blog2021-01-11T20:56:07+01:00

Interview: Prof. Dr. Silvana Krause

“Brazil is not for amateurs” is a common saying in Brazil regarding the, let us say, dynamic political environment. Some might even say Brazilian politics would provide a good script for a season of House of Cards. In this context, we need experts to speak about political complexities from a broader perspective. In this interview, this is how Prof. Dr. Silvana Krause enlightens us about the Brazilian electoral system, the ban on corporate donations, and the 2022 elections.

I dearly thank Silvana for the insightful interview and her support & encouragement. I also thank Bruno Marques for conducting the interview. Last but never least, I am so glad to work with the wonderful BRaS-Blog team, and especially thank Giovanna Imbernon for the incredible translation-edition partner she is. It is another must-read, enjoy!

Anna Paula Bennech

 

Interviewee: Prof. Dr. Silvana Krause
Interviewer: M.A. Bruno Marques Schaefer*

 

Silvana’s Bio

Silvana Krause holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Katholische Universität Eichstätt – Ingolstadt (Germany, 2003). Currently, she is Associate Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and coordinates an academic exchange project CAPES-DAAD (UFRGS and Julius Maximilians Universität-Würzburg, Germany, JMU). She was Visiting Professor at Katholische Universität Eichtstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany, 2009/2010) of [the discipline of] Brazilian Politics [at] – ZILAS (Zentral Institut für Lateinamerika Studie) and Chair of International Politics, in the Programa de Posgrado en Ciencia Política/Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina, 2012); and in the Chair of Comparative Politics and Political Systems at JMU (2013). She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Council of the Institut für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht und Parteienforschung (Henirich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf – Institute for International Studies on Parties and Party Law). Her experience in Political Science is focused on Political Parties and Electoral Studies. Her main research topics are political parties and new political parties, electoral coalitions, party financing, electoral behavior, and campaign strategies.

 

Interview

 

The 2020 Brazilian municipal elections took place during the new Coronavirus pandemic, a national economic crisis, and several institutional changes. From your point of view, what is your evaluation of those elections? Among the political parties, can you point out “winners” and “losers”? What is the impact of that dispute on Brazilian democracy and the presidential elections of 2022?

For many people, it was an utterly atypical election. However, we need to be careful because every election is atypical. We always see something new. In 2020, the pandemic undoubtedly brought a variable, almost decisive to voters’ behavior. There was a wave of adventurous leaderships in the previous elections, a wave of (new) conservative or right-wing parties, as you prefer. One imagined that those parties and that wave would still be around in 2020. There is not a doubt the pandemic has created, somehow, a “reverse wave.” Why? We see some well-known conservative parties coming back. DEM [1] (Democrats) was a big surprise. Since PT [2] (Workers’ Party) came into the spotlight, DEM started losing ground after being portrayed as a “big problem” in Brazilian politics, connected to oligarchies in the Northeast and pointed out as the backward-looking portion of the country. As of PT’s prominence in the nineties, and, especially in the 21st century, DEM was led – surprisingly – to modernization. DEM renewed itself, unlike other traditional right-wing parties, such as PP [3] (Progressive Party), which opted for an alliance with PT, also at a national level. It has not only formed new leadership but also technically prepared ones. Some Municipal Environment Departments in Bahia are doing a very good job with DEM. The party’s leaderships were renewed, recycled. This phenomenon caught my attention in 2020. While PP allied with the PT government, DEM firmly remained as a party with a right-wing program. Not an extremist right party but rather a traditional one. This strategy drew my attention to the fact that DEM can recover.

Meanwhile, parties that arose with a whole new discourse and new inexperienced leaders were not as successful. I think it is important to notice that the new right has shown us it still has a lot to learn about the Brazilian political competition. The 2020 elections also showed the main role of professionalization in politics, mainly for the traditional right-wing. On the other hand, professionalized left-wing parties, such as PT, had immense difficulty renewing themselves. In this election, the party presented candidates with a long political career but without much popular appeal. It was not able to convince voters nor made room for new leaderships launched by other parties, such as the PSOL [4] (Socialism and Freedom Party). I think we need to be very careful with the effects of the new rules. As I always say, one must concern about political engineering. We may have many expectations about the prohibition of proportional coalitions and corporate financing [5]. However, we need a systemic view to examine it. Even if one fights corporate money, it might make room for other schemes; slush funds will continue to work the same way. Forbidding it or not will not ensure slush fund to end. Good political engineering acknowledges that there is no point in banning corporate donations when not associated with other variables, such as open list [6] and the possibility of direct financing of candidates instead of parties.

