Paul's Scream



The head of the neo-fascists stirs up his social base for the possibility of an institutional rupture at some point.

“The declining bourgeoisie is incapable of maintaining itself in power with the methods and means of its own creation – the parliamentary state. But the established bourgeoisie does not like fascist means of solving its problems, for shocks and disturbances, although they are in the interest of bourgeois society, involve dangers for it as well. This is the source of the antagonism between fascism and the traditional parties of the bourgeoisie.”
(Leon Trotsky, The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany).

Paulista's scream on the day of the Ipiranga scream was victory or death. In announcing his strategy, Bolsonaro made it clear that he will not give up the relentless struggle for power, whatever the cost. He gathered strength. The two immediate tactical objectives of the counterrevolutionary mobilization were (a) a warning to the liberal opposition that they will set the country on fire in the event of impeachment and (b) polarization against ministers Alexandre de Moraes and Luís Roberto Barroso of the STF who surround their current and family with investigations and arrests. But it's much more serious.

It leaves in the air for the fraction of the ruling class that has moved to the opposition, in the last forty days, the threat that it will not accept the result of elections, if it loses. He will not respect the rules of the liberal-democratic regime, there will be no peaceful transmission of banners in Brasilia in January 2023. The head of the neo-fascists seeks to relocate for the 2022 elections, but promises that he is willing to do anything and, therefore, agitates his social basis, too, for the possibility of an institutional rupture, at some point. That is, all or nothing, or the threat of civil war.

The counteroffensive took place within the framework of an uninterrupted weakening, since May, with the height of the second wave of the pandemic. But he has shown that he is not defeated. The biggest mistake on the left in the last three years was underestimating Bolsonarism. Lula's position in the opinion polls, at this moment, is no guarantee of anything. Considering only the degrees of approval and rejection revealed by the surveys is insufficient to assess the relationship of social and political forces. In front of hundreds of thousands of highly motivated people, Bolsonaro grew stronger. It wasn't a fiasco.

Bolsonaro still does not have an electoral legend, but he proved that he controls a “combat party”, that is, the organization of a counterrevolutionary movement that has a neo-fascist ideology, political strategy, social power, financial capacity for self-sustenance, initiative in the streets and in the networks. social relations, international relations, strong military and police influence and a leadership with messianic authority.

Bolsonaro's tactic, at the moment, is to buy time. Bite the blow. He occupies the center of cities, but does not authorize disturbances. He encourages roadblocks by truck drivers, but then orders them to back off. He makes coup threats, but launches an appeasing letter. Neither the pressure for military tutelage, nor Sergio Moro or Paulo Guedes, nor the agreement with Centrão, much less Michel Temer, an unburied political corpse, will be able to stop Bolsonaro. But what is the strategy? Guarantee a better repositioning for the electoral dispute, and guarantee re-election? Yes, but that's not all. The far-right government led by a neo-fascist is not a “normal” government with a neoliberal counter-reform agenda.

Bolsonaro's strategy is a new location of Brazilian capitalism in the world in a strategic alliance with a fraction of US imperialism against China. The recolonization plan rests on the expectation that foreign investment is the key to resuming economic growth. But for that it is necessary to impose a historic defeat on the working class and on the poor and oppressed people. A qualitative change in the social relationship of forces is only possible with the subversion of the regime can guarantee the maximum concentration of powers. The project is coup, bonapartist, counterrevolutionary. The forms, times, designs of insurrectionary initiatives are tactics. But unavoidable.

The policy of the liberal opposition changed with the turn, for the time being individual, of João Doria and Gilberto Kassab for impeachment. The ruling class is divided. Bolsonaro is increasingly dysfunctional and disruptive. The bourgeois faction that he displaced into the opposition is very powerful and has been trying to exert institutional pressure. But he is hesitant to move in the direction of impeachment. The liberal right is much more concerned with the position of the Armed Forces than with Centrão. And there is immense uncertainty with the role of General Mourão.

Be that as it may, given the new moment of the conjuncture, a change of tactics on the left is necessary. The tactic of unity in action took on greater importance because a sector of the liberal opposition finally shifted to the defense of impeachment. It is uncertain and delicate, but it is necessary to fight, seriously, for unitary Acts for Fora Bolsonaro. But we must prepare the initiative respecting the built spaces of the United Left Front, and the political independence in defense of the workers' claims.

The decision of the Fronts Brasil Popular and Povo sem Medo, of the Black Coalition for rights to maintain the National Day of Struggle of September 7th proved to be correct. They weren't big, but they were worthy. And they received a hug from a national pot on the same night. It was correct because the danger of a division and, consequently, the demoralization of parts of the militancy of all movements and parties was real. It is necessary to preserve firmness, the capacity for tactical calculation and strategic lucidity. Five years of accumulated defeats left wounds. There is instability in our ranks. We must be perplexed by the “bipolar” oscillations in assessing the situation, ranging from fainting to euphoria in days, even in serious left-wing circles.

It makes no sense that for a week an apocalyptic vision of the imminence of “real and immediate danger” of a self-coup prevailed and, subsequently, the conclusion that Bolsonarism had “flopped”. We are in a hurry, so we move responsibly. We will return to the streets and we will be the majority, but it is necessary to build mobilizations at a higher level than those of May, June and July. It won't be easy, but it is possible to go further.

The impact of Bolsonarist demonstrations should not divide the left. We have already seen that the scattering of positions on the September 7th Journey was a disaster, and the inopportune declarations broke down. A change in tactics must not divide the left. Fragmentation is a real danger. The United Front was the biggest step forward in the year 2021.

The central issue is that the capacity of the left to set in motion its social base of implantation has proved, for the time being, insufficient to open the way for impeachment. It was not enough the health, economic, social and political tragedy that embitters us. Nearly 14 deaths, over 10 million unemployed people, 30 million in food insecurity, inflation at a vertigo of XNUMX%, danger of electrical blackouts, fires in the Pantanal and the Amazon, invasion of indigenous lands, a XNUMX% reduction in registrations in the Enem, were not enough.

The central dilemma in the left's strategy is that the quietist tactic of waiting for the 2022 elections is morally, politically and strategically wrong. Bolsonaro is not the ideal enemy in 2022. The time is now to fight for impeachment and move forward. The challenge is to transform the social majority that is in opposition into a shocking social force to overthrow Bolsonaro.

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

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