Bourgeois civilian military guardianship

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By Jorge Almeida*

We will not leave a difficult situation without daring to fight now and in the future. It means fighting for Bolsonaro and Mourão to be out, raising the flag of impeachment and the General Elections

Bolsonaro and Bolsonarism had another weekend of shows. On Saturday (09/05), there was another mix of march and motorcade at the Esplanada dos Ministérios, in repudiation of the former judge, former minister and former hero of Bolsonarism Sérgio Moro, of the STF and the National Congress, and against the social isolation to prevent Covid 19.

The president scheduled a barbecue for 30 people on Saturday, the same day that Covid 19 would reach 10 deaths. On the day, he canceled the appointment, fearing he would burn himself in the embers of the event, and declared that the barbecue was fake, that it had been a “prank for the press”. But the door of the Planalto Palace was full of people.

On the same day, he went for a jet ski ride on Lake Paranoá, repeating a performance by the impeached ex-president, Collor de Mello, in 1990.

On Sunday, Minister Ernesto Araújo said some more nonsense. Big capital allows him to talk nonsense and even practice some, as long as it doesn't harm his business, as in the case of China. As for Secom, he released a message where he uses the Nazi motto “work sets you free”.

Eduardo Bolsonaro used a shotgun to announce the sex of his daughter at a little party where the father was present. On his return to the Alvorada Palace, Bolsonaro was greeted by his supporters and stated that he will only leave the government in January 2027.

Let's stop here, because it's already looking like a social column news.

So, it was the end of another week of spectacular authoritarian performances by Bolsonaro and Bolsonarism, which has already become a regular agenda.

Bolsonaro seeks to maintain the initiative

In the last two months, several important political actions have taken place, by Bolsonaro and Bolsonaristas, generating multiple small crises within the general crisis that Brazil and the Bolsonaro Government are suffering. And generating various types of reactions, within the government, in parliament, judiciary, armed forces, federal police, business, media and Bolsonarism itself and its militias of various types (digital or on the streets).

The line of Bolsonarism is to always stay in the initiative, systematically creating facts, some with clear spectacularization, such as marches, motorcades, demonstrations in front of barracks, hospitals, Palácio do Planalto and even a “surprise visit” to the STF, in addition to bombastic statements , bad jokes etc.

The previous week, a Bolsonarism demonstration breaking social isolation in Brasília was the largest since March 15. Like the others, in addition to facing social isolation, there was an explicit defense of a coup d'état, either through a generic military intervention, or through a new AI-5 or an AI-6. It was the most radicalized and, like the others, had Bolsonaro's direct participation. The military was forced to give public responses, speaking of respect for the institutions, but leaving dubious points.

After March 15th, we had a lot of rumors that there had been a coup by an alleged Military Junta headed by General Braga Netto, who had in fact removed Bolsonaro from the government and that this had already been reported to the diplomacy of other countries, etc.

Many memes were posted showing Bolsonaro as “Queen of England”. But then we saw the overthrow of Mandetta, showing that Bolsonaro did not accept being British queen and a new street demonstration, this time at the door of the barracks, demanding a new AI-5 and military intervention in practice. This was also attended by Bolsonaro. Finally, came the downfall of Judge Sérgio Moro from the Ministry of Justice.

In the meantime, the stock market rose and fell several times, showing that we are in this financial market instability. But also the instability of the information and counter-information market and Fake News, published at all times in a sensationalist way. Even on the websites, blogs and channels of the so-called left or center-left, which have been living off news in real time, without making a more serious analysis of what is happening.

The threat of impeachment and Bolsonaro's losses

The “technical”, legal conditions for impeachment are more than given. But impeachment is an eminently political process. It's not close, it's not going to be easy, and it's going to take a lot of fighting.

So, what conclusions and questions arise at this point?

The first obligation is to filter, analyze and rationalize the multiplicity of “news”, rumours, speculations and sensationalist articles coming from the mainstream press and the “left” itself.

