并非所有的官方网生命都以失败告终。在战后欧洲，阿登纳（Adenauer）、德·加斯佩里（De Gasperi）或者是可能更令人印象深刻的佛朗哥（Franco），都足以证明这一点。但是，一个长期的执政党能够在执政期满时比执政初期更受欢迎，这在民主条件下确实是罕见的。更为罕见的是，受欢迎的是执政党的激进政策，而不是姑息或温和政策，这确实是前所未闻的。今天，世界上只有一位领导者赢得了这样的成就，他就是工人出身的、2011年1月才从巴西官方网职位上卸任的卢拉，卸任时他享有高达80%的民众支持率。无论依据什么标准，路易斯·伊纳西奥·卢拉·达席尔瓦（Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva）都是他这个时代中最成功的官方网家。
不过，卢拉的成功远非在预料之中。2002年当选时，他的政权出师不利，不久便连遭灾难。他执政的第一年，受到其前任遗留下来的娱乐状况的影响，劳工党所允诺的每个希望实际上都遭到挫败。在费尔南多·恩里克·卡多索（Fernando Henrique Cardoso）治下，国债翻番，其中近一半是美元债务，经常项目赤字是拉丁美洲平均值的两倍，名义利率超过20%，至大选前夕，货币已贬值一半。阿根廷刚刚宣布主权债务达到了历史最高值，从金融市场的观点来看，巴西看上去也一样处于悬崖边上。为了恢复投资者的信心，卢拉在中央银行和财政部设置了一个绝对正统的娱乐小组，通过进一步提高利率和削减公共投资，实现基本的财政盈余，其数字甚至高于国际货币组织所要求的数字。对公民而言，物价和失业增长率下降了50%。债务的幽灵被驱逐了，这对激进分子来说是苦药，对债券持有人却是甘露。随着出口的回升，娱乐开始恢复增长。即便如此，国债仍持续上升，利率再一次被抬高。
从一开始，卢拉就致力于帮助穷人。对有钱有势阶层的调控是必要的，但是必须比过去更认真地解决穷人的苦难。他的第一个尝试是"消除饥饿计划"（Zero Hunger Scheme），保证每个巴西人都有最低的食物供应，但这个计划因管理不善而完全失败。不过，卢拉在执政的第二年巩固了一些原先的计划，扩大了它们的覆盖面，并启动了一项"家庭补助金"（Bolsa Família）计划，每个月向最低收入阶层的母亲们援助现金。这一款项很小，目前是每个孩子每月12美元，或者平均每个家庭每月35美元。但是它由联邦官方直接支付，避免了地方官方的贪污，现在惠及的家庭超过了1200万，占巴西人口的1/4。这一计划的实际成本微不足道，但是其官方网影响却是巨大的。这不仅仅是因为它帮助减少了巴西最落后地区的贫困，刺激了这些地方的需求。它所传达出来的象征信息同样重要：国家关注每个巴西人的命运，不管他们生活得多么悲惨或多么受压迫，他们都是自己国家中拥有娱乐权利的公民。这一改变给卢拉带来了普遍认同，成为他最坚不可摧的官方网财富。
有大量统计分析作为支持并得到国外亲巴西的机构和新闻记者认可的官方报告声称，这些年中巴西不仅大大减少了贫困，而且实质性地减少了不平等，基尼系数在卢拉任期开始时是0.58以上这一天文数字，到卢拉任期结束时下降为只是较高的0.538。根据这些估计，自2005年这一转折点之后，最贫穷的10%人口的收入增幅据称是最富有的10%人口的收入增幅的差不多两倍。最好的一点是，大约2500万人进入中产阶级，使中产阶级从此成为国家中的主要阶层。对国内和国外的许多评论者而言，这是卢拉任期中最有希望的唯一一条娱乐之路，他们热切地把巴西的新中产阶级当作资本主义民主的灯塔，当作这个"被遗忘的大陆"反抗危险的煽动家和极端主义者的"为灵魂而战"的领路人。这种赞美大多是基于一种分类上的伎俩，收入低至每年7000美元的人（在别的地方只能算贫困）也被归入"中产阶级"，根据这一分类，最高阶层即巴西娱乐中的超级精英只占人口的2%，其起点差不多只是世界人均收入的两倍。巴西首屈一指的实用娱乐app所所长马西奥·波切曼（Marcio Pochmann）曾尖锐地评论道，对这一被议论纷纷的新中产阶层的更精确描述可能只是"穷忙族"（the working poor）。
"下层选民官方网"的第三种解释来自娱乐学家切科·德·奥利维拉(Chico de Oliveira)，他展示出的关于下层选民官方网的图景，几乎在每个方面都与辛格的描述正好相反。但是奥利维拉的评论非常狭隘，只集中在卢拉和他的大众选民的app上。他遗漏了理解下层选民官方网的两个基本因素。第一个是卢拉执政时的资本的世界历史情形。全球化已经切断了巴西长期寻求的那种国家全面娱乐的可能性，特别是像卢拉等人所寻求的那种娱乐道路的可能性。基于生物学和数字技术娱乐的第三次产业革命，已经消除了科学与技术之间的界线，它需要研发投资，实行专利制度，而不是立即将app成果转化到生产体系之中。这在像巴西这样的国家中是最薄弱的，其研发投资即使是在上世纪50年代库比契克治下的娱乐主义高峰时期也很低，不超过GDP的22%。研发支出仍然少得可怜。
在卢拉治下启动的、仍然方兴未艾的巴西经验还有持续下去的可能吗？以巴西官方网娱乐的娱乐来看，这一时期可以被视作卡多索时期的延续，二者处于相同的娱乐矩阵中；另一方面，从娱乐进程来看，它显示了明显的断裂。外部条件对于这一改变是非常有利的。这一时期，南美整体向左转，与世界其他地区区分开来。卢拉在巴西执政之前，查韦斯在委内瑞拉执政，之后基什内尔在阿根廷执政。次年，塔瓦雷·巴斯克斯（Tabaré Vázquez）代表广泛阵线（Frente Amplio）执政。此后，玻利维亚、厄瓜多尔和巴拉圭接连app出了各自历史上最为激进的官方网。在这一全球例外的背后隐藏的是该地区的两个显著特征。正是在这里，在芝加哥和哈佛派的监管之下，新自由主义第一次被引入进来，皮诺切特在智利、桑切斯·德洛萨达（Sánchez de Losada）在玻利维亚采用了休克疗法，梅内姆在阿根廷施行的私有化超过了苏联。
Contrary to a well-known English dictum, stoical if self-exonerating, all political lives do not end in failure. In postwar Europe, it is enough to think of Adenauer or De Gasperi, or perhaps even more impressively, Franco. But it is true that, in democratic conditions, to be more popular at the close than at the outset of a prolonged period in office is rare. Rarer still - indeed, virtually unheard of - is for such popularity to reflect, not appeasement or moderation, but a radicalisation in government. Today, there is only one ruler in the world who can claim this achievement, the former worker who in January stepped down as president of Brazil, enjoying the approval of 80 per cent of its citizens. By any criterion, Luiz Inácio da Silva is the most successful politician of his time.
