The challenges for 2021

Image: Luiz Armando Bagolin
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By CAMILA MORENO*

A necessary strategic shift to defeat neo-fascism and ultraliberalism

To begin…

The 2016 coup against Dilma Rousseff marked a historic rupture in Brazil. It marked a qualitative change. The 1988 constitutional pact, which established a fragile liberal democracy in Brazil, was deconstituted. The coup, operated by the local ruling classes, was an international articulation, sponsored by the US, of a strategic and geopolitical nature. Expression of a new stage in global capitalist accumulation.

Financial capital and imperialism amalgamated, based on the program of radicalization to neoliberalism, a wide range of forces that sponsored economic destabilization and political weakening and mass mobilization against the Dilma government. The “Lava Jato” operation, created within the apparatus of the US State, was a key element in the success of the coup.

Subsequently, they enabled Lula's illegal political arrest and his removal from the 2018 election. Jair Bolsonaro was never the preferred candidate of the Brazilian elite and was not the official candidate of the coup, which preferred the PSDB, but became the only candidate capable of beating Fernando Haddad, the PT and Lula candidate. Faced with this scenario, the traditional Brazilian right had no doubt: it supported Bolsonaro for the Presidency of the Republic. And that's how we got here.

2020 and the challenges for 2021

2020 was a difficult year for the world. Facing an unknown virus challenged scientists, government officials and the entire population. In Brazil, the difficulties went beyond facing the pandemic. Our country lost more than 220 thousand lives to Covid-19 in the face of a government that denied the seriousness of the disease, did not take the necessary precautions to ensure that we passed with less difficulties through a process that in itself would be difficult. He recommended medicines without any scientific proof, threatened democracy several times and now refuses to seriously prepare a vaccination plan for the Brazilian population, which should be the country's first priority.

The breath of resistance in 2020 were the anti-fascist and anti-racist acts built by organized supporters, historically marginalized and criminalized in the country, mostly composed by the Brazilian periphery; by social movements, by the black and youth movement; and the election of several young, black, left-wing women to the legislature in large Brazilian cities.

Such breaths of struggle were carried out by those who are outside institutionalized and bureaucratized politics. For those who dared to dream, disturb the status quo and doing politics in a collective, plural and transformative way.

If 2020 was a very difficult year, 2021 promises to be no different. The year has already started with the announcement of the closure of Ford factories in Brazil and the invasion of white supremacists in the National Congress of the United States.

Unemployment rates in Brazil break records, poverty grows in every corner and corner of the country and will become even clearer with the criminal end of emergency aid. We have reached the peak of the process of deindustrialization and denationalization. Neoliberalism brought misery and hunger back to our country.

The economic and social setback is gigantic, as well as the political and ideological setback. Denial and anti-science lies are spread. Who would have thought that in 2021 we would be forced to defend the importance of vaccination and that the Earth is not flat?

The setback is also in the field of rights. The misogyny of the Bolsonaro government empowers machismo, racism and prejudice and discrimination against the LGBT population across the country. Cases of feminicide, murders of young black people and violence against LGBTs are news every day.

In the midst of this sad scenario, Artur Lira, Bolsonaro's candidate, was elected to the Presidency of the Chamber of Deputies, even with an attempt at wide-ranging articulation that involved the PSL and DEM and leftist parties to support Baleia Rossi, Rodrigo's candidate Maya. As Lira's victory was announced, right-wing parties and parliamentarians announced their disembarkation from this articulation and migrated support to the victorious camp, making it increasingly clear that the existence of a democratic right in Brazil is a fiction and that as long as we put all the our hopes in institutional exits from agreements with the right, we will accumulate defeats – in Congress and mainly for the people.

The Brazilian neoliberal right, although tweeting against certain Bolsonarism radicalities, remains defending the neoliberal agenda of Paulo Guedes that brought hunger back to our country. It is not by chance that they decided not to accept opening the impeachment process of a President who attacks the lives of the Brazilian people on a daily basis because it would displease the market.

Nor is it by chance that the attacks on the PT and Lula do not cease even in the face of this serious situation. This market scares our ability to polarize the country's dispute to the left. The silence of the large communication conglomerates about the end of the Lava Jato farce with the new conversations released between Moro and the Public Prosecutor's Office is no coincidence. The Brazilian elite knows that to strengthen Lula is to strengthen an alternative to neoliberal barbarism and that is precisely why defending Lula means much more than allowing the main name of the Brazilian left to be a candidate. It is a basic requirement for the resumption of democratic construction in Brazil. To defend Lula is to defend our history, it is to defend justice.

Faced with this scenario, the PT, the left, the workers and the social movements have no choice but to fight. 2021 began by giving clear demonstrations that only struggle will be able to get us out of this false polarization between neo-fascists and neo-liberals, which feed back.

More than conjectures and alliances for 2022, it is necessary that 2021 be one of dispute of conscience, of social struggle, of reorganization in territories, of real confrontation with the ideological setback caused by the spread of neo-fascist thought and of returning to the center of our action the class struggle and identity with the people.

The moment demands a change in the key of the Brazilian left: priority in the social struggle in the face of institutionality dispute. Defend vaccination for all by SUS and the continuity of emergency aid. We need to be a left really capable of defeating the neo-fascist project and this will only happen with the resumption of grassroots work, understanding of the changes that have occurred in the world of work, mass mobilization capacity, clear program, permanent campaigns and concrete struggle.

It is necessary to create a digital strategy that is capable of renewing the language, monitoring networks on a daily basis, providing immediate answers to questions that arise. A communication that dialogues beyond our own bubble, that has a strategy. There is no dichotomy between networks and streets. It is necessary to speak and mobilize millions: on the networks and in the streets.

We need to be a left that understands that the agenda of rights is central to the construction of another project for society and cannot be seen as a division in the class struggle, as if the working class were not composed of young people, women, blacks and LGBTs. Feminism, the fight against racism, sexual and reproductive rights, youth struggles cannot be just a corner of our program, they need to be structuring.

The power needed to resume the dispute of the Brazilian people is undergoing a profound transformation, with socialist renewal, program and practice, without concessions, facing the tough ideological and cultural battle against Bolsonarism. We cannot hide, pretend what we are not. We need to face the value dispute of why we are socialists, we defend that everyone has a job, the end of hunger, poverty and misery. The end of sexism, racism and discrimination against LGBTs, religious freedom and the secular state. Solidarity in the face of competition, rights in the face of the false idea of ​​meritocracy, justice in the face of violence: another possible world, more solidary, fair and equal.

2021 will require inventive, creative, mobilization and training capacity from us and that we put our New Year's resolution into practice: to fight tirelessly, because only struggle changes life, only struggle will change the situation, only struggle will save us from the barbarism of fascism and neoliberalism.

Not afraid to be happy, not afraid to be socialist!

*Camila Moreno is a feminist, anti-fascist, socialist and member of the National Executive of the PT.

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