 

Forbidding corporate donations and other related measures, established by resolutions of the Superior Electoral Court, compromise funding. However, there is still high and persistent demand in a political system like the Brazilian: proportional and with open lists. It is also relevant how parties spend their funds, considering that many studies show that parties tend to finance candidates who are political insiders, “barring” renewals. Thus, I would like to know your thoughts on these two aspects: the demand for funding and how parties design their distribution strategies.

We need to think about electoral financing and, as you mentioned, starting from the constitutional principle. The Constitution (1988) gave much freedom for parties to distribute the public funds received; it is a normative issue. Nevertheless, public funds must be distributed according to the regulations because, otherwise, what can end up happening? It turns into private funding of the party leadership. Conversely, there would be other problems, such as limiting the parties’ freedom to define their strategies. However, I believe that their strategies should be defined based on private, and not public, funding.

The direct relationship between patron-candidate is another problem. Companies, or other donors, invest in candidates individually, and the party has no control over it. This framework is an incentive for personalized careers, which do not help the organization. Moreover, the ban on corporate donations did not cope with the concentration of investors in politics. Large company owners keep investing in campaigns – although, now, as individuals and not on behalf of their companies – but few sectors get directly involved in politics. I know that it is difficult to convince people to donate for campaigns in a country with such an anti-politics culture. However, more people and companies must participate so there is a more balanced competition between interests, as it is legitimate for those economic interests to be politically represented.

 

This anti-political political culture in Brazil somehow favors “under the table” deals, corruption? For example, lobbying is still not regulated, leading the relationship between economic and political powers to become non-transparent when, as you said, they are legitimate. In this sense, both transparency and competition should be encouraged. Besides the ban on corporate donations, Brazil has had a series of institutional changes in recent years, such as the end of proportional coalitions, political threshold, more restrictions on party migration, increased funding for black and female candidates. Which changes do you see as a positive effect on Brazilian democracy?

It all depends on how parties organize internally. For instance, the enlarged resources for female candidates had a different effect on parties. In PSDB [7] (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), which has a women’s wing, the women’s board had absolute control over the public resources received, unlike other parties. In other organizations, we had a series of “laranjas.” [8] Once again, the same legislation may originate different outcomes, according to the political actors. While parties without women had a series of scandals, other parties complied with the law, especially when having women’s groups.

We should also consider how much parties can “resist” the entry of adventurous leaders. In Brazil, as in the United States, there was an anti-politics and anti-establishment wave with electoral effects. However, this seems to be changing. Biden’s victory – a traditional politician – points out that parties can still exercise some control over the nomination process of candidates. The Republicans, by contrast, have not been able to handle Trump. After all, waves come and go, and the parties must be prepared; it is a very big challenge.

 

In the pandemic context, the responses of anti-establishment leaders, populists, outsiders, or what one may prefer to call them, were very bad compared to governments led by traditional politicians. Biden’s victory also demonstrates, at some level, the return of this traditional politics. In parallel, in Brazil, we had an unprecedented number of re-elected mayors in 2020. Do all these phenomena demonstrate a way forward? What is the impact of this “return” of politicians when considering Bolsonaro’s succession in 2022?

Regarding Bolsonaro’s succession in 2022, I think the right-wing is competing for space, and the left-wing is out of the game. Bolsonaro managed to unify the right-wing in 2018 with his anti-PT speech, and the 2022 unifying force may be the anti-Bolsonaro discourse. However, the question remains: Who will be Bolsonaro’s nemesis? It seems that this name will not emerge from the left. On the right, there are Luciano Huck [9], João Dória [10], among others. I think that political professionalization will be an important matter, as the candidate will need an “initiation.” Adventurers seem to be getting lost.

 

Changing the topic but keeping an eye on comparison and its possibilities. Given your experience abroad as Visiting Professor in other countries (Argentina, Germany) and as a member of the Board of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Brazil, how do you see initiatives of international integration and networking of researchers, such as BRaS, in the sense of further deepening and debating issues related to Brazil? Based on your experience, how has the “outside look” helped your academic and professional career?