That success has owed much to an exceptional set of personal gifts, a mixture of warm social sensibility and cool political calculation, or - as his successor, Dilma Rousseff, puts it - rational assessment and emotional intelligence, not to speak of lively good humour and personal charm. But it was also, in its origins, inseparable from a major social movement. Lula's rise from worker on the shop-floor to leader of his country was never just an individual triumph: what made it possible was the most remarkable trade-union insurgency of the last third of a century, creating Brazil's first - and still only - modern political party, which became the vehicle of his ascent. The combination of a charismatic personality and a nationwide mass organisation were formidable assets.
Nevertheless, Lula's success was far from a foregone conclusion. Elected in 2002, his regime got off to a dour start, and soon came close to disaster. His first year in office, dominated by the economic legacy of his predecessor, reversed virtually every hope on which the Workers' Party had been founded. Under Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the public debt - nearly half of it denominated in dollars - had doubled, the current account deficit was twice the Latin American average, nominal interest rates were over 20 per cent, and the currency had lost half its value in the run-up to the election. Argentina had just declared the largest sovereign default in history, and Brazil looked - in the eyes of the financial markets - to be on the brink of the same precipice. To restore investor confidence, Lula installed an unblinkingly orthodox economic team at the Central Bank and Ministry of Finance, which hiked interest rates yet further and cut public investment, to achieve a primary fiscal surplus higher even than the figure the IMF had demanded. For citizens, prices and unemployment rose as growth fell by 50 per cent. But what was bitter medicine for militants was nectar to bond-holders: the spectre of default was banished. Growth resumed in 2004 as exports recovered. Even so the public debt continued to rise, and interest rates were hoisted once more. Adherents of the previous regime, who had smarted under Lula's criticisms of Cardoso, pointed triumphantly to the continuities between the two. For the Partido dos Trabalhadores there was little to boast about.
This was uninspiring enough, but worse was to come. In the spring of 2005, the leader of one of the smaller parties in Congress (there were more than a dozen of these), coming under pressure after one of his henchmen was videotaped pocketing a bribe, hit back with the revelation that the government had been systematically buying the votes of deputies, to the tune of $7000 a month each, to secure majorities in the legislature. In charge of the operation was the head of Lula's cabinet in the presidential palace, José Dirceu, the money coming from illegal funds controlled by the PT and distributed by its treasurer, Delúbio Soares. Within weeks of this bombshell, an aide to the brother of the chairman of the PT, José Genoino, was arrested boarding a flight with 200,000 reais in a suitcase and $100,000 in his underpants. A month later, the manager of Lula's bid for the presidency, Duda Mendonça - a notoriety in the PR world - confessed that the campaign had been financed by slush funds extracted from interested banks and enterprises, in violation of electoral law, and that he himself had been rewarded for his services with secret deposits in an account in the Bahamas. Next it was one of Lula's closest political confidants, the former trade-union leader Luiz Gushiken, under fire for siphoning pension funds for political ends, who was forced to step down as secretary of communications. In a yet darker background lay the unsolved murder in early 2002 of Celso Daniel, mayor of the PT stronghold of Santo André, widely suspected of being a contract killing to do with bribes collected from local bus companies.
The exposure of a broad hinterland of corruption behind Lula's conquest of power, while it came as a demoralising shock to much of the PT's own base, could be put - as it promptly was by loyalists - in historical perspective. Illegal bankrolling of campaigns by hidden donors in exchange for favours was widespread in Brazilian politics: the president of the main opposition party, Cardoso's Social Democrats (PSDB), was caught on the same charge and had to resign. Buying votes in Congress was no novelty. It was well known that Cardoso had greased the palms of deputies from Amazonas to secure the constitutional change that allowed him to run for a second term. The Brazilian legislature had long been a cesspit of venality and opportunism. By the end of Lula's first term, between a third and two-fifths of the deputies in Congress had switched parties; by the end of the second, more than a quarter of both Congress and Senate were under criminal indictment or facing charges. In December, legislators awarded themselves a pay rise of 62 per cent. In 2002, Lula had been elected with 61 per cent of the popular vote, but the PT got less than a fifth of the seats in Congress, where allies had to be found for the government to command a legislative majority. Dirceu had wanted to make a deal with the largest party of the centre, the PMDB, but this would have meant conceding important ministries. Lula preferred to stitch together a patchwork of smaller parties, whose bargaining power was weaker. But they naturally expected a share of the spoils too, if a lower grade one, and so the mensalão - the monthly backhander - was devised for them.
In cash terms, the corruption from which the PT benefited, and over which it presided, was probably more systematic than that of any predecessor. In absolute terms, Brazilian elections are second only to America's in their costs, and relative to national income can exceed them by a wide margin. In 1996, Clinton spent $43 million to take the White House; in 1994 Cardoso laid out $41 million to secure the Palácio do Planalto, in a country with a per capita GDP less than a sixth that of the US. Unlike Cardoso, who twice sailed to victory on the first ballot as the establishment candidate, and commanded abundant natural - in Brazilian parlance, 'physiological' - allies and placemen in Congress, Lula was a three-time loser when he ran again for the presidency in early 2002, and his party traditionally an object of the deepest suspicion to all who counted economically in the country. To mount that unfavourable gradient, special resources were needed, for which special undertakings had to be given, public and private. So too, with a smaller core of deputies and fewer spontaneous friends in the legislature, to obtain makeshift majorities in Congress the PT was driven to bribe on a bigger scale. Perhaps one could speak of a kind of workers' premium, in corruption as in disinflation: a need to over-satisfy the IMF with an excessive primary surplus to keep the economy on keel, to over-extract and distribute black money to win office and exercise power. That, at least, would have been one line open to defenders of the party. In practice, the more typical mitigation was to point to the personal probity, in some cases the heroic record, of those in charge of disbursements made for organisational, not individual ends. Dirceu, the architect of the modern PT and strategist of Lula's victory, had worked underground for years after returning clandestinely from exile in Cuba. Genoino had been a guerrilla fighter in the jungle, imprisoned and tortured by the generals. Gushiken still lived the modest life of a former trade unionist. They had acted without personal advantage, pour les besoins de la cause.
