The coordinator of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) and the People Without Fear Front, Guilherme Boulos (PSOL), defended that the democratic opposition should concentrate efforts to overthrow Jair Bolsonaro (no party) this year and called it “naive” to bet on a favorable outcome in the 2022 elections.
“The challenge is to build mobilization on the streets. It is also the construction of an articulation of the democratic sectors to put up a barrier against Bolsonaro. The challenge is to play the weight that we have in the process of mobilization for impeachment,” he said in an exclusive interview with Brazil in fact.
The structuring of solid democratic alliances and candidacies, however, should not be left out, in Boulos’ opinion. “But we have a second challenge, which is not to simply stay planted preparing 2022, because [a disputa eleitoral] it may not come out the way people are imagining.”
:: Fora Bolsonaro Campaign calls for events for August 18th and September 7th ::
One of the main names in the convening of the demonstrations for the “Outside, Bolsonaro”, the leader of the Frente Povo sem Fear is concerned about the coup “climate” created by the Pocketarism and by the top of the Armed Forces, which threaten to break with the constitutional order in case of unfavorable result in the ballot boxes.
“Bolsonaro is setting up a political militia, which is exactly the territorial militia he was linked to and always defended in Rio de Janeiro. It’s the shooting clubs gang, they’re the pocketmen he handed guns to and who can go out and do any kind of thing,” he pointed out.
Another error in the analysis, according to the psolist, is to deduce that Bolsonaro’s popularity will remain low until the elections. For the leadership, the post-pandemic economic recovery and the advance of vaccination may increase the approval rate of the federal government and even make possible the re-election of Bolsonaro.
:: Arrest, investigation and dismissal: politicians call for rigor against Braga Netto’s coup threat ::
“The biggest mistake that the left and the progressive camp can make at this moment is to believe in an idea that has won, is to believe that the polls that today show Lula’s expressive advantage already assume a victory in 2022”, he said.
Check the interview in full
Brasil de Fato: Electoral polls point to former president Lula’s favoritism in 2022. And, at least for the time being, president Jair Bolsonaro has seen his approval drop. In this scenario, is betting all your chips on the next elections the best way?
William Boulos: The biggest mistake that the left and the progressive camp can make at this moment is to believe in an idea that has won, is to believe that the polls that today show Lula’s expressive advantage already assume a victory in 2022.
And I say this for two reasons. First, because Bolsonaro’s situation today is the worst in his government. It has to do with the disastrous and criminal conduct of the pandemic, with the dire economic situation of the Brazilian people, reaching 15 million unemployed, with the country returning to the hunger map, with widespread discontent at the base of society. In other words, it is related to the photography of that moment.
We cannot think that we are in a situation of democratic normality. Next year’s election is not just about winning, it’s about taking.
Despite the Bolsonaro government, despite all its denial and boycott of the vaccine, the trend is that the Brazilian population will be mostly vaccinated by the end of this year, which sets another scenario for next year. Not to mention the question of the economy.
Today there is practically a consensus among economists that Brazil will grow around 5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is a growth that is not focused on the service sector, nor on intensive job creation. It is closely linked to agribusiness, which is an export sector and generates fewer jobs. Even so, you feel a sense of improvement, of coming out of rock bottom, which is where we are today. Even more so with the vaccination process, you have a resumption of activities and social interaction.
Read also: What is crime news and how it can pave the way for Bolsonaro’s removal
With all this, it is possible that next year we will have Bolsonaro stronger than he is today. Not enough to beat Lula at the polls, I think. Because the tragedy of his government is too great. He will not give up on Paulo Guedes’ neoliberal policy, which could allow a more consistent exit from the economic crisis, with ample job creation. But here comes the second factor that I wanted to bring to our reflection. We cannot think that we are in a situation of democratic normality.
Next year’s election is not just about winning, it’s about taking. Carlos Lacerda, the father of udenism in Brazil, once said about Getúlio Vargas: “We have to prevent him from running. If he runs, we have to stop him from winning. If he wins, we have to stop him from taking over. If he takes office, we have to stop him from ruling.”
This has been the spirit of Brazilian elites for a long time. And Bolsonaro’s articulation reveals a bet, doubling the record, at all times, in not accepting the electoral result if it is defeated.
This issue of the printed vote is that. By the way, I don’t think Bolsonaro doesn’t even want the printed vote to be approved. Does anyone think Bolsonaro is concerned about the transparency of democracy in Brazil? What he wants is a narrative. This narrative begins to arrive dangerously in sectors of the Armed Forces.
