The current situation

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By Aldo Fornazieri*

If there is something truly frightening about the situation, it is the inertia and passivity of the opposition, of the left

The current situation is defined by four main characteristics: 1) people abandoned in the midst of the pandemic, unemployment and growing poverty; 2) a government and a president who mistreat the living and mock the dead; 3) the beginning of a reaction by the STF against the authoritarian excesses of the president confronted by Bolsonarist radicalization; 4) the inertia, lethargy and passivity of the opposition.

1.

The Brazilian people have always been abandoned, manipulated, deceived by political and economic elites. But in moments of crisis, abandonment shows its most bloody, brutal, deadly face. All the shortcomings, criminal carelessness, and shameless plunder to which the people have been subjected are exasperated in pain and death. It was like this in the Spanish flu, it was like this in the other major economic and political crises and it is like this now with the coronavirus. Disoriented and without leaders, the people don't know whether to stay at home or take to the streets; whether you will have lunch or dinner; whether you die at home or in hospital queues. Children cannot say goodbye to their parents who are gone forever, their grandparents' grandchildren.

The people are disoriented, without command, without government, without leaders to lead them. So far, as far as is known, no deputy, not even from the left, has gone to the CEF queues to support the humiliated people to receive R$ 600. The deputies prefer the comfort of their homes, receiving more than R$ 30 thousand per month , apart from the rosary of privileges, than being where the people are. Which deputy was in the queues of hospitals to see and comfort the people in their pain, in their hopelessness and in their death? What is left for the people is despair, abandonment, anguish and devastating pain.

2.

A president and a government that mistreat the living make fun of the dead. No president and no government have been as explicitly evil-doers of the people as Bolsonaro and his government. In addition to withdrawing rights, proposing crumbs as help, humiliating people in queues to receive a miserable amount, Bolsonaro and Bolsonaristas, in their macabre drunkenness, in their thirst for blood, mock those killed by the pandemic, expressing a revulsion for the human , compassion, pain and solidarity. They harbor a terrifying contempt for the elderly, for the most fragile, seeing them all as disposable, because they consider themselves the strong, the invincible, the ones who have to rule. In their murderous arrogance, they do not consider being part of the common destiny of all human beings. Deep down, they harbor contempt for everyone's life and for their own lives.

3.

STF reactions and the radicalization of Bolsonaro and Bolsonarism. The STF, finally, seems to have realized the risks that Bolsonaro's authoritarian escalation represents for Brazil. Bolsonaro and Bolsonaristas never hid their desire to close the STF and Congress. The STF's containment measures and Sérgio Moro's break with the government, however, further boost the radicalization movement. Bolsonaro seeks to involve the Armed Forces in the coup adventure. Although the military support the president politically, it is unlikely that they will embark on the criminal irresponsibility that Bolsonarism incites them to.

As there is an enormous empty space in the political scene, Bolsonaro plays in confusion, division, chaos to emerge as the only alternative force to save the country. But since it has no strength in the present, it adopts an incremental authoritarianism to see how far it can go in the future. The break with Moro created an additional difficulty: the elements for an impeachment or for a more ostensive action by the STF are in place. In this way, Bolsonaro promotes a game of ambiguities: he appoints a palatable Minister of Justice for the STF; it seeks to secure itself in Congress with a base capable of avoiding impeachment; and radicalizes in the streets, intimidating the Supreme Court and parliamentarians, while appealing to the military. This is what has been seen in recent days in Brasilia.

No one can be intimidated by Bolsonaro's blackmail and threats and the fascist bravado of Bolsonarists who attack and threaten to kill journalists and opponents. This is what they want: to sow fear to gain power. The STF and Congress need to be pressured by the Democrats to take tough measures against the authoritarian rise of the president and his leaders. The Armed Forces need to be called upon to explain themselves whenever they are involved in coup calls. Calling Bolsonaro to responsibility is a pure waste of time. He needs to be denounced and unmasked in society, with convincing arguments, capable of adding support or social force for his impediment.

4.

 If there is something truly frightening about the situation, it is the inertia and passivity of the opposition, of the left. At the rear of the spontaneous movement of social sectors, lately, leftist parties have approved formal resolutions with the slogan “Fora Bolsonaro”. They are formal, because they will not have major consequences since they have not defined effective measures to carry out their tactics. There are huge doubts, for example, that the PT actually wants “Bolsonaro Out”.

Some PT analysts argue that it is better for Bolsonaro to bleed until 2022 to win the elections. This argument is irresponsible and mistaken: a) The argument is irresponsible because society and Brazil are above the electoral calculations of this or that party. The argument that the people have to bear the responsibility for having voted for Bolsonaro is a criminal argument against democracy. The people vote judging what they consider best for themselves. Bolsonaro won, 1) because he deceived the people and, 2) because his opponents were incompetent in persuading the people to vote for them, given all the circumstances of the electoral situation; b) The argument is wrong because a disaster by the Bolsonaro government is no guarantee of victory for any leftist candidate. I can never forget what a PT leader told me in an act against impeachment on Avenida Paulista: “it is better that the impeachment is approved, because Temer will fail and the PT will win the elections in 2018”. Temer, in fact, failed. But the result is there: Bolsonaro president.

It can be said that governors and mayors from leftist parties are doing their part in efforts to fight the pandemic, along with governors and mayors from other parties. Some do more, others less. Some get it right, some get it wrong. But they are all part of an unprepared, scrapped public system, hostile to poor people. In this disease brought by the rich to Brazil, it is the poor who die. The left needs to review their programs, their strategies for public health, education, etc. policies. What they have been presenting is insufficient and far from the needs of the poor population. They also need to review their strategies to combat inequality, as what they have presented so far are mitigation policies.

There are some combative left deputies. But there are some. Left-wing parliamentarians and parties need to be charged. They are well paid and have privileges to be representatives of the people. They need to be together with the people, in the CEF queues, in the hospital queues. They need to supervise, charge, demand what the people deserve. They need to lead, lead. Some intellectuals, like Vladimir Safatle, have declared that the left is dead. I don't know if it is. Maybe it is. It is more plausible to think that he is in his comfortable dens, with high wages and with the party fund. Or, take away the MST, the MTST and the activists from the periphery who are acting on the fronts of battle and solidarity and there is little left of the left in our country.

*Aldo Fornazieri is a professor at the School of Sociology and Politics (FespSP).

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