or Representative Democracy in Brazil. 1945-1964. (1)
Paper presented to the sesion on " Quantitative
and Mathematical Methods in Political Scince", 8th World Congress of
Political Science, Munich, August 31st - Sept. 5, 1970. Published as "Veinte
años de democracia representativa en Brasil, 1945-1964," Revista
Latinoamericana de Ciencia Política (FLACSO, Santiago, II, 1, Abril,
1971, 24-46; "Twenty years of representative democracy in Brazil,",
in H. Alker, K. Deutsch and A. H, Stoetzel, Mathematical Approaches
to Politics, Amsterdam, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co., 137-164,
1. Introduction : Background
A central issue in Brazilian politics today is the possibility of reopening
the political system, which was partially "closed" after the fall
of João Goulart in 1964, an further restricted by the so-called ''Institutional
Act n. 5" of December 1968. The political regime up to 1964 was presidencialist
and multi-party, with direct balloting for the executive at the National,
State and local levels, and proportional representation to the legislative
bodies also at three levels. Suffrage was open and mandatory to all literates
above 18. After 1964 there was no change in the extension of suffrage, however
the political parties were dissolved and replaced by a two party-system,
and hundreds of politicians lost their political rights and mandates. Elections
for the presidency became indirect, and this pattern was also extended to
the state level. The new arrangement could have meant an increase in power
for the legislature, if it were not for the strict control exercised by
the central military government upon its majority party combined with the
transfer of much of the formal decision power from the Congress to the Executive.
The reopening of the political system is an explicit goal of the government
as well as for almost all sectors of the country 's public opinion, but
the extension and meaning of this opening is generally unclear; it can go
from a minimum of ending the discretionary powers of the central government
assumed in December 1968, to the reintroduction of political rules similar
to those which existed from 1945 to 1964.
The 45-64 period, which is also known as the "Second Republic",
was the time of greatest political opening and enfranchisement in Brazilian
history, and a coherent view of what happened in this twenty years period
is still to be produced. Interpretations of this recent history are at the
roots of the contemporary debate on political opening in Brazil, since floe
this is the fullest and most recent experience of political openness in
the country's memory. A central question is to decide whether the 1964 movement
was reversible or not. Was it a historical accident which could be reversed
or did it come as a consequence of an irreversible process of change in
the political system preventing the reestablishment if its previous constitutional
framework?(2). The thesis in this paper is
that the latter formulation is more correct, and that the debate on political
openness will not be fruitful unless it brings to bear new conceptions of
political participation which are still unknown in Brazilian history and
It is a further contention of this paper that Brazilian politics must be
studied less in terms of a continuum of left-right orientations, or a continuum
from traditional to modern life, attitudes, values and participation, than
in terms of a line of cleavage wich I call "representation vs. cooptation".This
cleavage has to do with the relative independence of the economy vs. the
relative independence of the state apparatus vis-a-vis the rest of the society.
It is peculiar to Brazil that this division separates the State of São Paulo,
which is the most modern and industrialized section of the country, from
the rest of the political system. São Paulo is also the largest state in
the country, and we shall compare it systematically in the following with
other states : Minas Gerais, which is the second largest state and typifies
the "cooptation" system, and the State of Guanabana, which includes
the city of Rio de Janeiro and was the country's capital up to 1960 when
Brasilia was inaugurated. Table 1 gives some general figures which help
to see the differences between these states, as compared with the rest of
the country, Data on urbanization, income and industrialization are, as
usual, correlated with the standard measures of modernity, in terms of education,
exposure to mass media, and welfare.
2. Political cooptation and political representation in brazil
I do not intend to derive the concepts of "cooptation" and "representation"
from the data I shall present, but rather to show how this conceptualization
could help to understand their otherwise unrecognizable patterns. It is
necessary, therefore, to give a short summary of what I mean by these terms
and how I see their use for the Brazilian context.
There are many roads to these concepts.One possibility is to start from
the attempt of S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan to use Parson's functional categories
for the analysis of the European party systems(3).
Their study is concerned with the internal structure of the Integration
quadrant of the AGIL system, and the different cleavages are conceptualized
as functions of the groups' relative position regarding the A-I (cross-local
functional) and G-L (center-periphery) axes. Since the I quadrant
is the functional locus for some special kinds of interactions between the
other three functional subsystems, it is necessary to know the intensity
and relative independence of the processes being developed in each of these
systems, and try to predict some characteristics of the I subsystem
accordingly. Changes in A can be considered as changes in the process
of economic development, changes in G as a process of transformation
and growth of the state structure, changes in L as transformations
in society's values and motivations (which are usually measured in terms
of changes in rates of urbanization and education, and are analyzed as a
process of "modernization"), and finally changes in I are
essentially those related to the transformations in the structure of social
and political participation.
