An analysis of the class forces aligned on each side of Brazil’s 2022 electoral divide by one of the country’s leading social theorists. With Lula restored to the Planalto Palace—and pulling some surprises—André Singer delineates the hyper-trasformismo operating at the summits of state power and registers the darker overtones of January 8’s pastiche-riot in Brasília.
A Brazilian Comi-Tragedy
A vivid account of Roberto Schwarz’s new play, Rainha Lira, staging the political turmoil of contemporary Brazil. Intricacies of class conflict and Caesarist reaction, bourgeois rejoicing and favela discontents, in a polyphonic epic that foretells the troubled conditions of Lula’s return.
A New Intuition
Plots that stylize class conduct, literary structures imitating historical ones, formal fractures indexing historical impasses, literature as the discoverer of new knowledge: Roberto Schwarz’s studies of Machado de Assis as models for a distinctive Marxist criticism.
Struggles of the Roofless
Amid the debacle of Bolsonaro’s rule, Guilherme Boulos—coordinator of Brazil’s Sem Teto and PSOL presidential candidate—speaks to Mario Sergio Conti about the political crisis, barrio psychoanalysis, the balance sheet of the Lula–Dilma governments, the politics of impeachment and the militancy of practical experience.
Neo-Backwardness In Bolsonaro’s Brazil
Brazil's foremost cultural theorist considers parallels between the rise of Bolsonaro and the 1964 military coup. Is capital once again advancing its modernization programme with the support of the country’s most backward-looking elements? Paradoxes of politics and culture, from Machado to the present, via tropicalismo and Glauber Rocha.
Antonio Candido 1918–2017
Pioneer analyst of a Brazilian literary space, Candido surveyed Western cultural centres and their contending theories, not simply to measure up local experience, but to test them against it. Portrait of a gifted teacher and literary critic, subtle master of his country’s complex ex-colonial condition.
Hailed as organizational tools of the oppressed, social media have also emerged as powerful surveillance apparatuses, but could existing power structures be reinforced even by the very algorithms they use to order data? A history of algorithmic filtering and a case study of its role in the land struggles of Brazil’s Guarani and Kaiowá peoples.
Unlike its neighbours, Brazil has yet to confront the crimes of its military dictatorship. As a Truth Commission sifts evidence of torture, killings and disappearances—many of whose survivors are now in high office—what will be the upshot of a belated accounting with the past?
Rise of the Image-Makers
A leading journalist considers the transformations in Brazil’s media sphere in the post-dictatorship period. Reporters turned marketeers, policies become products, money and power ever more tightly interwoven, within a landscape reformatted by new technologies.
Brecht’s Relevance: Highs and Lows
In what ways does Brecht’s drama—and the world-transforming impulse behind his strategies of defamiliarization—speak to times and places other than his own? Ups and downs of his resonance in Brazil and beyond, shadowing the movements of history’s leading edge.
Roberto Schwarz discusses the cultural-political import of rival interpretations of Machado de Assis, within the critical space of world literature. Local versus international, specific versus universal, entangled within the ironies and dizzying narrative disjunctures of a Brazilian master.
Lula in the Labyrinth
Amid the complex cross-currents of the Latin American political scene, where to situate Lula’s Brazil? Dynamics of neo-populism and statification, social credits and government graft as elements of a novel reconstitution of power under a Workers Party president.
A Brazilian Breakthrough
What made the greatest Brazilian novel of the nineteenth century, Machado de Assis’s Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, a masterpiece of world literature? The strange fate of realism in an ex-colonial society, in which liberalism was a ruling ideology, modernity a universal ideal, and slavery still an everyday fact of life.
Taking Lula’s Measure
Contested by popular movements from Buenos Aires to La Paz, the neoliberal model’s fate in South America’s most populous country. Emir Sader presents a balance sheet of the Lula government as it approaches the final year of its mandate amid continuing social iniquities, corruption allegations and comfort for finance.
