Jair Bolsonaro imprisoned the right

Image: Yogendra Singh
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By GERSON ALMEIDA*

The right tends to become increasingly restricted to sectors less sensitive to dialogue and a prisoner of Jair Bolsonaro's toxic leadership

Despite a wide spectrum of conservative leaders showing signs that they intend to facilitate a negotiated transition and build an alternative name for the right, Jair Bolsonaro is fighting desperately to prevent the emergence of any alternative to his name.

The call for a public act to try to transform the ongoing investigations into political persecution – which have already gathered an indisputable set of evidence of the coup conspiracy hatched in the presidential office itself – served more to show Jair Bolsonaro's inability to continue hegemonizing the broad field conservative and reactionary that he managed to galvanize in recent years.

The breadth of this field was such that it attracted enough political and social support to conduct the fine-tuned orchestra that carried out the coup, removed Dilma Rousseff from the government, prevented Lula from running for office and elevated an abject admirer of torturers to the presidency of the republic. A complex plot like this became possible only due to the broad penetration of Bolsonarism in some of the main structures of the State, notably the justice system and the security forces. Something that requires rigorous prophylactic measures in defense of democracy, a topic will not be developed in this article.

The act carried out on Avenida Paulista shows at least two relevant things: (a) Jair Bolsonaro wants to reaffirm his leadership and does not wish to make any alternative to his name viable; (b) his social base is narrowing to segments of the political ultra-right and sectors subordinate to the dominance of Pentecostal leaders, as the financial and political protagonism of Silas Malafaia in his organization has made clear.

Regardless of the number of people gathered, the act showed that Jair Bolsonaro is no longer a leader whose proximity everyone wants to be around and wants to show off. For example, only four governors were present: Tarcísio de Freitas (SP), Ronaldo Caiado (GO), Jorginho Mello (SC) and Romeu Zema (MG) and 94 deputies, showing that there are many people wanting to stay away and do not wish to share photos with the myth, despite Jair Bolsonaro and his entourage having played hard to demand the support given to elected leaders with their support and having constrained possible dissent.

Silas Malafaia's speech is the best example of the atmosphere at the demonstration. While he repeated the well-known litany against the STF and called the investigations against the coup plotters political persecution, one by one of the governors present started to move away from him and even came down from the podium, trying to distance themselves from the speech they espoused until recently.

The religious leader and one of the main financiers of the act in defense of the coup plotters showed that he felt abandoned and shouted against his allies: “Bunch of weaklings, cowards and X9. These are guys who are there, but won't be there. They went down because they are lax” (newspaper Metropolis), taking exception to governor Tarcísio de Freitas for not having “accompanied with the kidding”, even though the governor of São Paulo made a point of showing some discomfort.

In other words, even in an act intended to demonstrate strength and political unity to enable the conditions for a political amnesty for those already convicted and those who must reach prison through the path paved by abundant evidence, the main leaders are no longer able to move freely in spaces in which they used to perform as true Popstars. Some of them go and pay the necessary toll to avoid falling into disgrace, but they have left aside the submission that characterizes adherence to leaders with an authoritarian profile.

It is true that Jair Bolsonaro remains an influential leader. But it is clear that Lula's victory and the evidence that he and his praetorian guard were conspiring against the popular sovereignty of the vote are making him lose the ability to attract sectors beyond those fanaticized by the ideology of the ultra-right and by the blindness imposed by the merchants of the faith, who manipulate the word of God with the aim of gaining political power and accumulating material wealth.

Thus, the right tends to become increasingly restricted to sectors less sensitive to dialogue and a prisoner of Jair Bolsonaro's toxic leadership, which will prevent the construction of any concerted transition, a process in which the leader's commitment is essential. The most emblematic case of this was carried out by the then president Lula who, unable to compete in a third consecutive election, in 2010, anointed his successor and made all his authority and legitimacy available to her, without which it would not be possible to achieve the objective of continue the political project.

The differences between the two are so great that, while Jair Bolsonaro calls for an act to plead for amnesty and is no longer able to attract the social sectors that he was once able to galvanize, Lula called for the act on January 8th and brought together the main political and social authorities. judiciary of the country to build the necessary political conditions for the restoration of democracy, the economic and social development of the nation and to hold accountable all those who used the power granted to them by democracy to steal it from the Brazilian people. It is this unity in the democratic field that is allowing us to advance in punishing the coup plotters, much more than was possible post-dictatorship.

*Gerson Almeida, sociologist, former councilor and former secretary of the environment of Porto Alegre, he was national secretary of social articulation in the Lula 2 government.


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