The political minority of the left

Image: Paulinho_Fluxuz


Under the impact of the biggest pandemic in the history of Brazil and a true genocide of the people, leftist forces decide to walk their own separate paths in the municipal elections

The scandalous priority given to partisan and particularist interests unrelated to the construction of a democratic and popular alternative to the country's crisis in the first round of the 2020 elections expresses the political and moral minority of the Brazilian left. A national initiative is needed to resume the possible and necessary course of the unit under the risk of a major disaster.

The criticism that blames the PT for the almost generalized lack of unity among left-wing and center-left candidates in the first round of the 2020 elections in the main capitals of the country is unfair and partial. This responsibility must certainly be shared with the sectarian sectors of the PSOL, majority in important centers, with the priority of the PC do B in, at the same time, intending to reinforce its own legend and build alliances with the neoliberal right, with the nationally diffused posture of the PSB and, certainly, with the attitude in search of Ciro Gomes' center-right identity.

In the case of Rio de Janeiro in particular, according to Freixo himself, from the beginning the PT had an impeccable attitude towards building unity with the PSOL, offering the historic leadership of Benedita Silva as deputy. There were three internal pre-candidacies to PSOL that disputed with the public leadership of Freixo, against the unity with the PT that led him to give up the only potentially competitive candidacy to be victorious, in a frentist dynamic, in the dispute for mayor of Rio de Janeiro.

In Porto Alegre, where the PT publicly built the ticket that brings together two important national public leaders, Manoela D´Ávila and Miguel Rossetto, the unit always collided with the ultra-sectarian posture of the local majority of the PSOL, whose main public expression is Luciana Genro. In Fortaleza, against the majority of the PSOL Municipal Board, and by a few votes, based on the sectarian position of the PSOL state deputy, the proposal for alliances with the PT was defeated. Despite the unitarian position of the national majority of the PSOL, expressing the positions of Guilherme Boulos and Juliano Medeiros, the PSOL only supports one PT candidacy in Recife, that of Marília Arraes.

The PC do B, on the other hand, has combined, based on the positions of its new national leadership, with significant highlights for the leadership of Deputy Orlando Silva and the Governor of Maranhão, Flávio Dino, a strategy of own candidacies in the sense of forming a party for the election of councilors and a proposal for an alliance, whose centrality is to join forces with the neoliberal right in a so-called broad front. In a recent interview with Veja magazine, Orlando Silva even stated that PT and PSOL belong to the past of Brazilian politics! Governor Flávio Dino's proposal to form, in the future with the PSB, PDT and other forces, a kind of “new PMDB” in Brazilian politics also seems to operate in a democratic void.

If the parties of the Brazilian left are unable to unite, the tendency of center-left parties such as the PSB and PDT, in their regional diversity, is to move towards fractionation, as has been happening since the 2014 elections. PDT under the leadership of Ciro Gomes has repeatedly assumed positions that are viscerally aggressive towards the left, in particular in relation to Lula's leadership and the PT.

This anti-unity dynamic is, therefore, not exclusive to the PT, but certainly the result of the convergence of several particularist and sectarian dynamics that have prevailed until now, with few and honorable exceptions. The responsibility of the PT as the largest party seems more explicit in the case of São Paulo, where after Haddad's non-competitive candidacy, the party closed in on its own candidacy, without aura and localist, as an alternative to the ticket Boulos\Erundina.

The result so far is that a broad spectrum of intellectuals, activists and public leaders in the artistic milieu, traditionally supporters of PT candidacies, have stated their preference for the PSOL ticket. In Belo Horizonte, seriously, an entire virtuous process of public and programmatic construction of unity between PSOL, PT and PC do B and other left-wing parties was broken by a direct action by the majority of the PT's national leadership, crystallizing a situation in which PSOL, PT and PC do B present themselves in the first round with their own candidacies and very probably minority ones.

Thus, only in Belém do Pará, where the PSOL candidacy for mayoralty, of former PT mayor Edmilson Rodrigues, appears as potentially victorious, was it possible to form a wide range of alliances, unifying the PT in vice, PC do B, PSB and PDT.

When the entire conservative field and the neoliberal right unified around a program of rupture with the 1988 Constitution and a neoliberal refounding of the Brazilian State, organizing the impeachment process without characterizing President Dilma Rousseff as a crime, a part of the The Brazilian left refused to form a leftist front in defense of democracy. PSOL sectarian leaders refused to take to the streets in defense of democracy and even publicly supported Operation Lava-Jato. The astonishing calculation was that, with the destruction of the corrupted political system of which the PT and PC do B would form part, a new mass leadership around the PSOL would emerge. The PSTU, which maintained this position, suffered a serious split and practically ended its current course for decades and structurally almost marginal in the class struggle.

Then came the whole process that culminated in Lula's trial, conviction and imprisonment. The unforgettable historical scene of Lula, at the São Bernardo do Campo Metalworkers' Union, raising the hands of Boulos and Manuela D'Ávila, seemed to signal a new horizon of unity. However, even with Lula imprisoned, PSOL maintained its own candidacy in the 2018 elections and, still, under pressure from the sectarian wing of the party, which accused it of having reconciled with the PT. The second round of presidential elections was certainly, in context, a virtuous moment of unity in the face of Bolsonaro's imminent electoral victory.

Not even the trauma of the murder of Marielle Franco and an unprecedented resumption of the number of murders of PT sympathizers, landless, quilombola and indigenous peoples leaders gave strength to political unity. Even so, the idea of ​​a strategic and programmatic unity of the Brazilian left did not prosper, limiting itself to the unity of parliamentary action, meetings in party foundations, on mass fronts.

