Against military intervention, fascism and genocide

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By OSVALDO COGGIOLA*

Workers intervene independently, as active subjects, in the outcome of the Brazilian crisis, not as beggars in inhumane queues or as the sick or dead on probation, but as candidates to take their destinies and the destiny of society as a whole into their own hands

The political behavior of the Bolsonaro government, attributed by most analysts to the lunatic nature of its personality, is inscribed (including emotional and mental imbalance) within a logic and within the framework of an unprecedented crisis of the political regime, such as it emerged from the transition from military to civilian rule in the 1980s. In 2018, the retired deputy captain boldly inserted himself into the political vacuum created by the institutional/military coup of 2016, and by the complete inability of the left to propose a political alternative in the face of the collapse of the government led by the PT (it is worth remembering that there were sectors of the left that even supported the coup, or ostensibly omitted to face it). Its main drivers (the old bourgeois party) were not its direct political beneficiaries, and in this vacuum Bolsonarism grew, with the support of parts of the middle class and even of popular sectors that, in the preceding decades, had supported Lulism. To do so, he used a precarious borrowed political apparatus (the PSL); he also enjoyed the support of the military high command, enthusiastic about the street demonstrations that called for “military intervention” and desirous (in the first place, corporate interests) to regain positions in the state apparatus. The paramilitary corporations (militias), in an unstable and conflicting alliance with drug trafficking, had already jumped the existing barrier between the extortionary domination of favelas and outskirts and direct fascist political intervention (murder of Marielle Franco, just to cite the best-known case). .

Big Brazilian capital bowed to the possibility of governing the country (to its benefit, of course) with Bonapartist and fascist methods, based on this political alliance, also lulled by the support given to the captain/terrorist by the holders of North American imperialism (Trump and lumpem-republicanism) and by his pawn in the Middle East and elsewhere (the Israeli regime), all of whom are excited about the possibility of transforming Brazil into an important combat platform against its competitors in the market and in world geopolitics ( China, EU and eventually Russia). The overwhelming electoral victory of the (national and international) green/yellow/starry alliance seemed, initially, to confirm these expectations.

The reality of the world crisis (economic, social and political) imposed itself, however, on the members of this international and post-modern “December 10th Society”, much faster than they expected. Already in its first months, in its first year, in office, the lumpen/militarized coalition proved to be just a way out of the crisis of the galloping crisis of the New Republic regime. The reactivation of social struggles, including two large nationwide mobilizations (the strikes in defense of public education and against pension reform), on the one hand, the continuation of the economic crisis (with GDP stagnation and a drop in all economic indices , devaluation of the real and capital flight), on the other, began to produce cracks in the victorious coalition and deepened the regime's crisis.

The political condom used to win the elections (the PSL) became a stage for disputes between gangs and oranges of all kinds for electoral and party funds, and was discarded in favor of a ghostly “Aliança pelo Brasil”; the most important governors of Bolsominio (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) were jumping ship, becoming insecure and an obstacle to their electoral aspirations (at any level) in 2020 and 2022; the Minister of Justice and Security, born on the national scene as the anti-Lula and programmed to be a Trojan Horse in the Judiciary and in the Federal Police, began to act with his own criteria in the matter, and even stopped hiding his own (independent ) electoral aspirations, which resulted in his scandalous resignation/dismissal; the PMs of Bahia and Rio (acting on orders from their governors) sent the militia capo of the Bolsonaro clan six feet underground; The main media conglomerate in the country (Globo) turned its silent war against the evangelical base of Bolsonarism, for control of the communications sector, into an open war, becoming a spokesperson and driving force of increasingly frequent pots against the president. The supposed solution to the 2016 crisis boomeranged, setting the stage for an even bigger crisis.

Faced with the political crisis, the movement of the Armed Forces has been, in an attempt to combine the useful with the pleasant, to deepen its participation (and receipt of funds and prebends) at all levels of government, not only through retired military personnel (such as at the beginning of the Bolsonarian cycle) but also by active-duty military personnel, including the absurdity of imposing as executive director of the Ministry of Health an officer who does not know how to distinguish an aspirin from a suppository (and whose only antecedent in health matters seems to have been to oblige a conscript pulling a cart intended to be drawn by horses); at the same time marking their distances from the fascist clique occupying the Executive branch through (but not only) vice-president Mourão, who took advantage of, in an article published in n'The State of S. Paul (turned into an anti-Bolsonaro newspaper), his status as namesake (Hamilton) of the head of the conservative wing of the bourgeois/slavery revolution in the USA (the one of 1776) to establish his position supposedly as “federalist” as the former, extending a hand to the governors over the head, without a protective mask, of the president. Starting from the Jaburu Palace, an atmosphere of military self-coup settled in the Planalto Palace.