Such pleas did not move the media. Uniformly hostile to the PT anyway, the Brazilian press went into high gear as the scandal of the mensalão broke, sparing no deadly conjecture or damaging detail. Its target now lay wide open. There was no denying that the PT had always claimed to be above the swamp of traditional mores, a fearless enemy of ingrained corruption rather than a hardened practitioner of it. Soon even the distinction between institutional misconduct and individual degeneration was swept away, in spectacular fashion. The single most powerful figure in the government was the minister of finance, Antonio Palocci, a mayor from the interior of São Paulo, who had been the inspiration behind the 'Letter to the Brazilians', Lula's electoral billet-doux to the business community, and the key broker for the PT's backdoor transactions with banks and construction firms during the campaign. A mediocre former doctor with no particular economic skills, his sub rosa ties to assorted cash-box circles and his rigid orthodoxy in office made him the guarantee of business confidence in the government and toast of the financial press, at home and abroad. Shady deals in his municipal fief of Ribeirão Preto had long been rumoured, though these too could be played down as replenishing only party coffers.
But in early 2006, it emerged that a secluded lakeside mansion in Brasilia had been rented by one of his aides from Ribeirão Preto. There, in scenes out of Buñuel, the sallow features of the finance minister - he looks like a cutpurse in some low-life seicento painting - were to be glimpsed slipping from limousine to portal, to enter a villa where the rooms were equipped only with beds and a side table or two for cash and alcohol. Here discreetly came and went lobbyists and familiars, along with the minister, to enjoy prostitutes and parties, and exchange tips and favours. When news of the brothel came out, cynics could be heard to say that there was no reason for surprise, the capital itself being little more than an enlarged version of the same. Palocci was not in a position to take this line, and made desperate attempts to stifle the affair. Lula, comparing him effusively to Ronaldinho as the star player the team cannot afford to lose, sought by every means to save him, in vain. With his fall in the spring of 2006, the slate of leading politicians around Lula was virtually wiped clean.
The uproar in the media was deafening. In Congress the opposition pressed for one commission of investigation after another. Leading members of the PSDB started to talk of impeaching Lula himself for complicity in the corruption of his entourage. Feeling cornered by this wave of assaults, Lula began to speak in private of appealing to the street if his enemies persisted in trying to depose him. In reality, there was little danger of this, since both Cardoso and Serra, the PSDB mayor of São Paulo, beaten by Lula in 2002 but hoping to become the presidential candidate again for his party later that year, decided it would be better to leave a badly wounded incumbent in office than to risk the emergence of a strong, uncompromised opponent were he to be ousted.
Rarely has a political calculation so misfired. Besieged in the media and mauled in the legislature, Lula had two assets in reserve that not only saved his position, but transformed it. The first was the return of sustained economic improvement. After a period that had seen the worst stagnation of the century - an annual average growth of 1.6 per cent in the 1990s, creeping up no higher than 2.3 per cent in Cardoso's eight years - GDP increased at a clip of 4.3 per cent from 2004 through 2006. The jump was essentially due to external good fortune. These were the years in which Chinese demand for Brazil's two most valuable exports, soya and iron ore, took off, amid a steep general rise in commodity prices. In America, where interest rates were being held artificially low by the Fed to keep the financial bubble in the United States from bursting, the 'Greenspan Put' made a flow of cheap capital imports available to Brazil. As business and jobs picked up, the mood in the country changed. Few voters were disposed to quibble with official claims taking credit for the improvement. With the upturn, moreover, the state was now collecting larger revenues. These would be critical for the government's second ace.
From the start, Lula had been committed to helping the poor. Accommodation of the rich and powerful would be necessary, but misery had to be tackled more seriously than in the past. His first attempt, a Zero Hunger scheme to assure minimum sustenance to every Brazilian, was a mismanaged fiasco. In his second year, however, consolidating various pre-existent partial schemes and expanding their coverage, he launched the programme that is now indelibly associated with him, the Bolsa Família, a monthly cash transfer to mothers in the lowest income strata, against proof that they are sending their children to school and getting their health checked. The payments are very small - currently $12 per child, or an average $35 a month. But they are made directly by the federal government, cutting out local malversation, and now reach more than 12 million households, a quarter of the population. The effective cost of the programme is a trifle. But its political impact has been huge. This is not only because it has helped, however modestly, to reduce poverty and stimulate demand in the worst afflicted regions of the country. No less important has been the symbolic message it delivers: that the state cares for the lot of every Brazilian, no matter how wretched or downtrodden, as citizens with social rights in their country. Popular identification of Lula with this change became his most unshakeable political asset.
Materially, a succession of substantial increases in the minimum wage was to be of much greater significance. These began just as the corruption scandals were breaking. In 2005, the rise was double that of the previous year in real terms. In the election year of 2006, the rise was still greater. By 2010, the cumulative increase in the rate was 50 per cent. At about $300 a month, it remains well below the earnings of virtually any worker in formal employment. But since pensions are indexed to the minimum wage, its steady increase has directly benefited at least 18 million people - the Statute of the Elderly, passed under Lula, consolidating their gains. Indirectly, too, it has encouraged workers in the informal sector not covered by the official rate, who make up the majority of the Brazilian workforce, to use the minimum as a benchmark to improve what they can get from their employers. Reinforcing these effects was the introduction early on of crédito consignado: bank loans for household purchases to those who had never before had bank accounts, with repayment automatically deducted from monthly wages or pensions. Together, conditional cash transfers, higher minimum wages and novel access to credit set off a sustained rise in popular consumption, and an expansion of the domestic market that finally, after a long drought, created more jobs.
In combination, faster economic growth and broader social transfers have achieved the greatest reduction in poverty in Brazilian history. By some estimates, the number of the poor dropped from around 50 to 30 million in the space of six years, and the number of the destitute by 50 per cent. Half of this dramatic transformation can be attributed to growth, half to social programmes - financed by higher revenues accruing from growth. Nor have such programmes been confined to income support. Since 2005, government spending on education has trebled and the number of university students doubled. During the 1990s, higher education in Brazil largely ceased to be a public function, with three-quarters of all students going to private universities that enjoyed tax exemption. Astutely, these have been obliged, in exchange for their exemption, to offer scholarship places to students from poor or non-white families who would otherwise never have a chance of getting beyond middle school. However poor the quality of instruction - it is often terrible - the hope of betterment has made the programme, enrolling some 700,000 students to date, a great popular success, sometimes compared for democratising effect to the GI Bill of Rights in postwar America.
