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Note on the current state of class struggle in #Brazil

Statement about the current situation in Brazil by Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB).

Originally published by Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB). Translated by Anarkismo.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

The current Brazilian political scenario demands a lot of lucidity and coolness from all the people’s fighters and their analysis of reality. We, the Brazilian Anarchist Coordination, modestly seek to make our contribution to the understanding of the convulsive political-social scenario, the main line of which is in the legal-parliamentary coup that toppled Dilma Rousseff from government. We have recently experienced the so-called exhaustion of the New Republic pact of 1988. Said pact maintained the social exclusion of those at the bottom of society, while guaranteeing minimal legal rights, in a coalition involving bourgeois politicians, businessmen, the military and part of the reformist sectors of the left.

The construction of the Brazilian state, however, has always been closer to the interests of the imperialist powers of the day than to the majority of the population. A penal state for the poor has always been the norm for the institutions of bourgeois democracy. The PT governments, since Lula, have increased the criminal machinery of public order with a whole legislative-judicial apparatus that reproduced the super-incarceration of blacks and the poor and the repressive apparatus that attacks social struggles. The pact of class conciliation was broken and collaborationism ripped open to give way to the aggressive agenda of financial capitalism over social rights, partial freedoms and public goods – which were historic victories of the popular movement.

The empire shows its claws

We can not understand this movement that is happening in our country outside the geopolitical reality of our Latin American continent. We need to calibrate our analytical tools and better locate Brazil as a peripheral nation within the world-system to understand what is at stake. This nation that continues to maintain its (primary) agro-exporting vocation and, in the last ten years, has aligned itself with the construction of IIRSA – the South American Regional Infrastructure Integration Initiative (now COSIPLAN). This plan sought to maximise the exploitation of our natural resources, accelerate the process of supplying international markets with these resources and benefit transnational companies.

This plan has meant a new offensive in line with free trade agreements established between the United States and some countries in the region in an attempt to expand the neoliberal model in South America, even during the wave of progressive and centre-left governments.

The economic crisis of 2008 caused great difficulties for the United States in maintaining the international agenda, which after the fall of the Twin Towers had as its main objective the guarantee of its global hegemony, which is very evident in the various aggressive interventions driven by the empire. There is a clear reading on the part of imperialism that “where Brazil goes, Latin America goes with”. And in this sense, as our Latin American continent is seen as a strategic reserve for the USA (of natural, energy and political resources), the unfolding of the Brazilian political scene is of great importance to Washington.

The 2016 coup not only dismantled the small gains of the previous period but also deepened financial and international control of the national economy in the form of the purchase of “assets”. Austerity that imposes itself on the scene with toga blows, with Lava Jato aligned with imperialism through the strategy of lawfare. Control of the infrastructure, renewable energies, services, health and education sectors by US and Chinese companies is also increasing. As far as oil is concerned, 13 multinationals have already appropriated 75% of the pre-salt layer, led by Shell and BP, whose last auction rounds took place in October of this year. From the political point of view, the actions of imperialism consist of disorganising any possibility of the Brazilian scenario – even under a reformist center-left government – representing any threat to its interests at the continental level. It is important to be clear that the course of the electoral dispute in Brazil will have clear developments regarding the crisis of the Venezuelan regime. At the end of this process, the contribution to the political destabilisation of the country, or even the possibility of military intervention, could be effective.

The new National Security Doctrine: the military does politics and makes threats

It should be noted that a few years ago, even in the PT government, a new National Security Doctrine (DNS) was inaugurated with General Etchegoyen in the Brazilian armed forces. A doctrine that sees groups linked to drug trafficking, human rights or environmental NGOs, government agencies of an “ideological” nature and social movements linked to a vision of the left as new internal enemies. One of the elements of this doctrine is the hollowing out of the role of universities and of research, the hardening of the penal code, the continuation and expansion of super-imprisonment and the adoption of counter-espionage measures. The doctrine uses controls of social media, the spreading of rumours, disqualification of accusers and the use of fake documents. The promotion of strikes, blocking of roads, occupation of land and buildings and the struggle for social rights for political minorities are now characterised as “terrorist actions”.

It was this new doctrine that was responsible for the lobby for approval of the anti-terrorism law passed by Dilma. Its purpose is to create a new pact, a “new democracy” where the military plays an active role in the new geopolitics of the continent and in national politics.

To sum up. The “liberal democratic state” mounted on the exception for the “dangerous classes” is in the process of being reconfigured as a power game of the ruling classes (in some places, narco-state), and causes the reasons of state and its relations with the interests of imperialism to emerge from within itself. The forces of reaction operate in the context as a police state. Austerity policies that cut so deep into the people’s flesh and cause the ambitions of the capitalist class and its lackeys to explode, sooner or later, calls for security in its favour and extends the space of exception to redefine the norm of the system.

