"An African-Brazilian Woman of Poor Origin"
Published on: October 28, 2010
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  • Neville

    In the US and Europe environmentalism is primarily an anti-entrepreneurial movement, embraced by followers who (a) support state limitations on business activity (often former Marxists) and (b) are frequently atheists who have espoused it as a substitute for religious faith. This seems an odd focus for Pentecostalists, but maybe environmentalism hasn’t gone down this path in Brazil.

  • I usually read Peter Berger’s texts with great interest, but I must confess some disappointment with this one. To be fair this reflection is presented as an hypothesis, but to me it is one that should be refuted.
    The PT (Partido dos Trabalhores) was, as Berger surely knows, formed for the most part by union workers who were also religious militants, true, but most of them were Catholics linked with Liberation Theology and supported by priests and bishops linked with the latter. Lula is a paradigmatic example of this. Therefore to use Marina, a former PT member, as an example of the importance of Pentecostalism as an example of previously missing religious force for organised political grass-roots militancy in Brazil seems to make little sense to me.
    Peter Berger also does not really address the fact that the politics of Protestants in Brazil may be complex (especially in terms of post-electoral coalition-making, but this is a general rule in Brazilian politics), still so far they seem to vote for the most part for more righ-wing parties. In that sense they would arguably contribute to promote US-style capitalism to some degree as Berger argues. The problem is their parties are still small, and Marina Silva is an exception to this rule, because she may be an atypical left-winger in many respects, but not in terms of the economic role of State and Market.
    Lastly, and most importantly, for a very, very long time, the prevailing force in Brazilian politics towards the US has been strong nationalism manifest in a great fear of US intervention and interference in South America. That has not changed, nor is it likely to change in the future, except that in so far as Brazil becomes stronger it will also become more assertive vis-à-vis the US. If Brazilian Pentecostals want to get elected they will be wise to recognise this fact.



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