No to leftist null vote

Dora Longo Bahia. Democracy (project for Avenida Paulista II), 2020 Acrylic, water-based pen and watercolor on paper 29.7 x 21 cm
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By HECTOR BENOIT*

The call for a null vote or abstention by the anti-PT left is a very serious error, both tactical and strategic

In the 2018 elections, it was still justifiable that sectors of the left radically critical of PTism defended the null vote or abstention in the second round.

Considering the dubious trajectory and the little combative attitudes of the PT and the CUT in relation to many strike processes and social problems, a large number of workers, feeling betrayed by these leaders who claimed to defend the interests of the working class, in that year of 2018 , voted null or even for Jair Bolsonaro. Another factor that led many workers and sectors of the left to vote null or even for Jair Bolsonaro was the corruption that marked PTism, such as the “mensalão”, which, even in Lula’s first term, led to a split in the party. , with a wing on the left founding Psol.

Then came the “petrolão”, and a series of denunciations, accusations, financial scandals, which, despite the far from innocent sensationalism and today clearly partial of Lava Jato, led to the return of large sums of money, making it unquestionable that, in fact, the involvement of the PT and its allies in large diversions of public money was proven.

Thus, in 2018, anti-PTism grew in conservative sectors and even among workers, as well as in significant sectors of the left. All of this led to a null vote, abstention and the vote that led to the victory of Jair Bolsonaro.

For many sectors of the left, in 2018, Jair Bolsonaro was not considered a dangerous and real enemy. Many believed that Jair Bolsonaro, due to his visible lack of preparation, his ideological, programmatic, party and organizational fragility, would not even finish his four-year term. However, several factors changed the course of the impeachment, among them, we consider the pandemic to be fundamental. This prevented demonstrations and large street protests, inhibited strike processes and ensured a certain silence in the streets. Allied to this, there was great passivity on the part of the opposition, both the PSDB and the PT and Psol itself, which remained silent and omitted in the face of various attacks and Bolsonarist acts, this is how it was tolerated, in the years 2019 and 2020. XNUMX the strengthening and organization of an extreme right that existed only fragilely prepared for greater flights.

But, if in 2018, the analyzes that characterized the Jair Bolsonaro government as fascist or neo-fascist appeared, for many, as inconsistent and even ridiculous, much and much water flowed, particularly from 2020 and the two following years. The requests for impeachment accumulated in the drawer of the Federal Chamber, conducted without a pulse by Rodrigo Maia, who only babbled acts of opposition to the government.

However, with the election in February 2021 of Arthur Lira for the presidency of the Federal Chamber, despite the Bolsonaro government being submitted to the so-called “Centrão”, any possibility of impeachment disappeared and the government started to have unconditional support from the Chamber, even if, for that, he lost control of the country's budget, paving the way for the great scandal of the secret budget, or “bolsolão”, perhaps the biggest robbery ever carried out to the coffers of the Republic.

Particularly, in these last two years, the Jair Bolsonaro government, already fully consolidated, grew in organization, overthrew all the figures that could internally overshadow it. Henrique Mandetta, Minister of Health who gained popularity at the beginning of the pandemic, fell in April 2020. Sérgio Moro, who also stood out as Minister of Justice and as a possible future opponent of Jair Bolsonaro, intending to sustain the exemption of the Federal Police, was forced to also resign in April 2020. Wilson Witzel, former governor of Rio de Janeiro, who began to claim independence and even rivalry with the federal government, threatening to carry out investigations by the Rio de Janeiro police that could involve Jair Bolsonaro and his family , was impeached in April 2021.

All these delicate processes were supported, largely by the new Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, appointed in September 2019. With all these actions, the Federal Police was relatively subordinated to the government or, at least, blocked in part in its autonomy for investigations dangerous to the government. Allied to this movement, Cláudio Castro, the governor of Rio de Janeiro who took office in August 2020, appeased investigations involving the “cracks”, or Flávio’s famous “Chocolate Store”, the possible action of the militias, in short, all actions that could compromise Bolsonaristas and company. The autonomy of the STF remained, but even in this court, with the appointment of two new justices, Kássio Nunes and André Mendonça, the voting ended unanimously on the most controversial issues that affected the government.

Apart from all these worrying actions, since the beginning of the Bolsonaro government, a very well-organized and dangerous arms policy aimed at civilians began. In these years of government, the number of gun registrations for civilians grew by 333%. This occurred thanks to “clubs of sport shooters, collectors and hunters”, the so-called CACs. These “clubs” have approximately 409 members across the country. This astronomical figure is worrisome, mainly because it exceeds even the contingent of the country's Armed Forces, which is calculated in terms of 335 subscribers.

As can be seen, the recent case of Roberto Jefferson, under house arrest, holding rifles, grenades and plenty of ammunition, and even shooting Federal Police agents, is far from being underestimated. In the same way and along the same lines, the unsolved cases of the homicide of militiaman Adriano (archive burning?) and that of the violent Daniel Silveira, who, despite being convicted by the court, was granted amnesty by the president and, to top it off, even being ineligible, oddly enough, running for the Senate for RJ under Jefferson's legend, the PTB, Daniel Silveira received one million five hundred thousand votes.

How can we still underestimate the characterizations of the government that point to a possible fascist or neo-fascist government? This is even worse if we look at the electoral maps. If it is true that some sectors of the high bourgeoisie support Lula's election, we have recently seen that in FIESP, an opposition group has emerged, led by Skaff, which supports Jair Bolsonaro, moreover, looking in more detail at the polls, the majority fraction of the high bourgeoisie is really with Jair Bolsonaro.

Likewise, the polls that point to an unequivocal victory for Jair Bolsonaro among the population that is in the income ranges from 2 to 5 minimum wages are worrying, that is, the current president has support among a low proletariat and petty bourgeoisie, mainly, since the same scenario is repeated among those who earn from 2 to 10 minimum wages. Now, all important Marxist analyzes of fascism know that the class bases of this political phenomenon – fascism – are exactly a fraction of the high bourgeoisie, plus declassified proletariat and petty bourgeoisie.

In the first round and in today's electoral polls, Jair Bolsonaro appears ahead in the Southeast, with a great advantage in RJ (51% to 41%), in the South and in the Midwest. There is a certain balance in the North and a great advantage for Lula in the Northeast, as well as in the very low-income population, that between 1 and 2 minimum wages. With this background, it is not surprising that the extreme right obtained a majority today in the Senate and in the Federal Chamber. This poses another question, even with the victory of Lula and his allies in the presidential election, the new government will face a Congress dominated by the extreme right. Therefore, it will have many difficulties to approve all the agendas that favor social projects, in addition, the STF will certainly be under threat of possible impeachment requests in the National Congress, against ministers who turn against the extreme right.

For all these reasons, the call for a null vote or abstention by the anti-PT left is a very serious error, both tactical and strategic. Today, everyone is forced to recognize that the fascist or neo-fascist danger is circling Brazil, and also the world. We are experiencing a structural crisis of capitalism, an economic and political crisis, which, conjuncturally, resembles that of the 30s.

*Hector Benoit He is a professor at the Department of Philosophy at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of Plato's Odyssey: The Adventures and Misadventures of Dialectics (Annablume).

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