This means essentially that the structure of political participation is
seen as an intervening variable between the State arid the processes of
economic development and modernization, which gives us four types of participation
according to the direction of the arrow (table 2).
It is necessary, for those acquainted with some facts of Brazilian politics,
to say a few words about how the political parties and movements can be
described in terms of this cleavage, adding a second dimension distinguishing
between those oriented towards the expansion of the political system (which
corresponds roughly to the concept of "left") and these oriented
towards its maintenance or restriction ("center" and "right").
Table 3 gives the general picture, and
the reader can skip the remainder of this section if he is not concerned
with the interpretation of Brazilian historical facts.
The consideration of the State structure as an independent variable seems
to be a must in the analysis of Brazilian politics which is often disregarded.
I have argued for this need in another place(4),
and I shall only list here some very general features of Brazilian history
which support this assertion. It is important to know that the Brazilian
political structure is the historical heir of the Portuguese colonial administration,
and that this was accentuated by the arrival of the Portuguese family to
Brazil in 1808 in the wake of Bonaparte's occupation of Portugal. Formal
independence in 1822 was a consequence of the Portuguese's attempt to bring
Brazil back to the colonial status, and the new Brazilian government was
headed by the son of Portugal's King. Political cleavage in early independent
Brazil was around the Portuguese vs. "criollo" aristocracy, and
was expressed in terms of centralization vs. decentralization of the political
system. The final outcome was the dominance of the centralization tendencies,
and the existence of a huge and well installed government structure helps
to explain both the political stability and the geographical integrity of
Brazil in the XIX Century. The peculiarity of this situation becomes very
clear when we compare Brazil with Argentina, and see how the separation
from Peru freed Argentina from the costs and benefits of a huge and expensive
governmental bureaucracy. The push of the Argentinian "generation of
the 80's" towards economic growth was paralleled in Brazil by the efforts
of the São Paulo coffee growers to bring in European immigrants, to introduce
modern patterns of free labor to the plantations and to start, in the beginning
of the XX Century, an aggressive policy of "valorization" of international
prices of their product. In Argentina the emerging social and economic forces
were able to organize and direct the state according to their interests,
but in Brazil the pre-existing governmental structure was, from their point
of view, a dead weight against which they had to fight(5).
The beginning of the Republic meant a relatively high degree of decentralization
and local autonomy for the States. In 1930 a new strong government was installed,
and in 1932 São Paulo was the site of a popular revolt against federal intervention
which was defeated. From that time on the great paradox of Brazilian politics
becomes progressively cleaner. São Paulo was the beneficiary of an industrial
expansion which started in Brazil after the World Crisis of 1929, but this
occurred along with a growing alienation of that region from the center
of political life.
The Vargas regime, which lasted from 1930 to 1945, arose from a split in
the entente between the state oligarchies (which was being scattered by
rebellions of young officers), unrest in the urban centers, and the rigidity
of its aging leaders. With the new regime the young military came to power,
but as leaders of a civilian government. Vargas never betrayed his origins
as the political son of Borges de Medeiros (oligarchic leader in the South)
but the dependence of local oligarchies towards the central government became
stronger as a result of his ascendancy. The new regime was concerned with
the rationalization of the state, industrialization and modernization, and
was able to feel the need to create the conditions to coopt the emerging
urban working class in the welfare and trade union systems which were created
and directed by the government. The Vargas regime fell in 1945 in the wake
of democratic movements which swept Latin America after World War II. At
this moment everything was prepared for a political resurrection which did,
indeed, occur as soon as the political game was declared open.
It seams proper to characterize the two political parties created by Vargas
in terms of cooptation. The first of these parties was called the
"Social Democratic Party" (PSD). It was formed by the state and
local leaders who had been on good terms with the dictatorship. The term
"coronelismo" is used in the Brazilian political literature to
characterize a type of rural boss who derives his local strength from his
access to patronage at the governmental level, and can carry the local votes
to his party(6). The "coronel"
cannot survive without access to government, and it is therefore not surprising
that the party which put these leaders together became the biggest party
in the country. A similar structure of cooptation was developed in the urban
areas, through the Labour Party (PTB), to which Vargas affiliated himself.
