Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

André Singer — Brazil: From a Rooseveltian Dream to the Nightmare of a Parliamentary Coup

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer Street

In Brazil, the first decade of the twenty-first century was characterized by a successful but moderate reformist program spearheaded by its president from 2003 to 2010, Luiz Inácio da Silva, universally known as Lula. His successor, Dilma Rousseff, hoped to accelerate the project on the wings of what I have called a Rooseveltian dream. Five years later, on May 12 2016 — the day the president, accused of criminal administrative misconduct, vacated the presidential offices — the dream had become a nightmare. In 2002, when Lula won the presidential election for the first time, the Constitution was secure and democracy in full swing. How was it possible, to borrow an expression from Marx, that “Society now seems to have fallen back behind its point of departure”? How to explain a counterrevolution without a revolution? What hidden connections would allow for the formulation of hypotheses capable of explaining the catastrophe?

André Singer is Professor of Political Science at the University of São Paulo. He was Press Secretary for the Palácio do Planalto from 2005-2007 and, from 2003-2007, spokesperson for President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. His books include Esquerda e direita no eleitorado brasileiro (EdUSP, 1999), Os Sentidos do Lulismo (Companhia das Letras, 2012), and O Lulismo em crise (Companhia das Letras, forthcoming Companhia das Letras, 2018).

Brazil Initiative