Commenting on the situation

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By TADEU VALADARES*

Notes from the news broadcast from the 19th to the 24th of May.

The Senate CPI

During this period, the most explored theme, both by the mainstream press and by the alternative media, was the work of the Senate CPI, created to determine the government's responsibilities for the complete failure of the absurd strategy adopted to 'fight' the pandemic. Over the past week, the president, former Chancellor Araújo and former Minister of Health, General Pazuello, have seen their images irreversibly eroded in the eyes of public opinion. The two former ministers, politically destroyed. Bolsonaro, politically weakened.

Media analyzes proved to be convergent, their tone generally critical or very critical of the Bolsonaresque strategy which has already resulted in more than 450 deaths, a number that should reach something around 800 by the end of the year.

For a part of the media, the wear and tear suffered by the captain is such that, at the limit, it puts the continuity of his mandate at risk. In this reading, the blind alley into which the government obtusely got itself would finally make it feasible to implement, before the 2022 election campaign officially begins, the slogan “Bolsonaro Out”. That is, the hypothesis of his early ejection from the head of the executive branch could become an effective reality in a relatively short period of time.

For other analysts, however, despite all the debacle built in more than two years of government, a disaster made worse by the treatment given to the pandemic, the admirer of Ustra would still have enough mass support, something that would revolve, at the moment, around 20 % to 25% of the electorate, the size of faithful cattle. This percentage, if more or less maintained throughout this year, added to the lack of massive popular mobilizations and the conservative and reactionary character of most members of congress, would be enough for the captain to remain at the head of the government. That confirmed, Bolsonaro would be in a position to launch himself as a candidate for the second term, the project still endowed with a certain degree of viability. Bearing this picture in mind, and maintaining current trends, the strongest prospective scenario would continue to point to an eventual second round to be contested by Lula and Bolsonaro.

Electoral prospects

Still with regard to the presidential election, all the most recent polls indicate the continuation of at least three trends:

1) the growth, at the beginning much faster than initially expected, of Lula's pre-candidacy. If this dynamic continues, Lula would even be able to win the election in the first round.

2) in contrast to Lula's rise, the slow weakening of the right-wing extremist is given as highly probable. The floor of its electoral strength may come to stabilize, before the start of the electoral campaign, below what it is today, that is to say, at most something bordering 20% ​​of the voting intentions. Although highly speculative, assessments of this type shed light on the growing difficulties that the extremist has been facing since last March, but also maintain that Bolsonaro will be able, however eroded his electoral appeal in coming March will prove to be, to reach the second shift. In this scenario, he would dispute the presidency with the PT candidate, but at a marked disadvantage.

3) the third tendency observed, a simple consequence of the previous ones. If the Lula versus Bolsonaro polarization crystallizes, and everything today indicates that it will, the 'third way', the preferential option of the Brazilian high bourgeoisie and its internal and external allies, tends to die along the way.

The picture outlined above gained strength with the news, circulated on the 21st of the current, that Lula had met days before with FHC at Nelson Jobim's residence for a threesome lunch. Brazilian. The reactions of Bolsonaro, Aécio and Ciro show how significant the event was, which journalists in a hurry classified as historic.

If the dialogue between the two former presidents continues, however much the toucan tries to fine-tune his terms after each meeting, at the electoral level the net result should lead to new gains for Lula against Bolsonaro, and to more obstacles to the take-off of the “ third way”. In this, the big losers would be the embolados of the 'third way' and the crazy occupant of the Planalto Palace.

The reactions of the right and the extreme right to the meeting between the two former presidents were not surprising. Nor were the concerns expressed by a part of the critical left, concerned about what they see as the adoption, by the Workers' Party, of a strategy that was at least insufficient, but still risky, since it would be limited to acting in terms of a timetable electoral process, especially when seeking to maximize – with the conclusion of possible agreements with the weakened center, and even with the center-right forces, much more active – the chances of victory in the upcoming presidential election. The objective is crucial, everyone proclaims, but it could not be the only one, think the dissidents. Critics warn: dismissing neo-fascism or updated authoritarianism from the executive, as if trying to classify the phenomenon embodied by Bolsonaro and his followers, cannot be dissociated from the fight against neoliberalism, be it extremist, with Guedes, or less virulent, as in essence proposes the “establishment” economists who have presented themselves, for some time now, as Enlightenment reformers.

