The strength of backwardness, deeply rooted but already wearing out, calls for broad unity on the part of the progressive field, with every attack on the population's rights, and in terms of electoral articulation.

70 years ago, groups of sapiens they only survived because, in the face of countless adversities, they joined together. The forces of nature and other animals, stronger, represented a constant risk of death. Also our contemporary human communities, less technologically complex, said tribal, they learned that only together can they overcome the threats to their existence. Cooperation by necessity.

In the most critical moments, exploited classes, national societies or transnational agreements articulated pacts to face common enemies, in order not to perish. This goes for the terrible pandemic of the new coronavirus that shook the world, in an unprecedented situation. The broadest threat since World War II.

To the grain: for those recalcitrant about social distancing, it is worth remembering that, when the virus arrived in the country, on February 26, each person who contracted it infected another 3,5, on average. A month later, that dropped to 1,9. Almost two months later, this spread rate has slightly decreased, to 1,4: every two infected Brazilians transmit SarsCoV-2 to three others. We are, therefore, one of the world's epicenters of the disease, which mainly affects the poorest – as always, class bias prevails. The pandemic doubles in size between us every 10 days! If it depended on Bolsonaro's irresponsible government, it would be much worse.

How can we think of another issue in the face of what is the most terrible health devastation in the country's history? How can we not prioritize the confrontation of the greatest concentrated mortality, due to disease, in our five centuries as a social formation, close to the continued genocide of native peoples and Africans and their enslaved descendants?

The scientist and pulmonologist from the Fiocruz National School of Public Health, Margareth Dalcolmo, warns: “from New York, symbol of cosmopolitanism, to the shocking images of bodies in the streets of Ecuador, to the collapse of the health systems of Manaus, Belém and Rio de January, we see, more than we see, the foreshadowing of the inexorable impact of the new coronavirus on low- and middle-income regions, home to more than 80% of the world's population. The most serious thing is that we knew the high risk of exposure and vulnerability of these communities and homes, where talking about social distancing is empty rhetoric and, with the lack of basic sanitation and drinking water, recommending washing your hands all the time, almost roguery ”.

Our historic and acute social inequality enhances the harmful effects of the pandemic. Half of our population does not have sewage collection. 32 million compatriots do not have access to drinking water.

How to talk about elections, to renew by vote the governments and municipal legislatures, in the face of this situation? Everything is heading towards the postponement of the election scheduled for October, without extending the mandates. Whatever the calendar, the question follows: what does the choice of mayor and councilor have to do with the battle against Covid 19?

Very! Take into account the attitude of the nation's highest representative, already characterized as the worst ruler on the planet in the fight against the virus. His blundering stance is unmistakably political. And Bolsonaro acts with the strength of a presidential mandate given to him by nearly 58 million patricians. Election disaster is met with… elections – though not just with them.

Talking about elections at a time like this? Yes, because acute epidemics, even when they “devolve” into endemics, are only effectively combated with public policies based on science, planning, and the articulated commitment of public agents at municipal, state and federal levels. Everything that the current government of Brazil neglects, despises, boycotts.

The municipal election, whenever it takes place, will take place under the tremendous impact of the new coronavirus in Brazil. The predictions of the deputy and Bolsonarist doctor Osmar Terra, that “only” about four thousand people would die in the country, have unfortunately already fallen by the wayside. The issue of public health will come strongly to the debates for the renewal of the legislative and executive branches of the 5.570 Brazilian municipalities, whether in Vila Risonha de Santo Antônio da Manga de São Romão, in the north of Minas Gerais, or in the megacities of the metropolitan regions.

How to make the state machine work with transparency, efficiency and care for the secularly marginalized? How to provide public health well, everyone's right? How can other initiatives be ensured in areas that are fundamental to the well-being of the population (which is health!), such as basic sanitation, housing, education, transport, garbage collection and processing, and the environment? How to confront the city of the people, so vital and forgotten, with the commodity city, of real estate deals and lucrative monopolies of so many services, to the detriment of the majority?

The radicalization of the extreme right in central power, which has affected absolutely all areas of national life, will give a plebiscitary character to these elections: democratic rationality against authoritarian violence; popular participation in management against imposing verticalism; the lights of science and the arts against the obscurantist conservative mystification. In short, humanism against barbarism. Local issues, the essence of the municipal dispute, will be, to a greater or lesser extent, related to this background. Background of gray and sinister scenario that rose in Brazil. Debris trickling down from the federal level to the districts.

Bolsonaro, who even managed to create a party to call his own – he, who has already passed through nine parties – says he will not get involved in the municipal elections. He fears the label of “great loser”. Even if he doesn't want to, he is already involved: his continued and aggressive polarization was irremediably impregnated in the heads and mouths, in every corner of deep Brazil.

That is why it is imperative to defeat this bundle, the “fascio” (yes, of fascism) of values ​​that it represents. The municipal elections are an important step towards their definitive and national defeat in 2022, in case we do not win, as is so necessary, the impeachment of the nefarious before, or the impeachment of the ticket of fake news, electoral fraud.

Already at the local level, with its direct representatives or allies from time to time, militarized Bolsonarist neo-fascism will be facing – there are 2.897 military personnel, from the three Arms, in the government, eight of them ministers! –, blessed by entrepreneurs of the neo-Pentecostal faith (not to be confused with the mass of devotees, very different) and the corrupted physiologism of the Centrão. Today they constitute the ultra-conservative political and social bloc of the Central Power.

This force of backwardness, deeply rooted but already wearing out, calls for broad unity in the progressive field, from now on, with every attack on the rights of the population, and in terms of electoral articulation.

With regard to this, frank dialogue is fundamental, not always practiced by progressive forces. Even with the current limitations, it's time for cards on the table (virtual), eye to eye (remote), in a meeting of regional or municipal presidents and pre-candidates. PT, PDT, PSB, PSOL, PCdoB, Rede, PCB, PSTU, PCO and UP must be present at this meeting.

In this meeting, minimum programmatic points must be sewn, by mutual agreement. At this meeting, an assessment should be made of the names that have the best chances for the Executives and arguments for aggregation around one of these names, whenever possible. If this is not possible, at least a non-aggression pact should be formed in the first round, so as not to burn bridges of rapprochement in the second round, where they exist.

A front only exists when it brings together different forces. Their identities must be preserved, but never impeding the sum of common efforts, as in the Frente Ampla of Uruguay or in the Portuguese “Contrap” – keeping the differences in processes and history.

We need to learn to have tactical flexibility without diluting strategic firmness. It is necessary to unite ideologically and doctrinally clear and distinct parties, without letting oneself be dominated by recurrent personalisms, sectarianisms and narrowness. Without putting self-construction in the first place, as legitimate as it is to want not to disappear with the growing barrier clauses. It is necessary, at a serious time, to overcome the old “narcissism of small differences”.

A front is not built just or mainly for elections. It is urgent to see them constituted in popular movements and struggles, as Povo Sem Medo and Brasil Popular are already rehearsing. It is impossible, in today's world, any prospect of substantive change without the conjunction of a myriad of non-partisan movements.

Election is not a “final solution”, but it is a milestone. It's benchmarking. It is the moment when even those who, for reasons of the hardship of everyday life or the alienation of a dimension that does not seem to affect their lives, become interested in “politics”, propagated by bourgeois culture as a mere delegation. Our difficult and essential task, in the fight against anti-politics, is to promote re-enchantment and mobilization. Let's go together!

* Chico Alencar Professor at UFRJ, writer and former federal deputy (PSOL/RJ)


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