Lessons from an editorial

Image: Fábio Miguez (Jornal de Resenhas)


Editorials of Sheet leave a lesson on the newspaper's approach to Bolsonarism

On March 30, the eve of the 59th anniversary of the 1964 military coup, Jair Bolsonaro wanted to take advantage of the event to land in Brazil after spending three months hiding in the United States. With his return on such a significant date for the Brazilian extreme right, he expected a worthy reception from his most loyal supporters. However, what turned out to be a fiasco. The landing party “flopou”, as they say in modern slang. Half a dozen dripping cats were welcoming him. Even so, the possibilities present in the situation of Jair Bolsonaro occupying the role of opposition to the new government should not be overlooked. The interest rate policy of the “autonomous” Central Bank aims to produce an economic crisis that would make the current government completely unfeasible and thus prepare the stage for the captain to lead the fight of the fascist and reactionary opposition.

The landing of the illustrious genocide did not go unnoticed by political operators of different ideological shades. Lula would have canceled his trip to China as a precaution, fearing that his absence from the national territory could be taken advantage of by Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters to pull off one of their own, as a new coup that would declare the president's chair vacant due to the absence of the incumbent. Already its refugees within the Liberal Party, such as the president of the acronym Waldemar da Costa Netto, welcomed the announcement of Bolsonaro's return "...to fight together for a more just and free Brazil". 

But, among the demonstrations, one that stood out was the editorial of the newspaper Folha de S. Paul. Or rather, the two editorials. a version Online published on March 30 at 21:30 pm, concluded in its last paragraph with a note of hope, that “By opposing PTism, Bolsonarism can give vigor to Brazilian politics – as long as it abandons violence, the anti-democratic attitude and polarization irrational". Faced with criticism of the disastrous editorial, the printed edition appeared with a correction in the last paragraph. The conviction present in the present tense of the indicative, that Bolsonarism “can give vigor to Brazilian politics” was replaced by another tense, the future tense of the indicative, which expresses doubt and probability, conditioning its realization to the exercise of certain conditions, in which “Bolsonarism could even, if it abandoned violence and authoritarianism, lead a healthy opposition to the PT. This is unfortunately not the most likely outcome.”[I].

Without shame, the Frias family newspaper, no matter the tense used, “forgot” the economic and social disaster that represented the government of Jair Bolsonaro for large portions of the population, notably the most impoverished segments of the people. The editorial ignored Jair Bolsonaro's genocidal management in the pandemic, whose irresponsibility in announcing ineffective treatments and encouraging crowds, which has already claimed the lives of 700 people. He disregarded the absurd growth of food insecurity at all levels, especially in its extreme form, which leaves around 30 million Brazilian men and women with literally nothing to eat. He didn't even remember the humanitarian disaster against the Yanomami, caused by a policy that sought simply to exterminate them through hunger and disease.

Without exaggeration, the editorial line of the Sheet and their expectations with the return of Jair Bolsonaro is the same as acquitting Hitler of his crimes. And, if he had survived the end of the conflict he provoked, ask him to abandon violence and authoritarianism to lead a “healthy opposition” to the post-war German governments.

This is the first lesson left by both editorials of the Sheet. Regardless of the tense, there is an effort to forget the crimes committed by Jair Bolsonaro and Bolsonarism against the Brazilian people. Unable to sign a “third way” that would garner significant popular support, the liberal bourgeoisie with a democratic veneer is left, a political spectrum to which the owners of the Sheet self-localize, do not discard Bolsonaro and do not despise Bolsonarism.

This is the objective of the operation to erase and clean up the former president's image: to keep him alive politically as an option to be used in a future electoral dispute. Without maintaining an antagonistic contradiction with liberal-fascism, liberals with a democratic veneer insist on seeing fascism as a reserve of representation, both to “give vigor to Brazilian politics” and to “lead a healthy opposition to the PT”. There is no antagonistic contradiction because the program of both is the same: applying a profound ultraliberal adjustment and an agenda of social regression. What divides them is the form, whether in a “violent and authoritarian” way, as Bolsonarism wants, or in a more “democratic” way, respecting institutional liturgies and building a “neoliberalism with a human face”, as the liberal bourgeoisie wants. -democratic.

the dream of Sheet, of Jair Bolsonaro leading an opposition to petismo brings a second lesson, important for Lula, the PT and a whole vast field that goes from progressivism to political sectors that claim socialism. As much as the current government seeks to maintain a friendly relationship with the “market”, pleasing it with the maintenance of a recessive economic policy, the bourgeoisie with a democratic veneer does not devote any confidence to it. One reason is that the social base of petismo, formed by the most impoverished segments of the working masses, pressures the government for reforms even within the scope of the neoliberal accumulation regime. These reforms are tied to the logic of compensatory policies, which obviously represent a relief to their beneficiaries, but which do not point to the universalization of rights through an expansion of public services.