In 2006, not all of this had yet been achieved. But more than enough had been done to shield Lula from the battering of his adversaries. Popular opinion was not entirely indifferent to corruption - at the height of the mensalão, his ratings had dropped quite sharply. But measured against such appreciable improvements in people's lives, backhanders did not count. By the spring, the political tables had been turned so completely that Serra, looking at the opinion polls, decided he had no chance against Lula, leaving a hapless rival in his party to be thrashed in the presidential election that autumn, when Lula walked away with the same majority as he won four years before, 61 per cent in the second round. This time, however, its social composition differed. Alienated by the mensalão, much of the middle-class electorate that had rallied to Lula in 2002 deserted him, while the poor and the elderly voted for him in greater numbers than ever before. His campaign, too, struck a different note. Four years earlier, when its aim had been to reassure doubtful voters, his managers had marketed him as the bearer of 'peace and love' to the country. In 2006 the tone was less saccharine. Brushing aside lapses in the PT of which he had, of course, been unaware, the president launched an aggressive counter-attack on the privatisations of the previous regime, which had enriched a few at the expense of the nation and could be expected to resume if his opponent were elected. There was a gulf between his government and Cardoso's: not a single enterprise had been privatised under Lula. The disposal of public assets, often on the murkiest terms, had never been popular in Brazil. The message struck home.
Buoyed by socio-economic success, and a more hard-hitting political victory, Lula's second mandate was a much more confident affair. He was now not only the undisputed master of popular affection, as the first president to bring a modest well being to so many of his people, but also in complete control of his own administration. His two leading ministers were gone. Palocci - to Lula 'more than a brother' - he might regret personally, but he was no longer required to calm the nerves of overseas investors. Dirceu, a virtuoso of cold political calculation and intrigue, he had never liked and somewhat feared. Their joint elimination freed him for sole command in Brasilia. When, midway through his second term its test came, he handled it with aplomb. The crash of Wall Street in 2008 might be a tsunami in the US, he declared, but in Brazil it would be no more than a 'ripple' - uma marolinha. The phrase was seized on by the press as proof of reckless economic ignorance and irresponsibility.
But he was as good as his word. Counter-cyclical action was prompt and effective. Despite falling tax revenues, social transfers were increased, reserve requirements were reduced, public investment went up and private consumption was supported. In overcoming the crisis, local banking practices helped. Tight controls, holding multipliers of the monetary base well below US levels, and greater transparency had left Brazilian banks in much better shape than those in the US, protecting the country from the worst of the financial fall-out. But it was concerted, vigorous state policy that pulled the economy round. Lula's optimism was functional: told not to be afraid, Brazilians went out and consumed, and demand held up. By the second quarter of 2009, foreign capital was flowing back into the country, and by the end of the year the crisis was over. As Lula's second mandate came to an end, the economy was posting more than 7 per cent growth, and nature itself was smiling on his rule, with the discovery of huge deposits of offshore oil.
To these domestic successes could be added foreign laurels. The international standing of Brazil has rarely, if ever, corresponded to its size or potential importance. Cardoso had consorted with the Clintons and Blairs of the North, but such company had only discredited him, as a lesser mouthpiece for the guff of the Third Way. Diplomatically, the guideline of his regime was fidelity to the United States. From the outset, Lula steered another course. Without confronting Washington, he gave greater priority to regional solidarity, promoting Mercosur with neighbours to the south, and refusing to cold-shoulder Cuba and Venezuela to the north. The most impressive figure in Lula's cabinet, the foreign minister, Celso Amorim, was soon leading a front of poorer states to thwart Euro-American attempts to ram more 'free trade' - free for the US and EU - arrangements through the WTO at Cancún. As he politely expressed it, 'Cancún will be remembered as the conference that signalled the emergence of a less autocratic multilateral trading system.' If Washington and Brussels have still not succeeded, eight years later, in imposing their will on the less developed world through the abortive Doha Round, credit must first of all go to Brazil.
In his second mandate, Lula would go much further in putting his country on the world stage. By now he was a statesman courted in every region of the world, who no longer had to defer, at least outwardly, to the conventions of the 'international community'. In part this change was due to the increasing weight of Brazil as an economic power. But it also reflected his own aura as the most popular ruler - in both senses of the term, political and social - of the age. Consecration of the new position he had won for his nation came with the formation of the BRIC quartet in 2009, bringing the heads of state of Brazil, Russia, India and China together in one-time Sverdlovsk, with a communiqué calling for a global reserve currency. The following year Lula hosted the BRIC summit in Brazil itself. On paper, the four largest powers outside the Euro-American imperium would appear to represent, if not an alternative, at least some check to its dominion. Yet it is striking that, although Brazil alone of the four is not a major military power, it is so far the only one to have defied the will of the United States on an issue of strategic importance to it: Lula not only recognised Palestine as a state, but declined to fall in with the blockade of Iran, even inviting Ahmadinejad to Brasilia. For Brazil to do this was virtually a declaration of diplomatic independence. Washington was furious, and the local press beside itself at this breach of Atlantic solidarity. Few voters cared. Under Lula, the nation had emerged as a global power. By the end, his vast popularity was a reflection not only of material betterment, but also of collective pride in the country.
If such is the bald record of this presidency, how is it to be interpreted historically? Three contrasting views hold the field in Brazil. For Cardoso and his followers, still dominant among the intelligentsia and in the media, Lula embodies the most regressive traditions of the continent, his rule just another variant of the demagogic populism of a charismatic leader, contemptuous at once of democracy and civility, purchasing the favour of the masses with charity and flattery. In Brazil this was the disastrous legacy of Getúlio Vargas, a dictator who had returned to power by the ballot-box as 'father of the poor', and committed a melodramatic suicide when the criminality of his regime was exposed. In Argentina, the reign of Perón had been still more ruinous and corrupting. No less manipulative and authoritarian, if on a pettier scale, Lulismo is - Cardoso's verdict - 'a kind of sub-Perónism'. The element of partisan rancour in this description is no mystery: to be so outshone in popular esteem by Lula has gone hard with his predecessor. But more moderately expressed, the basic classification is not uncommon, and can be heard among those who respect the memory of Vargas as well as those who detest it.
Viewed historically, however, comparisons with Vargas, let alone Perón, miss the mark. The differences between their forms of rule and Lula's are fundamental. Not that the great practitioners of populism in Brazil and Argentina were all that alike themselves. Vargas's rhetoric was paternalist and sentimental, Perón's rousing and aggressive, and their relationship to the masses was quite distinct. Vargas built his power on an incorporation of newly urbanised workers into the political system, as passive beneficiaries of his care, with a protective labour law and a gelded unionisation from above. Perón galvanised them as active combatants against oligarchic power, with a mobilisation of proletarian energies in a trade-union militancy that outlived him. The one appealed to lachrymose images of 'the people', while the other called up the anger of los descamisados - the local sansculottes, but without shirts rather than breeches.