First, this initiative [BRaS] is fundamental, essential for a new generation. This interaction with other political systems is enriching, making us understand other cultures, other ways of finding solutions to challenges. As of the late nineties, Brazil started this tradition of intensifying the internationalization of Political Science. However, from my perspective, this process is very much centered on the United States, whereas other perspectives of Political Science are also rich, especially the German one. This approach values a historical perspective of social and political phenomena, while American Political Science, from my point of view, does not pay attention to it.

In any case, I think that this exchange is essential. It is a pity that things are slow now, with all the economic crises we are experiencing. In my experience, participating, holding a scholarship from a German foundation, being in touch with different schools (conservative and liberal) was an eye-opener. It helped me rethink and strip away a little of the values that we, as young people, had from the 80’s left-wing. Also, to further relativize the deep-rooted beliefs that we only have the same exits. This opportunity was excellent because I could live and interact with young people, all kinds of identification: cultural, political, ideological, etc. Unfortunately, youth today seem very polarized. Here, in Brazil, it is very polarized. I learned a lot from the debates in Germany, with different concerns, different perspectives. You have to have this in mind, that “politics is the art of the possible.”

 

[1]     Democratas, in Portuguese. It emerged in 1985, amid Brazil’s political transition and democratization process.

[2]   Partido dos Trabalhadores, in Portuguese. Created in 1979, it has polarized Brazilian politics, especially in presidential elections, since 1989. In 2002, it won the presidency with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In 2016, President Dilma Rousseff, also elected by the party, was impeached.

[3]     Partido Progressista, in Portuguese. Right-wing and conservative party.

[4]     Partido Socialismo e Liberdade, in Portuguese. This party emerged from a split with PT.

[5]     Between 1994 and 2014, Brazil allowed corporate donations, when a few companies concentrated almost all the resources distributed to candidates and parties. In 2015, the Brazilian Supreme Court declared this kind of donation unconstitutional because it limited electoral competition.

[6]     The term describes the Brazilian electoral system’s characteristics regarding legislative positions’ election (federal, state, and city council members). It happens through a proportional system with an open list, which means the parties do not preordain the list of candidates.

[7]     Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira, in Portuguese. The main party organization in opposition to the PT’s governments (2003-2016).

[8]   Term for candidacies that receive funds officially but, in practice, reallocate them for other purposes. Similar to Straw man.

[9]     TV host, currently without party affiliation.

[10]    Governor of the state of São Paulo (PSDB).

 

* Bruno Marques Schaefer is a Political Science Substitute Professor and Ph.D. candidate at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). He holds a degree in Social Sciences and a Master’s degree in Political Science from UFRGS. His research interests encompass Legislative Studies and Political Parties. He is also a columnist of politics and institutions at Nuances Blog, a volunteer teacher at the Curso Pré-Vestibular Popular Liberato Salzano (preparation course for university entrance exam), and was a consultant for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Brazil for research on political parties. Email: brunomschaefer@gmail.com.

Brazilian automotive industry and the Covid-19 pandemic: the case of the premium segment.

by Marcos Lázaro Prado, Barretos School of Health Sciences Dr. Paulo Prata – FACISB

Reviewed by Matheus Lucas Hebling

In Brazil, several studies have been dedicated to discussing the new configurations and the re-spatialization of the automotive industry in recent years[1]. The assumption is that there was a process of deconcentration of production about traditional producing regions[2] from the 1990s on. The reasons why companies in the sector sought these new territories fostered two sets of explanations.

The first reason was related to all sorts of government incentives, at the municipal, state, and federal levels, which created a necessary infrastructure for the installation of the new factories and their production chains. Also, policies to promote consumption and credit facilities were implemented, mainly during the period of the Lula (2003-2010) and Dilma (2011-2016) governments, with special emphasis on “Inovar-auto” 2012[3].

 The second reason was linked to the search by these companies for new territories without working and trade union tradition, to significantly reduce labor costs and facilitate the implementation of more flexible work management.

