The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Brazilian Dilma Rousseff Coup

Dilma Roussef

Dilma Roussef

Rousseff has been impeached and removed, supposedly for corruption, though there’s little evidence she personally benefited from corruption, while many of those who impeached her are very corrupt. Brazil was a “miracle economy” for much of the past decade and a half while the “left” ran things, but much of that was due to forces beyond local control, like the price of oil and the strength of the world and Chinese economies.

The new President’s “plan” is as follows:

President Michel Temer said on Wednesday that fixing Brazil’s economy would not be easy, but his priority was to pass a spending cap this year, attract foreign investment, reduce unemployment, and begin pension system reform.

A.K.A., neoliberal austerity. Unions will be crushed, pensions will be cut, spending will be cut, and outsiders will be allowed to buy up Brazilian companies and resources for relatively cheap, so long as Brazilian elites get a cut.

Rousseff wasn’t the greatest prize, having run neoliberal-light policies in many areas, but she wasn’t personally corrupt and she engaged in far less austerity than Temer will.

Parties of the left are being crushed in much of South America for the simple reason that they ran the countries during the resource boom of the 2000s and have not been able to manage the drop in resource prices, first from oil, then generally as China stopped buying so many resources. I’ve discussed the perils of basing a left-wing government on resources before.

(See also Mandos on the coup.)

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  1. Synoia

    ” first from oil, then generally as China stopped buying so many resources”

    And China stopped buying resources when demand was cut after 2007.

    Leading to the idea that worldwide austerity is the policy, driven by the United States, to control China.

  2. XFR

    Leading to the idea that worldwide austerity is the policy, driven by the United States, to control China.


  3. Duder

    The Left in Latin America is being ousted by the rightwing because they chose to cozy up with that same rightwing during their tenure in office rather than engage in the difficult political task of challenging elite economic power and restructure the society along the lines of socialism. Remember, Temer was her VicePresident. She got him elected to office. Now he is turning around and ousting her given the opportunity. In Latin America they called it “pragmaticism” and Lula was the forbearing and champion of this political strategy adopted across the “Pink Tide”. His successor is now suffering the consequences. It is sad, but the Left has to look itself in the mirror and learn some hard lessons from the past decade in power in LA. In short, they blew it. They squandered an opportunity won after decades of hard fought struggle against ruthless dictators and US puppets.
    Also, I have to say that calling this political act a “coup” still makes me uncomfortable. Yes, I basically agree with the technical use of the term, it qualifies as a parliamentary coup. But, the use of the word in Latin America raises this political act by association to the crimes and violence witnessed in the region during the era of the dictatorships. That I cannot abide. Nothing that has currently happened to Rousseff and the Left in Brazil can be compared to those days. The terms use feels opportunist to me. Hack politicians that would otherwise be the subjects of criticism for the Left are now claiming to be victims and martyrs.

  4. Ché Pasa

    What we should be learning from this event and from similar events around the world is that our neoLibCon rulers will not allow any “leftist” voting or government or what have you stand in the way of what they want, and they will undertake any measure necessary to achieve their objectives.


    We should have learned a long time ago that they will not allow quaint notions like democracy and elections and voting and such interfere with those goals and objectives. What the people want or need or vote for is of no consequence. If they vote the wrong way, as they sometimes do, results can be changed to a more pleasing outcome for the High and the Mighty. Governments can be and are overthrown. Elected presidents and prime ministers can be and are removed from office through any means necessary to achieve the desired outcome. Sometimes — as in Greece — the allegedly leftist elected government is co-opted. Other times, as in Italy, the head of government is removed and replaced with someone more pleasing without regard to details like elections.

    Now in Brazil, an impeachment has taken place, more because Dilma was in the way, not so much for anything she did or didn’t do. She was as cooperative as she had to be with her neoLibCon overlords, but that wasn’t enough. Lessons learned, right?

    In other words, self-government, even the concept of it, is going extinct as we live and breathe.

    We are to be ruled, and there is nothing we can do about it. There is no alternative. At least we should understand by now that elections are not going to be allowed to reverse the neoLibCon triumph any time soon if ever. More and more, they will be little more than spectacle. Entertainments for the masses meaning little or nothing to the Powers That Be, much as they were after the end of the Roman Republic.

    We’ve watched this happen over the last several decades. The removal of Dilma is yet another example of many before her impeachment. There will be more to come.

  5. Duder

    No, lesson not learned. What I was offering was a plea for a more complex analysis than “good guy lefties put down by bad guy imperialist-capitalists”. The usual narrative not only obscures reality but only serves to boost the leftist ego without learning anything useful from the experience. Here is a start:

  6. XFR

    You’re missing the forest for the trees, Duder.

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