Note on the coup adventure



The counteroffensive has to go beyond the institutional response. It will be in the streets that we must measure forces with the coup

“A hundred punishes who punishes one. Punishment makes the madman come to his senses” (Portuguese popular wisdom)

They failed. The Bolsonarist “assault on palaces” was defeated. Now it's time to move forward in the investigation, arrest and conviction of those responsible, without stumbling, but, above all, without hesitation about the fate of Jair Bolsonaro. The main person responsible for inciting the coup, for years now, with impunity, is Jair Bolsonaro.

The Lula government's decision to decree federal intervention in the security of Brasília, due to the coup threat, was correct, and Ricardo Capelli, former president of UNE, deserves support in the initiative to carry out the necessary immediate repression. Alexandre de Moraes' decision to remove Ibaneis Rocha from the government of the Federal District was also fair, in an attempt to regain control of Brasília. But the counteroffensive has to go beyond the institutional response. It will be in the streets that we must measure forces with the coup.

What happened on Sunday was an insurrection, period. Chaotic, insane, obscure, but an insurrection. The objective was the overthrow of the Lula government. Fortunately, there were no deaths. It was not a protest demonstration. It was not an out-of-control “explosion” of spontaneous radicalization. The apparent “headlessness” of subversion should not hide the responsibility of those who prepared, organized and directed the attempt to seize power. I obeyed a plan. It was a mad attempt to provoke a barracks. An unarmed uprising, but no less dangerous for that.

It obeyed the delusional calculation that a spark would be enough for some generals to put their tanks in the streets. That the spark did not generate a fire with the deployment of military troops willing to support the coup d'état does not diminish the gravity of the uprising. And it does not negate the danger that is evident police and military sympathy for the Bolsonarist movement. A disconcertingly articulated, planned and meticulously orchestrated operation that cannot be underestimated. Finding out who gave the orders, therefore, who commanded: this is the central challenge of these days.

We watched perplexed, astonished and shocked at the incredible ease with which, no more than a few thousand fascists, dressed as patriots in a carnival march, escorted by the Military Police, invaded the buildings that are the symbols of the powers of the Republic. Something simply unbelievable. The invasion of the National Congress, the STF and the Planalto Palace was a demonstration that the impunity of the extreme right, after two months of demonstrations outside barracks calling for a military coup, has serious consequences. The absurd and grotesque spectacle lasted for three hours, in the center of power in the capital, it would be inexplicable without the complicity of the police and military forces of Brasília.

Preventive arrests are inescapable to investigate the organizers. There are hidden agendas yet to be revealed. But, although progressive, these decisions are insufficient. The “military question” remains unresolved. José Múcio Monteiro is unable to remain as Minister of Defense. The Army Commander cannot remain in office. Therefore, the response of the popular mobilization that began on Monday, January 9th, and which must not be interrupted, will be decisive.

“Debolsonarization” must be a permanent strategy. A new moment has opened up in the conjuncture, an opportunity that we cannot miss, with the fiasco of the coup adventure. The time is for a relentless counter-offensive. Unfortunately, we need to be aware that Brazilian society is still very fractured. The electoral victory favorably altered the political balance of forces. But only mass social struggle will be able to impose a better social balance of forces.

Let's not forget that the majority of the bourgeoisie supported Jair Bolsonaro in recent years. That the middle classes supported Jair Bolsonaro. That, although divided, an important portion of the working class supported Jair Bolsonaro. Fascist provocations will not stop as long as there is no repression. The extreme right must be stopped. To a large extent, this Sunday's adventure was more of a "dress rehearsal". The forces of the extreme right were plunged into crisis due to the electoral defeat. Jair Bolsonaro himself retired demoralized for two months and left the country.

But they have not yet been neutralized, it holds, positions. The fascists wanted to demonstrate in Brasilia that they maintain social strength, political ambition and capacity for action. They are betting on the accumulation of forces. If they are not repressed with the arrest of those responsible, starting with the investigation of Jair Bolsonaro, they will return. There cannot be any amnesty for the crimes he has committed. The Lula government must fully assume the leadership of the fight against Bolsonarist provocation. The left, relying on social movements, will have to organize a national day of mobilization in response. Fascists will not pass!

*Valério Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of No one said it would be Easy (boitempo).

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