Why not here?

Gabriela Pinilla, March of teachers, Book illustration, Digitally colored drawing, 2015, Bogotá, Colombia


Brazil has not yet “exploded” like Colombia

"Do not despair in the midst of the dark afflictions of your life, for from the darkest clouds, clear and fruitful water falls"
(Chinese folk wisdom).

The explosion of immense mass mobilizations in Colombia, really gigantic, uniting youth, popular sectors and sectors of the middle classes in the streets had an impact on the Brazilian left. Why not here?

The question is legitimate. Perhaps there is no more important question. After all, Colombia is also suffering, painfully, from the pandemic. The answer takes us back to the peculiarities of the reactionary situation we are suffering in Brazil and its trends of evolution.

The massacre in the Jacarezinho favela in Rio de Janeiro, the deadliest police operation on record, in a city where the militias have historically maintained links with Bolsonarism arouses horror. The death of Paulo Gustavo by the coronavirus, one of the most popular comedians in the country, was a shock in the conscience of millions of people, and moved the country.

Since March there has been a new moment in the country's situation, with a weakening of the Bolsonaro government. The peak of the pandemic, the delay in vaccination, the suspension of the emergency increase in December, the annulment of Lula's convictions, the approval of Moro's suspicion, the permanence of the economic contraction, the worsening of the social crisis with an escalation of popular misery, among other events, impacted the minds of millions, and are shifting the tectonic plates of social and political power relations between classes. But still not enough for Fora Bolsonaro to take millions to the streets. Yes, Brazil has always been complicated, but it is difficult.

The fate of the Bolsonaro government is, of course, indivisible from the evolution of the pandemic, and its economic and social consequences. Harassed by the CPI in the Senate, watched over by the Federal Supreme Court, pressured by the most powerful fractions among the capitalists, worn out in youth, weakened in the middle classes, and seeing that rejection grows in the majority of workers and the people, the government of the extreme right has been weakening every week since March.

Most of the more than XNUMX deaths caused by the health disaster could have been avoided, and they are responsible. The dynamics of the class struggle is conditioned by changes that have been accumulating, slowly and increasingly, in the perception of tens of millions of workers and young people. But it hasn't made a leap yet.

Bolsonaro and Pazzuelo obviously deserve prison. Bolsonaro needs to be defeated, he must be tried and arrested along with General Pazzuelo. But no society overthrows the government when necessary. There are no premature revolutions. What prevails in history is not the flexibility, plasticity, or mobility of the human mind, but the psychic rigidity and ideological conservatism that perpetuates diminished expectations, diminished hopes, and small perspectives.

There is always a delay, which may be longer or shorter, between the decay of the objective conditions that demand the overthrow of the government, and the awakening in the consciousness of the popular classes of an uncontainable political passion. A terrible delay.

Brazil has not yet exploded like Colombia. There are several hypotheses, and they probably complement each other. In the first place, there is not even a sector of the ruling class that is in favor of impeachment. The manifesto of the five hundred, an expression of the richest fraction of the capitalists, signaled a public criticism of Bolsonaro's stance in the face of the pandemic, but nothing more. Maintains support for economic guidance. There is no one in the Brazilian bourgeoisie who defends the overthrow of the government. Nor is there a majority in the middle sectors for the overthrow of the government. The protests of pans at the windows subsided.

The fight for Bolsonaro Out rests, therefore, only on the working class. There are those who stress that the conditions imposed by the plague inhibit the disposition of mass mobilizations, even among the youth, due to the danger of contagion. It is a really strong argument, because the risks are not irrelevant. Although there has been a stabilization in the last two weeks with a slight downward bias, the level of the pandemic is still that of a health cataclysm. The plague is devastating, and we are surrounded by great fear.

There are those who value the weight of confusion, doubt, insecurity in the conscience of the organized sectors of the working class, after five years of accumulating defeats. The past weighs heavily. Since the impeachment in 2016, at the height of the Lava-Jato operation offensive, through the beginning of counter-reforms, such as the labor and outsourcing law, in 2017, with Michel Temer, until the arrest of Lula and the election of Bolsonaro, supported by in an extreme right current with mass weight, there were years and years of reactionary situation. And the destruction of rights operated in almost two and a half years, with the labor reform and privatizations, in addition to the demoralizing process of the drifting pandemic. It's a strong argument, too.

There are those who point out that the perception of presidential elections in 2022 may be fueling the idea that this will be the moment of measuring forces with Bolsonarism, which deserves to be considered.

There are also those who place emphasis on the absence of calls for mobilizations to the streets by left parties, unions, Fronts and popular organizations, which develop intense agitation and propaganda, but only in the virtual world of social networks. It is a plausible argument, although exploratory attempts have been made, including on the recent May 1st, without much resonance. Symbolic vanguard acts have been the limit of the mobilization capacity of the trade union and popular left. They help raise morale and may, at some point, fulfill the role of spark, spark, spark that ignites the hope of millions.

We all ask ourselves, therefore: until when? What our country's history suggests is that there are no shortcuts. The Figueiredo government wore out slowly between 1978 and 1983. Until the Diretas Já exploded in 1984. The Sarney government wore out slowly between 1985 and 1988, until the general strike exploded in 1989, and Lula's electoral campaign. The erosion of the FHC government between 1994 and 2002 was slow. With Collor between 1990/92 it was much faster, but a fraction of the bourgeoisie supported the impeachment.

Until when? Until the moment when the experience with the nightmare ends, and the weight of the catastrophe collapses on the heads of millions and drives intense leaps in ideas and feelings. The left must not despair. Despair cannot be a compass. Our bet is that the working class, the youth and the popular strata will rise up.

*Valério Arcary is a retired professor at IFSP. Author, among other books, of Revolution meets history (Shaman).



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