ISSN 1982-6621 On-line | ISSN 0102-4698 Impresso (até 2015)

Open Words – REPOLITICIZING THE SOCIAL AND TAKING LIBERTY BACK

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REPOLITIZAR O SOCIAL E TOMAR DE VOLTA A LIBERDADE


REPOLITICIZING THE SOCIAL AND TAKING LIBERTY BACK


Elizabeth Macedo
Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.

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RESUMO:

Busco entender as articulações que tornam possível que um conjunto de demandas localizadas, trazidas à cena pelo Escola sem Partido, um grupo sem óbvia representatividade na sociedade, ganhe espaço na recente política educacional no Brasil. Em um primeiro momento, são mapeadas articulações entre o movimento, grupos religiosos conservadores e a Rede Atlas, mobilizando a teoria do discurso de Laclau e Mouffe e a noção de redes globais utilizada por Ball. Defendo que tal articulação vem contribuindo para a hegemonização das posições do ESP. Em um segundo momento, em diálogo com a leitura do neoliberalismo como economização da vida, de Brown, levanto hipóteses para entender a relevância das demandas conservadoras para a normatividade neoliberal. Com Laclau, argumento que há uma luta pela representação do povo, que põe em oposição as políticas populistas dos governos do PT e a rede constituída pela articulação entre a Rede Atlas e o Escola sem Partido.

Palavras-chave: Políticas de currículo; Redes globais; Neoliberalismo; Escola sem Partido


ABSTRACT:

I try to understand the articulations that allow the possibility that a set of localized demands, brought to the scene by the Escola sem Partido – ESP (School without ‘Party), a group without obvious representativeness in society, gain space in the recent education policies in Brazil. Initially, articulations between the movement, conservative religious groups and the Atlas Network are mapped, mobilizing Laclau and Mouffe’s theory of discourse and the notion of global networks used by Ball. I argue that such articulation has contributed to the hegemonization of the positions of the ESP. In another moment, in dialogue with Brown’s reading of neoliberalism as economizing life, I raise hypotheses to understand the relevance of conservative demands for neoliberal normativity. With Laclau, I argue that there is a struggle for the representation of the people, which opposes the populist policies of the Workers’ Party governments and the network constituted by the articulation between the Atlas Network and the ESP.

Keywords: Curriculum policies; Global networks; Neoliberalism; Escola sem Partido


INTRODUCTION

The focus of this text is not specifically the Movement Escola sem Partido – ESP (School without Party), created in 2004, and transformed into association in 2015, by its founder, São Paulo State Attorney Miguel Nagib. In its first 11 years of existence, the movement has had little national repercussion and even the prominence it has gained in recent years is based on a set of little substantive claims. Speaking in the name of the freedom of the family in the education of the children, the ESP has been constituted against what denominates of political and ideological indoctrination made by teachers. Its main idea, the ESP Program, 2has been strengthened, recently, by a set of other topical actions, such as, for example, the judicial request that the zero-grade criteria in the essays of the National High School Examination (known as ENEM) did not include disrespect for human rights. More consequent actions occurred during the debates at the National Common Curricular Base (known as BNCC), moment in which, in articulation with other political agents, the ESP successfully pressed for the withdrawal of themes that refer to the diversity and cultural plurality of the document promulgated by the National Council of Education (known as CNE).

Because it is the theme I am researching, and also because of its impact on education policies, I will take these debates as a starting point for this text. Previously (Macedo, 2017), I gave more details about the demands made by the ESP in the political process that culminated in the approval of the BNCC, so I will not resume it in the same way. The actions of that time aimed to suspend the discussion of the base and send its discussion to the National Congress, culminating in the veto to certain contents and even terms in the final version of the document. The focus of the vetoes is the same as that which has been the object of the ESP Program: political positions understood by movements such as the Left-wing, gender and sexuality issues, black culture (referred to as religion), among others.

