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VLADIMIR SAFATLE: ‘Rallies such as 2013’s will probably be repeated’

by Vladimir Safatle (01/09/2017) – Folha de SP

One of the most evident features of oligarchic thinking lies on how it describes the people and the masses. They are normally representations of a sort of sleepwalker who acts in a thoughtless way and never completely escapes from a state of drowsiness. Hence come the injunctions about the people’s anesthesia state, their apathy and indifference. In Brazil, such thoughts are so rooted that the country tends to see himself as a sleeping giant.

However, one should ask if many do not deliberately confuse the people with their representations by power and by institutions seeking to build social imagination.

Thus, for example, in Brazilian history, which is marked by a succession of popular uprisings (Cabanada, Revolta de Carrancas, Cabanagem, Revolta dos Malês, Sabinada, Revolta do Quebra-Quilo, Revolta do Vintém, Canudos, Revolta da Chibata, Contestado, Coluna Prestes, armed fight against 1964’s dictatorship) is presented as a placid movement of a servile and cordial people.

That’s how June 2013’s rallies took everyone by surprise. Despite the year having started with an impressive sequence of strikes, the resulting relative frustration towards the end of the palpable social upliftment process, the revolt against unfulfilled promises (we would be the fifth world economy, our cities would be revamped by investments coming from the World Cup and the Olympics etc.), no one seemed to notice any tectonic plate moving down the Brazilian soil. Until the revolt exploded.

Temporal projections have no objective validity, it is true. But they may indicate latencies of the current situation, those that are possible, of which many wouldn´t even like to acknowledge.

The fact is that something like June 2013 probably will be repeated. The real question is whether we are prepared for it or we will lose the opportunity, once again, to put down the degraded institutional structure and political caste.

The level of disenchantment and popular dissatisfaction reached hardly describable levels. Despite the massive defense propaganda of what is called current “economic policy”, the rejection by the population is tenacious and by the completely majority. Apart from the economists of Itaú and Bradesco, no one supports such “policy”. The general feeling of dispossession and disrespect is there for all to see.

On the other hand, the rejection of the political class levels are absolute. Some days ago, the Ipsos Institute published a research on the perception of Brazilian women and men about the political representatives. Adding those who disapprove completely or slightly, the numbers are in an incredible scale.

Michel Temer has 93% rejection followed by Aécio Neves 91%, Eduardo Cunha (91%), Renan Calheiros (84%), José Serra (82%), the press godlike FHC [Fernando Henrique Cardoso] (79%), Dilma (the even 79%, but a higher rate of approval than FHC) Alckmin (73%) and Lula (66%).

First, one should point out the gap between how the public evaluates and how major sectors of the press talk about the popular perception. That all the cardinals of the PSDB are more rejected than Lula, here’s something that deserved an honest reflection. That an occupant of the Presidency has 93% disapproval and continue doing the same policy, here is a case of forced hospitalization.

Finally, the same research shows that the one who has the lower rejection level (Dória, 52% and only 19% approval) still has a monstrous number. That is, all without exception have more than 50% disapproval. This shows the detachment between the political caste and the people whom it believes to represent.

Signs of this nature show how there is an explosion latency in Brazil. As history is not the land of necessitarianism, the contingent settings are what will determine whether such latency will  come to act or not. But it is certain that another 2013 is possible.

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