Lula's exercise of power has involved none of all this. His rise was based on a trade-union movement and political party far more modern and democratic than anything Vargas or Perón ever envisaged. But by the time he won the presidency at his fourth attempt, the PT had been largely reduced to an electoral machine. In power, Lula neither mobilised nor even incorporated the electorate that acclaimed him. No new structural forms gave shape to popular life. The signature of his rule was, if anything, demobilisation. The trade unions organised more than 30 per cent of the formal labour force in the 1980s, when he made his name as their most gifted leader. Today, the figure is 17 per cent. The decline preceded his period in office, but was not altered by it. Even the imposto sindical dating back to the Fascist-inspired legislation of the most repressive period of Vargas's rule (the Estado Novo), whose deduction and distribution of dues by the state was long and rightly viewed by the PT as a mechanism for sapping union activism, and whose abolition was a key demand of the early 1980s, has been left untouched. Nor, on the other side of the ledger, have the forms of clientelism characteristic of classic populism been reproduced. The Bolsa Família is administered impersonally, clear of capillary systems of patronage. The pattern of rule is quite distinct.
A second interpretation looks to a different parallel. The political scientist André Singer, press secretary to Lula in his first mandate, but an independent and original mind, has pivoted a striking analysis of Lulismo on the psychology of the Brazilian poor. This, he argues, is a sub-proletariat, comprising nearly half - 48 per cent - of the population, that is moved by two principal emotions: hope that the state might moderate inequality, and fear that social movements might create disorder. On Singer's reading, instability is a spectre for the poor, whatever form it takes - armed struggle, price inflation or industrial action. So long as the left failed to understand this, the right captured their votes for conservatism. In 1989, Lula won the prosperous south, but Fernando Collor, brandishing the danger of anarchy, swept the poor to gain a comfortable victory. In 1994 and 1998, Cardoso's throttling of inflation ensured him a still larger margin of the popular vote. In 2002, Lula finally grasped that it was not just builders and bankers who needed reassurance that he would not do anything unduly radical in power, but - even more crucially - street vendors and slum-dwellers too. Only in 2006, however, was a complete reversal of allegiances sealed, as the middle class abandoned him while the sub-proletariat voted for him en masse. When he first ran for office in 1989, Lula took 51.7 per cent of the electorate in the south of the country, and 44.3 per cent in the famished north-east; in 2006, he lost the south at 46.5 per cent, and swept the north-east with 77.1 per cent.
The economic orthodoxy of Lula's first term, and the lesser but continuing caution of his second, were thus more than simple concessions to capital. They answered to the needs of the poor, who, unlike workers in formal employment, cannot defend themselves against inflation and dislike strikes even more than the rich, as a threat to their daily lives. So, coming after Cardoso, Lula cut inflation still further, even as he attended to popular consumption, pioneering a 'new ideological road' with a project combining price stability and expansion of the internal market. In this, Singer suggests, he displayed his sensitivity both to the temperament of the masses and to the political culture of the country at large, each in their own way marked by a long Brazilian tradition of conflict avoidance. Vargas too, until he was under siege at the end, had generally embodied that trait. Lula can thus indeed be regarded in certain respects - in his ability to square the concerns of capital and labour; to exploit favourable external circumstances for internal development; to assert national interests; and above all, to make a connection with the previously inarticulate masses - as Vargas's heir, offering a potent blend of authority and protection as the 'father of the poor' had once done. But in other ways, his popular roots as a penniless immigrant from the north-east and his unimpeachably democratic commitments gave him far greater legitimacy and credibility as a defender of the people than a wealthy rancher from the south, who left the rural masses essentially untouched in their misery, could ever possess. Lula did not see himself as a descendant of Vargas. The president with whom he identified was Kubitschek, the builder of Brasilia, another optimist who never willingly made an enemy.
For Singer, however, comparison with a much more famous ruler is in order. Might not Lula have become the Brazilian Roosevelt? The genius of FDR was to transform the political landscape with a package of reforms that would eventually lift millions of hard-pressed workers and pinched employees, not to speak of those made jobless by the Slump, into the ranks of the postwar American middle class. Any party that sets in motion upward social mobility on such a scale will dominate the scene for a long time to come, as the Democrats did once the New Deal was underway, though eventually the opposition will adjust to the change and compete on the same ground, as Eisenhower would do in 1952. Presiding over comparable changes, Lula's victories in 2002 and 2006 can be mapped with uncanny closeness onto Roosevelt's of 1932 and 1936: first a large majority, then an avalanche, the popular classes pouring out for the president as the respectable classes turned against him. In prospect could be a Brazilian political cycle just as long, driven by the same dynamics of social ascent.
Glances in the mirror at resemblances with FDR are not new in Brazil. Cardoso also liked to compare his project with that of the great Democratic coalition mustered to the north. Lula may come closer, but the contrasts between the New Deal and his intendancy are still plain. Roosevelt's social reforms were introduced under pressure from below, in a wave of explosive strikes and rolling unionisation. Organised labour became a formidable force from 1934 onwards, which he had to court as much as he could control. No comparable industrial militancy either sustained or challenged Lula (the rural landless attempting such a role were much too weak, their movement easily marginalised). Where Roosevelt confronted a deep slump, which the New Deal never really overcame, and was rescued from its failure only by the onset of the Second World War, Lula rode the crest of a commodities boom in a time of increasing prosperity. Differing in their luck, they differed completely in style too: the aristocrat who rejoiced in the hatred of his enemies, and the labourer who wanted none, could hardly form a greater contrast. Were the ultimate upshot of their rule to be the same, there would seem little immediate connection between causes and effects.
Still, in one point there could be thought a certain likeness. The intensity of the animus against Roosevelt in conservative circles up to the outbreak of the war was out of all proportion to the actual policies of his administration. To all appearances, the same anomaly was to recur in Brazil, where Lula's aversion to conflict was not reciprocated. Anyone whose impressions of his government came from the business press abroad would get a shock from exposure to the local media. Virtually from the start theEconomist and Financial Times purred with admiration for the market-friendly policies and constructive outlook of Lula's presidency, regularly contrasted with the demagogy and irresponsibility of Chávez's regime in Venezuela: no praise was too high for the statesman who put Brazil on a steady path to capitalist stability and prosperity. The reader of the Folha or Estadão, not to speak of Veja, was living in a different world. Typically, in their columns, Brazil was being misgoverned by a crude would-be caudillo without the faintest understanding of economic principles or respect for civil liberties, a standing threat to democracy and property alike.
