The Pandemonic Model

Image: Elyeser Szturm

By Francisco Fonseca*

Can Bolsonaro's attempt to transform mob mobilization into government policy, without intermediary institutions and with permanent contempt and tension towards institutions, prosper? Even more, what are the effects of the pandemic in the face of this pandemonium?

Overnight, it seems that everything has changed in the world: from deeply rooted beliefs in political economy to the daily lives of individuals, among countless other arenas of social, political and economic life, from a macro and micro perspective, everything seems to be out of place. A hidden enemy, spread everywhere, threatens everything and (almost) everyone. In Brazil, whose political/institutional pandemonium stems from the fraudulent destabilization process of President Dilma's government, institutional corrosion grows in a spiral, reaching paroxysm with the advent of Bolsonarism.

This widespread confusion, intentionally produced by Bolsonaro and his preceptors, aims, as is known, to derogate or even wall up the institutions through the mobilization of militia groups and the lower military clergy, associated with big capital, notably the rentier.

To this end, direct communication, without mediation by institutions, is a central element. In this pandemonic model, the great consensus of politics and political science fall to the ground, because:

(a) the Bolsonarist group in power does not aim for a majority, but a stable and, above all, faithful minority;

(b) does not have articulation in the National Congress, and seems to care little about it, since the ultraliberal economic agenda – according to Congress – guarantees “governability” for the elites, which implies putting to the ground “coalition presidentialism” ”; does not have a political party and, although the creation of the proto-fascist “Aliança” has failed miserably – which represents a resounding defeat, apparently confirming the “thesis of the beetle”, that is, its image projected in the light makes it look like a dragon, when it is nothing more than a dragon. a beetle –, this seems unimportant in view of the personification of Bolsonarism;

(c) political/institutional isolation is of such great magnitude that tensioning institutions and constituted powers becomes a daily exercise in measuring forces, waiting for the final mobilization (a possible coup) of the Bolsonarist hordes, or at least the guarantee of loyalty to the minority part of society; the distancing from the so-called “civil society” is complete, in contrast to the bizarre, gloomy and obtuse support of pariahs and cultural scum (olavismos), artistic (reginas duartes) and politicians (reactionary groups anointed to power by the wave of Bolsonarism);

(d) the struggle with the mainstream media (with the exception of media entirely involved in the economic/political scheme of power, such as Record and SBT, and the newly created CNN Brasil), as an expression of the traditional elites, expresses the gap with the upper middle classes and with the elites; the ignoble clash with China, opposing our biggest buyer to strategically instilled ideological disputes, whose impact on the exporting elites (agribusiness at the forefront) is phenomenal. The list is long.

Now, this way of doing politics for a specific minority – in the future expectation of winning a new eventual, electoral majority, even if minimal –, whose mob mobilization becomes government policy, without intermediary institutions and with contempt and permanent tension to the institutions, can it prosper? Even more, what are the effects of the pandemic in the face of this pandemonium?

These two questions intertwine in a complex way. Let's see.

Bolsonaro, a fool for a long time, is only in power because of the institutional void intentionally caused by the coup consortium (Lavajato, economic elites, big media, sectors of the Judiciary, a significant part of the party system and US interference) and the set of frauds that allowed him to become electorally viable (alleged stabbing, fake news, box two, post-truth).

Its “misgovernment”, from the point of view of rationality and the rules of “normal” politics (in the sense of stability of the modus operandi and political representation) becomes the “new normal”, in which attacks on decorum, serial crimes of responsibility and a minimum of reasonableness become a kind of “land in a trance” of the far right. The ban on debate leads to the numbness and inaction of the majority that, paradoxically, seems to be a minority.

In this sense, everything indicates that Bolsonarism is a beetle, as alluded to. In other words, its power is possibly much less than it appears to have. It seems that this evidential “pay to see” has not been attempted by any relevant political force. As for the military, who are in power with Bolsonarism, there seems to be more division than a unison directive, which expresses yet another concept of “normal” politics that is being outdated: military discipline and unity.

Parallel to this ideological pandemic, true pandemonium, the coronavirus arrived, claiming lives and hegemonies. In this sense, the Bolsonarist bet of opposing the general confinement – ​​although schizophrenic and even bipolar in governmental terms – detaches the presidential figure from his government, keeping the pack mobilized, the central objective of this political project.

The idea is to create a new narrative for the brutal drop in the GDP, which is approaching – and will melt its political capital –, even if it comes at the cost of opposing science, international medical/health authorities and the most basic common sense regarding the defense of life, in parallel with permanent mobilization, as in totalitarian regimes. The sense of ridicule and embarrassment, including international ones, is not taken into account in this political calculation, a kind of “ethics of conviction” anchored in crystallized material interests. Even more, the more isolated and minority, the more countermajoritarian it will be, as a method of “governing”, in which the State and political mobilization are confused, which bears similarities with totalitarian regimes.

In this vein, the coronavirus undermines ultraliberal creeds, whose agenda – as in the 1930s and in the post-war period – completely loses space, hearing and credibility. This means that if Bolsonaro was anointed to power, with regard to the business elites, with the explicit objective of derogating, on the one hand, the Social Welfare State and worker protection, and on the other hand the developmental State, the which implies radicalized ultraliberalism and in the shortest possible time, this agenda was exhausted. With it, the usefulness of the foolish proto-fascists is also exhausted, even because completely isolated, which implies clinging to the marrow to the “projection of the beetle in the light” – that is, to the countermajoritarian mobilization, with the pretext of “saving the economy ” – who keeps him as a dragon, when his real dimension begins to appear in a decreasing way.

