Pular para o conteúdo

Two strategies against Bolsonarism

By Valerio Arcary, translated from portuguese by Daniel Kraucher
Apoiadoras de Bolsonaro
Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Doubled is the danger of those who flee from the enemy

Greater is the danger where greater is the fear 

Portuguese folk wisdom

1. What should be the left’s strategy in the face of the continuity of Bolsonarism?

This is the first and most important definition that will be imposed by the new situation. Of course, a tactic that exploits the possibilities of division on the far right by isolating the neo-fascist current is smart. Sowing discord, nurturing disagreements, fomenting turmoil is always useful. But there are essentially two possible strategies. Between them there will always be intermediaries, but there are two. The first was presented, very simply, by those who suggested a meeting between Lula and Bolsonaro, even with the right to a photo. The second is to bet on the investigation, conviction and arrest of Bolsonaro. The first admits the permanence of a neo-fascist current with mass influence as inevitable. The main argument is that Bolsonarism became part of the institutional “landscape”. So the best thing would be not only to accept, but to press for the “normalization” of Bolsonarism. Don’t provoke. And make gestures that signal the willingness to live together inspired by the democratic respect of the Lula government with the right-wing opposition, even Bolsonaro. The second strategy claims that none of this is possible. That Bolsonarism is a neo-fascist current with one foot in legality, and the other foot in the coup plot. The ambiguities of Bolsonaro’s statements, since the election, are only dissimulation. As soon as the legal shield of office is lost, Bolsonaro must be investigated and punished. “De-bolsonarizing” institutions, starting with the police, especially the Federal Highway Police, due to the accumulated scandals, should be an unavoidable fight. This task cannot be delegated to the courts as if it were an administrative routine. It can only be achieved with a political campaign of mass agitation and mobilization.

2. The underestimation of the danger represented by Bolsonarism has been the most important mistake of the Brazilian left since 2018. On the eve of the second round, prevailed the “facilist” idea that victory would come by a difference equal to that of the first round. Facility is more than naive optimism. It is a mindset that diminishes the enemy’s forces and disregards the seriousness of the conflict. We must honestly recognize that there is a pattern. Now it is being ignored the importance of the roadblocks and of the gatherings in front of the barracks. Bolsonarism has already demonstrated that it has the power to put hundreds of thousands on the streets. There will be no coup to prevent Lula from taking office. The mobilization that used the truck drivers as a spark to inflate the defense of military intervention withered. But the protest went beyond civil disobedience, and served to indicate the fierce strategy of Bolsonarism in the opposition. They have not renounced the fight for the power. As soon as they can they will not hesitate on trying to overthrow Lula’s government counting on the support from counterrevolutionary mobilizations , inspired by Dilma’s impeachment. If they fail to do so, they will seek to accumulate forces for the 2024 and 2026 elections. If, eventually, Trumpism has a victory in the US elections on November 8th, the possibility of a strong Trump candidacy will strengthen the far right worldwide, including Bolsonarism, if it has not been defeated by then.

3. One of the important issues still unclear on the left is understanding why Bolsonaro did not build a party. He didn’t build before 2018 because he didn’t have the strength. By then, he “rented” a party  that doens’t even exist anymore, the PSL of Luciano Bivar, an obscure reactionary deputy from Pernambuco. In this field of the electoral tactics, he imitated what Fernando Collor did in 1989, when he joined the Youth Party, renamed PRN (National Reconstruction Party). After being elected, Bolsonaro flirted with the Aliança Brasil [Brazil Alliance] project, but backed off. He gave up the legalization of a new party because, after the crisis with Sergio Moro, he needed to incorporate the parliamentarians grouped in the so-called “Congress Big-Center” (Centrão) as protagonists in the government to preserve the cohesion of the coalition of parties that guaranteed his support in the National Congress. A party of his own, in which he would have undisputed hegemony, would become a rival to the established far-right parties, such as the Liberal Party, the Popular Party, and the Republicans, in addition to PTB, Patriotas and other rental parties. But now that he has lost the elections, he will have time and most likely is that he will build it. There is already an underground network that operates through social media organized by a political center. Bolsonaro has already obtained guarantees that PL [Liberal Party] will financially support the political center he intends to create.

4. What will Bolsonaro’s role be in the opposition to Lula? Bolsonaro will be the main opposition leader to the Lula government, if he is not stopped. There is no other political leader who can remotely compete with the confidence he has gained. It is an institutionalist optical illusion to imagine that, because he does not have a mandate, Bolsonaro will no longer be heard or followed. Bolsonarism has social implantation and national presence. It responds to a social base that unites powerful fractions of agribusiness with the mass of the petty bourgeoisie, it divided the working class, dragging with it a little more than half of the middle-income wage earners and has an audience in popular sectors.

5. The most important thing is to not repeat the same mistakes of 2015. It would be unforgivable not to acknowledge that the tactic of appointing Joaquim Levy and giving in to the blackmail of the most powerful capitalist groups was fatal to Dilma Rousseff’s government. The Brazilian ruling class is not to be trusted. The central issue in Brazil is not inflationary pressure or public debt growth. The ones who are defending Meirelles for the Ministry of Finance has learned absolutely nothing. This project has an implicit bet on the “reassurance” of international and national investors as a response to the long economic stagnation. It is not possible without a rise in worker overexploitation leveled off by the Southeast Asian pattern. The correct path goes through raising taxes on the great capitalists, starting with the great fortunes. The central challenge will be to seek support in workers’ and popular mobilization. The Lula government will essentially rest on the ability of the left to reunite the working class.

Tradução de Daniel Kraucher