THE CRISIS IN THE ARMY AND THE ROLE OF THE NATIONALIST MILITARY – On 16 February 2018, President Michel Temer decreed that the Brazilian military was being sent to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro to take charge of the police there, and of security. In justification, the government invoked the need to control the drug trade and respond to events that had led to disturbances in the Carnival. As a result, the  army’s Eastern military command took charge of Rio’s favelas, like that of Jacarezinho.

About this military intervention, the salient point is its dangerous, unacceptable and political character. What causes the violence and the drug trafficking in the Favelas is the extreme deterioration of the conditions of life for people as well as their economic and social rights. And under this putschist Temer government [1], this has become so much worse. In matters of security, no money is being invested because all the services (whether they are political, from the police or from the army) compete with each other. It is also common knowledge that the big drug cartels are run by gangs of politically empowered right-wing people connected with parliament and the Executive.

Up with the Nationalist Military :

The country is going through the most critical moments of its recent history. You have the economic crisis, the privatisations, the cuts in the social budgets, the violence and the public debt. Add to this the right-wing blows that have been delivered against ex-President Dilma Rousseff, plus the present criminalisation of Lula da Silva now – and you see our national sovereignty on a road to its destruction.

Temer’s security decree allows the military to enter the Rio’s favelas, but this only shows the bankruptcy of the institutions. To give to the Armed Forces this repressive social role is a threat to these forces themselves; they were up to recently one of the last institutions towards which people still had some respect.

The task of the Armed Forces is to defend the nation, its frontiers, the country’s integrity and its national sovereignty. If the military turns violent in Rio, the population will condemn it. A breach will open between the democratic nationalist soldiers and those on the right-wing who want the anti-government movements put down in the name of a war on drugs. Those right-wing soldiers want the forthcoming October Presidential Elections stopped altogether. They want to end the democratic process of our country.

Because Lula is candidate to the presidency (in October), right-wing groups are keen on a military intervention of the same kind as that in the 1964 State coup. The financial sector of the local and international bourgeoisie – which imposed Temer – is hard put to find someone to match Lula and his enormous popularity. Lula  is already getting 40% of the voting intentions. The odious smears against his progressive government record have stopped impressing anyone. People know Lula kept his promises, and that his government lifted 40 million Brazilians out of poverty. The latter did get 3 meals a day, jobs and university places.


The army and the big popular mobilisations in Brazil:Gen Eduardo Villas Boas, 28.1.18

The speech that General Eduardo Villas Boas made on the need for a national project is very important. He deserves our support. He showed how such a project worked between 1930 and 1950 – under Vargas’ [2] therefore. That period was marked by the nationalisation of the oil and mineral riches, and by the protection of the economy. Laws were enacted in favour of the workers. Women won the right to vote. Petrobras and the National Steel Company were created. This turned Brazil from an agricultural country to an industrial one. A powerful internal market was stimulated with important benefits for the population.

The nationalist revolutionary soldiers of Brazil who support the democratic thinking of General Villas Boas – directly or indirectly – must now defend the people and the national sovereignty of the country. This has happened in other countries. In Portugal for instance, the soldiers made the Carnation Revolution. In Venezuela, the soldiers did this under Hugo Chavez.

The nationalist military currents that exist in Brazil have a reason for being. They are moved by the big popular mobilisations. They receive the influence of the Trade Unions who occupy the streets with slogans like: “Basta! We are the makers of History!”. In the general strike of 19 February, this slogan was retaken by the hundreds of thousands. The Carnival Samba Schools who attended that strike – the Tuiutis [3] included – had their own chant: ‘If you touch Lula, the Favela will come down on you from the hill!’.

Civil-military unity is urgently needed :

Civil-military unity is needed to protect the Brazilian nation – and the Latin American continent as a whole – from imperial domination. The Carnival was in full swing when Temer went to Roraima (on the border with Venezuela) to whip-up support for Trump and his threats of military intervention against the Maduro government.

Any right-wing military incursion must be rebuffed, be it in Rio de Janeiro or in any part of the country. This sector wants to put down the social and popular movements struggling for elementary rights and a decent project for the nation.

In the Armed Forces, the progressive elements must join the demonstrations of civil society and provide leadership to the country. They must defend the national patrimony and prevent foreign invasion.

The Trade Unions, the students, the intellectuals and the progressive MPs and Senators must mobilise. So must the agricultural workers, the small and medium entrepreneurs, the political movements like MST, MAB, Frente Brasil Populaire, Frente Brasil Sem Medo, along with Reda da Legalidade [4] and its 700 community radios and TVs. 

All these forces must stand up to create a civil-military unity to uphold sovereignty and respect for the Constitution and the Human Rights. Down with any condemnation or imprisonment for Lula! Down with any impeachment aimed at stopping him standing in the presidential elections of October 2018!

From the Jornal Revolucao Socialista, 20.2.2018

The caption of the photo is a quote from Dilma Rousseff: “The Tuiutis cast off their chains and sing like the slaves of old, against the injustice and oppression that never ended”.

Jornal Revoluçao Socialista (JRS), 20.2.2018

[1] Michel Temer became president of Brazil when he ousted Dilma Rousseff by means of impeachment on 31.8.2016, followed by a vote of his supporters in the Senate.

[2] Getulio Vargas was interim president of Brazil 1930-45. After a military coup in 1951, he returned and stayed until 1954. He helped industrialise and develop Brazil, against staunch imperialist and oligarch interests. He nationalised mines and petrol, creating Petrobras and Vale. With him, Brazil developed a strong steel industry, car production and exports. He defended workers’ rights without going as far as workers’ control. His nationalism was revolutionary without being communist.

[3] Tuiutis: one of the oldest and most sophisticated school in the Carnival Parade, itself entirely created by the working class and the inhabitants of the Favelas.

[4] MST is a movement of the landless. MAB is a movement of people affected by the empirical creation of dams and attacks on the environment. Frente Brasil Popular supports Lula. Frente Brasil Sem Medo is a united front of parties and community groups positioning themselves to the left of Dilma Rousseff. Reda Legalidade is a communication network in the countryside, particularly in defence of the environment and AgroEcology.