His instrument of political control was the Ministry of Labour and the trade
unions which were politically and financially dependent upon the government.
The welfare system was developed in close integration with the Labour. Ministry,
and this became a powerful instrument for political patronage.
In both political parties, electoral power derived from access to governmental
positions and decision centers. Ideological issues were obviously secondary,
and the major interests political leaders conveyed were those referring
to more positions, facilities and sinecures from the government. It would
be too simplistic to say that these were the only goals and purposes of
the parties. At the policy-making level more or less well defined goals
of economic development, administrative efficiency and welfare were present.
But those goals had little, of not contradictory, relations with the structure
created to co-opt and to handle their electoral support. The opposition
to this system came from different sources. There was a liberal opposition
to Vargas which combined urban middle classes with members of local rural
leadership which lost their access to the centers of decision in the 'coronelisme"
system(7). There were members of the army which were impatient
and intolerant with the price the government was paying for its maintenance
in terms of political patronage. There were members of the working class
which sought more militance and ideological involvement of the trade unions,
and more pro-labour policies of the central government. There were military,
intellectual and working-class groups which sought to orient the country's
policy towards a more nationalist foreign policy.
It is possible to summarize all this in terms of how the access to government
was obtained or sought for. The cooptation system was either considered
adequate, or in need of expansion, or in need of restrictions. What all
of them had in common, roughly speaking, was that their political influence
derived either from control of governmental agencies, or access to the government
for a politics of patronage, of finally from their demands for more access
for some groups and sectors.
This is not, however, what politics is all about. When an economic system
is dynamic, and social groups are organized and structured, they get together
politically to influence political decisions that have some bearing in their
share of society's goods, which are not owned patrimonialistically by the
government or its bureaucracy. This kind of politics is what I am calling
"politics of representation", and it is possible to think that
the liberal regimes of the Western World are the better known, but not necessarily
the only conceivable arrangement for its manifestation. Its essential condition
is economic and/or organizational autonomy and self-reference, and in Brazil
it developed most in the São Paulo area. It appeared often as liberal ideologies
which defined governmental intervention in politics, economics and welfare
as absolute evil; or as a trade union movements based more in autonomous
organization than in access to the Ministry of Labour and which had wage
issues as a central concern. Finally, it developed as populist movements
which included elements of personal charisma corresponding to less structure
and autonomy at the grass roots, but also to less direct control of patronage
in the Central government. We can look back at table
3, and understand better how the political picture was like, up to 1964.
3. The Changing voting patterns: Participation
The first outstanding characteristic of the Second Republic was the substantial
increase in voting turnout in comparison with the period of before 1930.
Presidencial elections before 1930 tended to have single candidates, and
the introduction of competition dit not alter the low turnout, as can be
seen by the figures in table 4. These
data are still incomplete, and any conclusion is tentative, but the general
pattern is clear.
The year of 1910 witnessed the first competitive election in the Republic,
with a turnout of about 1.6% of the total population In 1914 turnout was
2.14, but in 1926, not shown in the table, there was a single candidate,
and the turnout figure fell to 2.06. Only in 1930, at the brink of the Vargas
revolution, did turnout rise to above five percent. This was the first emergence
of intra-state competition and in the city of Rio de Janeiro the winning
candidate received only 51% of the votes. The general rule, however, was
that the States had single party systems, and political cleavages, if any,
did not cross state borders(8). By 1945,
however, the number of actual voters had risen to 13.4% of the total population
and continued to grow steadily up to 20% by the early sixties (table
These figures on turnout must be considered in the light of the disenfranchisement
of the illiterate (about 50% of the population) and the population's age
structure (about 50% under 18). Since to register and. to vote is mandatory,
abstention or lack of registration can create all sorts of difficulties
in legal and bureaucratic procedures. It is expected, therefore, that turnout
grows with increasing urbanization and education, and the rate of actual
over registered voters is little more than a reflection of the updating
of the electoral lists. The same is not true, however, for blank and null
votes, which are a clear indication of political disaffection. The increase
from 2.3 % to 21.1% of these invalid votes is a first indication of the
progressive failure of the political system to correspond to the constituent's
values and aspirations.
The picture becomes still clearer if we begin to compare the states of São
Paulo, Minas Gerais and Guanabara with the global figures for Brazil, as
in tables 6, table
7 and table 8.
