While charged with brutal scenes and delicate symbols, Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment wasn’t the apex of Brazil’s political turbulence. Rather, this past week of publicized Odebrecht testimonies revealed an unprecedented level of conflict between the “Car Wash Party” and the national political system. The drama has escalated and now presents deeper consequences than the “simple” removal of a president.
Before really getting into it, one must qualify the actors above. First, the “Car Wash Party” represents government officials dissatisfied with corruption. These judges, prosecutors, and federal police officers have full media support and coverage. Furthermore, they benefit from the shelter of social media.
Secondly, we have the broken national political system. Or, more simply, the “System”. We understand the “System” as the links manipulated between politicians, state-held businesses, and businessmen to appropriate public resources. The “System” goes deeper than just political parties. Rather, it embraces an entire national political culture down to its sectors of organized crime.
Revelations & innocents
Operation Car Wash revealed the evils of the “System” as well as the fragilities of the national political system. That’s to say, its structural deficiencies, economic incentives for corruption, personal enrichment, impoverishment of the people and social deterioration. Just to name a few.
Now, the operation’s “Party” has established its reactionary political agenda. Less politicization, with absolutely no patience for formal politics, taken by fury and indignation. This new “Party” wants justice immediately and at all costs, a cleansing of the current political state.
Meanwhile, the “System” resists, covering its tracks with the conceptual errors and irascibility of the new “Party”. Rather than allowing the nation to dwell on its corrupt leaders, the “System” tries to redirect public attention to innocents caught up in the political tirade.
And of course, there are innocents within each corrupt political party and business deal. In fact, it is ironic that political agents more or less tied into the “System” have taken to the streets to protest it in its entirety. Now they have become victims of the same bile, reproduced against one another without mediation.
Beneath party lines
To conclude, putting the responsibility on only one political party, whether it’s the left, the center-right, or whoever, seems unjust and even dangerous. Still, the determination to not leave any stone unturned could implicate the fall of the entire “System”. Furthermore, such uncontrolled indignation could also knock down the entire foundation of the house where all reside. It’s a risk that, until now, hadn’t received much consideration.
The new “Car Wash Party”, young and precarious, doesn’t quite have the sophisticated surgeon’s hands to perform the job before it. Even after getting rid of the “System”, it will be necessary to reconstruct the national political system. Outsiders are not necessarily superior to those coming from within the establishment.
To perform surgery, it’s not enough to just have clean hands. Brazil’s crisis has become more complex and will need greater political technique and ability.