The election for the presidency of the Chamber

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By LUIS FELIPE MIGUEL*

It is in the streets, not in cabinet meetings, that we must place our efforts. It is in the light of the reflections on it that the election for the presidency of the Chamber must be thought

I understand that it is difficult to support Rodrigo Maia's candidate for the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies. And it doesn't help to sugarcoat the pill by saying he's a “Democrat” or something. It is not. He is a coup plotter at the service of big capital's regressive agenda. Baleia Rossi, its possible candidate, has a long record of disservice to the country.

This has to be recognized, with complete clarity. Still, I think participation in the bloc is necessary. The “left” – PSOL, PT, PCdoB, PDT and PSB – would have 132 votes (out of 513) in the election for the presidency of the Chamber. Not enough to win, but enough to take the election to the second round.

Would it have been better, then, to have launched a candidacy of its own and negotiated support only in the second round? I thought so too, but there are factors to consider – other than that this train has already passed.

Voting is individual and secret. The presence of a candidate from the “left”, with no chance of victory, would encourage the defections of deputies from PSB, PDT, PCdoB and even PT, who were already bargaining with Maia's group and even with Arthur Lira, Bolsonaro's candidate. Better, therefore, to secure unity and negotiate with more force.

Besides, taking a stand in the election for the mayor's office only speaks to the initiated. It has little political repercussion beyond the circle of the already highly politicized. An open negotiation, which does not erase or minimize the many and profound differences that separate the left from Maia, is more politicizing than simply marking a position.

Nor is it expected to obtain from Baleia Rossi a commitment to guide the impeachment or to give up the neoliberal agenda. It's illusory. But it is possible to guarantee that the main attacks on liberal freedoms will not be ruled out – such as the license for the police to kill (“illicitude excluded”) or the gag in educational institutions (“school without a party”).

The dividing line in the coup coalition, between those who align themselves with Bolsonaro and those who want to distance themselves from him, is not in respect for democracy, which neither side has. It is in how much liberal rights and freedoms are or are not preserved.

There is a sector of the left for which detonating liberalism is the ultimate proof of radicalism, so this difference becomes irrelevant. However, these rights and freedoms (expression, manifestation, organization, due process of law, etc.) make all the difference in the conditions in which the popular struggle takes place.

Because it is there – in the streets, not in cabinet meetings – that we must place our efforts. It is in the light of its reflections that the election for the presidency of the Chamber must be considered.

It's not like supporting a “broad front” presidential candidate and silencing leftist discourse. It's the opposite. It is to try to prevent the conditions for the public debate from deteriorating even further to embrace the discourse of the left.

With skill, it is also possible to extract the commitment that Guedes' agenda will not be imposed down the throats of Congress. The presence of left-wing parliamentarians on the board of directors and at the head of commissions is important with a view to this objective. The presence in the block is to guarantee that too.

Finally, a defeat by Bolsonaro, who is strongly prioritizing the election in the Chamber, is far from unimportant. It reduces the co-option power of the presidency over deputies. And it sharpens the internal dispute on the right, between Bolsonarism, João Dória and the DEM-MDB axis that Maia captains.

It's beautiful? No, it is not. But the policy is not recommended for those with a weak stomach. Never was.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB. Author, among other books, of Domination and resistance: challenges for an emancipatory policy (Boitempo).

 

 

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