The threat of impeachment

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By IGOR FELIPPE SANTOS*

Bolsonaro's worst moment, window to the right and fights on the left.

Bolsonaro is at his worst moment since the beginning of the government. Popularity is at the lowest level, at 23%, according to an Ipec survey (formerly Ibope). With the mobilizations of popular forces, he lost the “monopoly of the streets”. At the same time, the intensity of action by Bolsonarist militias on social networks has decreased. More recently, Minister Ricardo Salles, of the Environment, who was part of the most ideological core, fell.

The tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic, with an average of 2 deaths per day, crosses the conjuncture, with an impact on people's lives, on the intensity of economic activity, on discussions in Congress and the Judiciary and on the actions of popular forces.

The CPI of the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Senate has imposed permanent wear and tear with the exposure of the irresponsible posture in the conduct of health measures, the fixation on chloroquine and the neglect with the purchase of vaccines. The commission has ups and downs, but it fulfills a pedagogical role, reinforced by the major media, by exposing a step by step of the government's actions.

The allegations involving the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, which hit President Jair Bolsonaro, are the most recent element of wear and tear that will be dealt with at the CPI. Brothers Luis Ricardo Miranda, an employee of the Ministry of Health, and Luis Miranda (DEM-DF), a federal deputy, revealed that they alerted the president more than three months ago to signs of irregularities.

The corruption scheme is attributed to the leader of the government in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR). Bolsonaro, who had information about the scheme and knew about Barros' involvement, can respond for prevarication. To avoid prosecution, he alleges he ordered former health minister Eduardo Pazzuelo to take action. The information that the mayor, Arthur Lira, would have guided Miranda to make public (“detonate”) the irregularities draws attention.

The government's support base in the National Congress, designed with the articulation with the so-called “centrão” (the physiological right) in the election for the presidency of the Chamber and the Senate, takes advantage of the situation of greater instability. In the Senate, the composition is more unfavorable to the government, even more so with the centrality of the Pandemic CPI. In the Chamber, Arthur Lira conducts the work with an iron hand, especially after the change in the procedural rules.

In view of the government's situation, the invoice for the “centrão” is more expensive. The “lira low clergy program”, as columnist Vinicius Torres Freire classifies, is to pull out amendments, positions, benefits and projects of interest to obstruct the threat of impeachment. Pressure and lobbying for measures to favor supporters for the elections and the acceleration of reforms to meet the pressures of big capital is growing.

With the need for the government to give signals to the market and deliver promises to big capital, the neoliberal program advances with the leadership of Congress, with the support of the Bolsonarist right and the non-Bolsonarist right, articulating fractions of international and national capital. The steamroller passed in the privatization of Eletrobras. It had already passed the approval of the autonomy of the Central Bank.

Now, next in line is the privatization of the Post Office. On the agenda, there are still administrative reform, tax measures, changes in the electoral law (such as the district and the return of private financing), projects of interest to agribusiness (indigenous lands and land regulation) and the bullet bench (regulation of terrorism). .

Significant street demonstrations are a new element, both due to national reach and the number of participants in the protests. The acts were a show of strength; popular movements regained political leadership and expressed the unity of the left, encouraging progressive sectors. The acts had a growth on June 19, compared to May 29, but they did not make a qualitative leap, which depends on the movement of working class bands.

With the precipitation of the Covaxin scheme crisis and the deterioration of the government's political conditions, an extraordinary meeting of the Fora Bolsonaro campaign decided to call for acts across the country on July 3. The 24th of July remains on the calendar, with more time to move forward in the process of preparation and mobilization with the unions and popular movements in the territories.

On June 30, there will be an event in Brasilia to increase pressure on the mayor, Arthur Lira, when a super-request for impeachment will be presented, which will bring together the left and figures from the center and the right.

The street demonstrations for “Bolsonaro Out” consolidated the change in the situation, which had been altered with the resumption of Lula’s political rights, which put the left back in the electoral game with the prospect of resuming the federal government. Lula began to exercise his role as leader of the opposition to the Bolsonaro government, gave greater unity to the progressive camp, attracted sectors from the center and opened a channel of direct dialogue with the Brazilian people.

Our political field has played an important role in building the national Fora Bolsonaro campaign, which has driven the movement and the demonstration agenda. A tactical unit is designed for the Frente Brasil Popular, the majority sector of the Frente Povo Sem Medo (MTST and Intersindical), leftist parties (PT, PCdoB and PSOL), the forum of centrals and civil society entities. A segment is breaking away from the Frente Povo Sem Medo, composed of UP, MES/PSOL, CST, PCB, which are articulated against the unity of the left around Lula in the 2022 elections and defend the candidacy of Glauber Braga.

