Brazil: The Limits of Impeachment and the Struggle for Bolsonaro and Mourão Must Go

By Alternativa Socialista-PSOL

The “Bolsonaro must go” demand receives a new boost. The worsening of the pandemic with the loss of thousands of lives (more than 230,000 to date), the government’s anti-vaccine policy, the new variant of the coronavirus that is spreading in the country, official unemployment of more than 14 million, the end of the emergency subsidy, the more than 60 million people living in poverty and extreme poverty and the attacks on democratic rights reopen the space to fight against the government. At the same time, they place the mobilizations at a crossroads.

In recent weeks, three options have been highlighted. The return of the agenda of actions for Bolsonaro´s impeachment, accompanied by important caravans in the big cities. The new agreement between bourgeois sectors that want the government to continue until the end of 2022. The struggle for the complete overthrow of the government, the “Bolsonaro and Mourão must go”. We make a small contribution to the debate of these options.

The new agreement to maintain Bolsonaro until 2022

The significant victory of Arthur Lira (PP) in the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies and Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM) in the Senate, with the support of Bolsonaro and even PT senators, highlighted at least two issues: the first, the vicious corruption of the internal election with the negotiation of more than 3 billion reais from the government to deputies and senators; the second, the objective of the traditional parties of the ruling class by the governmental order to advance reforms at full speed.

While former chamber president Rodrigo Maia (DEM) felt “abandoned,” Bolsonaro was not the biggest winner either. The scandalous media used in the Lira victory – the 3,000 million reais and the negotiation of important government positions – show that the president will have to abide by the new agreement to guarantee his continuity and, he hopes, a re-election. The main winner, as an extension of the 2020 municipal elections, was the set of traditional bourgeois parties.

The new agreement shows the urgency of a bourgeois autocratic realignment to fulfill their objectives: Bolsonaro remains until 2022 so as not to delay the reforms or further fracture the regime; the use of impeachment requests as a tool for Lira and his group to gain more ground in the government; the speed of reforms – tax, administrative, fiscal, plunder of national wealth. Whether this scenario is fulfilled or not, it is clear that Bolsonaro will continue to growl atrocities in the sewers of the extreme right and will not rule out, even in more distant conditions, his project of a regime under his command.

The impeachment

With a new peak in the government crisis, the left and progressive camps have submitted more requests for impeachment in the Chamber of Deputies (so far more than 60) and are trying to restart a national calendar of mobilizations against the government and the reforms. January 23 and 31 were marked by protests with caravans in capitals and other cities.

These mobilizations, although initial, are important as pressure on the government. But they also show limitations in the equivalence between “Bolsonaro Must Go” and impeachment. The two intersect in parts of the road, but they do not share the same path. The fight for Bolsonaro (and Mourão) Must Go means the reactivation of the national mobilization with a clear political objective, the complete fall of the government and its reforms. As much as it does not annul the parliamentary path, entering this path means carrying out a democracy of cooptation. In other words, it can happen, and it would still be a victory, but it would be incomplete.

The impeachment agenda in the legal system of the bourgeois network is meant to try to resolve its crisis when there is an impasse, disguised as “responsibilities”, but trying to keep intact the pact between the institutions of the regime – which show divisions today. In reality, it can oust Bolsonaro and keep Mourão, or oust both, depending on the strength and limitations of the political pressure. Still, it is a control mechanism of co-opting democracy to address a popular need by legal means.

It is known that, even impeachment with its restrictions, represents at least a complex governmental fracture to resolve and with dangers in the medium and long term. In this sense, it can even be used as a function of the correlation of forces at the crucial moment. If the limitations are evident, the challenge can be a heartrending victory, even if it is incomplete; but, if the force is strong, it becomes shackles. In other words, the fight for impeachment should not be an end in itself.

Bolsonaro and Mourão must go

Every day, the drama of the crisis deepens and reveals the need for structural change. At the same time, it puts the spotlight on who, how and what to do. This moment requires a joint moment of mobilization and campaign. Mobilize the vanguard and carry out a popular campaign so that the working class and the poor people understand the urgent need to take to the streets.

There is no doubt that a great unity is essential. Bourgeois sectors manage to achieve unity because they know their limitations, and they do so when they feel threatened. The CSP-Conlutas, and all the trade union centrals, the MST, the MTST, the unions, the movements and the parties must make an urgent national call. It is also urgent to unite the left in the struggle to build a true political alternative of the working class and the poor for a socialist and anti-capitalist solution. In this way, we call on the comrades of the MES, and all the currents of the socialist left of the PSOL, to be in the vanguard in the construction of unity.

Within the PSOL there are current positions that postulate a broad organic political front with sectors of class conciliation, such as the PT, and even bourgeois sectors. It is a controversy that has deepened in the party with the course of the crisis in the country. We do not harbor expectations in this path and we fight for an independent government of the working class. We have the responsibility to win this battle for unity of action inside and outside the PSOL.

The Lira / Pacheco victory and the new agreement reiterate these lessons. First, the bourgeoisie wants cohesion to attack. Second, the only “democratic bloc” known to the bourgeois autocracy is its survival. Finally, the urgency of unity in the streets for the consequent overthrow of Bolsonaro, Mourão and the unpopular reforms.