Today marked Lula’s 100th day in Government and while we celebrate the initial successes in reversing Bolsonaro’s reactionary agenda, there are still huge challenges ahead. The far-right retain power in the National Congress with the ability to block progressive policies, and Bolsonaro and his supporters are still presenting a threat to Brazilian democracy.
It’s one hundred days since Lula da Silva took office as president of Brazil, having defeated extreme right winger Jair Bolsonaro at the polls in October 2022.
Lula’s victory was relatively narrow, winning on the second round by 51 to 49 per cent, in an election revealing the deep divisions that Bolsonaro’s increasingly autocratic rule had fostered in Brazil during his tenure. But Bolsonaro-supporting parties won the largest bloc of seats in Congress, making the Right a significant obstacle to structural change. Supporters of Bolsonaro supporters also won the Governships of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, the three wealthiest states in Brazil.
With the re-election of the Lula, the Workers Party (PT) and, the broader left to power in Brazil, Logan Williams examine a cornerstone of Lula’s progressive policy – reform to the Brazilian education system.
The merits of the Brazilian system under the previous PT governments are plain to see through the country having one of the most inclusive curriculums in Latin America out of respect of the various indigenous populations across Brazil. In order to understand the progress made by the current Brazilian education system, it is necessary to examine both its historic foundations and the reality of education following the re-election of Lula.
On January 8th, a mob of far-right protesters stormed the Brazilian capital attacking Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and Presidential Palace. Supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro, who still refuse to accept the election result, laid waste to the offices, artwork and the buildings themselves while carrying banners and placards calling on the military to carry out a coup.
Brazil’s history has many examples of military coups and coup-attempts, with Latin America’s most populous country only returning to democracy in 1985, twenty-one years after the military coup against President João Goulart.
This context is an important factor when assessing the January 8th attack – this was an assault on democracy itself, and these acts of violence, intimidation and vandalism were aimed at undermining President Lula da Silva’s newly elected Government.
On 8th January 2023, a week after Lula’s presidential inauguration, the world was shocked by a Trump-style mob attack on key state institutions in Brasilia, the country’s capital city. The world saw media images of thousands of Bolsonaro supporters invading Planalto (presidential palace), and the premises of both the Supreme Court and Parliament, who, when inside proceeded to vandalise just about everything within their reach whilst taking selfies of themselves.
It was a Bolsonarista insurrection aimed at not recognising Lula’s victory and keeping Jair Bolsonaro in power. Flavio Dino, Lula’s minister of justice, reported that Bolsonaristas had perpetrated similar acts of vandalism in at least ten states.
Former president Jair Bolsonaro, who refused to recognise his electoral defeat against Workers’ Party (PT) candidate, Inazio Lula da Silva on 31st October 2022, had conveniently traveled to Florida (30th December 2022) ostensibly not to be present at Lula’s inauguration but most probably not to be directly associated with the 8th January coup attempt if it failed.
On January 8th, we saw a shocking far-right attack on Brazil’s democratic institutions. The attack was carried out by supporters of Bolsonaro who refuse to accept the election result.
This was a clear attempt to undermine President Lula’s newly elected government and disrupt democracy through violence, intimidation and vandalism. It’s crucial that we show our international support for the democratic will of the Brazilian people.
The Brazil Solidarity Initiative condemns the attack on the Brazilian Congress, Supreme Court, and Presidential Palace which was carried out on Sunday 8th January by supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who refuse to accept his recent election defeat.
The far-right attack was a clear attempt to undermine Lula da Silva’s newly elected Government and disrupt democracy through violence, intimidation and vandalism.
This action echoes the disturbing rise of political violence towards Lula’s supporters and Brazilian Workers Party (PT) officials in the run up to the Presidential election.
We give our solidarity to all Brazilians standing in defence of democracy and join the call for justice and vigilance against further far-right attacks. Lula’s administration must be allowed to govern without fear of violence, any further attacks on democracy must be challenged and condemned internationally.
Please share and support this urgent statement from the Brazil Solidarity Initiative on Facebook, Instagram and twitter, or through your own networks.
By the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Supporters of defeated President Jair Bolsonaro, who left the country prior to the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, were behind the attacks, with some elements in the security forces standing by and even encouraging rioters.
President Lula has condemned the “incompetence, bad faith or malice” of those elements of the security forces, and a Supreme Court Justice has placed Ibaneis Rocha, the pro-Bolsonaro regional governor responsible for the capital district, under a 90-day suspension.
President Lula da Silva’s inauguration took place on January 1st, 2023, kicking off his third term in office and bringing an end to a dark period of far-right rule under Jair Bolsonaro. You can read the full speech, kindly translated by Brasil Wire below:
“I want to begin by giving a special greeting to each and every one of you, a way of remembering and repaying the affection and strength that I received every day from the Brazilian people represented by the Lula Livre vigil, in one of the most difficult moments of my life.
Today, in one of the happiest days of my life, the greeting I give you could not be any other, so simple and at the same time so full of meaning: Good afternoon, Brazilian people!
On Monday, November 11th, we held an online celebration and rally in support of Lula’s historic election victory in Brazil. The meeting was joined by hundreds of activists from around the globe and heard inspiring messages of support from an excellent panel!
You can now watch the meeting back on YouTube or listen to it as a podcast on Spotify!
Noam Chomsky // Jeremy Corbyn // Nathalia Urban, Brasil Wire // Richard Burgon MP // Julia Felmanas, PT London coordinator // Mareila Kohon, TUC International Officer // Celia Dignan, NEU International Officer.