Brazilians Who Believe in Change Should Be Happy for the Bearers of Utopias

    Marina Silva

    Marina Silva It appears that the presidential candidates for the second round of elections in 2010 have already been chosen, as much by the media as by the research institutes. Their discourses focus upon a similar subject: the acceleration of the economy.

    They are not incorporating proposals to change the course of Brazilian history in the direction of a new national project, as we did in 1888, 1889, 1930, 1955, 1985. That renovation, moreover, has never been so important in view of the present financial, economic, ecological and social crises.

    Not only do the elimination of the first round of voting and the disdain for holding party primaries defer the possibility of historic reorientation and the birth of the new Brazil, they do not even permit debate about this. And the absence of that debate has tragic consequences for our population’s political formation, and, even more, for that of our youth, who are orphaned from new proposals for our country.

    Since we took back direct elections in 1989, some utopias have been presented during the campaigns. People like Leonel Brizola, Lula, Roberto Freire, Ulysses Guimarães, and Mário Covas introduced proposals that collided with those of Fernando Collor. Lula and Brizola introduced proposals that confronted those of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

    In 2006, in view of Lula’s strength, only the PDT and the PSOL dared to present candidates with options differing from the similar discourses of the principal candidates. Together, they received less than 10% of the votes; yet, they raised alternative banners. The young people and the voter had the opportunity to hear new proposals for revolutionizing education and bringing ethics to the exercise of politics.

    The Lula administration undermined the PT and co-opted several opposition parties, as well as the social movements that could have presented alternatives. The PT, PCdoB and PSB came to see power as an end in itself. Brizola’s PDT still maintains, in its bases, a sense of seeking the utopia of laborism by means of a revolution in education, but it is subordinated to the hegemonic project represented by the administration.

    President Lula has been effective in staying the course – fortunately with more generosity towards the poor – but he has nonetheless always maintained the same course: the one geared towards mechanical industry and the exportation of raw and agricultural goods as vectors and aims of progress. This is done without considering the necessity of guiding the country towards a knowledge economy, towards ecological equilibrium, towards giving value to culture, towards the guarantee of the same chance for all.

    Now the possible candidacy of Marina Silva has emerged. She is seen as the “champion of utopia” of a new model of economic development that incorporates commitments to ecological equilibrium, giving value to culture and to the construction of ladders for social ascension instead of the simple social safety nets like the Bolsa-Família.

    It is in this same sense that I come to defend an educational revolution. Because it is in the school that a new consciousness is constructed and science and technology are developed to reduce the demand for natural resources and the emission of pollution.

    Therefore, the militants who defend a renovation of Brazil and their parties that have not chosen to run a candidate of their own should celebrate the possibility of each candidacy that reclaims the dream of the revolution that the country needs.

    Those who have not lost the belief in the changes should be happy about the candidacies that are bearers of utopias. As an ex-candidate for the Presidency of the Republic who also tried to be a bearer of utopias – without surpassing 2.5% of the votes – I celebrate the name of Marina Silva and of the others who are giving Brazil the opportunity to listen to alternative proposals. Down with the same old same old!

    Cristovam Buarque is a professor at the University of Brasília and a PDT senator for the Federal District. You can visit his website – www.cristovam.org.br – and write to him at cristovam@senado.gov.br.

    Translated from the Portuguese by Linda Jerome LinJerome@cs.com.

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