The Duckbilled Platypus
What animal species does contemporary Brazil most resemble? The strange forms of a society that no longer enjoys the options of under-development, without acquiring the dynamics of globalized development, in the liveliest exploration to date of the possible meaning of Lula’s government.
Beyond Civil Society
A Brazilian view of the World Social Forum, in its regional and international context. How the landscape of the world’s Left has changed, and whether the ideologies of non-governmental organization and civil society are capable of resisting what they criticize.
Sebastiao Salgado and Fine Art Photojournalism
“Black-and-white photographs of a vast pit, its sides cut into a giant’s stairway and scaled by crude ladders, its surface covered with figures, most bearing large sacks; scanning the space between foreground and distant background, the effect is dizzying—there must be thousands of these figures. The pictures are . . .” read more
Love and Death in Brazil
“It is easy, indeed a cliché, to read Brazilian politics as a bad telenovela—a dramatic and vulgar soap opera about the new democracy in which the rich and powerful engage in intrigues and romances, corruptions and duplicities all leading to an uplifting conclusion by the last episode. The . . .” read more
Brazil: The Long March to the New Republic
“At the end of 1989, Brazilians voted in direct presidential elections for the first time since the military seized power in 1964. After an inconclusive first round, victory in the second went to Fernando Collor, an independent conservative, by a small margin over Luis Inacio da Silva, universally . . .” read more
Introduction to Hecht Interview
“Over the past quarter-century huge areas of Amazonian forest have been reduced to ashes. The conquest of the Amazon resembles more a scorched earth policy than development. The rate of deforestation has been close to exponential, and it has all been for nothing.” read more
The Panorama of Brazilian Feminism
“The women’s movement in Brazil—of which feminism is one aspect—has reflected the condition of women themselves, whose unity as a gender is cut across by other fundamental references (ethnicity, social class, etc.) and has above all been cross-class in character. Its heterogeneous composition stems directly from specific features . . .” read more
Trees, Cows and Cocaine: An Interview with Susanna Hecht
“O forest! They cut out your verdant heart. The grasses, the Brazil nut trees, the wild beasts already scent the smell of prison. This we say: People yearn to be free, so Who will then be the masters of our history?” read more
Brazilian Culture: Nationalism by Elimination
“We Brazilians and other Latin Americans constantly experience the artificial, inauthentic and imitative nature of our cultural life. An essential element in our critical thought since independence, it has been variously interpreted from romantic, naturalist, modernist, right-wing, left-wing, cosmopolitan and nationalist points of view, so we may suppose . . .” read more
The Workers' Party in Brazil
“The birth of the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores—pt) has been a singular event of the eighties, not just in Brazil or even in Latin America as a whole. For it is a striking fact that very few new working-class parties have been founded anywhere in the . . .” read more
Regis Debray and the Brazilian Revolution
“The article below was written in October 1968, when I was a militant of the Vanguardia Popular Revoludonaria (VPR). It was an effort to criticize and surpass the theses of Régis Debray expressed in Revolution in the Revolution? Initially published in the clandestine review America Latina—then the theoretical . . .” read more
Brazil since the Coup
“It is 18 months since the Brazilian military seized power. Since the military coup, at least seven of the twenty-three elected governors have been removed from office. All of the popularly elected governors, including the moderate conservatives, who have been ousted have been replaced by military men loyal . . .” read more
Introduction to Ianni on Brazil
“Brazil is the first latin, fifth largest and eighth most populous country in the world today. It is nearly three times as vast as the aggregate area of India. Its rate of growth is three times as rapid. Yet it receives almost no attention in our parochially Anglo-Saxon . . .” read more
Political Process and Economic Development in Brazil (Part I)
“In the last 40 years, the people of Brazil have broken stifling traditional constraints on their life, and have begun to develop their productive forces, to renovate their social institutions and to frame innumerable projects for the mastery of their own future. As they turn away from the . . .” read more