There will have been no #WorldCup: The World Cup has become the focal point of Brazilians‘ anger over corruption, poverty and social injustice.

Rodrigo Nunes
On May 15 anti-government protests were held across Brazil [AFP/Getty Images]

…What is symbolic about the falsity of selling this as a big opportunity for the country is that it reveals an ugly truth about the formula behind PT’s political triumph. From former Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s first term, the party seized the occasion offered by a buoyant international commodities market to create a win-win situation in which the rich would get a lot richer and the poor would get less poor. The resulting success in raising living standards and reducing inequality is beyond question; but it’s also what allowed PT to avoid serious battles, leaving the deeper structures that make Brazil the world’s 17th most unequal country relatively untouched.
In short: it did what it could within the existing constraints, but it did very little to create the conditions in which those constraints could be changed. As the global economic slowdown finally hit Brazil, wriggle room has shrunk and tensions are building up again.
What’s more, the compromises PT has made, and the contraction and demobilisation of its organised social base, have left it in the paradoxical position of having less leverage to change those constraints than it had before, while remaining virtually unbeatable at the ballot box… What the World Cup reveals, then, is that, if structural questions aren’t addressed, „everyone wins“ can slip into „some of the poor lose everything, so that some of rich win big, so that some of the poor can win something“…

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