Sunday, January 10, 2021

Brazil's double pandemic: Bolsonaro and Coronavirus

In Brazil we have been experiencing two simultaneous crises: a deep, political crisis that is worsening at every moment, as shown in Bolsonaro’s recent speech at the United Nations Organization, in which he stated that Brazil has been taking adequate care of the environment, on the very moment that there are fires all over the Amazon and the Pantanal regions, a speech that has brought about criticism all over the world.

These fires are being set, in most cases, by landowners interested in having more land to to produce agricultural commodities for export. The fires have been consuming a large part of the Amazon and Pantanal biomass without the corresponding and necessary government actions to fight it, have summed up to many other dissatisfaction reasons that have contributed to put the Bolsonaro government on the threshold of impeachment.

Brazil has also been undergoing a very serious health crisis, generated by the arrival of Covid-19 in the country, in the beginning of March. The two crises have been intertwining. Bolsonaro and his sons have been accused of corruption and involvement with criminal groups. The attitudes and actions of the Bolsonaro government, as the recent measures taken by the National Environmental Council that eliminates restrictions on the incineration of toxic waste and measures for the protection of mangroves, sand bars and other natural systems in favor of private investment, as well as the decline in the economy, the evasion of foreign capitals and the high unemployment and poverty rates have caused serious criticism and reactions from different countries and much dissatisfaction within the Brazilian population. The Bolsonaro government, although trying to change its image and to compose political alliances with “physiological” center, center-right and rightist parties in Congress, keeps on promoting attacks on democratic rights and freedoms, on Science, on Public Education and on workers’ rights to benefit the interest of big private companies and banks. The government also keeps on promoting ultraconservative attitudes against civil rights, which, in many cases, are carried out by of Bolsonaro’s supporters, which act on the streets and in social networks.

On the international political sphere, Bolsonaro keeps on following the standard of absolute submission to the USA interests, as proven by the recent visit of Secretary Mike Pompeo to the Brazilian border with Venezuela, a clear provocation against the Venezuelan sovereignty. Brazil is the second country in the world in number of deaths from the pandemic, with more than 142 15 thousand victims and more than 4.4 million people contaminated. The Brazilian government has been behaving like a “messenger of death”, by disregarding the WHO recommendations, by boycotting social distance and by promoting demonstrations and encouraging and demonstrations by supporters, the “demonstrations of death” - in which there are agglomerations of people and most of those present simply do not wear the recommended masks. The government keeps on attacking Science and the use of vaccines and on boycotting appropriate, necessary initiatives to combat the pandemic, such as social isolation.

These attitudes are consistent with a part of the social basis that got to elect him, the most backward sectors o four society, such as the extreme right and the wildest sector of the Brazilian bourgeoisie. These actions and attitudes have been generating a growing sense of opposition in different layers of the population and even in sectors of the Brazilian bourgeoisie, which sum up, now, to something around 70% of rejection on Bolsonaro.

Faced with this pandemic and political situation, the Brazilian Communist Party decided to remain in full operation, in all its structure, maintaining regular internal meetings, interactions with other parties and political forces - nationally and internationally - and with the different social movements in which the party participates. The PCB, therefore, has combined two fronts of struggle:

The first front is the more general political struggle, in which the party participates in most social and political initiatives against the government and its scorched earth policy against the workers, the youth and the poor people of the peripheries, both in social networks and in street demonstrations and workers’ strikes. These actions include joint actions with parties and social movements of different political hues for the denunciation of the Bolsonaro government and of “Bolsonarism”, which include the filing of an impeachment request against the president registered in Congress, and actions of mobilization and organization of workers , in defense of their rights, from a class perspective.

PCB has also been campaigning to denounce capitalism and liberalism and to promote Socialism. International interchange of information on the pandemic and the political situation within the Communist Movement and other international forums has also been done, as well as political joint actions and declarations.

The second front is composed of direct solidarity actions, through the Communist Youth Union and the Party’s militancy, with all care in relation to those who belong to risk groups, in neighborhoods, peripheries and slums, in the distribution of food and personal protection equipment against the disease. Some financial campaigns for solidarity actions have also been performed. As the Party has an expressive number of militants who are professionals and students in the area of Health, with a strong presence in unions and social and popular movements in the area, such as the Union of Medicine Doctors of São Paulo, the National Movement of Medical Students and in the National Movement against the Privatization of Health. PCB has organized health brigades to clarify the population about the risks of the pandemic and carried out other similar actions. Many of the Party’s health activists, such as nurses, doctors and therapists are on the front lines, in hospitals and other health facilities, treating patients and the general population.

The Party combines solidarity actions with political actions, by encouraging the self-organization of workers in neighborhoods, in their workplaces, in schools and universities. The PCB presented to society, at the beginning of the pandemic, an emergency program, demanding the guarantee of financial support to workers, to enable social isolation, and full health services to the population. The Party has also denounced many cases of corruption involving State governments’ authorities of the health sector who have been accused of deviating public financial resources which were to be applied in the combat to Covid-19 for their private interests. This is the case of Rio de Janeiro governor, who is now under a process of impeachment. We’re at this moment participating in the electoral process for mayors and councilors already underway - the elections will be on November 15, 2020 - in alliances with parties from the socialist and progressive fields or with our own slates, in opposition to the right and ultra-right parties. The program that PCB has presented is of an anti-capitalistic nature, and it dialogues with workers by presenting concrete struggle proposals in favor of their immediate and structural demands.

For the post-pandemic period, we will continue to fight against the threat of fascism and against Bolsonaro, in defence of democratic freedoms, for public and universal health and full social security, for the right to a minimum income program for all workers, as well as for a comprehensive public housing program, an emergency employment program and a universal employment program considering employment as a basic right, a comprehensive agrarian reform and other demands, organizing the population in the construction of Popular Power, towards Socialism. 

#Special_Edition of the International Bulletin,