Jair Bolsonaro and Moro

Brazil Gripped by Major Political Crisis in Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic

A major political crisis has broken out in Brazil. The Minister of Justice Moro resigned on April 24 after president Bolsonaro removed the head of the Federal Police (FP) Valeixo, who had been nominated by Moro. The now former minister of justice has accused Bolsonaro of wanting to appoint a new FP head from whom he could get information in relation to cases involving Bolsonaro’s sons, including the assassination of PSOL councillor Marielle Franco.

Bolsonaro and his family circle are being investigated by the police regarding a whole series of different affairs, from the fabrication of fake news to the recent demonstration demanding a military coup. The allegation is one of political interference in the work of the police.

Bolsonaro responded with a press conference of his own in which he attacked Moro and said that he didn’t want to interfere with the work of the police, but that he merely wanted a Chief of Police that he “could interact with…”

The allegations made by Moro are quite serious and even within the framework of bourgeois law they could carry consequences. There is also the detail that the dismissal of the head of police Valeixo has been published with Moro’s digital signature while he says he has never seen it.

Furthermore, Moro had played a key role in bringing Bolsonaro to power. He was the main judge in the Lava Jato corruption scandal investigation which brought Lula to jail. No one should be under any illusion that somehow Moro is more progressive than Bolsonaro or even that he has more respect for the rule of law than him. In June 2019 it was later revealed that he had been complicit in fabricating evidence and that the case against Lula had been clearly politically motivated. As a result Lula was released from jail.

Bolsonaro rode on the popularity of Moro as an anticorruption figure during his election campaign and then appointed him as Minister of Justice. However, the two men soon clashed. Moro had ambitions to become president himself (a bit like the cartoon character Iznogoud who wants to become Caliph in place of the Caliph) and thus Bolsonaro regarded him as a potential rival. He tried to get rid of him by appointing him to the Supreme Court, but that never came to fruition.

The resignation of Moro comes barely a week after Bolsonaro sacked his Health Minister Mandetta with whom he had clashed over the COVID-19 strategy.

The crisis of bourgeois democratic institutions in Brazil is deepening in the current conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession, which has hit Brazil particularly hard. There is a section of the ruling class which would like to get rid of Bolsonaro and put a safer pair of hands in charge. As they now sense Bolsonaro’s weakness they are going onto the offensive.

We said from the very beginning that far from representing the coming to power of fascism, the election of Bolsonaro reflected the crisis of all parties of the ruling class on the one hand, and the crisis of leadership of the working class on the other. Only in these conditions could a reactionary demagogue of this kind come to power.

We said that far from being a strong and able to crush the working class movement, it was a very weak government riddled with all sorts of internal contradictions and faction fights, from Moro to Guedes, from the generals to the Olavo de Carvalho gang, each faction with its own agenda and fighting all the others.

The powerful students’ movement and the general strike a year ago revealed the potential for a massive movement to bring down Bolsonaro. The comrades of the Esquerda Marxista raised the slogan of Fora Bolsonaro (Bolsonaro OUT!). Unfortunately all the left organizations refused to take it up, on the grounds that either “Bolsonaro is strong, we are in the grip of fascism, the slogan is ultraleft/premature,” or that “Bolsonaro was elected and therefore has legitimacy, he should complete his term of office,” the latter being the position of the leaders of the PT.

lula image LSE library flickr
Lula continued demanding respect for the legitimacy of Bolsonaro’s presidency after he had been released from jail. / Image: LSE Library, Flickr

Lula even maintained this position of demanding respect for the legitimacy of Bolsonaro’s presidency after he had been released from jail. In the last few hours the PT leadership has changed its tune and is now calling for “Fora Bolsonaro.” But what is the real content of this slogan for the PT? According to Veja:

The PT will convene a meeting of its executive in the next few days to evaluate the implications of the campaign “Fora, Bolsonaro!” Until then, emissaries of the party will try to build bridges with the most diverse sectors, reaching out to political parties and businessmen. Senator Jaques Wagner and ex-chancellor Celso Amorim, former defense ministers of PT governments, have been tasked with resuming talks with the military.

Instead of organizing a campaign of mass mobilizations and strikes to bring down the government, the PT leaders want a broad coalition of “all democratic politicians.” They want to appeal to “businessmen” and even the military! These are the same people who forced the PT from power and threw Lula in jail!

This is a completely bankrupt strategy which furthermore had already failed during the presidential election.

Meanwhile, the masses are expressing their opposition to Bolsonaro AND Moro by banging pots and pans. Only the entry of the masses into the scene can offer a way out of this crisis in a way which would benefit the working class and the poor. Otherwise, a reactionary demagogue will be replaced by a “democratic” bourgeois politician and nothing fundamental will change.

The comrades of the Esquerda Marxista (the IMT in Brazil) are agitating for the setting up of Fora Bolsonaro committees. Their analysis of recent events (in Portuguese) is available here.

Are you a communist?
Then apply to join your party!