The Bolsonarist Avalanche

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By VALERIO ARCARY*

We can win. Without denialism, with cold blood, it's time to fight until the end

“Recognize the fall, but don't be discouraged.\ Get up, shake the dust and get back on top (Paulo Vanzolini).

Sunday's results left most left-wing people alarmed. Frustration is a bitter feeling. There is much anxiety, even anguish, between us. Something understandable, because the expectation of victory in the first round was generated by the polls. Time to lick wounds. Cold blooded time. Lula conquered 48,43% of the valid ones. Missing, only 1,57% to decide in the first round. That was the most important information that came out of the polls.

But that wasn't all: a reactionary “avalanche” surprised. Realistic analyzes warned that nothing was decided, and we could have a second round. Everything will depend on a lucid tactical line and a revolutionary willingness to fight activism. The negotiation of support for Simone Tebet and Ciro Gomes is legitimate. But three main dangers threaten victory on October 30th. The “already won” or the “already lost”, instead of the call to fight. The reduction of the campaign to the “romanticization of the past”, instead of a solemn commitment with concrete proposals for the future. The danger of “turning to the center”, instead of an implacable polarization against Jair Bolsonaro and the fascist danger.

Bolsonaro's vote was much higher than the polls predicted, reaching 51 million votes, and winning in the state of São Paulo; the election of Cláudio Castro in Rio de Janeiro took place in the first round; Tarcísio de Freitas moved into the second round as the favorite in São Paulo, and Onix Lorenzoni in Rio Grande do Sul; the far-right neo-fascist wing elected Mourão, Damaris, and the astronaut to the Senate; Sergio Moro and Deltan Dallagnol won in Paraná, Ricardo Salles and Eduardo Pazuello are vote champions, and the Bolsonarist party elected 99 federal deputies.

The general elections also confirmed that Lula's weight is much greater than that of the left, even considering the allies of bourgeois parties who called for the vote. Those who defended Bolsonaro won in nine states in the first round (AC, DF, GO, MG, MT, PR, RJ, RO and TO). Candidates for governor who supported Lula won in six (AP, CE, MA, PA, PI, RN). This outcome will weigh, too. Yes, six million votes is an imposing difference, but nothing is guaranteed. Let's be serious. The danger is "real and immediate". Any underestimation of Jair Bolsonaro will be a fatal mistake. Downplaying the seriousness of the dispute would be unwise. Sunday signaled that there is uncertainty.

Bolsonaro benefited from a dragnet of useful votes from the other candidates, in the last two days before Sunday, although smaller than in 2018. Bolsonarism revealed, once again, that it has social implantation in the mass of the bourgeoisie and in the middle class and capillarity nationwide, especially in small towns, in the Midwest and in the South, where the weight of agribusiness is greater. Jair Bolsonaro's vote was much broader than the neo-fascist current in the southeast and even in the northeast, even though his hegemony is in “deep” Brazil.

It confirmed a popular audience in sectors organized by neo-Pentecostal churches in the extreme outskirts of large cities, especially in Rio de Janeiro. The extreme right collects the social resentment of the middle strata, but ideologically feeds and responds to deep sexist, racist, homophobic prejudices that remain intact.

Even after the health catastrophe of the pandemic, after the explosion of misery with tens of thousands condemned to starvation, after the increase in social inequality with wages falling, uninterruptedly, in the last four years, after all records for burning in the Amazon were broken , after the coup threats, in short, the entire tragedy. September XNUMXth had already revealed Bolsonarism’s ultra-reactionary shocking social force in the streets.

The lesson from this first round is that the country remains fractured, socially and politically. Neofascism is a mass political movement, and it will not stop tormenting us if Lula wins the elections. We must be aware that Jair Bolsonaro represents the threat of a historic defeat: the demoralization of a generation. A cold wind blew this Sunday, but the danger of a “Siberian winter” remains in the air.

Neither has lost, nor has won. Angry pessimism does not help. The optimism of self-deception does not help. Militancy is maximum activism, not passive quietism. It is decisive to believe that, if we fight until the end, we can win. The moral strength of leftist militancy and social movement activism can make a difference. These last six years have not been in vain. Lula won in the Northeast and most of the major metropolitan areas: São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Belém. We only lost in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.

Lula won the vote of the vast majority of the poorest, women, youth and the Northeast. Abstention of 20% was the average of the last elections. It seems unlikely that it will decline. The reduction in blank and null votes has already been very significant, perhaps even increasing. But there is still the possibility of dispute between unionized, organized workers who earn between two and five minimum wages, and there are many millions.

Lula and the command of the Front should not reduce the campaign to nostalgia for the past. We need to present proposals for concrete changes in life. Raising the minimum wage, public works so that there are millions of jobs, strengthening the SUS, expanding racial quotas in education and public services, revising the labor reform, repealing the spending ceiling, taxes on large fortunes, raising the exemption from income tax, zero deforestation, defense of reserves for the indigenous population, rights of women and the LGBTQIA+ population. Do not give in to the pressure to turn to the center.

We can win. Without denialism, with cold blood, the time is to fight until the end. Less than four weeks is a break to occupy the streets of the country, open the dialogue in the workplace, talk in the neighborhoods, dispute the extended family, mobilize activism and achieve victory.

*Valério Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of No one said it would be Easy (boitempo).

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