Bolsonaro is feeling the real possibility of impeachment, but he is not willing to surrender. He knows he is losing bases, every day he sees more enemies everywhere, and he tries to act in order to block the possibilities of impediment.

“Broad Bolsonarism” suffered many fractures. It lost many expressive leaderships and the social base of supporters of the government and the president. Support for the government has dropped to a range between 25 and 30% and rejection is on the rise.

It also lost its base in part of the legal-coercive apparatus, especially in the judiciary and public prosecutors.

Significant PSL parliamentarians, former electoral allies of other parties, both in parliament and practically all governors and many mayors. Civil society organizations that were in the calls for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, such as the MBL, also broke with the captain.

Moro's recent rupture was the one that caused the greatest impact, but it is still not possible to say to what extent the evidence he presented is even consistent and irrefutable. Let us not forget that Moro is used to condemning “by conviction”, even without full proof.

The disclosure of Moro's testimony in the PF caused wear and tear, but it is not conclusive that concrete evidence will appear. The eventual release of the video of Bolsonaro's meeting with Moro and other ministers may complicate things for Bolsonaro. But it can also complicate matters for military ministers and, with that, complicate everything else. In any case, it will be very illustrative of how the basements of the Planalto are doing. Or, so it is speculated, at least a curious political BBB.

The economic and social situation has worsened, it will continue to deteriorate, and an exit from the “immediate crisis” after the pandemic will be difficult. Because the structural crisis has no way out without a government that breaks with dependency.

Bolsonaro's line to face the situation is "the best defense is the attack".

Thus, we can better understand the framework of the set of aggressive measures taken by Bolsonaro and his group.

organizing the troop

Bolsonaro lost in breadth and quantity, but his tougher bases, more similar to what we are calling neo-fascism and more organic, are trying to gain (and it seems that they are achieving) more organicity and veneration for the boss. Even if this base is also diversified and within them there are both canine followers and those who support and pressure, as they distrust even the leader.

This field acts on the networks and on the streets and has some more organic representations in parliaments, and presence among big businessmen, in the FFAA, in the PMs, in the PF and Civil Police, in the judiciary, in the Public Ministry and in the urban militias of common crime and landowners. In addition to several fascist extremist groups, very active.

The threat of impeachment, opposition to quarantine, dissidences and “betrayals” (especially that of Moro), mass actions in the streets, etc., are reinforcing the political-ideological unity of this field, the hatred of enemies, its organicity, its fervor and its militarization and tendencies to violent actions, including “out of control”. Which can generate attacks and murders against enemies.

Allies and the role of the military

In addition to this grouping/field with greater political and ideological unity (even if it is also diverse and contradictory), Bolsonaro's other main bases are in the neo-Pentecostal churches, in part by businessmen and in the high officials of the FFAA, who are not exactly "Bolsonaristas" .

Neo-Pentecostal summits play a fundamental role in maintaining mass support and part of the parliamentary and media base.

In this field of “allies”, the main ones are the so-called “government military”. For many reasons. 1- They are a rearguard effectively used by Bolsonaro to threaten those who “threaten him” with impeachment. And the majority of the National Congress would not risk promoting an impeachment without acceptance and an agreement with the military. 2- They are the government's main advisors/political leaders. They protect the presidency, defining its limits in what is most substantial in government and state policies. And, at the same time, they advise Bolsonaro, so that he can sustain himself, negotiating with parliament in two ways: in building the congressional base of the government, articulating the co-option of parliamentarians from Centrão and MDB. And maintaining bridges of dialogue and negotiation with the leaders of the traditional bourgeois political elite, especially the DEM, in the House and Senate. 3- They are also the negotiators, within the government itself, with ministers and other holders of important positions that cannot properly be called “Bolsonaristas”, especially with the economic area, but also in other ministries where military personnel occupy more posts every day of second and third echelon with the function of regulating and supervising the chiefs. 4- They are ahead of the gestation of an economic plan that can give a greater role to the state in stimulating the post-pandemic economic recovery, in order to give the government conditions for survival. 5- It maintains a relationship of negotiation and pressure with the STF. 6- And, perhaps, containing outbursts of coup adventures within the troop.

