Opinion – Ricardo Teperman: Don’t vote blank

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There are plenty of indications that the black movement is the main vector of transformation in Brazilian society. Ensuring the presence of its leaders in the spheres of power is the historic task of our generation.

Those who aspire to live in a pluralistic society, which gives vent to its diversity, must fully assume the responsibility before them this Sunday (2). Hundreds of names are vying for the Legislative Assemblies and the Chamber of Deputies, and voters could be lost in the face of such an offer.

The tendency is to seek a well-known name, which favors the reelection of parliamentarians with a mandate or figures that are easily recognizable. Since the spaces of visibility continue to be occupied mostly by white men, there is a great risk of reproducing the same pattern of low representation.

For a white person like me, voting for a white person is reproducing what Cida Bento calls the narcissistic pact of whiteness. It is being unable to see beauty and potency in what is not a mirror. It is choosing, again, the ex-schoolmate, the friend of the friend, the relative of the neighbor. To vote blank is to lower the horizon of transformation and reproduce the old functioning of the left and its conformism with what was understood by democracy in Brazil for the last 35 years.

We are not just the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery. We are also the society that, since then, has cruelly and cunningly implemented a supremacist project aimed at the real and symbolic extermination of the black population. Racism is the main obstacle to the development of our potential as a society. Its fight must be understood not as an identity agenda, but as a transversal and collective project, which concerns everyone.

The resilience of support for Jair Bolsonaro (PL), who still enjoys the sympathy of at least a third of voters, is indicative that white supremacism is more alive than ever — with the news that it is increasingly willing to assert itself undisguisedly.

With the exception of the Covid CPI, the response of our congressmen in the last four years has not been up to the phenomenon. It is no exaggeration to say that the Black Coalition for Rights, a national articulation started in 2018 and which today brings together more than 250 black movement organizations, was the protagonist of some of the most forceful episodes of opposition to the Bolsonaro government.

Last June, the coalition launched the platform www.quilombonosparlamentos.com.br, an initiative that presents 120 candidacies to state and federal legislatures, committed to the agenda of the black movement. Anyone who dreams of a broad progressive front will feel contemplated: it is the largest left-wing party articulation that has been known in the country in a long time. There are candidates from eight parties: PT, PSOL, PSB, PC do B, REDE, PDT, UP and PV.

On October 2nd, vote black and vote black. There is no more effective way to build a regenerative political project that works for a more just, democratic and sustainable society.

TRENDS / DEBATES

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