The Devil on the street in the middle of the whirlpool

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By LUIS FERNANDO VITAGLIANO*

An analysis of the shadows of the PT in the Bolsonaro government

The decision of the Minister of the STF, Edson Fachin, has just been published on the annulment of all the convictions of former President Lula and the transfer of the same from the jurisdiction of the processes to Brasília, far from Lava Jato. Obviously, it is a decision that is less aimed at recognizing President Lula's political rights and more linked to the intention to preserve Lava Jato and its collusion. There is also the possibility of accelerating another second-instance conviction in Brasilia that would again prevent Lula from returning his political rights.

Even with this interlude of political issues, the pandemic that does not leave the news and takes a ride in politics when even the issue of vaccination gains contours of debate between the president's denialism and the necessary public policies.

Still, it is important to remember that any decision needs to be universalized and public. Partial or incomplete immunization of the population has a practical effect close to zero. Either we have a general immunization process that prevents the spread and mutation of the virus, or those who are not vaccinated can become infected and promote variations that affect even those already vaccinated. This is fundamental information for two conclusions about Brazil today;

First: internally, there is no point in companies buying vaccines for their employees without the entire population being vaccinated; private vaccines can somehow speed up the process and share costs, but they are not applicable solutions even to those who have been immunized if there are failures in collective immunization.

Second: in international terms, Brazil becomes a risk to the global fight against the coronavirus. Why? Because by enormously delaying the immunization process, it opens up the possibility of new variants like Manaus emerging and becoming more resistant, more contagious and immune to vaccines and ongoing disease treatment processes.

Therefore, beyond internal politics, the pandemic is a general and global problem. There is no other possible way out other than universal treatment. So that poor Brazilian on the street (which our elites easily coexist with dehumanization), in slums, or in hovels and even in the subhuman conditions that we sometimes find, cannot be ignored at this moment, even if it is for the pragmatic question: because they are host elements for propagation and mutation of the virus.

Faced with the scenario of a world tragedy, Bolsonaro insists on looking only at his own navel. However, now it has become an international problem: without immunization and without prevention, Brazil becomes a granary of the coronavirus to the point where it is possible that new, more contagious and resistant variants leave the country and complicate the global situation.

Internally, this quid pro quo with Lula keeps Bolsonaro attentive to his fragile political balance, which involves a refined equation between the elements that sustain him: the effective management of right-wing networks and virtual engagement, the ability to dialogue with evangelicals and the militia control of forces of public repression. Taking advantage of political fragmentation and the absence of feasible alternatives on the part of the right, it makes Lula unfeasible to reach the PT. With that, Bolsonaro places himself as a figure of greater electoral scope, even with the health crisis that he himself fueled.

Since petismo and bolsonarismo are the only ones with a solid social base, there will hardly be an intruder in this polarization. Even with the efforts of Globo and the oligopolistic media outlets, it is not possible for candidacies such as those of Dória, Huck, Moro, or even Ciro Gomes to become uncomfortable for both poles. Bolsonaro's capacity for dialogue with low-income voters is only surpassed by Lula's pity.

That is, in other words, it is clear from Fachin's own manifestation in the STF that the scenario for 2022 is very similar to the one designed for the 2018 elections: PT versus Bolsonaro, with Lula suffering legal wear and tear.

Let us not be deceived by the traps of the mainstream media or the manipulation of sectors of the judiciary. The fact that Fachin acted in favor of the annulment of the sentences does not make all the injustices in Lula’s process be reviewed – this was happening in the Moro suspicion process that the 2nd panel was judging – but, on the contrary, it opens up the chance of that new injustices are placed.

In addition, at least two cunning pieces of information were in the news a few days ago, which feed false hopes regarding changes in the air of Brazilian institutions of power. One of them is from a financial market entrepreneur who said he preferred to vote for the devil instead of voting for Bolsonaro; obviously referring to Lula. In addition to being naive, it is misleading to assume that the financial market will review its position regarding the PT, even with Bolsonaro as the only alternative. The second information (which comes from the newspaper “O Estado de São Paulo”) shows that Lula has a greater electoral potential than Bolsonaro. This openly anti-PT newspaper is not interested in showing facts and possibilities for 2022, but only and exclusively pressuring the STF by saying between the lines that if Lula is released to be a candidate, he has a chance of winning and every STF prevents that from happening.

