How to defeat the fascist upstream?

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By JUAREZ GUIMARÃES*

The first round demonstrated that democratic and popular forces are well positioned to win a majority of voters

1.

The most decisive fact of the first round of the 2022 elections was the almost majority achieved by the Lula-Alckmin ticket in the first round. It is a historical fact: never before has a leftist candidacy reached 48% in presidential elections in the first round. In view of the 2 elections, it represents growth in all regions, income ranges, color, education.

Lula almost doubled the votes obtained in the last round of 2018 by the Fernando Haddad campaign, an expression of resistance in the most adverse conditions. The vote for Lula grew in the south, southeast, north, center-west and reached its maximum strength in the northeast. It is not just an electoral phenomenon or even just concentrated on Lula's leadership. There is a vast network of leaders and organized social movements that support this vote. There was an important growth of democratic and popular benches in the Federal Chamber, in the Senate, in the Legislative Assemblies, in state governments.

It is a magnificent and historic manifestation of popular conscience, of the most impoverished working classes, who did not agree to sell their vote. It is this majority of the working classes, blacks, women, northeasterners, indigenous peoples and those who fight for LGBTI+ rights, who are offering fundamental resistance, in the most adverse conditions, to the advance of fascism in Brazil.

 

2.

There is certainly an important and decisive possible field for expanding the democratic and popular vote to achieve a significant victory in this second round.

The unity of the democratic and popular camp and the experience of the federations were decisive in the first round, and now the search for support from all the anti-fascist forces is key.

The results of the 2022 elections clearly express the victory of the unity of the democratic and popular forces, at its most expressive degree since 2002. This new awareness of unity has been growing on the fronts of social movements (the construction of the Frente Brasil Popular, the Frente Povo sem Medo and their unity, the unity of the trade union centrals and now the Formation of the Front for Life in defense of the SUS), achieved a more organic party projection with the formation of the two federations and was consolidated with the largely majority decision in the PSOL congress and support Lula in the first round, defending an anti-neoliberal program.

The PT and the PSOL were strengthened, showing that the unity of the democratic and popular field does not conspire against identity but enhances the pluralist sense of traditions. This unit made it possible to attract the PSB to the center-left, the PV, the Rede, the important leadership of Marina Silva. As a counterpoint, Ciro Gomes' sectarian attitude led the PDT to its greatest isolation and historic defeat.

Unity with neoliberals in the first round does not seem to have had much weight in Lula's vote (even in São Paulo, where the importance of unity with PSOL was highlighted, with the magnificent vote obtained by Guilherme Boulos). The support of historic PSDB leaders was delayed and does not seem to have had much electoral influence. But it will certainly be very important in this second round to dialogue and negotiate the support of those neoliberal sectors that maintain some degree of democratic resistance to Bolsonaro's fascist dynamics or need the support of democratic and popular forces in regional disputes.

 

3.

The decisive issue remains that of forming a popular majority, and it is essential to present and implement proposals that respond to the most felt needs of the Brazilian people.

As a political force that presents the best conditions to form an electoral majority, the Lula-Alckmin campaign should present concrete proposals and commitments that become reference points for the formation and consolidation of the conscience of the working classes and popular sectors. They must rely on the victorious memory of the Lula governments, but not make the past the center: it is the future that is in dispute. It is from them that the best counterpoints can be made with all the tragedy of the Jair Bolsonaro government.

It will also be important from now on to build antidotes – publicity pieces available right away for the networks – to the fake news Bolsonaro's conservative campaign, already known as the accusation of corruption, the closing of churches, the sexualization of children and those typical of the most reactionary anti-communism. With the experience already lived by the Brazilian people, it will be possible to attack frontally and decisively the entire list of crimes committed by Jair Bolsonaro. It is Jair Bolsonaro who must be on the defensive and repeatedly accused of his crimes.

 

4.

The 2022 elections showed that the path is to combine and not oppose or separate the struggles of the working classes and the feminist, anti-racist and native peoples struggles for LGBTI+ rights.

Certainly, the benches elected by the democratic and popular camp express in their diversity a new and powerful unity of the Brazilian people in their struggle to overcome exploitation and oppression. The policy of opposing the claim of oppressed identities and class struggles falls to the ground.

