There is so much, and Time, to be done: notes on the 2020 elections (Brazil and the USA), November, representativeness(es) and counter-hegemonic policy
“[…] I know that it feels a kind o’ hissin’ and ticklin’ like to see a colored woman get up and tell you about things, and Woman’s Rights. We have all been thrown down so low that nobody thought we’d ever get up again; but we have been long enough trodden now; we will come up again, and now I am here” (Sojourner Truth. In: STANTON, Elizabeth Cady; ANTHONY, Susan B. et al. History of woman suffrage, v. 1, cit., p. 567).
There is so much to write about and, at the same time, perhaps, nothing. Or just about the fatigue of a pandemic, lethal and atypical year. The doubles mentioned in the previous column about November have become even more multiple. However some inferred univocity, number one is pluriverse, as the reach of humanity itself inside of us, despite North-white-racial subjectivities.
From the same tough November, I recall the municipal elections across the country (Brazil), also in the slight reference to the North American presidential one. In this regard, a new double, sorry, I will be quick. En passant, it should be noted the high number of abstentions on Rio de Janeiro soil, that is those who are able to vote but chose not to do it in the first round voting for the majority position (Mayorship): symptom, in 2020, of the risk of exposure and infection for the new coronavirus, aside general political disinterest of the city’s electorate to the reflection, organization and decision of the future itself through institutionality — continuous victory of the dominant classes in their alienating activity –. I extend the record, confessed exhausting and already impatient, to the truths that are no longer so new, but revealed/updated interpretive myopia (from racists and misogynists to anti-Labor Brazilian Party, or Partido dos Trabalhadores, and regionalists) from part of the progressives (men and women) about the defining result of the second round, whose contempt for local conservative colors and historical interpenetration of drug dealers, militia and conservative protestant churches forces and power beyond the Metropolitan Region will, once never understood, explored, reversed and overcome, enshrine defeat over defeat the dying of the Left as an imaginary, material and political contest as an alternative to newly metabolized right-wing and anti-people agendas in a false centrist and pro-democracy discourse.
The important victories, however, of Black women and LGBTQI+ people (self-declared gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans women and men and intersex), Indigenous, quilombolas, slums and peripheral candidacies locally should signal the recosture, to the Left, from the so-called identity guidelines to popular, feminist, human rights and anti-racism initiatives in a counter-hegemonic and anti-systemic character. This is a big deal.
Despite the pioneering spirit seen here and in the global North — let us not forget, in the American continent, trailblazing Epsy Campbell Barr, winner with Carlos Alvarado Quesada in Citizen Action Party (CAP) (or Partido Ação Cidadã, in Portuguese) ticket to 2018 presidential election in Costa Rica —, or precisely for that reason (mentioning Kamala Harris, Vice President-elect of the USA on Joe Biden’s Democratic ticket to the Presidency in 2020, the first Black Asian woman to do it), I say: 1) about representative paradoxes, personal, ambiguous, or contradictory, professional and personal trajectories, the right to the positive image and symbol (re)positioning (Akotirene, 2020) has to be rescued as a possibility/intelligence/strategy of subjective, ontological, human and ideological rearrangement — historically denied to diminished race and gender majorities, respecting inner time (all time is time, in Yoruba wisdom), understandings, or misunderstandings, produced or forged conjunctural meanings, convergences or not, healthy dissent and diversity of opinion. Supposing homogeneity among groups is a white colonial trick of humanities annihilation, to evoke the Martinian psychiatrist and writer Frantz Omar Fanon (1925–1961). Let us advance to patriarchal misogyny, racism and anti-racism in attacks and discrediting of political adversaries disguised as criticism. Necessary, and demandable, charges and questions regarding promised new compositions in the State frameworks do not cancel reciprocity, dialogues, respect or reopening with and for differences. Furthermore, defamation campaigns and uncritically imported debates without the analysis of social-cultural, historical and geographic design of known oppressions (Ribeiro, 2020) may incur in the reproduction of desubjectivating, and despoiling, colonialist systems — aside actual ignorance or empathy with people’s individual processes —. Priority here is the fight against imposed verticalities by structural race-sexism and the resulting disparities, which depend on, as a poorly motivated elaboration of, plurality as a narcissistic wound (Lorde, 1978). 2) Now elected, it will be up to us, as social movements and civil society, to provide support for their/her articulation with declared progressive and pro-democracy forces in achieving on government programs and established agenda during the campaign — including the guarantee of full term exercise at institutional and insurance levels –, our love and protection. Let us love and protect women, men and all elected people, Black and non-Black ones in dissident bodies, because the fulfillment of desires, expectations and desires will depend on their physical and emotional protection. We do not need more dreams, bodies, colors and their multiple affections shot on racial, feminicidal and LGBTQI+phobic political violence crimes without authorship unveiled after 33 months of occurrence (as Marielle Franco’s assassination). We do not deserve it. Never again, given its high democratic cost and the avoidable sacrifice of those lives.
