Editor’s Note: The following is an unofficial translation of the editorial “New Forces” from the Brazilian democratic newspaper, A Nova Democracia (AND). At the bottom, we have included a glossary of some acronyms that are mentioned in the editorial.
By the Editorial Board of A Nova Democracia
Although it is not yet clear what the consequences of the demonstrations of last May 29 will be, one thing is certain: they unequivocally demonstrated that Brazil is headed for gigantic political clashes in the coming months, towards which all social classes will be pushed, without exception. Unemployment, hunger, inflation, health and police genocides, the homicidal rage of Bolsonaro and his TFP1 (Flat-earthers, Fascists and Pandemics) marches stir up and will stir up the masses to fight. In the face of this real lion, the Braga Netto, Helenos and other coup generals are but paper dwarfs. The signs of revival are felt everywhere, and range from their most conscious expression, organized around the Camp Manoel Ribeiro and the League of Poor Peasants, to the growing engagement of middle and intellectualized layers against the government, and are confirmation of what the great rebellions of June 2013 so forcefully announced: the new cycle of a tumultuous rise of the mass movement, after decades of lethargy and relative disengagement with the fate of the country, fueled by the adherence of most of these sectors to the social-democratic governments of PSDB2 and PT3.
We said, in our last editorial, that Colombia serves us as an example and, at the same time, a warning. The wave of popular rebellions, which has been shaking South America since 2019, will not fail to pass through Brazil. The instability of the region, as bourgeois analysts say, rests on quite objective bases, such as the dismantling of even the modest industrial parks installed here, the deterioration of income, the impressive succession of decades lost due to the obstinate servile commitment of the local ruling classes of the big bourgeois and landowners to imperialism, mainly North American, and the illusion of so many in a national development under its heel. On a political level, this retreat of social rights coincides, in our countries, with the processes of “re-democratization,” which only proves the hypocrisy of the liberal bourgeoisie and its little brother, petty-bourgeois opportunism, incapable even of carrying out reforms (in theory) compatible with capitalism. The ultimate base of our secular tragedy, the latifundium, continues intact as the main economic pillar, perpetuating the legions of miserable people that, after generations of being plundered in servile relations and then expelled from the countryside, flood the great metropolises where they are the breeding ground for the same voracious exploitation. The bloody, genocidal action of the official and extra-official apparatuses of repression against the insurgent masses (apparatuses whose structure was set up during the military regimes, preserved and sophisticated after their end) is the only Latin American social policy to deal with dissidence and poverty. A “dialogue” in which the arguments mobilized are the threats of a coup and states of exception.
What we saw in Pernambuco, with the cowardly, cold and criminal action of the Military Police against the peaceful protest*, which resulted in two transient workers being blinded by rubber bullet shots, is a sign of the degree of violence that the next wave of demonstrations in Brazil will have to face. It turns out that the recent Chilean and Colombian cases, not to mention our own June 2013, prove that repression fuels mobilizations, and these are radicalized at the same speed as reactionary savagery beats down on them. Unlike the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois liberals, whose class nature is to vacillate and betray, betray and vacillate – as we have seen with plenty of evidence in the pusillanimous performance of “Their Excellencies” in a CPI made for electoral purposes – the popular masses do not lack combativeness and willingness to make the greatest sacrifices in defense of their interests and their dignity. If up to now this combativeness has not yet been able to find a leadership capable of extending it to its ultimate consequences, at least on a scale relevant enough to intervene in the situation as a whole, their struggles are preparing it. The capitulation of the opportunist leaders, followed by shameless betrayal and a prolonged hangover, has been the rule. We will see what happens when that potentially infinite force of mobilization converges with the conscious action of the organized ranks of the proletariat.
Fools may ask, “but where is this strength?”; or, “although the situation is indeed explosive, the revolutionaries are weak, minority, etc.” These obtuse non-believers do not realize that strength is proven and strengthened in the struggle itself, like a muscle that develops through effort, and that consciousness rises by acting under leadership endowed with a scientific understanding of reality. It is precisely such a “favorable objective situation” that allows a minority political organization – but one that is well cohesive and able to identify and focus on the critical point in each stage of the struggle – to grow and become an irresistible force, covering in weeks or months a terrain that in normal times would cost years and decades to cover. Those metaphysicians, slaves to routine, were addressed by Marx, when he said that “each step of real movement is more effective than a dozen programs”. This has nothing to do with renouncing vanguard theory. It is precisely the rightness of this theory and the commitment to it that obliges everyone to act, with the utmost decision and farsightedness.
The magnitude and depth of the general crisis of the decomposition of imperialism and the resulting explosiveness of the masses on a world scale intuit that universal history has entered a new epoch of revolutions. The national situation, as part of this formidable crisis, points out in the already stormy times we are living through that great struggles lie ahead. The price of liberation will be expensive; it can only result from painful and prolonged labor. But the reaction will pay more dearly with its ruin: the dark and unfathomable tomb. The condition for this is to put an end to conciliation, to negotiated solutions, to reformist illusions of failure so often repeated, to compromise with the old, to timidity, to paralysis, to hesitation.
Abandon the electoral illusions and get ready for the fight!
*Tribune reached out to the editors at AND for clarification on their use of the phrase “peaceful protest.” The comrades at AND shared: “Our aim in using such a term, far from reinforcing the idea that “peaceful protest” leads to victory, is to demonstrate how the reaction, despite this, represses you in the same way as if it had been a violent protest.”
Glossary of Acronyms
1. TFP – Tradição, Família, Propiedade (Tradicion, Family, Property in English) is a right-wing Catholic movement backed by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. In the original Portuguese of the editorial, the parenthetical remark reads (Terraplanistas, Fascistas e Pandêmicos), a play on the letters of TFP’s acronym.
2. PSDB – Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (Brazilian Social Democracy Party), one of the main opportunist political parties in Brazil.
3. PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party). The opportunist PT held the presidency from 2002 until 2016, first under Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, then Dilma Rousseff.
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