What interests me in this text is to understand – in fact, all I can do for now is to suggest some tentative explanations that do not exhaust the theme – how is it possible that the ESP has conquered such space in the education policy scene? What kind of articulations have allowed localized demands – presented by a group of people with no obvious representativeness in society – to be “universalized” on the national basis for curricula? The most obvious answer would be, of course, the fact that we had a parliamentary coup that placed in power a president hostage of conservative portions of the National Congress. Although I think that the coup is undoubtedly an important piece in this political game, I understand that it is not enough of an explanation. After all, the ESP and especially the groups it has joined in the debates of the BNCC have been consolidating – and being introduced in the national scene – as important political forces for some time. What I intend to do here is to map the articulation of some of these forces in the recent BNCC debate to produce an overlapping set of tentative explanations for the question that stuns me: how have we not perceived this movement being hatched or, if we have, why haven’t we not given it importance? Is it possible, from the astonishment that this situation has caused us, to think of another policy, without sweeping under the carpet what our “inclusive” policies have also been leaving out over time?

MAPPING THE DEMANDS FOR FREEDOM: PROFIT AND FAMILY

The first exercise I want to do in this text is to understand the articulations that hegemonized positions popularized by the ESP, but presented by different groups. To that end, I use post-structural and post-foundational theoretical tools that I have been mobilizing for the study of recent curricular policies, constituted by the discourse theory (LACLAU, 2008, 2011) and by the notion of policy networks as mobilized by Stephen Ball (2012, and BALL & JUNEMANN, 2012).

As I have been working with such authors in different texts, among them Macedo (201420162017), I will allow myself here only a brief presentation of some aspects of these theories that I mobilize in my analysis. The theory of discourse is defined as a post-foundational theory of policy, that is, as an attempt to understand the hegemonization of {specific} policies without resorting to a foundation that justifies it. It starts from the idea that the social is eminently political, which in Mouffe’s (2003) definition means that it is marked by an antagonism that can never be eradicated. However, this ontologically political character does not imply that there are no attempts to control signification – and politics is this – but only that it will never be done once and for all. Any political hegemony, to the theory of discourse, is marked by an exterior that constitutes it from within and, therefore, prevents totalization. It is contingent in such a way that if we take the more classic sense of hegemony into consideration, perhaps it is a contradiction to imagine a hegemony that is constantly changing and which, in this movement, constitutes itself.

Hegemonization or the attempt to universalize a particular position requires, to the discourse theory, an articulation between distinct demands, or that the merely antagonistic logic of the social is crossed by equivalences that do not erase antagonism. In the exercise of understanding how such articulations become possible, Laclau (20082011) will propose that the equivalence between demands is produced when a demand exceeds what can be represented within the symbolic order and functions as an exterior that constitutes it. At that moment, a signifier (demand) assumes a privileged position and becomes a nodal point or a signifier that becomes universal, “representing” the set of demands at play. Although they remain deferred, the contingency structures of signification thus produced will create control effects.

I use the signifier “freedom” as one that “represents” the demands of the ESP that were hegemonized through negotiations with other demands and I move myself here to understand the demands contained in it, as well as the articulations that made it possible to approach them. This is the signifier claimed by the ESP itself and by the groups with whom it has visibly been articulated – religious groups in the National Congress, Movimento Brasil Livre – MBL (Free Brazil Movement), among others – having as an exterior the articulation of state intervention and a supposed indoctrination: “compulsory education is (…) a giant state intervention in the lives of individuals and their families”. 3The understanding of the articulations, the claimed and the less explicit ones, of the ESP gives continuity to the research on curriculum policies that I have been coordinating for some time. In the case of the ESP, I imagine (and hopefully) that this makes it possible to realize that their (sometimes tragicomic) claims need to be understood as a more complex network of demands or as a project much more consequential than it seems to be.

More recently, and this has occurred in my exercises to understand the political movements that seek to enable a common curricular basis for the curriculum at the national level, I have assumed that global policy network mappings, such as those produced by Ball (2012), are useful to account for the hegemonization of certain discourses. Especially in the field of curricular policies, in which hegemonies tend to be weak – often establishing themselves around fluctuating nodal signifiers and inconspicuous antagonisms -, the mapping of political networks allows us to perceive a more intricate (and topological) relation of articulations, avoiding a certain schematism against which Laclau (2008) warns, but which remains one of the empirical difficulties of the use of the discourse theory (HOWARTH, NORVAL, & STAVRAKAKIS, 2000).

