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Brazil: Elections in the hybrid war

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In order to block the aspiration of the majority of Brazilians to reelect Lula as President of Brazil again, the right has chosen to destroy the country. The consequences do not matter to them. In order to remove the PT (Workers’ Party) from government and resume the neoliberal model that has already failed, they had previously supported Michel Temer, even though they knew he was the head of a corrupt band. The consequences matter little to them: the profound and prolonged recession, the 27 million people who are either unemployed or have given up seeking employment.


It doesn’t matter that the productive structure of the country is destroyed, that Atlantic petroleum is auctioned off to foreign companies at despicable prices; it doesn’t matter that the State has abandoned the mass of people who had benefitted from social programs. It is a rightwing, linked to big business, that has no commitment to the country. They deny what some sectors of the left have said: that big business was happy with the governments of the PT. Completely on the contrary: they do everything, legal and illegal, to prevent the return of that government.


No matter that they now have to embrace an army captain who was expelled and degraded for bad behaviour, who yearns for a return to military dictatorship, who proposes torture, offends women, blacks, the LGBT, all those exploited and excluded. They have had to accept this option, because of the strength of the PT and Lula, who had rebuilt the left, with ample democratic and popular support, incorporating the broadest sectors of the population.


To confront this alternative, the hybrid war came into action. A monstrous factory of fake news, multiplied by robots into millions of copies, flooding the accounts of millions of people, spread by the evangelical churches, has reversed an advantage based on mobilization and popular conscience. The director of the Folha de São Paulo survey institute has affirmed that these mechanisms have profoundly falsified the results of the first round of elections. Only thus was this reversal possible, one that has criminalized the immense #EleNão (Not Him) movement of women that had taken to the streets all over the country; one that has propagated stupid lies against Fernando Haddad and against the forces of the left.


These diabolical methods have put the left on the defensive, having to deny the lies fabricated daily – such as photos of baby bottles in the form of masculine sexual organs that Haddad had supposedly distributed to schools when he was minister of education, in order to give an idea of what is diffused through these robots –lies which have marginalized the agenda of alternatives for the country. This is how an electoral campaign is built in the hybrid war.


After grasping the mechanisms that the extreme right had put into practice, the left readapted its forms of action and its discourse, but Bolsanaro had already captured the centre of the electoral scene, including his daily threats, that the opposition would be imprisoned or have to leave the country, among others, to hide his government’s economic plan of continuity of the neoliberalism of Temer.


The counteroffensive of the left, with Haddad travelling all over Brazil a second time, had to overcome a great gap in the opinion polls and the anticipated climate of victory that the extreme right had begun to proclaim. None of these mechanisms have wiped out the will of the majority of Brazilians that Lula should be the next president of Brazil, as is reaffirmed in surveys in which the name of the ex-president is mentioned as an alternative. But running against time, the left is managing to decrease the difference, even as the declarations of the extreme right candidate, together with his sons, his vice presidential candidate, his economic advisor, frighten ever wider sectors, even the media, expressly mentioned by Bolsonaro as the targets of severe attacks.


We are approaching the outcome of the deepest and most prolonged crisis in Brazilian history, which will continue under another form, either a repressive, or a democratic one. In any event, the class struggle has never taken on such an open, harsh and violent form as in this electoral campaign in Brazil. The organized sectors of the people, who continue seeing Lula as their unquestioned leader, are undertaking a very difficult battle against the gigantic forces that the extreme right has mobilized, that count on big business and its immense economic power, with mechanisms devised by Trump’s marketing man, by the fictitious mechanisms that they have put into play, with the evangelical churches and the level of lack of consciousness among the popular sectors, but above all of middle sectors.


The candidacy of Haddad has the support of all the organized popular movements, with all the intellectuals and artists, with numerous jurists – with the participation of Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Sonia Braga, among so many others –, with all the important personalities of Brazil, a democratic force that will be the protagonist of the future of the country. Moments of decision for Brazil, with consequences for the whole continent.



(Translated for ALAI by Jordan and Joan Remple Bishop)


- Emir Sader, Brazilian sociologist and political scientist, is coordinator of the Laboratorio de Políticas Públicas at the Universidad Estadual de Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).



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