Faculty Writing: On Being Sick and Tired, and Lula’s Third Presidential Term

A sneak peek of Ajay Singh Chaudhary’s new book is available now in the latest issue of The Baffler, in which he discusses what it means, socially and politically, to be “sick and tired” in a crisis-ridden world. Therewithin, he charts the growing reverence for “resilience”—in nodes of knowledge production from academia to government reports to UN climate studies—since the mid- twentieth century. This sanguine conception of resilience, Chaudhary asserts, “emphasizes some of the stickiest, socially destructive ideals of our time: the hardy survivor, the endlessly flexible and adaptable worker, and the self-reliant community, all of whom continue to function within even the most corrosive socioecological conditions and deprivations.”

Then, Nara Roberta Silva, writing in NACLA, takes a look back at Brazilian president Lula da Silva’s first year of his third term in office, with a critical eye on his administration’s concessions to the far right. On the economic front, she notes an encouraging revival of important social services aimed at improving the material conditions of the working class and poor—a trend hampered by the administration’s self-imposed imperative to balance the budget. More troubling yet, for Silva’s analysis, has been Lula’s fostering of the Brazilian armed forces’ authoritarianism: “In short: ‘supermilitarization when Brazil needs nothing short of demilitarization.’”

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