A tie

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There is coup-like rhetoric (“self-coup”) and also growing discomfort with Bolsonaro upstairs. Political departures, however, are not the order of the day.

The crisis of neoliberalism (which has become more acute since 2008) plus the catastrophe of the pandemic reach a Brazil that, as of 2016, lives under a state of exception. The coup against Dilma, Lula's imprisonment and the election of a neo-fascist and ultra-liberal government represented a historic defeat for the left and for the struggle of the oppressed.

The imminent global economic depression is added, here, to the economic recession that began in 2015 (the PT has not yet taken stock of the monumental mistake that was the Levy policy). Non-pessimistic projections project a 5% decline in GDP this year.

Bolsonaro leads a neo-fascist government that has adopted an ultraliberal program (which welded its alliance with the financier elites, and with the “normal” right). Neo-fascism constitutes a movement with a mass base, international support (Trump/Bannon), in addition to sophisticated communication strategies and structures.

The popular-democratic field was displaced from the center of the national political struggle. The growing discomfort of neoliberals with the Bolsonaro government, made explicit in the editorial line of its main media outlets, plus the government’s moves towards a progressive closure of the regime, occupy the proscenium of the superstructural sphere.

The hard blows against the working class (social security and labor reforms, dismantling public policies), the liquidation of union structures, the ebb of popular mobilization, the conservative rise among the masses and the uprooting of popular organizations added to the effects of the defeat history suffered by the left.

In the last 30 years, the popular-democratic field has bet on a “moderate reformist strategy, distancing itself from socialist/Marxist traditions, mainly in the field of theory, analysis, training and organization. One of the most visible consequences is a certain lack of preparation to act in the current conjuncture – of the intensification of the class struggle and the rise of neo-fascism in the midst of a “State of exception”.

Most leftist leaderships still operate mentally based on assumptions that would be valid in a liberal-democratic regime. By repeatedly classifying Bolsonaro with moral, psychiatric adjectives or emphasizing supposed incompetence, the leaders of the PT and the popular field show that they still do not understand the real nature of this government. accuracy of your analyses.

The quarantine limits the possibilities for left-wing parties to act. Which, however, has demonstrated resilience and effectiveness in presenting and approving proposals in the National Congress – in addition to qualitatively superior performance in the state and municipal governments it directs.

However, the enormous deficit in the area of ​​communication prevents actions and projects from the popular field from reaching the great masses. Left parties in social movements remain practically irrelevant in the digital world. The internet is not neutral and the monopolies of giants like Google and Facebook favor right-wing action. Which, by itself, does not justify the brutal hegemony of Bolsonarism in this area. Just look at, for example, the digital strength of Podemos in Spain, a much smaller party than the PT.

Despite the recent outbreak of lives the popular field did not even come close to beginning to understand the war waged on social networks. [An example: Lula has about 110 subscribers on his Youtube channel against Bolsonaro's 2 million nine hundred and twenty thousand (!!). Or Felipe Neto's 38 million.] There is no nationally centralized, professionalized strategy (based on big data, micro target, building an organic network of whats app with millions of contacts, network monitoring, meme production, videos, etc).

Insufficient understanding of neo-fascism, more absolute and growing repudiation of Bolsonaro’s genocidal policies – within a scenario where the left lacks the strength to polarize – (added to the anxiety and sense of impotence caused by social isolation) provoked a certain “subjective urgency” standing at the forefront. The feeling that you have to do something, move, react. A scream caught in her throat.

The response (immediate and wrong) has been a succession of notes of repudiation – and the adoption of apparently radical slogans such as “Out with Bolsonaro, followed by merely formal initiatives such as filing requests forimpeachment next to the Chamber table. It is as if watchwords or proclamations for the end of the government magically replaced the need for long daily work to restore the presence of the left in the territories, with the people (with emergency solidarity actions, for example), or the urgency of rebuilding communication , in addition to the re-organizational/training turn, aiming not at the next month, but at the next decade.

discarded the wishful thinking, the fact is that the latest polls do not point to any “meltdown” of the Bolsonaro government. They do show deepening polarization. The number of Brazilians who consider the government to be great has grown along with the percentage of those who think everything is terrible.

The repudiation of the government increases in certain sectors, however its approval index (adding excellent/good/regular) remains high, in the range of 55% Bolsonaro lost strength in the middle classes, in the center. But it maintains a consistent core of support, which does not fall from the 30% plateau.

