This week, more precisely on June 27, the TSE received from the Ministry of Defense the indication of the ten military personnel (with middle-ranking ranks) who will monitor the 2022 electoral process as “inspecting entities”.
Reading the name of the exotic nomination, I was reminded of a public domain passage about the AI-5 signature. The story goes, the then civilian vice president of the military dictatorship in 1968, Pedro Aleixo, wanted to sign the institutional act by a general from the bowels of the regime, would have refused to do so. The general would have insisted on the argument that he would not have to worry about the hyper concentration of power enshrined in the act, since “the power would be in the hands of the generals, which he knew so well”. To which Pedro Aleixo would have replied: ‘General, what worries me are not the generals, but the guards on the corner”.
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Of all the harmful consequences of the hyper-militarization of the federal government and politics in general, this is perhaps the one with the greatest repercussion and the most dangerous result, the co-optation and mobilization of a portion of the mass of military and police associated with armed groups of supporters of the military culture, for actions to destabilize democracy and attacks on civilizing achievements and fundamental rights.
The movements carried out, simultaneously and in combination, by the general reserve officers of the Bolsonaro government’s core and the commands of the singular and joint forces of the Armed Forces, reinforce a conflictive dimension in these sectors that transforms them into a receptive field for the coup and fascist rhetoric in Brazil. .
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The initiative of the Armed Forces Command to associate itself with the central nucleus of the extreme right government to question the honesty and good technique of the electoral system and electronic voting machines is welcomed by these ‘corner guards’ as a call to physical and violent actions against Brazilian democracy. The construction of legitimacy of the coup operations is based on the ability of this large gang to move to question the decision of the polls and create situations of impasse and tension.
The failed attempt to prevent the recognition of Joe Biden’s electoral victory in the United States, through direct action on the US National Congress, is the paradigm of action that Bolsonarismo and the Bolsonarista military seem to want to build.
The basis of these coupist and neo-fascist sectors is organized around the great agendas that give them unity. Among them the possession of weapons, anti-communism, the detraction of human rights, security such as war, racism and homophobia. This bloc expands towards the neo-Pentecostal sectors with the adherence to conservative moral guidelines. Its organization takes place in shooting clubs, associations of anti-agrarian reform ruralists and in the paramilitary organizations publicly known as militias. And now, with the murders of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, we realize that organized crime in the Amazon and invasions of indigenous lands have also become “ideological” references for these groups of guards on the corner, willing to do much in defense of a mythology created around Bolsonaro.
The prospect of a coup in the country, so much debated today, needs to be understood less as an immediate possibility and more as a political will of sectors under the leadership of these Bolsonarista military. The mobilization around the questioning of the elections and the Federal Supreme Court is a clear strategy for building popular support for the coup. The chosen path is the classic use of terror as a way to obstruct or disable the defense of democracy, through embarrassment and fear of disorder. We know from the vast available historiography that the April 1964 coup was largely prepared, in years, by a combined set of actions to discredit democracy and elected governments.
It is these public salaried sectors of low-ranking military and police officers, associated with a lumpen proletariat articulated in paramilitary groups, that provide street support to the ongoing coup process. The palace-military nucleus provides the agenda and order of action. Bolsonaro’s electoral defeat is decisive, therefore, to obstruct this ongoing coup process. An unlikely victory for Bolsonaro would be almost like opening the field to a coup based on the strength and legitimacy of the federal government and the state apparatus.
It is necessary to cut the force of the coup in Brazil and this force resides in the Palácio do Planalto. It is also necessary to strengthen the democratic resistance that is organized between security workers and the police. Build a new ruling elite for the Brazilian armed forces, based on the idea of democracy, national and popular sovereignty and respect for the Federal Constitution. The dispute over democratic and humanist values must be associated with the electoral struggle to defeat Bolsonaro and the coup.
*Jorge Branco is a sociologist, master and doctoral candidate in Political Science. Executive Director of Democracy and Fundamental Rights.
**This is an opinion article. The author’s view does not necessarily express the newspaper’s editorial line Brazil de facto.
Editing: Katia Marko