The winged bird always reappears

Image: Cottonbro


Bolsonaro is an empty signifier in which varied, even contradictory, contents are embedded in the back of the character.

“Myth is the nothing that is everything" (Fernando Pessoa, Ulysses, In: Message. esoteric poems).

Are there still scam risks? The next chapters in the history of the future of our wild and late capitalism will tell. I'm not a clairvoyant, but the chance game of dice has its mysterious tendencies. I begin by quoting Shakespeare, who, through so much use and abuse, has become a cliché: if there is “method in madness”, in the character of Bolsonaro, madness is the method itself. Evidently – there is general agreement among analysts on this – he summoned his phalanxes to the public square on 7/9/2021 imbued with the satisfaction of a permanent coup desire, acquired through training and pilgrimage. A prospector's life in murky waters, which began listening to stories of torture and chivalry from his military masters about the basements and deeds of the dictatorship, until he was transfigured, in the transition of the new republic, into an eccentric deputy adept at an emerging trend of militiaism civil.

A banal story, after all. The key to the treasure of Bolsonaro’s political “myth” is that he is an empty signifier in which varied, even contradictory, contents are embedded in the back of the character. In the future, biographers will have to literarily – augur armed with the respectful pen of the joke – describe a fascinating character of political power, shallow and devoid of glory and labyrinth. Although he does not despise the importance of psychological studies in understanding and explaining the authoritarian personality, in terms of politics, invoking historical fascism, the number one objective of the nominated character on 7/9 aimed at carrying out an imaginary and tropical recreation of a “March on Roma” in Brazil in the 99st century, XNUMX years later. The fascist tactic is always to double the stakes, especially in times of difficulty, harassed as it is by the CPI of the Coronavirus and the processes in the STF.

What are your assets? An empty signifier, the “myth” undoubtedly holds command of a fierce mass movement with a popular, reactionary, religious and militarized social base. The rhetoric has garnered canine support from segments of the traditional and resentful middle class. In terms of economic classes, it maintains the loyalty of bourgeois fractions of small and medium retail trade. This petty-bourgeois merchant, ruined by the pandemic, harassed by competition and reconcentrations in the sphere of large retail, like Amazon and Magalu, has objective reasons to turn against Bolsonaro's economic policy. But subjectivity, ideology, speaks louder. The support base is made up of emerging regionally-based sectors, polyclinics and health plans (Prevent Senior and Hapvida), weapons trade madrasas, new civil construction and agribusiness entrepreneurs on the agricultural and extractive frontier. This group is up for anything and has always enjoyed spending money on political funding. There are millions of people - according to Datafolha (16/9/2021), root Bolsonarism represents 11% of the population, mostly mature men, politically radicalized and age and income above the average of the population. In short, a base capable of being a majority or an electoral minority (and not yet political hegemony), depending on the peculiarities of the conjuncture. It is not known how long – as there is a material fatigue and the government's power of delivery is wasted – even so, it constitutes an army susceptible to the leader's call.

Bolsonarism, in turn, is a movement with social bases and articulated class interests that is dense enough to survive the leader’s departure from the scene. Bolsonarism without Bolsonaro would lose a significant charismatic void, a popular vote champion. A political and cultural antagonist for a force with the characteristics of Bolsonarism's assault troop – historical experience demonstrates – can only come from the left. This is the main difficulty, both political and cultural, of “third ways”. Since the 2013 mobilizations, especially in the opportunistic attitude of turning a blind eye to the extreme right that was growing around them, the toucans and other consorts signed a sentence of irrelevance. From then until today they languish.

It is no longer new among analysts to consider Bolsonarism a type of movement work in progress. Eclectic, malleable, pragmatic, anti-intellectualist and voluntarist, loose enough to shelter in action the roses and thorns of multiple tendencies, a fauna of anarcho-capitalists to romantic anti-capitalists, from neo-Nazis to Zionists, etc. A serious problem in the evolution of the movement: the agenda of the extreme right rooted in permanent war is elastic, but it has limits. The ideological agenda – this is the government's great impasse – is very far from the economic and social problems of the current crisis (69% of the population perceive the economy to be deteriorating, according to Datafolha on 20/9). So much so that most of the people – to paraphrase Aristides Lobo –, harassed by the economy, watched the neo-fascist parades disinterestedly and “bestialized”. They are fragrant limits of possibility of conquest of national-popular and patriotic hegemony. Furthermore, one should not disregard, with regard to street mobilization capacity, the fact that Bolsonarism is government, grinding a machine of commissioned positions, parliamentary mandates from the extreme right and from the centrão, alliances and agreements with NGOs, pastors and Churches.