The non-Bolsonarist right has an opportunity to increase the burden against Bolsonaro and make use of the impeachment request to supplant the current president and make viable the 3rd way against Lula, who appears consolidated as a leftist candidate. In the IPEC poll released this week, Lula appears with 49% and would win in the 1st round. The neoliberal right controls important state governments, has political strength, reference in society, programmatic trust of fractions of the bourgeoisie and of the great media.

In an adverse situation, with the possibility of advancing the impeachment process, Bolsonaro maintains the threat of radicalization, with ideological discourse and the mobilization of loyal supporters. The agenda of acts with bikers in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and more recently in Chapecó (SC) points to its support base. Bolsonaro has politically used control over strategic areas of the government, such as the Ministry of Justice (Anderson Torres) and the Advocacy General of the Union (André Mendonça), in addition to the role played by the Attorney General of the Republic Augusto Aras.

It is not possible to rule out the possibility of the extreme right making use of destabilization devices and opening a confrontation. Movements in the Armed Forces strain the Army's disciplinary regulations and hierarchy. The hardening of Bolsonarist sectors in the Military Police in the states demonstrates the president's influence among police officers.

Trends and scenarios  

The unfolding of the ongoing crisis and the deepening deterioration of the government strengthen the struggle of popular forces to “Fora Bolsonaro” and open a window for the non-Bolsonarist right to move to a firmer position for impeachment to remove Bolsonaro from the electoral game in 2022 and enable the third way.

Journalist Hélio Doyle reported in an article that “articulations, still in their infancy, involving businessmen, the military and a few politicians with a mandate” are underway to articulate the impeachment and prevent former President Lula from winning the elections in 2022.

For the long term, the evolution of the pandemic, more precisely vaccination, and the economic scenario are decisive for the political dispute and for the elections. Management of the water crisis, which could lead to a blackout in states such as São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Paraná, depending on the amount of rainfall, is an additional element.

Vaccination advances, slower than necessary, but Brazil reached the mark of 25 million vaccinated with two doses against covid-19 (12% of the population). The total vaccinated with one dose reached 70 million people (32% of the population). As vaccination advances outside the country, the supply of immunizers increases and we can accelerate through the capacity of the National Immunization Program. The pandemic may be under control in the first half of 2022.

Regarding the economy, the most “pessimistic” reading highlights the low level of economic activity, the maintenance of high levels of unemployment, the erosion of income with high inflation of basic products and services, the increase in indebtedness and default. Consequently, the deterioration of workers' living conditions opens up space for the neoliberal right to displace Bolsonaro, dragging sectors of the bourgeoisie and attracting the most conservative electorate dissatisfied with the government.

Bolsonaro's bet is to stimulate some economic recovery, open the box, make investments in some areas and create a new social program of greater scope. Market analysts point to growth of 5% this year, which will spill over as an effect of improvement in the lives of the poorest workers.

Growth in the first quarter was above expectations for stagnation, in a favorable context of devalued exchange rates, low interest rates and the recovery of China and the US. The expansion of federal transfers to state and municipal participation funds signals an increase in economic activity and tax collection.

Bolsonaro will have to go through the desert of the Covaxin crisis. In this case, he will be in better political conditions in 2022 than the current ones, especially with the advancement of vaccination and with some level of economic growth. Thus, he can build a larger support base than the current one and attract fractions of the bourgeoisie interested in Lula's defeat.

Challenges

The intensification of polarization implies organization and preparation of popular forces for the intensification of the class struggle until the elections. Now, the task is to move forward with the “Fora Bolsonaro” campaign to wear out the current government as much as possible and try to overthrow it.

At the same time, the challenge of ideologically disputing and involving sections of the working class is growing, defending income, salary and employment policies.

We need to discuss points for a national construction program, articulate the most advanced leftist forces and campaign in society in defense of popular emergency measures to face the national crisis, such as:

-Avoidance of the spending ceiling to resume the State's investment capacity.

- Proposal for advanced progressive tax reform to finance an income and employment program.

-Political reform to overcome the institutional crisis.

-Reorientation of foreign policy towards greater autonomy in relation to the United States.

In the process of preparing for the elections, it will be necessary to involve democratic and progressive forces to defeat the extreme right and build a militant campaign in defense of popular emergency measures to face the national crisis. The election will be a decisive war to defeat fascism and confront neoliberalism.

*Igor Felipe Santos is a journalist.

 

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