We are just days away from the fourth major round of national demonstrations for ‘Fora Bolsonaro’ (Bolsonaro Out), which are set to take place in hundreds of cities this Saturday, 24 July. It has never been more necessary for the entire left to unite. It has never been more decisive for all the social movements to stand up. For blacks, women, students, the LGBTQI community, workers from all sectors, and people from the city, the country, and the forest to take part.
Many thousands have lost their lives because vaccines have arrived too late. Unemployment sacrifices 15 million people. Hunger already plagues up to 20 million people. Eletrobrás, Petrobrás and Correios are being privatized. Administrative reform is on its way to destroy the public service. The Amazon is aflame. Indigenous lands are under threat. All freedoms are under siege. Bolsonaro, even if weakened and stained with the mud of corruption scandals, continues to make declarations about a possible coup.
The ‘Fora Bolsonaro’ demonstrations have to be built in workplaces, homes, and the streets. Talk to each and every colleague, friend, and family member. Let’s go into battle. It can be bigger. It must be bigger. Help to share social media graphics and videos across social networks. Bolsonaro can be overthrown, but it depends on each and every one of us. Below are five reasons to take to the streets on Saturday, 24 July.
1. Stop the genocide and the hunger immediately: impeachment now
We cannot wait until the elections to remove the assassin from office. The biggest danger is that Bolsonaro will remain in power until the end of 2022. How many more deaths – by COVID, bullet, and famine – will that mean? The government has been weakened, but the ‘centrão’ (center parties) still sustain it in Congress. The first cracks have however begun to appear. The Vice-President of the Chamber of Deputies, Marcelo Ramos (Liberal Party, PL), has spoken in favor of the super petition for impeachment. It is time to put full pressure on Arthur Lira (Progressives, PP), the Chamber of Deputies President.
2. Defend the public service and its workers and prevent the privatization of Eletrobrás, Correios, and Petrobrás
During the pandemic, a large part of the population has come to understand the importance of the Unified Health System (SUS) and the public service in general. Similarly with the workers that have kept the cities running, such as food deliverers, industrial and construction workers, public transport, and cleaning service workers. Yet these are the same workers – black, women, and peripheral workers in the majority – that COVID has killed the most, and that have had their rights attacked and their salaries reduced.
The government’s administrative reform, Constitutional Amendment Proposal 32 (PEC 32), aims to attack the public servants that guarantee these essential services to the population. For example, this proposal removes the right of public servants to job stability, which will create a perfect breeding ground for corruption.
Furthermore, with the support of the whole of the right-wing, the government wants to privatize the Correios postal service, a profitable state company that provides a quality service throughout the country. There is also the creeping privatization of energy company Petrobrás that, with the sale of refineries and other assets, has caused increases in fuel and cooking gas prices, and has weakened our sovereignty. To defend public service and public assets, we must remove Bolsonaro now.
3. Prevent the massacre of indigenous peoples and ecocide
While the Coronavirus pandemic rages, Bolsonaro has vetoed the law that provides protection measures for indigenous communities. The executive authority blocked sixteen different standards from the regulations. These include stipulations to provide the villages with access to drinking water, hygiene products, hospital beds, and mechanical respirators, all while not presenting any kind of protection plan for indigenous people during the pandemic.
Since the time of the election campaign, Bolsonaro has stated that “not one centimeter of land will be demarcated for indigenous reserves”. And he has kept his promise by putting the ‘Marco Temporal’ (time frame)* on the Congress agenda.
Bolsonaro’s goal is to ‘passar a boiada’ (‘let the whole herd pass’, i.e., push these changes through parliament) and jeopardize Brazilian biomes in the process. The main enemies of Brazilian ecosystems are the logging, mining, and agribusiness companies. All these sectors are linked to deforestation, the destruction of traditional ways of life, and illegal operations in preserved areas. How much more destruction of the environment and the indigenous peoples will occur if Bolsonaro stays in power until the elections? Are we going to let this happen?
4. Defeat the coup threats and neo-fascism
Even though he is becoming ever weaker and is plagued with corruption scandals, Bolsonaro keeps up his threats of a coup. He asserts that he will not accept elections without printed ballots (Brazil has had electronic voting for decades) and that if he loses it will be due to fraud. In this way, he feeds his radicalized base with talk of a coup.
As the fascist that he is, Bolsonaro will not hand over power without aggravating the situation. That is why we cannot give him time to regain his strength for next year’s elections. Advantage must be taken of the government’s moment of highest fragility to remove Bolsonaro from power, and thus undermine any possibility of a coup.
5. Open the road to a ‘governo de esquerda’ (government of the left) to transform Brazil
By overthrowing Bolsonaro with the strength of the streets, with the mobilization of workers and youth, we will pave the way to the conquest of a ‘governo de esquerda’ (government of the left), one that can make structural changes in favor of the exploited and oppressed majority of our country.
Removing the fascist from power is the first step. For this, the left must redouble its call to take to the streets. It will also be important to have Lula, the country’s principal popular leader, call on people to join the ‘Fora Bolsonaro’ demonstrations and for him to attend in person.
But we cannot stop there. The struggle must also be for a project of the anti-capitalist left to establish a government committed to fundamental economic, social, and democratic transformations, a government that breaks with neoliberalism, revokes all counter-reforms, and meets the main demands of the working and oppressed people (employment, income, education, health, housing, an end to the genocide of black people, defense of the environment, and democratic rights). To implement this program, we need a ‘Frente de Esquerda’ (Left Front) in the struggles and the elections, one without any alliances with the right.
* ‘Marco Temporal’ (Time Frame) refers to a new arbitrary cut-off date for indigenous land claims. Under this provision, indigenous people would only be able to claim traditional territory if they can prove they have occupied the land since 5 October 1988, the day the federal Constitution was approved. Many groups of indigenous people were forced from their traditional lands long before this date.
This article is an English translation of “24J: Cinco motivos para ir às ruas neste sábado”, [https://esquerdaonline.com.br/2021/07/21/cinco-motivos-para-ir-as-ruas-sabado-24j/], Esquerda Online (EOL), 21/07/2021.
Translation: Bobby Sparks