The strange positions of the PCO

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By FRANCISCO FERNANDES LADEIRA*

In the case of Daniel Alves, it is at least strange for a (theoretically) left-wing vehicle to publish a text in which it stands in favor of the oppressor and against the oppressed

In recent days, the great repercussion of the preventive detention of the player Daniel Alves, accused of sexual assault, has brought the issue of “rape” to the center of debates on the Brazilian left. Thus, several questions were raised about the vulnerability of women in certain environments and the permanent feeling of impunity that some public men like the Brazilian athlete still insist on having.

Amidst the manifestations of sectors of the left about the case, attention was drawn to the article entitled “Daniel Alves arrest becomes a pretext to attack football”, published in Workers' Cause Diary, of the Workers' Cause Party (PCO).

According to the (biased) text, which appears to have been written by a lawyer for the player, the preventive detention of Daniel Alves is a “medieval act” and “a persecution of Brazilian football, in the service of imperialist interests, which has the support of the mongrel press in Brazil”.

At no point in the article are the arguments of the woman who would have been sexually violated by Daniel Alves taken into account. On the other hand, there is a fervent praise for the right-back of the Brazilian team, described as “one of the greatest players of the last 20 years, who during his career played for two important Spanish clubs”.

Apparently, it is at least strange for a (theoretically) left-wing vehicle to publish a text in which it positions itself in favor of the oppressor and against the oppressed. However, those who follow the national political scene know that this is not necessarily a novelty. When Robinho was convicted of rape by the Italian justice system, the PCO, even in the face of all the evidence of the crime, also came out in defense of the player.

But the party's wrong positions are not limited to defending players accused of sexual violence. In the most critical moments of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PCO adopted a denialist discourse, which questioned the effectiveness of vaccines and opposed social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. A posture that, in the political field, had only similar in Bolsonarism.

It is not uncommon to find Workers' Cause Diary articles that extol the “achievements” of the bandeirantes, describe the Taliban as “representative of the oppressed peoples” and accuse Guilherme Boulos of being responsible for the defeat of the Brazilian team by 7-1 to Germany, in the 2014 World Cup.

Also notorious are the defenses of figures linked to the extreme right, such as Allan dos Santos, Monark, Roberto Jefferson and Daniel Silveira. On the other hand, both in Workers' Cause Diary and on the PCO channel on YouTube, there are constant attacks on public figures and press vehicles from the progressive field, such as the Diary of the Center of the World, Forum Magazine and sports commentator Walter Casagrande.

For the PCO, the individuals who participated in the acts against the three powers, on the last January 8th, are not “coup plotters”, “vandals” or “terrorists”, but only “demonstrators”. It is not by chance that the party's president, Rui Costa Pimenta, in an interview with Folha de S. Paul, said that “the alliance with Bolsonaristas is natural in some points”.

It is difficult to know whether the PCO's speeches are a way of directing attention to the party, attracting the unwary, conquering digital engagement and/or testing the loyalty of its militants (because they often have to “defend the indefensible”, a kind of sect behavior ).

The fact is that the PCO's daydreams fuel those who like to cite the (fallacious) "horseshoe theory", attributed to the French writer Jean-Pierre Faye, which assumes that extreme left and extreme right, contrary to being Opposite ends of a linear and continuous political spectrum approach like the end of a horseshoe.

Faced with this reality, it is extremely important that the progressive forces work so that the real (and urgent) struggles of the left are not confused with the actions of a party whose only function in recent years seems to be the creation of “empty polemics”.

*Francisco Fernandes Ladeira is a doctoral student in Geography at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of The ideology of international news (CRV).

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