A renegotiation?



Comment on the article by Ascânio Seleme published in the newspaper “O Globo”

The infamous article by The Globe about “forgiving the PT” is one of the most significant events of the current political situation [1]. The meaning of the 2016 coup was to silence once and for all the popular field in Brazilian politics, so that the dismantling of the State and rights could advance quickly and without setbacks. Even a policy of extreme moderation, mindful of the narrow limits of social transformation in Brazil, such as that of Lulism, was considered something to be uprooted.

To achieve this goal, the Constitution was torn up several times. A legitimate president has been overthrown. Lava Jato's abuses were applauded. Former President Lula was convicted and imprisoned in farcical trials and in defiance of the law. Political violence escalated. The military was brought back to the forefront of national politics. When the 2018 elections arrived, the same ones who organized the coup preferred to support an intellectually incapable criminal than to open a dialogue with a cautious liberal like Fernando Haddad.

A risky gamble. If Bolsonaro delivered much of what he had promised, with Guedes' anti-people and anti-nation measures, on the other hand, he proved to be harmful, either because of his administrative incompetence and verbal intemperance, or because he favored parochial interests (or should I say "militias"?) which it is associated. Prisoner of the superficially anti-systemic discourse that projected him, of a dynamic of conflict and also of his own fragile masculinity, which makes him see any compromise as humiliation, in many areas Bolsonaro proved to be dysfunctional for groups that supported him.

Rede Globo is one of them. The network demands to be called upon to participate in the sharing of power – and, therefore, ensures the maintenance of its own pressure resources before the rulers. Bolsonaro, on the other hand, feels more comfortable with less demanding partners. He was taken aback by Rede Globo not only for criticizing its programming, berating its journalists or repeating bravado about the non-renewal of the concession. Bolsonaro reduced Rede Globo's share of the government's advertising budget; he acted to benefit his competitors by recreating sweepstakes on TV; reached a very important source of income, in the case of the transmission of football matches.

And Globo feels that it is no longer – if indeed it ever was – that supreme power that makes and breaks presidents in Brazil. It had already been defeated by Temer. And now he can't frame Bolsonaro. Hence the nod to PT. The author is an authorized spokesperson for the Marinho brothers' empire; it is not unreasonable to read the text as an unofficial position of the company.

I will not dwell on the absurdities of the article. All the arbitrariness committed in recent years (the coup against Dilma, the lawfare against Lula) are presented as just punishments for PT “misdeeds”. The PT's forgiveness is conditional on the abandonment, by the party, of abhorred flags, such as democratization of the media and popular participation.

The PT's responses to the article were – as might be expected – indignation. But I tend to believe that the article was not written for them – it was for other sectors of the right interested in stopping Bolsonaro. They know – as Ascânio Seleme wrote – that it is not possible to achieve this objective without the militant support of those on the left of the centre.

They tried, first of all, to obtain that support without opening any loopholes for the popular field to have a voice. It was the strategy of “broad fronts”, in which the left had nothing more to do than embrace FHC, Michel Temer and Luciano Huck and sign manifestos in defense of ineffable values.

It seduced many people, within the PT itself and also within the PSol. But Lula's energetic opposition dampened enthusiasm. This opposition, combined with the fact that many on the right made it clear that their objective in the so-called “broad front” was to negotiate an accommodation with Bolsonaro under better conditions, deflated these initiatives, which at the moment seem to have fallen into a demoralization with no return.

Hence, The Globe proposes to take a step forward. He proposes accepting, today, what Lula waved so many times after the coup, when he ran as a candidate, and which he reiterated when putting Fernando Haddad as his replacement: a renegotiation that readmits the center-left as a participant in the political game, paying the price of accepting most of the setbacks of recent years.

I don't think it's a good way out. But the fact is that the main conglomerate of the bourgeois press is proposing, for its field, this alternative that, until recently, was the target of anathema. This is an important change in the situation.

* Luis Felipe Miguel is professor of political science at UnB. Author among other books by Consensus and conflict in contemporary democracy (Unesp).


[1] Ascanio Seleme. “It's time to forgive the PT” [https://oglobo.globo.com/opiniao/e-hora-de-perdoar-pt-24527685].



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