Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right
Note from BW of Brazil: It is the year 2020 and according to the Gregorian calendar that is commonly used around the world, we are now concluding the second decade of the 21st century. Yet, even being between five and six decades since the assassination of the prophetic African-American leader Malcolm X, I am continuously amazed at how much the former Nation of Islam’s spokesperson’s words still apply to the situation of African descendants whether speaking of the United States, Brazil, other countries or even a continent. The man born as Malcolm Little in 1925 was assassinated in 1965, but still today his political analysis continues to warn those black people who would just take the time to review the things he said.
What I have noted for many years is that there are certain truths that are simply difficult for the masses of people to accept. These truths are often so difficult to believe that people won’t even take the time to look into the possibility that some things may actually be true. This is often amazing to me as such things are often crystal clear for me. In discussing this situation with a friend a few weeks ago, he said something that was quite simple but so true. In his view, there is difference between truths and facts and this being true, people will adapt their own truths even though these truths are not necessarily facts. He summed up a reality I’ve known for years.
When I was a child, my parents bought me two sets of the encyclopedias that were popular at the time. Each set had 26 books in them, one for each letter in the alphabet. Whenever I wanted to know something, I would simply choose a corresponding letter to subject I wanted to read about, pick up the book, flick the pages alphabetically until I found what I was looking for and then read the article. Even though those books satisfied much of my thirst for knowledge at the time, years later, I would come to discover that many of the truths I had learned from those books were not actually facts. Napoleon Bonaparte is accredited with saying that history is nothing but a set of lies that are agreed upon by certain people. Whether Bonaparte actually said this or not, the phrase continues to hold true to this day.
Malcolm X was one of those individuals who tried to alert people to certain facts as hard as they may have been to accept. Often times when I discuss Malcolm with elders who were alive to remember his words, I am told that a lot of black people didn’t like Malcolm X at the time because Malcolm boldly said things that they often disagreed with or shook up the world in which they lived that was based upon a number beliefs, half truths and lies. If I had been alive and old enough to have heard him speak, I certainly would attended any lecture by Malcolm.
Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right
In fact, in November of 1963, in my hometown of Detroit, Michigan, Malcolm delivered, in my opinion, one of his most important speeches at the King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church. The speech was entitled the “Message to the Grass Roots” and the lecture revealed to those who would listen about what really happened during the historic March on Washington in August of that same year. Malcolm told the people how the march went down, who funded it, what was allowed, what wasn’t and basically how the whole thing was a staged show. Out of that historic march came the famous Martin Luther King, Jr. speech “I Have a Dream” that is still broadcast today from time to time whenever the media wants to address some racial controversy of the day. Without going into detail, I will just say that people would do well to listen to Malcolm’s breakdown of that day as it can be applied so well to what we are seeing now in 2020.
In another of one of Malcolm’s many interviews, after having already issued a statement to a reporter, the reporter interviewing him requests the views of others listening to the interview. After one white man speaks and several other white people refuse to say anything, a black man stepped forward and said he didn’t agree with Malcolm and stated that he wasn’t a follower of Malcolm’s mentor, Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, to which Malcolm replied:
“If Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins or any of these compromising Negros who say exactly what the white man wants to hear is interviewed anywhere in the country you don’t get anybody to offset what they say. But whenever a black man stands up and says something that white people don’t like, then the first thing that man does is run around to try and find somebody to say something to offset what has just been said. This is natural but it is done.”
Having seen the political games that are the norm for a number of years that the left and the right play when it concerns the plight of black people, I find that black leaders and spokespersons can be used and exploited by both sides of the political spectrum, but not in the exact same manner. On the one hand, we have leftists who believe that racial inequality can be overcome with the help of white liberals towards a goal of complete integration, a strategy that the aforementioned King himself came to believe was a mistake in later years. On the right side of the aisle, there are blacks who deny the very existence of racism, denigrate leftists blacks and often fully blame the black community for the situation it is in.
