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Manifesto: In Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law in Brazil

Introduction

On May 12th 2016, the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who had been elected in 2014 for a mandate of 4 years, was forced by the Senate, as a result of an impeachment process, to stand down as President of the Republic. Although her removal is supposed to be temporary, lasting up to 180 days, a period during which senators should reconvene to evaluate the motives that have resulted in this process, she may be unable to return to office.

This Manifesto was first presented on May 19th 2016 at the yearly international Prague Conference Philosophy and Social Sciences by two Brazilian academics (Yara Frateschi, UNICAMP/Brazil, and Miriam M.S. Madureira, UAM/Mexico) shortly after Dilma Rousseff’s removal from office. It received immediate support from most organizers and participants of the Prague Conference, in particular from María Pía Lara (UAM/Mexico), who helped with its dissemination. After this first presentation, the Manifesto was sent to other academics related to the Prague Conference and to Critical and Political Theory, and received further support. Its supporters include Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, Axel Honneth, Nancy Fraser, Alessandro Ferrara, Rainer Forst, Amy Allen, Hartmut Rosa, Marek Hrubec and more than other 100 academics. It is also going to be published in Brazilian non-mainstream press. (This original English version was translated from Portuguese and corrected by Gavin Adams, Brazilian artist and researcher.)

 

Manifesto

On the 31st of March 1964, a coup d’état installed a civil-military dictatorship in Brazil, inaugurating a dark 21-year period of suspension of civil and political guarantees. Today, 52 years after, the Brazilian people face once more a break of the democratic order. As a result of the acceptance by the Senate of an impeachment process based on accounting irregularities, Dilma Rousseff, who had been elected in 2014 for a mandate of 4 years, was forced, on the 12th of May 2016, to stand down as President of the Republic. Even though this removal is supposed to be temporary, lasting up to 180 days, period during which the senators should reconvene to evaluate the motives that have resulted in the impeachment process, it is unlikely that Dilma should return to office.

Dilma Rousseff’s temporary removal from office is the culmination of a process characterised by unprecedented arbitrariness and polarisation in democratic Brazilian society, perceptible at least since her re-election in 2014. By attributing the recent corruption scandals exclusively to the Worker’s Party’s (PT) administrations (although they were the only ones who had the courage to investigate them through, even when investigations turned against their own) and by manipulating  public opinion against the supposed risks of a left-wing takeover of the country, the right-wing opposition to Dilma Rousseff’s government took advantage of the economic crisis that emerged after years of stability and growth and led a violent media campaign against it. It managed to aggregate against the Workers’ Party (PT) and Lula’s and Dilma’s governments large sections of business elites and conservative middles classes, as well as authoritarian sectors represented in Congress and in the Judiciary, evidently aiming the hammering down of the social rights secured by Dilma’s government and the deregulation of economy. Besides, once in power, they will probably decline to further investigate corruption as it is likely to involve their own people, as opposed to Dilma Rousseff, whose probity in the administration of public affairs is not doubted, as corruption charges are not part of the impeachment process.

The impeachment is a juridical tool of extremely restricted scope in Brazilian presidentialism. It is regulated by Art.85 of the Brazilian Constitution of 1988, and its use is restricted to cases involving serious offenses (crimes de responsabilidade, “responsibility crimes”) carried out by the President. As the accounting irregularities in the administration of public funds that Dilma Rousseff is accused of are not serious offenses in the sense prescribed by the Constitution, it is evident that this impeachment is not legitimately grounded. Furthermore, the whole process was full of questionable aspects, which contribute to add further illegitimacy to its results. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to consider the present impeachment process against Dilma Rousseff a white coup, which will yield long-lasting consequences to the democratic Rule of Law in Brazil.

In the face of all this, we consider necessary to state our absolute repudiation of the illegitimate destitution of President Dilma Rousseff, and our strong support for the maintenance of the Rule of Law in Brazil.

