Those of you that have been following me for a while know that I often write about the need for serenity in politics. I have said countless times that It is not acceptable to treat political opponents as enemies. I have pointed out that violence undermines the political debate.
This posture has always come naturally and effortlessly to me. But unfortunately, in the last few days, I have to force myself to keep my cool. If the events of Thursday and Friday achieved anything, it was to radicalize even those who took pride in their moderation.
On Thursday, a plea-bargaining statement, not yet approved by the Supreme Court (and even if it were, it should be confidential) was leaked to the news magazine Isto É. While the alleged informant refused to confirm it, the Attorney-General, who was supposed to take the statement, was even more emphatic: he denied its existence. This has not prevented Globo network and its accomplices from transforming the so-called statement into a massive headline scoop. If the informant, Senator Delcídio Amaral, was previously portrayed as unscrupulous, all of the sudden his word became law –no more evidence was required. Delcídio has said it, and that was that. Until, of course, he refused to confirm the statement, and was, once again, summarily ignored.
Around 2am on Friday, the editor of the news magazine Época (linked to Globo), who has long ceased to even pretend to have any journalistic objectivity, tweeted twice about an operation from the Federal Police that would take place hours later. An operation that should be confidential, but that was leaked to the press ten days ago (as blogger Eduardo Guimarães had warned a week before). Before the Federal Police arrived at Lula’s home, a Globo helicopter flew over it, and Folha reporters were waiting at the door. Yet the LAWYERS of the former president had not been notified.
But the worst abuse was yet to come: Lula was subjected to the humiliation of being detained for questioning, even though he had not been previously summoned to testify. The abuse was so egregious that two Supreme Court Justices (one of them a critic of the left) have condemned the action. Respected jurists and even (gasp) a founder of the opposition party PSDB, Bresser Pereira, have also condemned it.
The abuse, of course, was ignored by Globo and its cronies. The Jornal National has even extended its broadcasting for half an hour to celebrate the operation. When the Workers’ Party headquarters was attacked in Belo Horizonte on Saturday, Globo labelled it a protest, when it was clearly an act of violence. When similar events happened in another state capital, the channel actually INTERVIEWED the “demonstrators.”
On the other hand, when demonstrators rallied in front of the channel’s buildings on Sunday, they were called “militias,” and Globo columnists Merval and Noblat even called the army to fight the “mob.”
How to remain cool in a situation like this? How can we keep a level head when we live in a country where the political opposition, even after losing at the polls, believes it has the right to choose who may or may not be a minister? Where the media have openly exposed their intention of destroying the left? Where a judge, who received an award from Globo, and is lauded by PSDB members, uses the justice system to persecute political enemies and corporations?
How to keep a cool head in a country in which news and investigations are conducted discriminatively? Senator José Serra’s ghost employee has been already forgotten. Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso houses abroad, and his remittance operations through offshore companies have not been scrutinized. The helicopter carrying 500kg of coca paste base has been turned into an anecdote. The airport built on a senator’s family land is considered old news. The school meal scandal involving PSDB members has become meaningless words. The train cartel investigation is relying more on the Swiss justice system than the Brazilian one. Globo’s billion-dollar tax evasion case has just become a meme. The Zelotes operation has decided that there is no point in investigating the RBS group (and Globo) for tax fraud, etc, etc, etc.
In moments like these, when we point out the impunity enjoyed by the right and by corporations, someone invariably says: “One mistake cannot justify another! They all must be investigated!” This is one of the most frequent manifestations of cynicism on social networks. Yes, cynicism. Because the people who say that they KNOW that not everyone is investigated. It is like a guy who, seeing his cousin beat up a neighbor every day, argues that nobody should intervene in the fight, because the other boy can hit back if he wants, even though he knows the boy is unable to defend himself.
This particular logic is also applied on the daily episodes of abuse that occurs on social networks. If I criticize the right, I have been “bought.” If I criticize the left, it is because the “bills are overdue,” the “allowance was suspended,” there is no mortadella left,” etc. In the neo-right mentality, there is no ideology; there is only a game of interests and financial rewards. This is a depoliticized, alienated position, which is reflected on the “arguments’’ clogging my comment box: “Cry more,” “PT out,” and so on and so forth. Incidentally, these terms are the introduction of an argument, but the main argument itself.
“There you go once again, talking about ‘us’ and ‘them’! Lula is dividing the country! You are dividing the country!” is the argument that often follows. Globo and its minions, associated with a judicial system that has been co-opted by the right, attack the left day and night, massacring any figure that stands out on that side of the political spectrum. But it is the left that is “dividing” the country when it dares to react. What they want to say is, “accept what we are doing. If you don’t, you are dividing the country.” And then they wrap themselves in the flag, sing the national anthem, fill their bios with words such as “patriot,” “I love my country,” and other expressions of a fascist nationalism, while spreading memes against anyone who defends this or that idea, who criticize this or that party, labelling them a “defender of bandits,” that they “should go to Cuba” and – as I saw today – should be fired from his job, whatever that job is.
The saddest thing? Instead of wising up to what is happening, sectors of the left prefer to stay on the fence, or even to take advantage of the situation to attack former allies. In the day of the detention of Lula, Luciana Genro released a statement dripping with cynicism. Instead of denouncing the abuse, she chose to state that “Lula has not been on the left for quite some time.”
So what, Luciana Genro? I often write that the Dilma government and the Workers’ Party are not left wing. Just over ten days ago I wrote an article criticizing heavily the government for its betrayal on the pre-salt oil exploration issue, which was shared thousands of times. But one thing I guarantee: however disappointing the Workers’ Party and Dilma are, they are still more to the left than Globo, PSDB and the elites tolerate. Much more. And if you don’t think so, just wait and see how the programs of social inclusion will suffer at the hands of these people.
And what Luciana Genro and others like her expect from all this? That the right destroys Lula and the Workers’ Party, which would then allow the PSOL to become the major representative of the Brazilian left? Really?
The media and the right have declared war. They are even coming to the point of asking for military action against those who dare to challenge them. There is no more sitting on the fence.
There are times when making history is more important than commenting on it. This is one of them.