The coup attempt failed, but the coup threat is still alive. On Sunday (08), bolsonarism revealed to the world its mission: the establishment of fascist barbarism. The invasion and destruction of the head office of the three branches of Government would not have been possible without detailed planning, political command, business financing and police and military complicity.
The country is facing a historic crossroad: either to destroy bolsonarist fascism or to be destroyed by it. There is no third option. Tolerance and conciliation with coup leaders, and their assistants disguised as moderates, is the perfect recipe for the defeat.
The Lula administration needs to lead a relentless offensive to crush bolsonarism. Without undoing the coup nest in command of the Armed Forces and the states police, it will not be possible to win. The key to move forward is to promote popular mobilization.
The coup failed, but the danger remains
The evidence gathered so far in testimonies, audios and videos makes clear that the purpose of Sunday’s action was to provoke a military coup to overthrow the Lula administration. Organizers of the invasion openly spoke of “seizure of power”. The goal consisted, as it seems, on creating chaos in the country after the occupation of Brasília, giving a pretext for military intervention.
The plan failed. The military command did not act to seize power, although it had given shelter to the coup camps. As soon as the images of the invasion in Brasília were broadcast on television and social media, the vast majority of society repudiated the barbarism [93% according to DataFolha]. There was also unanimous rejection worldwide, with declarations of condemnation from dozens of countries.
Late Sunday afternoon, the counter-offensive began. Lula determined the intervention in the security of the Federal District (DF). The presidents of the other branches of powers (Legislative and Judiciary), Rodrigo Pacheco, Artur Lira and Rosa Weber, took an emphatic position in rejecting the coup, demanding punishment to those involved.
Also on Sunday, the Supreme Court (STF) minister Alexandre de Moraes ordered the end of the camping near the army barracks, the arrest of its participants and the removal of the governor of the DF, Ibaneis Rocha. In Brasília [DF], the STF order was carried out, but in São Paulo, under the command of Governor Tarcísio de Freitas (a close ally of Bolsonaro), no coup plotter was arrested in the ending of the camp.
On Monday (09) and Tuesday (10), the repression continued, with the arrest of about 1,500 bolsonarists and the arrest order of the former Minister of Justice and former Secretary of Security of the Federal District, Anderson Torres, and the commander of the Military Police of the DF, Fábio Augusto.
There was also a meeting of the heads of the three branches and another one held by Lula with the 27 governors, who symbolically walked together to the destroyed STF building. On Tuesday, Congress concluded the approval of the federal intervention in the DF.
Besides the institutional actions, on Monday night, tens of thousands of young people and workers took to the streets on demonstrations called by the fronts Povo Sem Medo [People Without Fear], Brasil Popular and other social movements and left-wing parties, in defense of democracy and the severe punishment of the coup plotters.
Sunday’s coup plan was unsuccessful from the point of view of the seize of power, as well as with what regards its immediate political consequences. However, the threat remains alive. As long as bolsonarism, a fascist movement, maintains mass political influence and significant presence in the police and military forces, the danger will continue to be seriously present. Sunday’s action, even if frustrated, could become a dress rehearsal for a new coup adventure in the future.
So far, bolsonarism lacks the international and national conditions for a successful coup. There is no support from any major country for an authoritarian rupture in Brazil — from Biden to Putin, there has been widespread global repudiation of Sunday’s invasion. Internally, Lula enjoys positive expectations from the majority of the population. Furthermore, the ruling class, for the most part, wants the preservation of the current political regime, which is manifested in the actions of the STF and, in particular, of Minister Alexandre de Moraes.
However, the scenario may change later on. If bolsonarism was able to invade the head offices of the branches of the Republic so easily in the first week of the Lula administration, when Lula has the support of the majority of the people and had taken more than 150,000 people to the inauguration days before, imagine what they could do in a different situation, in an eventual scenario of crisis of the current government?
Certainly, bolsonarism policy of permanent destabilization of the Lula administration will remain, aiming at its overthrow by the far-right. If fascism manages to preserve its positions of power after the very serious coup attempt, it will have suffered only a momentary setback – it will be able to learn from the mistakes made and come back stronger in a short time.