 The main structural weakness of Bolsonarism resides in the fact that this movement fails to aggregate all its currents in civil society into a political party. The party of Bolsonarism is social networks (real, bot, algorithmic and fake), an innovation and a salient characteristic of the neo-fascisms of the XNUMXst century, but also proof of an organic weakness. It would be "classic" to say that the party is always a necessity, on the right and on the left, more than to contest elections, in which the centrão's captions are available, in the assembly and stabilization of a political General Staff. in classical gait From Marxist political analysis, Gramsci thematized the rise of fascism in Italy, in the face of the crisis of the liberal State, as a kind of “alternative State”, a “B State”, in case the crisis disorganizes the State. Thus, the Fascist Party rebuilt the State in the second phase of Mussolini's regime, from 1928. Similarly, Hitler in 1933, assumed command of the State by dissolving the structure of the Weimar Republic and the NSDAP (Nazi Party) became a single party .

 A very important counterbalance to the absence of a party is the strong presence of Bolsonarism (ideology and practice) – a competition currently unattainable in the Brazilian left – in the State apparatuses, especially the armed forces and military police, but also in the judicial sphere. In this respect, it is a neo-fascism that is more consistent with Latin American experiences, but also more limited in terms of deepening the experience. Bolsonarism has already done and continues to do in these spaces, day and night, that “long journey inside the State apparatus” of a process that has not yet been completed. Incidentally, precisely because it has significant sectors in the State apparatus and does not constitute an organic party, in which social media activism is an embryo, at its current stage, the neo-fascism of Bolsonarism configures a new “thing” in progress. Therefore, it relies heavily, perhaps too much, on the Bonapartist figure of the idiosyncratic and autocratic leader. But the “thing” moves.

It is never an easy operation to perpetrate a putsch (the term self-coup is more appropriate) Bonapartist. Jânio Quadros says so. On the other hand, endowed with the previously described power resources, a coup by Bolsonaro, crazy as it may be, is always a dark possibility of the conjuncture. There are always risks of coups, although attention should also be paid to the molecular and transformist movements of the “long journey inside the State apparatus”. One eye on the fish and one on the cat.

The act of 7/9 exposed to the light of day the resources and contradictory weaknesses of the call for a coup d'état. He did not count on the adhesion of the commands and troops of the armed forces and of the state military police. The parties of order, such as the PSDB, the DEM and the PSD, declared in Congress their withdrawal from the adventure and the criminalization of the coup, enabling the outbreak of an Impeachment. Bolsonaro backed down and went to ask for a break from… Michel Temer. It should be noted that the argument eased the heavy mood of traditional political forces and the STF against Bolsonaro. However, I see, at the very least, exaggerated the interpretations that see in the arrego the reissue of a consistent “agreement above the elites”. Neither as a tragedy nor as a farce. Neither as a tragedy nor as a farce.

By confusing his pantomime with universal history, Bolsonaro did not even flaunt the contradictory virtù (and there goes the lost time of almost three years of government) of reincarnating the spirit of Luís Bonaparte in 1851 (18th Brumaire and Second Empire) or of Getúlio Vargas in 1937 (Estado Novo) – even if it is summoning the sword of dictatorship – capable of resolving crises to the benefit of the Brazilian big bourgeoisie and international capitalism. That is, a salvationist demagogic leader with the political capacity to be a tertius, even momentarily, and sew the way out of a catastrophic balance of antagonistic classes in dispute. Indeed, constructivism is definitely not the vocation of the brave charismatic leader – charisma is always a relationship, not an irrational attribute – born in Eldorado, São Paulo.

For all this, Bolsonaro has always been the crisis, pure destructive destruction, therefore, a character to be contained and not stimulated for the sake of private business. As can be seen, there will never be a horizon of long-term victory in resolving the Brazilian crisis. He proved to be a president incapable of leading bourgeois cohesion, of constituting a historic bloc with a future. In the meantime, I see an important change in the class behavior of the bourgeoisie, as there was some illusion in the 2018 elections and in the first days of government that Bolsonaro would manage to reincarnate a successful Bonaparte and not just an extravagant Napoleon from a madhouse. The Paulo Guedes/Posto Ipiranga/Market Animator formula yielded its honeycombs to capital there (pension reform, sale of Petrobrás assets, etc.) and barely survives. The critical movements on the eve of the self-coup, on the part of entities such as Febraban, the majority of Fiesp, masters of agribusiness such as Blairo Maggi, etc. fully demonstrate. The oscillations of the stock exchanges, the dollar rising and stocks falling on the days of the street riots, followed by the relief of the arrego, are pure class consciousness.

All recent opinion polls confirm, for more than three months, that society has decided with no return in sight, in favor of Bolsonaro's impeachment. The image of a mostly unreliable president was consolidated – the most serious of the defects attributed to a head of state. Bolsonaro fell, but he's not on the tarp yet. These are expressive indexes of the government's difficulties. Research numbers help, but they are still insufficient to depose the president. The conjuncture is sinuous: if the numbers, by themselves, do not knock down, on the other hand, they demonstrate the possibility of gearing up a powerful mass movement.