Looking first at table 6, we note a
fluctuation in the turnout. Yet the differences between states are really
not surprising if we keep in mind their different levels of literacy. The
decreases of 1960 can be explained in terms of a harder control of the literacy
requirement, while the substantial increase in 1966 is due to stricter enforcement
of the obligation to vote. It does not seem correct to interpret, therefore,
that the increases in turnout imply the incorporation of relatively marginal
and deprived groups to the political system. Hence the systematic increase
in the rates of invalid votes from 1945 to 1966 (table 7) (with the singular exception of the
presidencial election of 1960) cannot be understood as a consequence of
the progressive enfranchisement of less able and qualified voters. It would
be more correct to interpret this change in exactly the opposite direction;
namely the growing disaffection of the more urban and industrialized sectors
towards a political system based on the cooptation of rural votes and urban
paternalism and patronage.
A look at the rank-order correlations of the percentage of blank votes cast
in Brazil and the three key States shown in table 9 confirms this interpretation. The national
variance is strictly paralleled by the variations in the urban center of
Guanabara followed by São Paulo and Minas. If we look back at
table 6 we will see that turnout is extremely stable at a relatively
low level in Minas; and the general stability of the State makes it marginal
to the kind of changes that were led by Guanabara.
It is remarkable, therefore, that the same pattern of inter-correlations
does not appear for the presidential elections. Guanabara seems to follow
an independent line which may be explained by its general characteristics
as an urban center, while São Paulo and Minas hold a consistent opposite
pattern. Being a city-state, characterized by high levels of urbanization,
education and non-agricultural employment, it is understandable that Guanabara
is on the extreme of a continuum which has Minas at the other end and São
Paulo (which has, in spite of its high levels of development, substantial
rural areas and primary economy) in the middle. The pattern for Presidential
elections, however, cannot be explained in these terms. It is necessary
to consider the political marginality of São Paulo in the overall system
of political cooptation to see this, we should now proceed to examine the
content of the election returns in this period (table
4.The changing voting patterns: cleavages.
Table 11 gives a first picture of the political cleavages at the Presidential
level. The alliance between the two Vargas parties, PSD-PTB, won all the
elections except in 1960. Only in 1950 there was a split in the alliance,
due to a personal move from Vargas who imposed his name and was not accepted
by the political leadership of the PSD (the figures in parentheses for 1950
correspond to the votes given to Cristiano Machado, the PSD candidate).
Vargas' victory in 1950 is an indication not only of his personal charisma,
but also of his direct command of the political clientele over and above
the leadership of its major party. His major source of support was, however,
urban and popular. The split within PSD in Minas Gerais gave 32 % of the
votes to Vargas and is a reflection of the predominantly rural society and
political structure in this state. It was quite clear that the PSD allegiance
to Vargas was due less to preferences than to the need to remain close to
the source of power (table 11).
The participation of São Paulo in the alliance was made through the person
of Adhemar de Barros, formerly Vargas' caretaker in the State. In 1950 Barros
felt strong enough to create his own political party, the PSP, and in 1955
and 1960 he was an independent candidate for the Presidency, carrying Rio
and São Paulo in 1955, but getting only about 25 % of the national votes.
It is very clear that Barros was always a regional candidate which did not
fit the national cleavage between PSD-PTB and UDN.
The election of 1960 was the first and only victory of São Paulo, with Jânio
Quadros. Quadros emerged without the support of a party structure, and climbed
step by step from the local government of the city of São Paulo to the Presidency.
His appeal was personal, his issues were honesty and severity, and his personal
figure was unkempt and in contradiction with the broomstick which was his
electoral symbol. To pass from local to national politics he had to be absorbed
by the UDN ticket, even if he had little in common with this party. He was
able, when in government, to attract the opposition of almost everybody,
and resigned from office after eight months, leaving the country in a crisis
from which it would not recover.
The election of Quadros did not mean that the cleavage between the cooptation
vs. the representation systems inclined towards São Paulo, but rather that
it had been superseded by a new cleavage between the tendencies towards
expansion vs. the tendencies towards restriction of the political system.
Balloting for the Vice President was done independently, and João Goulart,
the VP candidate from the PSD-PTB coalition, defeated his opponent, who
was well identified as a man from UDN. The PSD-PTB presidential candidate
was e General identified with left-nationalistic groups, and his acceptance
for the PSD was an indication of the party's inability to articulate a winning
candidate of its own. General Lott was a loser on many accounts. His surprisingly
high position in the State of Minas Gerais is really an indication of the
PSD's difficulty in acting independently from official determinations emanating
from the central government.