Networks are defined by Ball (2012, p. 5) as decentralized “political communities”, articulated around common social problems, with a view to their solutions. As proposed by the discourse theory, such communities as well as their constituencies – “philanthropic financial capital, think-tanks, parts of governments and various politicians and political actors, across national and international parties” (BALL & JUNEMANN, 2012, p. 85) – have no essence that constitutes them. The political agents referred to by Ball (2012), as the political identities of the discourse theory, are constituted in relation and, in this process, produce, retroactively, the scenarios in which they are located. If I refer here to the ESP and the groups with which it is articulated in a “political community”, I do not take them, nor it, as essence. They are all identities forged by the “solutions” they propose for common social problems or by their demands not met by an exterior that, thus, constitutes them. The resource to the designation that I use here is possible – because I am referring to what has already been – and perhaps necessary for understanding, but also dangerous. With it, we run the risk of creating, for the reader and for the researcher, an essence effect that reifies the demands and distorts our ability to perceive the political.

Ball (2012) has been mapping global political communities through what he calls ethnography of the network, having as a product maps of both companies and foundations, as well as individual subjects, philanthropists 2.0 and people with influence in the networks. In addition to this mixture of agents, the author emphasizes that the relationships between the different network nodes are distinct and that the mapping does not account for such distinctions, which would be a limitation of the method. I have been arguing that it is this “disadvantage” that allows for a more topological view of politics (MACEDO, 2016) and that, with the association between network mapping and discourse theory, it is possible to better understand the complexity of the articulations that produce the curricular policies {in Brazil}.

Thus, I start from the central nodes of the ESP, which are religious groups – Catholic Charismatic and Neo-Pentecostal – to map the articulations that are allowing a discourse of such specific groups to spread in education policy. Central figures in this movement, the founder of the ESP, Miguel Nagib and politicians who have expanded the initial demands of the movement both in the projects under discussion in the National Congress and in the pressure that changed the BNCC. The very creation of the ESP is defined by Nagib, a conservative Catholic in his own definition, as religiously motivated: “my youngest daughter (…) came home and said that her History teacher (…) had compared ‘Che’ Guevara (…) to Saint Francis of Assisi. When I heard that, I thought, now it’s enough”4. On the site of the movement, it is possible to collect several other examples of intersection between religious discourses and that of the ESP: for example, the page also serves as a place of dissemination of the creation of Catholic parents’ associations.

Regarding legislative actions, most of the bills that follow the model proposed5 by the ESP were presented by politicians of the religious bench. 6The Catholic and Evangelical Parliamentary Fronts that have dominated the commissions in which the projects are discussed and which were the main interlocutors of the Ministry of Education in the movements that led to the elimination of gender and sexuality discussions of the BNCC. The project of ESP Program, currently in process in the Federal Chamber, has as rapporteur the Congressman Flavinho (PSC/SP), 7vice-president of the Catholic Parliamentary Front and leadership of charismatic parliamentarians. Like him, there are about 40 deputies8 very active in the National Congress in matters related to behavior.

The Evangelical Parliamentary Front is even more prominent, with 75 parliamentarians (PRANDI & SANTOS, 2017), 9mostly linked to neo-Pentecostal churches. According to Burity (2016), since the 1980s, such churches have fought for political representation and expanded it, challenging “the prevailing hegemony in response to a perceived exclusion (…) or in the face of increasing social and cultural pluralization” (BURITY, 2016, p. 127). With the majority of their proposals linked to customs, the Evangelical Front would have arisen from the concern with the expansion of the movements in “defense of the homosexuals, communists, feminists, liberalization of the abortion, use of drugs and of other themes contrary to the morals preached by their churches” (PRANDI & SANTOS, 2017, p. 188, own translation). Despite the anti-Catholicism that has characterized the neo-Pentecostal movement (BURITY, 2016) and justified the creation of the evangelical group in 1986 (PRANDI & SANTOS, 2017), the articulations between both parliamentary fronts have advanced the conservative demands of the ESP.

