The Globe's Retreat

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By ANDRÉ FLORES PENHA VALLE*

Globo's retreat in coverage of the 29M should not be understood as an effective rupture with Bolsonarism

In less than 48 hours, Rede Globo changed its position in relation to the mass movement that took to the streets on May 29 to fight against the government's economic and health policy. The initial attempt to make the protests invisible was abandoned on Monday (May 31), when the journalist Pedro Dória and the presenter Luciano Huck went public, through twitter, to defend the use of the yellow-green flag in the next demonstrations, in opposition to the red flags that symbolize popular movements and the left.

Jornal Nacional, which on Saturday had dedicated just four minutes of its agenda to reporting on the protests, negatively highlighting the crowds, aired a new report, lasting approximately ten minutes, positively highlighting the use of masks, the slogan of impeachment, the massive nature of the demonstrations and their repercussions on the Covid-19 CPI in the National Congress. On the other hand, it omitted the clearly anti-neoliberal flags, opposing privatizations, against fiscal austerity and in defense of social and labor protections.

What does this change in positioning mean? How can it influence the development of the mass struggle?

The retreat as anticipation

Despite its opposition to the denialist management of the pandemic, Rede Globo, which acts as a spokesman for the financial bourgeoisie associated with international capital (located at Av. Faria Lima), is an early supporter of the neoliberal reform program that has been implemented by the government, such as the pension reform, the independence of the Central Bank, the opening of airlines to foreign capital, the privatization of Eletrobras and the Post Office, and administrative reform.

It is in the interest of this bourgeois faction to keep at bay a government which it does not directly control, as a guarantee of the execution of economic policy. The wear and tear of the government is functional so that the “centrão” and big capital parties, each with their own objectives and means, can take measures that serve their interests, such as the distribution of parliamentary amendments and positions in the executive, in the case of the “centrão”, or privatizations and labor deregulations, in the case of big capital.

This tense and conflicting unity occurs because Bolsonarism is not an organic representation of big capital or financial capital, but a reactionary movement of the middle classes and the petty bourgeoisie, which pursues specific objectives that eventually collide with the immediate interests of the ruling classes.

In addition to denialism and permanent political instability, the conflict between Bolsonarism and financial capital is expressed when the government tries to broaden its support among the popular classes and bumps into the spending ceiling, when customary guidelines compromise the advancement of neoliberal reforms in the country. National Congress, or when Petrobras' pricing policy opposes the interests of truck drivers to the interests of the state-owned company's shareholders.

In this sense, Globo's retreat should not be understood as an effective rupture with Bolsonarism. The complaints that the broadcaster presents are secondary to the support for the measures prepared by the Ministry of Economy. The initial attempt to make the demonstrations invisible, contrasting with the coverage aimed at the right-wing protests in the recent period, when it publicized them ostensibly and made its daily schedule available to cover the acts, indicates that its preference is to preserve the government and silence the left. , do not take a consistent stance to isolate you.

But given the growth potential of street demonstrations, which surprised the most optimistic expectations and drew thousands of people last Saturday, Globo's retreat indicates a movement of anticipation of the mass movement, with the objective of disputing the content of the demonstrations and neutralize its anti-neoliberal dimension.

Judging by the interested coverage of the protests, which hid the slogans and flags against privatizations, against the cut of public expenses and against administrative reform, Globo should seek to restrict its political content and emphasize only the measures strictly necessary to the normalization of economic activity, such as mass vaccination, in addition to building on the movement to pressure the government for neoliberal reforms.

A lesson from 2013

The monopoly group performs a retreat similar to the one that took place during the June 2013 demonstrations, when it abandoned the discourse of criminalization of street protests and began to dispute the content of the claims, smuggling the discourse of combating corruption and the absence of limits to the action of the Public Ministry (against PEC 37).

In that context, the unexpected massification and the cult of spontaneity on the part of the movements that had called for the protests facilitated their dispersion and the spread of conservative agendas among the demonstrators. The denial of politics, which was reflected in the absence of a legitimate instance for organizing the protests and a well-defined program of demands, allowed the mainstream press to make its own call and infiltrate right-wing banners into the streets.

Contrary to what a certain conspiracy analysis says, which attributes to the 2013 demonstrations a conservative and coup-like character since its origin, the June days began with a progressive program (against the increase in tariffs, increased investments in health and education) and they were summoned by the popular movements, being captured by the right only as their growth and horizontalism opened a leadership vacuum on the mass movement.

And contrary to what certain idealist analysis says, which fetishizes the method of struggle (direct action) and organization (horizontality) to the detriment of the political content of the demonstrations, it was the right and the extreme right that achieved political balance in 2013, since the reactionary masses that took to the streets never left them, acting as the main force of the 2016 coup and evolving as a neo-fascist movement.

The discourse of a supposed “reinvention of politics” masks the fact that the left and the popular movement lost the streets and since then have been accumulating defeats. Such an assumption simply ignores the political results and the contribution of spontaneity and horizontalism to the entry of conservative forces on the scene. This is particularly serious when the bourgeois opposition signals again with the intention of disputing, with all its apparatus of propaganda and professional communication, the political direction of the mass movement.

For the construction of the 'National Campaign Outside Bolsonaro'

The left and the popular movement must avoid pulverizing divisive initiatives and practices in the face of a neo-fascist government and competition from the right over the content of the demonstrations. Any contradiction between popular forces is secondary in the fight against Bolsonarism and neoliberalism.

In this way, the coincidence of apocryphal calls for assemblies with the retreat signaled by Rede Globo is worrying, as it once again presents the risks of dispersion and confiscation of demonstrations by right-wing forces. The lesson of 2013 can be useful to prevent the repetition of the same mistakes that led us to defeat on that occasion.

The 'National Campaign Outside Bolsonaro', which organized the demonstrations on the 29th and brings together the main organizations in the country, must be recognized as the only legitimate instance of articulation of this fight, capable of sheltering the different political currents and guaranteeing unity of action, through the democratic method of majority decision-making.

The parallel calls and assemblies, which are just an undemocratic way of imposing a political line for the protests, should not be accepted by those who wish to wage a consistent and decisive struggle against the government. It is necessary to trust in the ability to convince and respect the unitary efforts if you want to truly influence those who are taking to the streets.

Andre Flores Penha Valle is a doctoral candidate in Political Science at Unicamp.

 

 

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