The greatest danger is not risking anything

Clara Figueiredo, untitled, essay Films Overdue, Digitalized analog photography, Mexico, 2019


We must run the risk of trying to mobilize against Bolsonaro. Giving up risk is not an option.

“To laugh is to risk appearing foolish./ To cry is to risk appearing sentimental. / Extending a hand is taking the risk of getting involved. / To expose your feelings is to risk showing your true self. / To defend (…) ideas in front of the crowd is to run the risk of losing people. / To love is to take the risk of not being corresponded. / To live is to run the risk of dying. / To trust is to run the risk of being disappointed. / Trying is running the risk of failing. / The greatest danger is not to risk anything” (Seneca)

The month of February began with three political events. Two were predictable. The victory of the centrão in the election of the Presidencies of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, confirming its role as one of the four wings that make up the Bolsonaro government, alongside the military wing, the liberal-financist wing and the neo-fascist wing, was prepared, in detail, during months.

This outcome is not understandable divorced from the controlled end of the Lava-Jato operation. Seven years after its inception, the task force led by Sergio Moro was an unburied corpse, but uncomfortable for the centrão. It had already fulfilled its role by criminalizing the PT and preventing Lula's candidacy in 2018. The revelation of the sinister dialogues by Lewandowski was fatal for the public demoralization of judicial fraud.

The outcome seems paradoxical because it happened at the same time that the government was losing influence in society (apocalyptic scandal in Manaus, bitter confrontation with the government of São Paulo, split in the ruling class, displacement of middle sectors to the opposition, motorcades led by the left) raises its degree of institutional shielding in Congress. But the institutional political struggle has a high degree of autonomy, that's how it is.

The third fact was surprising. The abrupt launch of Fernando Haddad as a pre-candidate of the PT for the presidency in the 2022 elections by Lula himself, a week before the celebrations of the PT's anniversary, cannot fail to be interpreted as a possible signal of resignation, in advance, to a candidacy in 2022, on the eve of the Habeas Corpus trial on suspicion of Sergio Moro. If Lula insisted on maintaining the possibility of his candidacy, he would leave an explicit challenge to political persecution. The dilemma is whether Lula should run that risk in view of the STF judgment. The initiative precipitated a debate on candidacies and alliances, igniting the discussion between the PT and the PSol, and leading Ciro Gomes to declare that he prefers a Front with the PSDB.

But those who are already in a hurry to draw early conclusions for the scenario of the 2022 elections are mistaken. They still remain unpredictable. It is not possible to make any kind of prediction about who will be the favourite. It is not possible because we do not know which among the current trends will prevail.

But it is necessary to analyze which are the positions that each political bloc intends to reach in order to be able to dispute in better conditions. No serious political force decides to fight against everything and everyone, at the same time, with the same intensity. In this framework, the recent election of presidencies in Congress was instructive.

The block led by Bolsonaro intends to dispute the second round with the left, repeating the scenario of 2018, exploring the rejection of the PT, confident that the vote of the social base of the right will not lack, as it did not lack in Congress. The bloc led by Doria and Maia aims to remove the left from the second round, and prefers to measure forces with Bolsonaro leading the opposition, confident that the left's vote will not fail, as it did in Congress.

The left's mission is to defeat the extreme right and remove Bolsonaro from the second round. But the left did not do well in the February election for congressional presidencies. Because he dissociated tactics from strategy. There is no political struggle without a clear strategy and willingness to take tactical risks. The strategy must be the struggle to defeat Bolsonaro and pave the way for a left-wing government.

The left is a small minority in Congress, but has an incomparably larger audience in society. There is nothing wrong with taking a stand for Fora Bolsonaro within Congress, under these conditions. A sign was needed, after the catastrophe in Manaus, the delay in vaccination and the suspension of emergency aid.

We cannot understand the evolution of the Brazilian situation since 2016 without a historical explanation for the emergence of a neo-fascist current with mass influence. There is a theoretical-historical scheme, dangerously influential, but unilateral in the Brazilian left. Neo-fascism is not just a desperate reaction of a fraction of the bourgeoisie in the face of an imminent revolutionary danger. There was not even a shadow of a threat of a revolutionary break in 2015/16. Bolsonarist neo-fascism was also, therefore, the expression of the radicalization of middle sectors in the face of the economic and social crisis, and the fear of an electoral victory for the left in 2018. But that will change.

The fear that will prevail in 2022 is whether or not Bolsonaro will remain in power. Three strategic hypotheses are emerging on the horizon: (a) Bolsonaro's conquest of power was more than an electoral victory for the neo-fascists, but that does not mean that they are favorites in the re-election race. A period of struggle opens from here until 2022 and the outcome is, for the time being, undefined, because there are social and political reserves in the resistance, and the Bonapartist project of regime subversion is impossible without a historic defeat of the working class, youth and citizens. oppressed; (b) the victory of a liberal opposition candidacy would correspond to the stabilization of the regime, but even this is only possible with a sufficiently strong defensive popular resistance to shift the majority of the middle class towards the opposition; (c) a sequence of mobilizations that arouse revolutionary enthusiasm great enough to unite a social and political bloc capable of confronting the extreme right that paves the way for a leftist government.

The PT could not avoid running the risk of being left out of Congress. The PSol could not avoid running the risk of being marginalized in the committees. The two parties split. Risks must, of course, be calculated. They must be measured in the light of a sober and lucid examination of the social and political relationship of forces. Possible consequences must be considered before making choices. Scenarios need to be designed as working hypotheses.

The same criterion is useful in the judgment of the Habeas Corpus which may favor Lula. It seems possible that, in the second panel of the STF, some kind of suspicion of Moro will be approved, even if it is still uncertain, if not unlikely that Lula will be able to recover his political rights.

We must run the risk of trying to mobilize against Bolsonaro based on the division of the middle classes. Stopping taking risks is not an option. The worst defeat is the one without a fight.

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



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