Thoughts on Left Tactics

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Resist against neoliberalism, isolate fascism

There are those who think that the best way to defeat Bolsonaro is for the left to comply with neoliberalism, so as to supposedly isolate him from the bourgeoisie. Anyone who thinks like this still ignores the essence and tendencies of the contradictions between Bolsonaro and the big bourgeoisie.

Bolsonaro bases his strength on a social base that is located mainly in the middle class, in the petty bourgeoisie, in the police, in the armed forces, in neo-Pentecostal churches, etc. Naturally, the interests of his movement diverge from the interests of the big bourgeoisie. However, an alliance was sealed between the two in 2018, through the “marriage” (to use an expression then used by Bolsonaro) with the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes.

It happens that, precisely because the interests of the big bourgeoisie do not entirely coincide with those of the Bolsonarist movement, this alliance is quite conflicting. On the one hand, in order to see its neoliberal program applied, the big bourgeoisie needs to leave Bolsonaro on the ropes all the time. It should be remembered, for example, that Bolsonaro initially declared himself against the Social Security Reform. Just as, at this time, he is showing signs that he does not wish to support Administrative Reform. The president also tried to breach the spending ceiling. As, also, in the adjustment of the price of diesel oil, he tried to favor truck drivers to the detriment of Petrobras' international shareholders.

It is not that Bolsonaro seeks to govern for the popular classes in general, or is wholly opposed to these neoliberal measures. The growing exploitation of workers, genocide, machismo, racism and homophobia, the destruction of popular organizations, etc., are components of his ideology. What happens is that, in all these episodes cited, among others, the interests of the bourgeoisie collided with specific economic interests of the most active core of the Bolsonarist movement or jeopardized Bolsonaro’s ability to be re-elected. And, only under strong bourgeois pressure, Bolsonaro gave in, often obtaining partial gains for the police, the army, etc.

On the other hand, Bolsonarism's main objective of establishing a dictatorial regime in Brazil, of a fascist nature, has clashed with the bourgeoisie. This, in large part, does not see Bolsonarism as reliable to guarantee its program to reduce the so-called “Brazil cost”, privatizations, etc. Against the grain of the fiscal adjustment, the army general himself, Walter Braga Netto, current Minister of Defense and former Chief of Staff, even presented a proposal called “Plano Pró-Brasil”, which opposed the orthodox neoliberalism of Paulo Guedes. So far, these contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the fascist movement have been resolved by retreats from the latter, while the bourgeoisie prevents the processing of the various impeachment requests against Bolsonaro in the National Congress, without reaching the antagonism between the two.

Recognizing the essence of the contradiction between Bolsonaro and the big bourgeoisie, what should be the tactics of the left to defeat fascism?

The left disputes directly with fascism the representation of the middle class, the petty bourgeoisie, the peasants, the mass of informal workers and, to a certain extent, even the proletariat. All these classes suffer from neoliberal politics. It is necessary, first of all, to fight against the anti-people measures of the bourgeoisie and Bolsonaro. Failure to properly resist neoliberalism is to throw an important portion of the popular classes into the lap of fascism.

Secondly, it should be noted that the greater the popular resistance to the neoliberal advance, the smaller the possibilities for an arrangement between the big bourgeoisie and the social base that supports Bolsonaro. Under pressure, the contradiction between the two tends to become more acute. On the other hand, without this kind of popular resistance, the chances of Bolsonaro being impeached are remote. And, even if it is electorally defeated in 2022, the fascist movement tends to survive, even occupying posts in the State, and continuing as a serious threat.

It is true that whenever there are clashes between the bourgeoisie and fascism, whether in the disputes between them for political space, or on the issue of vaccination, or in the latter's attempts to suppress democracy and move towards a dictatorship of the militias, we must lend support to the bourgeois representations. But, in this case, given the nature of the contradictions between them, these moments tend to be limited and punctual, and cannot generate illusions between us.

In the struggles against the coup, many of those who today preach that we subordinate ourselves to neoliberalism to supposedly defeat fascism, defended the fiscal adjustment of Joaquim Levy in 2015, did not defend or prioritize street acts until close to impeachment in 2016, they bet all their chips on articulations with Parliament and the STF, they stopped calling the coup a coup to “avoid squeamishness”, at the last moment they even suggested that Dilma offer her position to the Senate in exchange for new elections, etc. Thus, many of those who expected the bourgeoisie to fulfill the role that the popular struggle had to play continue to insist on the error until today.

This conception has already reappeared recently, for example, behind clashes under the name of “wide front”, in the dispute for the presidency of the Houses of Congress at the beginning of this year and, more recently, against the carrying out of the act of May 29, hidden under the false pretext of the very just concern about the pandemic. Giving up resistance to neoliberalism, hoping to isolate Bolsonaro from the bourgeoisie, is actually isolating the left more and more from the people.

The unity that must be sought among the forces of the left at this moment must take place around an anti-neoliberal and anti-fascist program and political orientation. Even vacillating sectors of small and medium capital, crushed by ultraliberalism, can thus be attracted.

Yesterday, Rede Globo turned its Saturday newscast upside down and praised the acts of the left. But he made a point of delimiting that they were demonstrations for Bolsonaro’s impeachment and for vaccines, without citing claims against neoliberal reforms and against privatizations. Luciano Huck, among others, celebrated the demonstrations on social networks, but defended that they should dress in “green and yellow”, that they were manifestations of “Brazil of goodness”, etc. Representatives of the big bourgeoisie seem, thus, to rehearse a possible street dispute.

Yes, we need to take the colors of Brazil to the demonstrations, after all, we are the ones who represent the anti-imperialist struggles. However, without ever giving up the red of our organizations, our symbols and our slogans. If, in other opportunities to take to the streets, we do as we did in June 2013, giving up fighting for an ideology and a political line well defined in the demonstrations, the inescapable result is their capture by the media, which will not commit the mistake of making that same waiver.

In future acts, the slogans against reforms and privatizations deserve much more prominence than we gave in the May 29 act. Followed by claims for emergency aid, vaccination and impeachment.

Reject the bias that preaches complicity with neoliberalism to supposedly isolate fascism, and adopt the orientation: Resist against neoliberalism, isolate fascism. This is the policy that must guide the left at this time.

*Herick Argolo He is a member of the Popular Consultation.


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