When describing the creation of the movement, Nagib also refers to the American experience: “We learned that a group of parents and students in the USA, moved by the same concern, had already gone through our path and reached our goal: NoIndoctrination.org”. The main demands of10 the American project go towards the defense of homeschooling or charter schools run by parents, with the consequent non-financing of public education. Although the website mentioned by the ESP is no longer live, the movement from which the motto comes from “say no to indoctrination”, used by it, continues to be carried out by different American religious groups. These projects, however, rely on networks of financial conglomerates whose moralistic religious discourse is articulated with “indoctrination” by liberal ideology. Moura (2016) explores the interference of Catholic charismatic renewal, and of international groups such as Opus Dei, in American politics, which coincided with the failure of the “New Deal” and the arrival of Reagan to power by the Conservative party. This is one of the nuclei of the network in which the ESP participates that I want to explore in this text, namely Atlas Network, one of the global networks mapped by Ball11. According to Baggio (2016), the current president of the network is linked to Opus Dei, a hierarchical institution of the Catholic Church founded in 1928, whose conservative message rivaled Jesuit orders and, in Latin America, Liberation Theology. At the same time, Atlas Network has been funding numerous campaigns aimed at and led by evangelical groups in the United States, especially by white supremacists. They are campaigns against abortion, LGBTI rights, immigrants or, simply, against environmental regulation. In the latter case, the “We get it” campaign, for example, argues that environmental regulation will imply more state regulation and price increases that will make life unprofitable for the poorest. In the name of biblical caring for the poor, the campaign assumes that it is necessary to “believe Earth and its ecosystems – created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, (…), and displaying His glory”. 12

Atlas is globally presented on its website as “a nonprofit organization connecting a global network of more than 475 free-market organizations in over 90 countries to the ideas and resources needed to advance the cause of liberty”. The organization13 is spread around the world, with 186 partners in the US, 138 in Europe and Central Asia and 81 in Latin America and the Caribbean14, with an admittedly conservative profile. For example, among the different funders of the network15, the foundations linked (directly or through other institutions) to the Koch family, oil magnates and American political activists linked to radical wings of the Republican party can be found.16 The Koch family are the main sponsors of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC),17 a “nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism”,18 associated with the “think tank” State Policy Network. The latter network provides training for candidates for legislative positions and has formed a significant panel in the US House and Senate, defending, among other topics, tax reduction, deregulation of environmental issues and privatization of education.19

In Brazil, there are 15 nodes of the Atlas Network, 20some on a national scope, other ones with state coverage, and, according to Ball, it intersects with the All for Education, whose influence on recent education policies has been increasingly broad. These nodes organize themselves in Brazil, also around some clusters, such as Rede Liberdade (Freedom Network), which congregates with the same partners mentioned in Atlas/Brazil and presents itself as “the national network of liberal and libertarian organizations, which influences public policies, through its own projects or its members”.21 As in the US, Atlas/Brazil-Freedom network conglomerate operates on different political fronts, ranging from more direct action in street movements to the formation of staff for parliament, through the financing of advertising campaigns aimed at total deregulation of the economy. Even if the liberal economic agenda that the network supports has no direct or necessary relation to conservative moral demands, here, just as in the USA, the articulation between it and these demands has produced the hegemonization of a discourse that means freedom by opposing the State. The proposal of this articulation is the elimination of the State as an instance of regulation, whether economic or political conflicts produced by difference. As a constitutive exterior that makes possible the assumption of freedom at the nodal point of the network that I draw here, the State and the political character of the social are presented as the great enemy of both economic growth and families.

