The Brazilian Right and the Armed Forces

In this moment of instability, it is opportune to watch “Nem tudo se desfaz”, by Josias Teófilo. The documentary is good for refreshing your memory, as it deals with the beginning of the right-wing demonstrations and reaches (it was imagined) their apex, which was the election of Bolsonaro. In the beginning, everything seemed to be just another manifestation of beautiful people, a riot of those that journalists and the “international press” find beautiful. Until the streets began to be occupied by another type of protester.

Between the 20 cents and the “There will be no cup”, the black blocs and the professional students started to live with a group wearing a canary shirt. While the usual ones burned the national flag, the newbies happily wielded it and wore the CBF shirt as a means of expressing their nationalism.

Many tried to take the lead in the new movement. Faced with the constant expulsion of those who tried to transform the movement into something partisan, non-partisan movements emerged that positioned themselves as organizers of demonstrations. From that time are Vem Pra Rua and MBL, which emerged, respectively, in October and November of


These organized movements enjoyed a certain acceptance before the anti-PT press. They were young leaders who would renew the country’s politics. Over time, Vem Pra Rua dwindled and the MBL, since it became opposition to Bolsonaro, is no longer able to convince anyone that they are a political movement driven by ideals, rather than a mere struggle for power.

Anyway, to maintain respectability, these organized movements needed to give a certain profile of protester: the old man with the CBF shirt who carried posters asking for military intervention and article 142, sometimes with a weird English translation. They were a joke, they were used for memes, nobody took them seriously.

At the end of the Bolsonaro government, the masses are still mobilized and the country remains unstable. But masses no longer crowd in front of Bolsonaro. Now they swarm in front of the barracks and cry out for military intervention. What’s more, today the heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force signed an unusual note “to the press and institutions” reaffirming that they have this right.

Who was Bolsonaro for? the people?

Given the change in the focus of the demonstrations, it is worth remembering the image of Bolsonaro before the presidency. He was the deputy whose role began as a kind of trade unionist for the military. It is clear that, given the national importance of the category, the activities of such a “trade unionist” are of much greater importance than if his profession were that of a baker or a teacher. In the end, he became a defender of the Armed Forces during the FHC administration, which intended to “dry the machine down” beyond the prudent. It is also worth remembering that FHC was for many years a researcher subsidized by the Ford Foundation, which for decades has been striving to create racial tensions in our country. As a result, his parliamentary activity was easily linked to statism, and it was not surprising that, on economic issues, he voted similarly to left-wing nationalists such as Aldo Rebelo. For Bolsonaro to be elected after Dilma’s damage, only carrying Paulo Guedes up and down, guaranteeing that he would be his “Ipiranga post”. The promise aroused a lot of skepticism, but it was fulfilled.

Bolsonaro’s other “union” activity was the one that began to put him in the spotlight was the defense of the military who participated in the repression of the communists during the dictatorship. The redemocratization itself was driven by street demonstrations that journalists find beautiful, with young “idealists” with painted faces, asking for democracy. There was then a consensus among the speaking classes that the military regime was horrible and democracy is a value in itself. Bolsonaro pierced this consensus with a lot of fuss. Over time, the left, together with the press, began to advance in terms of customs. Bolsonaro also made a strident opposition and accumulated even more spotlight. He went from a niche parliamentarian to a vocalizer of the silent majority when it comes to customs (including leniency with bandits).

What was Bolsonaro for the elites?

Recently, Silvio Grimaldo wrote that the establishment did not understand that Bolsonaro was an agent of stabilization. I agree with him on this point. Let’s get to the context: in a scenario of perpetual agitation, Bolsonaro leads the masses and keeps them appeased. The maximum case may be Sete de Setembro, when Bolsonaro managed the feat of crowding Brasília in a demonstration against the STF to… Receive a letter from Temer and apologize to the Supreme Court. Before, it was said: the country was on fire because of Bolsonaro. Today, after the elections, it makes more sense to say that the country just didn’t explode thanks to Bolsonaro, which is like the shrill whistle of this pressure cooker. The elites thought this whistle was too noisy and decided to press it down, silencing it. After the elections, he started calling Bolsonaro to put out the fire, asking him, using his word and his authority, to beg the protesters to stop obstructing roads. Surprise: it didn’t work.

Roads remained blocked in several parts of the country after Bolsonaro’s request. And the protesters are now heading to the military barracks.

