Only the people should be able to keep or bring down Dilma and other politicians elected in Brazil

19.04.2016 - São Paulo, Brazil - Paulo Genovese

This post is also available in: Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Greek

Only the people should be able to keep or bring down Dilma and other politicians elected in Brazil

They want to bring Dilma down through an impeachment trial decided by federal deputies.  For us, as humanists, politicians don’t represent us.  This form of impeachment in which the people don’t decide is an institutional coup d’état, one power (legislative) brings down another power (executive).

For us, the main question is not whether Dilma is right or wrong, but rather what will happen to the will of the people; a majority of whom legitimately chose to give her a second mandate in the elections.

For many years we have argued that only the people who elect politicians should have the capacity to dismiss them.  We are not talking about “impeachment” but rather about resignation.  How can it be done?  Very simple, by calling the people to vote in a referendum regarding whether or not she stays or goes.  And if the “no” loses, new elections are organised so that the people can elect whoever they want to govern them.

This is called a recall referendum.  It’s not written into Brazilian law but it’s not an invention of ours.  Many countries use such a tool to improve democracy.  If people in favour of the expansion of democracy were in opposition or in government, they would be considering this instrument.

Basically, what is being discussed is how to keep things the way they are.  The faces may change, someone comes in another goes out, or one side leaves and a different one comes in, but for them, the common people are useful, at most, as a support for those at the top, at the summit of power.  But they decide nothing.

So, for young people or for ordinary citizens, politics is increasingly unattractive.

It’s very different from personal life.

You make a decision and choose a path with the hope that it will be the best for your life.  If your life gets worse, you stop and ask yourself: where am I going?  Is it worthwhile to continue or would it be better to change?  You decide to change, to choose another path.  And even though your previous decision was very bad and your life got a lot worse, no one can decide for you what you have to do with your life.  Unless you are incapable, or, for reasons of your age, still immature.

So, a recall referendum would be great in practice for the life of society.

For humanists, the people are not immature or incapable.  Our most profound conviction is that the value of human beings is the central value, although there may be highs and lows, advances and setbacks, we believe that humanity is following a path of growth throughout history.

Dilma’s impeachment.

The reason?  According to those who want to get rid of her there are two main reasons: her inability to get Brazil out of the economic crisis and the corruption of members of parties allied to the government.  That’s what they say in public.  But there is also great corruption within their parties, it’s just that it’s covered up by the media that support them.  And the states and cities of Brazil that the opposition govern are no islands of prosperity either.  Take the case of the state of Sao Paulo with the second largest budget after the federal government, a state in which nothing works: education, health, transport, housing, security, nothing.  What gives the impression that it’s working is that if you can pay, you will have good-quality services and, compared to the rest of the country, there are many people who can pay for at least some of these private services.

Those now in opposition led the country to bankruptcy three times when in Federal government.  Not once, or twice, but three times!  They were behind the use of foreign money to pay the bills and they sold state companies at bargain prices.

Conclusion: there is incompetence and corruption everywhere.

But this is not about incompetence and corruption, this is just the pretext to take advantage of a feeling of outrage in society.

The opposition is trying to fool society, because what matters to them in reality is to get hold of the keys to the bank vaults controlled by the Federal government.  And for the fourth time the Workers Party won the keys.  They won an election with the majority of valid votes, as is the law of Brazil.

The winner, Dilma, as president has betrayed her campaign promises, putting a banker in control of the economy and cutting back on rights and social investment, maintaining the immoral profits of the banks and the financial system in general, through very low rates of interest and taxation in that sector.  Happily, she maintained her policy of increasing the minimum wage and her defence of the elimination of extreme poverty.

The problem is that Dilma’s betrayal is also the betrayal of almost all those elected.  In other words, to bring down Dilma doesn’t mean that her replacement wouldn’t make the same or an even worse betrayal.  How can we ensure that campaign promises have legal force and that, if they are broken, those elected are penalised?  If there is no sanction and the people have to wait for four more years in order to make changes, then, to bring someone down means nothing because nothing will change, and power will continue to remain in the hands of those who profit.  The only way to force politicians to fulfil their promises is: recall referenda, as we said above, mandatory at midterm; and also a Law of Political Responsibility, another humanist proposal, obliging politicians to register their promises and to be recalled in the case that they don’t fulfil them.

Transparent evil

Brazil is going through a moment of extreme tension, the economic and political crises together are producing an increasing malaise.  Many people can no longer bear the tension and want a quick fix, at any cost.  There are crazy people who want the military to intervene, those who hug the military police in ridiculous “selfies”.  They what a strong hand to put things in order.  They have no idea what to do and they don’t want one, but they calm down when they imagine authoritarianism (because they naively think that it won’t affect them).  Bigger in number are those cynics who are outraged by the corruption of members of the Workers Party, but they don’t worry about the corruption of members of opposition parties.  When they show their faces in the streets, and there are hundreds of thousands in a country of more than 200 million, they fall within this group of the richest 10%.  They are the target audience of the media and TV publicity, the high-income consumers.  Without them, the media (magazines, newspapers, TV) couldn’t make a profit.  The cynics don’t want real change, because they benefit from the current system, they want the appearance of normality and feel that their situation is guaranteed.  Their situation is far from being vulnerable in terms of economics or civil rights.  For the main part, they are ignorant of and indifferent to poverty and social injustice as money makes them believe that nothing can affect them.

For a long time we have been saying that there is a total disorganisation of society, in particular in the institutions that used to serve as strong references in the last century.  An organised system no longer works. People are realising the lies of politicians, the propaganda in the media, even the state will suffer hard blows.  It’s a prolonged crisis.  It could turn into an opportunity that finally leads us to direct democracy, with more power in the hands of people, either through referendums or binding population consultations.

Nothing changes if the change comes from the powers themselves, from the institutions, individuals and organisations that drive forward the majority of decisions.  Such is the case of the self-appointed saviours of the homeland, like the judges who trample over the law to achieve their own ends.  Or the mass media that is out of control poisoning minds and hearts.  Nor should it be the case that those militants who shed so much sweat and blood for the society to advance in the past, now want to stop history at these conquests instead of striving for new ways of overcoming the disgusting concentration of power and wealth.  A concentration that is a transparent evil that wouldn’t think twice about using any violent means to keep everything just the way it is.

Categories: International, Opinions, Politics, South America
Tags: , , ,


Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to our daily news service.

European Humanist Forum 2018

Video presentation: What Pressenza is...

Milagro Sala

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons


Except where otherwise note, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.