Lack of Political Identities in Brazil

By Alinne Lopes Gomes

Photo by Giacomo Ferroni on Unsplash

Political parties in Brazil and the hardship in identifying political identities.

“Brazil suffers from a phenomenon of lack of political identification; being virtually blank the line which separates right and left ideologies.”

The ideological diversity present in the Brazilian Congress often results in a severely conflicted set of bills clashing through the Houses. Given the quantity of different parties with specific political identifications, proper of the system adopted by the country, it is difficult to point out which spectrum holds the majority. 

The identity of these parties represented in the legislative branch can’t be fully described as liberal or conservative, left or right. Although, formally, they can possess in their presentation one or two major characteristics of the spectrum, materially the measures and policies which are approved by their representatives can, sometimes, push them away from the original identity. 
This manifest itself clearly by the adoption of a formally liberal government which both secures social rights and endorses the Capital’s privileges. In fact, a further analysis of Brazilian politics shows that the grey areas in which the politicians work is a manifestation of the lack of commitment with one or another ideology. The parties inside the first house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, represents well this diversity; the parties can be represented alone or choose to unite with others with similar ideologies to form blocks. 
The blocks work as an amplified force to stop or push legislation according to the member’s negotiations. Currently, there are two blocks formed in the House; the one formed by PP (Partido Progressista – Progressive Party), PODE (Partido de Organização Democrática dos Estudantes – Student’s Democratic Organization Party) and PTdoB (Partido Trabalhista do Brasil – Brazil’s Worker Party) and the one which includes PTB (Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro -Brazilian’s Worker’s Party), PROS (Partido Republicano da Ordem Social – Republican Party of the Social Order), PSL (Partido Social Liberal – Social Liberal Party) and PRP (Partido Republicano Progressista – Progressive Republican Party). 
The first block has the biggest representation in the House, with 64 members. The second block is further down the list, with 24. The ones in between with the biggest number of representatives are composed by the single parties. The number two of the list is PMDB (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro – Brazil’s Party of the Democratic Movement) with 63. It is followed by PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores – Worker’s Party) with 58 and PSDB (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira – Party of the Brazilian’s Social Democracy) with 46. Important to mention PSOL (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade – Socialism and Liberty Party) with 6 representatives. As it follows an analysis of these parties will be presented to better understand the Brazilian political spectrum. 
Until the Impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016, PT was the party in charge of the Executive branch. It was founded in 1980 with deep ties to the syndical movement and presents itself as a Left Party under the umbrella of a democratic socialism. The first president elected under PT was Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, for two consecutive periods, followed by Rousseff. It was under their administration that the country established the most significant social programs; among them PROUNI and Bolsa Família. Recently, PT has been the center of corruption scandals alongside with the larger mass of politicians from diverse Parties. Currently, the Party in power is PMDB with the ascension of Rousseff’s VP Michel Temer to the Presidency. Temer is wildly disliked and has been the target of several of the corruption scandals which removed his predecessor of power. 
PMDB traditionally aligns with a centrist ideology, being famous for harboring politicians from different backgrounds and political identifications. Besides the current president, another prominent member of the party is Congressman Eduardo Cunha. Recently, Cunha, as many other strong figures of the political scenario, has been identified as a key player in the biggest corruption scandal that has ever happened in the country. Between the years of 2000 and 2007, a release made by the Superior Electoral Court showed that the Party was the second place in the ranking of the members removed from office on corruption charges; the number was 66, the first place belonged to DEM (Democratas – Democrats). 
The last major player to be mentioned is PSDB. The Party was created in 1988 and functions over a base of social democracy. Their values can be directed as a result from the Military period up until the reform that turned the political ideology into an undefined mixture of principles. Slowly, the Party started to change into a more conservative version of itself, turning to supporters from more strict and religious backgrounds. PSDB has also been in the center of innumerous scandals over corruption accusations. 
PSOL is a left party with a limited popular name recognition. The candidate who ran for the presidency in the last electoral cycle in 2014 received last than two percent of the votes during the first turn. Luciana Genro is a lawyer and founder of the party for which she candidate herself. PSOL stands for a more direct approach to socialist ideologies and are a symbol of a deeper link to proletarian representation. It is worth mentioning the small party because it’s one of the very few which have a specific and clear political identification and represent, currently, the picture of the future of the Brazilian left spectrum. 
What might have started with a clear appearance born from the necessity caused by the dictatorship, was shaped into an identity confusion over time. This manifests as a problem when there is no specific front defending certain chunks of the population; the alliances are unstable and the values by which these parties are governed can change through political negotiations.

This article is extracted from the Research paper titled 'LGBT Policies and Overall Safety in Brazil'  in Chapter 4 of the Safety Report by SAFIGI Outreach Foundation 'Safety First for Girls'.

The Safety Report by SAFIGI is a two-fold Open research on 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The first part of the Safety Report is a Research Paper. The second part is a detailed Data Analysis. 

The Safety Report Research paper is titled: 'Core Issues Affecting Safety of Girls in the Developing World.' The paper starts with an abstract before focusing on subjects in the key regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. A total of 7 Research papers make up the safety Report (sans the introduction and conclusion), including:

  1. The psychological effect of mass sexual harassment on girls in Egypt (P.24) by Heba Elasiouty.
  2. Safety concerns in relation to social media: Growing up female in an increasingly digital world (P.45) by Karin Temperley.
  3. Psychosocial challenges faced by parents raising children with physical disabilities in Oshana region (P.68) by Misumbi Shikaputo.
  4. Gender-based violence and subsequent safety challenges experienced by Rohingya women (P.119) by Shucheesmita Simonti.
  5. LGBT policies and overall safety in Brazil (P.141) by Alinne Lopes Gomes.
  6. Silent voices‘: Violence against the female body as consequence of machismo culture (P.177)  by Steffica Warwick.
  7. America‘s Public Policy on Sexuality: The Repression of Girls in Vulnerable Populations (P.208) by Dr. Christina Sisti.

SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd, a volunteer-based and youth led NGO registered in Zambia, implemented the Safety Report in order to understand the multifaceted concept of safety and how it applies to the female gender in diverse settings. And therefore, further prove safety is intrinsic, and that vices in society stem from an intimate level of the human being before its manifestation. This way, when we create safety solutions, whether it be in a developing nation, conflict zone, refugee camp, or patriarchal society, the problem is resolved from a deeply rooted cause. Such that, we treat the disease itself and not mere symptoms.

This study is as a result of collaborative effort pursued in the spirit of volunteerism via UN Online Volunteers.


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