The Sphinx of Sunday

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By SAVIO BONES*

In the urgent time in which we live, there is no room for those who brood over the mistakes and abandonment committed in the past, due to grudges or idiosyncrasies

On the 7th of June, several Brazilian capitals registered demonstrations against the Bolsonaro Government and its policies and against racism. There were protests in Brasília, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre. In Belém, there was repression justified by the impossibility of agglomerations. They were very important acts and deserve to be analyzed in their due magnitude so that the teachings that the moment demands can be drawn from them.

Throughout the country, a number of militants and activists from popular democratic movements and advanced mass sectors participated. In addition to the meaning of removing the exclusivity of the streets from proto-fascist Bolsonarism, it is necessary to recognize that the acts were restricted and fragmented.

In some cities, more than one activity was carried out, with different motivations and axes and different social composition. However, most of the members were young proletarians or impoverished self-employed workers – and for this very reason, the majority were black and brown people, and students, mobilized by entities with little tradition of struggle or political-party ties, such as organized supporters and artistic-cultural production.

The demonstrations were centered on the democratic issue and brought with them an anti-racist bias – the result of the influence of the broad popular mobilizations detonated in the US after the death of George Floyd and its combination with local tragedies.

In the summons, in the mobilizations and during the acts and demonstrations; the central question of the situation, the defense of the constitutional democratic political regime, was approached in a diffuse and dubious way.

On the one hand, many participated fighting “for democracy” as if the democratic-constitutional framework no longer existed and Brazil was living in dictatorial times.

Many others, correctly, adopted the slogan of “defense of democracy”, understood as the preservation of democratic freedoms in the face of constant threats made by Bolsonaro and his henchmen.

The anti-racist slogans had the merit of being directly linked to the popular classes and the denouncement of police violence – and, thus, also assumed a democratic dimension.

Even with dubious and contradictory approaches, the reduced number of militants and activists involved, the absence of democratic civil society entities in the convening and mobilization, including those of a popular nature such as trade union centrals and political parties, the demonstrations contributed to the accumulation of the struggle democracy underway in the country. And for that very reason, they deserve a positive rating.

But it is necessary to contain the euphoria of desire. There are those who have seen in the demonstrations the opening of a new cycle in national political life and an apotheotic renewal of “the left”, which, from then on, would be purified by the distance from political parties and mass popular organizations, now reduced to the condition of the traditional and powerless left.

It is good to remember that many of those who announced last Sunday as the inaugural point of a new period, previously greeted, with the same vain illusion, self-deception or opportunism, the developments arising from the June 2013 days.

As courageous and important as Sunday's demonstrations were, they also highlighted the shortcomings of the democratic camp. Such obstacles need to be overcome, consciously and collectively, so that the current Government can be consequently challenged, barring the advance of the Bolsonarist extreme right and defeating the self-coup.

The simple occupation, symbolic or not, of the streets is not or will not be able to put an end to this Government. If that were the case, with the days of struggle of the Chilean people, the Piñera government would have collapsed and Trump would have had his contacts.

The Bolsonaro Government will not fall for disorderly, disjointed and disconnected struggles and mobilizations. To defeat him, it is necessary to bring together the country's democratic forces to act, articulated and permanently, in all spheres of national life – seeking increasingly higher degrees of organicity.

To enhance the “war of position”, it is urgent to adopt clear objectives to be achieved in each initiative – having consensus as a starting point, both in political and civil society.

The mobilizations, and their summons, must be unitary and guarantee the involvement of representative popular entities of the mass and provide the effective participation of the great Brazilian majorities.

At the same time, one must be on the lookout for ghetto worshippers, plotters, and those who thrive on divisions and internalist interests.

In the urgent time in which we live, there is no room for those who brood over the mistakes and abandonments committed in the past, due to grudges or idiosyncrasies. For those who formulate policies based on their own, private or group interests, to the detriment of building a national salvation movement.

Among the existing consensuses in the democratic and progressive sectors, more or less advanced, is the recognition of the current Government's determination to destroy the democratic political regime, erected in the 1988 Constitution.

Faced with the seriousness of the risk, some popular segments, cut off from the national will, have not responded with concrete political positions at the height of their own assessments and analyses. Faced with the intensity of the moment, a response with the same power is needed.

The most offensive, profound and lasting response to the Bolsonarist extreme right, to the self-coup march and to the destruction of the political regime is a broad front that involves all political forces, entities and individuals who are willing to isolate, stop, defeat and reduce Tupiniquim proto-fascism to what it has to be: a sad and short moment in Brazilian history.

A broad democratic unity is the most radical conclusion reached today against Bolsonarist pretensions. After all, in the face of the gravity of the moment, all forces are indispensable.

*Savio Bones, a journalist, is director of the Sergio Miranda Institute (Isem) and of the Brazilian Trade Union Observatory Clodesmidt Riani (OSB-CR).

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