Is Bolsonaro melting?

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Julian Rodrigues*

The disorientation, the superficiality of the analyzes made by progressive journalists, intellectuals and leaders of the left, and by the cadres and base of the popular-democratic field, are impressive.

According to the latest Datafolha polls, 59% of the population does not want Bolsonaro to resign. 33% rate the president as good or great. And 25% think the government is regular. It is true that there was a drop of two points in the positive assessment and one point in those who think the government is average. Yes! Those who assess the government as bad/terrible increased by 6 points (from 33% to 39%).

It's true: the situation has changed and remains unstable. Too much of the account.

There is presumably a lot of conspiracy "upstairs". The traditional right, the neoliberals, the non-fascist bourgeoisie moves to neutralize Bolsonaro and assume the leading role. The president crossed certain lines. Hence, the traditional right operates a kind of "light opposition" to Bolsonarism, trying to isolate the alaneo-fascist from the government, and, of course, the president himself and his family. The most visible face of this movement is the Globo, the newspaper Folha de S. Paul and the now opinionated Rodrigo Maia.

There are three major social and political blocs: (a) extreme right, neo-fascism, Bolsonarism; b) ultraliberal, non-authoritarian right; (c) left and center-left, popular-democratic field. These poles express both classes and class fractions as well as their political and institutional representations. In times of crisis, the political projection of social forces with the struggle of parties in the superstructure does not precisely reflect the correlation of forces between classes.

There is an evident acceleration in the national and world political scenario. The pandemic and the economic crisis open a window of opportunity for the leftist camp to carry out the ideological dispute, in Brazil and across the planet. If almost all neoliberals are now Keynesians since childhood, it is up to us to go beyond presenting the super-necessary immediate proposals for state intervention in the economy and strengthening of public policies. A crisis of this size opens up space for the radical contestation not only of neoliberalism, but of capitalism as well. take from index prohibitorum the words socialism and communism.

Coming back here, to the grain. Those who do not do good analysis, make mistakes in the fight. Let's breathe. No, Bolsonaro was not neutralized by some general. Or if it was, we don't know details and it's not even a fait accompli and consolidated. No, Bolsonaro will not fall tomorrow. No, Bolsonaro is not melting. No, Bolsonaro will not resign. No, Maia will not seek impeachment (at least for now).

The disorientation, the impressionism, the superficiality of the reading carried out by so many of our progressive journalists, left-wing intellectuals, various leaders and by most of the middle and lower ranks of the popular-democratic field is impressive. We learned how to do conjuncture analysis. [30 years of erasure of Marxism-Leninism in the academy, in social movements and leftist parties have done gigantic damage. What a deficit! Sorry for the excessive sincerity].

In other articles I have already dealt with the “pathologization” of politics (about cursing Bolsonaro and the children of crazy people, instead of understanding neo-fascism structurally in the context of a worldwide offensive). I have also criticized the recurring underestimation of Bolsonaro (and the entire structure that elected him and the organic base that sustains him).

Without any reliable behind-the-scenes information, but full of faith and magical belief, we go out, like trained dogs, reproducing some click-hunting website from the progressive field, or even kicks from journalists (well-intentioned, but mistaken) who say: “the president no longer governs” (remember, this thesis has been circulating since February 2019!). Or else, we reproduce any news: the former captain is emotionally unstable, he cries a lot. Too bad there's a lack of more detailed articles – and pictures – for our delight, which record Bolso clapping his little hands on his thigh and grumbling.

At some point, a chorus of progressive activists begins to bet (and to believe, what is more serious) that the neo-fascist president can resign at any moment, or that he will back down, or not (oops), he was and he's back, that confused, etc. and such. Analyzing and studying the Bolsonarist offensive on the networks, few of "our" propose to analyze research, based on scientific data, reflect on how to get out of a strategic defensive, ditto Unravel the composition of the Bolsonarist block, its contradictions, the president's relations with Donald Trump, what the Army leadership actually thinks, the real movements of rentism, the nuances (if any) in the justice system, in the mainstream media (Globo x Record/SBT, for example), a gigantic effort that it seems that few of our field accept to face.

