The red flower resists: There is still hope for Brazil

The left wing is still processing the electoral outcome of last October 2 in the middle of the race for victory in the second round. Although the chances of a victory of the democratic field in the first round were slim, watching Bolsonarism come strong, especially in the Senate, has left a bitter taste in our mouths. The election of figures like the vice-president general Mourão, and his former ministers – former judge Sérgio Moro, conservative Damares Alves, anti-vaccine doctor Eduardo Pazuello, agribusiness defender Tereza Cristina and astronaut Marcos Pontes, all for the Senate, as well as anti-environmentalist Ricardo Salles for the Chamber of Deputies – after the failure of the public administration and countless scandals involving his term – showed the evil effects of misinformation.

Among the 51 million voters who pressed 22, we can find an expressive fascist segment. Acknowledging that many Brazilians somehow relate to those ideas is scary. It is worth highlighting that an expressive number of those voters, according to what the difference between the election outcomes and the polls indicates, have migrated their votes from the right wing of Ciro Gomes and Simone Tebet to the extreme right of Bolsonaro. That represents a loss of space of the traditional right wing in the congress and in the states, expressed in the historic failure of PSDB in these elections, markedly in the electoral outcomes of São Paulo.

In these elections, the public machine was intensely operated to favour Bolsonaro and his allies. Along the campaign, there were several denounces of undue use, even increasing the programme AuxílioBrasil (Brazil Aid) and subsidies to fuels right before the elections. Likewise, the secret budget has become a weapon for re-election of MPs. Reactivation of public works, strengthening of health attention, barbecues, donation of petrol, countless secret practices which in practice reinforce coronelistic and intimidating policies during voting.

The field of environmental justice has also lost with the election of Ricardo Salles and Tereza Cristina, and with PL and their anti-human rights agenda in defence of bulls, bullets and the bible becoming the most numerous bench in the National Congress.  Many agendas of environmental dysregulation which advance in the Chamber of Deputies, under the direction of Arthur Lira, were being stopped at the Senate. It remains to be known how much Salles and Cristina will be able to articulate both houses without the power of the ministers, especially after the electoral outcome of the second round.

It is certain that there is an electoral strategy of Bolsonarismto gain strength in the Senate. That house is strategic for future clashes against the Federal Supreme Court (STF), whether for keeping an unlikely continuity of Bolsonaro’s authoritarianism or even in his expected loss, to press the Court about the corruption scandals which are bound to come. Figures like general Mourão, present vice-president, elected Senator by the state of Rio Grande do Sul defeating Olívio Dutra (PT/RS) will be decisive actors in that strategy.

The challenge of the environmental resistance front seems to be directed to the Federal Chamber, with the election of some historical figures in that agenda like Marina Silva, who as a minister in the Lula administration led a strong campaign against the deforestation of the Amazon, and above all, with the growth of the “war bonnet” bench after the election of Sonia Guajajara and CéliaXakriabá, as in the last term the only indigenous leader in the house was JoêniaWapichana. Along with other MPs in the progressive field, they presented an environmental agenda in their campaigns aiming to stop possible throwbacks which might come from the Senate.

Although the scenario is complex and full of sorrows, there were some historic victories in the composition of the houses which must be celebrated. PT has increased to 68 members, becoming the second largest bench; PSOL will take 14 chairs (greatest number in their history), composing 138 chairs for the left wing. Besides the indigenous leaders who call the attention, it will be the first time that the trans community will have representatives in the house, with the election of Erika Hilton (SP) and DudaSalabert (MG).

We can also celebrate the victory of popular power with the historical voting of Guilherme Boulos: 1 million votes in São Paulo, taking the post of the most voted deputy in one of the biggest electoral areas in the country, state in which Bolsonarism was victorious. That voting was fundamental to defeat other extreme right wing figures who did not get elected like JanaínaPaschoal, one of the authors of former president Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment request.

Tough second round

Twelve Brazilian states will still face the challenges of second round for governor. In at least 4 of them there are some good chances for progressist governments. Out of the 15 already elected, 6 governors have declared support for Lula, and 8 for Bolsonaro. Some surprises have also appeared in the election of governors like the voting of Marcelo Freixo (PSB/RJ) and Fernando Haddad (PT/SP), which was below the expectations, Edegar Preto (PT/RS) almost making it to the second round, and Décio Lima (PT/SC) making it.

In a more detailed analysis of the votes, considering the positions in the towns, it is possible to notice the left wing’s higher capacity of penetration in relation to the 2018 elections. That might justify the 6 million votes Lula had over Bolsonaro, although the final result in some states has given victory to the PL candidate (RS, SP, RJ, ES, DF, GO, MS, PR, SC, MT, AC, RO and RR). If we compare this to the map of hunger, we will find a great similarity, which makes it evident that class issues or class identity issues are laid bare in these elections.

The alliances formed along last week point to the support of all other presidential candidates to Lula, including some sectors which are traditional in the neoliberal economy. A wide alliance in defence of democracy and against fascism has been built. It remains to be known if it will succeed next October 30.

The day after the elections, a cultural-ideological battle started being fought on social networks. The speed at which fake news are spread is record high, inciting racism, political violence, fear and discord in the communities, especially in rural areas. Having elected their MPs, the Bolsonarist machine enters the pitch at full strength, feeding anti-PT feelings and the old system of votes controlled by the rich farmers. On the other hand, the left wing gets organised in popular committees and marches in the city streets, talking to the masses, demanding free fare in public transport so that mobility and security be guaranteed as rights of each voter, and working so that October 30 may be a day of peace and celebration of democracy.

Our struggle is against hate and intolerance. Our march is to be able to dream again. May our social strength and the legitimacy of our flags build a wide tactic front for democracy never seen in the electoral history of this country. We have structural conditions to increase that difference of 6 million votes and start defeating Bolsonarism and its nefarious legacy in Brazil. A red flower blossoms in the shadows with strong and deep roots, announcing that there is still hope.

* Article published in the newspaper Brasil de Fato originally in

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