Where are we going?

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By VALERIO ARCARY*

Unity in action against Bolsonaro does not diminish the need for a United Left Front, on the contrary, it demands it.

The moment of the conjuncture

The analysis of the moment of the conjuncture deserves to consider four key factors that combine, but must be evaluated by the specific weight of each one of them. A Marxist analysis cannot lose the sense of proportions.

(1) The first and decisive one, at this moment, is that the pandemic continues to expand. The extent of contagion remains very high, probably ten times greater than the official figures, and the number of thirty thousand deaths hides a huge underreporting, which must actually be more than twice as high. Brazil is among the three main centers of the disease in the world, due, above all, to the disastrous policy of the Bolsonaro government.

But not only from the federal government, although it is the main responsible. When it was possible to save lives on a large scale, and buy time, through a total quarantine, state governments chose very partial social distancing policies, with rare exceptions. There is no mass testing in big cities. Therefore, available data on spread are more than insufficient. However, even with the capacity of the health system having reached the maximum limit in capitals in the north and northeast, and now in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two metropolitan mega-regions, most state governments and city halls decided to ease the quarantines , under bourgeois pressure, for the resumption of economic life.

The health disaster threatens to turn into a humanitarian catastrophe, with the projection of hundreds of thousands of deaths in a few months. The center of the political struggle will be the accountability of the Bolsonaro government for the tragedy, and it has its times. This tactical bet is the key to preparing the conditions for overthrowing the government.

(2) The economic destruction was confirmed by the release of data for the first quarter, which suggest a recession between 5% and 10% of GDP for 2020, the biggest in history. According to IBGE data, until the month of April, around 5 million jobs were eliminated in two months, the destruction continued in May and should continue in June and July, making it impossible to predict what the dynamics will be until the end of the year. . In addition to the workers, the petty bourgeoisie is strangled by the partial suspension of economic life that threatens the bankruptcy of millions of companies that cannot access credit. The social situation is not yet terminal due to the impact of the distribution of emergency aid to 58 million people.

(3) The dynamics of the evolution of the political balance of forces is one of increasing weakening of the Bolsonaro government, but it evolves faster than the change in the social balance of forces. This mismatch in the rhythms of wear is important. The government has been weakening because it cracked in the face of Bolsonaro's policy in the face of the pandemic, with the departure of Mandetta, and after Moro; lost support in most governors, and began to be besieged by two investigations in the STF - the denunciation of intervention in the Federal Police and the one about the industry of fake news – and one in the TSE, even though it has recomposed a parliamentary base in Congress through an agreement with part of Centrão.

According to opinion polls, rejection of the government also continues to rise, somewhere between 43 and 50%, even if Bolsonaro maintains support between 25 and 33%. However, if we consider, at a higher level of abstraction, the social relationship of forces remains unfavorable. Although divided before the government, no fraction of the ruling class stands for Bolsonaro's overthrow. The line of trying to contain Bolsonaro, in the face of the acute phase of the pandemic, prevails, rejecting extreme solutions, taking a position against a self-coup, but also displacement.

The middle strata are divided, however, the fraction of petty bourgeois property owners has a strong alignment with the government. And while there are signs that a rage is building among working and student youth, and a majority in the organized working class has consolidated in opposition, insecurity still weighs heavily. The most important thing, however, is that the quarantine conditions leave the possibility of mass events amputated, without unacceptable risks of contagion. The immense sympathy of the masses for vanguard acts, such as the anti-fascists of the supporters, signals a very positive trend.

(4) The coup escalation of the neo-fascists, however, was not interrupted. Supported by an interpretation of the article of the Constitution, which admits the summoning of the Armed Forces by the government, in order to preserve the social and political order, they have already made it clear that they will seek legal legitimacy for the assault on power. And they count on the possible complicity of the Trump administration.

The left cannot disdain, underestimate or disregard the gravity of these threats. They must be taken seriously and reported daily. Neo-fascists threaten to scare, fear to contain, intimidate to defend themselves. But the political struggle cannot be explained rationally only, because it operates the role of individuals.

Bolsonaro is a messianic, intemperate, impulsive, adventurous. Cornered, he can go for all or nothing. Maia is solemn but fearful, a weakling. Doria is pompous, but pusillanimous, helpless. It is not, either, encouraging, any expectation of the STF. Toffoli is pompous, but lazy, a coward. And those who could oppose would be in the minority and nullified in the face of civil war blackmail.

No one knows whether or not Bolsonaro would have military backing for a provocative venture to impose a Bonapartist maneuver at this point. The significance of the Armed Forces' alignment with Bolsonaro to preserve the mandate cannot be understated. Threats of a taunt are at least an attempt at shielding. The fact that the government is on the defensive in the face of pressure from the STF and TSE does not rule out the possibility of a coup attempt.

Lessons from Diretas Já

There are many lessons from the final phase of the fight against the military dictatorship through the Diretas Já campaign. But it is important to remember all the lessons. The campaign was not successful, although it could have been. After all, it was the biggest mass political mobilization in contemporary history, with more than six million on the streets, when the economically active population in 1984 was no more than forty million. After the defeat of the Dante de Oliveira amendment on April 25, 1984, the PT was left alone defending maintaining the campaign.

It is no secret that the key to the manipulation that resulted in the election of the ticket that paved the way for Sarney to take office was the division of the PMDB leadership. Ulysses Guimarães was betrayed by Tancredo Neves, who surrendered. The left's unity of action with the liberal parties against the Figueiredo government can inspire the left's unity of action with the forces that represent discontent in the bourgeoisie, and in the middle layers against Bolsonaro, of course. It is necessary, to win. We strike together, but we march separately. A beautiful example, in the legal field, is the “Enough” Manifesto, which emphasizes that Bolsonaro committed crimes of responsibility. But unity in action against Bolsonaro does not diminish, on the contrary, it demands a United Left Front.

Dangerous pressure is growing for the left to surrender. The “Together” Manifesto is an expression of this. Without even asking for Bolsonaro’s impeachment, or any other form of government interruption, the initiative brought together broad sectors (from PSOL to Luciano Huck, passing through PT and PSDB) in defense of an abstract program in defense of “democratic normality” and “economic responsibility”. It is not clearly positioned against Bolsonaro, nor does it defend any action against the government. If it were a manifesto calling for impeachment, it would be right for the left to support it, even if it didn't have a single line against Paulo Guedes' economic policy.

But it is not, unfortunately, even a question of a democratic action unit against the danger of a self-coup. The Together manifesto is the design, the embryo of a Frente Ampla in which the left would accept to be an auxiliary force in the pressure project to protect, contain, restrict Bolsonaro. That is, an attempt to “normalize” the far-right government in the face of the health, economic and political crisis, to see if it can fulfill its mandate, suspending the provocations. He does not denounce the danger of a coup, nor does he defend Bolsonaro's downfall, because his objective is different.

The United Left Front that emerged around the Fronts platform Popular Brazil e people without fear, from the campaign Saving Lives, Out with Bolsonaro, and the initiative of the common request for impeachment, is the point of support to start mobilizations against Bolsonaro, supporting actions in the streets, with the utmost care to preserve social distance.

*Valerio Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of The Dangerous Corners of History (Shaman).

 

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