The working class organizations must respond with a general strike against the fascists and the oligarchy!

On January 8, thousands of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the headquarters of Parliament, the Federal Court of Justice and the Presidential Planalto Palace in Brasilia. In what seemed to be a copycat from the coup organized by Donald Trump and his followers in the US, tens of thousands demanded the army to seize power and overthrow Lula, who had been elected president of Brazil in the elections of October 30.

The first news reported more than 260 arrested and, although the capitalist media, followed by Lula's own government, insists that the situation is already under full control,presenting these events as "the last blows of Bolsonarism", the reality is very different.

A coup without the support of the ruling class?

Bolsonaro's coup strategy does not reflect his supposed madness or despair. Much less his isolation. If something is clear with this coup attempt, it is that he has the support of decisive sectors of financial and industrial power and the state apparatus, starting with army and police officers. In addition, he has the support of the so-called militias, paramilitary groups linked to drug trafficking, police mafias and landowners, whose core is composed of tens of thousands of mobilized and armed fascists.

Bolsonaro's coup strategy has the support of decisive sectors of financial and industrial power and the state apparatus, starting with army and police officers

The Bolsonarista governor of the Federal District (Brasilia), Ibaneis Rocha, and his police chief, Anderson Torres, Bolsonaro's former minister, have been accused as one of the main collaborators in the coup. But these are only the tip of the iceberg. It is impossible to maintain fascist camps for months in front of army barracks and public buildings demanding a coup, or to mobilize hundreds of buses throughout the national territory to Brasilia to execute it, without the financial and political support of businessmen, bankers, landowners and the complicity of numerous regional governors and the commanders of the army and the police. Journalists and eyewitnesses have released images of police taking selfies with the rioters, and commanders ordering the police and army to let them act as they pleased. To all this we must add that senior officials of the Government itself only had 200 troops stationed to protect the Presidential Palace before a demonstration called weeks ago, and in which the threat of a violent coup was very real.

If this coup attempt did not prevail, it is not because a majority sector of the ruling class is committed to democracy, as the leaders of the PT are saying and many leaders from PSOL and the trade unions also take for granted. An argument of pitiful naivety that denies reality.

The pacts with the right and the actions of the Lula’s Government before the coup

The entire ruling class agrees on the same objective: to place the weight of the crisis suffered by world and Brazilian capitalism on the masses, to continue attacking social and democratic rights and to crush workers' and popular mobilization. Their differences are the pace and tactics to do so.

One sector has been decisively involved in this first coup offensive, another kept waiting to see how it would develop. Even the sections of the ruling class that, at least for the moment, are betting on using Lula and the PT to stop, wear down and demoralize the masses, have let the coup plotters go ahead and are using the threat of new attempts to demand that Lula further moderate his program.

One of the consequences of Lula’s and the PT strategy of doing pacts with the right in order to "confront" Bolsonaro and "defend" democracy, has been to include direct representatives of the bourgeoisie in his government. A particularly scandalous case is that of Defense Minister José Mucio. Known for his links with the most reactionary sectors of the army, Mucio has declared himself a friend of Bolsonaro, with whom he shared a party for several years, and defined fascist camps as "acts that are part of democracy" recognizing that some of his "friends and family" participate in these camps. As it could not be otherwise, Lula's commission of Mucio to dismantle the camps has been ignored and the fascists have moved freely to prepare their assault.

The sectors of the ruling class that, at least for the moment, are betting on using Lula and the PT to stop the masses, have let the coup plotters go ahead and are using the threat of new attempts to demand that Lula further moderate his program

But Mucio is not alone. Vice President Alckmin and Minister Simone Tebet, a right-wing candidate in the first round, are prominent representatives of the bourgeoisie who defend neoliberal and reactionary policies. Other ministers have already made it clear that in order to soothe the spirits the best thing is to renounce demands such as the full right to abortion and other democratic and social demands that may annoy the fascists.

As all historical experience demonstrates, and the recent events in Peru confirm, these renunciations and concessions, far from calming the ruling class and reaction, have the opposite effect: to demobilize and demoralize the masses by facilitating coup plans.