The left that I call dissident noticed, in the information about the lunch, a silence that spoke loudly: no reference, in the democratic menu and not even days after the end of Lula's meeting with FHC, to the other challenge, this one certainly of a structural nature, which prowls the left, not like a ghost but with the weight of everyday reality.

If Bolsonaro and Bolsonarism can be considered a temporary evil, a monstrosity that can be exorcised by voting and ideological struggle, even so, victorious Lula in 2022, it will still be necessary to recover the economy and society from the destructive effects of neoliberalism that has ostensibly taken over the country. state power since the Temer government. Beating neo-fascism electorally and continuing the civilizing battle to reduce it to its real proportions (let's not forget that Plinio Salgado, in his last electoral battle won 8% of the votes, which is already a lot), without creating the alliances that allow Isn't pushing back neoliberalism a way to generate, beyond 2022, a kind of return not to the idealized good times, but to the crisis that, started in 2013, led to what it led to in 2016?

Eduardo Pazuello

To complete the conjunctural picture, making it even more complex and unstable in strictly political terms, we were surprised by an event that was completely unanticipated: the participation of Pazuello, an active general, in a demonstration held in Rio de Janeiro, a motorcyclist march in which he paraded Bolsonaro himself. The calculated risk, assumed by the captain and the general, resulted in the establishment of a new and even more serious crisis between the president, on the one hand, and the Minister of Defense and the High Command of the Army, on the other. It is not surprising that this conflict between Bolsonaro and the army, the institution that is ultimately the main guarantor of the extremist government both politically and economically, results in more cracks in the arc of forces that support the captain. This scenario, if confirmed over time, will at the same time weaken Bolsonaro and benefit Lula, albeit marginally.

on the external plane

On the outside, short notes on three topics.

On the economic front, Chinese growth and the US recovery lessen the weight of the economic crisis that, let us remember, dates back to 2007/2008 but was boosted by the pandemic. From this improvement, the Brazilian export sector can reap even greater gains, especially agribusiness. Good numbers in terms of commercial exchange will certainly be used in defense of the government's economic policy;

In the military sphere, Israel's fourth war against the Palestinians - the 11 days in which the Israeli armed forces exercised disproportionate violence against the besieged population of Gaza - indicated with fire and fire that Biden's policy for the Middle East is different from the policy of Trump only in rhetorical terms. That is, although internally the differences between Trump and Biden and the conflicts between the average Republican congressmen and the average Democrat are significant, the same does not occur in terms of foreign policy. On the geopolitical chessboard, the convergences between the two parties, mainly centered on the funding of the US war machine and the compulsion to intervene, continue to prevail over topical disagreements, especially those related to Russia and China, however intense they may prove to be in the day to day management of the empire. This brings us to the third theme, the difficulties that the Biden administration is beginning to face in carrying out the project that the mainstream media has been calling, simply put, a return to Roosevelt and the New Deal.

The obstacles that Republicans are creating for Biden, both in Congress and outside of it, reveal, under the cover of still prevailing optimism, generated by the defeat of Trump, that nothing safe can be said today about the success or failure of the new government and its 'aggiornamento' project. The internal polarization of the US is as intense as ours, and perhaps even more dangerous. For this very reason, we will have to wait for the mid-term elections, to be held towards the end of next year, to find out whether the Democratic party and Biden will be able to forge a new and more favorable relationship of forces in the House of Representatives, where the party The Democrat has a fragile majority, and especially in the Senate, where the difference boils down to Minerva Kamala's vote.

From now on, and until the 2022 elections, fierce conflicts will mark the day to day of the US Congress, their final vector being unpredictable at the moment. In other words, only the balance of concrete results to be achieved by the executive by the end of next year, with regard to the government's agenda, together with the votes of the electorate, which today continues to favor the democrats, will definitively clarify if, in the second half of his mandate, Biden will have effective conditions to carry forward the project of reform of American capitalism along a line, yes, that has something of a 'rooseveltian', or at least strongly distances itself from the consensus established by Reagan and Clinton.

*Tadeu Valadares is a retired ambassador,

 

 

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