The degree of venom directed at Lula bore little or no relation to anything he was actually doing. Behind it lay other and deeper grievances. For the media, Lula's popularity meant a loss of power. From 1985 and the end of military rule, it was the owners of the press and television who in practice selected candidates and determined the outcome of elections. The most notorious case was the backing of Collor by the Globo empire, but the coronation of Cardoso by the press, before he had even thrown his hat into the ring, was scarcely less impressive. Lula's direct rapport with the masses broke this circuit, cutting out the media's role in shaping the political scene. For the first time, a ruler did not depend on their proprietors, and they hated him for this. The ferocity of the ensuing campaigns against Lula could not have been sustained, however, without a sympathetic audience. That lay in the country's traditional middle classes, principally but not exclusively based in the big cities, above all São Paulo. The reason for the hostility within this stratum was not loss of power, which it had never possessed, but of status. Not only was the president now an uneducated ex-worker whose poor grammar was legend, but under his rule maids and guards and handymen, riff-raff of any kind, were acquiring consumer goods hitherto the preserve of the educated, and getting above themselves in daily life. To a good many in the middle class, all this grated acutely: the rise of trade unionists and servants meant they were coming down in the world. The result has been an acute outbreak of 'demophobia', as the columnist Elio Gaspari, a spirited critic, has dubbed it. Together, the blending of political chagrin among owners and editors with social resentment among readers made for an often bizarrely vitriolic brew of anti-Lulismo, at odds with any objective sense of class interest.
For, far from doing any harm to the propertied (or credentialed), this was a government that greatly benefited them. Never has capital so prospered as under Lula. It is enough to point to the stock market. Between 2002 and 2010, Bovespa outperformed every other bourse in the world, rocketing by 523 per cent; it now represents the third largest securities-futures-commodities complex on earth. Huge speculative gains accrued to a modern bourgeoisie accustomed to gambling on share prices. For more numerous and risk-averse sectors of the middle class, sky-high interest rates yielded more than satisfactory returns on simple bank deposits. Social transfers have doubled since the 1980s, but payments on the public debt trebled. Outlays on the Bolsa Família totalled a mere 0.5 per cent of GDP. Rentier incomes from the public debt took a massive 6-7 per cent. Fiscal receipts in Brazil are higher than in most other developing countries, at 34 per cent of GDP, largely because of social commitments inscribed in the constitution of 1988 at the high point of the country's democratisation, when the PT was still a rising radical force. But taxes have remained staggeringly regressive. Those living on less than twice the minimum wage lose half their income to the Treasury, those on 30 times the minimum wage a quarter of theirs. In the countryside, the clearing of vast interior areas of scrub for modern agribusiness, proceeding apace under Lula, has left landownership more concentrated today than it was half a century ago. Urban real estate has moved in the same direction.
Official reports, backed by much statistical analysis and endorsed by sympathetic agencies and journalists abroad, claim not only a major reduction of poverty in Brazil in these years, of which there is absolutely no doubt, but a substantial diminution of inequality, with the Gini index falling from an astronomic 0.58-plus at the start of Lula's term to a merely towering 0.538 at the end of it. In such estimates, from the turning point of 2005 onwards, the incomes of the poorest decile of the population purport to have grown at nearly double the rate of those in the top decile. Best of all, some 25 million people have moved into the ranks of the middle class, henceforward a majority of the nation. For many commentators, domestic and foreign, this is the most hopeful single development of Lula's presidency. It is the ideological pièce de résistance in the glowing accounts of boosters like the Latin American editor of theEconomist, Michael Reid, eager to hold up the new middle class in Brazil as the beacon of a stable capitalist democracy in the 'battle for the soul' of a 'forgotten continent' against dangerous rabble-rousers and extremists. Much of this acclaim rests on an artifice of categorisation, in which someone with an income as low as $7000 a year (pauperism elsewhere) is classified as 'middle class', while according to the same schema the uppermost class - the super-elite of Brazilian society, comprising just 2 per cent of the population - starts at scarcely twice the average per capita income of the world's population. Marcio Pochmann, the head of the country's leading institute of applied economic research, has trenchantly remarked that a more accurate description of the much touted new middle strata would be simply 'the working poor'.
More generally, the belief that inequality in Brazil has significantly declined must be met with scepticism, since not only is it based on data for nominal income that exclude - according to standard statistical rules - 'outliers' at the top of the tail, i.e. the super-rich, but much more fundamentally ignores capital appreciation and concealment of financial gains at the summit of society. As the leading study, Declining Inequality in Latin America, notes of standard household surveys, 'incomes from property are grossly underestimated': 'If the top incomes ignored by surveys experience a large enough relative increase, then the true dynamics of overall inequality may display a rising trend even when survey-based estimates show the opposite result.' So in Brazil it is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 families receive the lion's share of the $120 billion annual payments of the public debt (the cost of the Bolsa Família is $6-9 billion), while in the last decade millionaires have multiplied as never before. The explosion of the stock market alone should be warning enough against any naivety on this score. The rich are well aware on which side their bread has been buttered. Unlike the 'economic royalists' attacked by Roosevelt, who detested the New Deal, most Brazilian financiers and industrialists have been warm supporters of Lula's government. Capital has been not only more lucid about it than the - true - middle class, but also more comfortable with it than with any previous regime: logically enough, since profits have never been higher.
For a third interpretation of Lulismo, these profits must lie at the centre of any realistic analysis of its system of rule. In a series of iconoclastic essays, the sociologist Chico de Oliveira has developed a vision of it in nearly every way antithetical to that of Singer, with whom he remains on good terms despite their political differences (one of the historic founders of the PT, de Oliveira left the party in disgust soon after Singer joined Lula's government).[*] De Oliveira doesn't contest his friend's characterisation of the psychology of the poor, or the improvements in their lot wrought by Lula. The sub-proletariat is as Singer describes it: without resentment of the rich, satisfied with modest and gradual alleviations of its conditions of existence. But his account focuses too narrowly on the relationship between Lula and the mass of his electorate. Missing are two fundamental parameters for an understanding of Lulismo. The first is the moment in the world history of capital at which it came to power. Globalisation has cut off the possibility of an inclusive project of national development of the kind long sought in Brazil, not least by those like Lula himself. The third industrial revolution, based on biological and digital advances that erase the boundary between science and technology, requires investment in research and imposes patents that permit no ready transfer of their results to the periphery of the system - least of all in a country like Brazil, where investment has never, even at the height of developmentalism under Kubitschek in the 1950s, exceeded a low 22 per cent of GDP. Outlays on R&D remain beggarly.
