Hard in the fall

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By Manuel Domingos Neto*

The administration of the world is undergoing accelerated change and could shorten the tragic adventure of the military party that bears the name of “Bolsonaro government”

Eduardo Costa Pinto soon intuited that support for Bolsonaro might not be immediately affected by Moro’s spectacular resignation.

The XP survey carried out between the 23rd and 24th, released this Saturday, the 25th, confirmed its hypothesis. Those who have good, excellent and regular expectations about the government account for 44% of respondents. Those with bad and very bad expectations reached 49%. Bearing in mind the unemployment, the reigning shortage and the governmental mishap, it is an extraordinary performance.   

The survey records that 77% of respondents said they were aware of Moro's departure. The necessary time may not have elapsed for the exploration of the episode to show its unfolding.

In any case, it is reaffirmed: Bolsonaro embodies a politically expressive conservative-radical tendency of a large portion of Brazilian society. The Bolsonarist offensive attacking Moro on social media is remarkable. The class is aware of the negative impact of Moro's departure (67% of responses), but does not get downhearted.

Bolsonaro’s removal, by forced resignation or impeachment, today would basically depend on institutional initiatives, that is, on criminal, judicial and legislative investigations, not on popular mobilization against government excesses. Institutions do not enter into decisive bids without strong support from public opinion and… without military support.

Important elements of the mainstream media lost their illusions about the capacity of the current government to respond to the dramatic health, social and economic problems. They are now striving to remove Bolsonaro, fearing the deterioration of the socio-economic situation. They reflect the restlessness of money men. But when will his denunciations manage to sink deep into the conscience of many Brazilians and sensitize brute force corporations to the point of supporting the President's removal?

Bolsonaro has on his side the Military Party, which has a contingent of one million active and reserve men in uninterrupted and frenetic militancy to “save Brazil” from communism and reinforce its income.

A stampede of government generals would be devastating. Politics would then be left to politicians, but this is unlikely. Where have you seen soldiers handing over public office without strong constraints on the part of public opinion?

Why do generals persist in supporting Bolsonaro?

There are several possible explanations, the first being the difficulty of abandoning the offspring. Many still do not admit it or pretend not to admit it, but the candidate and President Bolsonaro were military works. They would not exist without the will and mobilization of the barracks.

The attempt to mitigate corporate responsibility is manifest in the insistent references to a “military wing”. What "wing" is this? Obviously, it can't be reduced to the three generals who don't budge from the captain's room. (Heleno today seems to have little weight). Ramos, Braga and Fernando do not occupy relevant positions due to exclusive personal attributes. Behind each one, there is the web of protection, intricate, profuse, capillary and radicalized.

What does it intend, what is its consistency, who commands this “military wing”? Whoever wants to believe that such men represent themselves.

The “military wing” fallacy serves to mitigate the idea that government is being backed and run by corporations. It also allows us to imagine idealistic and voluntarily articulated officers to fight crazy flat-Earthers.

Pointing to such a “wing” is also a way of denying the close political and ideological approximation between the multiple and varied conductors of the government machine; serves to deny the tuning between the heads that lead the public administration. Now, one of the reasons for Bolsonaro’s “success” is precisely his team cohesion. The falls of Mandetta and Moro, which so excited the opponents, resulted from electoral pretensions, not from disagreement of political, ethical or administrative principles.

It is likely that in the coming days the news will offer abundant elements (for those who want to understand) that Moro and Bolsonaro present come from the same moral strain. Moro, less vivacious, will be harshly stigmatized as a transgressor of “omertà”.

There are, in fact, figures in the government who, due to their exotic postures and administrative incapacity, bother the military. But in terms of the perception of the ongoing political process, there are no notable contradictions in the government team.

As a whole, hatred of the left predominates, fear of China, automatic alignment with Washington, conservatism in customs, hatred of the representative political system, anger and fear of social transformation that favors the poorest, the will to destroy what was built on the basis of the 1988 pact.

Notorious examples of the spiritual communion between the military and crazy flat-Earthers: the silence in the face of Olavo de Carvalho's aggressions, the compromises with the Ministers of Education and Foreign Affairs, leaders of the abominable destruction of strategic public policies. Let's look at the concentration of military personnel in Education and Science and Technology. Why don't they react to the disasters?

Bolsonaro is a child of the military and his government represents the will of corporations that have always been politically active, but obedient to the schemes of progressive and sustained approximations, as explained by Mourão.

It is intriguing that, until now, the close association between Bolsonarism and the military party has not been noticed by “civil society”. The misrepresentations in this matter are based on the fallacy that the military persists as the sensible or rational “side” of the government. Now, those who chose “Cavalão” as a support piece to return to political command and develop a dark conservative agenda cannot have good judgment.

Analysts of all stripes rightly fuss over alleged rifts between the generals and the president. There are people on the left, even discreetly rooting for this to happen. Some look hopefully at the vice president. A leftist leader even said that Brazil would arrive better in 2022 with the government handed over to General Mourão.

Deluded, stunned and on the defensive, the opposition speaks of a government of “national salvation”, of a “broad front”… If it cannot understand itself at all, how could the opposition manage to capture the feelings of Brazilians?

The opposition knows that it has no strength and cannot think of raising crowds. Avoiding the struggle of ideas within the population, the parties turn to worm-eaten electoral practices, even without the certainty that the next election will in fact be assured. As for the way out of the crisis, he dreams of the prevalence of our republican tradition: a great summit agreement that avoids destabilizing confrontations of old structures. An indisputable point of the agreement is the definitive dismissal of Lula.

What can make the house of cards that supports Bolsonaro collapse, who knows, is the commotion resulting from the predictable mortality due to negligence in the face of the announced advance of covid-19.

But popular upheavals in themselves do not necessarily lead to political changes. They provoke short-lived explosions, contained by the state's repressive apparatus, the same that created and sustains Bolsonaro.

In order not to conclude too bitterly, I would remind you that, like almost everything in life, political farces have an uncertain duration. The administration of the world is undergoing accelerated change and could shorten the tragic adventure of the military party that bears the name of “Bolsonaro government”.

As Héctor Saint-Pierre observed, this adventure has everything to be the Malvinas of the Brazilian military.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired professor at UFC/UFF, former president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and former vice president of CNPq

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