In preparing for the general election in Brazil, the bourgeoisie has been intensifying its democratic propaganda, highlighting the duel between Lula, representing the democratic face of the left, and the current president Bolsonaro, a sort of South American Trump, a caricature of right wing populism.
The arguments presented by the political parties and the candidates in the race to win votes boil down to this: elections are the moment when the “citizens” are faced with a choice, upon which depends the evolution of society and thus their future living conditions. Thanks to democracy, each citizen has the possibility of playing a part in the great decisions of society. The vote is an instrument of political and social transformation, which will define the future of the country.
But this is not the reality, since society is divided into social classes whose interests are completely antagonistic. One of them, the bourgeoisie, exerts its rule over the whole of society thanks to its wealth and, through the state, over every democratic institution – the media, the electoral system, etc. It can always impose its order, its ideas and its propaganda on the exploited in general and the working class in particular. And the working class is the only class which, through its struggles, can challenge the hegemony of the bourgeoisie and do away with its system of exploitation.
Capitalism, the system of production which dominates the planet and every country, is sinking into an advanced state of decomposition. A century of decline has reached its last phase, threatening the survival of humanity through a spiral of insane wars, economic depression, ecological catastrophes and devastating pandemics.
All the nation states on the planet are trying to keep this dying system alive. Every government, whether democratic or dictatorial, openly pro-capitalist or falsely “socialist”, exists to defend the real interests of capital: the growth of profit at the expense of the only possible future for our species, a world community where production has only one aim – the satisfaction of human needs.
But, we are told, in Brazil this time, it’s different. To re-elect Bolsonaro – or to provide him with an advantage by not voting – end up approving all the policies he has carried out over the past four years.
It’s true that Bolsonaro, like Trump, is a declared advocate of everything that is rotten in capitalism: intensified exploitation, the “reform” of working conditions and pensions, austerity measures which have meant sweeping cuts in education, health, etc. But he is not just a classic defender of capitalism, he is a caricature of populism: his denial of the reality of Covid 19 and climate change, his encouragement of police brutality in the name of law and order, his appeals to racism and the extreme right, his repulsive personal behaviour, his homophobia and misogyny…But the fact that he is a crook and a racist has not prevented important factions of the capitalist class from supporting him, because his policies of cutting environmental and health services have served to increase their profits.
If, as is more likely, Lula is elected, it won’t be to improve the situation of the working class, but to be more effective than Bolsonaro in the defence of the national capital, which is always done to the detriment of the interests of the working class.
For the left of capital, the election of Lula is the primary task, first to get Bolsonaro out of the presidential palace, then to defend democracy. To this end Lula’s Workers’ Party has built up a grand coalition of the left, which even includes parties of the centre right.
The greatest clarity on what Bolsonaro and Lula represent is all the more necessary because Bolsonaro’s threats not to accept the verdict of the ballot box – as was the case with Trump – could lead to violent confrontations between factions of the bourgeoisie, even an attempted coup d’Etat. If that happens, it is extremely important for the future of the class struggle in Brazil that no part of the proletariat allows itself to be enlisted in the defence of either of the opposing camps. Both are enemies of the proletariat but Lula, supported by the parties of the left of capital, is more able to deceive the working class. That’s an added reason for putting no trust in him.