  1. Albena Azmanova – University of Kent, Belgium
  2. Alessandro Ferrara – University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy
  3. Alessandro Pinzani – UFSC, Brazil
  4. Alina Valjent – Witten/Herdecke University – Germany
  5. Allan Breedlove –Loyola University Chicago, USA
  6. Alois Blumentritt – University Wien, Austria
  7. Amy Allen – Pennsylvania State University – USA
  8. Anahi Wiedenburg – London School of Economics, Argentina/UK
  9. André de Macedo Duarte – UFPR, Brazil
  10. André Medina Carone – UNIFESP, Brazil
  11. Andreas Niederberger – Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany
  12. Anna Dißmann – Witten/Herdecke University – Germany
  13. Arthur Oliveira Bueno –University of Erfurt, Germany
  14. Asger Sorensen – Aarhus University, Denmark
  15. Axel Honneth – University of Frankfurt/Columbia University, Germany/USA
  16. Aysen Candas – Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey
  17. Barbara Fultner – Denison University, USA
  18. Bernat Riutort Serra – University of Illes Ballears –Spain
  19. Brian Milstein – Goethe University Frankfurt, USA/Germany
  20. Carlos Costa Dantas – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
  21. Carlos Henrique Santana – TU Darmstadt, Germany
  22. Charles Taylor – Mc Gill University, Canada
  23. Christopher Zurn – University of Massachussetts/Boston, USA
  24. Cora McKeena – Trinity College, Ireland
  25. Cristina Sánchez – Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain
  26. Dan Swain – Czech University of Life Sciences, Czech Republic
  27. Daniele Santoro – CNR, National Research Council of Italy, Italy
  28. David Alvarez – University of Minho/Braga, Portugal
  29. David Rasmussen – Boston College, USA
  30. Debora Spini – Syracuse University in Florence, Italy
  31. Dónal O’Farrell – Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  32. Elisabeth v. Thadden – University of Jena, Germany
  33. Felicia Herrschaft – Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
  34. Filip Vostal – Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  35. Firica Stefan – University of Bucharest, Romania
  36. Francisco Naishtat – Universidad de Buenos Aires –Argentina
  37. François Calori – Université de Rennes 1, France
  38. Gesche Keding – Jena University, Germany
  39. Gisleine Aver – UFSC, Brazil
  40. Giulia Lasagni – Università de Parma, Italy
  41. Giuseppe Ballacci – University of Minho, Portugal
  42. Gorana Ognjenovich – University of Oslo, Norway
  43. Gustavo Leyva Martínez – Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México
  44. Hans-Herbert Kögler – University of North Florida, USA
  45. Hartmut Rosa – Jena University, Germany
  46. Heikki Ikäheimo – University of New South Wales, Australia
  47. Igor Shoikhedbrod – University of Toronto, Canada
  48. Isadora Henrichs – Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  49. Italo Testa – Parma University, Italy
  50. Jazna Jozelic – University of Oslo, Norway
  51. João Honoreto – University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany
  52. Joaquín Valdivielso-Navarro – Universitat Illes Balears, Spain
  53. Johan Söderberg – Göteborg University, Sweden
  54. Johanna Oksala – University of Helsinki, Finland
  55. Johannes Schulz – Frankfurt University, Germany
  56. John Lumsden – University of Essex, UK
  57. Jonathan Bowman – University of Arkansas, USA
  58. José Adauto de Souza Neto – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
  59. Julian Culp – University of Frankfurt, Germany
  60. Jürgen Habermas – J.W. Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany
  61. Karoline Rhein – Witten/Herdecke University – Germany
  62. Kendralyn Webber –University of California Riverside, USA
  63. Lenny Moss – University of Exeter, UK
  64. Leonardo da Hora Pereira – Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France
  65. Lorenz Mrones – University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany
  66. Luiz Gustavo de Cunha de Souza – Institut für Sozialforschung/Frankfurt –Germany
  67. Marco Solinas – Florence University, Italy
  68. Marek Hrubec – Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic
  69. Maria Ines Bergoglio – Universidad nacional de Córdoba, Argentina
  70. María José Guerra – Universidad de Laguna –Spain
  71. María Pía Lara – Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  72. Marjan Ivkovic – University of Belgrade, Serbia
  73. Mark Haugaard – University Galway – Ireland
  74. Marlon Urizar Natareno, Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala
  75. Martin Javornicky – University of Galway, Ireland
  76. Martin Sauter – n/a –Ireland
  77. Martin Seel – J.W.Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany
  78. Masao Higarashi – Ritsumeikan University –Japan
  79. Matteo Bianchin – University of Milano, Italy
  80. Matthias Kettner – University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany
  81. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann – J.W. Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany
  82. Melis Menent – University of Sussex, UK
  83. Miriam Mesquita Sampaio de Madureira – Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, México
  84. Mykhailo Minakov – Kiev-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
  85. Nancy Fraser –New School for Social Research, USA
  86. Nancy Love –Appalachian State University, USA
  87. Natalia Frozel Barros –University of Paris 1, France
  88. Nathan Cogné – Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  89. Nicola Patruno – Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
  90. Niklas Angebauer – University of Essex, UK
  91. Odin Lysaker – Agder University, Norway
  92. Ojvind Larsen – Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
  93. Onni Hirvonen – University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  94. Pablo Gilabert – Concordia University, Canada
  95. Patrick O’Mahonny – University College Cork –Ireland
  96. Pedro Augusto Pinho – UES-RJ/UFRJ, Brazil
  97. Pedro Federici Araujo – PUC/RJ – Brasil
  98. Philipp Schink – J.W. Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Germany
  99. Philippe Sonnet – Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
  100. Pierre Schwarzer – Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany
  101. Radu Neculau – University of Windsor, Canada
  102. Rahel Jaeggi – Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
  103. Rainer Forst – University of Frankfurt, Germany
  104. Richard Stahel – University of Constantin the Philosopher in Nitra, Slovak Republic
  105. Robert Fine – Warwick University, UK
  106. Roberta Ramos Marques – Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
  107. Robin Celikates – University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  108. Rodrigo Cordero – Universidad Diego Portales –Chile
  109. Ronan Kaczyznski – Goethe University, Germany
  110. Rosie Worsdale – University of Essex, UK
  111. Ruy Fausto – USP/Université de Paris 8, Brazil/France
  112. Sandra Cruz – UNIFESP, Brazil
  113. Steven L. White – Wayne State University, USA
  114. Susan L. Foster – UCLA, USA
  115. Thomas Fossen – Leiden University, The Netherlands
  116. Valerio Fabbrizi – University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy
  117. Wolfgang Heuer – Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  118. Yara Frateschi – UNICAMP, Brazil
  119. Zuzana Uhde – Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic

 

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Miriam M.S. Madureira

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