The unifying axis

Image: Jessica Lewis


Alliances, fronts and federations combine different projects around some unifying axis

So far, the bid with the strongest impact in the 2022 presidential race was the union between Lula and Geraldo Alckmin. It synthesizes with absolute concreteness the sparse proposals that, three years ago, pointed to the need for a broad front to bury the cycle of hatred that marks Bolsonarism.

Systematic attacks on democratic institutions had already been the keynote of the current president's 2018 election campaign. Once sworn in, Jair Bolsonaro relentlessly fulfilled his promise. Only after the failed coup on September 7 and asking a STF minister for clemency did he seem to have resigned himself to the path of the polls. It is up to watch.

If re-elected, no one has the right to doubt that he will persist in the same fury, with redoubled power. It will go ahead in the voracious destruction of all the policies built since 1988 in essential areas such as human rights, health, education, culture, social development, science and technology, foreign relations and many others.

Still in Curitiba, Lula welcomed the clamor for anti-fascist unity, but it had conditions. A central point of his program was non-negotiable: the poor must occupy a key position in economic recovery and democratic reconstruction. Without this, no antifascist unit will last.

Hence the historical relevance of his invitation to Alckmin and the courageous response of the ex-governor of São Paulo by accepting the summons. Even more: when leaving the PSDB terminal, Alckmin opted for the most left-wing acronym in the range of parties available to him, the PSB, an ally of the PT since the Frente Brasil Popular, in 1989.

It is unacceptable to underestimate the importance of the PSB in the history of Brazil. The party boasted idolized leaders such as Miguel Arraes, governor of Pernambuco three times, removed by the coup leaders in 1964 from the Palácio do Campo das Princesas to a cell in Fernando de Noronha.

Also a party of his grandson, the governor and minister Eduardo Campos, whom Lula dreamed of seeing as President of the Republic, with the support of the PT. Party of João Mangabeira, whose lapidary phrase our Antonio Candido so loved to remember: “Socialism without freedom, socialism is not; freedom without socialism, freedom cannot be”.

It is said that the sewing of the plate, born with winning impetus, dates back more than a year. Its main architect, Fernando Haddad – due to his demonstrated political skill, in addition to the positive recall of previous candidacies – also emerges as a leader in state research in São Paulo, a podium that tends to be confirmed after the equally commendable gesture of Guilherme Boulos, who opted for the candidacy. to federal deputy on behalf of the unit.

It is strange that the press articles have coldly approached the union between two great national political leaders, who have already clashed in other elections. The news prioritizes irrelevant details of candidacies that turn well below 10% or advocates, without journalistic neutrality, the search for a third way, which only has the month of April to be born or die.

It is also strange that interviews are repeated with important PT leaders who criticize the bet made by Lula, with little mention being made of the applause that large portions of that same party direct to the decision of its greatest leader – applause that echoes more strongly in grassroots popular movements, such as the MST, trade union centrals, youth groups and in cultural manifestations of all scopes.

The criticisms focus on two main aspects. One stems from the assessment – ​​reckless, albeit respectable – that victory would be possible without such broad alliances. Even if this optimism was confirmed, an equally difficult knot would still need to be untied, that of the necessary majority in the Legislative to approve the most central projects of the new mandate.

The other is the political condemnation of the ex-governor's mandates, when the PT always exercised tenacious opposition. Episodes of police violence did indeed occur during that period – many and serious – but it would not be honest to forget serious police incidents also registered in state governments led by our party.

The repeated clashes with state teachers were also an issue without an agreement, but it is worth remembering that PT governments also faced prolonged strikes in this same area of ​​combative union action.

Needless to mention that political alliances are not established by leaders or parties who think alike and defend identical programs. Alliances, fronts and federations combine different projects around some unifying axis, and Lula has made no secret of what he thinks.

The need for these compositions and alliances always fluctuates according to the old and publicized correlation of forces, the core of all political tactics, as our old manuals for training militants prayed.

What is this correlation today? Irresistible advance of popular mobilizations in defense of their rights? Electorate clamoring for candidacies always more to the left? A society in which violence, hate crimes, racism, sexism, homophobia and other social plagues have become residual? Or is Brazil going through a terrifying wave of conservatism, fundamentalism and stupid beliefs in an ideology that rejects the facts of science, the truth of facts and the facts themselves?

Even less acceptable would be to condemn the ticket with Geraldo Alckmin for the simple fear that he would fatally tread the same vile path taken by Dilma Rousseff's vice-president. It's not fair to equate the two profiles.

In Lula and Haddad's own testimony, Alckmin was always a loyal and respectful opponent in the republican coexistence between president, governor and mayor. That other deputy, we have an obligation to recognize, had already traveled long obscure paths before arriving at Jaburu.

Above all, the political dispute and the democratic construction of civilization must not be guided by the prior mistrust that negative trajectories will always overcome developments in a positive direction. Let us remember that Alceu Amoroso Lima and Dom Helder Câmara came from Integralism and did not condemn the overthrow of João Goulart, but quickly transitioned to the condition of champions of freedom and icons of human rights.

Teotônio Vilela and Severo Gomes are two other giants who have shown themselves capable of abandoning important positions held in the dictatorial regime to set foot on the dusty and dangerous road of open challenge to tyrants, demanding democracy.

José Alencar ceased to be president of Fiemg, the siamese sister of that Fiesp that vomited frogs and ducks paving Avenida Paulista towards the fascist advance, to become an absolutely loyal deputy to Lula for eight years. When this big businessman broke discipline, it was only to attack, with tons of reason, the high interest rates that erode the industry's potential and make the banks the absolute monarchs of Brazilian capitalism.

Lula's invitation and Alckmin's courageous gesture go much more in this progressive historical direction than in the sense of repeating the betrayals that culminated in the 2016 coup, open door, alongside the crimes committed in Curitiba by the Judiciary, so that the right extremist obtained an electoral victory that seemed unthinkable.

* Paulo Vannuchi, Journalist, Minister of the Special Secretariat for Human Rights in the Lula government (2006-2010) and member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS (2014-2017).


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