Editorial of Ofensiva Socialista, Liberdade, Socialismo e Revolução (our sister organisation in Brazil)
Defeating the coup being prepared by Bolsonaro and his supporters is the central task for conscious workers and the oppressed people resisting the daily hell of inflation, unemployment, hunger, racism, sexism and violence under this extreme right-wing government and the capitalist crisis.
The current majority leaderships of the left and centre-left think that this will be done through the defence of the current institutions of the political regime and a resounding electoral victory of the “democrats” against the “fascists”.
With Lula and Alckmin at their head, they continue to build electoral alliances and compromises with bourgeois, right-wing and centre-right politicians, and bet all their chips on the ability of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Electoral Court to curb any abuse by the Bolsonarist far-right.
They believe that the more they come across as harmless, moderate, predictable and willing to compromise and reach broad agreements, the more they will be able to convince the Brazilian ruling class and imperialism that they are a better option than Bolsonaro and the inevitable turmoil and uncertainty he brings along with him.
These same political forces, however, failed to act in the face of the 2016 institutional coup, in the episode of Lula’s arrest and in the 2018 political/electoral contest that brought Bolsonaro to the presidency.
They trusted the institutions, bet on the elections and avoided taking resistance to the streets and mass struggle of the working class and poor in any real way. What is more, they even made conscious efforts to convince the most critical and active layers of workers and poor that the electoral route, devoid of major conflicts, was the only possible path.
For those who want to defeat the Bolsonarist far-right, prevent further setbacks and advance the conquests for workers and the poor, it should be clear that this strategy proved wrong and must not be repeated once again. The role of the socialist left in these elections is to say this loud and clear and not to happily capitulate to the hype of the Lula/Alckmin campaign.
For our part, even though we still defend the need for a socialist alternative with class independence in the first round of the elections, we can understand the reasoning of millions of workers who will vote for Lula in the first round (holding their noses at Alckmin) to defeat Bolsonaro. For this large contingent, apparently, that’s all that remains to be done.
But be warned. That is not enough!
The fight against Bolsonaro is also a fight against the coup d’état (open or clandestine, direct or sinuous) that is in gestation. And this is a fight that cannot be won in the carpeted rooms of the Superior Electoral Court; it is won in the streets, in the organised and mass struggle of all those who suffer and will suffer even more from the neoliberal attacks and the authoritarian regime that Bolsonaro wants to implement.
Bolsonaro is not out of the game and cannot be looked at that way. Even if he does not achieve an electoral victory due to the huge rejection of his government, he still has enough social and political base to accumulate forces in the elections, question the electoral result and stay alive as a far-right force with mass influence.
He may find fertile ground for his demagogic far-right preaching if the left and centre-left forces, whether as electoral opponents or in government, position themselves as major defenders of the bankrupt institutions of the current political and economic system.
The struggle against the coup and Bolsonarism, now and in the future, has to take place by rebuilding rank and file organisation and popular and workers’ mobilisation.
It must also be given by offering to broad sectors of the masses a perspective of radical transformation of society in a direction opposite to Bolsonarism, towards the end of social inequalities, the guarantee of rights and a political system based on a real democracy, not the farce that we have today.
Bolsonarist barbarism is the result of the failure of the current political and economic system. The role of the left is not to be the greatest defender of this system against a change for the worse represented by Bolsonarism. Our role is to offer an anti-capitalist and socialist perspective as an alternative.
We in LSR will stand shoulder to shoulder with every worker and youth in the struggle against Bolsonaro and the coup that is in the making.
We will fight for the rank and file organisation of committees of struggle against the coup and for ‘Fora Bolsonaro’ (Bolsonaro Out) in every neighbourhood, school, university and workplace.
We will work for the joining of the struggles for wages, jobs, rights, against privatizations and government attacks in a great mass movement also in defence of our democratic rights and against the Bolsonaro coup.
In the first round of the elections we will defend a political alternative of class independence and socialism. We will vote with criticism and political independence for Lula in the second round to defeat Bolsonaro electorally. But always, through our candidates for PSOL and our daily struggle, we will raise the need for an anti-capitalist and socialist programme in the elections and in the struggles of the working class and oppressed peoples.
Join us to defeat the coup, overthrow Bolsonaro and rebuild a socialist alternative in Brazil.