The imperialists against the coup?

Another argument that the capitalist media, the leaders of the PT and other sectors of the reformist left repeat is the supposed absence of "external support" for the coup and the unanimous condemnation of the international community. The statements of Joe Biden and different spokesmen of the US Government rejecting "any attack on Brazilian democracy" are pointed out as incontestable evidence.

There is no worse blind man than the one who doesn't want to see. As we have explained, in Peru US imperialism — fearing that a premature coup would provoke a revolutionary outburst and a fiasco like those in Bolivia and Venezuela — recognized Castillo for a year and a half, proclaiming their respect for Peruvian democracy (as they do today with Brazil) while demanding the renunciation of any leftist measures. As soon as it could, Washington dusted off the old coup playbook to overthrow the legitimate president elected at the polls.

China is the first importer and exporter to Brazil, with the distance between itself, the US and the EU widening year after year . It is a fact that, contrary to the US delegation, led by a secondary figure with little prominence, China sent Vice President Wang Quixan to Lula's inauguration with a personal letter from Xi Jinping inviting him to visit China and further strengthen the relationship between the two countries and the BRICS alliance.

Lula spoke in favour of expanding relations with China while insisting on a "balanced and pragmatic relationship" with this imperialism and its US rival to try to improve the situation of Brazilian capitalism. He also emphasized strengthening CELAC, created in 2010 by his government along with other Latin Americans as an attempt to move towards greater Latin American integration outside the OAS, controlled by the United States. This is light years away from an anti-imperialist policy but is viewed with distrust in Washington, which in a context of an unbridled struggle for world hegemony is forced to adopt increasingly aggressive policies against China.

For the time being, faced with the effects that an openly fascist coup would cause throughout the continent in a key country like Brazil, Biden and the US bourgeoisie prefer to apply pressure.

The coup threat will be used not only by the Brazilian bourgeoisie, but also by the White House, to demand that Lula turn even further to the right, not only in social policies but in every field.

Mobilizing the working class with a socialist program

The insistence of the PT leaders that they have everything under control, renouncing the mobilization, is a road to disaster. It can only facilitate new coup attempts, and sooner rather than later the victory of reaction. To defeat Bolsonaro and his allies, we must respond with the utmost forcefulness: organizing the general strike and mass mobilizations against the coup, which must be promoted by action committees and workers' and popular assemblies in every neighborhood, workplace and places of study. This is the task facing the combative and working-class left in the trade unions and social movements. To speak of the "strength" of Brazilian democracy is a major mistake: what must be done is to demand exemplary punishment for all those responsible for the coup (starting with Bolsonaro himself and the governors, police chiefs, capitalists and landowners who support him) and this can only be imposed through the boldest and most determined class struggle.

To defeat the reaction, it is necessary to respond by organizing the general strike and mass mobilizations driven by action committees and workers' and people's assemblies. This plan must be linked to the defense of a socialist program

This plan must be linked to the defense of a socialist program that unifies all the demands of the masses, brings together the activists of the labor and peasant movement, the landless, the black population, the original peoples, and immigrant workers, the organizations that fight for decent housing, the feminist and LGTBI movement, ... explaining that it is perfectly possible to satisfy all these demands already today on a single condition: the expropriation of the capitalists, landlords and multinationals, nationalizing the banks, big business and land under the democratic control of the working class.

With this program, the Brazilian proletariat would deploy all its strength, uniting and mobilizing all the oppressed to sweep away fascism; it would attract sectors of the middle layers impoverished by capitalism who, disappointed with the PT governments, fell into demoralization. According to recent polls, 49% voted for Bolsonaro but only 20% declare themselves Bolsonaristas and support his authoritarian and reactionary program.

A genuinely revolutionary policy would attract these sectors like a magnet. Of course, this program must include the organization of workers' self-defense, and an appeal to the army base to organize soldiers' committees against fascism.

The coup on January 8 is a new warning of what is at stake. The first battle of a fight that will continue to rage in the next period.