The coronavirus pandemic has not created, it has only deepened and accelerated, these political developments. Brazil took 53 days, from the first death from the coronavirus, to exceed the mark of 10 victims. But it only took a week to surpass 15 deaths. On May 16, the country reached 15.633 victims and 233.142 cases of Covid-19, according to data from the Ministry of Health. There were 816 new deaths recorded in 24 hours and 14.919 new cases. Due to underreporting, some estimates place the actual number of deaths at around 30, while others warn that the peak of the pandemic has not yet been reached, predicting the unbelievable figure of 50 daily infections for the second half of June. According to renowned scientist Miguel Nicolelis (world authority in the field of neuroscience and head of the Monitor Covid-19): “We are going to experience something that we never imagined in the history of Brazil. And that, in the proportions we are going to see, was not inevitable”. Brazil is becoming one of the world's epicenters of expansion of Covid 19, with a contagion speed greater than that of the countries that suffered the most. Long before the peak of the pandemic, the capacity of the public health system (SUS) to cope with it was already surpassed in the states hardest hit by the disease, due to a lack of beds in the ICUs, medical materials (in the first place, artificial respirators, but also basic protection items, PPE) and health professionals, in a sector (public health) that has been scrapped for decades, which was, it is worth remembering, the main trigger for the great demonstrations of 2013.

Because this is exactly the point where the health crisis, economic crisis and political crisis intersect. Bolsonaro intended (and intends) to make the pandemic an axis for the recomposition of his heterogeneous political base, and immediately aligned himself with the primer of Anglo-American imperialism, which intended (and intends) to make that a platform for exiting the economic crisis, through mass layoffs (historically lowering the value of the workforce, due to increased competition in the job market), freezing and flattening wages, freezing public spending (in the Brazilian case, with the prohibition of hiring and salary readjustments of public servants , all favored by the constitutional amendment to the spending cap, which was not even mentioned during the pandemic crisis) and the destruction of social achievements of all kinds, mitigated by temporary handouts that served, moreover, as a cover for a spectacular transfer of funds in favor of the financial capital grade. The Executive and Legislative branches agreed on this, although the latter sought in a haphazard way to recover a minimum of political protagonism by raising the ridiculous amount of emergency aid to the unemployed proposed by Guedes. To the banks, speed and trillions. For the population without income, deliberate obstacles: process only via the internet, codes that expire and lack of information. Thousands venture into queues. Scrapped, Caixa Econômica Federal is unable to meet the demand for emergency aid for the most vulnerable.

On the world stage, the rejection of quarantine to allow the mass spread of the virus was initially announced by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the most cost-effective method for financial capital. The fantasy that mass contagion would trigger natural immunity was immediately rejected by all health experts. The US followed a similar line, with the only difference being that its implementation abandoned any protocol and was directly imposed by Donald Trump. The result was a frightening scenario, as seen in New York and the USA taken by the contagion of the virus. The policy driven by the thugs, as is well known, ended up almost costing the life of its initial driver (Boris Johnson himself) and had to give way to social distancing measures that, adopted late, cost the lives of tens of thousands of people, in which Donald Trump found a pretext to denounce a viral conspiracy against the US orchestrated by China.

Unlike what happened in the metropolitan scenario, and despite the astonishing speed of the spread of the virus in Brazil, Bolsonaro has not lost momentum and, under the pretext of “resuming the economy”, not only continues to hit the same button, but also takes advantage of it to to throw out its increasingly squalid fascist social base, called almost daily to break the quarantine and social distancing in mini-demonstrations in front of the Planalto, and to parade its aggressive ignorance and resentment in various state capitals. The president's strictly political initiatives, which included the replacement of a good part of the state superintendents of the Federal Police (in the first place, pro domo its, the one in Rio de Janeiro), and the literal invasion of the STF, where the president occupied (without license) the chair of its president to teach economic reactivation lessons to judges guilty of allowing states and municipalities to limit their genocidal impulses (defined with these literal words by Minister Gilmar Mendes), carried the mark of empirical improvisation and mess, and as such were recorded by that historical barometer of the state of mind of the Brazilian capitalist class that is Rede Globo.

The first of these initiatives cost him the defection of the main star of the Bolsominio cabinet (Sérgio Moro), opening up a new crisis scenario that has only shown, until now, its explosive possibilities; the second was combined with the comic fact (if it weren't tragic) of the performance of three ministers of health, in just one month, in a country affected by a deadly pandemic, added to the unprecedented official prescription of a medicine (chloroquine) by holder of the Executive Power, an unprecedented fact in the world history of medicine. To complete his “work”, Bolsonaro announced that he would no longer meet with his cabinet, and that from now on he would only dispatch with each minister individually, a measure similar to that adopted by Tsar Nicholas III during the First World War (and the Spanish fever epidemic), with the consequences are known, but it is doubtful that in the Bolsonarian court there is a review of a historian with minimal qualifications.

