populism:

"Alert against Populism" - _O Globo_, june the Twentieth, 2001:

"One day after the release of polls that show the increase in preference
rates in incoming presidential elections for governors Itamar Franco
[who opposed privatization of electricity production in the state of
Minas Gerais-CR] and Garotinho [a maverick pentecostalist with a flair
for making himself popular by mean of public charities-CR] president
Fernando Henique said that, in Latin America, populkists have received
"a little shove", despite part of Brazilian society being orientated
towards "the destruction of things old".

- "My evaluation is that traditional forces are losing their ability to
control things : oligarchical forces [code word for the former gray
emminence senator Magalhães, evicted from the Brazilian Senate in a
maneuvre backed by Cardoso, after having being caught _flagrante
delictu_ violating the secrecy of the Senate eletronic voting panel; a
squabble amid the ruling elite that Cardoso tries hard to present as an
act of revolutionary justice-CR] and, perhaps, populist forces, which
have been receiving a certain shove. Although part of society is
orientated towards the destruction of things old, it isn't aware of what
is being created and doesn't support what is new [which Cardoso
associated earlier with, the increased use of portable phones and all
kinds of electric home tools that the Brazilian middle class had to left
since last May unused, lest one spends power above the one's quota and
is punished by a 3-days cut in home eletricity -CR].These have been
with old forces. We [sic] have ten difficult years ahead of us. But I'm

Well, that's very intriguing how the tenets of the kind of "marxism" as
a simple modernization theory die hard. Cardoso, above all, had staked
everything on the idea that his unqualified adhesion to neoliberal
orthodoxy (and unrestrained subservience to imperialism) could allow for
a deluge of foreign investment that would, on its wake, depoliticize
Brazilian society entirely, turning it into a "regular" bourgeois
society. This gamble  failed - completely; foreign investment was mostly
of an speculative character, and the partial turning of Brazil into a
comprador economy didn't help to create an upsurge in productive
investment. Given the relative thiness of the market - and, of course,
the always impending political, and, above all, chronical social
instability - the investors chose to stay aloof and/or to invest only
the minimun possible, as against the highest (and most rapacious)
interest rates. Above this dismal backdrop, one thing emerges clearly -
that the international capital market couldn't offer Brazil more than a
"modernization", mostly of a cosmetic nature, that benefitted mostly the
old oligarchies, plus some petit-bourgeois upstarts, including mioddle
class academics who want to taste  power in old age, before it's too
late. However, Cardoso's strenght lies on the fact that, above
neoliberal orthodoxy has failed in the most pitiable manner, there are
no political forces that can offer an alternative - above all, a
socialist one. Neverthless, even the idea of having to cope with the
confused return to the populist practices inherited from the Vargas era
that Itamar and Garotinho are trying to stage is already more than
Cardoso - and with him mostly of the Big Business section of the
Brazilian bourgeoisie - can stomach.

I'll write more about that later

Carlos Rebello

More information about the Marxism mailing list