Brazil: Against far-right violence and Bolsonaro’s coup threats

It is necessary to organize the self-defense of the working class in the face of Bolsonaro’s armed attacks on activists and his threat of a self-coup

By: Socialist Workers Party – Brazil (PSTU-B)

On Saturday night, 9th, Marcelo de Arruda, leader of the Workers’ Party (PT) in Foz do Iguaçu (PR), was shot to death by a pro-Bolsonaro militant. Marcelo, former vice-mayoral candidate for the party in 2020, was celebrating his 50th birthday when the criminal police officer, José da Rocha Guaranho, crashed the party, shooting at those present, shouting “here is Bolsonaro” and that he would “kill all PT-ists”.

Marcelo, a municipal guard, returned fire and, in an act of self-defense, even shot the aggressor. At the time of writing this note, the Bolsonaro policeman was hospitalized. Unfortunately, Marcelo de Arruda could not resist the three shots that hit him and ended up dying.

Contrary to what some of the press reported, this was not a “gunfight” between a “PT-ist” and a “bolsonarist”, but a clear armed attack with political motivations. An attack that, far from being a purely individual act, follows the extremist discourse instilled by Bolsonaro against any political opponent, and against democratic freedoms.

The PSTU is in solidarity with Marcelo’s family and friends, and the membership of the PT, and demands  punishment for the provocative Bolsonaro killer.

Self-defense against the attacks of the ultra-right and attempted auto-coup

Marcelo’s murder is a reflection of the attempt by Bolsonaro and the ultra-right to install a climate of intimidation as the elections approach. It follows the wave of violence and political attacks such as the drone attack against an event with Lula in Uberlândia, and the homemade bomb thrown against PT members on the 7th, during a demonstration in Cinelândia, in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Other events follow the same script: the judge who ordered the arrest of the former Education Minister, Milton Ribeiro, had his car destroyed, and the Folha de S. Paulo building was shot at.

Cornered and worn out, seeing himself increasingly close to the possibility of electoral defeat, Bolsonaro is instigating his forces to commit attacks like the ones we have seen in the last few days. Bolsonaro has been provoking his militia base, stimulating and arming the formation of his own militias in his most radicalized base, at the same time that, through his Defense Minister, General Paulo Sergio Nogueira, and other sectors of the military apparatus, he makes explicit statements threatening them to not recognize the result of the elections. “You know how you should prepare, not for a new Capitol, nobody wants to invade anything, we know what we have to do before the elections,” Bolsonaro ordered in one of his statements.

As much as he says he doesn’t want a “Capitol”, it is increasingly clear that this is exactly what Bolsonaro wants. Like Trump, he encourages conflagration in order to set up general confusion and, together with the closest military leaders, try to impose a kind of auto-coup.

Bolsonaro feels increasingly comfortable intensifying his threats against democratic freedoms in the face of insufficient, timid and shameful responses from the very institutions he attacks, such as the Federal Supreme Court, the Supreme Electoral Court and the National Congress itself.

We cannot accept more attacks on activists and threats of a self-coup. Neither can we trust that the institutions of this bourgeois regime will safeguard democratic freedoms in the face of the offensive of the ultra-right.

It is necessary to advance the mobilization, organization and self-defense of the working class. Both to defend the activists against the Bolsonaro militiamen and attacks from the ultra-right, and against the threat of a self-strike.

This article was first published here in Portuguese by PSTU-B

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