Broad front without the proletariat?

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By Herick Argolo*

History will speed up and windows will open for us as well as for our enemies. Once again, it is the proletariat who will be able to play the decisive role in history

In the midst of the pandemic, neo-fascism is on the offensive in Brazil. One of the ways of advancing fascism, historically, is the transfer of the exercise of state power from parliament and the judiciary to repressive institutions. To her, among others, Bolsonaro has resorted.

There is already a social segment mobilized around the closure of the National Congress and the STF. Bolsonaro also has the army, navy and air force in his government. It has a very large ascendancy over the military police. And he has dealings with the militia underworld. Recently, he managed to seize control of the summit of an important repressive apparatus, the federal police.

Rodrigo Maia's recent pronouncement on the need for congress to take care of the economy and put impeachment aside, and Guedes's permanence in government, despite rumors, indicate that Bolsonaro continues to have strong support in the big bourgeoisie. He disposes of ministers and allies. Pushed by conflicts, it's true. But judging himself strong enough to form an increasingly pure-blood neo-fascist government, and follow his onslaughts.

This situation creates a kind of “dual power”, in which neo-fascism advances in the seizure of state power, but does not have enough forces to close the regime. On the other hand, the other representatives of big capital are unable to curb Bolsonaro, precisely because he is very useful to a significant part of that same big capital. Hence the parliament, the judiciary and the traditional ideologues of big capital have to restrict themselves to pronouncements, notes of repudiation or tweets against Bolsonaro, even with so many crimes of responsibility repeatedly committed by him.

Although, in the midst of his offensive, Bolsonaro has been losing support in the upper middle class, he has been gaining support in the popular classes, especially among unemployed and precarious workers. This is a very dangerous phenomenon, as it has the potential to guarantee neo-fascism the necessary strength to advance.

For our part, the distance between leftist organizations and the proletariat continues to grow. Let us remember that even in the fight against the coup, it was not possible to organize a large strike against the impeachment. This was in a record year for the number of strikes, with more than 2.100 across Brazil. Even after the coup, we only achieved a significant proletarian mobilization in April 2017, in the general strike against the pension reform. But there the workers were already on the verge of being crushed. And, faced with the steamroller of the Temer government's neoliberal measures, it was not possible to continue resisting.

All these phenomena were already under way before the pandemic, but they have been greatly accelerated by it. What should the left's strategy be to defeat neo-fascism? The fundamental way to combat neo-fascism is to prevent it from advancing on the popular classes and build proletarian resistance.

About the contradictions that have been manifesting between neo-fascism and the old bourgeois representatives, it is argued, shouldn't we intervene in them? Obviously yes. We need to seek to exploit the divisions within the enemy. It is necessary to intervene in them, as far as possible, against the neo-fascist movement, against Bolsonaro.

However, this does not mean, in any way, forming a “broad front” with the traditional representatives of the bourgeoisie, as has been defended. To be brief, constituting a front with these means, essentially, sharing the same program with Dória, Rodrigo Maia, Rede Globo, Witzel, Sérgio Moro. Let us remember, first of all, that these guys have no commitment to democracy. And, in particular, let's not forget that they are also supporters of the ultraliberal program that has drastically worsened the people's living conditions. Forming a front with these subjects is not conceivable.

However, together with them, we do want to attack neo-fascism. Here it is not a question of a broad front, but of unity of action. Which is punctual, circumstantial. Not strategic. And which we cannot give up.

We must demand social isolation, which saves the lives of workers, as Dória has done, for example. Let us speak out in support of him, without hesitation, when he does. But we must go further. Let us denounce non-essential sectors of big capital that are allowed to remain open to save profits at the expense of lives. Let us firmly denounce layoffs and salary cuts, which should be prohibited by the government. At the same time, it should be said, that it needed to provide economic support to small businessmen, who are the ones that employ the most. On the contrary, layoffs and wage cuts are defended by the government and also by their opponents in the old bourgeois parties. Meanwhile, a gigantic economic “buffer” goes to the big banks silently. Let us not fail to denounce, at any time, that it is because of the neoliberal project, defended by Dória, which atrophies the public health system, that thousands of people will die without a respirator in the ICU.

What leftist organizations need is not the broad front that has been propagated. Simply because it would neutralize our capacity to accumulate forces in the proletariat.

Let's build a popular front. That it does not dispense with unity of action with bourgeois representatives whenever appropriate, whenever that means converging with them in attacks on neo-fascism. But aware that we cannot and must not, for even a minute, renounce independent work in matters of educating and organizing the masses.

The Labor Day organized today by the trade union centrals, with invitations to FHC, Davi Alcolumbre, Rodrigo Maia, and others, together with social-democratic representatives of the left, is not a path capable of leading us to overcome neo-fascism. 

Let's build the union of the Popular Brazil Front, the People Without Fear Front and the Union Centers. However, this is just the easiest step. This is still not the anti-fascist popular front that we need for the democratic and popular victory against neo-fascism.

We will need to work to create organizations of the popular front in companies, among the unemployed, in popular neighborhoods, etc. The center of our propaganda must be the categories that proved to be the strongest and most dynamic in the general strike of April 2017. And those linked to big capital that, although not essential, remain functioning. Or the essential ones where there are salary cuts, layoffs, or insufficient protection for the worker's health. We will succeed in the victory against neo-fascism if, and only if, we succeed in building the core strength of this front in the proletarian base. We are still very limited by social isolation, but we will have and create opportunities.

History will speed up and windows will open for us as well as for our enemies. Once again, it is the proletariat that will be able to play the decisive role in history. It is indispensable, at this moment, that we have a vanguard with a minimum of unity around a popular front, with clarity of what is happening and capable of reconnecting with the proletariat. This is the way to turn the game around.

*Herick Argolo is a member of the Popular Consultation in Sergipe.

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