The way to defeat Bolsonaro

Carmela Gross, TASMANIAN WOLF, BANDO series, 2016


Bolsonaro is not tutelable, domesticable: the way to defeat the danger of self-coup is the struggle to overthrow him, because neo-fascism is counterrevolutionary voluntarism

The argument of this article is that defeating Bolsonaro is the center of the strategy and the struggle to save lives, Outside Bolsonaro, implemented in the defense of impeachment is its tactical implementation through a Left Front. There is no problem in carrying out common actions in unity of action, such as the demand for investigations of the Bolsonaro clan with the militias, or others, with the liberal opposition: from FHC to Dória, without restrictions. The question is around which flags. Outside Bolsonaro is the central issue, and it is not about an ultimatum, it is about lucidity. Nothing more, however, nothing less than that.

A portion of the left supported last Friday's Virtual Act organized by the Manifesto Rights Now in defense of democracy, and another not. There is an open controversy about which way to go. There are two main strong arguments among those who defend the Act as the embryo of a Democratic Front.

The first is that the left does not currently have the social and political strength to contain and, even less, to defeat Bolsonaro. Therefore, very broad alliances are indispensable, even if the common denominator does not include the defense of impeachment.

In fact, neither the left without the streets, much less the liberal opposition, in a minority in Congress, are strong enough to even stop, let alone defeat Bolsonaro now. The question, therefore, is how to accumulate strength. A modicum of common sense suggests that with the liberals' program of declarations of love for Congress and democracy we are not out of place.

The second is that it would be wrong to provoke the government with pressure for impeachment, because it would increase the real and immediate danger of a self-coup. Evidently, the left must have no illusions in the imposture of the “Bolsonaro peace and love” theater. Bolsonaro is not just a bizarre, weird, exotic ultra-right leader. He is the top leader of a neo-fascist current. Bolsonaro can dance a waltz to the sides, and pretend that he is quietly leaving the back, when he is preparing to enter the front to regain positions, and be able to advance. He has been trying to fascistize the hard core of the mass current that supports him, but he still needs to buy time.

Bolsonaro is not tutelable, domesticated: the way to defeat the danger of self-coup is the struggle to overthrow him, because neo-fascism is counterrevolutionary voluntarism. It is in the nature of fascists to permanently seek maximum initiative: provocation, the offensive, the bluff. It sounds crazy, but it obeys a method. Increase your forces, reduce your enemies, and scare.

It turns out that Bolsonaro’s isolation increased – arrest of the leaders of the 300, siege of the fake news network, resignation of Weintraub, in addition to his very brief successor and, above all, the arrest of Queiroz – and the government found itself pressured to change its tone, to give in to pressure from Centrão on the Ministry of Communications, and open negotiations with the STF. An inflection, therefore, in less than fifteen days: a new moment in the conjuncture.

Bolsonaro knows he weakened and therefore retreated. He will not launch himself into an adventure without being certain of victory. No need to rush: they are in power. The fascists' strategy is to subvert the regime and impose a dictatorship. But they know that tactic times are very important. Bolsonaro will not fall from maturity, there will be no impeachment without confrontation. The most likely hypothesis is that only a colossal mobilization can move a bourgeois majority towards impeachment and the neutralization of the Armed Forces. If he is not overthrown, Bolsonaro will go on the counteroffensive. Fascism will not be defeated without a fight.

The main limit of the manifesto por Hoje is that the defense of the democratic regime it defends involves supporting Maia and Toffoli, not impeachment. The bet that its defenders make is that Congress and the STF, with the support of the commercial media, are the trenches that can and should protect us from Bolsonaro. They argue, therefore, that the most prudent tactic is to let Bolsonaro wear himself out, and wait for the 2020 elections, or in a word: not to provoke.

This bet is, in addition to being wrong, incoherent. It is incoherent because either it is considered that there is a real danger of Bolsonaro launching himself in the direction of a self-coup, or it prevails in the analysis that Congress and the STF are in a position to impose a brake and guardianship until 2022. One or the other. It cannot be both hypotheses at the same time. But it is essentially wrong for another reason.

We cannot accept that Bolsonaro fulfills his mandate, because he is a threat to the lives of millions of people. The liberal opposition can wait for 2022, but the left cannot. Fernando Henrique and Maia can patiently bet on Bolsonaro's electoral defeat in 2022, because they agree with Guedes' program. If the left surrenders to this perspective, it commits political suicide.

In the last two weeks it has become clear that the pandemic is spreading in an overwhelming way. We have surpassed the 60.000 dead, and society is adrift, moving towards a catastrophic scenario in August. The social crisis will be devastating with the end of emergency aid.

The three crises that threaten us are devastating. In a few months, the most likely scenario is that we will have more than one hundred and fifty thousand dead, something close to twenty million unemployed, and more than sixty million who will lose emergency aid. Brazilian society, with more than 86% of the population urbanized, more than twenty cities with a million or more inhabitants, is no longer the illiterate rural world of the past. It will not be possible to naturalize tragedy as a fatality of nature. The core of the tactic is to politicize the disaster by making the government accountable, and uniting the defense of social rights to the banner of Fora Bolsonaro.

It is an institutional illusion to imagine that popular mobilizations in defense of democracy will be possible, without the defense of social rights, and without Bolsonaro Out. In defense of Congress and the Supreme, no one takes to the streets in Brazil. For the broad masses, this democracy has always been a regime for the rich.

This program does not respond to the urgencies of those who are losing their family due to the pandemic, those who are without jobs, those who will lose emergency aid, the black people who die in the ravines, the indigenous people who have their lands usurped and the Amazon in flames. It's not enough.

It so happens that the liberal opposition also knows that Bolsonarism has a radicalized mass current behind it. FHC, Maia and Toffoli are aware that without pressure from the streets it is not possible to stop the neo-fascists. But they fear these mobilizations from below because they can only favor the left, and they are not willing to build stairs for the left to climb. Even less, when they will have to improvise candidacies with Huck, Dória or Sergio Moro.

The question of who will lead the opposition to Bolsonaro is up for grabs, and there is no reason for the left to renounce its dispute. The bottom line is that the workers and the people have suffered major defeats since 2016, but the left has not been destroyed. If the trade union movement was severely wounded, new social movements emerged, black, women, LGBT's, and youth.

PSol's role must be the defense of a Leftist Front, because it opens a way to be able to return to the streets, and present a proposal for power. Unity in action with the liberal opposition around concrete claims is legitimate. But accepting his program would be a capitulation.

*Valerio Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of Revolution meets history (Shaman).


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