Get out!



Without a true refounding of the Republic, there is no way out of the swamp in which Brazil finds itself.

"Who fights can lose, who does not fight has already lost" (Bertold Brecht).

The presidential grace granted by Bolsonaro to deputy Daniel Silveira, sentenced to more than eight years in jail for instigating violence against the STF, deepens the institutional anarchy that accompanies the terminal crisis of the New Republic. Deprived of any constitutional and moral foundation, the measure is an open defiance of the most elementary principles of balance between powers. This is unacceptable violence against what still remains of the democratic achievements of the struggle against the dictatorship.

The militia president's daring coup offensive should come as no surprise. A fisherman in troubled waters, Bolsonaro never hid his admiration for the military dictatorship and his intention to provide a despotic solution to the crisis of the New Republic. Despite his gross primarism, he is not to be underestimated. If he maintains absolute control of the political initiative and carte blanche to extrapolate the limits of the law, the captain-do-mato is a very dangerous political subject.

It is temerity to bet all the chips on the wear and tear caused by the monumental catastrophe that his four years of misgovernment meant for the majority of the population, on the “solidity of institutions” and on the “democratic spirit” of those in power as antidotes to the coup plot. The first assumption can be temporarily neutralized by electoral income transfer measures. The other two are just wishful thinking. Jair Bolsonaro's electoral defeat is far from guaranteed and, even if it were, it would not mean the end of the dictatorial threat.

The failure of democratic institutions is obvious. The criminal omission of the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in Jair Bolsonaro's serial violations of legality, the indulgence of the Legislative Power with its countless crimes of responsibility and the ostensive intervention of the military in national politics reveal that the instituted powers are powerless to frame Bolsonaro, when not accomplices – admittedly or shamed – in the escalation against the rule of law. Without a true refoundation of the Republic, there is no way out of the swamp in which Brazil finds itself.

So far, Bolsonaro's abuses have had the absolute condescension of the ruling classes. The authoritarian escalation was functional both to “make the cattle pass” and to contain social mobilizations. The threat of a coup turns the election into a veritable blackmail, which reduces the citizen's option to choosing the lesser evil. It is necessary to be aware that, although the bourgeoisie did not give the green light to the coup, it did not endorse the impeachment. With the dictatorial card up their sleeves, those in power are in a position to strike terror over the workers; and there is always the possibility of giving the green light to the despotic adventure, if the opposition within the order does not conform to the requirements of capital.

Bolsonaro’s audacity to challenge the eroded order of the New Republic contrasts with the timidity of the political forces that unified around the Frente amplíssima pela democracy. By betting on institutional chaos, Bolsonaro mobilizes his troops and calls into question the credibility of the status quo. Even though he is the maximum spokesman for the reactionary plutocracy, he disguises himself as the bearer of the new, occupying the political vacuum generated by the left's abandonment of a discourse of structural changes. While Jair Bolsonaro presents himself as the incarnation of anti-politics, disregards the rules of the game and invests in the permanent excitement of his political base, Lula does exactly the opposite: he bets on collusion with political bosses and on closed-door meetings with businessmen and workers. Claiming to be guardian of status quo and guarantor of social peace, it discourages the mobilization of its social base. To businessmen, he promises “predictability” and “legal security; workers, asks them to prioritize the LOBBY parliamentary party instead of the demonstrations in Brasilia.

The renunciation of the mobilization of its social and political base leaves the broad Front for Democracy headed by Lula and Alckmin in a dangerous trap. Without the presence of forces committed to defending the rule of law in the streets, it is impossible to stop the advance of the authoritarian escalation and change the balance of forces that, since the reactionary response to the June 2013 Days, has driven the bourgeoisie's offensive against the workers' rights and against democratic and republican institutions.

The silence of the opposition within the order in the face of Jair Bolsonaro's recurring threats to democracy is appalling. Political barbarism cannot be trivialized and naturalized. There is no room for quibbling. Outsourcing the responsibility for defending the rule of law to the bankrupt institutions of the New Republic and relying on the “common sense” of the plutocracy means leaving the way open for the advance of the far right coup plot. Bolsonaro's decision to confront the STF is an unequivocal crime of responsibility that puts the urgency of his immediate deposition on the agenda.

The last few years have been illuminating. The bourgeoisie has broken all moral links with the subordinate classes and has no commitment to democratic freedoms. Institutions are in pandarecos and have shown themselves to be absolutely powerless to frame Bolsonaro in the rules of the game. Freedom can only be defended and expanded by the mobilization of workers in the streets. The deposition of Jair Bolsonaro is the emergency task of the moment. It requires courage and political daring. There is no time to lose. The Fora Bolsonaro campaign has to hit the streets now.

* Plinio de Arruda Sampaio Jr. He is a retired professor at Unicamp's Institute of Economics and editor of the website Contrapoder. Author, among other books, of Between nation and barbarism – dilemmas of dependent capitalism (Vozes).

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