The Temer government, with its parliamentary majority, began to approve laws and PECs, such as PEC-95, which reached the very historical core of Brazilian workers' rights and the system of social rights provided for in the 1988 Constitution. left and center-left politics made substantive advances, in particular with the aggressive and destructive posture of Ciro Gomes.

Finally came the election of Bolsonaro, unifying neo-fascist forces and all of Brazilian neoliberalism in the second round. Even so, Ciro Gomes denied support for the Haddad & Manuela candidacy.

Now, in the midst of an electoral political dispute in the second year of the Bolsonaro government, under the impact of the biggest pandemic in the history of Brazil and a true genocide of the Brazilian people, the left-wing forces have decided to tread their own separate paths in most of the country's capitals. in municipal elections!

This term – political and moral minority – has never been used to describe the historical posture of the Brazilian left in the midst of a crisis, whose potential for devastation is certainly greater than that of 1964. It is formulated to designate not a tactical or strategic error, but the fruit of an incorrect assessment of a given situation, but to designate immaturity, the lack of stature and political density to face a historic crisis of this magnitude. Because it is obvious that none of the left forces have, by itself, the capacity to open a way to face and build an alternative to the crisis. Certainly, the political unity of the lefts is an unavoidably necessary condition – although certainly not sufficient – ​​to overcome the Brazilian crisis.

Without this political unity of the lefts, capable of polarizing the center-lefts, the force of convening and public voice, of energy creation, of political polarization with Bolsonarism and the wide range of neoliberal alliances is seriously diminished in a decisive moment. It is very likely that, in most capitals, the disunited forces of the left will not even be able to make it to the second round of the 2020 elections.

Therefore, it is insufficient to speak of political minority: the prioritization of particularist party interests, in this context of extreme drama, expresses a moral minority of party majorities, national or local, which conduct electoral processes in relation to their historical responsibilities in the face of the traditions of fight and rights of the Brazilian people.

This political disunity of the Brazilian left has a direct impact on the political conjuncture and on the national correlation of forces: it impedes the process of the democratic struggle, which has its centrality in the late-initiated “Fora Bolsonaro” movement. The democratic struggle fundamentally depends on the unity of the left to gain dynamism, in a context in which the entire neoliberal field defends Bolsonaro’s mandate and the continuity of the program to refound the Brazilian state, despite its internal disputes and divergences.

In fact, we are already at an impasse in the democratic movement “Fora Bolsonaro”, after a late promising start, in the sense of polarizing the Brazilian situation in the second half. But the risk today is exactly the opposite: a Bolsonaro government renewed in its capacity for polarization, recomposing a programmatic unit of the neoliberal field, disputing among themselves the protagonism, jettisoning the lefts from central disputes.

There have, in fact, been two major political movements in recent days. The first of these was a recomposition of forces by the Bolsonaro government, after its most crisis situation, with the split of Moro, the arrest of Queiroz, the growing tensions with the STF and the downward trend in its popularity. The renegotiation episode with the radical neo-liberal platform of Guedes, in its relationship with the demands and expectations of the financial sectors, the neutralization of the scandal conflicts of the former Minister of Education, the house arrest of Queiroz and the relief of judicial pressures on Flávio Bolsonaro, the reduction of public confrontational attacks with the institutions suggest a certain stabilization of a strategic center of power of the Bolsonaro government, certainly supported by its military base. But certainly, the great factor favorable to this regrouping of forces was Bolsonaro's appropriation of the immense social impact of emergency aid, many times superior and concentrated in time in relation to that of Bolsa-Família.

The second major political movement was the neoliberal forces, which dispute with the Bolsonaro government the hegemony of the process. The recent interview by Rodrigo Maia, scandalously stating that the crimes committed by the Dilma government were much more serious than those allegedly committed by the Bolsonaro government, came to consolidate a position taken by the governors of the PSDB, Fernando Henrique, Rede Globo and Folha de S. Paulo, in defense of Bolsonaro's mandate in the face of political referrals by the left and center-left in favor of his impeachment. Without this political movement, the reunification of the neoliberal program, the dynamics of recomposing the Bolsonaro government would not have been possible.

Faced with a Bolsonaro government recovered from its most serious crisis, a renegotiation of the neoliberal program – which now had the confirmation of Bolsonaro’s veto by the majority of the Chamber of Deputies to readjust the wages of civil servants, previously defeated in the Senate – its symbol On a larger scale, the disunity of the left reinforces a lack of capacity to build political alternatives with credibility and potentially majority social support.

When fighting in adverse situations, it is necessary to recognize certain situations and dynamics that are not within the reach of the political will of the left to change, even with a willful and even heroic effort. This is not, however, the case for the unity of the lefts at the political level: this depends on the majority forces that direct the main parties.

This unit, unifying an alternative and polarizing discourse with the neoliberal and fascist alliance, would certainly have a large and important social audience. Lula's historic leadership continues to be fundamental at the national level. A unity of the left in municipal disputes would be decisive to nationalize the dispute and compete with the neoliberal program. Resignation with disunity is definitely not the best policy at this time.

Every achievement of party unity, even partial, must be welcomed. Program units and unitary actions of social movements on key issues can be developed. Co-governance agreements, alliances and participation in future governments, with equal distribution of advertising time in the campaign, have a wide field of possibility for negotiation.

These efforts at political convergence could restore the place of the Brazilian left and center-left nationally in the dispute over alternatives for the country. Without this effort, the very path of hope, hard-won in these years of dramatic resistance, can gradually close.

*Juarez Guimaraes Professor of Political Science at UFMG. Author, among other books, of Risk and future of Brazilian democracy (Perseu Abramo Foundation).

Originally published on the portal Major Card



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