A NOVA DEMOCRACIA BRASIL: Editorial – Why hasn’t Bolsonaro fallen (yet)?

More than once, since January 2019, bourgeois analysts have set a date for the end of Bolsonaro’s government. The highest point was reached at the beginning of the pandemic, last year, when the openly genocidal policy of Captain-of-the-Jungle (imitating his master, Donald Trump, who has already succumbed) resulted in the explosion of the number of infected and killed in Brazil, while there were several coup demonstrations organised by the Planalto Palace.

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Why hasn’t Bolsonaro fallen (yet)?

More than once, since January 2019, bourgeois analysts have set a date for the end of Bolsonaro’s government. The highest point was reached at the beginning of the pandemic, last year, when the openly genocidal policy of Captain-of-the-Jungle (imitating his master, Donald Trump, who has already succumbed) resulted in the explosion of the number of infected and killed in Brazil, while there were several coup demonstrations organised by the Planalto Palace. Then, the emergency aid, coupled with the investigations in Rio and the arrest of Queiroz, put both pressure back on the government and its discourse in favour of a “military intervention with Bolsonaro in power”. Earlier this year, with the economic downturn and the succession of crimes against humanity perpetrated in Manaus, as well as the sabotage to the mass vaccination of our population, they again dated his fall and took for granted the opening of the impeachment process, expectations fuelled by the “sealed” diary of Rodrigo Maia, the weeping one, on Twitter. Ledo’s mistake: the election, especially of Arthur Lira, in the House, at a price of 3 billion reales, supported, for now, those predictions, besides showing that the “broad democratic front” supposedly strengthened in the municipal elections was nothing more than a malnourished, if not imaginary, rat.

The fundamental fact of the Brazilian situation is that it is heading towards an inevitable radicalisation and that there is no possible way out of the catastrophe that is ravaging us that does not involve violence. Counter-revolutionary violence, to destroy the minimal democratic rights achieved by popular mobilisation and resistance to the military regime and its overthrow, which are obstacles to restructuring the old reactionary state and energising bureaucratic capitalism; or revolutionary violence, to overthrow the old reactionary state, sweep away bureaucratic capitalism and carry out the New Democratic Revolution. This is the real historical dilemma before us, which will tend to overturn and then swallow the intermediate solutions, false as they are impossible.

This is perhaps the most murderous and corrupt government in our history. It is not easy to make such a claim, given the long duration of narrow regimes and governments that have beset us since Tomé de Souza. But, faced with what was done in barely two years, with the death of more than 230 thousand Brazilians, the blatant submission to Yankee imperialism (all were submissive, shameless at this level and no other), the chloroquine spree (a kind of overrated mortality), the bargain sale of our natural wealth, the ruin of the SUS and even minimal enlightenment values, in favour of a rampant social Darwinism and obscurantism that make even the most egregious figures seem “progressive” in the face of all that the statement encapsulates. Yet despite everything, including the stiff opposition of the “enlightened” sectors of the big bourgeoisie, whose mouthpieces are the press monopolies, in particular Rede Globo and Estado de São Paulo, the Bolsonaro/generals government endure. Unless this is attributed to God, or to a destiny manifested from the inside out by our people, which would bind them to eternal perversion, it is necessary to explain this phenomenon. Complex, no doubt, but it can be traced in broad strokes.

First, the 2018 elections and the military government that followed were the result, not the cause, of that process of inevitable radicalisation and tendency towards violence mentioned above. If we want to date the beginning of this new cycle, we can point to the days of June 2013, which marked the exhaustion of the “national agreement” concluded in the late 1970s (sponsored, by the way, by the military regime) and which culminated in the ’88 Constitution which, among other absurdities, maintained military tutelage over the so-called “civilian power”, by making the Armed Forces “guarantors of internal order”. The electoral triumph of the PT in 2002 was, at one and the same time, the rise of this “New Republic” and the beginning of its decline, revealing the insurmountable limits of the agreements that gave rise to it and frustrating any expectation of effective social change within its framework. The PT’s “neo-development” was nothing more than an increase in land concentration and the strengthening of the exporting landowner, unbridled consumerism based on the credit binge – which concentrated and did not distribute wealth in the hands of financial capital – an unprecedented cooptation and degeneration in most cases of the trade union and popular movement, linked like wheels to the federal government car. Expression in the country of the general counter-revolutionary offensive led by US imperialism as blatant “class collaboration”, cheap assistance and corporatisation of the masses to mitigate class contradictions and not, the much-vaunted by the press monopolies, “turning to the left”. All this, cumulatively, plus mega-events, happened in the explosion of 2013, when it became clear that the card of opportunism thrown by the internal ruling classes (to avoid uprisings like those that curdled the political history of Latin America at the end of the last century), was already without effect. Hence the preparation for military intervention, which has been growing, and which Lavajato, the impeachment of Dilma and the stabbing and electoral redemption of Bolsonaro are the resulting chapters.