It's just that the Brazilian bourgeoisie no longer even admits the lowered policy of reforms in neoliberalism. Since the impeachment of 2016, the fiscal adjustment policy has deepened, one of the macroeconomic tripods of neoliberal accumulation, which aims to guarantee the interest of financial parasitism. The 95th Constitutional Amendment imposed a ceiling policy on public spending that cut social spending on public policies, but excluding public debt from it. In 2014, the General Budget of the Union executed the amount of R$ 978 billion for the payment of interest, charges and amortization of the public debt. In 2018 the amount had jumped to BRL 1,065 trillion and in 2022 it jumped to BRL 1,879 trillion.[ii]

In this scenario, even compensatory and focused public policies, defended by liberal economists themselves, become obsolete and inadmissible in the face of the agenda of a tough, unfettered ultraliberalism, marked by social regression, but which, for liberals with a democratic veneer, would have to assume a human face, based on representative entrepreneurship and be applied “democratically” without violence and authoritarianism.

This attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable was understood by Jair Bolsonaro, who, from the point of view of the mass of the bourgeoisie, captured the essence of the historic moment that was to break the political and social pact established in the 1988 Constitution. as the only one capable of executing the ultraliberal agenda without moral pruritus or humanitarian considerations. His candidacy represented a detachment of this bourgeois and petty-bourgeois mass from its representations and traditional political operators, located mainly in the PSDB, which was that bourgeoisie that hegemonized the representation of the interests of its class from redemocratization until the impeachment coup.

The current bourgeois mass of an upstart and predatory nature saw in the ultraliberal policy, inaugurated by Michel Temer and advanced by Jair Bolsonaro, a means of exploiting workers even more and looting the country. In order not to be completely excluded from government power, the traditional bourgeoisie seeks to maintain fraternal class relations with this new bourgeoisie. The editorials of Sheet, the virtual and the printed media, exemplify this right-wing policy of good neighborliness with a democratic veneer with Bolsonarism and, by extension, with fascism.

The last lesson left for this approximation of Sheet with Bolsonarism is in both editorials, which recognize it as a “... current capable of remaining strong for a long time”. A hypothesis to be thought about these editorials indicates that this bourgeoisie with a democratic veneer would be adopting a tactic that would make it oscillate, according to its conveniences, either to support liberal-fascism or to support a candidacy from the democratic field. -popular. By positioning itself as the third way between Bolsonarism and PTism, but without the electoral strength to defeat them, it would present itself as a force capable of making the weight of the electoral decision lean towards the side it supports. And, with that, it would revive the dynamics of the political game since redemocratization, by forcing the conversion of the right and left to the center of the spectrum.

The electoral defeat of the liberal-fascist camp, represented by Jair Bolsonaro, needs to become complete. The difference between this and liberals with a democratic veneer, as we have already pointed out, is more in form than in content. To do so, it is necessary that the working masses put themselves in motion in order to put pressure on the new government so that their expectations, albeit diffuse, of a complete change in economic policy come true. This is the only way that the mass base of Bolsonarism will be disputed. This is the last lesson left by the editorial of Sheet.

To prevent any slight change in economic policy and its powerful interests, the Brazilian bourgeoisie seeks to keep the government under siege, even if it means cleaning up the image of Jair Bolsonaro. It is necessary that the workers put themselves in motion, both to prevent a new rise of fascism and to pressure the government to forward an economic agenda of interest to the popular masses, the only means of imposing a regression to fascism.

*Renato Nucci Jr. is an activist of the communist organization Arma da Crítica.


[I] “Folha” is criticized for difference in editorial about Bolsonaro: https://www.poder360.com.br/midia/folha-e-criticada-por-diferenca-em-editorial-sobre-bolsonaro/

[ii] https://auditoriacidada.org.br/

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