Thus, two features of this political crisis are clear: One is that there is no alternative solution to the polarization of Lula and Bolsonaro. If the elites reject both, the population has already made it quite clear that when Bolsonaro's popularity drops, it is the PT that catalyzes this process. The other is that none of the forces in question is capable of resolving the political stalemate alone. Neither the elites, nor Bolsonaro, nor Lula and the PT.

If the financial market has weight in resources, it does not have electoral density. Those who elect President in Brazil are the poor. And as much as marketers try to convince us otherwise, there is a limit to the manipulation and ability to influence the masses. Most voters earning up to two minimum wages still voted for PT in 2018 and should vote again in 2022; most of those earning between 2 and 5 minimum wages still prefer Bolsonaro to Moro, Huck or Doria. And, if the Faria Limers capital was enough to change this reality and place one of his interlocutors between Bolsonaro and Lula, they would have already done so.

But social conscience doesn't work that way. There is always a relationship between social conscience and verifiable facts. Although propaganda can, in some cases, postpone a direct relationship between facts and consciousness, the tendency is for narratives to always have to be based on events. Intuitively, Bolsonaro knows very well what this means: his social base will not withstand financial prostration with inflation and social insecurity. It is not consciousness that determines material life, but material life that determines social consciousness.

With the failure of covid management, the lack of vaccines and the postponement of economic recovery, inflation and the drop in income and consumption; it's not the Faria Limers who suffer from their business. The blow of the resumption of inflation and the problems that the crisis has generated reduce wages and sales among the poorest. Bolsonaro bet on exits to the pandemic that preserved the economy. He maintained the discourse against the lockdown even though he knew it would have a high cost in terms of human lives. Somehow the president knew that if he preserved or turned the economy around, he would maintain the false consciousness that his government fights for the poor.

Regarding the second characteristic of the current political crisis, which opened with the 2016 coup – no political force (not even the “camps”) is able to win the elections alone. The neoliberal right allied and gave the government to Centrão to overthrow Dilma. Bolsonaro joined with the car washes and the financial market in 2018 to win the PT. Neoliberal money does not automatically grant them a viable candidate. Bolsonaro needs the consent of the major media and the judiciary to maintain his strategy. The left has difficulty confronting extreme right-wing networks without mass communication to support the unmasking of fake news. In this context, exempting yourself from political debate, preaching anti-politics, or exempting yourself favors Bolsonaro. On the other hand, acting in a way that demonstrates the damage caused by scientific denialism and fake news highly favors the left and particularly the PT. But in fact there is no possible neutrality.

Bolsonaro has this scenario clear in his political analysis and enjoys the comfortable position that keeps him as the only viable alternative to the PT. Even if the certainty that he would win Lula or the PT candidate in the second round is losing density, he still has the card to maintain the former president's electoral unfeasibility as political fat to burn - when measured by the recent movements of Fachin, Lava Jato and from the PRG, you will need to put this option into practice.

Thus, if we use Machiavelli's methodological rule, Bolsonaro fits into the metaphor of the fox and cunningly uses the intricacies of power to make himself viable: his calculation is based on the idea that he will maintain his digital communication based on fake news and denialism and will not be faced by traditional communication vehicles, newspapers and magazines. Because, by being polarized against the PT, the oligopolized media will prefer to keep it rather than have PTism back. He knows and understands that the business calculation of Faria Lima and its associates is that their government is about the lesser evil. With this strategy, he already takes his government until 2022 and strategically places himself in the political chess.

Account made, only one variable can cause a different result: the international variable.

Released by the PROOF website on March 06th, there is a complaint that Flávio Bolsonaro participated in the meeting that organized the invasion of the Capitol on January 05th. This could pit the Bolsonaro government's foreign policy against most of the establishment United States politician. Even though Biden is not madly in love with the PT and has other political preferences, it is possible that he goes against the options of the local elites and defines that the PT is the lesser evil in relation to Bolsonaro.

On the other hand, in addition to this fact, there is the worldwide concern that Brazil, being against the grain of health protocols, may be harming the world's ability to overcome the coronavirus. This vision is already very clear in terms of environmental management when you look at this government, it is not difficult to sustain sums.

These two points originating from the international scenario can become strong enough to provoke an internal review of the political positions of part of the elites, allowing them to no longer agree with the denialism of Bolsonarist fake news and thus face the Bolsonarist propaganda propagation machine. in networks. It remains to be seen how it can be operated on from the side effect of the PT's return?

*Luis Fernando Vitagliano holds a master's degree in political science from Unicamp.

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