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The update of the Covid-19 pandemic data on Good Friday, 10/04, points to a morbid curve. There are more than a hundred thousand deaths in the world, and the epicenter is on our continent. The United States should soon surpass Italy in the number of deaths. In case numbers, there are already more than 500,000 positive tests on U.S. soil. Here in Brazil, the line of thousands of deaths has been crossed. The recession’s horizon is already drawn on the planet. The devastating effect of these two plagues, the coronavirus and the melting of the economy, is reaching the Latin American continent with force. The picture of the holes in New York is an anticipation of what is to come.

The health crisis and the economic crisis are feeding the political crisis of the Bolsonaro government. Our country has become a laboratory for the radicalization of the extreme right and Bolsonaro goes far beyond Trump, his main reference. With truly surrealist moves, insofar as it relativizes the dangers of the pandemic in every sentence or gesture, the government balances itself to maintain its line of “permanent offensive”.

The point is that a red line has been crossed, the number of cases and deaths is already growing in geometric progression and the line to break the quarantine is putting the “time won” by the governors on the ground. And the economy threatens to cripple the country. Sales have fallen by almost 40% on average in the last three weeks. The week saw a “relative surrender” of the government, which did not follow the line of firing Mandetta (Minister of Health), as the Bolsonaro clan wanted. The last statement on national television showed Bolsonaro fallen, trying to reconcile two opposing orientations regarding the quarantine.

Defeated by the STF, which judged in favor of the governors, Bolsonaro decided to defend himself as the “father of basic income” and put his emphasis on dubious chloroquine medicine as the key to all solutions. It is a dispute, in which there are divisions: some governors, such as the governor of Santa Catarina, have already agreed to reopen trade, while the Romeu Zema (governor of Minas Gerais) is calling for the return of classes. The dispute for the defence of the care of social isolation gives rise to an even greater dispute: that of an openly denialist camp, which wants to push the country towards a real genocide against the poorest citizens.

We are also marked by the situation opened up in the week of March 15-18: with the arrival of the coronavirus, the first cases of community transmission and the first moments of quarantine; the first wave of paralysis in the economy and the spontaneous casserole of the 18th, which threw a sector of the middle classes into a more combative position against the government.

On 18/03 he also radicalized bolsonism, in line with ignoring the effects of Covid-19, treating it for the stupid notion of “little flu”. This generated a greater detachment from the superstructure, with the Legislative and the Judiciary operating an emergency plan (suspension of the states’ debts, approval of emergency income from 600 to 1200 reais and a package of 40 billion to save small and medium businesses).

The presentation of Fernanda Melchionna, Sâmia Bomfim, David Miranda, Luciana Genro and several personalities of a request for impeachment, supported by one million Brazilians, dragged other sectors, until then hesitant, to the line of “Get out, Bolsonaro!”. The following week’s crisis, in which Bolsonaro, together with Osmar Terra and Onyx Lorenzoni, promised to fire Mandetta, considering Terra himself or Dr. Nise Yamaguchi for his position, ended with a precarious agreement.

Under the tutelage of the military and other powers, Bolsonaro returned and kept the health minister in his position. A kind of “catastrophic draw” was born on Monday night, at the Planalto Palace. Defeated, Bolsonaro is not dead. Yet.

Opinion polls reveal that Bolsonaro is making a slow downward curve, unlike Mandetta, which concentrates 76% of popular support. An interesting fact is that Bolsonaro lost 17% of support among its voters. Considering that it is a government that has already started a minority in the northeast and among the youngest, Bolsonaro is consciously betting on the cohesion of its base, even losing support.

During his 15 months in office, Federal Deputy Alexandre Frota, the PSL and the late Bebianno (his election campaign manager) moved into the opposition trenches. The governor of Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel, became their public enemy and the times of “Bolsodoria” (Bolsonaro’s informal alliance with the governor of SP, João Doria) were left behind. However, polls show that he still has some support, even if he is a minority.

Bolsonaro organizes its trenches and seeks, with caravans, rides and attacks on social networks, to mobilize both supporters and desperate social sectors, such as small and medium sized merchants. Next week will be decisive. Will the scenario seen in the big cities, of a small increase in the flow of people in the streets, continue?