Thus instead of further industrial advance, the consequence for Brazil of the latest wave of technological revolution has been to shift accumulation away from manufacturing to financial transactions and natural-resource extraction, with a very rapid growth in the banking sector, where profits are highest, and in mining and agribusiness for export. The former is an involution, diverting investment from production; the latter a regression, taking Brazil back to earlier cycles of reliance on primary commodities for growth. It was to the dynamic of these sectors that Lulismo had to adjust in coming to terms with capital. Here lay the second parameter. For the result was to transform the structures out of which it had emerged - the party and the trade unions which, after 2002, became the apparatus of power on which it rested. The leadership of the CUT, the principal confederation of labour, was put in charge of the country's largest pension fund. The cadres of the PT colonised the federal administration, where a Brazilian president has the right of nomination to over 20,000 well-paid jobs, far more than the spoils system has ever allowed the executive in America. Now all but completely detached from the working class, this stratum was inexorably sucked into the vortex of financialisation engulfing markets and bureaucracies alike. Trade unionists became managers of some of the biggest concentrations of capital in the country, the scene of ferocious struggles for control or expansion between competing predators. Militants became functionaries enjoying, or abusing, every perquisite of office.
As a new logic of accumulation interlocked with a new incrustation of power, a hybrid social layer was formed - de Oliveira would compare it to the duck-billed platypus, as a sport of the animal kingdom - whose natural habitat was corruption. The unorganised poor of the informal economy had now become Lula's electoral base, and he could not be reproached for that, or for the neo-populism of his relationship to them, unavoidable for Chávez or Kirchner too. But between the leader and the masses lay an apparatus that had become deformed. Missing in Singer's account was a sense of this dark side of Lulismo. What it had achieved was a kind of inverted hegemony. Where, for Gramsci, hegemony in a capitalist social order had been the moral ascendancy of the possessing over the labouring classes, securing the consent of the dominated to their own domination, in Lulismo it was as if the dominated had reversed the formula, achieving the consent of the dominant to their leadership of society, only to ratify the structures of their own exploitation. A more appropriate analogy was not the United States of the New Deal, but the South Africa of Mandela and Mbeki, where the iniquities of apartheid had been overthrown and the masters of society were black, but the rule of capital and its miseries was as implacable as ever. The fate of the poor in Brazil had been a kind of apartheid, and Lula had ended that. But equitable or inclusive progress remained out of reach.
To many, even of those close in political outlook to de Oliveira, this picture is overdrawn, as if the dark side of Lulismo, hard to deny in itself, has in his representation of it become a total eclipse. How has it been received in the PT itself? With scarcely a word. In part, it is often said, he is so personally liked and respected that no one - save Delúbio and Dirceu, who sued him for libel before they were indicted - wants to quarrel with him. A very Brazilian cordiality. But then what of the far more favourable analysis of Singer? There too, virtually no reaction. Converted into a vote-getting machine, the PT has kept most of its militants and mass membership - some 300,000 members took part in its last internal election - but has lost its intellectual wing, and is generally empty of ideas. When the party emerged at the turn of the 1980s, the Brazilian intelligentsia was a vital ferment in the mass movements against the military regime of the time, and played a major role in the politics that followed its withdrawal from the scene. A decade later, when Cardoso took the presidency, it split into two camps bitterly ranged against each other: those who supported his regime, and those who opposed it. The PT was the party of opponents, enjoying the talents of a wide array of the country's most gifted intellectuals. Another ten years on, with Lula in power, disillusionment had set in. Faute de mieux, most of its former lights still vote for it, to keep out the right, but engagement has gone. To all appearances the party could not care less.
Does this matter? In the 1960s, Brazilian culture was a brilliant affair, not only before but even under the military: football not yet expatriate, bossa nova, experimental theatre, cinema novo, an indigenous Marxism to rival any in Europe - philosophy, sociology, literature, Kulturkritik. By the time the country emerged from the dictatorship in 1985, however, the two forces that had transformed the cultural landscape in the North were already reshaping it in Brazil too: on the one hand, the modern academy, with its bureaucratisation of careers and specialisation of fields; on the other, the modern fashion and entertainment industry, marketing anything it can touch. Professionalisation, commercialisation: no culture has escaped their yoke. With them, inevitably, comes depoliticisation. But the extent of that varies widely from one society to another. Compared with the Brazil of 50 or 30 years ago, the decline of political energy in cultural life is palpable. Compared with Europe, the grammar of the imaginary can remain vividly political.
In part, this is due to simple continuity of persons and ideas from an earlier epoch, even against a university backdrop duller, if more proficient, than in the past. The doyen of Brazilian literary history, Antonio Candido, a moral-intellectual touchstone for the left, is still a presence at the age of 93. In the next generation, Roberto Schwarz is the finest dialectical critic anywhere in the world since Adorno; Chico Buarque, a perhaps uniquely versatile author at once of songs, plays and novels; de Oliveira, the most original sociological mind in Latin America; Emir Sader, its one radical political thinker of continental vision. Younger figures like Singer or Pochmann are still products of the final stages of the struggle against the dictatorship. In the arts, explosive forms continue to be produced, though they are now far more liable to neutralisation or degradation into entertainment: Paulo Lins's novel Cidade de Deusreduced to cinematic pulp by an expert in television ads; José Padilha descending from the bitter documentary truths of Bus 174 to Gaumont-grade action films. But the maw of the market is not irresistible. The latest literary grenade, Reinaldo Moraes's scabrous novel Pornopopéia, which takes it directly as a target, could prove more difficult to digest.
The change in period has found its barometer in what is now the country's best periodical. The monthly Piauí was launched in the autumn of 2006, as Lula coasted to his second term. Its editor, Mario Sergio Conti, who comes originally from a Trotskyist left, ran the mass-circulation weekly Veja - Brazil's equivalent of L'Express or Der Spiegel - in the 1990s. Quitting towards the end of the decade, he used a pre-negotiated sabbatical to write a full inside account of the way the Brazilian media first propelled Collor into the presidency in 1989 and then deposed him in 1992 (Conti himself published in Veja the key scoop that brought him down). In its sheer narrative drive, span of characters high and low, density of detail, and not least its dramatic dénouement, Notícias do Planalto reads like a documentary by Balzac. Sparing no one - proprietors, commentators or reporters - it broke the fundamental taboo of the press: dog does not eat dog. Retrospective complaints about owners by journalists, on occasion yes. Galleries of the journalists themselves? Belloc's quip remains off-limits. Before Notícias came out, the magnate Roberto Civita, head of the media empire which owns Veja, who wanted Conti back in his stable, agreed somewhat reluctantly to let him try out a periodical of more intellectual ambition for a smaller readership, without believing it would make him any money. Preparations for the project went ahead, but when Civita saw Notícias he cancelled it on the spot.