Company

Location of plants

Inauguration

Audi

São José dos Pinhais (PR)

2016

BMW

Araquari (SC)

2014

CAOA

Anápolis (GO)

2007

FCA – Fiat-Chysler

Betim (MG)

1976

Goiana (PE) – Jeep

2015

Ford

São Bernardo do Campo (SP)

1967

Horizonte (CE)

1997

Camaçari (BA)

2001

General Motors

São Caetano do Sul (SP)

1925

São José dos Campos (SP)

1958

Gravataí (RS)

2000

Honda

Sumaré (SP)

1997

Itirapina (SP)

2019

HPE Mtsubish e Suzuki

Catalão (GO)

1998

Hyundai

Piracicaba (SP)

2012

Jaguar Land Rover

Itatiaia (RJ)

2016

Mercedes-Benz

Iracemápolis (SP)

2016

Nissan

Resende (RJ)

2014

Peugeot – Citroën

Porto Real (RJ)

2001

Renault

São José dos Pinhais (PR)

1998

Toyota

Indaiatuba (SP)

1998

Sorocaba (SP)

2012

Volkswagen

S. Bernardo do Campo (SP)

1957

Taubaté (SP)

1976

São José dos Pinhais (PR)

1999

Table 1. Car factories, location, and year of operation. According to Anfavea (2020)

“In terms of productivity, according to data from Anfavea (2020), it is noted: a continuous increase in productivity in the period ranging from 2006 to 2010, following a fall in 2011; a productivity recovery in the subsequent period, a peak production in 2013 (2,955,788 vehicles); a sharp production decline in the period ranging from 2014 to 2016 and production resumption from then on, although in 2019 the total number of cars produced (2,448,600) was equivalent to what was produced in 2007 (2,481,949).” (MARTINS and PRADO 2020)

The sector’s outlook, however, has been profoundly altered with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. The production decrease– which reached almost 90% in March 2020[4] – was followed by a set of uncertainties related to a market downturn, unemployment, and the very continuity of the operations of the companies themselves, despite government efforts – not specific to the sector – such as Provisional Measures 927 and 936. [5]

Although there was a resumption of manufacturing activities, despite the continuous increase in cases of the disease, 2020 ended with a total drop of 31.6% in vehicle production, causing the sector to fall to 2004 levels, which meant technical idleness of almost 3 million units[6] and the closure of traditional factories, among them, Ford.

We believe there is a very specific segment, whose articulation expands the set of a possible explanation of the phenomena described above. We refer to factories developed exclusively for the production of cars of the so-called “premium automotive market” as are the cases of Audi in São José dos Pinhais, Paraná, BMW in Araquari, Santa Catarina, Jaguar Land Rover, Itatiaia, in the State of Rio de Janeiro and Mercedes-Benz in Iracemápolis, in São Paulo state.

The qualitative and exploratory research presented here is still in progress and it was conducted aiming to characterize these companies at the moment immediately preceding the Covid-19 pandemic and their reactions within the context of the deep crisis that still occurs in the country. This research was carried out using the specific literature in addition to automaker official channels, data of ANFAVEA (National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers), and news from several press vehicles, including the specialized ones.

We assume that when producing vehicles for a target audience of high purchasing power[7], these companies have business strategies detached from the common and typical oscillations of the automotive sector itself, even if they benefit from government promotion policies.

So far the research allows the following observations about the factories studied (BMW, Audi, JLR, and MB):

  1. I) those who already worked in the country as importers, and their installation took place within a context of incentive for internal production and increase of import rates carried out by Inovar-Auto,

  2. II) those which built their production according to the concept of CKD (Completely Knock-Down), that is, the assembly parts are produced in the matrix (or imported by it) and exported to the Brazilian plant, even though all of them have announced the technology transfer and investments in the new production sites, including the installation of local parts factories and the preparation of local labor,

III) those which reconciled traditional work management models  (Fordism) with flexible elements, such as work teams, although workers often point to the character of artisanal production,

  1. IV) those which compared to the other segments presented a smaller sales oscillation, to the point that specialized publications pointed to the absence of crisis in the segment, even in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic[8].

The continuity or not of the industrial plants of these companies in Brazil is therefore purely independent of the crisis character of the pandemic. At the time of writing this note, Audi and Mercedes-Benz ended the production of cars in Brazil.

Understanding the strategies behind the choices of each of the companies in the segment is our next goal.

References

BICEV, Jonas. Políticas tripartites e ação sindical: a experiência de negociação do sindicato dos metalúrgicos do ABC no setor automotivo / Jonas Tomazi Bicev ; orientador Iram Jácome Rodrigues. -São Paulo, 2019. 189 f

LADOSKY, M. H. G. ; BICEV, J. T. ; PRADO, M. L. ; MARTINS, F. R. . O Futuro das Relações de Trabalho e Sindicais na indústria automobilística após a Covid-19. TRABAJO Y SOCIEDAD, v. XXI, p. 147-162, 2020.