Will the entry of the virus have any effect on large populations, such as the favelas of Rio? How long will there be under-registration? Moro reported that the first cases are being registered within the prison system. Today we had the death of a young Yanomami Indian. And a large capital in the north, Manaus, is on the verge of a hospital bed collapse, an unprecedented case in the country.

Even so, we must ask ourselves how a current of opinion from semi-fascist positions comes to influence the mass sectors. With what program does Bolsonaro act to move his positions of strength in the face of the crisis? How will the main media react? The announced tragedy will materialize.

The point is that Bolsonaro’s line is to radicalize the elements of the “death drive,” which have always been present in his narrative. The trivialization of evil is permeating the orientation of the bolsonistas everywhere, authorizing a more violent line (a shot against the pot was recorded in a condominium in the neighborhood of Perdizes in São Paulo, the SBT television presenter “Marcão do Povo” defended a kind of concentration camp for patients with Covid-19, the political assassinations of indigenous leaders and PSOL politicians continue), using the situation to gain ground.

The banality of evil is permeating the orientation of the bolsonistas everywhere, authorizing a more violent line (a shot against the pot was recorded in a condominium in the neighborhood of Perdizes in São Paulo, the SBT television presenter “Marcão do Povo” defended a kind of concentration camp for patients with Covid-19, the political assassinations of indigenous leaders and PSOL politicians continue), using the situation to gain ground. The philosopher Vladimir Safatle came to think of the concept of the “suicidal state” as a regime project that Bolsonaro wants to move through the ruins of the 1988 constitution.

This Bolsonaro strategy requires a response oriented in the opposite direction: expanding the notion of solidarity, defending the protection of life, state intervention to guarantee rights and, most importantly, public and popular control over state agents.

This clash of orientations will be at the heart of the political struggle over the next two weeks. As Roberto Simon (FSP, April 11) rightly said, Bolsonaro does not have the political and social conditions to impose further restrictions on the regime, as Orban, Erdogan and Netanyahu did. And as a result of this political struggle, we must defend our platform of urgency more vigorously, in the face of the point of no return.

We do not know how the economy will react to the prospect of melting. The payment of the universal basic income will be able to avoid withdrawals and social upheavals, as well as the inability of factory workers who accept the reduction in wages as the only horizon to respond immediately. But this flight forward will not resolve any of the contradictions of a very rapid social return, a real aggravation, beyond the ordinary, of the suffering and misery of the popular strata. Guedes admitted a drop in GDP between 1 and 4%, depending on the effects of the pandemic.

Nor do we know what will happen in the face of the explosion of cases and deaths. The relative relaxation of social isolation, the result of widespread ignorance on the networks, with a very apparent reading by the population that “it’s not so much”, marked the days close to the Easter holidays. However, a stronger wave should lead more people to return to the more rigorous quarantine, and some experts speak of the interruption of total circulation (blockage) during the peak scheduled for the second half of April.

Parliament will have to address all these problems, starting with the state aid package, which Maia and the governors must approve in the Senate. In the heat of this political struggle, in exceptional situations, because street demonstrations cannot be called and organized, we will forge a life-and-death struggle during the next episodes of the pandemic and the crises combined.

On the life side, we must continue to insist on urgent measures, such as the large-scale production of PPE, artificial respirators as a priority for industry, maintenance of jobs; the banning of redundancies at national level; the defence of health workers, the front line of the fight against the pandemic.

Let the crisis be paid for by the rich, the banks and the privileged sectors: in addition to taxing large fortunes, it is necessary to amnesty individual debts, rents and service fees for the vast majority of the population. The defense of massive investments in the SUS and the centralization of hospital beds by the government.

A physical struggle: against the current that proclaims the death and genocide of the poorest, we raise the flag of life, health, science and solidarity. This is how subway and road workers throughout the country are fighting; educators against the reopening of schools and the non-payment of salaries, as Zema and Crivella want. In times of war, we are in the trenches of life, with the flags of the social majority, which moves the real Brazil.

A new page to support and build new alternatives in Latin America and the world, defending the power of the workers and people against the 1% of the rich and privileged, and a society without exploitation.

Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder