Will there be a hit?

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By Julian Rodrigues*

Would the increased participation of the military in the core of the government, added to the rise of extremist statements and the uncontrolled action of the police in the states, be the harbinger of an open dictatorship?

There has already been a coup in Brazil, which started in 2016. This should always be the assumption of any analysis.

We are facing a “necrogovernment”. A government of destruction of the country, which simultaneously attacks social rights, the environment, democratic freedoms and national sovereignty. The Lava-Jato operation, Dilma’s dismissal, Lula’s arrest and Bolsonaro’s election inaugurated a State of exception – there was a drastic rupture with the liberal democratic pact of 1988.

Despite many contradictions and difficulties, Bolsonarism managed to consolidate an alliance that brings together the interests of imperialism, big business (especially financial capital), the media, agribusiness, the reactionary sectors of the middle classes, the Army, the justice system , military police, militias and religious fundamentalists.

The elites – self-styled “liberals” – need the captain to advance in dismantling the country and workers' rights. And Bolsonaro needs “liberals” to support his government and boost the fight against “cultural Marxism” and its entire obscurantist agenda.

The withdrawal of workers' rights, the dismantling of social policies, privatization/denationalization are actions that are inseparable from the attack on the arts, culture, science, the stimulation of hatred against women, the black population, the LGBTI and also the restriction on democratic freedoms in general. There are no “smoke screens”. There is a unified platform – it is what enables and puts the current government on its feet.

Of course there are contradictions. The corporate media, banks, etc. would prefer to have a government like FHC, Aécio or Huck, without medieval verbiage and rubbish. However, this group knows that it is the Bolsonarist shock troops that guarantee and ensure the implementation of anti-people reforms. So, hold your nose and move on. Occasionally they outline reactions, more or less hypocritical, in relation to some blatant intemperance (as now in the misogynistic attack on Folha de S. Paulo journalist Patrícia Campos Mello).

No illusions though. The government is very strong, has a broad base of support; operates with strategy, technology, method and organic alignment with the US extreme right. Nothing is more wrong than believing that Bolsonaro and his family are “dumb” or assessing that impeachment is only a matter of months away.

Yes, we are facing a government that has a neo-fascist core. However, the political regime is not fascist nor is it an open dictatorship. This does not mean that the presidential clan, the olavists and the hard core of Bolsonarism do not dream of an authoritarian regime. Bolsonaro has already hinted that he could stay more than eight years in the presidency. But not everything you want, you can...

Privatizations, pension reform, new labor reform, union reform and now administrative reform. The ultraliberal program of Guedes – and of Rodrigo Maia, the darling of the broad front crowd – is going very well, thank you.

So far, it has not been necessary to further restrict democratic freedoms to impose the agenda of large international corporations, rent seeking, the mainstream media – the Brazilian bourgeoisie as a whole. There is, therefore, no objective reason for the national ruling classes and the US to bet, at this moment, on a military dictatorship or similar, which has very high costs. Complete closure of the regime is not yet necessary.

It is much more functional and palatable for the bourgeoisie to operate in an environment that preserves a minimum of democratic freedoms. Their signs, by the way, are different: they are sending messages to Bolsonaro that there are limits to things. And, as a friend said: “they are not at all interested in giving all power to a Napoleon in a madhouse”.

Does this mean that a coup is ruled out? No. If you need it, they do. Resume the dictatorship oldschool. See the coup in Bolivia – traditional style, 1970s, with modern touches of communicational hybrid war and mobilization of religious fundamentalism. But this is not the main scenario in Brazil today.

Finally: the Armed Forces. A complex topic, which the left has little control over, it is true. We find it difficult to analyze in depth its role, its internal contradictions, its pretensions, etc.

The recent “militarization” of the government's palace core should not be understood as an indication of an imminent military coup. For many reasons. The main one – in my opinion – is that there is neither accumulation nor strategic-political-programmatic unity in the Army (much less combination with the US) that would place, today, the military as protagonists of an eventual coup.

If there is closure, it will not be primarily by their hand. And it won't be the old-fashioned way. Look at Moro, the militias, the PMs, the Public Ministry and the Judiciary. The main actors of the neo-fascist nucleus are other.

This does not mean that the leadership and most of the Armed Forces do not fully support the government or even that they are democratic. But, in an apparently paradoxical way, they play a rationalizing and moderating role in the installed mess. Let's not let ourselves be fooled by the bravado of that general Heleno, who has always been linked to the Army sewer and exerts far less real influence than he tries to appear.

In short: very calm at this time. But not too calm. There won't be a hit tomorrow. Much less impeachment. The situation is serious, the mobilization difficulties are immense. Bolsonarism is not a summer rain that will pass quickly. The damage done to the country's social and institutional fabric is profound and will impact us for many years to come.

On the other hand, there is growing – even if limited – wear on the part of the government. The economy will not deliver what it promises. The discomfort can grow. Fights and strikes began to appear, such as the heroic stoppage of oil workers. We will soon have municipal elections, when a larger window will open for mass protest against Bolsonaro.

Our challenge, in fact, is perhaps to be more accurate in the conjunctural and structural analysis, a prerequisite for operating the reorganization, strengthening and construction of practical convergences in the popular-democratic field. Oh, and of course: changing everything in our communication – but that is a topic for other articles.

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

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