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Libra | Attack of the Trolls

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Source:  GGN |

By: Maria Frô

Topic: Friendly fire in opposition to the Libra auction

I can see how the unconditional love for Dilma on the part of some Web-based partisan militancy would stand  in the way of legitimate criticism, but there are problems with the recent Libra auction that go beyond the atmosphere of a Flamengo x Fluminense title match, which needs to be understood in its political dimension and not just its technical aspects.

The Dilma government has opted for a development-oriented model and is not ashamed to use of the logic of the markets. Nationalists like Hilde, Comparato, and Ildo, or Workers Party members like Gabrielli are not looking to bring Dilma down and destroy the legacy of Lula, but they oppose the logic of the market because they defend a nationalist project of the Left.

Militant petistas who took the time to read up on the issue use environmental arguments: Marcos Urupá summarized this position  and Luiz Müller, debating me, argued:

“I tend to think the Libra auction was driven by two factors:

(1) Because of the gradual evolution of cleaner energy sources, involving innovative technology, the pre-salt could become less of a “winning lottery ticket” in a certain amount of time, and then (2) Brazil will lose status in the correlation of global forces that rule petroleum reserves.  Petrobras alone will not have the conditions to carry out the exploration of the pre-salt layer, which goes to show that we have not made adequate investments in our largest corporation.

In relation to point (1) I sincerely believe that in 30 years dirty energy will still be firing on all cylinders and capitalists will not give a damn about the environment. As to point (2) the petroleum executives, Gabrielli, Ildo, andFernando Siqueira, argue that there was another way to raise capital, and they argue this point correctly, fist because Petrobras will, technically speaking, dominate the technology of deep-water extraction, and second because the federal development bnk, BNDES, does not exist merely to bail out the Eikes and Diniz and Teles. And as to the media establishment, with an eye to domestic investment, what financial market would refuse ample credit to the company with the largest top-grade oil field in the world?

To be brief, what is inconceivable to me is to see the government militants treat the oil companies and the way a signficant portion of the left has opposed the Libra auction. Gustavo Gindre eloquently the absurdity of the this debate in online discussions:

I continue to believe that nothing a priori suggests that the Ildo Sauer, Guilherme Estrella, Luiz Pinguelli Rosa and Sérgio Gabrielli are correct in critizing the auction.

I do think, however, that certain factor must be weighed more carefully.

With the exception of Gabrielli, all the others on the panel are world-class experts on the energy debate. Their opinions are technically respectable.

But all of them are proposing a debate that goes beyond mere technical issues. All of them defend a geopolitical strategy for Brazilian oil. This question is hardly, as I read somewhere, “merely technical.” It come with a political point of view.

All of these experts have a deep connection with the PT. One of them is a registered party member and serves as state secretary in the government of Bahia. Until recently, these were the principal experts referred to by the PT on the energy debate. They do not belong, however, to the “lunatic left” or the “coup-plotting right.” They are persons who have an enduring connection with the militant PT.

Taken together, these issues invite the Workers Party rank and file to debate the merits rather than disqualifying the project a priori.

And when I say “disqualification,” I am not exaggerating. On the Left, at least, I have never seen — not even against class enemies — such use of vile attacks against acritical government officials. The oil workers union were called [untranslatable] opportunists, collectivists. Organized labor of a nationalist bent, whom I know well, were called defeatists! Women who tried to argue against the auction (no matter if they were 65 years of age) were called “sluts.”

I am not going to reproduce here the barbaric comments I read, so as not to contribute to the heated lack of civility that transformed a healthy debate within the left that into a registry of vile trolling.

The marginalization of all who question some measure of the Dilma government, even those on the Left.

I have an oil worker brother who joined the PT and as a kid would accompany me to meetings and street campaigns on election day when we waved flags and talked with people about how different the PT was from other parties, even though we knew we had no financial resources, few registered members, and a lack of alliances. We believed we could convince the public and we wept bitter tears over every defeat.

My brother the oil work has worked at Petrobras since graduating a technical institute. He has never held another job. He is a “purple” PT member: He has never questioned the decisions of the Lula and Dilma governments. He is one of those who occupied Petrobras in 1995, when he could scarcely grow a beard.

Demonstrators cross a security line before a clash with National Force soldiers on Barra da Tijuca beach near the Hotel Windsor in Rio de Janeiro

I have seen, in Cubetão, how the oil workers organization occupy leadership posts in a city that not only barred the mayor from selling a tract of land set aside as a forest reserve and replace with a loading zone of containers. Advocacy for health, environment and quality of life in a neighborhood led to the occupation — odd, the young Turks believe they introduced the Occupy tactic themselves, in June, when social movements and unions have been doing so for three centuries  —  not only ended in victory of the residents of Casqueiro against the mayor but also strengthened the candidacy of a PT candidate for mayor elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012.

Has it not occurred to detractors in favor of the auction that it is precisely because a signficant portion of CUT and FUP members are PT members as well, their decision to mount a strike against the auction was a decision made all the more difficult by these ties?

It is not easy to belong to the Left, and then, having elected Dilma, to deal with a government that does not engage in dialogue with social movements and the union-represented worker, who themselves fought bravely to elect this government.

Refusing to dialogue sets Dilma on a dangerous path. Her government has already alienated federal university professors because she refused to debate them — this blog has published 50 of the letters in support of the president by professors and deans Dilma during the 2010 campaign.

In my view, it was an immense political blunder to realize the Libra auction without prior debate in which the government would explains its rationale. The worst part was holding the ceremony i a deluxe hotel in a city that is the epicenter of rebellion against a truculent government with which the PT remains unfortunately allied, causing discomfort among petistas committed to social movements and historic factions of the PT.

