The Lula government and the vice presidential issue

Image: Eugênio Barboza


Deputy duties have a symbolic character in the class struggle

The class element & others

The pre-candidate for the Presidency, Lula da Silva, gives an expanded conception of the class struggle in Brazil in interviews. She associates care with basic sanitation in the outskirts of Amazon conservation initiatives. To the demands of gender and race equality, she wards off misogyny and discrimination. To the labor counter-reform at the request of the laissez-faire, beckons with the revision along the lines of the Spanish experience. In defense of adjustments to the minimum wage above inflation, he argues the formation of an internal mass market. To the criticism of the current model, he exposes antidotes to financialized capitalism.

“These struggles intersect with and are overdetermined by the dividing lines of race/ethnicity, gender and class, now understood in a broader sense”, in the interpretation of Nancy Fraser, in Capitalism in Debate (Boitempo). They encompass precarious, uberised, non-salaried and expropriated work. The class element intertwines with other components in the making of policies for health, education, security, housing, and so on. “However, saying that the problem has a crucial element of class does not mean going back to an overly simplified view that class is the 'real' problem, while race and gender are epiphenomena”, points out the professor from New York.

The separation between production and free social reproduction attributed to women brings a gender inflection. Cursed inheritance of a sexist and archaic patriarchy. Affirmative reparations for university quotas bring an Afro-descendant and indigenous inflection. Combating prejudice, an inflection in LGBTQIA+ groupings. Tomorrow is a harbinger of struggles, not the peace of cemeteries. The capitalist horizon is full of crises: ecological, economic, political, cultural and social. The “law of value” subjects the dominated and the dominators to coercion that blocks connections with generations and non-human nature. The crisis and heteronomy affect everyone. But the most acute expression of the crises falls on the poor and working classes. This is why they deserve to have their demands prioritized. The mechanisms of alienation and escapism distort by focusing on private life and suffering.

The extraordinary advantage that a third Lula government provides lies in the removal of issues relegated to the market, among which, care for the environment, the standard of labor relations and the regulation of the media to be heard by the majority's opinion. Items previously inaccessible to democratic resolutions. To politicize them, to make them the target of interlocution is to reveal a solidary sociability. The civilizing march takes effect, in particular, under the guiding light of political pluralism, freedom and public solidarity. Not in the gloomy darkness of despotic fundamentalism and single-mindedness.

The path is full of obstacles embedded in the institutional structure itself, so that disagreements can be expressed free of chains and be resolved institutionally. Even issues that tradition has stifled with a rigid divide between politics and economics, such as the length of the working day, need to be scanned by public debate. Neoliberalism colonized politics with economic categories. However, this does not infer the inversion of signs in the search for a ridiculous revenge through the colonization of the economy with political categories. Not so much to the sea, not so much to the land. Democratizing achievements need to be matched in the degree of politicization and organization of civil society so as not to provoke backlash in response. They depend on the courageous and arduous art of governing.

A Lula government, more daring and egalitarian, “with the poor in the Budget and the rich in the Federal Revenue”, will be charged with greater rigor than the previous ones, where hope was staged “without fear of being happy”. It will require audacity and prudence to pay off the homeland's aggravated social debt – and have your feet on the ground to exercise governance, without fear of looking up. It is not a question of curbing the momentum for transformation, but of alerting to a game whose outcome does not depend only on the spirit of rebellion, at the risk of voluntarism. Nothing indicates the renegotiation of the representative system. Exclusion is certificate of Brazilianness. A Political Reform within the National Congress is unfeasible, as is a Tax Reform aimed at progressive fiscal justice and distributive social justice. Reforms that the country refuses to undertake, tied to the Freyrean metaphor of the “big house” and the “slave quarters”.

The unavoidable discussion in a pressing Lula government is about economic growth. In certain regions of Europe, in a spiral, erupt numerous groups of intellectuals and environmentalists who reject the agenda, as evidence of environmental chaos and global warming spreads. Some then propose “degrowth”, as if we could stop growing or shrink. In Germany, the term is rejected in favor of the “post-growth” that rejects the abstract imperative for growth, giving communities the power to contain the irrational dynamics of development, at a socio-environmental cost. In theory, for the well-being of society. In reality, for the insatiable greed of capital. Ecological awareness confronts problems that were outside the prevention radar so that catastrophes, like Brumadinho, do not spread and become natural in the dismal landscape.


The controversial vice issue

Six years after the impeachment and four distant from Lula's impeachment in the 2018 elections, the question is: leveraged by the ideologization of the Lava Jato operation with wings from the Judiciary / MPF, FIESP, FEBRABAN, the Armed Forces and the press controlled by finance, to serve the interests of foreign engineering companies, in particular, the North American oil companies, will the coup articulation comply with the will of the polls next October? Trump's defeat and the rise of progressives in Latin America, Fernández and Cristina in Argentina and Boric in Chile, painted the world map in tones of optimism, do not induce an exaggerated overestimation of the muscles in favor of democracy on the continent. The surrender trait of the Latin American bourgeoisie is a constant, with serial attacks and betrayals of constitutional power over the centuries. The situation is drawn like a half-full glass of water. For some, half empty. For others, half full.

For whom the moment is defensive, to the left, Alckmin gives up the race to the Palácio dos Bandeirantes, which concentrates a large slice of the Brazilian GDP, although he points out the polls of voting intentions. Joins Fernando Haddad's campaign (PT/SP). By joining a center-left acronym and composing with Lula, he contributes to a tactical knot in the anti-PT narrative. The ex-governor moderates a toxic scenario, exorcises the far-right caesarism and returns the rats to the sewer. “Fascism is at the door. The correlation of forces is still not in our favour”, stresses sociologist Lejeune Mirham. “Lula projects an image of breadth and conciliation”, confirms journalist Luís Costa Pinto. “Lula is doing everything right”, he laments to the right the headless Bolsonarism strategist, Merval Pereira, who proposes Genocida in the Senate. Globo sticks to the hoax, Sérgio Moro. The assumption common to defensivists, there and here, is the disjunctive of neo-fascism in the face of neoliberalism.