STF ministers have been more active in the last few weeks. It remains to be seen how far they will go, in the face of the military barrier.

Finally, it is necessary to know what the prospects are among the captains of big capital. Who's who in terms of economic policy prospects and the role of the state after the pandemic.

The mainstream media, especially its more traditional and more organic bodies of big capital, are mostly in opposition to Bolsonaro, tending to impeachment and, in the case of Globo, in systematic opposition. But, as a general rule, it has supported its economic policy and seeks to differentiate between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” within the government.

But the history of the entire recent period has already shown that the media, despite the great social and political influence it has, is not all-powerful. And, without convergence with other spheres of the power bloc (state, civil society and economic base) it cannot impose its will.

The military are today in the following position, within the framework of “bourgeois civilian military guardianship”: together – and contradictorily – with leaders of big business, with leaders of parliament and ministers of the STF, they act as guardians of the government. At the same time, they protect the parliament and the STF and, thus, the state as a whole.

But the state is bourgeois and, despite the authoritarian escalation, it continues to be a representative democratic liberal, not being a monolithic entity that obeys a single command and without contradictions – there is no political dictatorship, strictly speaking. There is a guardianship with conflicts, negotiations and agreements – some of which are not well known. And it works to guarantee the common interests of the hegemonic fractions of the ruling class, of course. In what is essential to bourgeois hegemony, government, parliament, judiciary, police, Public Ministry, Armed Forces and mainstream media act in the same direction. And, despite the serious crisis, bourgeois hegemony remains strong.

Without forgetting that, like every bourgeois state (less or more authoritarian), this one is, in essence, a dictatorship of the ruling class against the workers and all the oppressed. That is why the government, Congress and the STF continue, despite their political and “moral” conflicts, to take pro-capital decisions, in the midst of a pandemic.

out Bolsonaro

Under current circumstances, the tendency is for a long-lasting crisis, which is not desirable for big capital. For a less slow and less inconsistent exit from the deep recession, more political stability is needed. Something Bolsonaro has no vocation for, especially when he is under threat: the mandate and, theoretically at least, even convictions for common crimes against his children and himself. And this is one more of the contradictions of the process.

But Bolsonaro only falls into two situations.

The first, in a growing, broad, radical and powerful mobilization of the masses, which can change, at least in part, the correlation of forces. This can only happen after social isolation, but it must be articulated right away.

The other, if very overwhelming and irrefutable evidence emerges, which deepens political instability much more, and leaves Congress, the STF, big business and the military in a situation of “either impeachment or complete demoralization of all state institutions”.

And, even in this situation, it would be necessary to decide which economic policy will be followed, who will be the substitute and what will be the role that the military will continue to have. These are taking up a very large space and won't move away easily.

The problem is that the larger opposition forces in the so-called popular field (particularly the PT) are vacillating. And those of the bourgeois liberalism that is against Bolsonaro, even more hesitant. After all, most of them supported Bolsonaro in 2018 or omitted.

But this situation needs to be overcome. To build a political front to take to the last consequences the fight in defense of life, the rights of the people, national sovereignty and democratic freedoms. Defend a radical emergency plan, which guarantees the living conditions of the people, and “Bolsonaro Out”.

We will not leave a difficult situation without daring to fight now and in the future. It means fighting for Bolsonaro and Mourão to be out, raising the banner of impeachment and the General Elections. And affirm the need for a truly democratic and popular program, under the hegemony of the workers and in the perspective of socialism.

*Jorge Almeida He is a professor at the Department of Political Science at UFBA.

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