The erosion of the PSD-PTB hegemony can be better analyzed through table
12, where data for congressional elections are displayed. The PSD never
ceased to be the biggest party, but its relative size fell progressively
as time passed by. Alliances and coalitions of all kinds tended to absorb
up to 50 % of the congressional votes. An analysis of these coalitions is
still to be made, but table 13 presents both the data on coalitions and
an attempt to place them under the major dominant party for the three states
of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Guanabara. This attempt is of course provisional,
and should be backed by a detailed analysis of the political processes in
each State which would be out of place here. It is enough to note here how
the three parties of the cooptation system disappeared completely from São
Paulo in 1962 as independent political entities.
The disappearance of the big national parties in São Paulo was followed
not by an increase in political regionalism, but, paradoxically, by a progressive
nationalization of State politics. If we look at the Congressional alliances
in the State, we notice that in the 1958 election the PSP entered in an
alliance with the PSL even though the former was clearly dominant (it had
411,510 votes for the state Congress, as against 181,700 for the PSD). In
1962 the PSD-PSP alliance remained coming in second to an alliance of two
regional parties (Christian Democrats and MTR). The alliance also benefitted
from the political inheritance of Jânio Quadros in the State. In Rio the
Labour Party entered in an alliance with the socialists, and received the
support of the illegal but active Communist party. Only in Minas Gerais
did the party configuration remain remarkably stable, with a coalition of
the small PTB with the still smaller PSP in the State (table
The 1962 Congressional election was characterized both in Rio and São Paulo
by the presence of strong candidates who concentrated the votes. Leonel
Brizola, from the PTB-PSB alliance, concentrated 628% of the votes of his
legend, while Amaral Netto, from the UDN, got 475% of his party's votes.
Emílio Carlos, in São Paulo, got 44% of the votes of his PTN-MTR alliance.
In Minas Gerais, however, the most popular candidate, Sebastião Paes de
Almeida of the PSD, got only 80 thousand votes (as against 269 thousand
for Brizola, 134 thousand for Amaral Netto and 154 thousand for Emílio Carlos),
comprising only 10.6% of his party's votes. The concentration of votes in
Legislative elections is a sign of ideological polarizations which took
place in the urban centers, but was characteristically absent in Minas Gerais.
During this period congressional representation was proportional to a state's
population, and enfranchisement was limited to the literate. This added
strength to states like Minas Gerais, which were little affected by the
increase in mobilization politics which became the characteristic of Rio,
São Paulo and a few other big centers, like Recife and Porto Alegre. A gap
started to develop between the politics leading to the executive posts and
the politics leading to the elections for the Congress. The latter process
remained stable and absorbed much of the mobilization effects, while the
former was much more exposed to these effects. The PSD-PTB coalition was
palatable to the army and conservative sectors while the PSD had the lead,
but when Goulart had to replace Quadros, the crisis broke out. The first
solution, characteristically, was to force a parliamentary system which
could empty the powers of the President. This was done in 1961, but Goulart
was strong enough to call a national plebiscite which restored his full
constitutional powers in 1963. After this the crisis was irreversible, and
led to his overthrow in 1964.
If one wants to summarize the changing voting patterns from 1945 to 1964,
the following traits seems to be more relevant:
a. Two lines of cleavage defined the political system in 1945. One was regionally
marked, and corresponded to the cooptation vs. representation systems. The
other existed within each of these systems, and went roughly from left (the
PTB) to right (the UDN) in the cooptation side. In the São Paulo area the
left was represented in 1945 by the Communist Party (it got almost 20% of
the Congressional vote in this State, but only 8.2% of the national votes,
and was declared illegal in 1947). The center right never acquired a defined
party configuration in that State.
b. As time passed and the levels of education, urbanization and industrialization
increased, the cooptation system started to falter. Political alienation,
as indicated by the invalid votes, increased, and this was particularly
acute in the São Paulo area.
c. The entrance of São Paulo as an independent political agent in national
politics was first in terms of representational politics of a stabilizing
or restrictive character, but acquired almost immediately a mobilizational
connotation. Analysis of interest groups, the trade unions, and even the
educational system in the São Paulo area indicate the basis for representational
politics, but its alienation from national politics meant that it never
came to the shape of articulated political parties. The PSP started from
the beginning using mobilizational appeals and used as much political cooptation
as it was possible at the state level.
