Brazil: a breath of air for a government in crisis

By Alternativa Socialista

More than 120,000 lives lost to the pandemic and nearly 4 million people infected. An average of 1,000 deaths per day that has been going on for more than 2 months. While the Ministry of Health continues with an “interim” minister since May 15th. This scenario has been naturalized in daily life and both the government and the massive press are trying to install it as a “new normality”.

These are not the only numbers that show the critical social situation of our country. The pandemic accelerated the global capitalist crisis and, in Brazil, the attempts of businessmen to sustain their wealth mean greater inequality and poverty. The “Continuous National Sample Survey of Households,” which IBGE published shows that  the unemployment rate reached 50%, affecting the Northeast more, where this rate rises to 60%. And as a capitalist rule par excellence, these numbers are bloodier in the young and black population. The national unemployment rate among the black population is 71.2%, and among young people between 18 and 24 years old, unemployment rises from 27.1% to 29.7%. According to a recent UN report, the country is expected to end 2020 with 9.5% of the population living in extreme poverty, which represents 5% in 2019.

Jair Bolsonaro understood that these numbers could be used in his favor, and thus he is able to dream of his reelection. The mutation of the president with his new profile “peace and love” (as they say in the massive press), that responds to the new framework of agreements with the parties of the “center” configuring a governability pact, is now accompanied by a 180º turn in his social policy. The Emergency Aid that came out in spite of Bolsonaro, since he refused at first and then had to accept even though he fought uselessly for R$200, today is one of the reasons for its recent stability and improvement in the approval polls. According to Datafolha’s survey, the approval of the government among the unemployed rose from 24% to 36% from June to August, while the disapproval fell from 43% to 34%.

The “Puesto Ipiranga” devaluated

This improvement in the polls and the relaxation of the government’s crisis does not mean that its problems are over. Today, it faces a new crack. There were two great comrades and partners in the electoral victory of Bolsonaro in 2018. One was Sergio Moro with his “anti-corruption” profile and leading the great cause Lava Jato, and the other was the super-minister of economy Paulo Guedes, who promised to be the “progress” while the president would be the “order”. The former is today on the front lines and denouncing corruption and intervention in the judiciary by Bolsonaro and his family, while the latter is moving from Puesto Ipiranga to a neighborhood market.

The ultraliberal Paulo Guedes represents a sector of the national and international bourgeoisie linked mainly to banks and the financial sector. His plan is clear: privatizations, austerity and liberal reforms without regard to the consequences. The problem is that his plan has hit the wall of resistance of a working class that is not willing to lose its conquests. So, a little more than a year into the government, the super-minister is being charged for not fulfilling his campaign promises and even not advancing with the pending Administrative and Tax reforms.

Among corruption, militias and anti-democratic outbursts, the Bolsonaro of the poor emerges

Judicial cases and imprisonments for corruption and militias surround the Bolsonaro clan and this is another crisis that makes it lose its social base. But the government found a way to reposition itself, it turned on the GPS and changed its course. Today, it is targeting the millions of unemployed, informal workers and the poor who receive some kind of social assistance through a state policy. Then, at the cost of generating more friction and crisis with the bourgeois sectors that brought him to power, he leads a battle within his own government and all the parties in parliament in order to broaden social plans starting with renaming the Bolsa Familia to Renda Brasil, raising its value from R$190 to R$300 (Guedes resists and fights to make it less). He intends a package of social measures that are nothing more than renaming social plans created in Lula’s government, making some minor modifications.

To carry out this plan, Bolsonaro needs money. There are millions upon millions that must be made available in a recessionary economy. As a good capitalist, his decision is to get the workers out. Wage freezes, withdrawal of workers’ conquests, layoffs, and shrinking budgets in health care, education, and research are some of the strategies he will try to apply. Thus, we are facing a new period in which the government is preparing for a new attempt at attacking Brazilian workers, which will undoubtedly open up fronts of struggle and conflicts led by the working class, as is already happening with the struggles underway.

Those who are below are making noise…

Today, the workers of the Post Office throughout the country are leading a general strike against the attempt to privatize the state-owned company and in defense of wages and their labor rights. It is a big strike that serves as an incentive for the other workers’ sectors that are struggling and receives demonstrations of support and solidarity throughout the country. They are not the only ones. A few weeks ago, the metroviarios of São Paulo stopped the right-wing government of Doria. The teachers are organizing in assemblies and preparing actions against the return to the classrooms in the pandemic. The mobilization in defense of public education stopped an adjustment and obtained the vote of FUNDEB (the Fund for the Maintenance of Primary Schools and Teachers).

