Editor’s note: The following is an unofficial translation of an article by revolutionary democratic Brazilian newspaper A Nova Democracia (AND).
By the A Nova Democracia Editorial Board
On May 1, while the March of Genocide* organized by the Government was taking place—yes, convened and led directly by Bolsonaro, the head of the extreme right coupists—the fascist president spoke at the opening of the 86th edition of Expozebu in Uberaba (Minas Gerais), for an audience of big landowners and other beasts. In addition to making the tacit defense of slave labor (he declared himself against expropriation for the purposes of land reform of properties where production relations analogous to slavery occur), he once again attacked the League of Poor Peasants (LCP). Bolsonaro the big-mouth said:
“Our government, too, had few invasions in the field, because then we had the perspicacity to seek to undermine the resources for the MST [ed: Movement Without Roofs—Movimento sem Teto]. We ended up with transfers from NGOs to them, so they lost a lot of strength, and stopped taking terror to the countryside. Although, I make it clear, we have a more serious focus than the harm caused by the MST in Rondônia. We have here an example of the LCP, League of Poor Peasants [at this moment, he displays the image of graffiti with the words: “Long live the Agrarian Revolution!”] That has brought terror to the countryside in that state. I met this week with the State Governor, with the Minister of Justice to outline a strategy on how to contain this terrorism in the State of Rondônia, which obviously starts in the countryside and can certainly go to the city.” (Emphasis by AND).
This is Bolsonaro’s second open attack on that popular organization in a few months. Perhaps more, it is now a clear threat: the unleashing of a major civil war in the Amazon to preserve the landowning system and all its relations of production: serfdom, slave labor, and the misery of which the victims are the peasants, the plundering of that region’s natural resources to large local and foreign corporations and the very odious backwardness to which the Nation is bound. Of course, such an infamous and despicable endeavor needs an apparent good reason: “to fight terrorism.” To what “terrorism” does the miserable person refer? From the unpunished and criminal action of real private armies of the landowners, who have been promoting slaughter and looting against peasants since when that state was colonized? Or does he refer to the organization of peasants, tired of lifelong humiliation, to conquer at all costs their right, even foreseen in this constitutional impetus, which is land for those who work on it? Who are the terrorists, after all? Let each one draw their conclusions.
As we have widely reported in AND, it is a terrible hoax, aiming to attribute to the struggling peasants a series of facts in order to justify a massacre that drowns the struggle for land in Rondônia in blood, reissuing the sinister episodes of the “Corumbiara Massacre” of 1995. The LCP is used, once again, as a target for the criminalization and intimidation of the entire Brazilian popular movement. The clumsy attempt to qualify it as a “focus” is a clear step towards framing the entire struggle for land as terrorism, with all the consequences that this would entail. To be silent in the face of statements—and actions—of this gravity, which have already resulted in the arrest, torture, murder, and persecution of various activists and workers in the region, would be an unforgivable crime for any democrat and consistent fighter, collusion with the provocations of the fascist captain and the government of the generals. (For more details, see the note of the National Commission of the League of Poor Peasants of 04/28/2021).
Bolsonaro, “the man in the glass house,” trapped, surrounded by crimes in Rio and those against humanity perpetrated during the pandemic, will bet on radicalization.
The legalization of their private militias, via the arms decrees (obtaining a license to acquire weapons remains subject to a very high income criterion by Brazilian standards, which makes it clear against whom such “flexibilization” is directed), the mobilization of its bases of military police and armed forces, and the attempt to change the correlation of forces in the High Command, through the manipulation of promotions and appointments and in the constant creation of “threats” to stir up the bases of the forces in its coup program; the rigging of the Federal Police, the trivialization of the charge of “crime against national security” against any manifestation of discontent, etc. It attempts an offensive with the attack on the struggle for land led by the LCP for its lucid and audacious call for the agrarian revolution, to generalize the criminalization of any and all popular protest and struggle, to unleash greater persecution of popular activism and militancy, to its organizations, to the “witch hunt,” and thereby divert society’s attention from the disaster and genocidal terror of its military government to the fact that more than 400,000 people were killed and justify the transition from military regime to military dictatorship. These are the true signs of the time.
The generals, for their part, who say nothing about the peasant struggle in the Amazon openly, are in the rear, conspiring; they know that the objective of Bolsonaro’s speech was to stir up the military and reactionary bases so that they enter the “spirit of war,” whose indispensable political form is the dictatorial regime. As much as Bolsonaro, the generals want, as hyenas, to unleash their troops of killers against the peasants of Rondônia, but not with a miscreant in the presidency. As far as Bolsonaro is concerned, they are convinced that they must intervene. But to do so under these conditions would have unpredictable consequences. First, if possible, get rid of Bolsonaro.
That is why, with or without Bolsonaro, we already live under the aegis of a de facto military government and a military coup that is gradually conducted and which is based on the limits and omissions (called by some authoritarian debris) of the 1988 Constitution. That is why attention to the mere replacement of the captain of the bush is foolish. It is necessary to concentrate on settling accounts with the very bureaucratic-reactionary structure of the old Brazilian State—whose most profound and secular foundation is the latifundium—under penalty of repeating the error of constitutional and class illusions, which have brought so many tragedies and betrayals to the our people.
It is by fighting against the landowning-bureaucratic system and the entire reactionary structure, without cowardly concessions that always lead to the reappearance of the evils to be eliminated, that the LCP became the public enemy No. 1 of this genocidal government. The struggle for land in the Amazon is inseparable from the protection of the forest and its peoples from the plundering of the latifundium and imperialism. There is no possible correction of directions in any respect if the anachronistic structure is preserved, that is, the brutal concentration of land resulting from the land-grabbing and confiscation of the property of the small landowners and indigenous peoples through violence and killings, unparalleled in the world. The fate of the monoculturist latifundium is to transform the vast rural regions of the country into large green deserts, even though it calls itself “agribusiness” or “sustainable.” The essence of a phenomenon does not change because its name is changed.
All those who think they can stop the heroic struggle for land in Brazil are mistaken. From wars and massacres, pervaded with heroic resistance, the cycles of peasant struggle have always returned, stronger each time. Bolsonaro’s strategy, which consists of betting on chaos to justify his self-coup, does not include the possibility for the masses to mobilize independently, in defense of their most cherished class interests. The fear that this will happen is clear when he says that this fight “can certainly go to the city.” In fact, the sacred struggle for land, even more so in the Amazon region, has the potential to mobilize the solidarity and combative action of millions around the country and around the world. In the explosive national situation, it would operate as a call for all the poor to fight: for land, for roof, for food, for vaccine, running over the false saviors of the country who only call for waiting and apathy. That is why, despite the provocations of Bolsonaro and his minion governor Marcos Rocha, Pau Mandado, the bloody action promised against the peasants has not yet taken place.
Yes, comrades. Despite the provocations, it is the enemies of the people who are terrified. Go ahead, then!
* This phrase refers to marches held by supporters of Bolsonaro on May 1, which Bolsonaro himself said were intended to replace “red with green-and-yellow“
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