Thus, I wrap up the first exercise I make in this text, with the thesis that the conservative demands of the ESP gain visibility through their articulation with large and powerful international networks, networks that have been acting directly on different fronts in Latin American politics. The recent support of the MBL to the ESP is perhaps one of the most evident faces of such articulation and explicitly states, in a very clear way, how both benefit from this imbrication. On the one hand, MBL’s expertise in the production of social movements through the media has been increasing the penetration of the demands of the ESP with less conservative groups. On the other hand, the demands of the ESP – or more precisely what the movement opposes – have created for the post-impeachment MBL a new agenda of action without which it cannot survive. It is necessary to remember that the MBL was born within the “Students for Liberty”, according to the testimony of one of its founders, Juliano Torres, being, in this sense, in tune with the demands for freedom of the Atlas Network,22 of which it is takes part. The main leaders of the movement were formed by “think tanks” of the Network, in a project that, as I have been arguing, transcends national boundaries.

FREEDOM AND THE END OF THE POLITICS

The second exercise with which I want to continue this text refers to the strategy of hegemonization of a (neo)liberal normativity, put into action, among others, by Atlas Network, to which the articulation with conservative groups, such as the ESP, has been of great value. I argue that this strategy has focused on the attempt to eliminate the politics – which points to the constitutive antagonism of the social (Mouffe, 2003) -, replacing what Brown (2015, p. 17) defined as “a peculiar form of reason that configures all aspects of existence in economic terms”. I try to understand the contribution of the articulation with the ESP for this purpose,22 still presenting hypothesis attempts with which I have been building my research efforts.

The ESP was constituted from the perspective of opposition to both the State – and its supposed secularism – as to the political and its inherent difference. The initial strategy of the movement, which remains less exclusive, was the judicialization of education. In addition to proposing laws with a punitive purpose of school units and teachers, terms such as “body of the crime”; “Out-of-court notice sample”; “Catching a doctrinaire”; “Plan your complaint” name links at the first page of the movement on the internet. As contradictory as it may seem to resort to legislature and judiciary when the State is disqualified as an interlocutor, what is at stake is the replacement of the antagonism proper to democratic politics by models managed by some supposedly objective criterion. If, in movements like the ESP, objectivity is read as legalism, in neoliberal normativity, the legal will be replaced, without difficulties, by the economic one.

What seems to be in danger in the process of reification, by the economic, the social – its depoliticization – is thus democracy itself. Although the very term democracy, and the promises it carries, is controversial, I share with Brown (2015) the possibility of using it without reference to any particular, original meaning. It seems sufficient to justify its use that it is something that opposes “a contemporary phenomenon in which rule transmutes into governance and management in the order that neoliberal rationality is bringing about” (BROWN, 2015, p. 20). In spite of recognizing the interweaving between democracy and liberalism and its exclusionary character – universalizing “norms of a bourgeois, white male heterosexual familialism” (BROWN, 2015, p. 205) -, the author argues that the very “presumption that {the people} should rule placed modest constraints on powerful would-be usurpers” (p. 207). In this sense, she argues that neoliberal economization – which totally replaces the political with the economic one – dismantles a tension that has always permeated the relations between state and market and makes control of undemocratic forces unfeasible. In Brown’s (2015, p. 208) words, “what disappears is this capacity {of liberal democracy} to limit, this platform of critique”.

Here I take Brown’s reading that the “neoliberal rationality’s economization of the the political, its jettisoning of the very idea of the social, and its displacement of politics by governance diminish the significant venues for active citizenship and the meaning of citizenship itself” (BROWN, 2015, p. 210) in conjunction with the discussion of populism as presented by Laclau (2008). I do this because I believe that, when seeking a positive reading of populism, generally disqualified in political theory, the author presents an acute analysis of democracy in Latin America. When sharing with Brown the idea that democracy and liberalism are distinct and cannot be confused, Laclau (2008) argues that in Latin America liberalism has always been oligarchic, disqualifying popular demands. In spite of the condensation of many distinct demands under the term “popular”, and the inevitable exclusion it entails, the articulation of such demands in the form of anti-liberal populist policies produced promising political designs for democracy. The Latin American populist alternatives are, to Laclau (2008), vital for democracy since, in a context of expressive exclusion, they have increased popular participation in political life. It is in this sense that the author recovers populism as an “institution” that would fulfill, without romanticism, the promise of democracy, which is to give the people the power to govern.

