Parties exclude blacks from their leadership and skate to change structural racism – 11/8/2021 – Power

The debate on the importance of expanding the participation of black people in politics is not new, nor is the finding about the low representation in elective positions of this portion of the population, which is the majority and forms 56% of Brazilians.

However, in addition to seeking more candidacies and increasing the number of elected representatives, increasing participation in other political spaces is also a decisive factor in the debate, in the formulation of public policies, in the emergence of new leaders and in the drafting of laws.

Among these spaces are political parties. In most subtitles, however, there are still few relevant positions that are occupied by black people.

Even before the performance of parliamentarians or members of the Executive, the parties can guide the debate on public policies, as the parties choose the candidates who will run in the elections.

They have space in the media, dialogue with the Powers of the country, prepare government programs in elections and guide the benches during votes in the National Congress. This means in practice that black people are not participating in the definitions of these themes.

“Since our electoral system does not allow single candidacies, political parties have a monopoly over candidacies”, says political scientist Nailah Neves Veleci.

According to her, in addition to the various eligibility criteria, there are also recruitment criteria for each party. “Whoever has the greatest power over the definition of these criteria and, above all, the strategy of each party is the one who is in charge of the subtitles.”

The specialist states that if this direction is not diversified, “this ends up making social debate within the party very difficult, especially in the Brazilian reality in which the majority of the population is black and the majority of people who use public services are black people”.

Some parties claim that they are adopting ethnic quotas to increase diversity in their leadership. However, even the leftist subtitles, who usually embrace this agenda in their speeches, have few black people in command positions.

For Janaína Oliveira, LGBT national secretary of the PT, “the parties in their leadership still do not reflect the diversity of Brazilian society and often not even its militancy”.

According to her, the political culture in Brazil is hegemonically white and even in left-wing parties in which there is a slightly greater presence of black people there is a small portion of blacks in leadership positions.

In a conversation with rapper Mano Brown, on the podcast Mano a Mano, in September, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was asked about the absence of diversity.

While admitting the problem, the PT leader minimized the responsibility of the party leaderships in promoting change and ended up attributing the issue to the black population itself.

Lula’s speech, however, ignored the several decades of struggle of the black movement.

“Politics was white, culture was white, the most eloquent professions in society, the most profitable professions were white. The PT leadership had a white majority and a majority of men,” Lula said.

“There is a political evolution of blacks, both men and women, a large number of people are becoming aware that it is not enough to think that they are victims. They decided to fight, they decided to fight,” added the former president.

According to Janaína Oliveira, it is important that there is an internal mobilization in the subtitles to improve the possibilities of implementing public policies related to the political, economic and social participation of the black population. “But the first step has to be taken [dentro] of the parties themselves”.

In the case of the PT, she says that the acronym adopted proportionality in the financing of black candidacies “even before the TSE’s resolution in this regard came into effect”.

In PSOL, the leaderships are composed of 30% of black people, including the National Executive of the party, according to data informed by the legend.

The acronym admits that it is difficult to increase internal diversity and “does not deny that its structures reproduce the racism present in society”.

The party claims, on the other hand, that it is the most open to debate on racial issues.

“It is the PSOL that has presented the most ambitious initiatives to promote equality of race and gender in party instances and in elections,” says a note from the party sent to the report. The text reminds that the psolist bench in the Chamber is the only one led by a black woman.

According to the caption, “this complexity of racial issues is not resolved overnight.” The party says it is not ready, but that there is a “genuine” effort to move forward.

However, the legend has already been publicly criticized by black members. One such case was that of historian Douglas Belchior. One of the main leaders of the black movement, he cited institutional racism as one of the reasons that led him to leave the PSOL.

“It is evident that all the political violence, the practice of boycotting, deletion, silencing, disqualification and institutional racism that I suffered,” he said at the time, also weighs in the decision to leave the party.

According to Belchior, the problems occurred above all when he began to question “the racist behavior of the leaderships of São Paulo, of internal currents and of the national leadership of the PSOL”.

PC do B told the report that “they do not have the official record of these data”, when asked about the participation of black people in the party leadership.

Other left-wing parties, such as PDT and PSB, did not respond to the article’s questions about the low presence of black people in the most relevant positions.

Nailah Neves recalls that this discussion has existed since the 1990s and cites as an example the letter of departure from the PT by Lélia Gonzalez. “The marginalization of racial agendas in the parties was already criticized”.

For her, the embarrassment of the parties in view of this scenario and the pressure on the judiciary to oversee the financing of black people can help to expand their presence in internal spaces.

In the PSDB, in a National Executive with 46 members, only 5 are black: the secretary general and federal deputy Beto Pereira (MS); Vice President Roberto Pessoa, current mayor of Maracanaú (CE); federal deputies Rose Modesto (MS) and Mariana Carvalho (RO); and the president of Tucanafro, Gabriela Cruz.

In a statement, the party stated that it established, almost a decade ago, the National Secretariat of Black Militance (Tucanafro) and that through this segment the party promotes debates on themes related to ethnic-racial issues.

According to the text, Tucanafro also aims to expand the active participation of black people in politics in all spheres of power and to encourage, support and launch candidacies.

Despite the difficulty of expanding relevant internal spaces within the parties, Nailah Neves assesses that there have been advances in the party process.

“Even though they are a minority in the leaderships, receiving fewer resources from campaign funding and being a minority in elective positions, these political actors [militantes negros] conquered. [Isso] in the country of the myth of democracy, in the country that denied the existence of racism”.

She lists as advances the approval of the law on teaching black history, the Statute of Racial Equality, racial quotas in universities and public examinations, and the proportionality of funding.

The scientist believes that only racism explains why the parties do not recognize the “power” that black leaders have and that they were able to generate some advances “in the face of so much adversity”.

“There is no lack of black people in the parties, there is a lack of recognition and appreciation for the work they do”, he analyzes.

Among the center-right and right-wing parties, Republicanos claims that it offers political training courses, which would contribute so that black people can run in elections on an equal footing.

“We always seek to increase the participation of black people in politics, party leaderships and party movements,” says the acronym.

However, there are only five black people who make up the party leadership as members of the executive or leading some secretariat.

In a statement, the party affirms that “it understands that racism and prejudice must be faced in all social spheres”.

The PL states that there is no distinction in the party and that any inclusion policy must start with public policies “that guarantee the most humble of people the opportunity for social mobility.”

Asked about the low presence of black people in the national leadership of the party, PL limited itself to answering that “liberals do not distinguish their cadres by sex, religion or skin color”.

At Podemos, according to the party itself, of the 20 members of the national leadership of the party, 7 are black. The acronym says that it has produced institutional videos to increase the presence and participation of black people.

DEM and PSL, which merged to form União Brasil, Novo and PTB, did not respond to the report’s questions about the participation of black people in party leaderships.

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