By Emir Sader – Jul 16, 2022
The bourgeoisie has no heroes, according to Brecht. They have no intention of creating heroes. They create the official history with their leaders, who reach governments without becoming heroes of the country.
Even worse, the bourgeoisie has to oppose heroes who confront them. For these they only have hatred, without having either their own heroes or projects and values that can win broad popular support.
In Latin America the bourgeoisie has the difficult task of confronting popular leadership that comes from broad roots. Perón and Getulio Vargas were a couple of them, whose ghosts continue to keep the Latin American bourgeoisie awake at night.
In common, they have not only the love of the people, but also the long list of defeats they have imposed on the bourgeoisie over time. And that by itself incurs upon them the hatred of the bourgeoisie.
Cristina Kirchner and Lula da Silva are the objects—at the same time—of the love of their peoples and the hatred of the bourgeoisies of their countries.
Cristina directly assumes the continuity of Perón. Being a woman makes her, at the same time, the continuity of the image of Evita, which multiplies the hatred of the bourgeoisie.
It is a hatred directed at the Argentine people, their rights, their ways of existence, their organizations, their values, their culture, their very existence. As the bourgeois elites considered themselves owners of the country before the people emerged on the political scene, they feel that their world is being invaded by foreign, non-white people, who were previously content to be subordinates, without rights, while the country revolved around them.
They feel that the country, of which they have always considered themselves owners, is being taken away from them.
The hatred for Lula, in turn, is hatred for the Brazilian people, for the Northeasterners, who have suddenly emerged in the political sphere, claim to be the majority, elect their leaders, and win their rights. People who are no longer resigned to simply working for the white elite, providing services to them, without claiming anything. People who, all of a sudden, elected a Northeasterner, an immigrant, who even lost a finger working in a factory, as president of Brazil. And as the best president Brazil has ever had.
The bourgeoisie then, through the right wing that represents it politically, tries to spread hatred as the central form of relationship with the dominated, the workers. While the relationship that the people have with Lula and Cristina is a relationship of love and respect.
One way of trying to disqualify the popular governments is to label them as “populist,” without defining precisely what that means. In economic terms, they would be governments that try to have wealth distribution policies, instead of prioritizing the balance of public accounts.
Yet, those who have unleashed uncontrolled inflation have been right-wing governments—Mauricio Macri, Bolsonaro, while the governments that have recovered the economies of those countries have been branded as populist: Néstor, Cristina Kirchner, Lula.
In political terms, populism would mean breaking with the policies of subordination to the interests of the United States, and prioritizing exchanges with Latin American countries and the global South in general.
Populist would be Lula’s international leadership, regional integration policies, exchanges with Chile, the BRICS.
In short, the hatred for popular leaders like Lula and Cristina, who represent popular interests, national interests, is a class hatred.
Emir Simão Sader is a Brazilian sociologist and political scientist of Lebanese origin. He received all his higher education credentials from the University of São Paulo. He did his bachelor’s degree in philosophy, his master’s degree in political philosophy and his doctoral degree in political science.