LADOSKY, Mario Henrique. Trabalho, Desenvolvimento e Território: potencialidades e desafios do Polo automotivo de Pernambuco. In RAMALHO, José Ricardo; RODRIGUES, Iram Jácome (organizadores). Trabalho e Ação Sindical no Brasil Contemporâneo. São Paulo: Annablume, 2015.

MARTINS, F. R. PRADO, M. L.;. Trabalho e emprego na indústria automotiva: O caso da Mercedes-Benz em Iracemápolis (SP). In: LIMA, Jacob Carlos. (Org.). O trabalho em territórios periféricos: estudos em três setores produtivos.. 1ed.São Paulo: Annablume, 2020, v. , p. 155-200.

NABUCO, M.R.; NEVES, M.A.; CARVALHO NETO, A.M. (orgs.). Indústria Automotiva: a nova geografia do setor produtivo. Rio de Janeiro: DP&A, 2002.

RAMALHO, J.R. Dinâmicas sociopolÍticas em novos territórios produtivos. Caderno CRH, v. 19, n. 46,  p. 9-17, Jan. / Abr. 2006.

RAMALHO, J.R. Indústria e desenvolvimento: efeitos da reinvenção de um território produtivo no Rio de Janeiro. Repocs, v. 12, n. 24, p. 117-142, 2015.

RAMALHO, J.R.; OLIVEIRA, R.V. (Orgs.) Dossiê: Desenvolvimento, territórios produtivos, trabalho e conflito social. Repocs, v.12, n.24, jul/dez. 2015

RAMALHO, J.R.; SANTANA, M.A. (Orgs.). Trabalho e Desenvolvimento Regional: Efeitos sociais da indústria automobilística no Rio de janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad, 2006.

RODRIGUES, I.J.; RAMALHO, J.R. (Orgs.). Trabalho e sindicato em antigos e novos territórios produtivos: comparações entre o ABC Paulista e o Sul Fluminense. São Paulo: Annablume, 2007.

[1]   Among several papers reported in the open literature, see Nabuco, Neves and Carvalho Neto (orgs.) (2002), Ramalho (org.) (2006), Rodrigues and Ramalho (orgs.) 2007 and Ramalho e Oliveira (orgs) 2015 for an overview.

[2] By traditional regions we understand the “ABC Paulista” in the State of São Paulo, companies settled in the 1950s.

[3]  Law No. 12,715 of 2012, launched the Program to Encourage Technological Innovation and Densification of the Production Chain of Motor Vehicles – “INOVAR-AUTO” – a differentiated tax regime effective until the end of 2017 and that encouraged the arrival of new automakers. For an in-depth analysis of the program see Bicev, J. (2019)

[4] According to ANAFEA. “Covid-19’s advance brings down automotive industry numbers by nearly 90 at the end of March.” Available at  < http://www.anfavea.com.br/docs/Release%20-%20Avan%C3%A7o%20da%20Covid-19%20derruba%20n%C3%BAmeros%20da%20ind%C3%BAstria%20automotiva%20em%20quase%2090%20no%20final%20de%20mar%C3%A7o.pdf > Accessed 19/12/2020.

[5] On the pandemic in the automotive sector, as well as the effects of these provisional measures, see the work of Ladosky, M. H. G.; Bicev, J. T.; Prado, M. L.; Martins, F. R . (2020).

[6] According to ANAFEA. “Production falls 31.6% in 2020 and falls 16 years because of the pandemic. ANFAVEA projects 25% recovery in 2021”. Available in < http://www.anfavea.com.br/docs/release_coletiva_08_01_2021.pdf > Access on 10/01/202

[7] Cars manufactured by the automakers have a sales value in levels greater than 250,000 reais, something according to the companies themselves. The amount is equivalent to 50,000 dollars, a high value by Brazilian standards. In comparative terms, a popular car costs no more than $10,000

[8] This is the InfoMoney website. Published September 2020. Available in <https://www.infomoney.com.br/colunistas/o-mundo-sobre-muitas-rodas/crise-no-mercado-de-carros-de-luxo-essa-palavra-nao-existe/ > Access on 14/01/2020.

