I am sorry for the pessimistic tone. However, as much as I try to turn this cube around, it’s still a cube and not a sphere. Of the half a dozen best minds in political science in Brazil, I’ve personally worked with most and interact with them daily.
My feeling is that we are paying the price of comfortably sitting our asses in the Ivory Tower, content with the bureaucracy of grant-writing and publishing without daring to explore new models to interpret reality. After all, by definition, they would be tentative and the imperative of publishing and applying for grants always took the priority.
Folks are busy in interpreting and reinterpreting “how we got here” and also falling victim of the firehose of outrage: bolsonaro and his mob do something absurdly anti-constitutional every single day. And every single day, that’s everyone’s priority.
Like in the USA, the fascist movement was successful in keeping us all busy responding to the most recent scandal or atrocity.
But that’s not how political strategy is done. It’s a long term endeavor.
You see what I mean? We can’t seem to organize and spare a group for a think tank that will refrain from responding to the “daily crime against humanity”. This way, we are on our way to losing again.
The situation in the USA is even worse. The structural problems here are things that I’m not sure even have a solution. Nobody expected whole economic niches to reach maximal capital concentration and complete cartelization. This is only going to crystalize during the pandemic.
The American civil movement does not have a memory of ever having had a national public health system. It is scary that Medicare for all is the solution “most to the left”: medicare is a health insurance, it doesn’t cover all costs and 43% of Americans on medicare had medical bills exceeding their assets.
But the American society is the most self-centered in the world given its imperialistic nature. As an “alien”, my ideas cause amusement but I don’t feel my colleagues actually appreciate the gravity of the situation. To even try to solve the health care crisis requires a decenial plan.
That’s not even a item for public conversation in an immediatist society such as is the American. Decenial plan? Quinquenial plan? What’s that?
However, ALL their structural problems can only be approached long term because, and I insist on this, this is a failed experiment.
Brazil still has a national health system. It is attacked every day by the fascist movement but it’s not that easy to destroy a huge institutional system. Our higher education and graduate education system are being attacked every day, promotions were frozen and most scholarships will not be renewed. Yet, we still have it. It can still be rebuilt.
In the USA, there is nothing to “re” build: it has to be done from scratch.
All that I’m writing here I do so from the privileged position of an independent scholar. Because you just can’t say it in institutional Academia here. I saw what happened in several universities and it is not pretty.