Bolsonaro lost about 5% to 7% due to the resignation of Moro and the progressive opposition of the neoliberal elites. But he continues to have significant support, a solid base that becomes radicalized with him – in addition to international support (Trump, imperialism) in addition to his overwhelming leadership in digital networks

It has explicit support from huge segments of the military police and other security forces. Furthermore, the Armed Forces apparently remain closed to Bolsonarism, occupying the main posts in the federal government. In addition to all this, Bolsonarism relies on militias and evangelical fundamentalism, which gives it enormous penetration in the popular classes.

By losing support in middle sectors (which now make pots), the Bolsonaro government is at the same time the target of acid attacks from the mainstream media (Globo in the lead) and painful thrusts from the liberal sectors and toucans of the STF (although Toffoli remains faithful to the government).

It also increases Bolsonarist articulation in Congress – signs of recomposition with parliamentary sectors of the traditional center-right. That is: even if they criticize, complain and try to protect Bolsonaro, the old right, the business elites did not break with the president – ​​they continue to support their ultraliberal program, whose greatest symbol is Paulo Guedes.

The country is witnessing an exponential increase in the number of deaths from Covid-19. The impact of this health tragedy – objectively, the social reaction to the thousands of deaths (which could exceed 100) will be the most significant factor in the situation in the next three months. In fact, the main variable (along with the effects of the economic depression) that can qualitatively alter the scenario and diminish the strength of Bolsonarism.

Every day Bolsonaro deepens his necropolitics. Fascism historically worships death – there is nothing new in the apparently insane manifestations of the Bolsonarist base. At the same time: the former captain moves towards restricting democratic freedoms, making his authoritarian plan clearer. He walks across the ramp to threaten the STF.

Naivety and illusions of sectors of the left aside (who dream of a kind of “imfix” civilization), Mourão reiterates his authoritarian convictions – total loyalty to Bolsonaro. Zé Dirceu is hoarse from shouting and warning: the military will not hesitate to support a Bolsonarist coup if necessary.

Is there social strength to resist the reactionary tsunami? Yes. Many. It is enough to mention the great demonstrations of May 2019, or the rejection that the current government causes among the youth. A malaise is perceptible, still muffled, which may, in the future, emerge with force.

Considering, however, this set of variables, it is clear that no rupture is foreseen in the short term. Neither Bolsonaro gathers forces for a coup, nor the bourgeoisie and big capital decided for his downfall. In fact, even if they decided, it would not be given quickly – there would be a fierce battle. Bolsonaro will not fall from maturity.

Therefore, there is no concrete condition for a process of immediate defeat of Bolsonarism carried out by the left field. Defenders of the “broad front” – submission of the left to the leadership of Rodrigo Maia and the like – have a non-trivial difficulty: their neoliberal allies do not move a straw in the direction of deposing Bolsonaro. Nothing is more symptomatic than the deafening silence of the mayor in recent weeks.

Bolsonaro operates a permanent offensive movement. He deepens the confrontation with the so-called “institutions”. Will not stop.

The former captain bets everything on his death policy, forcing the end of social isolation by appealing to the despair of the millions who need to leave their homes every day to ensure survival. He appeals to the idea that deaths (of the elderly and frail) are a lesser evil in the face of the possibility of an economic collapse. Such actions – which seem irrational – have an intrinsic logic.

It is wrong to judge, analyze or evaluate neo-fascist governments based on the parameters used to understand conservative, neoliberal, right-wing or center-right governments. By not changing the glasses there is a real bug – that hinders and blurs the understanding – and actions – of part of the leaders of the progressive field.

Nines out the growing irritation of Globe, Leaf and the like, there has never been, historically, an impediment to a president who has 55% of excellent/good/fair.

In this sense, it seems more logical (and efficient) to insist on the political dispute for the adoption of an emergency plan that strengthens the SUS, saves lives, ensures employment and income for the majority. At the same time, preparing the progressive forces to fight in the streets (as soon as possible) and at the polls, focusing on the (almost forgotten until now) municipal elections

In summary: there is a coup rhetoric (“autocoup”) and also a growing discomfort with Bolsonaro upstairs. Political departures, however, are not the order of the day. A kind of tie prevails. The progressive field will need cold blood, analytical depth, a medium-long-term vision and a lot of focus on resuming ties with the people and on the total restructuring of communication.

* Julian Rodrigues is a PT-SP militant; teacher, journalist, human rights and LGBTI activist.

Originally published on Forum Magazine.

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