The pots and pans promoted every night by the middle classes, the same ones that beat President Dilma and the PT, as well as the reception with protests and eggs from the “carreatas against isolation”, are the symbolic expression that support for Bolsonaro is essential. fragile and declining. Its “real” mobilization capacity of social groups exists, but it is possibly small compared to its virtual supporters. The fiasco of the creation of his new party is a clear thermometer of this capacity for real mobilization that falls short of what is apparent, it should be reiterated.

Low ranking military personnel would have great difficulty mobilizing with a view to a classic coup d'état if the top levels did not adhere. Moreover, coups are given if preceded by intense articulation with powerful groups (big capital, think tanks, media, upper middle classes, and even important sectors of the State, such as the National Congress, among others). Bolsonarism is distant from most of these sectors, has low capacity for articulation and its adventure is increasingly dysfunctional to the game of the elites. The deputy, Mourão, is increasingly palatable in this scenario, but the decrepitude of the ultraliberal agenda also reduces its attractiveness to the elites.

Even from an international perspective, US imperialism turns its energies to combating the pandemic, which is spreading strongly in the country without a public health system, a true social third world. This means that it reduces the ability of the US to intervene – directly and indirectly – in the countless countries in which it finances coups and destabilizations, as in the case of Brazil.

The coronavirus is, therefore, a strange and paradoxical opportunity for Brazil to get rid of the Bolsonarist scum – a kind of socio/political virus – that has plagued power in Brazil. However, the Mourão solution is terrible for democracy, since it continues the illegal and illegitimate government; does not restore the 1988 pact, broken with the 2016 coup; it does not remake institutions from the perspective of “normal politics”; and it maintains the ultraliberal (plutocratic) agenda, even if it is crushed.

The Mourão solution is, therefore, a solution for the elites, since by removing the stupid/bizarre from power, they will be left to oppose the agenda of the left/progressives, without being able to apply the ultraliberal agenda in its depth, as has occurred since To fear.

In any case, removing Bolsonaro and his calculated insanity from power is an urgent task for the STF and the National Congress through “criminal news”. It is clear that, out of power, he will continue to mobilize his bases via direct communication, attempting coups “from below”: militias and lower military clergy. It could lead Brazil to a kind of Colombian model. Once again it will be necessary, on the left and the progressives, not just to “pay to see”, but, above all, to have coordinated strategies in advance, such as:

(a) pressure the corporations that own social networks regarding the impediment to their pernicious use; create elements of counter-hegemony; establish fronts – in the most diverse fields – in defense of the Rule of Law and the State of Social and Labor Welfare; (b) propose articulated and urgent economic and social measures; (c) have plans to combat the extreme right, which involves vigorous information mechanisms; (d) demand a reaction from the institutions in the context of a new democratic governance pact; among countless others.

With Bolsonaro removed from power, the battle for the impeachment of the TSE ticket must be the new agenda to combat the political/institutional pandemonium, a kind of dark tunnel from which no exit was seen. In this game of chess, it is necessary to take risks to “kill the king”, but in a calculated way, measuring the power relations and adopting intelligent and coordinated tactics and strategies. In this sense, tensioning the institutions – in the sense of resuming/guaranteeing the Democratic Rule of Law –, in parallel with articulation at the various levels of political action, becomes essential. The communication battle will occupy a privileged place in this scenario.

The extreme right has two visible paths: to carry out a coup and govern through an effective dictatorship; apparently distant project, or become electorally viable. As the ultraliberal agenda does not win elections, only fraud and constant mobilization could bring it to power. Being outside institutional power, this power will be small, not least because it is in dispute with other alternatives to the right, starting with Dória and Witzel. The third way out would be the organic constitution of a paramilitary power, along the lines of the aforementioned Colombian model. This, however, could be fought by the national state.

Finally, everything seems to converge to the role of the military (the three weapons), and even to US imperialism. However, as in the game of chess, there are limits to long-term calculation, not least because the chess of real politics is much more complex and fluid. Even so, it is possible to draw on the US fragility in the face of the coronavirus and bet on the division of the armed forces in order to isolate coup plotters and Bolsonarist adventurers, disciplining the lower clergy.

Thus, it remains for the left, progressives and those who care for democracy to try to remove Bolsonaro from power as soon as possible via the “crime news” to the STF (the reasons are numerous and would lead to Bolsonaro’s temporary suspension for later impeachment). or another quick way from an institutional point of view and then fight for the impeachment of the Bolsonaro/Mourão ticket.

Electoral calculations cannot be overestimated, either because the instability will be great, or because of the fact that the political struggle will take place in several areas. It should be reiterated that, paradoxically, the coronavirus pandemic could be, in this way, the vehicle through which the pandemonium that devastated power in Brazil can be overcome! In addition to taking thousands, if not millions of lives, causing pain and tragedy in a worldwide perspective, it represents a new factor in each national reality, in parallel with the global environment. In the Brazilian case, it could contribute to weakening – and perhaps destroying – Bolsonarism, which will imply a virus decimating another!

* Francisco Fonseca he is professor of political science at FGV/Eaesp and at PUC-SP.

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