From anticommunism to antipetism

Image: Hamilton Grimaldi


History shows us that sooner or later, in Brazil, the blow against the labor governments always comes

In Brazil, industrial and urban development was accompanied by the growth and organization of the popular classes. The 1960s marked a turning point in the conflict installed between their demands, which asked for the expansion of rights (to vote, to be elected, education, health, agrarian, urban, political reform, etc.), and the conservative sectors that sought maintenance of its political, economic and social hegemony. The Cold War inflated the old anticommunist discourse and swelled spirits, expanding a political culture that had been disseminated and internalized within Brazilian society over decades. The communists were attributed a position of strength much greater than the real one.

At the time, conservatives knew that the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), which was overthrown in 1947, was a minority political force, but the fear of communism was something effective in society that always received a terrifying impression from communists. The intention was to raise popular indignation, such as the “March of the Family with God for Freedom” that supported the 1964 coup and opened space for classifying the entire left as “communist”. The press and the National Democratic Union (UDN) echoed the rupture speech, demanding that the military react against the “red danger”.

The 1964 coup had the enthusiasm and support of the middle classes and business, military, political and religious elites. The fight against corruption was used as a flag in the fight against the Jango government, which supported the reforms. Anticommunism, the central argument of the coup, was a maneuver used to cover up the rupture plans of sectors of the right, block reforms and legitimize the authoritarian process that would be installed and deepened in the following decades.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the anticommunist discourse lost steam. However, the growth and expansion of the Workers' Party (PT) showed the political strength of a new red representing the popular classes. The neoliberal agenda employed from the 1990s onwards, which privileges the unproductive financial sector and penalizes the population with squeezes, would never be approved in an electoral scrutiny after the 2000s. another to return to power other than the institutional rupture. History shows us that sooner or later, in Brazil, the blow against the labor governments always comes.

The year 2016 marked the end of many arrangements that gave rise to the New Republic, but also brought up from the sewers the anti-communist sentiment revisited and re-signified in anti-PTism. The same anti-corruption rhetoric was used and directed against the PT, in general, and against Lula, specifically. The objective was to make politically and morally unfeasible the main representative of the popular classes and, thus, stop the development and social inclusion agenda that was being practiced in the country.

The disqualification of politics and the successive accusations of corruption associated with the PT governments (“Mensalão”, “Petrolão”), increased the anti-system sentiment among the population, which was quickly capitalized by anti-PTism. Removing the party from power and preventing its return was an essential issue. Corroded by the impeachment process they led, the so-called liberal Right found itself, in 2018, without a competitive candidate and having to rely on the Bolsonarist lifeboat to have its neoliberal economic agenda victorious in the electoral sieve. Thus, the structural alliance was formed between neoliberalism and neofascism that today (dis)governs Brazil.

The anticommunist rhetoric was renewed in times of anti-PTism, anchored in old flags such as “Brazil will not be a new Cuba”, but also with Fake News that dealt with the “cockroach bottle”, the “Gay Kit” and the “legalization of pedophilia”, issues that directly attacked values ​​superficially defended by the Bolsonarist extreme right: God, Fatherland and Family. The agents involved in the actions of 2016 and 2018 correspond to those of 1964: the middle classes, business, military, political and religious elites, with the support of the media, the Judiciary and the Federal Public Ministry. All the same soup, always the same story.

The Brazilian Elites are devoid of civic political culture and have always shown contempt for democracy, whose occasional connection was casuistic and conjunctural. Bolsonaro’s maintenance in power, despite the genocide of the Brazilian population caused by his government’s poor handling of the pandemic, under the approval of the media and the liberal right, is a symptom of the evil that has plagued our Republic since its foundation. Only an organized population aware of its demands and rights will be able to deepen and consolidate democracy in our country, preventing ruptures and institutional violations that threaten the interests of the people and the nation.

*Carla Teixeira is a doctoral candidate in history at UFMG.


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