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Luiz Eduardo Soares argues the demilitarization of police and a democratic agenda in security

by Richard Meckien - published May 07, 2014 04:25 PM - - last modified May 09, 2014 06:00 PM

Political scientist Luiz Eduardo Soares, from UERJ, will give a conference on the architecture of public security on May 13, at 3 pm.
Luiz Eduardo Soares - 1

Luiz Eduardo Soares is a professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), and has also taught at IUPERJ and UNICAMP. He has been Brazil’s National Secretary of Public Security as well as Subsecretary and Coordinator of Security, Justice and Citizenship in the State of Rio de Janeiro. Soares holds a degree in Literature, a masters in Social Anthropology and a PhD in Political Science with a post-doctorate in Political Philosophy. He has been a visiting scholar at several American universities. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including: Meu Casaco de General: 500 Dias no Front da Segurança Pública do Estado do Rio de Janeiro ("My General Jacket: 500 Days in the Front of Public Security of the State of Rio de Janeiro") (2000); Elite da Tropa ("Troop Elite"), with André Batista and Rodrigo Pimentel (2006); and Elite da Tropa 2, ("Troop Elite 2"),with André Batista, Cláudio Ferraz and Rodrigo Pimentel (2010).

"Society and State have changed at a significant level since the promulgation of the Constitution in 1988, but did not extend democratic transition to public security." The statement is from political scientist Luiz Eduardo Soares, a professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and former National Secretary of Public Security.

On May 13, at 3 pm, Soares will give the conference Desmilitarizar as Polícias e Revolucionar a Arquitetura Institucional da Segurança Pública: Uma Agenda Democrática para o Brasil (“To Demilitarize Police and to Revolutionize the Institutional Architecture of Public Security: A Democratic Agenda for Brazil”). It will be the second meeting of the conference cycle Tardes Cariocas: A USP Ouve o Rio de Janeiro (“Carioca Afternoons: USP Listens to Rio de Janeiro”), coordinated by Renato Janine Ribeiro, a professor at USP’s Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) and a member of the Institute’s board.

The issues that Soares will present and discuss at the conference are:

  • What are the reasons of the authoritarian atavism in public security to which diverse political forces on the right and on the left have concurred?
  • Why has there never been - until June 2013 - a project of the left, voiced by parties and civil organizations, to change the police and the institutional restructuring of security?
  • Which ideologies and theories blend and neutralize the discursive dissonance of public debates on violence, crime, punishment, prosecution and prevention?
  • What do leftists think about punishment, deprivation of liberty and criminal policy, especially that relating to drugs?


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These issues are relevant, in his view, because "there will be no effective democracy in Brazil while lethal state violence against blacks and poor (largely consensual, politically authorized, institutionally blessed and ostensibly practiced) and unequal access to justice persist."

For him, the existence of this frame means that "the heart of democracy has been on the margins of the democratic political agenda." He asks: "Why has this paradox not been understood as a scandal?"

Soares believes that good answers to these questions can "help us to better know Brazil and rid ourselves of the inertia that makes victims every day."

The event will be broadcast live on the web.

Photo: courtesy of Luiz Eduardo Soares

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