Reform and Political Crisis in Brazil

Class Conflicts in Workers' Party Governments and the Rise of Bolsonaro Neo-fascism


This book examines the Brazilian political process in the period of 2003-2020: the governments led by the Workers’ Party and their reformist policies, the deep political crisis that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and the rise of Bolsonaro neofascism. The author maintains that the Party and ideological conflicts present in the Brazilian politics are linked to the class distributive conflicts present in the Brazilian society. Defeated for the fourth consecutive time in the presidential election, the political parties representing the international capital and segments of the bourgeoisie and of the middle class, abandoned the rules of the democratic game to end the Workers' Party government cycle. They paved the way for the rise of neofascism.

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Armando Boito is Professor at the State University of Campinas, Brazil. He is author of several books on Marxist political theory and Brazilian politics. He is editor of the Brazilian journal Critica Marxista.
Preface to the English Edition

List of Tables and Charts

part 1
Reform and Social Classes in the pt Governments
1State, Bourgeoisie, and Neoliberalism in the Lula Government
 1 The Bloc in Power in the Neoliberal Period

 2 The Political Ascension of the Industrial Bourgeoisie and Agribusiness under the Lula Government

 3 Political Rise, but No Hegemony Established

 4 The Political Regime and the Hegemony of Financial Capital

 5 Final Considerations

2The Lula Governments The New “National Bourgeoisie” in Power
 1 fhc, Lula, and Disputes within the Bourgeoisie

 2 The Political Relations of the Big Internal Bourgeoisie with the Lula Government

 3 Contradictions within the Internal Bourgeoisie and the Neodevelopmentalist Front

3The Political Bases of Neodevelopmentalism
 1 The Neodevelopmentalist Political Front

 2 The Neodevelopmentalist Program

 3 The Classes and Class Fractions Integrating the Neodevelopmentalist Front

 4 The Contradictions in the Core of the Front

4Lulism, Populism, and Bonapartism
 1 The Concepts

 2 Varguism and Lulism

 3 Bonapartism and Lulism

5Neodevelopmentalism, Social Classes, and Foreign Policy in the pt Governments
 1 The Bloc in Power and the Neodevelopmentalist Political Front

 2 Foreign Policy and the Neodevelopmentalist Front

 3 Conclusion

6Neodevelopmentalism and the Recovery of the Brazilian Union Movement
 1 Neodevelopmentalism and the Union Movement

 2 The Union Movement’s Political Moderation

 3 The Growth of the Strike Struggle

 4 Final Considerations

part 2
The Nature and Dynamics of the Crisis that Led to the Impeachment
7The Political Crisis of Neodevelopmentalism and the Instability of Democracy
 1 The Political Crisis

 2 The Neoliberal Bourgeois Offensive

 3 The Participation of the Upper Middle Class

 4 The Presence of the Working Classes

 5 The Instability of Democracy

 6 The Government’s Reaction and the Popular Movement

8State, State Institutions, and Political Power in Brazil
 1 The Bloc in Power and Class Alliances

 2 The Political Regime and the Contradictions within the State Bureaucracy

 3 bndes, Petrobras, and the Big Internal Bourgeoisie

 4 Judicial Institutions, the Associated Bourgeoisie, and the Upper Middle Class

 5 Final Considerations

9Operation Car Wash, the Middle Class, and State Bureaucracy
 1 The State’s Social Function, Social Classes, and Bureaucracy

 2 Operation Car Wash and the Middle Class

 3 The Middle Class and Corruption

10The Crisis of Neodevelopmentalism and the Dilma Rousseff Government
 1 A Couple of Things to Learn from the Crisis

 2 The Bloc in Power and Class Alliances

 3 The Political Crisis

11Why was the Resistance to the 2016 Coup D’état so Weak?
 1 The Internal Bourgeoisie was Divided in the Face of the Coup

 2 The Marginal Mass of Workers Remained Passive

 3 The Unionized Workers were Neutralized

 4 After the Coup

  Afterword Bolsonaro and the Rise of Neofascism
 1 When Can We Speak of Fascism?

 2 Bolsonarism is One of the Species of the Fascism Genre

 3 The Bolsonaro Government and the Originating Political Crisis

 4 Fascism and Bourgeoisie: Unity, Conflicts, and Conciliation

 5 Final Considerations



All interested in a) Brazilian and Latin American politics, b) in the experiences of reformist governments fought by conservative forces and c) the new extreme right tide.
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