Lawfare: an elite weapon for democracy destruction

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It is not just rights and identities that are saturated with the culture of legality. Politics itself, its conflicts, and instruments of affirmation, increasingly tend, everywhere, to migrate to the judiciary. Citizens, governments, and corporations litigating against each other, at the different intersections of the law, in an ever-changing kaleidoscope of coalitions and cleavages. Democracy was judicialized in Argentina in 2015; in Ecuador, in 2017; and in Brazil, in 2016 and 2018, when the force of the law was deployed to remove its leaders and to decide the national elections; in Bolivia, in 2019, the force of arms imposed a return to the colonial political-judicial system. By these means, political processes are held hostage to the dialectic of law and disorder. Colonialism and imperialism, too, are subjected to the scales of justice to seek reparation for the damage caused to the victims of history, thus to call to account the violence of the colonized against the colonizer, violence made legal by resort to imperial jurisprudence. On the other hand, kleptocracy makes the use of legal instruments, and the coercion inherent in the law, to commit acts of political erasure, and even annihilation of the weak, the racial despised, the colonized. This comes to a head, nowadays, in the phenomenon of lawfare, addressed in this book: the action, in a post-colony, or agents of the state who use legalities to violate the person, property, dignity, and right of some or all of its citizens. Brazil is an infamous case of a Latin American country that, through the strategic use of the law, has backed a reactionary, oppressive regime, in which the exercise of power reduces many people’s lives to a necropolitics stripped of legitimacy and ethics. In this context, new types of physical and legal subjects are created, allowing oligarchs to take advantage of the tendrils of the state to promote their monopolistic economic ends. While I could not participate in the panel last year on which this book is based, I convey to Brazilians, and to all peoples affected by the violence of the law, the hope and belief that, sooner or later, the oppressive, illegal use of legalities will be removed from their lives [...] (Professor John Comaroff - Harvard University, in Preface I, p. 19)


Lawfare, Democracy, Human rights, Fundamental rights


MARTINS JÚNIOR, Osmar Pires (org.). Lawfare: an elite weapon for democracy destruction. Goiânia: Egress@s, 2020. E-book. ISBN 978-85-400-3200-2. Disponível em: