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The Military and Political in Authoritarian Brazil

The Aliança Renovadora Nacional (ARENA), 1965–1979

Lucia Grinberg is an Associate Professor at the Federal University in the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO). She is the former Secretary-General of the Brazilian Association of Oral History (ABHO), having served for two terms (2012–2014 and 2014–2016). Her research areas have been the History of the Brazilian Republic, political representation, political culture, and political parties, on which she has published extensively.

In the series
The Portuguese-Speaking World: Its History, Politics and Culture

In 1965, after a coup led by José de Magalhães Pinto and others, the military dictatorship closed down all the Brazilian political parties that had been active since 1945. The regime then allowed the creation of just two parties, one pro-government and the other an opposition party. This book analyzes the history of the National Renewal Alliance (Aliança Renovadora Nacional – ARENA), the party created to support the military government.

ARENA included the main leaders of Brazil's previously existing conservative parties. Its early years were marked by political uncertainty as the military regime engaged with the pro-government party. The military's intervention in the political field brought about disagreements regarding autonomy and policy, and politicians and leaders unwilling to toe the military line were circumscribed through removal from office and the stripping of political rights via decree. Lucia Grinberg sets out to explain how the legitimacy of the party was viewed by different parties (especially the opposition) and at different times, up to ARENA's dissolution in 1979. Issues of constitution, ideology, party loyalty, amnesty, and the gamut of political representation pervade its historiography. And not least the way the country, at all political, social and media levels, viewed the party.

Drawing on abundant historical documents, the book makes a unique contribution to the comparative study of political parties in dictatorships. The Brazilian case is exceptional among the Latin American dictatorships of the 1960s and 70s, since the representative political institutions were preserved, despite the loss of prerogatives of the Legislative Branch.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-976-0
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $79.95
Release Date: September 2019
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes, plus tabular material




 Chapter 1 – Political Memories of ARENA
     1. Political memories of ARENA in the 1990s                
     2. The historiography of ARENA    
     3. Political party or scapegoat?      

Chapter 2 – A Time of Conspiracy and Misgivings (1964–1966)   
     1. Opposition to the João Goulart government            
     2. Brazilian politicians stripped of their political rights in 1964   
     3. The Extension of Castello Branco's term  
     4. Political party reform  
     5. The formation of a new party system      
     6. The creation of ARENA                 
     7. Archives of the ARENA National Committee            

Chapter 3 – A Time of Uncertainty and Divisions (1966–1968)
     1. Founding ARENA
     2. More Brazilian politicians stripped of their political rights in 1966         
     3. Drafting the 1967 Constitution  
     4. Revoking local government autonomy: ARENA and government in discussion                  
     5. Daniel Krieger resigns: ARENA and government in transaction             
     6. The Márcio Moreira Alves affair and Institutional Act No. 5: ARENA and government on a crash course     

Chapter 4 – A Time of Silence and Reorganization (1969–1973)
     1. The alternatives for ARENA        
     2. Reorganization of ARENA            
     3. Reopening of the National Congress         
     4. Membership and party loyalty in ARENA                  
     5.   The "politics of the governors":  indirect elections and leadership in the state committees            
     6. The ARENA leadership                 
     7. The jurists, the "third party" proposal, the "hooded ones"   
     8. The issue of congressional immunity        

Chapter 5 – The Time of Political Détente (1974–1979)
     1. The meanings of 1974
     2. Geisel, the politicians, and ARENA             
     3. Congressional recess and political reforms
     4. Amnesty and party reform
     5. The "Yes, Sir! Party"   

Chapter 6 – A History of ARENA in Cartoons
     1. Press, memory, and political humour       
     2. Newspapers and cartoonists      
     3. A history of ARENA in cartoons 
     4. The personification of ARENA and its relations with government         
     5. Threats to political representation             

Final Remarks: Political Party and Scapegoat

Glossary of Political Parties



Reviewed in Iberoamericana, Volume XXI (2021) N° (78).

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