Faced with this situation, the immediate and crucial task is to advance relentlessly against bolsonarism, imposing a substantial defeat on it. The Lula administration acquired more political strength with the failure of Sunday’s coup, both to take tougher initiatives against the coup leaders and to implement social and economic measures in favor of the working masses. The STF, in turn, gained greater legitimacy to determine repressive actions to dismantle fascism.
It is necessary to take advantage of the counter-offensive moment to deepen it as much as possible. Three aspects are fundamental in the fight against the coup plotters. Firstly, to carry out the harshest repression against the enemies of freedom — no amnesty! Secondly, the Lula administration needs to promote the life improvements promised to the working people during the campaign, in order to weaken bolsonarist influence in the population, especially in parts of the working class. Thirdly, it is necessary to move forward in building mass mobilization and organization on the left-wing for the struggle against fascism and in defense of the demands most felt by the working people.
The “debolsonarization” of the states police and the Armed Forces is strategic
It was clear that, without the connivance and participation of police and military sectors, Sunday’s invasion would not have been possible. The measures taken in relation to the DF government (federal intervention in security, removal of Ibaneis and the arrests of Anderson Torres and the former commander of the police) were correct.
However, nothing has been done about the military so far. The military command allowed the coup camps to exist in the barracks for months. In addition, there was inaction by the presidential guard, subordinated to the military, in the defense of the Planalto Palace [Presidential building]. Defense Minister José Múcio even claimed last week that the camps were democratic, temporizing with the coup plotters whose camps were installed in areas controlled by the Armed Forces.
Without the debolsonarization of the Armed Forces and the police, which includes the removal of bolsonarist commanders and the punishment of those who were involved, by act or omission, in Sunday’s invasion, the coup d’état ideas will remain active and influential in the security forces. José Múcio, the right-wing conciliator minister, friend of the far-right generals, lost the conditions to remain at the head of the Ministry of Defense. He needs to be fired by Lula.
The key to victory is the mobilization and organization of the masses
The action of the institutions and governments against the coup is of enormous importance. Everyone involved in the coup attempt needs to be punished, especially the ones who leaded and funded.
The authorities involved in the coup attempt must pay for what they did. First, Jair Bolsonaro and his family. This Thursday (12), the Federal Police revealed that it was found, in a closet of Anderson Torres’ house, a draft made for Bolsonaro to change the result of the elections, through intervention in the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). Evidence abounds.
It is also important to mention Augusto Aras, the Prosecutor General of the Republic, who during the last few years did everything he could to shield the coup plotters from investigations. Aras needs to be removed from his position, urgently.
Institutional action, however, is not enough, as we have to take into account its limits and the influence of bolsonarism on governments and institutions of the capitalist regime.
The main sector of the ruling class (linked to US and European imperialism), although wants to impose limits on the far-right in order to preserve the liberal-democratic regime, will not take the fight against fascism to the last consequences. It is worth remembering that there are several bourgeois sectors financing bolsonarism. Nor will the ruling class be in favor of the application of robust social and economic measures in favor of the working people, which could weaken the presence of bolsonarism among the poor. On the contrary, the ruling class acts firmly to maintain the neoliberal agenda.
Due to these factors, building mass social mobilization and grassroots organization with the working class, black people, women, the LGBT population, indigenous peoples and students is vital. The unitary struggle must combine the fundamental democratic issue (the struggle to crush fascism) with the economic and social demands most felt by the people (salary, employment, rights, income, health, education, etc.).
The strategic importance of this mobilization and organization in the next period also comes from the fact that the Lula administration is not only composed by the left-wing, but also by sectors of the right-wing, linked to the ruling class. This broad front government will always have contradictions and limits. It will be necessary to open the way to the left with mass struggle, grassroots organization and development of self-defense of working class movements and organizations, to defeat bolsonarism and achieve necessary changes, including the guarantee of punishment for the fascists.
It is essential that the struggle fronts, movements, trade unions and left-wing parties build a unified mobilization calendar, giving continuity to last Monday’s (9th) demonstrations. The call for a new national demonstration in February and the joint construction of a strong March 8 must be at the center of the agenda!
In defense of democracy against fascism!
Jail to Bolsonaro and all coup leaders! No amnesty!
The military cannot go unpunished!
For the impeachment of Augusto Aras and Ibaneis Rocha!
More jobs, wages, rights, health and education for the people!
Let’s build together the fight in defense of democracy and for the improvement of living conditions!
For a unified journey of struggle!