From the second round vote of municipal elections in Brazil, and on a pure note to posterity as a public record of the current situation, I pay particular attention to the right-center reshuffling as the preferential political spectrum of local/national electorate, in cooling or not to the disruption of Jair Bolsonaro ultra-right spectrum; to the devastating defeat of the candidates whose support from the Presidency constituted a promise of success and electoral victory, although it represents a not insignificant shield to the forces of or on the Left, especially Labor Party (LP) (or PT, in Portuguese), among localist/district cadres — the Party, despite the election, for example, of Margarida Salomão (PT/MG), in Juiz de Fora, and Marília Campos (PT/MG), in Contagem, did not elect representatives in capitals for the first time since the re-democratization (1985); to the future of progressive leaders to the Left spectrum around the unveiled exposition of figures like Guilherme Boulos (PSOL/SP), capable or not of agglutinating democratic tendencies — pro-people, gender-ethno-racial and affective pluralities — similar to a possible broad front of struggles in 2022 and re-engineering the field itself as an alternative country/State project — Edmilson Rodrigues (PSOL), in Belém (PA), and José Sarto (PDT), in Fortaleza (CE), can provide equally interesting examples, or not: a report from the magazine Gender and Number revealed the absence of actions in favor of women, Black people and LGBTQI+ at his government plan, contrary to what, for example, a certain Left programmatic commitment with such groups was expected and, yes, required. Draw your own conclusions –; and, finally, to political gender violence responsible for the defeat of female candidacies to the city hall — Porto Alegre (RS) and Recife (PE) stand out negatively –, besides the one also verified against Ana Lúcia Martins (PT/SC), Ana Carolina Dartora (PT/PR), Suéllen Rosim (Patriota/SP), Duda Salabert (PDT/MG) and Benny Briolly (PSOL/RJ).
Martins, the first Black councilwoman elected to the post in Joinville City Council, a small town in Santa Catarina (South Brazil), has been victim of racist attacks and threats to life since the end of the first round (November 15th). In coordinated action by initiatives such as the one conveyed by Marielle Franco Institute, the State Prosecutor’s Office, Justice and the Department of Public Safety and the Electoral Justice are being pressured to adopt protective/security measures and hold the aggressors accountable. Ana Carolina Dartora, a pioneer as well as Martins, however in the capital of the state of Paraná (South Brazil), would register on December 6th the same content to the local authorities. Rosim, elected to the city hall of Bauru in the second round, the first Black, and woman, to do so in 124 years of this São Paulo city history (South East Brazil), registered a report of racial injuries — in fact, misogynist racism — received on social networks. Soon after, the training journalist would file a new complaint, this time for death threats.
Salabert, a trans woman elected in the capital of Minas Gerais (South East Brazil) in a trailblazing character, received, in addition to transphobic offenses with racist notes, death threats perpetrated by a member identified as belonging to a neo-Nazi group active in the country — also aimed at students, Black people, the management and other school employees where she works in Belo Horizonte –. According to her, both threats and intimidation represent an attempt of a psychological attack against democracy (Universa, December 4th, 2020). Briolly, a trans Black woman, would report in an article from O Globo on December 8th, 2020 the receipt of race-sexist, transphobic and life threatening messages with the same content as those sent to Congresswoman Talíria Petrone (PSOL/RJ), perhaps the most dramatic case observed today in this field — after asking for protection from the House of Representatives Legislative Police and denouncing the suffered violence, despite the negligence of Brazilian organs and authorities on this matter, to the United Nations (UN), Petrone had been forced to leave the state of Rio de Janeiro after new threats, this time also directed at the family, his partner and daughter, Moana Mayalú, only 6 months old –, and the recently mentioned Salabert.
Regarding female and Black underrepresentativeness to the majority positions, it should be noted the racism and political misogyny of the Left Party leaderships in its resilient veto to the dispute or underfunding of Black, Indigenous, quilombola women, LGBTQI+, peripherals, slums, collective and popular mandates candidacies that was shamefully exposed in white (68.5%), male and female heterocisnormativity (73.3%) (Dossiers Gender and Number) hegemony of their representatives in this second round. The choice of another candidate profile, apart from the real openness to dialogue/negotiation with the segments denominated identities — including evangelical expressions and religiosities of African/Afro-Amerindian-Brazilian matrixes –, will be a key part of the triumph over negationism, neoliberal and all anti-peoples agenda.
Eventually, the discredit attempt to Brazilian electronic voting system by the president Bolsonaro has failed for the time being, but it already signals a dangerous threat to the legitimacy of 2022 Brazilian electoral process in the event of political defeat. The delusional, undisclosed and unproven sources of fraud in the U.S election and hacker attacks must, from now on, be ignored and faced up to. The stimulus to electorate presence at the polls, especially the Black and popular one, and politicization find practical inspiration in Stacey Abrams/Georgia case.
Closing the text, I want to affect you with the political remaking of kindness, disposition, generosity, passion, courage, ambition and conviction for life of each living existence today. Recovering Ana Paula Lisboa in a text of November 4th to O Globo, being alive is occupying the streets in defense and in the guarantee of rights, forming lines to vote and allowing enchantment takes its place as change. Far from poetry, and mere air for subsistence, daily resistance is life stuff.
Future work starts here and now.
Just a few notes:
1) in reference to smear campaigns, lies and/or reputation annihilation, I leave the articles “Public defender: I worked with Kamala Harris. She was the most progressive DA in California”; “Campaign fact check: Here’s how Kamala Harris really prosecuted marijuana cases” and “Kamala Harris and the noble path of the prosecutor” as recommendation to a deep and better informed reflection about political trajectories and their effective contributions to the country (do your own research and check the veracity of all shared informations).
2) The hyperlinked Djamila Ribeiro article is entitled “I wish strength to women, but also the right to cry and to humanity” (free translation), published in a weekly column to Folha de S.Paulo, December 4th, 2020 (originally “Desejo força às mulheres, mas também o direito ao choro e à humanidade”).