d. The victory of Jânio Quadros (UDN São Paulo) and Goulart (PTB) for the
Presidency and vice-presidency in 1960 had two essential consequences. First,
it meant that politics became national, and the political isolation of São
Paulo had come to an end. Second, and perhaps more important, it meant that
the route toward the nationalization of politics was via the increase in
political mobilization and the emergence of clearly ideological cleavage
at the national level. Minas Gerais, which had the same political profile
as the whole country for presidential and Congressional elections up to
1954, lost its place to Guanabara, which set the pattern for the 1960 presidential
If the balance of forces was adequate for a political system based on limited
suffrage, cooptation of political leaders and electoral isolation of the
economic centers, it could not help when mobilization increased and politics
became national. Political cooptation through mobilization of the urban
centers demanded a kind of mobilization system which lacked organizational
support, as well as economic, military and international backing. The alternative
was to restrict the levels of political participation and to force the reintroduction
of cooptation of the restrictive type. The new arrangement after 1964 was
to increase the power of the Executive, but at the same time to channel
political participation through a two-party system in the Legislature. It
is worth noting that this formula was acceptable to the PSD, which could
continue the politics of patronage at the local level while counting on
a strong executive to restrict attempts at political mobilization (table 14).
Regional politics apparently disappeared with the two party system. However
the high levels of participation shown in the elections of Quadros in São
Paulo also faded, and the same thing happened in Guanabara. With the restriction
of mobilization. political alienation increased, and the Congress entered
a downhill race which ended in its complete subordination to the Executive.
A new kind of cooptation system was installed, based on a military and technical
mandate, and the political system came to a level of almost complete closure.
If the analysis so far is correct, some conclusion seem to follow necessarily.
It becomes clear that the political process in an underdeveloped country
like Brazil cannot be understood in terms of more or less explicit variables
such as "modern" and "traditional", or rural - urban.
Brazil shares with the rest of Latin America an outstanding lack of agrarian
parties, and this is a strong indication that political cleavage does not
cut along the rural-urban line. The closest to a rural party in Brazil was
the PSD, but its strength lied not in the countryside, but in the control
and exploitation of a huge and complex governmental structure. It would
be misleading to think that this structure was "traditional".
Since the Imperial times in the 19th Century Brazil's central
government was an agent of modernization. Even after 1930 it had a very
explicit policy of economic growth and bureaucratic rationalization, which
it did not relinquish afterwards. Efficiency tended to be low, certainly,
but this was never the only goal of a strongly patrimonialistic and status
Another conclusion which follows is that the Brazilian internal political
process cannot be simply explained away in terms of its insertion in an
international context of dependence. External factors are obviously very
important in the same sense that they place limits to the alternatives which
are open for the country, but they are not sufficient to explain the developments
that led to the present political configuration of the country.
We can now return to the question at the beginning: what kind of political
reopening is possible in Brazil ? We can certainly say that cooptation politics
with limited participation seems no longer possible in a non-coercive regime.
As the state rationalizes to cope with the pressures of underdevelopment
in a context of demographic explosion and rising aspirations, piecemeal
patronage becomes unsatisfactory and politically inefficient. What was formerly
a sound political career based on administrative advocacy becomes political
corruption. Brazil is how witnessing the
death of its old "political class". Much of this process is in
the hands of the government and manifested through direct and indirect sanctions.
In addition, the process is hampered by its lack of function in a context
polarized by administrative and economic efficiency vs. political mobilization.
The prospects for representation with limited participation are still dimmer.
The 1932 Revolution in São Paulo was probably the peak of the attempts to
establish an autonomous political force in the country vis-a-vis the cooptation
system. After 1945, this kind of politics in São Paulo led more to political
withdrawal than to party structure and organization, and when São Paulo
emerged again on the national political scene it was in terms of charismatic
mobilization and expanded participation. As the government extended its
control of the economic system and increased its role as an entrepreneur
as well its participation in all sectors of the country's life it is indeed
difficult to figure the possibility of an open political system based on
representational politics in the foreseeable future.
The three remaining possibilities are that a political opening will not
occur, or that it will occur with expanded participation in either the representation
or cooptation mode. There is no reason to assume that the political system
cannot remain closed or highly restricted for a long period, with some oscillations.