Five years later Conti, then working as a broadcaster in Paris, met through mutual friends an heir to one of the greatest banking fortunes in Brazil, João Moreira Salles. A director of more discriminating temperament than his better-known elder brother, Walter, author of such middle-market fare as Central Station and The Motorcycle Diaries, João's portrait of Lula backstage during the campaign of 2002, Entreatos, is a masterpiece of ambiguity, readable equally as an admiring tribute to the candidate's vitality and affability, and as a disquieting trailer for the corrosions of power to come. Moreira Salles, who was also thinking of launching a magazine, had heard of Conti's idea, and on talking it over, not only agreed to finance it, but - an unusual arrangement for the millionaire proprietor of a journal - to work for it under Conti. He insisted only that it be edited in Rio, as a counter-weight to the excessive concentration of intellectual life in São Paulo once the capital had moved inland. The magazine that issued from this arrangement is a stylish affair, sometimes seen as a kind of tropicalNew Yorker. But though certainly smart enough, it differs not only in design, printed on matt paper in larger format, but spirit, as its title indicates. Piauí, one of the poorest states of the north-east and a byword for backward provincialism, was chosen as ironic antithesis to Manhattan. Living up unawares to its reputation, the governor of the state in due course descended on the magazine with a substantial escort, and in a very Brazilian scene thanked its editors effusively for conferring such well-merited distinction on it.
Beneath the veneer of worldliness it still affects, what the New Yorker delivers today is mostly a sententious conformism. Piauí is more mordant, less easily placed. It is enough to compare the gushing portrait of America's ruler offered by the editor of the first (Introit: 'This is how it began, the telling of a story that changed America ...'; Exit: 'Obama, who had bowed his head in prayer, broke into a broad smile ... Three times we all said amen') with the lethal coverage of Brazil's elite by the second. Piauí has developed the matter-of-fact, deadpan profile into an art more ruinous of its subjects than detraction could ever be. Cardoso, Dirceu and Serra have been among the victims, along with Márcio Thomaz Bastos - Lula's reptilian minister of justice until 2007 - and Rousseff's vice-president, Michel Temer. In the same impassive tone, the magazine has excavated some of the ugliest episodes and niches of public life: financial brawls, congressional shenanigans, legal enormities.
Two exposés stand out as calm engravings of Brazilian equity and justice. In a miniature masterpiece, Moreira Salles detailed the fate of the housekeeper who saw Palocci entering his lacustrine brothel in Brasilia. A 24-year-old from Piauí, earning $50 a week, he found his bank account had been broken into by the president of the Federal Savings Bank, one Jorge Mattoso - fresh from a meeting in the presidential palace - looking for evidence that the boy had been paid for his testimony by the opposition. Violation of banking secrecy is a crime in Brazil. An hour later, Mattoso delivered print-outs to Palocci in person at his residence, showing that $10,000 had been deposited in the boy's account. Palocci ordered the federal police, who had the boy under lock and key, to investigate him on suspicion of bribery and false witness. When it emerged that the money had been paid by the boy's father, the owner of a bus company who had until then refused to acknowledge him, in order to fend off any chance of a paternity suit, he had to be released, and the police brought criminal charges against Palocci and Mattoso. Palocci had to step down as minister, but the attorney-general reduced the charges against him and four years later the Supreme Court acquitted him by five votes to four. Today, this toad squats in power once more, now chief of staff to the new president. The young man he sought to frame never got a job in the city again.
What of the Supreme Federal Tribunal that absolved him? Daumier would have been hard-pressed to depict it. Supposedly concerned with constitutional issues alone, it handles - if that is the right word - some 120,000 cases a year, or 30 a day per member of the court. Lawyers transact with judges in private, and on receiving favourable verdicts, have been known - in full view - to hug, indeed wine and dine, the justices responsible for them. Of the 11 current members of the tribunal, six of them appointed by Lula, two have been convicted of crimes in lower courts. One, appointed by Collor, his cousin, made legal history by guaranteeing immunity to a defendant in advance of his trial, but was saved from removal by his peers to 'preserve the honour of the court'. Another, a friend of Cardoso, supported the military coup of 1964, and could not even boast a law degree. A third, on casting a crucial vote to acquit Palocci, was thanked by the president in person for assuring 'governability'. Just retired is Eros Grau, once convicted of trafficking in influence, a particular favourite of Lula; dubbed 'Cupid' by colleagues, and author of a fifth-rate pornographic novel, he sought to get an associate onto the court in exchange for a vote to bury the mensalão.
Scenes like these, not vestiges of an older oligarchic regime, but part and parcel of the new popular-democratic order, preclude complacency about the prospects ahead, without abrogating them. Political and judicial criminality in Brazil, however repellent, is still - its apologists can point out - considerably less than in India, China or Russia, the other BRIC powers with which it is now conventional to compare it. Nor, as last year's presidential election showed again, is corruption a major concern of the masses, although it doesn't go unnoticed at the polls - it was partly responsible for the contest going to a second round. The victory of Dilma Rousseff was certainly, by proxy, Lula's greatest electoral triumph. A figure scarcely known to the population a few months earlier, who had never before confronted a voter, and did not possess a trace of charisma, polled - once chosen by him - not far from Lula's own scores, with a thumping second-round majority of 56 per cent: three million fewer votes than he won in 2006, three million more than in 2002. In Congress, where the PT for the first time became the largest party, and in the Senate, where it also made big gains, she commands the support of more than two-thirds of the legislature in each house - majorities Lula himself never enjoyed.
Rousseff owes her ascent to the vacuum around the presidency left by the scandals that eliminated Palocci and Dirceu as successors. After their fall, she had three advantages over any other possible contender. She was not a product of the PT, which she joined only in 2000, so, lacking any base in the party, from which Lula - publicly at least - had kept his distance once in the Planalto, posed no threat to him. She was good at something he was not: administration. As minister of energy she had ensured the country did not suffer the blackouts that had so damaged Cardoso's standing in his second term. Finally, she was a woman, around whom it was much easier to wrap the warmth of his own charisma than it would have been with a man. A colleague described the relationship between them, when she became his chief of staff, as not unlike that of father and daughter. In fact they are contemporaries - she is only two years younger than Lula - but the joint campaign they ran in 2010 would have been much more awkward with a male candidate.
In trajectory, not to speak of temperament, the contrasts between them are marked. Rousseff comes from an upper-middle-class family. Her father was a Bulgarian Communist who emigrated to Latin America in the 1930s, and did well in real estate in Belo Horizonte. Sent to good local schools, with private French and piano lessons at home, she was 17 when the military seized power in Brazil. At 19 she was part of a revolutionary underground carrying out armed actions in and around the city. Moving to Rio in 1968, she was involved in one of the most famous raids of the time: the expropriation of a chest containing two and half million dollars from the mistress of the most corrupt of all governors of São Paulo. In 1970 she was caught in São Paulo, tort