Mudança constitucional, autoritarismo e democracia no Brasil pós -1964
Leonardo Augusto de Andrade Barbosa
DATA DE PUBLICAÇÃO
Modern constitutions are designed to institute limited government and provide checks and balances over the exercise of political power and basic rights. However, 20th century history has shown that constitutions not only are unable to prevent the rise of authoritarian rule, but can also serve autocratic regimes. The objective of this thesis is to reflect upon this apparently paradoxical fact in the context of Brazilian constitutional history. The main assumption that guides this observation is that the revision of rules governing amendments to the Constitution points out times when the relationship between law and politics has been reshaped. Times like these provide a privileged opportunity to analyze how authoritarian practices can pervade constitutional experience or, otherwise, how they are challenged by the emancipatory meaning of constitutionalism. The first chapter analyzes the Brazilian military dictatorship of 1964, focusing on the coexistence of formal and exceptional mechanisms of constitutional change and their interpenetration. During the military rule, the constitutions of 1946 and 1967 were altered on several occasions by both institutional acts and constitutional amendments. Institutional acts altered the rules concerning the procedure of constitutional amendment and, more than once, modified constitutional norms themselves, playing the role of amendments. On the other hand, amendments were decreed by the government in 1969 and 1977 on basis of institutional acts dispositions and were often used to resettle rules originally posed by institutional acts into constitutional text. The second chapter studies the 1987-1988 Constitutional Convention and the historical process that allowed it to take place. The countrys return to constitutional rule arose surrounded by the same ambiguities that shaped authoritarian experience. However, new perspectives of social involvement, formerly unfamiliar to our political tradition, challenged the bureaucratic elitist models of constitutional lawmaking and, for the first time, put together a truly public agenda for the Convention. Finally, the third chapter analyzes the legacy of the constituent process of 1987-1988 from the standpoint of several ill-succeeded attempts of revising the Constitution outside the amendment process it prescribes. As suggestions of different methods for introducing formal constitutional change are brought forth, the re-emergence of autocratic, elitist and skeptical approaches of both constitutional theory and practice defy some of the most important democratic achievements of these last two decades. The constitutional moment is a founding time: it offers the conditions for its continuous update, but is not able to immunize itself against authoritarian interpretations.