The main trade union centers, like the CUT and the CTB, are playing a regressive role in this scenario, causing the struggles to become isolated and weakened. It is urgent to call for a national action on the way to a great National General Strike that will strengthen our struggles and stop the war policies of a criminal government that continues to play with our lives in the midst of a pandemic that already has almost 120,000 deaths. The CSP-Conlutas, unfortunately is not up to the task and has hesitant policies under the excuse of “waiting for the other centrals”. The central must call assemblies in all States and cities and put it on the fight, coordinating and strengthening our fights.

Siren songs of a progressivism that has nothing to offer

Worried about taking care of business, all the governors of the progressive wing, or of the left of order, were prepared to lift the quarantines in the different states and today they want the return to the classrooms, as another step to guarantee the normalization of the functioning of the market. Nothing remains of those emotional speeches against the murderer and genocide of Bolsonaro, in defense of life and not of capitalist profits. The leaderships of the PT, PCdoB, PDT or PSB are putting millions of lives at risk, opening Shoppings, stores and schools.

Meanwhile, they are deploying an “anti-Bolsonaro”, “anti-fascism”, “anti-right” discourse as an argument for forming an electoral Broad Front in this year’s municipal elections for 2022. The old recipe that tries to deceive our class with the “lesser evil”, to confront the government, although not now…but in the 2022 elections. It is a criminal policy that only benefits those who put their profits first and throw us into the daily risk of dying for Covid-19 or of hunger. And fundamentally because it is today, not in 2022, that the attacks are constant and as we said before, these parties decided to govern for capital, far from confronting it. Why should we believe that in 2022 they would do something else? Why should we think that a PT, or Lula government would be something different from what is today the government of Camilo Santana in Ceará, for example?

They are not an alternative and they demonstrate this in their state governments today and they demonstrated it in their 12 years of national government when they governed under the orders of imperialism, in favor of capital and by stopping the process of ascending in the mobilization that was spreading in the continent in the 2000’s.

Let us unite the radical left against Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro leads a government that is structurally weak and in cyclical crisis, but which naturally tries to advance against the workers, the poor, women, Black people, LGBTI and native peoples. In this sense, the wrong policy of the PSOL leadership, assimilating itself more and more to the PT and the class conciliation project, weakens the emergence of a strong and dynamic radical left alternative to confront the government. This is how they promote electoral fronts with the “progressive” parties, thus abandoning the essence of the PSOL which is beginning to leave behind the class conciliation project of the PT and founding an independent and socialist political project. As long as we do not build a radical left political alternative to confront their radical plans against us, we will continue to watch as if it were a film that repeats itself, the same history.

From the Radical Left Bloc, we are giving this discussion throughout the country. Confronting the politics of broad alliances and defending the need to unite the whole of the left to confront this government in the streets and at the polls. We are going through important moments in the fight against the government, this improvement that Bolsonaro is achieving is a breath of air that will not last long and we have to prepare ourselves for new scenarios of conflict and crisis. We need to strengthen each one of the struggles that are underway and to postulate a political alternative of the left in opposition to the right and to progressiveness that is servile to capital.

Let us advance in the fundamental task: building a revolutionary party

But we have a crucial pending task that goes beyond the electoral tactics or those of the current situation: to build a revolutionary party. The experiences so far unfortunately show sectarianism and reformist opportunism, both conditions that led to the frustration of the strategic project of building the necessary and indispensable tool to advance the socialist revolution in our country. The PSTU, for example, which knew how to be a great party with some influence, because of its deep sectarianism liquidated the possibility of building itself as a revolutionary leadership of the masses and today it is in an unstoppable crisis and reduced to a useless tool for the vanguard that rebels and fights. On the other hand, the currents that succumbed to electoralism, parliamentarism and assimilated into the bourgeois democratic regime, ordering their politics by electoralist calculations, were abandoning the task of building the revolutionary party, skeptical of the strength that our class has to defeat capital.

There is no way out of Bolsonaro, the right wing and any government that seeks to sink us into more poverty and exploitation, hand in hand with anti-democratic and repressive projects, without socialism. Therefore, fleeing from sectarianism and opportunism, we have to set up a revolutionary party. Recovering the best of the historical experiences and working together with the new processes of the class struggle that are taking place, building bridges towards a socialist, feminist, ecosocialist and internationalist society. We continue to believe that it is not only necessary but possible, that is why we are advancing and building ties with currents like Luta Socialista, with whom we have been going through different experiences but we agree that this is the fundamental historical task. The LIS and Alternativa Socialista are built with that objective, join us and militate with us to strengthen this pending task.