Brazilian Anarchist expert reveals Social War behind key Lula / Bolsonaro Vote

by Bruno Lima Rocha from Black Rose Fed via Institute for Anarchist Theory and History and thefreeonline

‘Ele Nao’.. (Not HIM) the huge 2018 womens campaign against Bolsonaro’s oppression

The election result will change Brazil and the world. It’s not just one man or party :-The major section of corrupt deputies and parties are committed to supporting whoever is the new President. In the balance is the key future of the Amazonia climate tipping point. In the balance is the direction of the BRICS alliance and the future of the campaign for a multipolar world future. In the balance is the end of extreme racism, poverty, misogyny, neo-liberalist looting and ….

(continues after interview below)

Interview with a Brazilian Anarchist on Lula, Bolsonaro, and Social Struggle

Bruno Lima Rocha is a political scientist, professional journalist and professor of international relations based in Brazil, and is a member of the editorial board of the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH-ITHA).The following interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Looming over much of the political landscape in Brazil is the presidential election, in which former president Lula da Silva is expected to win in the second round over incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, in part by taking up space in the political center. How has this election campaign impacted social forces on the left and the right in Brazil?

In the first round of the general elections, Lula (PT plus eight parties) had just over 48% of the votes and Bolsonaro 43.5%. It gives an average of about 6 million votes, in a universe of 156 million voters, in a total with 20% abstention. The number of null and blank votes was low compared to other years. On the far left, we had candidacies from small parties such as Popular Unity (of Maoist origin), PCO (a line of Trotskyism), PSTU (Trotskyist Morenism) and PCB (neo-Stalinists).

In all 26 states and the Federal District, the set of these small electoral parties more to the left does not reach 2% of the electorate. Thus, the left’s space in the political debate is small, because the program of Lula and his deputy Geraldo Alckmin could be called social-liberal: social democrat in social policies and post-neoliberal in economic policy and state design. The radicalism in this election is marked by the extreme right, with Bolsonaro and his version of tropical Trumpism.

Despite the glowing picture that progressives and social democrats paint of Lula, it was under the PT (Worker’s Party) that Brazil’s government made its turn toward austerity. Given that this will likely be a second term in office for him, how effective do you think left organizations and movements will be at wringing concessions from a Lula-led PT government?

The turn to “austerity” took place in Dilma’s second government (January 2015 until her impeachment without legal cause, in April 2016), when the re-elected president appointed economist Joaquim Levy, a Chicago Boy, as finance minister.

That made an immediate inflection for the inflation of administered prices, cut of social policies, reduction of industrial policies and of funds for education (including scientific research). Even all that could not stop the parliamentary coup that Dilma suffered.

There is not much room immediately for a left turn in Lula’s government if he wins in the second round: Bolsonaro left a fiscal bomb, without the Brazilian State’s financing capacity. Social dissatisfaction could arise and with great energy if we have the predicted recession in 2023 and the first half of 2024.

In general, are anarchist organizations advocating abstention or participation in the general election, or are they focusing their communications elsewhere entirely? As CAB wrote in its Analysis of the Brazilian Conjuncture in June, there has been an increase in far-right political violence, including the murders of journalists. There has also been over the past decade a steady increase in the military’s presence within the civilian state. Both are matters of significant concern. Where is the sharpest edge of the far right in Brazil?

Organized anarchism in Brazil is very active in the anti-fascist struggle and is not campaigning electorally.

As for the extreme right, their forces are clearly visible. The high command of the armed forces (brigadiers, admirals and generals) earn more than four times their regular salaries, and there are more than 11,000 military and ex-military in civil administration posts — a historic rematch of the military that gave us the 1964 coup d’état and implemented a dictatorship until 1985.

Bolsonaro and the PL should not be underestimated. The far-right president beat the polls by a not-insignificant five points and his party still holds the most seats in the lower house and the Senate. Several Bolsonaro fanatics were elected to Congress, including the candidate who pulled the most votes of any, Nikolas Ferreira, at 1.4 million. We can also recall how unlikely the prospects of a Bolsonaro presidency seemed just four years ago. 

Another wing of the extreme right are the political-economic leaders of environmental crime: advancing on agricultural land, destroying biomes, threatening indigenous and quilombola lands and applying agricultural poisons prohibited in other countries.

There is also the neo-Pentecostal, Pentecostal and conservative Protestant extreme right, reproducing in Brazil the same agenda of the bible belt in the religious right wing of the Republican Party in the U.S.

The newest far right is a tropical Trumpism, which explains the relations between Steve Bannon and the Bolsonaro family.

In Brazil a tiny oligarchy still owns most of the land

And then there is the new neoliberal right, based in speculative finance, with a sizeable portion supporting Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro’s Minister of Economy is an authentic Chicago Boy, Paulo Guedes (he even worked in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship), who operates as a defender of the interests of Brazil’s most unproductive capital.

There is also a broad sector of the police: Bolsonaro is supported by the police’s extreme right and has direct involvement with para-police formations, especially in his electoral base of origin, Rio de Janeiro.

Prison Officer Supporter of #Bolsonaro murders a leader of #Lula’s Workers party – Eng/ Esp July 11, 2022

In terms of international support, Bolsonaro is a strategic ally of Zionism and its interests in promoting the State of Israel.

Finally, there is a fauna of far-right fractions, neo-fascists, Brazilian fascists, supremacists, neo-Nazis and the like that explicitly support Bolsonaro.

