unpredictable scenario

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By IGOR FELIPPE SANTOS*

Street protests, escalation of denunciations: the crisis of the Bolsonaro government

The explosion of complaints about the corruption scheme in the purchase of vaccines for the coronavirus has deepened the crisis of the Bolsonaro government. In view of this, the popular forces called a new demonstration for July 3, in an extraordinary meeting. The third demonstration of the “Fora Bolsonaro” campaign had only seven days to call, agitate, mobilize and organize.

The goal among the more realistic ones was to maintain the same pattern of mobilization in order to, in a short period of time, affect the conjuncture within the conditions imposed by the political crisis. The bet was that the testimonies of Luis Ricardo Miranda, an employee of the Ministry of Health, and his brother Luis Miranda (DEM-DF), federal deputy, at the CPI on the Pandemic in the Federal Senate would raise the political temperature and precipitate a series of events that would boost mobilization, especially through social networks.

#3JForaBolsonaro brought together around 800 people, in 312 municipalities in Brazil, in addition to 35 cities in 16 countries abroad, meeting the expectations of an extraordinary journey. That is, it achieved the most realistic objective, repeating the same level as the last two rounds, although here and there reports indicate that some acts were smaller, larger or equal. The mobilization of the middle sectors, student youth and leaders of working class organizations maintained its vigor on this 3rd of July, with nationwide coverage and consolidation of capillarity in dozens of medium and small cities.

The maintenance of the 24th of July on the agenda of demonstrations gives the popular sectors more time to carry out the articulations under way. The engagement of the trade union movement, with the organization of assemblies in the workplace, and the performance of popular movements in the territories are fundamental for the necessary leap in quality in the popular struggle. The process of accumulating forces involves increasing the mobilization of sections of the working class.

The deepening of the government's crisis, which is exacerbated by allegations of corruption, and the strengthening of the fight for "Bolsonaro Out" have forced the displacement of personalities and fringes from the right to a firmer position of opposition. Both the adhesion of former Bolsonarists to the impeachment super-request and the participation of PSDB sectors in the act in São Paulo reflect the strengthening of the struggle.

In this process, the Fora Bolsonaro campaign has maintained the leadership of the demonstrations and the flags in defense of the removal of the president, of the sanitary measures (especially, the acceleration of vaccination) and of the policies of maintenance of employment, salary and income (with emphasis on the resumption of emergency aid of R$ 600). Those who moved away from the influence of the extreme right, changed their position and joined the campaign against Bolsonaro were precisely these actors. The more sectors that break free and adhere to the impeachment, the more strength to achieve this goal.

Once again, the major media provided factual coverage of the acts, reporting on the protests across the country, presenting the agendas and acknowledging the precautions taken with health measures. The scenes of violence by small groups in the São Paulo demonstration, both the attacks on LGBT militants of the PSDB and the breaking of windows in banks and bus stops – whether caused by militants with the wrong tactics or by infiltrated provocateurs – are worrying. These isolated events create a bad image of the demonstrations and create difficulties for mass demonstrations. In addition, they make room for the militia of Bolsonaristas on social networks to stigmatize the demonstrators.

The survey of public behavior on social networks, produced by Fábio Malini, demonstrates the impact of these scenes. By the end of the afternoon (18 pm), the #3JForaBolsonaro acts registered 500 posts on Twitter. The Bolsonarist camp had a significant reduction, neutralized by the allegations of corruption. Dropped from 25% of interactions in the last act to 9%. At the end of the night (23 pm), reverberating the images of violence, Bolsonarism returned to the level of 25% of total interactions, with videos and images to circulate among its groups. President Bolsonaro took advantage of the wave and made a post on the subject to disqualify the demonstrations.

The responsibility of popular forces to lead the next demonstrations grows, as well as the challenges to mass mobilization. The leap in the quality of the struggle depends, above all, on the involvement of the working class. So far, the acts demonstrate that a segment of society is on the move and is willing to respond to the calls. It is a heritage that needs to be preserved to avoid wear and tear, with the excessive call for acts.

Sectarianism and vandalism can obstruct the scaling up process needed to advance the people's struggle. In addition, they open the guard for the extreme right to manipulate the meaning of the protests, influence the agents of repression and even justify authoritarian measures, such as the tightening of the terrorism law, which is being processed by a special commission in the Chamber of Deputies.

The large demonstrations and the evolution of the political crisis led to the reopening of the discussion in the Federal Council of the OAB (Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil) on impeachment, which has a decisive weight. At the same time, pressure is increasing on the mayor Arthur Lira (PP-AL) and other institutions to take measures, such as the STF (Federal Supreme Court) and the Attorney General's Office, which is responsible for conducting an investigation against the president for malfeasance in the Covaxin scandal.

The discovery of the scheme for the purchase of vaccines and the screening of cases in the Senate CPI opened the gate for an escalation of complaints, which will be catalysts for the next demonstrations and may force more displacements to defend the impeachment. The recordings that point to Bolsonaro’s personal involvement in the “cracks” scheme, the illegal procedure for delivering salaries paid to advisors by the State to the contracting parliamentarian, indicate that more cases may come to light, which makes the scenario unpredictable.

*Igor Felipe Santos is a journalist and works in popular movements.

 

 

 

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