Until the Storm Passes: Politicians, Democracy, and the Demise of Brazil's Military Dictatorship

Until the Storm Passes: Politicians, Democracy, and the Demise of Brazil's Military Dictatorship

by Bryan Pitts
Until the Storm Passes: Politicians, Democracy, and the Demise of Brazil's Military Dictatorship

Until the Storm Passes: Politicians, Democracy, and the Demise of Brazil's Military Dictatorship

by Bryan Pitts

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Until the Storm Passes reveals how Brazil's 1964–1985 military dictatorship contributed to its own demise by alienating the civilian political elites who initially helped bring it to power. Based on exhaustive research conducted in nearly twenty archives in five countries, as well as on oral histories with surviving politicians from the period, this book tells the surprising story of how the alternatingly self-interested and heroic resistance of the political class contributed decisively to Brazil's democratization. As they gradually turned against military rule, politicians began to embrace a political role for the masses that most of them would never have accepted in 1964, thus setting the stage for the breathtaking expansion of democracy that Brazil enjoyed over the next three decades.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520388352
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 01/31/2023
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Bryan Pitts is a historian and Assistant Director of the Latin American Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Table of Contents

List of Figures viii

List of Media Files ix

Acknowledgments xi

List of Abbreviations xvi

Introduction: A Nation for All or a Few? The Political Class, the People, and the Rise and Fall of Brazil's Military Dictatorship 1

A (Political) Class That Rules 4

Structure versus Rational Choice and Generals versus Civil Society 7

Sources and Chapter Outline 10

1 "The Blood of the Youth Is Flowing": The Political Class and Its Children Take on the Military in 1968 14

From Jubilation to Disillusion: A "Revolution" Gone Astray 15

"I Stand in Solidarity with the Students": Politicians and the Student Movement 18

"It Is Our Children Who Are There": The Invasion of the Universidade de Brasília 22

Conclusions 31

2 "The Funeral of Democracy": The Showdown with the Military and Institutional Act No. 5 33

Weighing Benefits and Risks: The Political Class and Military Maneuver under Duress 35

"To the King, I Give All, Except My Honor": The Congressional Debate 41

"History Alone Will Judge Us": The Closing Arguments and Vote 46

Conclusions 50

3 "The Political Class Has Learned Nothing": The Military Punishes the Political Class 53

"The Resumption of the Revolution": The Aftermath of AI-5 54

"You Become a Leper": Purging the Political Class 65

"Zeal for the Collective Interest": Reshaping the Political Class through Reform 74

Conclusions 79

4 "Sheltered under the Tree": The Everyday Practice of Politics under Dictatorial Rule 81

"It Is Not Necessary to Live": The Autênticos and the Anti-Candidacy 83

Building a Party from the Bottom Up: The Rise of Orestes Quéreia in São Paulo 89

"Our People Are Still at a Very Low Level": Détente and "Relative Democracy" 92

Conclusions 96

5 "We Aren't a Flock of Little Sheep": The Political Class and the Limits of Liberalization 98

"Brazil Is Doing Well. Are You?": 1974 and the Rebirth of the MDB 99

The Limits of Détente: The Military Overreacts to the 1974 Elections 110

The Audacity to Strong-Arm the Generals: Paulo Maluf Runs for Governor of São Paulo 114

Conclusions 123

6 "We Cannot Think about Democracy the Way We Used To": The ABC Strikes and the Challenge of Popular Mobilization 125

1978: "The Most Peaceful Strike Ever Seen in São Paulo" 126

1979: "It Is up to the Workers to Change the Rules of the Game" 132

1980: The Republic of São Bernardo 139

Conclusions 147

7 "I Want to Vote for President": Diretas Já, the Political Class, and the Demise of the Military Dictatorship 149

Hanging on by Their Fingernails: The Military Attempts to Retain Power 150

"Democracy within Reach": The Political Class and Mass Mobilization in Diretas Já 152

"I Saw the People Born of the Masses": The Promise and Limits of Popular Mobilization 158

"Only Good Politics Can Save Them": The Political Class and the 1985 Election 161

Conclusions 170

Conclusion: Freedom, Justice, and Solidarity for Brazil? The Political Class under Dictatorship and Democracy 173

Notes 181

Bibliography 229

Index 243

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