Marcos Lázaro Prado (2021) "Brazilian automotive industry and the Covid-19 pandemic: the case of the premium segment.". Brazilian Research and Studies Blog. ISSN 2701-4924. Vol. 2 Num. 1. available at: https://bras-center.com/brazilian-automotive-industry-and-the-covid-19-pandemic-the-case-of-the-premium-segment/, accessed on: April 22, 2021.

April 19th, 2021|Categories: Vol. 2 Num. 1|Tags: |

Is there a movement towards authoritarism in the world?

by Victor Hugo Barboza is a Master in Political Science. His research focuses on economic inequality in Brazil.

Reviewed by Matheus Lucas Hebling

This article is based on two premises: The first is to show that democracies weaken no longer through authoritarian institutions, but rather people who are within the democratic game and favor flexible institutions and laws to lead the country to an authoritarian regime; the second is that cases like Hungary’s, it can make us learn so that we have stronger democracies. To measure the level of democracy, Juan Linz’s theoretical model will be used in his book entitled “The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes”, published in 1978. In this book, the author stresses that the role of political leaders can strengthen democracy or weaken them. With the premises of Linz (1978), the authors Levitsky and Ziblatt (2018) made the table below. Another theoretical reference will be the book “How democracies die” by Steven Levitsky & Daniel Ziblatt (2018).

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 – Rejection of the democratic rules of the game (or weak commitment to them)

Do candidates reject the Constitution or express a willingness to violate it?

Do you suggest the need for undemocratic measures, such as canceling elections, violating or suspending the Constitution, banning certain organizations, or restricting basic civil and political rights?

Do they seek to use (or endorse the use) of extra-constitutional means to change the government, such as military coups, violent insurrections, or mass protests aimed at forcing changes in government?

 Do they try to undermine the legitimacy of elections by refusing, for example, to accept credible election results?

2 – Denial of the legitimacy of political opponents

Do you describe your rivals as subversive or opposed to the existing constitutional order?

Do they claim that their rivals pose a threat, whether to national security or the prevailing way of life?

Without reasoning, do they describe their partisan rivals as criminals whose alleged violation of the law (or potential to do so) would disqualify their full participation in the political arena?

Without reasoning, do they suggest that their rivals are foreign agents, as they would be secretly working in alliance with (or using) a foreign government – often an enemy government?

3 – Tolerance or encouragement of violence

Do you have any ties to armed gangs, paramilitary forces, militias, guerrillas, or other organizations involved in illicit violence?

Do they sponsor or encourage their partisan crowd attacks against opponents?

Did they tacitly endorse the violence of their supporters, refusing to condemn and punish them categorically?

Have you praised (or refused to condemn) other significant acts of political violence in the past or elsewhere in the world?

4 – Propensity to restrict civil liberties of opponents, including the media

Have you supported laws or policies restricting civil liberties, such as expanding libel and libel laws or laws restricting protests and criticism of the government or certain civil or political organizations?

Have they threatened to take legal or other punitive action against their critics in rival parties, civil society, or the media?

Have you praised repressive measures taken by other governments, both in the past and elsewhere in the world?

These premises are the weakening factors of the democratic system and that can lead the population to the disinterest of political participation. In Brazil, we see that in recent years there is a great polarization due to a populist discourse of corruption that was put to us by political actors with diverse interests, such as the Lava Jato Operation, but not the commitment to democracy or the desire for popular participation in political life. It is important to point out that corruption is a profoundly serious problem anywhere and should be punished with the rigor of the law, being one of the factors for the weakening of democracy as well. Government, financial market, companies, and personal relationships. When corruption becomes commonplace, there is a huge risk of reliability in any sphere mentioned above. But, analyzing Linz, do corruption as placed in the speeches of populists who claim to be “the voice of the people”, who go to war against what they describe as a corrupt and conspiratorial elite, tend to use democracy to achieve authoritarianism or are they fighting for the strengthening of democracy? For Linz, if a politician fits even one of these criteria is a cause for concern about democratic non-compliance.