Secondly, and this is part of what was said above, the government is not Bolsonaro’s, but that of the generals who surround him in the Planalto Palace. For now, they have a non-aggression agreement: Bolsonaro is given the right to speak (and to plot), while the militia touches the country like a fanatic, brandishing threat of suppression of democratic freedoms. This tutelage over Bolsonaro is, in practice, tutelage over the political system in general, since, in the end, Bolsonaro himself is nothing more than a politician of the very low clergy, more discredited in the eyes of the public than a score of three. These reactionary Armed Forces, corrupt to the core, function in practice as a kind of legalised militia of the big bourgeoisie and the latifundia, interested in maintaining the rotten order, while charging a “protection fee” for it. This protection fee is its indecent privileges, such as super salaries for high officials, commissions, full retirement, a separate health care system, banquets and bribes. In case of an eventual impeachment of the captain of the jungle, this situation will not change at all, but clearly the High Command does not have that position today, for fear of the process of popular mobilisation that could be set in motion.

Thirdly, Bolsonaro’s government and the generals today count on the support of financial capital, speculators and stock market sharks, those reactionary upper-class guys, who have a horror of anything that smells of people, so well described by Marx as the “lumpemproletariat reborn in the culminations of bourgeois society”, and who prefer a thousand coups d’état to a single serious popular mobilisation that even remotely threatens their interests. These pirates, although they constitute a small minority of the population, have a presence in intellectual and political circles, finance projects and journalists, have access to important sources and, therefore, are much more relevant than their numbers might indicate. Paulo Guedes, if he is not exactly an ideologue of this stratum, is its typical representative. Not by chance, the first measure approved by the House after the election of the new board of directors was the autonomy of the Central Bank, which takes away from elected governments (in theory, the core of the legitimacy of liberal democracy) the direction of economic policy implementation, already dictated from Wall Street. What for? To accelerate the prey of national wealth, by determining monetary policy, controlling interest rates and inflation, whatever the mood (and material state!) of the masses. And, of course, the ability of such an “autonomous central bank” to boycott and even overthrow a government not favoured by the speculators will not be small.

Fourthly, we have the exporting latifundia, well represented in this government as in all the others. The difference is that now, in addition to the “agro pop” of soya, there is also the old-style large landowners, heirs to the UDR, with their private militias and anachronistic production relations, disinterested in an environmental policy, albeit cosmetic, for some touts of “green capitalism”, whereby they can concentrate land and kill peasants and native peoples at will, as long as this does not “scratch the image of the country”. This deep latifundia, a land theft, which expands its properties not on the basis of buying and selling, according to the law of value, but by pure plunder, supports Bolsonaro today as it supported yesterday and was even the shock troops of the coup of ’64. The first settling of scores took place with the Ligas Campesinas. This is, after all, the centre, whose leaders are oligarchs from the North and Northeast, together with the gunmen from the urban areas, who have always owned the National Congress.

Finally, there is a massive base that follows Bolsonaro, composed mainly of ruined petty bourgeois and semi-proletarians, plus the wealthy lump sum that inhabits the neighbourhoods and condominiums of the nouveau riche countries all over the country, who made money on the basis of all sorts of schemes, schemes and deceit, if not in assassinations (the case of paramilitaries, police, etc.). The fascist extreme right also brings together the worst elements of all social classes, that is, the most racist, sexist, degenerate, armchair, fanatical and insane, for it calls for an amalgam of various reactionaries. Among the poorest, there is also the phenomenon of the evangelicals, which is not only an ideological question, but also a social and economic one: traitorous opportunism has trapped the name of the left among these deep masses, demobilised them and favoured their corporatisation by “Merchants of Faith”, who accumulated fortunes during the years of the PT administration.

This is the mass base of the current government. It has it, we insist, but it is fragile, given the country’s economic debacle and the antagonisms that permeate its internal alliance. If the situation worsens, the government of the day may fall and a new arrangement may be formed; now, overthrowing the real bases of these monsters, which were always there and are now coming to the fore, to the amazement of the unwary, is a task that only the Democratic Revolution can accomplish.