In past articles, I dealt with the question of black people who seem to serve the interests of the power structure that has no interest in advancing the goals of Brazil’s black community and, speaking specifically of Brazil, we see hints of this on both sides of the political spectrum as well. In the previous case, I discussed one ever present black man that always seems to be at President Jair Bolsonaro‘s side, if for nothing else, to deflect accusations that he is a racist. That black man in question, Hélio Lopes, seems almost harmless in comparison to the black man chosen to lead the Palmares Foundation, an organ that is supposed to work to preserve the memory of black history and culture as well as to promote the advancement of the Afro-Brazilian community as a whole.
Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right:
The new president of the Palmares Foundation, Sérgio Camargo, comes across as being as anti-black as any racist, but being black himself, his presence can be greatly beneficial for those who have no interest in looking out for the Afro-Brazilian community. If Camargo hadn’t made any more outlandish statements since those he made when he first began to share his views via social networks, that would have been enough to know where he stood. Whether one’s politics are more leftist or on the right of the political spectrum, that is that person’s personal right. I won’t completely condemn anyone on either side because I happen to see both sides as being, in their essence, anti-black, while often finding that both sides can be at least partially correct in their analyses.
There are views from the left that I can agree with, but there are also views on the right that I can also support. The problem with folks like Camargo is that he seems to have a special type of vitriol for black people that goes beyond simply left or right politics. Having looked into views from the left or the right, I cannot fully support either side as I don’t see either side as being fully committed to racial equality. Again, citing an excellent analogy courtesy of Malcolm X, one is just more of a fox while the other side is more of a wolf in the tactics in which they employ in dealing with the black community.
In the case of Sérgio Camargo, I just have to ask, how does society create such black men? Just to understand why the situation involving Camargo is so troublesome, you should understand that the agency in which he was chosen to lead, the Fundação Cultural Palmares, or Palmares Cultural Foundation, was an achievement for the Brazil’s black movement, and has an extremely important symbolism for the Afro-Brazilian struggle.
For many activists of the black population, it is absolutely absurd to have a person like Camargo who says the things that he says in the presidency of the foundation. The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality of the Brazilian Bar Association released a note of repudiation of Camargo’s past statements and leaders of 40 organizations of the Movimento Negro have protested against Camargo occupying the agency’s presidency.
To a certain degree, we know that black people are merely pawns of the left, the political football that Malcolm X referenced decades ago. But then how does one align himself with the political right that is as openly racist as a left that is more subtle in its racism? If I didn’t know any better, it would seem as though the things Camargo says are things that President Bolsonaro himself thinks but doesn’t say in order to avoid being labeled racist. Of course, many black Brazilians already see Bolsonaro as a racist but that’s beside the point. After you read the latest involving Camargo, feel free to share your opinion. (Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right)
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Fundação Cultural Palmares fires employees and pays homage to Princesa Isabel; the foundation president’s actions are the target of a misconduct investigation
By Nataly Simões, Pedro Borges and Aguirre Talento with additional information courtesy of Diário Causa Operária
Organ for the promotion of black culture, led by Sérgio Camargo and linked to the Special Secretariat for Culture, fired at least ten workers between March and April
With the pandemic of Covid-19, the new coronavirus, the federal government invested in order for companies to maintain their staff in order to avoid the increase in unemployment in the country. Against the maintenance of jobs, Fundação Cultural Palmares (FCP), a public agency linked to the Special Secretariat for Culture, fired at least ten workers between the months of March and April.
In an interview with the Alma Preta website, two former employees of the black culture promotion agency reported the dismissal process. One of the dismissed workers is André*, who was informed of his dismissal in April. “There have been firings since Sérgio Camargo assumed the presidency of the agency”, he says.
All ten layoffs occurred amid the advance of Covid-19 cases in the country. “I questioned my dismissal in the middle of the pandemic, but they didn’t know how to respond with a motive”, adds the former employee. For him, the situation only shows “the lack of commitment of this government, of respect and empathy with the employees.”