If we analyze in Brazil the table of Juan Linz and the table of Levitsky and Ziblatt in a period of two years, how many of these precepts the current government of Jair Bolsonaro and the previous governments of Brazil fit or fit one or more criteria? If there is at least one positive response, we are on the opposite path to democratic strengthening. What can we do about it to strengthen our political system? This response may be analyzed more calmly and discussed at other times, but we can give an indication based on some countries where this has already happened. I propose to adapt the analysis of Levitsky and Ziblatt and to show the fate of some countries where there was, through the democratic system, the formation of authoritarian systems.

country

leader

Start date

Catching referees

Player removal

Changing rules

Destination of the scheme

Argentina

Juan Perón

June 1946

Yes

No

No

Authoritarian

Ecuador

Rafael Correa

January 2007

Yes

Yes

Yes

Moderately authoritarian

Hungary

Viktor Orbán

May 2010

Limited

No

No

Moderately authoritarian

Russia

Vladimir Putin

May 2000

No

Yes

No

Highly authoritarian

Venezuela

Hugo Chávez

February 1999

Yes

Yes

Yes

Authoritarian

To analyze the table above it is necessary to understand these premises as protection grids of a democracy, that is, institutions, people, and laws that must be placed as part of a game that benefits the population and not something that must be the possession or power of a government to use in its favor. Arbitrators are Ministers, Judges, Intelligence Services, Police, Ethical Agencies, and Courts; the players are the critics of the media and others who are opposed to the government; Rule changes are changes in laws with authoritarian and less bureaucratic purposes of achieving their goals.

Last year, in the wake of democracy, news broke that Hungary’s Parliament has approved a bill that gives full powers indefinitely to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. In the first vote, which required three-quarters of parliament for approval, the bill did not pass, but a new vote where two-thirds of the votes were needed the bill was approved. Since the law is passed, Viktor Orbán may amend or suspend any existing laws in the country without the need for parliament’s approval. With this law too, Orbán will be able to punish press agencies that report fake news with up to 5 years in prison. The main question is: With such powers, which press agency will risk reporting something against Órban’s government?

It is important to analyze that these two premises of change of law and control over the press that the Hungarian Prime Minister, who is already considered by scientists as “moderately authoritarian” proposes, placed on the same path of Venezuela as Hugo Chávez. An authoritarian regime, however, of the extreme right. Hungarian oppositionists, as well as Venezuelan oppositionists in the early 2000s with Hugo Chávez, accuse the prime minister of daring a “coup d’état” and leading the country into a dictatorship. The Orbán government, which is already the subject of European union investigations for various human rights violations due to violations of the rights of immigrants and refugees. Also for attacking the press and the judiciary, it is under pressure from the countries of the European Union for Hungary to be expelled if this law is put into force.

Conclusion

It is an exercise of reflection to analyze the first and second tables and see if the government of your country is going down the democratic path or whether it is moving, through democratic means, towards authoritarianism. It is important to point out that, as in the case of Venezuela, Russia and now Hungary, democracy does not go into decline by military institutions, as occurred in the twentieth century in several countries, but occur within the democratic game, which is extremely dangerous, because this authoritarianism is no longer abruptly, but is happening slowly until the democratic state languishes.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro has made the capture of an arbitrator, how to use the Federal Police and intelligence agencies for use by the Federal Government, or are they autonomous? Has there been an attempt to eliminate players, such as discredit or censorship of the media or opponents of your government? Regarding the changes in the rules of the game, the president of Brazil tried to take away the power of governors, even though the country is federative? Has there been an attempt to change the laws to weaken the actions of opposing groups or speeches delegitimizing the country’s electoral process without proof?

If the answer to the above questions had at least one yes, Brazil is already heading for a break with the democratic system, following the same path as Venezuela, Hungary, Russia, and other countries.

Victor Hugo Barboza (2021) "Is there a movement towards authoritarism in the world?". Brazilian Research and Studies Blog. ISSN 2701-4924. Vol. 2 Num. 1. available at: https://bras-center.com/is-there-a-movement-towards-authoritarism-in-the-world/, accessed on: April 22, 2021.

April 12th, 2021|Categories: Vol. 2 Num. 1|Tags: , |

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The Brazilian Research and Studies Blog (BRaS Blog) provides a space for researchers and students with a focus on Brazil to publish their research and opinions to a broader audience. We have an interdisciplinary outlook integrating human, social, and applied social sciences. We welcome opinion articles, essays, research excerpts, or summaries with a research focus on Brazil. The BRaS Blog’s purpose is to open room for debate about academic thematic with a more accessible approach. The aim is to present scientific discussions about Brazil favoring the democratization of knowledge access. Our blog publishes contributions around 1000 to 1300 words, besides the references, and in English (in extraordinary cases, texts in Portuguese will also be accepted). BRaS Academic Committee will evaluate the submissions, which will be freely available on the BRaS website.

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