parliamentary block

Dora Longo Bahia, Black Bloc, 2015 Silkscreen on fiber cement (12 pieces) - 39,5 x 19,5 cm each


Social movements cannot aim and expect paternalistic action from an eventual progressive government to resolve their demands.

As Lula's victory is virtually consolidated, the parliamentary elections gain redoubled importance, in a double sense. The first direction consists of electing the maximum number of deputies and senators identified with the democratic, progressive and leftist camp. Lula's governance conditions will significantly depend on the congressional force that this field will manage to build. The greater this force, the less concessions the government will have to make in order to govern.

The government will have a better chance of forwarding and approving public policies that meet the interests of the most needy, environmental sustainability policies and guarantee of rights if it has strong and faithful support in Congress. The very realization of structural reforms, with the aim of reducing the iniquitous mechanisms that make inequalities and injustices possible, will also depend on the expansion of this field in the Chamber and Senate.

The other direction concerns the profile of the benches in the center-left and left field that must be sought. The definition of this choice implies looking at the parliamentary performance of this field in the present and in the recent past. As for the current left and center-left benches, the verdict needs to be harsh: the benches made a mediocre opposition, even mediocre, except for a handful of deputies and senators. Bolsonaro practically had no parliamentary opposition, with the exception of a few episodes, such as the pandemic CPI.

Until today I always voted for PT candidates for the House and Senate. Dishearteningly, the current party benches are the worst in its history. At certain times, they became Arthur Lira's auxiliary line in the Chamber, like the secret budget and other episodes.

To a large extent, the benches of the center-left and left parties were even short of what could be defined as “parliamentary cretinism”, in the sense of Vladimir Lenin: these benches not only reduced the political struggle to parliamentary activity, but the struggle on parliamentary ground.

They practically never went where the afflicted people were, abandoned in death rows, given over to violence, hunger, unemployment and despair. They were not in Manaus when there was a lack of oxygen and when people died without breathing. They did not form formal or informal committees of parliamentarians to investigate the killing of Indians, the fires in the Amazon and in other biomes, environmental destruction, the disinherited people who live on the streets.

They did not wage a firm, courageous and mobilizing fight against Bolsonaro's constitutional excesses, against the degradation of democracy, against attacks on the rule of law and against the destruction of social rights and public policies. As a rule, they limited themselves to relying on the togas of superior court ministers.

With the respectable exceptions, these parliamentarians were quartered in their libraries and offices to carry out the lives insipid, devoid of reality. They sowed fear of the coup, but did not carry out any organized movement to resist the coup. They are parliamentarians who think more about party and electoral funding, cabinet budgets and public privileges, than about an effective commitment to change Brazil through action.

Parliamentary renewal does not always produce good results. But keeping most of the parliamentarians who are there tends not to produce any fruit for those who aim for deeper changes in Brazil. Therefore, this is the moment when it is necessary to risk change, renew.

In order to reduce the possibility of errors in the choices, it is necessary to make them based on criteria. The criteria must be oriented towards choices that give preference to candidacies that effectively represent and participate in the struggles of those sectors that are most afflicted, neediest and most deprived of rights. And candidacies that are practically engaged in crucial struggles of our time, that have a universalizing meaning, whose defeat would mean a defeat of humanity and, mainly, of the poorest.

Based on these parameters, the criteria indicate candidacies that represent, on the one hand, women, blacks, indigenous people, the poor, the periphery and other minority groups that fight for inclusion and civil rights. On the other hand, for candidacies that represent the struggles for environmental sustainability, for the transformation of democracy towards more equality and more justice, more rights and more well-being.

But there is another factor that needs to be considered. Given the correlation of forces that exists in society and given the composition of the likely Lula government, everything indicates that there will be strong pressure from business sectors and conservative sectors in order to stop the most progressive agendas and policies. To face this pressure, it will be necessary to have a counter pressure that can only come from a political field located further to the left than the composition of the government.

This field will have to take an autonomous position from the government itself so that it can support it in all its progressive initiatives, but also be able to oppose conservative and anti-popular pressures. If the advent of this situation is a real and probable trend, then the criterion given indicates that it is also necessary to vote for candidates who are located on the left wing of the left and center-left parties.

It will be these parliamentarians who will be able to compose a left-wing bloc in Congress, aiming not only at parliamentary action, but also at extra-parliamentary level. As this block tends to be a minority, it will have to resort to mobilization and pressure from organized social movements in order to force progress towards progressive and transformative agendas and policies.

Social movements, in turn, cannot aspire to and expect paternalistic government action to resolve their claims. The history of all times and the lessons of recent defeats and setbacks prove that the best and safest way to guarantee achievements and rights is in the organization and mobilization of social and popular movements.

*Aldo Fornazieri He is a professor at the School of Sociology and Politics. Author, among other books, of Leadership and power (countercurrent).


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