Abortion rights are an active terrain of struggle across the Americas, with victories in Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, and setbacks in the United States. Abortion is criminalized in Brazil, though of course that doesn’t halt abortions, just make them more dangerous. Is the feminist movement positioned to make progress in Brazil on the interlinked issues of abortion access, rape, and femicide?

In Brazil we have a huge mobilization of both women and people of African descent. Those in the hegemonic media that oppose Bolsonaro may discuss matters of gender but are clearly against reproductive rights. The same is true for the defense of the LGBTQI+ population and peripheral metropolitan regions. The religious right’s veto powers, as well as its direct ownership of three of the top five media outlets, manages to keep the abortion debate silenced. In Brazil, the generalist media conglomerates are, in this order of audience and importance:

  • Globo
  • Record and SBT (tied)
  • Rede Bandeirantes
  • TV Brasil and other small or regional broadcasters

Globo has 50% of the audience and is very in tune with the agenda of the U.S. Democratic Party. Record and SBT are more popular and reproduce conservatism with significant social penetration. Bandeirantes is divided on the position and Rede TV supports Bolsonaro. I say all this because the popularization of the themes of women’s and anti-racist struggles has only been accomplished via struggle on a societal scale, not through the world of entertainment and professional communication.

Marinalva Manoel was stabbed to death after campaigning for her tribe’s ancestral land.

Another sector, as large as the first, is positioned on social networks against the advancement of women’s rights and radically against the decriminalization of abortion. For example, in 2018, women mobilized in the Ele Não (“Not Him”) campaign, which opposed Bolsonaro’s first run for president.

The right responded to that campaign with a dirty internet war, asserting imbecilities like claiming that Fernando Haddad (PT’s presidential candidate in 2018) would distribute “penis-shaped bottles in children’s schools.”

Religious conservatives have 180 votes in Congress, out of a total of 513 federal deputies and 81 senators.

Quilombo Campo Grande eviction: a crime against humanity

The people of Brazil are suffering from the combined economic, pandemic, and ecological catastrophes in ways that are recognizable across the globe. How have anarchists participated in popular efforts of not just survival but organization and radicalization? In what sectors or regions are anarchists most active in Brazil? What activities and strategies is it most important for anarchists there to strengthen over the next few years?

I speak for the Institute of Anarchist Theory and History (ITHA) and not any particular anarchist political organization in Brazil. My basis for analysis is especifista anarchist theory and the strategic studies derived from it, but I cannot comment in terms of identifying the social forces where we have significant presence and insertion.

I hope I have answered the questions in a way that generates information and reflection from comrades who will read these modest words. For socialism and freedom.


And if Bolsonaro WINS?

The election will change Brazil and the world. It’s not just one man or party. The major section of corrupt deputies and parties are committed to supporting whoever is the new President. In the balance is the key future of the Amazonia climate tipping point. In the balance is the direction of the BRICS alliance and the future of the campaign for a multipolar world future. In the balance is the end of extreme racism, poverty, misogyny and neo-liberalist looting…

….(by Bradley Blankenship…) “Bolsonaro has been a steadfast supporter of Uncle Sam’s imperialistic ambitions in the region, even earning Brazil the designation of “non-NATO ally”  from the West’s foremost military alliance.

The far-right president has been a key player in the US-led efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

He has also supported US multinational corporations in their efforts to destroy and commercialize the land of the Amazon Rainforest. Lula looks set to kneecap all of this. 

For the world, the return of the leftist president also has serious implications. For all of Lula’s accomplishments, one of the things that many forget is just how important his presidency was in helping Brazil attain its rightful reputation as a country of global import. 

Indeed, that was Lula’s ambition. He wanted Brazil to be an important country diplomatically, closely in-line with the non-aligned movement.

For example, Brazil led the global charge in rebuilding Iraq after the American invasion.

The ‘Daisies’ Margaridas March is the largest demonstration held by organized, female rural workers in Latin America | Mídia Ninja/Collaborative Media Coverage

Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello served as United Nations special representative for Iraq before he was killed in a bombing in 2003, which marked an end to the UN’s role – and thus multilateral peace efforts – in the Middle Eastern country. 

Lula also helped to found BRICS (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in 2009, then called only BRIC before South Africa joined in 2010.

The group’s aim from the outset was to get developing countries more involved in international affairs and to reform financial institutions whilst improving the global economic situation, which at that time was marred by the financial crisis of 2007-08. 

One key issue for BRICS even to this day is developing alternatives to Western-dominated global finance, which was initially sparked by US mismanagement of the global economy as the world’s financial center and is now largely owed to Washington’s unilateral sanctions.

This is a hugely important discussion that, if Lula wins, would benefit greatly from Brazil’s renewed effort. 

We could also see Brazil develop closer ties with China, like some other leftist Latin American governments have, and sign up formally for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

President Bolsonaro ‘jokes at a rally ” We’re going to shoot dead Workers Party supporters” –Bolsonaro avisa em comício: “Vamos fuzilar petistas”

While Bolsonaro is not an enemy of China, and indeed his government has made lucrative deals with the Chinese, he has stopped short of making any moves that might raise eyebrows from his leash-handlers in Washington.

Again, Lula could shake things up by joining the Beijing-led infrastructure program.

But even with so much monumental change queued up pending a Lula victory, no matter how favorable the polls look or how strong a showing he was able to muster in the first round of voting, this year’s election is still up in the air.

Anyone who cares about Brazil’s future should be, as she said, “cautiously hopeful” about this election and a potential Lula victory….”

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Author: thefreeonline

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