According to the Transparência Portal, Fundação Cultural Palmares has 55 civil servants working in the office of President Sérgio Camargo, in internal management and in areas such as the Department for the Protection of Afro-Brazilian Heritage (DPA) and the Department for Promotion of Afro-Brazilian Culture (DEP).
Alma Preta found that the public agency has a contract in force with at least twelve private companies to provide services. The Foundation’s dismissed workers were linked to R7 Serviços de Engenharia Eireli, a company that had made 40 employees available to work at the organ’s headquarters in Brasília, in the Federal District, with salaries ranging from BRL $1,198.87 to BRL $3,911.22.
According to Lélia*, an employee of the Fundação Cultural Palmares, the layoff scenario has caused fear and anguish among outsourced workers.
“There is a climate of terror, because the outsourced workers have a fragile bond and they are the majority of the institution. Layoffs are detrimental to work, the relationship between teams and obviously it is cruel to people,” ponders the employee.
The dismissed and current employees also reported to the Alma Preta website a scenario of persecution within the body of workers with political thoughts different from the president.
This environment has kept outsourced workers away from any political involvement and has made them restrict their daily work to perform their professional duties. The care, however, was not enough to avoid the cuts. “The outsourced, in the infinite majority, do not have any political involvement, they want distance from that because of the insecurity they have with their work,” highlights Lélia*.
Amilcar*, also dismissed, said that the dismissals coordinated by the presidency are part of the new political project present at the institution. “Sérgio Camargo was only placed there because he is a black person who talks absurdities about the black population. It is obvious that he would be the most suitable person for this government, which places people totally opposed to the bodies they represent,” he reiterates.
Contract with an unusual company at TCU
The reputation of R7 Serviços de Engenharia Eireli is not the best in public administration, although the company has a contract with approximately 20 other public bodies, including the Central Bank of Brazil and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. In the case of Fundação Cultural Palmares (FCP), the company has a contract in force until December 9, 2020.
Considered inidone, restricted to participate in bids and close contracts with the public administration, by the Court of Auditors of the Union (TCU) in October 2019 for having presented a false document in a bidding of the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA), the company has approximately one thousand employees and had declared itself as “small”.
In November of last year, after being prohibited by TCU from participating in new bids, the company appealed and was contracted to provide services in a millionaire contract of BRL $ 1,323,134.64 with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, at the time under the command of Sérgio Moro.
Dismissals against the federal government (Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right)
The layoffs at Fundação Cultural Palmares (FCP) occur in the midst of some actions by the Ministry of Economy so that the level of unemployment in the country doesn’t increase. In the first quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate reached 12.2%, with 12.85 million unemployed in the country, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE).
On April 1, the federal government published Provisional Measure (MP) 936 aimed at the private sector, known as the Emergency Employment and Income Maintenance Program. The Ministry of the Economy estimates the expenditure of BRL$51.2 billion to avoid dismissals in the country.
The Ministry led by economist Paulo Guedes proposed possible negotiations for working days between employers and employees in order to secure jobs. The MP provides for three ways of reducing wages and working days. The first is to cut 25% of income, with the government bearing 25% of unemployment insurance, or 50%, with the government paying the remaining 50%. The third option is to cut 70%, with the government paying 70% of unemployment insurance. There is also the possibility of 25% of the reduction agreed with all employees, individually or collectively.
In a note sent to Alma Preta, the Ministry of the Economy pointed out that the investment in income and employment preservation “does not apply to the bodies of direct and indirect public administration, public companies and semi-public companies, including its subsidiaries, within the scope of Union, States, Federal District and Municipalities, and international organizations.”
Alma Preta also contacted the Fundação Cultural Palmares and the company R7 Serviços de Engenharia Eireli to question the reasons for the dismissals amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The report also questioned whether the dismissed workers are receiving any assistance and the total number of employees with interrupted contracts during the pandemic. Until the publication of this text, the public agency linked to the Special Secretariat for Culture of the federal government and the private company has not responded.
KKK, Nazism and political persecution (Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right)
Employees and former employees of the Fundação Cultural Palmares reported situations of intimidation in the current management of the agency
“When the board of Fundação Cultural Palmares (FCP) was going to meet, we commented that it was the KKK meeting,” said Beatriz* in secrecy, a former employee of the agency of the promotion of black culture linked to the Special Secretariat for Culture.
The comment about the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacist organization in the United States, began in early 2020 after a crisis within the public agency.
In February, Sérgio Camargo made headlines in major newspapers in the country for having fired black directors with a background in public policies in favor of Afro-Brazilian culture by telephone. In response, he called in his shock troops to define what to do in the face of press coverage about the dismissals.
“It’s a group of people, mostly white, who believe in reverse racism, have no knowledge of the Foundation’s history and see in Sérgio Camargo the opportunity to put everything he thinks out there,” says Beatriz*, about the profile the direction of the organ.
Persecution of professionals (Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right)
Camargo maintains a close relationship with a small group of people, described by employees as the nucleus of the KKK. The objective, according to Beatriz*, is to “clean up Palmares (Foundation)”.
“Sérgio Camargo wants to remove the people he considers ‘leftist’, because for him everyone is ‘leftist’. If you don’t agree with the extreme right then you’re on the left,” adds the former employee.
Despite giving an image of security on social networks, employee Sueli * reiterates Sérgio Camargo’s insecurity regarding the position. “We know that he is afraid, he knows that the things that are posted on social networks and in the press really affect him. He is afraid of a lot of things,” she points out.
The Nazi godfather
Former Secretary of Culture Roberto Alvim is Sérgio Camargo’s political godfather. Alvim was the name within the government of Jair Bolsonaro (No Party) who nominated Camargo to the most important position of Fundação Cultural Palmares.
Former employees interviewed by Alma Preta recall that, on the first day after his appointment on November 27, Sérgio Camargo paid a visit to all sectors of the body to meet and introduce himself to the professionals.
On the 29th, the new president of the agency was the target of a protest by black movement organizations. Faced with the action, Camargo locked himself in a room and refused to dialogue with the protesters present there. After the end of the protest, he contacted his political godfather, Alvim.
The then Secretary of Culture went to the headquarters of Fundação Cultural Palmares and summoned all employees. “That day, Alvim made a series of threats to the employees. It was an impressive aggression. It was not a welcome visit, it was a visit to say that whoever was involved with that movement would be punished,” recalls Beatriz*. “Alvim said that he would not accept any ‘leftist’ influence within the Foundation and that all the people on the left who were there would be fired,” recalls the former employee.
At the time, Roberto Alvim also said a phrase that was confirmed in the following months. “I can fall, but Sérgio doesn’t fall”. On January 17th of this year, Alvim was removed from the Special Secretariat for Culture after making a speech similar to that of Joseph Goebels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany. Alvim later said he had no idea of how the excerpts of his speech seemed to parallel a specific speech by Goebbels and also said that others had participated in the creation of his speech.
Goebbels, a radical anti-Semite and one of the creators of Nazism alongside Adolf Hitler, had asserted in the mid-twentieth century that the “German art of the next decade will be heroic” and “imperative”. In a video published on the social networks of the Special Secretariat for Culture, Alvim stated that the “Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic” and “imperative”.
Sérgio Camargo, in turn, named president of Fundação Cultural Palmares on November 27, 2019, was removed from office after being the target of an action by the 18th Federal Court of Sobral, in Ceará, on December 4. According to the lawsuit, the appointment contradicted the determining reasons for the creation of the Palmares Cultural Foundation and placed the institution “in serious risk”, since management could go on “a collision course with the constitutional principles of equity, of the appreciation of blacks and the protection of Afro-Brazilian culture.”
Upon returning to office on February 20, 2020, by decision of the President of the Superior Court of Justice, Minister João Otávio de Noronha, Camargo returned with his extreme right discourse aligned with President Jair Bolsonaro. The most recent placements in line with the president were attacks on social isolation measures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Alvim is no longer in the government, so who’s holding him (Camargo) there? Apparently there is a strong backing from the presidency of the Republic, which seems to be in line with that negrophobic discourse by Sérgio Camargo,” reflects Sueli*, an employee of the foundation.
Journalists of the Alma Preta website sought the Fundação Cultural Palmares to find out about the agency’s position on meetings between directors known by employees as “KKK meetings”, the persecution of employees with different thoughts than those of President Sérgio Camargo, and what measures have been taken to make the working environment comfortable for everyone. The report also asked about the intimidations made by the ex-secretary of Culture, Roberto Alvim. Until the publication of this text, the questions in the report were not answered.
The report also attempted to seek a position by Roberto Alvim on the intimidation made to the agency’s employees while he was the special secretary of Culture, but didn’t manage to locate him.
Afro-Brazilian activists have labeled Camargo a “capitão de mato”
Enemy of the black people: Sérgio Camargo keeps promise and pays homage to Princess Isabel
Since being appointed by the president, also illegitimate, Jair Bolsonaro, Camargo has been exercising with excellence what the role of the historical figure of ‘Capitão do Mato’ would be. In Brazil, it was ‘capitão do mato’, meaning the ‘captain of the woods’, who was charged with capturing runaway slaves. Nowadays, Afro-Brazilians use the term to refer to black people who seem to work against the interests of the black population.
Sérgio Camargo, the illegitimate president of the Palmares Foundation, published on Wednesday, May 13, the Day the Abolition of Slavery in Brazil, two articles in which he paid tribute to Princess Isabel, placing her as a martyr responsible for the end of slavery in Brazil, and Zumbi dos Palmares as a myth of the left. This constitutes a brutal attack on the history of the black people’s struggle against slavery, a resistance struggle from the first minute of prison with kicks, disobedience and escape to the present day, with the struggle for the power of the black people, and against the racism financed by the capitalist system.
Since the early 1970s, the Movimento Negro has rejected the celebration of May 13th anniversary of an abolition that activists believe was never fully accomplished given the situation of the precarious situation of the Afro-Brazilian population to this day. In May of 2019, Afro-Brazilian activists interrupted a Congressional homage to Princess Isabel, whose signature abolished slavery in 1888. In many of Brazil’s history books, the role played by black resistance in abolition is totally ignored with the ending of slavery being reduced to simply to a signature by Isabel.
Since being appointed by the President, also illegitimate, Jair Bolsonaro, Camargo has been exercising with excellence what the role of the historical figure of ‘Capitão do Mato’ would be. In other words, the negro who, sent by the whites, denies his origin, his history and his own status as a subordinate of the rich and white elites. What would be the point of paying homage to a white noblewoman for having signed a simple document, completely under political pressure for a 400-year struggle by the enslaved African people? It would be none other than to erase the legacy of the everyday black struggle throughout the time of slavery.
This clearly shows the mission that the extreme right delegated when it appointed him to the position of president of the Foundation, which is to destroy the heritage of the history of the black people in Brazil. Bolsonaro is an enemy of the black working class, and delegates to Camargo the task of hiding structural racism and the extermination of the poor and black population in Brazil.
In a statement, the latter allegedly claimed that there is no structural racism in Brazil, only circumstantial. However, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), of the people who are in poverty in Brazil, 75% of them are black. Of the record numbers of unemployed people in Brazil today, almost 70% are black. The black genocide is not even a myth, as 75% of people killed by criminal actions of the Military Police are black. Of the people who depend on the Sistema Único de Saúde (Unified Health System), 80% are black. It’s necessary to denounce, the black people still suffer from the effects of slavery and are an overwhelming majority of the working population of this country.