The Bolsonarian action, more worthy of an elephant in a china shop than of a serious candidate for Mussolini, ignited the usual alarm indices: dollar, Stock Exchange, and even some painful parliamentary movement, which does not take off even with the support of the “Jornal Nacional” by Globo. The bureaucracies of the main trade union centrals began to leave the state of lethargy guided by the Lula/PT duo (formally opposed to any “Bolsonaro Out”) and began to wave pressure on Congress in favor of impeachment, but still no stoppages and even less of a general strike. Lula limited himself to media interventions complaining about the “lack of leadership”, as if Bolsonaro was not leading the country towards disaster. The strongest movement seems to have taken place in the Armed Forces, which motivated the journalistic intervention of Vice President Mourão, his spokesman for the time being cryptic.

About her, commented the political columnist of the Folha de S. Paul, Igor Gielow: “Next to his boss's usual insults, [Mourão] was courteous and revered the role of the press, a counterpoint he likes to establish. The debate would be almost academic, were it not for an early, far from casual warning that the Covid-19 pandemic could become a security crisis. Mourão's past made, in the eyes of many, a worrying position for him. Its corollary may be what, as a candidate, he defined as the possibility of a self-coup by the president in a scenario of anomie or anarchy. It never hurts to remember the coup-like assertions that the deputy, today seen as a kind of thoughtful counterpoint to the turmoil represented by Bolsonaro. In 2015, he suggested the 'awakening of a patriotic struggle' when speaking of the impeachment process of his supreme commander, Dilma Rousseff (PT). Two months later, he authorized, under his command in the South region, a tribute after the death of Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, Bolsonaro's idol and Dilma's torturer during the dictatorship. This cost him his job, and he was pushed into a bureaucratic position in Brasilia. Two years later, already in the middle of the political crisis of the Michel Temer (MDB) government, Mourão suggested that military intervention would be possible if the Judiciary did not handle the situation.".

One cannot deny, therefore, the consequence of purposes and methods to the “civilized” general. In light of this, it is necessary to relativize the conclusion of the aforementioned commentator: “There is no uniform cohesion for any real coup movement... Forces such as the Navy and the Air Force are not enthusiastic about symbiosis with the government, nor about the role of the Army in the process. The necessary support of business elites for any anti-democratic undertaking does not seem to come out of the most Bolsonarist niches”. We do not know what the columnist understands by “real coup” in a country whose history can teach the world lessons in this matter. The Brazilian coup is very real, and nests in the corridors of Brasilia. That, in conditions of economic and social crisis and international political crisis, he uses parliamentary or ministerial shields does not make him any less a coup-monger, less reactionary and anti-democratic, nor any less an enemy of the workers. Bolsonaro has already taken note and, as of the date we write this, he has already moved and, alongside his fascist outbursts, he also began to distribute positions and budgets among members of the “centre” of Congress, anticipating the pressure in favor of impeachment.

The inaction of the union bureaucracies and “democratic” or “left” politicians is astonishing in view of the fact that, in the current social and political crisis, the survival of the nation and the working population is at stake. The fight against the pandemic and against the collapse of the public health system presents a clear program: the need to put all the nation's resources into the fight against the coronavirus, overthrowing EC/95 and financing the public sector (in the first place, the SUS and research institutes/universities) through non-payment of public debt with financial sharks and a tax on great fortunes; the elimination of the “double queue” (public and private) for tests and patient care; the placement of all health resources (55% of ICU beds are in private hospitals, only 45% in the public sector, which nevertheless serves more than 80% of the population) under the responsibility of the SUS, with the latter under direct control and democratic approach of its workers (doctors, nurses, researchers, health agents, social workers), who are already at the forefront, physically and politically, in the fight against the pandemic.

And not only against the pandemic, but also against the attacks of crazy fascist gangs, agents of genocidal politics. The heroic example of health workers resisting the provocations and aggressions of lumpens (often presented as “businessmen” or “advisors”) in street demonstrations in which they defend their claims, which are those of the entire Brazilian population subjected to the real or potential scourge of the disease, has so far not had the solidarity it deserves, even morally: hundreds of lives of health workers have already been taken. Applause is not enough. It is necessary, in the very first place, that scientific societies and professional bodies from all fields, with all the resources, moral authority and media penetration they possess, start a systematic campaign in defense of these workers and their demands, which are projected, in a direct and objective way, onto the political arena. For the entire labor movement (unions), youth movement (students, cultural associations) and popular movement (community associations, ethnic or sexual minority movements, and others) there is a need for a campaign of pronouncements, obtained even (and above all, at the time we live) in a virtual way, in the same sense, preparing a vast movement for workers to intervene independently, as active subjects, in the outcome of the Brazilian crisis, not as beggars in inhuman queues or as sick or dead in probation, but as candidates to take their fate and the fate of society as a whole into their own hands.

*Osvaldo Coggiola He is a professor at the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books by The Crack of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 30s (Pradense).

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