Fire notification: Street protests and political crisis in a polarised Brazil? Summary

, by  Autres Brésils, Glauber Sezerino

For the past few weeks, Brazil has been sinking into its most impressive political crisis of the last decades. Following allegations of corruption, the government witnesses its popularity drop to concerning levels. Politically biased judges, the press trying to bring down the government, opposition leaders involved with corruption matters, and employers’ organisations dissatisfied with the current state of the national economy, have all seen the occurring of massive demonstrations in the main Brazilian cities: whether to ask for the deposition of president Dilma Rousseff and Lula’s imprisonment, or against the process of the president’s deposition and the “cold” coup d’état organised by the right.

At the international level, a number of media outlets and political leaders have provided analyses aimed at explaining and denouncing the situation, frequently using an oversimplified lens through which to interpret the latter: according to these analyses, we would be witnessing a “crisis of representation” of the Brazilian system, characterised by a binary system (i.e. the left vs. the right; the people vs. the bourgeoisie). Such understanding however neglects the complexity of the situation and of its political, sociological and historical motives.

In order to escape this oversimplification, it is necessary to engage with some recent Brazilian history. It is the contention of this text that, in so doing, we can gain a better understanding of the current situation.

Glauber Aquiles Sezerino