Populism as a representation of popular normative econo-mization of political demands, with its emphasis on democracy, would be incompatible with the “{neoliberal} normative economization of political life” (LACLAU, 2008, p. 201, own translation); more than depending on homo politicus, it effectively produces it. Economization harms politics and “replaces legal values of democracy (…) and public deliberation for governance and new management” (LACLAU, 2008, p. 207, own translation). To some authors (PANTELIMON, 2014), it has manifested itself in the field of politics 23as a sort of neopopulism that would promise answers to the exclusion of broad popular sectors by global discourses that impact both the market and values. With the use of the media and technology, a social fracture between rulers and ruled is created, with the forced production of “popular” demands, and thus of the “people” itself. Massive disclosure of cases of corruption, always presented as a policy, creates a demand for order – legal as well as economic – to be offered by a neopopular leader, competent in the management of economizing of life.

I say all this to formulate one last question, without much possibility of an answer, beyond the hypotheses that I have been seeking to construct. In a nutshell, what do economizing of life discourses, such as those mobilized by the Atlas Network, gain from the articulation with conservative demands like the ESP? I have tried to understand this movement from the standpoint of a struggle for the representation of the people, in which it is important not only to replace popular demands but to be “a rearticulator of a sense of a ‘people’” (BURITY, 2016, p. 117). Assuming Laclau’s (2008) position that Latin American populism articulates popular democratic demands, and has been effective in this task, it is important for the project to economize – and hence depoliticize – life that it is demobilized or replaced. Thinking about the articulation between Atlas’s “neoliberal” demands and the conservatives of the ESP as part of this movement seems tempting to me especially when left-wing policies, especially those carried out by the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers’ Party), are one of the discourses expressed by the demands for freedom that it postulates. I am here, obviously, assuming the figure of Lula as a populist leadership that, therefore, enlarges and politicizes popular participation. In the struggle to redefine the “people” beyond the political, the neo-Pentecostal conservative religious project and/or the “potentially regressive and authoritarian” (BURITY, 2016, p. 122) Catholic movement of charismatic renewal, becomes an important ally of neoliberalism. In this sense, it is relevant to highlight what Burity (2016) calls “attraction {of neo-Pentecostalism} to the market model” (BURITY, 2016, p. 122).

Far from me is the desire to, with this reading, devalue the importance of the struggles and the {still few} achievements of socially “minority” groups in this process. For some time, I have been arguing that the return of a certain universalism in the curriculum is part of a racist, sexist and so on “reaction” to such achievements, which the ESP movement makes explicit (MACEDO, 2017). Considering the policies put into action by the governments of the Partido dos Trabalhadores, it is possible – I would say, going a little beyond Laclau – to think of the expansion of the popular demands that have gained representativeness to encompass a multiplicity of these groups. Diversity, and its uncontrollable and productive antagonisms, hinder the economizing of social life, because they continue to populate the world precisely with this – life. Therefore, it is necessary to resist, by ethical-political commitment due to the “other as always other singularity” (DERRIDA, 2010, p. 49): repoliticize the social and take back liberty,

this word that the human dream feeds

that there is no one that explains

and there is no one who does not understand

(MEIRELES, 1983, own translation)

REFERENCES

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MACEDO, E. Por uma leitura topológica das políticas curriculares. Arquivos Analíticos de Políticas Educativas/Education Policy Analysis Archives,- {online}, v. 24, n. 26, p. 1-19, 2016. [ Links ]

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MOURA, F. P. “Escola sem partido”: Relações entre Estado, educação e religião e os impactos no ensino de história. 2016. 188 f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Ensino de História) – Instituto de História da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2016. [ Links ]

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PRANDI, R.; SANTOS, R. W. Quem tem medo da bancada evangélica? Posições sobre moralidade e política no eleitorado brasileiro, no Congresso Nacional e na Frente Parlamentar Evangélica. Tempo Social, São Paulo, n. 29, v. 2, p. 187-213, 2017. doi: https://doi.org/10.11606/0103-2070.ts.2017.110052. [ Links ]

1Project funded by CNPq, FAPERJ and by the Prociência Program of the State University of Rio de Janeiro – UERJ.

