The challenge of the next elections

Image: Sandro Sandroni Lazzarini


The structuring of a party federation needs to be agreed upon, without incurring the temptation of hegemonism, and without losing camaraderie and companionship

There is no lack of arguments and numbers to support the advantage of unifying the left and center-left to successfully face the challenge of the next elections. In the list of arguments, the following stand out: (a) the centripetal force (inwards) triggered by the unit of action program of those who represent the vectors of a more egalitarian society, with social justice and care for the environment and; (b) the centrifugal (outward) force on voters by the attraction exerted with a unitary joint. In the list of numbers, to strengthen the thesis of unity in diversity, state and municipal elections are listed in which the infantilism and intransigence of the transforming legions contributed to jettison the left of the dispute in the second round, in several episodes.


From resistance to camaraderie

The resistance to the idea of ​​a “broad front”, for the regimentation of political currents committed to satisfying the needs of the population, is explained by factors such as the search for the affirmation of a public identity, the fear that the electorate will disapprove of alliances and the regional discrepancies with the national guidelines of the acronym. In the sum of the errors, it would still be necessary to consider the “party boast”, to evoke Gramsci's expression. That is, the exacerbated presumption that leads negotiations with likely allies, who orbit the same socioeconomic field, to the heels of sectarianism. A sin extended to parties in general in the range of progressivism, without any being able to throw the first stone. They had sandals, but not humility.

Until an auspicious reform, when the worst was already expected, made “party federations” possible and brought up the discussion about the lack of tactical and strategic discernment that prevented the progressives from uniting – despite the rise of the extreme right, with the crisis of the liberal democracy. For Jodi Dean, in Comrade: an Essay on Political Belonging (Boitempo), “comradeship is the necessary form of political relationship on the left today”. Firmed in a fraternity with political belonging and in the message of expectations. Prerequisites for setting up the rebellion round table.

Etymologically the word comrade, in French, referred to a barracks or a room for sheltering combatants. In Russian, tovar it derivates from tovaru, military camp. Hence the soldiers are called comrades (in arms). The brave ones who can be counted on in battles, because “they share a common ideology, the commitment to common principles and objectives to carry out more than isolated actions… to fight the long fight… in favor of common causes”. Dean, by the way, cites the early XNUMXth-century Gorky tale entitled Comrade: “what came to unite the whole world, raise men to the heights of freedom and tie with new ties, the strong ties of mutual respect”. The writer illustrates the utopia with the mention of the prostitute who looks back when her shoulder is touched, and cries with joy when she hears – “Comrade”. Sign that it was not confused with merchandise.

For Aleksandra Kollontai (New Woman, 1918), architect of the First Congress of Working Women of the former USSR, camaraderie guides the “radical re-education of our psyche” in such a way that individuals stop feeling unequal and submissive. “Like Kollontai, Gorky associates 'comrade' with equality. Both address the notion of comradeship as opposed to selfish exploitation, hierarchy (class, gender and race), competition and the typical misery of capitalism,” says the professor from New York. In Homage to Catalonia (1936), George Orwell also describes camaraderie in utopian tones in the revolutionary anarchist scene of Barcelona: “The servile and even ceremonious forms of address had temporarily disappeared. No one else said Sir, or donation, or usted; more comrade e you”. The disruptive negativity signaled by the horizontal inflection in communication reveals the radicalization of egalitarianism.


Theoretical guidance element

The moral appeal precedes practical efforts to meet the interests of workers and business sectors linked to production, job creation and income distribution. This vast population segment is against the financial casino, hegemonic in the ongoing privatist indigestion in the fateful mismanagement. Inspired by the Washington Consensus, supervised by the Central Bank and supported by the corporate media. Adapting what Marx wrote in the 1848 manifesto to the native reality today, the inter-party harvest that can be seen on the horizon empowers all classes guided by social inclusion and democratic spirit based on learning the right to have rights. Here is the theoretical element of political orientation to a liberating project and a pluralist civilizational praxis, which is in fact in line with the demands of the Brazilian people, repressed from earlier eras. Mission for open minds, outraged hearts, welcoming arms.

In the classic typology bipartite of political parties, elaborated by Maurice Duverger, the “parties of cadres” commanded by notables reproduce in their organizational structure the current hierarchies in society. In those, the policy of convenience prevails. While the “mass parties” (here, it is important to emphasize the quality of relations between leaders and those led, not the number of adherents) are more democratic in decision-making processes and focused on street mobilization to overcome the serious contradictions of the capitalist system. Only in associations with a cooperative and collaborative bias does the policy of camaraderie actually develop in everyday life and in history.

