THE HISTORY OF the left in Brazil shows that it has changed its focus from the idea of republicanism to those of communism, socialism, and, finally, democracy. With the democratic election of Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva as president in 2002, leftist politics became mainline in Brazil, albeit in a form that involved a series of compromises. This shows that left and right are variables in Brazilian politics, while the constant since 1822 is the politics of conciliation.

The left in Brazil has been the defender of civil rights, national identity, social-economic development and democracy, while opposing the political right. It can neither be reduced to political parties nor simply related to positions such as liberalism, Marxism, communism, or socialism or to leftist political groups such ...

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