With Donald Trump refusing to acknowledge his electoral defeat, which was declared on Saturday by all the major US media outlets, his political ally in Brazil, the fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro, is one of the few world leaders who has yet to take a stand on the outcome of the US elections.
On Saturday night, Bolsonaro made an unscheduled broadcast live on social media, appealing to his supporters to cast their votes in Brazil’s local elections, which will begin next Sunday. Without speaking directly about the United States, he warned: “You are seeing the issues in the world, how politics are in the world.” Making a clear reference to the election of Luis Arce of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) in Bolivia, he continued: “several countries [in South America] are being painted red again.”
Brazil’s vice president, Army Reserve Gen. Hamilton Mourao, spoke Monday about Bolsonaro’s silence on the US elections. Boosting Trump’s false accusations of electoral fraud, he said: “I think the President [Bolsonaro] is waiting to the end of that imbroglio there, of the discussion, if false voting happened or not, to give his position.” Mourao added: “And I think it’s obvious that the President, at the right time, will convey the greetings to whoever is elected.”
Unlike Bolsonaro, other national leaders, such as the president of the House of Representatives, Rodrigo Maia, a member of the right-wing Democrats, promptly welcomed Biden’s victory. On behalf of the House of Representatives, Maia declared: “Joe Biden’s victory restores the values of truly liberal democracy.”
Biden’s victory was also celebrated by the country’s main bourgeois newspapers. The conservative O Estado de S. Paulo published an editorial with the headline “Relief,” stating that it doesn’t matter if Biden will fulfill his promises. What matters, for Estadão, is that most Americans have decided “to hand over to a traditional and experienced politician the task of leading the country in this hour of deep crisis” and that “this powerful message will be heard all over the world, but especially in countries ravaged by the savage populism inspired by Donald Trump, like Brazil.”
A similar position was taken by former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso (FHC) of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB), a reliable spokesman for the interests of the Brazilian ruling class. FHC declared: “In two and a half centuries, no American president had sought to delegitimize the electoral process, one of the fundamental foundations of democracy. The present one did it systematically and deliberately. His reelection would therefore represent a grave risk to democracy, and not only in the United States.”
The newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, the most widely read in Brazil, echoed the reactionary racialist politics of the Democratic Party in the United States, declaring the election of Kamala Harris as vice president “historic, in many aspects.” She is the first “black, Indian-American and Asian-American woman...graduated from an elite African-American university...to reach the White House,” it stated in an article entitled “Kamala as vice president proves that 2020 is the year of black American women.”
However, Folha made it clear what is really at stake by stating in an editorial that the choice of Biden and Harris, representatives of “moderation, dialogue and the diligent exercise of politics,” signaled a refusal by the Democratic Party “to fight the ruffian on the right with radicalization on the left” (making a reference to Bernie Sanders).
The Brazilian ruling class is clearly expressing its nervousness about the destabilization of the political system in the United States, the bastion of world imperialism, and its inevitable consequences for the political crisis in Brazil. There is a growing fear of a “radicalization on the left”—i.e., in the working class—in response to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the deepening of already intolerable levels of social inequality, state repression and attacks on democratic rights.
Absolutely aligned with such positions is the supposed “left” opposition to the Bolsonaro government—the Workers Party (PT) and its pseudo-left petty bourgeois supporters of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL)—which also enthusiastically celebrated Biden’s election.
Former PT president Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva declared on Twitter: “The world sighs with relief at Biden’s victory. ... I express the hope that he will not only be guided internally, but also in his relations with the world and with Latin America, by the humanist values that characterized his campaign.”
His successor, Dilma Rousseff, also tweeted: “Biden’s victory...represents a breath of fresh air for those in the world who fight against the extreme right, intolerance and hatred. The election of the first black woman, Kamala Harris, for the vice-presidency of the United States is a relevant fact.”
Biden’s campaign never defended “humanist values”; on the contrary, it supported, domestically, the repression against the growing protests and, internationally, an aggressive imperialist policy. Lula seeks to cover up Biden’s political career marked by the prosecution of the reactionary interests of American imperialism in the world, including in Latin America. As vice president under Barack Obama, Biden participated in the orchestration of the coup in Honduras that overthrew elected President Manuel Zelaya and oversaw the introduction of draconian sanctions against Venezuela.
In light of the US election, the pseudo-left PSOL launched a campaign with the motto “Hope will overcome authoritarianism.” It states that Biden’s victory heralds the defeat of Bolsonaro in Brazil through...the election of the party’s city councilors and mayors! This opportunistic position assumes an even more reactionary character taking into account that the PSOL, following the lead of the PT, is seeking to “oppose” Bolsonaro in the local elections by running dozens of candidates drawn from the ranks of the Military Police and the armed forces.
In an article entitled “The King is dead. Death to the king!,” the “Resistance” tendency within the PSOL, which recently broke with the Morenoite Unified Socialist Workers Party (PSTU), has openly defended an alliance with a section of the US imperialist bourgeoisie: “With the electoral dispute over, fortunately with the defeat of imperialism sans phrase, the new stage of the struggle begins.”
It continues, with unadulterated petty-bourgeois cretinism: “If until today the enemies have been by our side (!)—and their seductive perfume (!!!) and discreet charm could be perceived without much difficulty—from tomorrow a very clear line—or rather, black, feminine and, above all, classist line—must be drawn between us.”
That both the PT and the PSOL are celebrating the advent of a right-wing US administration led by Joe Biden, which will implement a policy of savage attacks on workers in the US and throughout the world, unmasks the true class interests of these parties that seek to present themselves as “left-wing” and even “socialist” alternatives.
As significant layers of the Brazilian ruling class are increasingly dissatisfied with the Bolsonaro administration—not because of his brutal policies against the working class, which they find absolutely necessary, but because they fear that his provocations will unleash uncontrollable mass opposition—the PT and the PSOL seek to present themselves as a viable political alternative to defend capitalist rule in Brazil.