Is Bolsonaro really over?

It is clear that a kind of “light opposition” to Bolsonaro is growing, driven by the ultraliberals (who have not changed their program at all, did I say?). An opposition that gains muscle in the Chamber, in the STF, in sectors of the government itself, in the hegemonic media, and, yes, in part of the middle classes that now make “panelaços”. This is a part of the former toucan-demista electorate, which has become Bolsonarized and is now starting to return home.

The PT – the greatest expression of the left and progressivism – remains vetoed. does not appear in National Journal, nor in GloboNews. Vera Magalhães (anti-Bolso neomuse) shamelessly vetoes Lula on the program Wheel from TV Cultura labeling him as a prisoner in a home regime (lie!), who is not even a “player”.

The reasoning I develop below: (a) does not underestimate Bolsonaro, much less Bolsonarism; (b) does not handle psychological or psychiatric categories; (c) seeks to separate desire and anguish from analytical rationality as much as possible; (d) admits a profound lack of knowledge of the internal movements of the Armed Forces; (e) rejects military tutelage over the State; (d) does not believe that Mourão is an adult and Bolsonaro is a child.

Fact. The ultraliberals – supposedly democratic (but not so much so) – are indeed irritated with Bolsonaro. However, in the meantime, let's recall real life (and bias). It was this same financial elite, the traditional right, the “liberals”, the PSDB-DEM and Globo gang that made Captain Victory possible. neofaxio. They were the ones who overthrew Dilma and tore up the 1988 Constitution.

There are, however, nuances and contradictions. Closing the regime in some way has always been the objective of the family presidential. They never hid it. Bolsonaro's bet on this crisis is bold, yes. But it has logic (worse than the coronavirus is the devastation of the economy). It mobilizes not only the business community, it also dialogues with the working class, especially with precarious sectors. At the same time, Jair Bolsonaro and Paulo Guedes hold back the resources and the execution of emergency measures – boosting insecurity, strengthening the fear of unemployment and hunger, and the recommendation of social isolation.

Gossip, speculation and “desiring thoughts” cancelled, there is indeed a balanced scenario, with increasingly fierce disputes between the Bolsonarist core, state governments, the majority of Congress, the STF, Globo and non-authoritarian financial sectors. What is more important to assume, recognize for we all: the popular-democratic camp is still on the defensive, it is not the protagonist of the great battles.

More or less radical slogans, by themselves, do not solve the problems of the masses, much less magically change the political scene. They can even give us a subjective satisfaction, a taste of “now go”. Sorry, spells don't have the same effect as those angry Harry Potter spells. “Fora Bolsonaro” is far from being a “Expelliarmus.”

The energy spent on the debate on whether or not to adopt a radical, supposedly combative phrase would be better spent on publicizing the left's proposals to overcome the economic crisis and the health calamity; focus efforts on winning the public narrative about the severity of the pandemic and adopting measures to overcome it. Adopting the slogan for the urgent overthrow of Bolsonaro could, however, energize the social base of the left. And there is a kind of outcry for us all to follow this path.

However, seeing the clarity in the unfolding remains at the center of the discussion. What is the objective practical action when we assume this slogan? What are we waiting for? What will we do?

I hope that the majority of the left (if we really choose #forabozo) will defend new elections – #NeitherBolsonaroNemMourão – with the return of Lula’s political rights. (By the way, if Lula cannot be a candidate, it means that we will not yet have regained a liberal democracy. It is very important that we never forget this “small” detail).

If it is to propagate ideas that are not on the agenda, that are merely agitating, let us not embark on the illusion of imfix, at least. Maia/Mourão government? Not a chance (neither neo-fascists nor ultraliberals).

PS: More Marx, Lenin, Gramsci and Mao: less liver, less heart.

* Julian Rodrigues is a journalist, PT activist and LTBTI and Human Rights activist.

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