The balance of the impeachment campaign acts proves that interesting events were organized, but the campaign did not take off. A situation of dangerous equilibrium was created. Both the extreme right agenda of root Bolsonarism does not interact with the afflictions of reproduction of popular life in Brazil, in crisis, but neither has the impeachment campaign, so far, advanced to the point of constituting an unstoppable mass movement. There is the positive factor of the Brazilian left being able to trim differences (the question that divided was whether or not to take to the streets in pandemic times) and unified in a street campaign demanding Bolsonaro’s impeachment, at least since the acts of May 29 .

The acts grew in the streets and garnered undisguised and surprising sympathies, even in the traditional press, in the months of June and July. Beauty. The apex of the acts took place on the 19th and 26/6. Then, on 30/6, political parties, parliamentarians and civil society organizations filed in the Chamber of Deputies the so-called “super request” of impeachment of the President of the Republic. It was time to make the transition from what I call the “column” phase of the bubble of parties and leftist movements to the phase of constituting an institutional “pocket” representative of the entire spectrum of “super demand”. The opportunity was lost. Then it did not happen, starting from the progressive plant, a political fact worthy of big headlines.

It has become fashionable to mention the Diretas-Já movement in all salons. It was another situation, no doubt. But remember that the direct elections combined a very broad platform of political leaders with a powerful mass movement. To date, no left-wing governor or mayor has been seen on a platform calling for Bolsonaro's impeachment. They accommodate to social networks. Advertising circulating the slogan in cities is extremely rare. To compare the abysmal distance of political investments, suffice it to say that the rallies in the final stretch of the direct campaign in Candelária and Anhangabaú, in the death throes of the dictatorship, had the collaboration of governors Franco Montoro and Leonel Brizola in measures to decree a point optional and in the liberation of the turnstiles of the São Paulo Metro.

Between the lines of tactical indefinitions, the question of what to do, broad front or left front? Formulating on the broad front in peremptory terms of “yes” or “no” embeds some pitfalls, sometimes circumvented by the trump card of the dogmatic reading of sacred texts.

Evidently, a campaign for the impeachment of Bolsonaro needs to evolve, at some point, towards a movement similar to a Frente Ampla, which reflects a mass movement and not a government program, different things that should not be confused. Thus, the concertation of a unified movement of impeachment urges, can be articulated, but it is distinct from the objective of progressive identity forces to evolve into a unity of popular forces. It is necessary to make political efforts in the direction of establishing a permanent agreement of the progressive forces. Adherence to a democratic and anti-Bolsonarist Broad Front must be agreed on the basis of unity without organic dilution of popular forces.

In the current situation, I think it is inevitable that the agreement between the progressive forces will take place within the scope of Lula's campaign as president. The terms of a program to unite the popular forces would involve critical-programmatic actions aimed at changing the course of recent societal and state transformations in the country. Aside from emergency and transitional measures aimed at stemming the crisis, a good start for a future progressive government would bring together a social response around three complicated themes:

1 Restructuring the ongoing negative dialectic in the world of work. There was a generalized loss of dynamism in the processes of social ascension in the country, especially in the working and middle classes. Joe Biden, in the United States, recently warned of the need to create unionized jobs, that is, in other words, formal jobs.

2 Reform the power bloc and the alliances within the state, in order to contain the absolute domination of the financial-rentier financial system, the agrarian bourgeoisie and the commercial bourgeoisie.

3 Interpellate the thorny question of the excess of power of two state corporations, the military and the judiciary.

Definitely, in spite of appearances and nothing else, we are not stuck at the 1964 station. In the 1964 coup, in addition to a cohesive military General Staff (divergences in names and tactics are common in political processes), there was a new emerging bourgeoisie in formation in the process of a bourgeois revolution as a process of passive revolution. It was a majority bourgeoisie resolute about its destiny. It glimpsed in itself, in the military, in the technocracy and in the multinationals, the continuity, both of the historic bloc of 1930, and – it is always important to emphasize – of the ancestral origin in the colonial oligarchy, shaped in the dialectically contradictory figure of the lord-citizen.

The portrait of the past on the wall – which hurts in Drummond’s poem –, in Florestan Fernandes’ terms, carried out a torturous journey of “capitalist transformation” through an “autocratic bourgeois model”, shaping a formation of wild and late capitalism. The blind objective of the process was to bury, for the sake of capitalist accumulation, the autonomist and social projects of the nationalist leaders and the revolutionary left. In the recent mobilizations of the extreme right, at most, and not even that is known, Bolsonaro bought a few days of time for himself and his family. A kind of forward-to-nowhere microescape. A tactical, perhaps permanent, retreat, a slam dunk that would forever demoralize the reputation of any self-respecting historic Mussolini. Bolsonaro loves to exercise a kind of hollow authority – corn for pigeons without a project –, proving that Brazil is stuck, has got into a kind of dead end. Francisco de Oliveira formulated shortly before his death the dilemma of the Brazilian national question: phoenix or extinction? I don't think that nothing will be left of this land, except the wind that blows over it. In the mythology of origin the winged bird always reappears. Go, beautiful bird, crooked and crooked angel, be left in life.

*Jaldes Meneses He is a professor at the Department of History at UFPB..


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