2This program is the most debated aspect of the ESP, constituting a legislative crusade to create laws in the different federal, state and municipal legislatures, preventing and punishing teachers and schools that promote what they call political or ideological indoctrination.

3Retrieved August 15, 2018 from https://www.programaescolasempartido.org/faq

4Retrieved August 15, 2018 from http://escolasempartido.org/artigos/499-entrevista-concedida-pelo-coordenador-do-esp-ao-diario-de-mogi

5Retrieved August 15, 2018 from https://www.programaescolasempartido.org/

6I understand that the term religious bench, or, pejoratively, bench of the bible, as constituted by a set of specific demands that do not represent the totality of the adherents of the religions.

7PSC/SP – Partido Social Cristão de São Paulo – Christian Social Party of São Paulo.

8The Roman Catholic Mixed Parliamentary Front counts more than 200 deputies, but the number of parliamentarians working on the issues dealt with here is much lower.

9The Evangelical Parliamentary Front, created in 2015, had 180 signatories with mandate (https://www.camara.leg.br/internet/deputado/frenteDetalhe.asp?id=53658), but not all are acting members of what has been denominated bench of the bible by the media.

10Retrieved August 15, 2018 from http://www.escolasempartido.org/quem-somos

11When he was in Brazil in 2009, the researcher insisted on the importance of new political actors in the definition of education policies in the country: Millenium Institute, Atlas Network, Liberty Institute, Liberal Institute (BALL, 2010). At that time, we had hardly noticed the massive presence of these institutions in public policies. As we shall see throughout this text, however, these are the names that produce the networks of support for the demands of groups such as the ESP.

12Retrieved August 18, 2018 from https://cornwallalliance.org/2009/05/evangelical-declaration-on-global-warming/

13Retrieved August 18, 2018 from https://www.atlasnetwork.org/

14Retrieved August 18, 2018 from https://www.atlasnetwork.org/partners/global-directory

15Retrieved August 18, 2018 from http://conservativetransparency.org/

16For more information: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/covert-operations

17One of ALEC’s other funders, Lynd and Harry Bradley Foundation is also an important contributor to the Atlas Foundation.

18Retrieved August 20, 2018 from https://www.alec.org/about/

19Retrieved August 20, 2018 from https://www.alec.org

20Instituto Ludwig Von Mises BrasilInstituto MilleniumInstituto LiberdadeInstituto Liberal de São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; students for liberty São Paulo; Centro Mackensie de Liberdade EconômicaLivresLíderes do AmanhãInstituto de Formação de Líderes de São PauloBelo Horizonte and Santa CatarinaInstituto de Estudos EmpresariaisInstituto Atlantos.

21Retrieved August 20, 2018 from https://redeliberdade.org/#/sobre

22Although I think a more general analysis of these articulations is necessary, I am only here with the ESP example because of the very difficulties of thinking about them in global terms. In the case of the American Atlas, for example, the polarization between Democrats/Liberals and Republicans/Conservatives does not imply the rejection of either side of economic liberalism, defining itself much more in behavioral terms, although the position of both in terms of social policies is different. In that sense, in the US, networks such as Atlas are frontally opposed to liberal conglomerates such as those funded by the Gates Foundation, an opposition that is not clearly transferred to Latin American countries, including Brazil. In relation to that, left-wing policies, generally populist, have been the preferred enemy, which sometimes allows the local articulation of these global networks in opposition.

23Within the meaning of the discourse theory, the appropriation of the term populism by neoliberalism would not make sense, insofar as it would characterize it as representation of popular demands.

Received: August 16, 2018; Accepted: August 21, 2018

Contact: Rua São Francisco Xavier, 524, 12037F, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro|RJ|Brasil, CEP 20550-900

*

PhD in Education. Professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Research line: Curriculum, culture and difference. E-mail:<bethmacedo@pobox.com>.

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