As if that were not enough, the Ministry of Justice mobilized more than 1,000 troopers of the Força Nacional — a sort of tropical carabinieri — to repress the legitimate right to protest of those opposed to the auction.

The scenes I viewed yesterday on the cell phones of Free Media activists or the establishment media were depressing: the troopers against 20 stray cats in the street. A Força Nacional contrary to the red flags of FUP and CUT. A Força Nacional repressing a union that has played an historical role in defending national resources and opposing the hunger to privatize of the FHC era, in actions rarely seen …

Anyone with a minimum of memory knows that it was the oil workers who occupied the refineries for more than 30 days during the second year of the first Cardoso mandate. In 1995 they were criminalized, threatened with visits from the army, and the newspapers constantly full of headlines describing them as criminals. But they held on, and Petrobras was saved from the Toucan initiative to (re)privatize it.

And so watching acritical government supporters treat Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo as a resentful failure is both cruel and absurd. But it is also absurd to treat the oil workers as enemies — this is an unprecedented political blunder They are striking against the auction because they believe that Petrobras, with its technology and capacity, could assign 100% of the pre-sal to Petrobras rather than the 40% agreed upon.

They know that Petrobras is the only company in the world with technology for extracting from the pre-salt layer. Will technology transfer be part of the bargain.  Na partilha vai haver transferência de tecnologia? The Chinese will arrive with their workers (the Chinese government operates this way) and so the millions of jobs created over 35 years will belong partly to a nation with 1.5 billion persons and has been occupying space in the African oil industry in these same terms. What comes next? Xenophobia?

Participants in the action of the oil workers were called blacksbostas — «black bullshit», a punning reference to the Black Blocs.

This is not a group of people with a history of Leftist activism and nationalism like that of the oil workers. They are “opportunists”: “all they know how to do is defend their collective interests,” and other nonsense I read along those lines. The Workers Party was forged in the struggle of these industrial classes, and the class enemy most certainly not the oil works unions.

Treating them like enemies, sending in the Força Nacional to lower the boom on them, seems not only cruel but also politically inept that I used to attribute to guys like Cabral.

Tenho discutido sobre como se criminaliza as manifestações que ocorrem no Brasil a partir de junho. De todos a tática black bloc é a que mais causa repulsa neste grupo à esquerda que não aceita nenhuma espécie de questionamento ao governo sem tratar os críticos como tucanos ou ultraesquerdistas (que para os governistas acríticos são sinônimos).

Esses rapazes e gurias que botam máscaras não podem ser tratados como um bloco único. Aliás, para ir em manifestação desde pelo menos 2009 aqui em São Paulo pelo menos a imprensa institucional usa máscaras (e não só as ideológicas), descrevi isso quando tomei banho de spray de pimenta na frente da prefeitura na época das enchentes em que o Jardim Romano ficou 2 meses submerso.

Foi a primeira coisa que me chamou a atenção: por que fotógrafos e repórteres da Folha e afins com identificação estavam com máscaras. Só depois de quase ter morrido intoxicada é que entendi.

Mas, para quem não sai às ruas e fabrica sua visão de mundo por meio do PIG que tanto critica, mas não deixa de assistir, ler e ouvir, poderia fazer um exercício simples: pergunte aos professores do Rio de Janeiro se eles apanharam da polícia ou dos black bloc.

Pergunte a todos que foram nos esculachos da rede Globo quando trocamos o nome da ponte para Wladimir Herzog e pichamos eletronicamente a Globo se algum black bloc nos agrediu ou quebrou algo. Detalhe, apesar da tropa de choque presente nos acompanhando no 11 de julho, ela não nos atacou.

Não dá para idealizar nada, muito menos jovens revoltados, mas criminalizar é o pior dos caminhos, tem de tentar entender e claro buscar de alguma forma mediar a comunicação com esta juventude que não acredita mais na política institucional.

O caminho certamente é bem mais complexo que só achá-los baderneiros e vibrar quando a mesma polícia que mata Amarildos nas favelas de todo o Brasil desce o cacete neles. Ao invés disso deveríamos estar com um projeto no Congresso para recriar a Força Pública, uma polícia cidadã, e desmilitarizar esta herança da ditadura militar que só serve pra espancar e matar trabalhador.

Neste andar da carruagem como será o debate eleitoral travado nas redes?

A maior parte do debate que vi travado nos dias que antecederam o leilão foi reduzido a uma desqualificação das pessoas, um abandono completo dos argumentos (incluindo técnicos e políticos). Era só xingamento, detratação, parece que parcela destes governistas tomaram da água dos piores estereótipos da direita que conhecemos na rede.

Fico me perguntando se esta será a postura da rede militante pró-Dilma em 2014. Tenho cá pra mim que isso mais afasta que agrega, que isso mais cria repulsa que convence, que isso reduz por demais o espectro que se deseja atingir.

Se os militantes governistas pró-Dilma não ouvem e querem silenciar até mesmo aqueles que apoiam o governo, mas divergem por vezes, como farão para convencer os eleitores sem filiação ou simpatizantes?  Quer categoria mais fiel ao projeto do PT do que a dos petroleiros que enfrentaram Fernando Henrique e sua sanha privatizadora quando ocuparam por 32 dias as refinarias do Brasil?  Como tratar essa categoria como oportunista, traidora e outros epítetos de baixo calão? Tenho certeza que não foi isso que o Lula tinha em mente quando convocou os militantes petistas a irem para a rede defender o projeto político do PT e as conquistas sociais dos governos capitaneados por ele e Dilma.