The unpredictability of the demonstrations called for September 12th by a fringe of the non-pollenist right was such that few ventured to make any guesses about the potential of the mobilization.
The acts were called by the Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) and Vem Pra Rua two months in advance and received some support over time. Political figures trying to position themselves on the chessboard between Bolsonaro and the popular forces that make up the Brazil Popular and Povo Sem Fedo fronts expressed support and made their presence felt.
Segments from the centre-left and left started to support the journey in the context of the September 7th of Bolsonaro. Both the president’s threats to democracy and the pocketbook’s ability to mobilize on Independence Day justified membership.
Many doubts discouraged previous projections about the acts. Do MBL and Vem Pra Rua have “shot in the needle”? Will acting on social networks mobilize? Is this “neither nor” sector that appears in the polls willing to participate in these protests?
Will the adhesion of São Paulo governor João Dória make a difference? Will Ciro Gomes’ participation take the presidential candidate’s voters to the streets? Will the fringes of the progressive camp that have joined will convince their grassroots to participate? Will these acts catalyze society’s reaction to Bolsonaro’s coup demonstrations on September 7th?
: Read more: Act against Bolsonaro in SP gathers pre-candidates of the “3rd way” and has a puppet and banners against Lula
The streets showed no. The acts were scheduled for 17 capitals, according to a post the day before. On MBL’s Instagram profile, there are only images of the protests in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, where they were very small, and in São Paulo, the flagship with several participations, which was small.
The event at Paulista, which brought together five thousand people, according to the organizers’ estimate, showed that the mobilization did not go beyond its first ring of influence. A survey of professors from the University of São Paulo (USP) shows that 69% of the protesters were up to 44 years old, 79% are studying or have completed higher education and 56% had a family income above five minimum wages.
The first attempt by this segment of the non-Bolsonarist right to dispute the streets and express a mass force failed. Raising the possible reasons for this result is very illustrative to understand the general scenario of the political struggle.
One reason we can speculate is that the split with Bolsonaro and the later displacement of the MBL and the far-right Vem Pra Rua created a distance and confusion among their supporters. A part of those who identified with these groups did not leave Bolsonaro and possibly went to Paulista on 7 September.
Read also: Without PT, PSOL and CUT, MBL’s acts against Bolsonaro are emptied in Rio and BH
A second reason is that the shadow of the youthful expression of the “new right” with the speech in defense of the “new politics” has fallen away.
Born in the wake of the June 2013 demonstrations, she gained substance in protests for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff and acted in the election of Jair Bolsonaro. By electing its parliamentarians, acting in the party milieu and articulating it with traditional political references, it lost its original thrust on the right. The new got old before it blossomed.
A third element is that the mass line, which started as “neither Bolsonaro nor Lula” and was transmuted at the last minute into the defense of democracy – in an attempt to capitalize on the reaction against Bolsonaro – did not stick in the target audience of the mobilizations. It has not mobilized those who defend a “third way” nor has it given confidence to those who are more in the center and defend the impeachment of the president, but do not admit ideological flags of smuggling.
A study by data analyst Pedro Barciela reinforces this point, highlighting that there is a rejection in the anti-Bolsonarist clusters on Twitter of MBL and Vem pra Rua. A 35% segment is “repulsed” by the groups that called for the acts. The groups on Twitter around lavajatismo, MBL and Ciro Gomes were isolated and were unable to broadcast their mobilization for the acts on the networks.
The fourth reason is the cold posture of the major media, especially Globo, which defends the “third way”, but preserved a safe distance from the acts, which signals that there was distrust. There was no “enthusiasm” from Globo to strengthen the mobilization or coverage to amplify the size.
The coverage in the “Fantástico” program for the banners attacking Bolsonaro and Lula is enigmatic, because at the same time it puts the PT member on target, it also serves to justify the low mobilization.
A fifth factor is that the parties in this non-pocketarist right-wing camp, with councilors, deputies, senators, mayors and governors, did not move their machines and bureaucracies to massify the acts. They did not go beyond the speeches on social networks supporting the protests. Either they don’t want to move their pieces or they couldn’t get their coreligionists moving.
The sixth reason, derived from the previous one, starts with the following question: is the non-pocketnarist right really committed to the fight for Fora Bolsonaro? So far, PSDB, PMDB, PSD and DEM have not institutionally manifested themselves in favor of impeachment.
Although there is no lack of statements from their leaders, there is no institutional position of these parties for the removal of the president. Many of its deputies even voted in favor of the printed vote, which is at the heart of the institutional crisis and the coup plot.
The failure of the demonstrations, which had the support and participation of at least five presidential candidates, reproduces in the streets the difficulty that the third way has shown in electoral polls. There is a public that expresses a position for an alternative candidacy, but that has not found a leadership, a party and a direction to form a competitive slate.
In the short term, it is very difficult for this field to call new exclusive acts, which opens the opportunity for sectors with a greater willingness to build unitary to join forces of the left.
Bolsonaro seeks with his defensive maneuver to maintain positions with apparently contradictory movements. It strengthens the cohesion of its supporters by around 25% with the successful demonstrations of September 7th, imposing itself on the “third way”. Signals to the central parties and neutralizes displacements of the non-pocketnarist right parties with the letter written by Michel Temer. It seeks to build an agreement with the STF to settle the Court’s reactions and protect the family from ongoing investigations.
Progressive forces maintain their mobilization agenda, setting a new act for October 2nd.
There were five days of very expressive demonstrations in four months, organized throughout the country. Now, they have the challenge of once again putting in motion bands of the progressive middle sectors, of the student youth, dragging bands of the working class that have not yet moved.
These segments showed a tiredness in the last acts, but they can renew the enthusiasm to give an answer to the Pocketnarist protests.
There is also a growing willingness to hold a large demonstration this year, bringing together left, center and right around a single agenda, Fora Bolsonaro.
From a joint construction process, with the consolidation of a political agreement between different sectors at the center, it will be possible to put more than the base of organized sectors on the streets, but a middle segment of society, oblivious to party differences, but anxious for the union of all those who defend democracy and want to defeat Bolsonaro.
*Igor Felippe Santos is a journalist working in popular movements. He is the presenter of the podcast Três por Quatro, from Brasil de Fato.
Edition: Anelize Moreira