The personalization of politics, at the same time, cause and consequence of the weakening of the parties engulfed by the parliamentary dynamics in institutionality, replaces the bonds of equality and solidarity between comrades with fetters cemented in privileges and hyper-individualistic prebends. The antidote to the corrosion of the image of democracy and parties is “list voting”, which is opposed by associations controlled by patrons along the lines of Roberto Jefferson or Valdemar Costa Neto et caterva, which hold the highest percentage of Senate and Federal Chamber seats in Brazil. The criminalization of political activity directs the revolt with the precariousness of work, unemployment, hunger and corruption produced in the unequal march of the market – against politics. Precisely politics, the only instrument capable of denouncing the reasons for what is happening. Neoliberalism, by making ethics and economics autonomous, ditto, erases the classist dimension of the problems and individualizes them. It embodies apathy and indifference in society. It makes the poor an impossible Gordian knot, planetary waste, a destructive species to be discarded.

The existence of camaraderie, characteristic of the relationship between the members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST) and the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), like what happens in mass parties, points to a new scale of values. Values ​​that subvert order and carry in embryo the model of a solidary world. The combination of freedom and solidarity in interpersonal dealings undermines the foundations of the reification of human subjectivity. It is understandable that the words comrade and companion / companion bother the power, committed to ridicule them in semantic terms to empty the symbolic content that they are messengers. After all, they embody the political belonging that confronts the organization chart of capital's domination over work, patriarchy and colonialism. Companionship expresses the political conscience of a collectivity engaged in the fight against oppression and overexploitation, sharpened in recent decades. It differs from friendship, conceptualized as an individual uniqueness based on sympathy, kindness and the exchange of confidences.


Learning the rules of the game

The structuring of a party federation needs to be agreed upon, without incurring the temptation of hegemonism. With regard to the organization, it is necessary to have responsibility, discipline and consensual mechanisms of deliberation. With regard to the program, “which is strongly anti-neoliberal, which reinforces participatory democracy and the role of the State in guaranteeing fundamental rights, which builds eco-socialism and the ecological transition, which resumes our project of national sovereignty and the union of Latin peoples”. Americans and that guarantees equal rights to women, black men and women, indigenous peoples, and the LGBTQIA+ community”, correctly ponders political scientist Wagner Romão, in the instigating article “Party federation – the PT debate” (posted on the website the earth is round).

The federations will act as if they were a party in Parliament, with duties linked to party loyalty, a program, statute and rules of operation. However, Law 14.208/21 preserves the identity and autonomy of parties under the federation, maintaining their colors, number, conformation, statute and internal regulations. The scope, however, of the federations is national and has a minimum duration of four years, with penalties in the event of breaking the contract midway: prohibition of participating in another consortium, prohibition of coalitions in the two following elections and of using the resources of the party fund until the end of the period in force of the original grouping. In addition, it is up to the parties' conjuminations to agree on the choice and registration of candidates in majoritarian and proportional disputes, including the collection and application in future campaigns and electoral advertisements. That's where the changes go.

According to the representation criteria now established, parties are required to obtain 2% of the valid votes distributed in at least one third of the states, with a minimum of 1% in each. Or 11 deputies elected in nine federative units. Such clauses drive the almost mandatory configuration of federations in the political spectrum. “Parties such as Rede, PV, Patriota, Cidadania, PCdoB, Avante, Novo, PSOL and PROS should form federations, since if they remain isolated, they run the risk of not having access to the party fund”, projects Romão. “How the coexistence between the PT and the parties of our federation will take place is a task to be built quickly and with political imagination”, he concludes. If federations bring welcome rationality to the political alphabet soup, brotherhood and camaraderie bestow the socialist aura. Then get to work.

The political activity of overcoming the status quo goes beyond individualities, requires collective coordination and a sociability permeable to the interconnection between companions, comrades, companions. Finally, among the “dream builders”, in the beautiful metaphor used by Lula da Silva in the Metallurgists Union, in São Bernardo, shortly before being unjustly arrested. The mountain climbing of the abominable fascist president, on the climb to the Planalto Palace, was the result of an elitist stratagem – “with everything”. Thus, the fragile popular sovereignty back then was defrauded. That, in 2022, left and center-left militants not only feel, but also act like sisters / brothers / comrades in the federation for emancipation. The year of harvest has arrived. Out with Bolsonaro.

PS: Some will accuse the text of idealism. A realpolitk, on the cultural pendulum that goes from low-level opportunism to petty-bourgeois individualism would obey a petty short-term logic. Others will say that the lines of conduct indicated, at most, would reach the discourse of currents more to the left, and not necessarily practice. Both considerations are correct. But what the reflection above did not want to dwell on Machiavellian realism. It was unfolding the dreams of a better life in politics, with “the spirit of utopia” by Ernst Bloch. It's not a ruler, it's a guide.

* Luiz Marques is a professor of political science at UFRGS. He was Rio Grande do Sul's state secretary of culture in the Olívio Dutra government.


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