The expansion of representations of parties from the non-Bolsonarist right-wing camp on the 2nd of October was the new fact of the demonstrations of the Fora Bolsonaro campaign, especially in São Paulo. This time, joined by PT, PCdoB and PSOL, who have led the campaign since the beginning, PDT, PSB, Network, Solidarity and representations of Citizenship, DEM, MDB, PL, Podemos, PSD, PSDB, PSL and Novo, who supported the election of the current president.
The result of the mobilizations was protests in more than 300 municipalities, with demonstrations in all capitals, which mobilized around 700 thousand people, according to a survey by the organizers. The unity from above in the demonstrations did not represent, however, a massification of participation in the streets. It was quite expressive in the capitals and showed capillarity throughout the country, but maintained the same level as the events organized before September 7th. In other words, the bulk of the mobilization comes from the militancy of popular forces and their first layer of influence in the progressive middle sectors and student youth.
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The persistence of the contingent mobilized since May 29 contrasts with the difficulty of mobilizing new segments, even with the advance of vaccination and the containment of the pandemic, with the threats to democracy on September 7 and with the economic situation, with a high level unemployment, income freezes and rising inflation. In fact, with each demonstration the weight of participation from the profile closest to the militant grows, while the membership of people without links with political, union and popular organizations decreases.
The inability of the non-Bolsonarist right parties and their representations to mobilize their own supporters demonstrates that the reference of their voters and followers on social networks is very fragile, considering that they really entered the mobilization for the act. Another reflection of the dissolution of the Brazilian political system as a representation of segments of society. The bet on creating a civic feeling with the construction of a greater party and ideological unity also did not yield results in the streets.
The mobilization capacity of the organized forces and the potential to galvanize society with the slogan “Out Bolsonaro, impeachment now” hit the ceiling. Several analysts who make this diagnosis interpret its meaning through different perspectives. There are more cyclical reasons and others more structural.
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The big issue, in my interpretation, is that society does not believe in the capacity of this movement to achieve its objective, to remove President Bolsonaro. Skepticism is demobilizing and feeding false illusions can even deepen it. This problem has been recurrent in the last period, since the “There will be no coup”, through the struggle against reforms and the arrest of Lula.
On the other hand, the campaign against Bolsonaro failed to encompass popular agendas – whether economic, ideological or for individual freedoms – to become an “umbrella” for the emergence of new segments, even with a certain sympathy from Rede Globo. The hyper-politicized atmosphere of the events – with sound car, speeches by leaders and platoons by organizations on the ground – is not very welcoming or inviting for those who are not close to the militancy. This environment provides feedback for the work of organizations, but it is not permeable for those who simply want to express their indignation.
The challenge until the end of the year is to maintain the unity of the Fora Bolsonaro campaign, overcome the isolated acts of a sectarian minority and intensify actions against the current government. The effort to build a broader unity of parties and organizations in society against Bolsonaro and for democracy does not erase the really existing protagonism of popular forces in opposition demonstrations, which must act to keep this contingent politically cohesive and mobilized in the streets.
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It is necessary to maintain popular unrest in workplaces, neighborhoods, suburbs, churches and universities, focusing on the most popular strata, adding to the denunciation of unemployment, the fall in income, the increase in food prices, the electricity bill. , cooking gas, gasoline and rent.
In this sense, initiatives are planned around concrete agendas for the majority of the population. The rural movements make a journey on October 16 to denounce the growth of hunger and the increase in the price of food, with solidarity actions on the outskirts of cities. On November 20, Black Consciousness Day in memory of Zumbi dos Palmares, the black movement calls for mobilizations across the country against racism and for Fora Bolsonaro. Another broad mobilization of the left, center and right camps is under construction for the president’s removal to November 15, the day of the Proclamation of the Republic.
The presentation of the final report of the CPI on the Pandemic in the Federal Senate, scheduled for October 19, opens an opportunity to intensify the denunciations against Bolsonaro in the country and abroad for the crimes that sacrificed the lives of 600,000 Brazilians. The CPI has gained new momentum in recent weeks with the revelations of the “experiments” carried out by the health operator Prevent Senior in conjunction with the federal government. Bolsonaro must be charged with crimes such as “causing an epidemic” (sentence of 10 to 15 years imprisonment) and “infringement of preventive sanitary measure” (detention penalty from one month to one year), among others. It will be a time to take advantage of the report’s repercussions to agitate against the president, increasing his weariness and encouraging participation in upcoming demonstrations.
*Igor Felippe Santos is a journalist working in popular movements. Host of the Three for Four podcast. @igorfelippes on twitter.
**This is an opinion piece. The authors’ view does not necessarily express the newspaper’s editorial line Brazil in fact.
Edition: Vivian Virissimo