Lula's campaign was entirely marked by speeches critical of neoliberal policies and in defense of workers' rights, with the important exception of the issue of Central Bank independence. The increase in the numbers of Landless Workers and family farmers, of transgender people, of indigenous peoples' leaders, of black women express this achievement well, which comes at the heart of the construction of unitary fronts.

 

5.

The Bolsonarist movement went from being a competitive candidacy to a candidacy that disputes the presidential elections with chances of winning, and its organized strength in the State and society, as well as its political capacity to operate large centralized voting movements.

Since mid-2021, when it even revealed the beginning of a government crisis that could be fatal for it, the Bolsonarist movement has been rebuilding its organic base and its ability to dispute the course of Brazilian society. The alliance with the physiological right in the Federal Chamber, renewed and structured with the scandalous “secret budget”, guaranteed the blocking of the impeachment process and a party reorganization centered on the PL.

After many conflicts at the military summit, he managed to stabilize majority support in the Armed Forces, even bringing an Army general to be his deputy. He consolidated his majority and organized base in evangelical circles, which gave rise to dispute in popular circles, aggressively resuming a fundamentalist agenda in terms of customs.

It achieved a certain degree of inflationary control, through the control of public money for the price of fuel, and relaunched a massive electoral program of income support that, if insufficient to face the amount of unemployment and hunger, gives it a discourse of dispute . He kept faithful, to a great extent, the base of agribusiness. At the international level, in addition to seeking dialogue with the Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin governments, he deepened ties with the far-right organized network. And, finally, it continued with a powerful communication network on the Internet, at the same time centralized and capillary.

It is this organic movement, which today expresses the policy of the Brazilian ruling classes, which has been moving since the 2018 elections towards Bolsonarism, despite its dissensions, that we are facing in this dramatic second round. Its electoral rise expresses this political accumulation: from about a quarter of votes in mid-2021, to about a third of votes in this first round dispute scenario (closing the spaces for another neoliberal dispute alternative) and, now , for more than 40% of the votes. It is a political force that intends to neutralize its majority rejection by the Brazilian people, which has always remained very high, with the exacerbation of anti-PTism throughout the entire network of fake news organically built.

 

6.

It is absolutely necessary to ensure, through a heroic effort of militancy and unity, that Bolsonaro does not win the elections, which would open up institutional conditions for him to build a fascist regime in Brazil.

The class struggle is made up of long periods of accumulation and decisive moments in which the course of history is defined. We are experiencing one of those decisive moments this month that reminds us of other Octobers. The 2022 elections are already taking place, despite the neutralization of Bolsonaro's ability to articulate a coup d'état, in a scandalously anti-democratic situation, with Bolsonaro already controlling, in an anti-republican way, the federal government, the Federal Chamber, the Police Federal, the Attorney General's Office, the CGU and exerting permanent pressure on the STF.

A second electoral victory would consolidate its dominance over the National Congress, even allowing it new conditions to operate against the minimal independence of the STF, always with the support of the Armed Forces, operating from within the transition to a fascist-type regime. The main objective of a fascist regime would be to promote the destruction of the democratic and popular political force, through the exercise of militia, police and military violence.

 

7.

Lula's possible victory in this second round will be very likely if the democratic and popular forces exercise all their intelligence, unity and socialist and democratic energy.

There are political situations in which, given the correlation of accumulated forces and the possible possibilities of dispute, the maximum horizon is that of an organized resistance to create further capacity to dispute with chances of victory in the future. Even in the most acute resistance it is important to maintain the hope of a victory that feeds it.

This is definitely not the current scenario: with this victorious campaign in the first round, we have nationally rebuilt the hope of the Brazilian people. It has already been able to reveal itself to be greater than Bolsonarism. We are on the offensive. The challenge is to promote the biggest possible electoral defeat of Jair Bolsonaro, who will organize a period of reconstruction of Brazilian democracy and of siege and political and social isolation of Bolsonarism.

This offensive capacity is revealed in the first place in our ability to schedule the debate in this second round, with a campaign announcing the government that we will carry out, meeting the most urgent economic and political needs and, at the same time, exposing the entire list of crimes of Bolsonarism. .

Democratic socialists must now place their entire militant body, collective and individual, in this great historical challenge.

*Juarez Guimaraes is a professor of political science at UFMG. Author, among other books, of Democracy and Marxism: Criticism of Liberal Reason (Shaman).

 

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