The leader of the Anti-Fascist Deliverers Paulo Lima, known as Galo, definitely entered the radar of the São Paulo police and justice system when he took part in the burning of the statue of explorer Borba Gato.
Black, a suburban resident and an app deliverer, the activist has a very different social origin from the high-ranking occupants of the state bureaucracy who kept him imprisoned for eight days.
A significant part of this political and economic elite in São Paulo, as in the entire south-central region of Brazil, is a direct descendant of the former bandeirantes. The Brazilian colonial origin, represented by monuments such as Borba Gato’s, is not a thing of the past.
:: What story do we tell by the monuments of cities? The Bem Viver Program answers ::
“The issue of statues is a matter of the representation and self-image of the formation of the ruling class. So when someone protests against a statue of a bandeirante, the elites know that the historic latifundium in Brazil is being questioned”.
The assessment is by Professor Ricardo Costa de Oliveira from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). The author of four books on the subject, he studies the formation of the Brazilian ruling class based on genealogy, a research methodology that reconstructs families over generations.
“When we investigate all our political institutions, they are all crossed by forms of family reproduction. That’s why nepotism is such an important political category in Brazil. It is the political families that dominate all the institutions”, he explains.
Girl Guides in Power
An example is in the São Paulo State Secretariat for Public Security, responsible for the actions of the Civil Police, which is investigating Paulo Galo for the fire on the statue. The holder of the portfolio is retired general João Camilo Pires de Campos, who comes from one of the main families of pioneers in São Paulo.
:: Who is João Camilo, the first soldier to take over the security of São Paulo in 40 years? ::
According to the professor at UFPR, the military has ancestors of great prominence and power. Pires de Campos is a descendant of the Pires and Camargo families who, between 1640 and 1660, were the protagonists in the then town of São Paulo in a bloody battle for control of political institutions.
“In other words, it’s another Bandeirantes genealogy of this secretary of security who was a general in the Army. There are surveys that show that almost all general officers are heirs of military families, who have always held the highest positions”, comments Oliveira.
In the search for the freedom of Rooster, the application delivery person’s defense filed an injunction for habeas corpus in the Court of Justice (TJ-SP). The request was denied, and the arrest was maintained for the purpose of forcing the detainee to report others involved in the fire.
:: Justice keeps Rooster imprisoned because he did not report involved: “This is torture”, says Defense ::
Released on Thursday (5), Galo was the victim of a “political arrest”, in the opinion of his lawyers. The family background of one of the main members of the TJ-SP can help explain the incarceration of the activist, whose profile does not fit the legal prerequisites for the temporary prison, to which he was subjected.
The president of the TJ-SP, Geraldo Francisco Pinheiro Franco, is also one of the powerful descendants of Bandeirantes.
Graduated from the most traditional Faculty of Law in São Paulo, the Largo de São Francisco of the University of São Paulo (USP), he occupies the same position as his father, Nelson Pinheiro Franco, who presided over the Court in the 1980s.
It is common, according to the UFPR professor, for important positions to pass from father to son, almost as if they were a family heirloom, especially in the Judiciary.
“Almost all are from elite families, have an extremely conservative political worldview and use criminal law as an instrument of war against rural workers, blacks, indigenous people, slums”, says Oliveira.
Executive and Legislative
Governor of São Paulo, toucan João Agripino da Costa Doria Junior – or just João Doria – also has a “foot” in Girl Guides on his mother’s side, Maria Sylvia Vieira de Moraes Dias.
On his father’s side, businessman and politician João Agripino da Costa Doria Neto, is heir to one of the most traditional families of planters in Bahia.
But the ruling class in São Paulo does not only live on the blood of Bandeirantes. “In the analysis of power, when there is no Bandeirantes genealogy, which is quite present, we also have Italian immigrant families and those of more recent European origin, some for five generations only in São Paulo”, explains the professor.
This is the case of the family of the president of the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo, Carlos Eduardo Pignatari (PSD), who have large farms in the Votuporanga region, in the interior of the state. By accumulating wealth, families of foreign origin also became landowners, embodying the conservative ideals of traditional clans.
:: “Brazil is the country of nepotism”, says sociologist ::
“All of this means that a good part of the Brazilian ruling class is descended from the same groups that were already in power in the colonial period, later, with independence in the imperial period, and so on in all republican cycles until today”, he observes the professor at UFPR.
Disputed partnership project
Like the high-ranking members of the state bureaucracy, the Bandeirantes blood is in the families of big businessmen, landowners and the barons of the financial sector. On the other side of the coin is the majority and poorest sector of the population, which originates precisely from the victims of the trailblazers.
“We can observe that practically all the Girl Guide statues have weapons. They are armed figures symbolizing the political social violence that characterized and still characterizes the Brazilian ruling class”, analyzes Professor Ricardo da Costa Oliveira.
:: What does it mean to remove statues of slavers from public space? ::
For him, the discussion generated by the burning of the statue is not just about the preservation of a distant memory, but about the clash between antagonistic society projects, bearing very different expectations for the future of Brazil.
“We are between a society with the most egalitarian state, with democracy, citizenship, education and preservation of the environment and that old regime, which is the Brazil of exclusion, violence against blacks, indigenous people, illiteracy, destruction of the natural environment . This is what is at stake in the protests against statues of these pioneers”, concludes Oliveira.
Edition: Leandro Melito