The lesson from the brothers – you have to govern with people on the street

Image: Tacita Dean


It is the people on the street who change the correlation of forces, block the coup d'état and sustain the changes

Not even the coldest little heart failed to be enraptured when seeing that crowd in the street. Plaza de Mayo celebrating democracy and human rights. A mega political act convened directly by President Alberto Fernández and his vice Cristina Kirchner.

Lula went to Argentina to thank the solidarity he received from that people, and especially from Alberto Fernández, who, even in the midst of the presidential campaign, made a point of coming to Brazil to visit him in prison.

The economic situation and the Argentine political scenario are not a bed of roses. The Peronists have lost their majority in the Senate, there are strains in the relationship between the president and the vice president, among other problems.

However, the tradition of mobilization and intense politicization instigated by progressive political leaders is still alive and well in Argentina. There, the left has not set about cultivating illusions about the nature of the media or about the supposed “neutrality” of the judiciary.

After the giant rally on Friday, the following day Lula enjoyed a beautiful roast, won a painting with Evita's face and knitted at length with Cristina (and another of her ideological hard core representatives of – La Cámpora). By the way, if the mainstream media Brazilian If it weren't so rudimentary, I would have reported and tried to analyze that lunch.

The fact is that even with its differences and complexities, the Argentine left as a whole does not shy away from political-ideological confrontations. It calls people not only to vote, but also to actively support their proposals and their governments.

Looking now to another neighboring country, Bolivia. The popular mega-march that took place between November 22nd and 29th was practically ignored in the media.

Evo Morales and the MAS (Movement to Socialism) led a giant mobilization with the support and – to support – President Luis Arce. Crowds flocked to the capital in repudiation of the coup elite, shielding the Arce government.

It was a massive response, a resounding reaction to threats from the Bolivian right that continues to act relentlessly, trying to overthrow the popular government.

But what does Lula's Peronist rally in Argentina have to do with the march of indigenous peoples and Bolivian peasants?

Despite enormous historical-social differences between the Argentine and Bolivian lefts, the strategy that has been victorious (not to mention Venezuela) involves betting on the mobilization of the people – not retreating from political-ideological clashes.

In Brazil, during the eight years of Lula and five of Dilma, neither the federal government nor the PT considered including the people on the move in the political equation. Governance would come only from electoral victories and subsequent arrangements with parliamentarians, parties and some sectors of the bourgeoisie.

In order not to be lacking in historical accuracy, at the height of the 2005 crisis, Lula hinted/warned – just once – that he could summon the masses to the streets in defense of his mandate. It was enough for the gang upstairs to cool down their coup d'état.

Considering the advance of neo-fascism around the world, the strength of neoliberal Bolsonarism in Brazil and the recent experiences of our neighbors, would it not be time for the PT to realign the tactics, the program, the strategy and the very notion of governance of a probable Lula government?

Are we in 2002 or 2022? Does the curse of the Bourbons haunt us (the PT forgets nothing but learns nothing?)

Is it enough for us to win the elections to publish a new “letter to Brazilians” – signaling moderation and firming commitments to neoliberal dogmas? Would Alckmin Vice fulfill the role of “calming the markets”, rigidly circumscribing the limits of the new Lula government?

Although tempting, mere repetition of what has already been done is sure to fail. We took a hit, right? Following the same old known paths, apparently shorter and simpler, will only lead us to a new failure.


“New bugs, new bugs please”

Let's ignore for a second the question of vice president, alliances or details of the program. How will we sustain the Lula government? Which paths to take to neutralize the right's offensive and keep the people on our side? How to implement our proposals?

The challenge of this new governance involves expanding tactics and diversifying operations, starting with communication, which must undergo a complete revolution. Furthermore, it will be necessary to incorporate the engagement of the masses into the Lula/PT strategy – which will become an effective support and dynamic pole of the future government.

Things are very bad, we know. In the current scenario, any small change for the better will demand a lot of social struggle, ideological firmness and communication skills.

Ensuring the conditions for Lula to govern by radicalizing democracy and implementing structural reforms involves strengthening not only the organization in the territories but also the permanent mobilization of those from below.

Call the people! Lula cannot fall into the temptation of making “magic” electoral agreements with people without votes over there. It would be a factor of confusion and demobilization. At all times, but especially in times of crisis, Lula must take into account the teachings of our hermanos: it is the people on the street who change the correlation of forces, block the coup d'état and sustain the changes.

* Julian Rodrigues is a journalist, professor and activist of the LGBTI and Human Rights movement.


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