Effects of the present on the evaluation of the past

If possible, I ask you to look at this image that has been circulating on the internet. It shows an old man wearing a CBF shirt, wrapped in the Brazilian flag, holding a plaque. So far, he is a figure identical to those who have been asking for military intervention since 2013. The detail that made the image circular is that he has both legs amputated (maybe he is diabetic) and the sign reads: “My legs didn’t bring me but my heart dragged me!”. But I ask you to look further. Behind him, dressed in green and yellow and wrapped in Brazilian flags, are young people.

This niche of protesters that started as scum in 142 he showed enormous strength of will and faith in Brazil that should put any young complainer to shame. Now, it has infected younger ages and, until proven otherwise, has become the dominant trend in demonstrations. Because now there are no more restrictions on asking for military intervention. Bolsonaro was passed over; the Armed Forces, chosen.

In any case, the age of those who always asked for military intervention shows that the silent majority did not agree with the official version of the facts, forged first on TV, that romanticized the guerrilla, and later enshrined by the Truth Commission. The silent majority that lived through the Medici government, for example, remembered the period as a happy era of full employment, in which good citizens were not afraid to go out on the street. Then the press and the left came together with the conversation that the military period was horrible and bandits are victims of society. Now the STF releases criminals, prevents the police from entering the hill, and, not content, goes after good citizens who exercise their constitutional right to express their opinions.

Several surveys of opinion show the Armed Forces as one of the institutions, if not the institution, that is most trusted in the country. The speaking class should think twice before treating the military regime unequivocally as the worst time in our recent history.

Hysteria on the right

I believe that nerves have never been so touched with Bolsonaro’s demonstrations as with those of the Armed Forces. They never manifest; decided to speak up now.

A few days ago, Brazil watched the Argentine’s lives, who had statistical anomalies. The lives were broadcast from abroad and were presented by a foreigner because the TSE censored anyone who considered the fairness of the polls. The summary of the presentation was that old polls had more votes for Lula, even in comparison to neighboring sections of identical demographic profile. The TSE could counter-argument, but censored the Twitter account of economist Marcos Cintra, unsuspected of bolsonarismo, who commented that he expected answers from the Court. The censorship that had lasted until the election was here to stay.

Shortly later, the report of the Armed Forces, which were invited to audit the elections, was about to come out. Then the people, who expected so much from the Armed Forces, went crazy. The youtubers who made the most sensationalist predictions gained more views and superchats, so the belief spread that the intervention was imminent, lacking only the bombastic report.

In fact, such a report came: the Armed Forces denounced the obstruction of their verification work, as well as the impossibility of certifying that the elections were safe. What was taboo during the live of the Argentine was affirmed by such authorities. The press, however, decided to misrepresent the report, claiming that frauds were not found, when the crux of the matter was precisely the impossibility of finding possible frauds.

Another fact that led to generalized hysteria on the right is the schizoid relationship that Olavo de Carvalho had with the Armed Forces, transmitted to his pupils and spread throughout the culture. On the one hand, according to Olavo, the military saved Brazil from a real and imminent threat in 64. On the other hand, they were too lenient in censoring little and allowing Marxism to advance in Brazil with Gramscian methods. Thus, some 90% of the olavetes feel more anti-communist than “the military” (all) for the mere fact of having read Olavo, which is a best -seller. When they were not born, Heleno worked with Sylvio Frota, who led the opposition to the opening. But they know much more than Heleno and are more anti-communist than he is. It’s an arrogance only comparable to that of the communists themselves, who feel like such for having read a few books and subscribed to a series of ideas, without having done anything.

In the end, the strident style so much Bolsonaro and Olavo made certain people incapable of paying attention to the content of a report and focusing only on the tone. It is possible that they believe in communist propaganda, according to which the military are dumb and dumb. Because, it seems, the report would only be worth it if it were written in aggressive language and recommended scoldings to the authorities. In practice, the report allowed the questioning of the system, which the TSE had, in practice, criminalized. But as there was no showman, live or advertisement of tanks on the street, the hysterics were pulling their hair.

Another feat today

Contrary to what was first reported, the Army commander, not Bolsonaro, was the one who called an urgent meeting with the generals. Today the commanders of the Navy, Army and Air Force signed an unprecedented note in the history of the New Republic. Among other things, it reinforces that the right to peaceful demonstration is free. It’s too little? Well, this week the Amazon has been the scene of conflicts. In Pará, protesters close roads – a type of demonstration to which the note is opposed. But in the capital of Acre there are peaceful demonstrations in front of the army calling for intervention. And Alexandre de Moraes ordered the child MP to finish it.

The note from the Armed Forces takes away Alexandre de Moraes’ authority. Something that was not within the reach of Bolsonaro, the conciliator.

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