For whom the moment is offensive, “Alckmin is the contradiction of everything the PT has done. Lula does not need an electoral crutch”, emphasizes the deputy who presided over the star's party, Rui Falcão. The toucan hero relativizes the alternative class content to the status quo. “The PSDB was the matrix and historic center of neoliberal coalitions in Brazil. In the biggest crisis in history, intending to defeat Bolsonarism without defeating the neoliberal economic and political forces that elected Bolsonaro, supported and still support is to walk in the direction of political disaster”, reads in the internal current of the PT (Socialist Democracy). The past of services to markets and privatizations would condemn the “new Christian”. Worse, they would threaten the future. For DS there is a close and indissoluble unity “between program, strategy and alliances”. It is equivalent to saying that the neo-fascist omen melts into thin air, with the crumbling of the no longer so solid financial foundations. The assumption of the offensive ones is that the authoritarian political costume is undone with the destruction of the exclusive bunkers of neoliberalism.

The insinuation to deputy awakened the memory of the MTST: “Ten years have passed since the Pinheirinho massacre. In 2012, São Paulo police carried out a war operation to evict thousands of families from a plot of land in São José dos Campos. Lots of people injured, houses burned down. 'A barbarism', assessed President Dilma Rousseff. I could see the despair. Faced with the conflict of competences between the state and federal courts, which had suspended the order, the final word for the action came from Governor Geraldo Alckmin”, recalls Guilherme Boulos (PSOL/SP). At the time, schools were closed. Students, in protest, hit by tear gas bombs. Prisons were inaugurated. Police lethality rates increased. The sanitation company (Sabesp), capitalized on the Stock Exchange. The energy company (Cesp), privatized. “Politics must be done with greatness and with the capacity for dialogue, but never with forgetfulness”, concludes the homeless activist. Circumstances, despite the regrets, can lead to support – embarrassed.

Valério Arcary reiterates Psolist discomfort in the article Lula's ultimatum, when he objected that “the eagerness to reach power at any price is fatal”. The admonition serves Sérgio Moro, judged incompetent and partial by the High Court. Not for Lula, who has obvious empathy with the people, not love of “power for power's sake”. Given the discount, Arcary is right in stating that the sensibilities gathered in the Fora Bolsonaro mobilizations would not be included in the double integrated by Alckmin. The ticket would recall a time when people voted separately for president and vice-president, as happened with Jânio Quadros and João Goulart.

The government program is auspicious: end of the liquidation of state assets, recovery of Petrobras to guide production, strengthening of South-South relations, popular empowerment with the National Conferences. Things that are not reflected in Alckmin's biography. The gesture of Pindamonhagabanese is a signifier to capture a meaning. No one is fooled. The wedge in the middle classes depends on policies that modify the Income Tax regressive table and qualify public Health and Education equipment, to make idle the use of exorbitant private plans.

The vice president's duties have a symbolic character in the class struggle. They demand clear republican explanations, instead of noise in the minds and hearts. With José Alencar it was the alliance of work with the productive fraction of capital. With Alckmin it is the exhaustion of the artificial climate of ideological polarization. The mistake is in assuming the equalization of the left with the extreme right, propagated by the corporate media. Visibly, the ongoing agglutination of anti-neofascist and anti-neoliberal oppositions occurs from the perspective of subaltern classes. “I cannot want to be president to solve the problems of the financial system, of businessmen, of those who became richer during the pandemic”, guarantees the PT leader. For Paulo Nogueira Batista, “what will happen now is the displacement of political activity towards the dispute for spaces within the future Lula government”. Take your seats in the carriages. The train locomotive of the democratization of democracy is about to depart.


For a counter-hegemonic bloc

Neoliberalism suffers scathing questioning in LA, in the US and in Europe. The civilization that promised devours itself, as summarized by Anselm Jappe, in The Autophagic Society: Capitalism, Immoderation and Self-Destruction (Elephant). In fifty years of domination and hegemony, at last, the neoliberal weaknesses in the civilizational quagmire where humanity got itself into are wide open. Who knows, make the time, don't wait.

Lula provides opportunities for formatting a counter-hegemonic bloc, around what Nancy Fraser calls “progressive populism”, condensing an emancipatory project:

a) with a conventional pro-working-class egalitarian economic orientation, linked to manufacturing and construction, capable of re-energizing struggle unionism on a national scale;

b) with labor recognition of the hyper-exploited in domestic service, telemarketing, home deliveries, fieldwork, to achieve unity in the world of work.

 Legend has it that the inferiority complex, among us, was born with the defeat of the Brazilian national team to the Uruguayan national team in the newly opened Maracanã stadium, in 1950. pose as cults for incriminating the Brazilian people for the cruel ills of the country.

They don't get tired of the joke that God created paradise with an exuberant fauna and flora, here, on the other hand, a little people... Let's face it, it's the elites (of backwardness) who are out of place. The myth covers up the crimes of the market and blames the enslaved of yesterday and today for (our) misfortunes, as Jessé Souza has demonstrated in many books.

Getúlio, Jango and Lula suffered a spurious lawfare for prospecting an inclusive nation internally and, proudly, externally. One bequeathed a will letter denouncing imperialism. Another died in exile to avoid civil war. The difference is that Lindu's son will be able to complement his redemptive mission, enthusiastically approved by 87% of the population when he leaves the government after two epic terms... Shoo, stray dogs. Shoo!

 * 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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