We publish an unofficial translation of the weekly editorial of the popular and democratic newspaper A Nova Democracia.
Weekly Editorial – Terrorist Shock of Order
Editorial Staff of AND
29th of March 2023
Last week, simultaneous police operations brought terror to more than 200,000 workers living in some of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, leaving behind a trail of blood and rape. In the Complexo do Salgueiro, in São Gonçalo, 11 people were executed and two elderly women were injured during the operation. In Maré, 21 schools were closed due to the imposed war scenario, curtailing the right to education for more than 7 thousand children.
This is the model of “public security” applied, the so-called “war on drugs” (which never reaches the big suppliers…), whose two fundamental foundations are: first, unprecedented increase of punitive expeditions in the poor regions of big cities; second, mass incarceration of poor youth. The last few years show that it is a complete failure in its announced goal of curbing the spiraling growth of crime. It has failed throughout the country, especially in Rio de Janeiro.
The data shows it. About 67% (two thirds) of all violent events in Rio de Janeiro are caused by the police. The information is from the Public Security Observatories Network report released in 2022. From 2006 to 2021, the police carried out 482 slaughters – called “high lethality operations” – in which the lives of 2,000 people were claimed, according to a survey by the Grupo de Estudos de Novos Ilegalismos. This, without counting the many other thousands of people killed in “medium lethality” and “low lethality” operations.
When it comes to mass incarceration, the numbers are no less: from 2000 to 2014, the prison population grew by almost 200%. Already from 2010 to 2019, the growth of the prison population was almost 100%, according to the ministry of public security of the past government. Today, the number of prisoners is more than 900,000, of which more than 40% are without even a trial.
If the objective of such a genocidal policy is to curb the growth of delinquency, it is enough to observe what is happening now in Rio Grande do Norte to prove its failure. The truth is that criminality grows the more this measure is applied.
The purpose of this “war on drugs” policy is not to combat “organized crime” – for which it has been much more efficient to seize drugs outside the slums that, in general, have the active participation of police and rich people in the crimes. This policy is, in fact, a sinister counterinsurgent strategy, present in the Yankee manuals of “low intensity warfare”.
The question is this: How is it possible to keep up a regime of exploitation and oppression, whose society is fractured by an endemic general crisis that periodically throws millions of poor people into permanent unemployment? Which had, in 2022, 33 million Brazilians going hungry? How is it that such a society has not yet exploded into a general uprising? To the reactionaries, in such a context, it is only possible to keep the poor in line with a violent shock of order; with a voluminous military mobilization to dissuade the fury of the masses; that makes them remember, every day, that the rifles and armored cars in front of their houses, today to “fight crime”, can and are used against them when they rebel. Let them resign themselves to obey and be grateful for the “democracy” of the bayonets that the reaction grants them.
It is worth remembering: such policy is executed by the military police, who answer – besides the governor – to the Inspector General of the Military Police, an organ of the Army High Command that dictates such policy, regardless of who is elected.
From the government elected under the excuse of saving democracy, there is no indignation and not even an effective measure to stop the horrendous slaughter against the poor. When the massacre occurred in Rondonia, at the beginning of the year, in which the latifundium and the Military Police executed two LCP peasants under torture, there was not even a note; now, because of what happened in Rio de Janeiro, there is no note either. In fact, it is not surprising: such policy was a constant in previous PT [Workers’ Party] (governments; this is a government that defends “democracy”, yes, the democracy of slaughters.
As certain as the genocide that this policy generates, is the accumulated and dammed hatred that it produces. In Brazil, it is no longer possible to contain the masses as it was possible to do 20 years ago, with terrorist clashes and half a dozen apparent “conquests,” that is, crumbs from the banquets of the big bourgeoisie and the latifundia, servants of imperialism, mainly Yankee imperialism. The masses no longer believe in democracy – 41% of the population believe that democracy works badly or very badly, the poor are a huge majority – and no longer accept hunger or genocide. Sooner than later, this powder keg will explode. All it takes is a spark.
[Note – Red Herald:] We have also published an article on this matter: https://redherald.org/2023/03/30/again-massacres-against-the-people-in-brazil/