The center-left bets all its chips on the polls

The Brazilian left and center-left bet their luck at the polls as if they expect bourgeois democracy to come to their rescue, protect their rights, limit the garrotte and defeat imperialism. While the system steadies its aim and dresses itself in a toga or a uniform to exert power, always with support from the US government. The opposition movements on the left that emerged after the legal-parliamentary coup and that took the streets unfortunately enter into this pragmatic logic, of reasons of state and government, where the enemy on the extreme right would supposedly be defeated by the ballot box and the vote.

The center-left strives to channel these efforts into electoral accumulation, expending all its energy on the institutional dispute and the rotten game of electoral parties, to the detriment of the class struggle. The Brazilian political scene is marred by the fraud of a representation that for bourgeois liberals has always been a mechanism that legitimises the usurpation of collective forces and common goods by the powerful will of minorities. But we know that the system twists the constitution and melts away the rule of law when it comes to defending the interests of its ruling classes.

We must strive to build a long-term project that points towards the unions, the popular organisations as the most correct alternative for the people to defend their rights and participate in political life, deepening direct democracy, repudiating class conciliation and combatting proto-fascism without respite.

Proto-fascism as a super-dosage of the programme of the powerful

This configuration of political power is also aided by propaganda tactics and direct action by reactionary sectors and ideologically affiliated groups on the far right, which are generally backed by legal-police apparatuses. A factor that has an impact on the streets and that everything suggests is going to grow, opening a space for their agents to push the national political scene and to align themselves with what is happening at a continental level.

That is not all. It is also attuned to the economic frustration, the failure of political solutions by representation and the destabilisation of values associated with positions of power in the family, culture and education. A conservative subjective production that has a vector of capillarisation in the evangelicals and its popular base. This new right transited from the PT discourse to the radicalism of the anti-political and “anti-system” discourse, configuring itself as a right that speaks not only to the elites, but also to the popular and peripheral sectors. They act in the social vacuum left by the centre-left, which stands only in the defence of bourgeois democracy.

The despicable figure of Bolsonaro is inserted in this attempt to deepen patriarchal violence against women, LGBTs, indigenous people, blacks and quilombolas [1] and the destruction of social rights. Violence that materialised in several attacks carried out by his supporters around Brazil, among them that which resulted in the brutal murder of Mestre Moa do Katendê in Salvador. Far from minimising the barbarism that Bolsonaro represents, it is necessary to insert it within a functional logic of the application of austerity policies, of imperialist recolonisation of the country at a faster rate than would be under a center-left government.

The polls will not defeat imperialism, austerity and proto-fascism

The result of the elections, therefore, does not resolve the complex context posed by the negative correlation of forces for the working class. All scenarios are of deepening class struggle and oppression. The “useful vote” against the Bolsonaro slate will at most cause an extension, leading to a very complicated “third round” that will not be decided at the polls. The struggle is a long-term one for the construction of a mass class alternative that does not surrender itself to reasons of state, to governability and to agreements subordinated to the empire. But that constitutes itself as a social force capable of defeating the bourgeoisie, imperialism and its attacks. Our class banners need to be raised upward in this moment of proto-fascist and ultraliberal attack. We can not succumb to the demobilising panic and fear provoked by the reactionary elites. Our role is to actively resist, reinforcing class solidarity, to ensure struggle on the streets and the permanent mobilisation of those at the bottom of society!

We therefore advocate:

• Unity for anti-fascism beyond the polls, at the grassroots and on the streets. The struggle will define what is to come. Unity will be in actions, mobilisations against neoliberal attacks and the barbarism promoted by Bolsonaro and his coreligionists.

• Struggle for the defence of social rights. Fight against privatisations and attacks on the downtrodden. Fight against attacks on education, pension reform, fight against the rising cost of living, the criminalisation of social movements and the process of genocide of black, peripheral and indigenous people.

• Building of a general strike against the advance of fascism and attacks on workers’ rights, which is the agenda of imperialism in the next period, of the business and political elites independent of the elections.

A strong people to stop fascism!

Struggle and organisation against neoliberal barbarism!

– Brazilian Anarchist Coordination – Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB), October 15, 2018.


1. A quilombola is a resident of a quilombo in Brazil. They are the descendants of Afro-Brazilian slaves who escaped from slave plantationsthat existed in Brazil until abolition in 1888. []

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1 thought on “Note on the current state of class struggle in #Brazil

  1. […] We also recommend the statement by Brazilian CAB anarchists “The Claws of Empire, the Rise of Fascism: Brazilian Anarchist Statement on Bolsonaro.” […]

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