We saw the movement of the [ministro da Defesa, general] Braga Netto [que teria condicionado a realização das próximas eleições à aprovação no Legislativo do voto impresso, segundo reportagem do Estado de S.Paulo]. There was a report that the general [recém empossado ministro da Secretaria-Geral da Presidência da República, Luiz Eduardo] Ramos would have had the role of architect of that Bolsonaro live [na qual foi questionada a confiabilidade da urna eletrônica].
In other words, it’s a very dangerous scenario. This should lead us to understand, in the field of the left and the opposition to Bolsonaro, the tactic that is sometimes defended by leaders who say: “Look, let’s not put all our foot down now, let’s not wear down Bolsonaro. the CPI [da Covid no Senado] serves for that. Next year he arrives worn out to lose the election”.
This tactic is reckless and misguided. It doesn’t consider the situation we’re in. At the end of the day, she is naive because she believes we are in a situation of democratic normalcy that we are not. We need to focus efforts now on 2021 to prevent the tragedy from being greater and try to bring down Bolsonaro with all the elements that we have today.
Bolsonaro is increasingly showing signs that he intends to break with the constitutional order, although he does not seem to have the strength to do so. How do you face the challenge faced by the left opposition, which is to play the democratic game with an opponent in the presidency who does not respect the democratic rules of that same game?
It is true that Bolsonaro today does not have the strength to launch a coup or make an institutional break. If I had, I would have already made that break. But it is also true that sectors of the Armed Forces have been making very ambiguous gestures. It is also true that Bolsonaro has an infiltration in the state military police and that it has its own militiamen.
I defend that we seek to build, precisely because of the gravity of the moment, for the central objective of defeating the Pocketnarismo, a unity of the progressive camp.
Bolsonaro is setting up a political militia, which is exactly the territorial militia he was linked to and always defended in Rio de Janeiro. It’s the shooting club gang, they’re the pocketnaristas he’s handed guns to and who can go out and do any kind of thing. Let’s remember what happened in Bolivia in 2019. It was a militia coup that took out Evo Morales and put an illegitimate government in power. So we can’t underestimate it, even though today, in fact, it doesn’t have that strength.
I think the challenge from the left right now is twofold. We have to play the institutional game. We have to build candidacy. I am an advocate for our field to have unity, both on a national level and on state rallies. I defend that we seek to build, precisely because of the gravity of the moment, for the main objective of defeating the Pocketnarismo, a unity of the progressive camp. I think this is a separate chapter. These are the articulations, the dialogue between the parties, the programmatic debate, the search for building unity.
But we have a second challenge, which is not to simply stay planted preparing 2022, because [a disputa eleitoral] it may not come out the way people are imagining. The challenge is to build mobilization on the streets. It is also the construction of an articulation of the democratic sectors to put up a barrier against Bolsonaro. The challenge is to play the role that we have in the process of mobilization for impeachment. But of course this is not just up to us. Let’s see how the CPI will be resumed [da covid]. Let’s see if new evidence emerges.
But I think we have to be permanently vigilant, working with the people rooted in the four corners of the country to stimulate the mobilization process. There is no other way out. Betting only on a normal electoral construction, as if nothing had happened and we had a brigadier sky in the country, is a huge mistake that could cost us all down the road.
In May of this year, left-wing parties and organizations made the difficult decision to call street demonstrations in the midst of the pandemic. The population actively responded to the call and positioned itself as a decisive political actor in the situation. Will the mobilizations be able to stop Bolsonaro’s anti-democratic offensive?
First, I want to reaffirm the success of having started a cycle of mobilizations on May 29th. There were four major national events in hundreds of cities, spread throughout Brazil, with crowds especially in the big capitals. We had mobilizations like it hadn’t been for a long time in the country. This was important because it changed society’s perception.
In fact, it was decisive to guide the impeachment, which was off the political agenda despite the disaster. The demonstrations brought impeachment back to the political agenda and forced Bolsonaro to react by entrenching himself, reinforcing the alliance with the “central”, handing over the rings, putting the [senador pelo PP do Piauí] Ciro Nogueira at the Civil House.
This has a lot to do with the mobilization that we have produced in the last two months. Now, it is natural that when mobilizations are called with the intensity that we called, there is not such a vigorous growth process. We managed, which was already a feat, to maintain the level of mobilizations in this period.
And then there’s the pandemic. We have a minority of the population vaccinated so far. Many people – and it is understandable – have decided not to go out on the streets until they are vaccinated. So we have these factors that mess up the scenario a bit.
The call for September 7th is essential. Let’s remember that before there will be two mobilization dates in August. On the 11th, it was carried out by the students and on the 18th, it was carried out by the union movement, with strikes in several sectors. And on September 7, with this time, with this accumulation, we are able to produce large mobilizations throughout Brazil.
Edition: Leandro Melito