No to fascist coup in Brazil – an editorial

Just a week after the inauguration of Brazil’s newly elected and former President Luis Ignacio “Lula” da Silva, a pro-fascist mob attempted Jan. 8, 2023, to provoke a military coup against his government, by attacking key government buildings in Brasilia, the capital. As of the morning of Jan. 9, this attempt has been defeated. 

Luiz Ignacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, Brazil’s president once more. Photo web source:

Workers World urges anti-imperialists worldwide to condemn the fascist assault on the elected president of Brazil and to condemn in advance any attempt by elements of the Brazilian officer corps to seize power from the elected government. WW supports any mass actions the Brazilian working class and people take to defend the government they chose.

The storming of Brazil’s National Congress, the Planalto presidential residence and the Supreme Court building, the three centers of Brazil’s capitalist democracy, mimicked in astounding detail the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Congress. In Brasilia, a fascist mob supporting former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed these buildings. The Bolsonarists insisted that there had been electoral fraud, with no evidence. Then they smashed the government buildings.

Bolsonaro, the Brazilian Trump — who lost the Oct. 30 runoff election by a small but solid margin and is the hero of the fascists — was reportedly in Orlando, Florida, avoiding charges for his crimes while president, and much closer to Trump than to Brasilia.

Democratically elected leaders in Latin America, especially those considered of the left — in Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela and Cuba — immediately condemned the coup attempt. (Granma, Jan. 8) 

President Joe Biden, who still faces threats from the pro-Trump forces in the U.S., and the leaders of the European imperialist countries, have publicly condemned the attacks. The U.S. and its imperialist allies have, however, supported illegal coups and coup attempts in Latin America and the Caribbean in the past. This long list included Guatemala in 1954, Honduras in 2009, Bolivia in 2019, the judicial coup in Brazil in 2016 and the obscene backing for Juan Guaidó in Venezuela starting in 2019. 

Lula ran an election facing the vicious opposition of the biggest media, big Brazilian capital, evangelical church leaders and the hostility of the police and military leaders. Despite these disadvantages and having just been freed from prison, he still managed a victory. But Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) government faces a hostile legislature, rightist state regimes on Brazil’s border and the danger from fascist pro-Bolsonaro mobs.

PT leader Gleisi Hoffmann condemned the collaboration of the Federal District government with the Bolsonarist mob, which she noted was neither “a mass movement, nor is it spontaneous. It is organized by bandits, who have very objective interests: illegal mining, land grabbing, weapons release, militias and other things, all blessed by Bolsonaro.” (TeleSUR English, Jan. 8)

Lula’s election and the memory of his first and second administrations gave a message of hope for a better life to the Brazilian workers, farmers, to the Afro-Brazilian population, to women, to LGBT+ Brazilians. But the assault in Brasilia was a warning. Elections can indicate the political consciousness of the working class and poor, but the ruling class still gives orders to the police, courts and army.

The Brazilian working class has every right to mobilize and to unite all sections of the Brazilian people to defend the Lula government against the fascist threat. And the Brazilian left deserves the solidarity of all worldwide who oppose militarism and fascist rule.

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