Guilherme Boulos, the new Lula?

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Does Brazil incubate a new Lula despite deepening his conservative spin? The question is on the minds of several analysts from the moment Guilherme Boulos, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), was elected together with Bruco Covas for the second round of elections on November 29, which will decide who will administer Sao Paulo, the most important city of the South American giant. Professor, philosopher and, above all, leader of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), Boulos, 38, has not only taken out of the race for control of the richest municipality Celsus Rusomano, the evangelical preacher who invoked the name of Jair Bolsonaro. It has erupted with disconcerting force in the same Sao Paulo, which four decades ago saw the emergence of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the historic metalworkers strike. Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque, two legendary figures of Brazilian music, as well as the actor Wagner MouraThey have enthusiastically supported it.

Last Sunday, more than 20% of the people from São Paulo voted for him. The popularity that Boulos has achieved has in turn favored the growth of his party. Erika Hilton, 27, is the first black trans woman of Brazil to be elected councilor of a city council. “This victory means a slap in the face in the transphobic and racist system,” said the new mayor of Sao Paulo. Boulos tried to dismiss it by referring to Hilton’s achievement. However, the political scientist Cláudio Couto, from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, believes that “a new leader in the progressive camp“. Although he loses in the second round,” he already won the elections in a certain sense. “The newspaper ‘Folha’ has had a similar perception: the municipal elections may have been” the swan song “of a generation of the Workers Party (PT) that Lula founded in the industrial cordon in the 80s and came to govern Brazil for 12 years.

For now, Lula and his entourage have resolved to support Boulos without hesitation at the polls and to begin working together to prevent Bolsonaro’s re-election in 2022. Strictly speaking, the PSOL is a detachment of the PT. Several intermediate leaders decided to leave in 2004 when Lula came to power in alliance with a sector of the center-right and, they said at the time, abandoned part of his political program. By then, Boulos was 26 years old and a nascent academic insertion. Over the years, research changed to social movements. “The system does not provide alternatives for people who do not have access to basic rights,” he said about his defense of the 25,000 men and women who live in the open in a Sao Paulo where there are 40,000 abandoned houses. The megalopolis, he insisted, needs to carry out a plan to create popular housing.

Good on social media

Boulos does not have Lula’s oratory, but he has known how to introduce numerous current issues on social networks into public debates that have always been a breeding ground for Bolsonarism. In those spaces where defamation prevails, it has raised problems such as precarious workers and the need to overcome the antinomies between affluent and marginal neighborhoods. According to the São Paulo press, the PSOL candidate has been inspired by the policies of Insoum France and the Portuguese left.

The visibility of the PSOL became more intense as a result of a tragedy: the murder of the Rio de Janeiro councilor Marielle Franco, in 2018. Like Franco at the time, Boulos is deeply disliked by the extreme right Brazilian. At the same time, it has already begun to receive attacks from sectors that do not sympathize with the retired captain but who abhor the possibility of a regeneration of the left. “Boulos it’s Lula with botox; never believe in a moderate PSOL “, wrote the businessman and blogger Ricardo Kertzman in the magazine ‘Istoé’.” He believes and promotes the invasion against private property and is against those who work and produce. “The devil has found another face .

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