Scattered empirical evidence seems to indicate that the urban middle sectors
are willing to accept and support a closed military backed regime if the
economic crisis is not too overwhelming, and the demographic explosion does
not lead to crisis in the countryside. The social costs of this alternative
are, of course, an entirely different matter.
Expanded participation in terms of representation is difficult to conceive,
since it would require the dismantling of the present governmental organization.
The final possibility is mobilization with and through the governmental
structure, with or without the present leadership. This alternative is being
intensely discussed in terms of the Peruvian experience, and it is not outside
the range of possibilities(9).
The future, of course, is unknown, and any of the possible political alternatives
must be ultimately tested in terms of efficiency to cope with the tensions
of underdevelopment. Representative democracy in terms of the 1945-64 system,
however, seems definitely to belong to the past, and it is possible to conclude
with the truism that Brazil cannot help but try to look into the future.
1. This paper is part of a broader study of the Brazilian
political system which the author is undertaking. A more comprehensive theoretical
framework and a historical overview going from the end of the Colonial period
in 1808 to the end of the "First Republic" in 1930 can be found
in Simon Schwartzman, "Representação e Cooptação Politica no Brasil',
Dados 7 (IUPERJ, Rio do Janeiro, 1960). This issue of Dados
includes also several articles dealing with particular periods and aspects
of Brazilian politics and society, within the same general framework. The
author is indebted to David Nasatir for helpful criticism on form and content.
2. For a theoretical discussion of problems related with
political openness in Brazil see Simon Schwartzman, "Political Participation
and Political. Openness", forthcoming in the proceedings of the First
Round Table of this International Political Science Association in Rio de
Janeiro, and published in Portuguese in Dados 6, 1969.
3. S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan, "Cleavage Structures,
Party Systems and Voter Alignments", in Party System and Voter Alignments,
New York, Free Press, 1967. Another road is suggested by Reinhard Bendix
in "Social Stratification and the Political Community", in R.
Bendix and S. M. Lipset, Class, Status and Power, 2nd
ed., New York, Free Press, 1966. Although more arduous, it is not impossible
to derive these categories from the Marxian tradition, where the discovery
of Marx's Gründrisse led to a revival of the concept of "Asiatic
mode of production", and gave new legitimacy for the analysis of the
state structure as a relatively autonomous variable.
4. Simon Schwartzman, "Cooptação e Representação
Política no Brasil", Dados 7, 1970.
5. For a short English summary of the Paulista expansion
in the late nineties see Richard M. Morse, From Community to Metropolis,
a Biography of São Paulo Brasil, Gainesville, University of Florida
Press, 1958, chapter 14. For a very detailed and old-fashioned account,
see Alfredo Ellis Jr, A Evolução da Economia Paulista e suas Causas,
Brasiliana, vol. 90, 1937. For Argentina in the same period see Oscar Cornblit,
Ezequiel Gallo and Alfredo A. O'Connell, "La generación del 80 y su
proyecto: antecedentes y consecuencias", in Torcuato S. Di Tella and
others, Argentina Sociedad do Masas, Buenos Aires, Eudeba, 1965.
6. The classic analysis of the "coronelismo"
system in Brazilian politics is Victor Nunes Leal, Coronelismo, Enxada
e Voto, Rio do Janeiro, 1948. His main contention is that this system
is not as much an expression of the strength of traditional leadership based
on local, familistic and patrimonial ties, as it is of its weakness. The
"coronel", as a local boss, has little power, in a stagnant economy,
without access to the government.
7. For an analysis and up dating of the discussion on
local politics in Brazil see Bolivar Lamounier, "Ideologias Conservadoras
e Mudanças Estruturais", Rio de Janeiro, Dados 5, 1969.
8. Data gathered by Celina Moreira Franco, Lucia Lippi
Oliveira and Maria Aparecida Hime, "Comunidade Política às Vésperas
da Revolução de 30", Dados 7, 1970.
9. It is interesting to note that the "Peruvian
way" attracts much more the attention of Brazilians than the political
process in Argentina, which seems however much closer to the restoration
of representative democracy than the rest of the military-backed governments
in Latin America. It is possible to speculate that the differences between
Peru and Argentina might be traced back to the historical split which freed
Argentina from the Spanish colonial administration in ((I) am indebted to
Roberto Cortes-Conde for calling my attention to the parallel between São
Paulo Rio and Buenos Aires).