It is in this same sense that Douglas Belchior, historian and member of Uneafro Brasil, tells us that: “May 13 as the day of liberation is a civic lie, as Abdias do Nascimentoused to say, and has the slavery cynicism that is the hallmark of the Brazilian elite. […] The black population remains structurally in the same place as it was the day after the abolition.”
That is, May 13, 1888 was the day that the crown was forced to sign the abolition of slavery in Brazil, but the living conditions of the black population more than 100 years later are direct consequences of slavery.
In the article in which he pays homage to the slave princess, Camargo states that she “put an end to the inhumane form of human exploitation” that was slavery. In a simple game of rhetoric, is it possible to reveal that the Bolsonaro government would be looking, then, for a “human way” of exploiting the black population in a government that is the doormat of the rich?
The policy of the Palmares Foundation, in its determination of origin in the 1988 Constitution, is “to promote the preservation of cultural, social and economic values resulting from the black influence in the formation of Brazilian society”. Nowadays it is doing the opposite, denying and hiding the historical conditions of the black people in the country. This denialist policy is the result of the political project of the Bolsonaro government.
In order for us to put the Foundation back at the service of the black people again, it is necessary to overthrow the Bolsonaro government at once. Experience has already shown us that, if we managed to oust Sérgio Camargo from office, it is possible that the government will replace him with someone worse and even more demagogic. Therefore, it is necessary to completely break with a right-wing government that is the enemy of the black people, its history and its struggle against racism and political power.
The Attorney General’s Office asks that the president of the Palmares Foundation be the target of an administrative misconduct action
The Federal Attorney General for Citizens’ Rights presented a plea for administrative impropriety against Camargo, for institutional publications and his account on a social network criticizing Zumbi dos Palmares on Wednesday, May 13, the date of signature of the Golden Law, which abolished slavery in 1888.
The representation was sent to the Federal District Attorney’s Office, with the request that an improbity suit be filed against Camargo because his declarations would have hurt the administrative legality and morality. The document argues that “under the pretext of celebrating the anniversary of the Golden Law of 1888, Camargo published, on the Foundation’s official website, articles that cast doubt on the figure of Zumbi dos Palmares, a symbol of the black struggle against slavery and, therefore, the reason for the designation of the first institutional space created to face the structural racism of Brazilian society.” (Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right)
During the day, Camargo posted a series of messages on his profile on Twitter extolling Princess Isabel and attacking Zumbi, described by him as “a hero of the racialist left; not of the Brazilian people”. He also countered tweets with reactions to the publications. In addition, the Palmares Foundation has published texts on its institutional website that cast doubt on the figure of Zumbi, who is precisely the figure from which the foundation takes its name.
“The Palmares Cultural Foundation was born with the aim of promoting ‘cultural, social and economic values resulting from the black influence in the formation of Brazilian society’ (art. 1 of Law 7668). To deny the black people their history and their heroes, as is the case with Zumbi, is to attack the institution that Sérgio Camargo presides over,” wrote the federal attorney for citizens’ rights, Deborah Duprat. (Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right)
Sérgio Carmargo is The Mouthpiece of Extreme Right:
“As was abundantly demonstrated, Sérgio Camargo’s act is disloyal to the Palmares Cultural Foundation, which violates the central principle of public administration, which is legality and is morally abject. For this reason, the Federal Attorney General for Citizens’ Rights awaits the filing of a misconduct action against Sergio Camargo, in order to make it evident that there is no space in the Brazilian State for flirtations with regimes that have made the government’s racial superiority,” wrote Duprat.
It will now be up to the PRDF to appoint a prosecutor to analyze the case and file the misconduct action.
* All names used are fictitious and were adopted as a way to preserve the identity of the sources. The names chosen are merely illustrative.