MES´s Document by National Coordination of Movimento Esquerda Socialista/ internal tendency of PSOL
The crisis of the Brazilian political system has gained new chapters. The vote in the Lower House (Câmara dos Deputados) for the presidential impeachment opened a new stage in the national situation. Dilma no longer rules. In some days, the Senate should accept her removal from presidential chair.
The last dramatic move was made by Waldir Maranhão (provisional president of the lower House), and gave tragicomic outlines to the government’s destitution. The “last card” lasted no more than 12 hours.
This measure would end, in practice, Dilma Rousseff’s government.
When we concluded the first draft of this document, in an unprecedented decision by 11 votes to 0, the Supreme Court suspended Eduardo Cunha from the presidency of the Lower House as well as his term as federal deputy.
The immediate reaction of millions of people was to celebrate. Women, LGBT, the black, indigenous and “quilombolas” movements commemorated effusively the defeat of the “general gangster of the Republic”. Cunha is hated in the streets, his rejection is very high. Representing a “political castes” system, Cunha was the architect of numerous setbacks and institutional maneuvers, like the “Gag Law”, a political counter-reform that was made to limit the growth of alternative parties, like PSOL.
Cunha’s downfall is, however, a double-edged sword. This is also a bourgeoisie’s maneuver, giving extraordinary powers to the judiciary, in the intention of putting things in order, clearing up the terrain for a Temer Administration.
Cunha’s departure should have occurred before the impeachment vote in the Lower Chamber, which gives partiality to this late decision.
The central actors of the Brazilian bourgeoisie needed that Eduardo was removed to normalize the political regime. This shows that there is a democratic environment and standards, which prevent the power elites to support Cunha, despite of him being crucial to Dilma’s overthrow. The right wing used Cunha to remove Dilma and this same right wing now removes Cunha.
But it’s a dangerous maneuver. Despite Cunha’s trust relations to key bourgeois sectors, in case he doesn’t come to an agreement together with PMDB’s headship, he can create a short circuit. An eventual witness immunity to Cunha would be a hydrogen bomb over the whole Republic. His 267 votes for te head of the lower house, in other words, his most loyal power base, are a specter haunting Temer, PMDB and PSDB.
On other hand, a bureaucratic sector linked to the government now has more difficulties to sustain the thesis of a “coup”.
Millions applauded PSOL and Rede members of Parliament, especially Luiza Erundina who “occupied” Cunha’s chair, which shows the feeling of the vast majority of the population. Government supporters argue that the fall of Eduardo Cunha is part of the coup, a shameful position that flirts with a “Stay Cunha” position.
PSOL was strengthened because it was the party that fought Cunha from the very first moment, both in parliamentary field and with his activism in social movements as the youth, feminist e LGBT movements.
The political crisis is combined with a deep economic crisis, which affects the majority of Brazilian people: millions of families cannot pay their bills at the end of the month. This brings a huge distress to the working class. The scenery is not of great hope.
Between 2015 and 2016, GDP may fall by almost 10%. State revenues decrease and expenses rise, mainly the cost of the high interest rates that benefit renters. Therefore, in spite of the terrible effects already being felt by the people, the prospect will be more attacks on people which tend to increase the social crisis and conflict. This general framework is a fact, but here we have to make a situation characterization effort to avoid diluting the conjuncture in general trends, remarking that not taking these trends into account we run the risk of a static evaluation.
The situation will be a Temer government with reactionary measures struggling to stabilize and impose its “anti-people” adjustment program.
Meanwhile, the left linked with petismo has no answer. The old bureaucratic left just failed and its failure causes hopelessness and disorientation. A part of the new left was tensioned with PT´s false narrative, and the anti-capitalist sectors still have no strength to build a third pole in a national scale. The anti-capitalist left hasn´t even united to defend democratic measures.
Although nearly two-thirds of the population, according to a recent survey by Ibope, defend new elections so that neither Roussef nor Temer stay, there is no pole in a national scale with a mass weight to defend and stir an independent exit amid the impasse that is placed. Because of this, the tendency is that the electoral majority under a third field tends not to be the anti-capitalist left.
As MES (Socialist Left Movement), we have been the pioneers in defense of a way out through the radicalization of democracy, with general elections, vocalized by Luciana Genro, our public figure. We support the vote against the impeachment in Chamber of Deputies led by accused Eduardo Cunha, a common position to the whole PSOL.
“New elections” is the only watchword that could have united a wide segment of people against the impeachment and the reactionary government that is being born.
We have discussed the Brazilian situation connecting to the international dynamics. Since 2013, we have discussed the concept of a “end of cycle” in Latin America, where Brazil has a particular context: the wearing out of the export model, coalition governments, public funding for mega-companies from branches as logistic, works and heavy-civil construction; the process of Bolivarianism, the sharper and more advanced example combining popular uprisings with independent governments elections was part of a more general phenomenon. Unlike the social-liberal governments, as Lula/Dilma in Brazil, the Ks in Argentina or Ollanta Humalla in Peru, those governments – under the Chávez’s command, but also Morales in Bolivia and Correa in Ecuador – played a progressive role to proclaim new constitutions, the extension of direct democracy and popular participation, in addition to a rights agenda and achievements for the working class.
Given the failure of the hegemonic model by the São Paulo Forum, the continental right has pushed a turning point towards a restorative line in a claimed to be modernizing feature, as exemplified by Macri in Argentina.
In a more general level, the world is still marked by the economic crisis and the crisis of political regimes – both in Europe and the United States. Deep immigration crisis points the most dramatic contours for the social face of this combination of crises.
We do not want to deal with the international theme in this document, we just want to point out its most general terms. The crisis exposes the nature of political regimes – they have the austerity program to the economy and run on major corruption schemes, as revealed in a small scale with Panama Papers.
Such contradictions generate outrage movements that seek to challenge the lack of democracy and new economic course, which nourishes the foundation for the construction of intermediate tools, left the traditional formations that were majority among the working class and youth in the twentieth.
The main expression of this process is the emergence of Podemos in Spain, but also the votes for the Portuguese Left Block and the left in Ireland, in addition to Corbyn’s victory to the headship in the English Labour Party.
In the United States the Bernie Sanders’ campaign surprised with its wide mobilization and victories in several states at the Democratic Party polls against Clinton revalidate the thesis of the new phenomena that move forward from the social to the political, creating innovative training based on youth and social movements that were part of the open cycle of struggles with Occupy and BLM campaign. It is worth mentioning that after a period of labor movement reflux and commotion around the national unity after the Bataclan terrorists attacks in 2015, French youth is now back on the scene and carries a resumption of struggle rise up against the new labor code, organized through assemblies on squares, a movement known as “Nuit debout” or in simple translation, “standing up night”.
It should be noted that the world is moving with all of its contradictions. The victory of Labour Party in London against the Tories islamophobic campaign, despite the sabotage made by Blair´s wing of the labourism, becomes important. Although Sadiq Khan, the new mayor, is not directly aligned with Corbyn, the election of a Muslim in the main European city in a period of crisis and turbulence is a sign of search by the masses for left alternative.
Oxygen in the world is also sought in the democratic uprising of Iraqis, in the powerful reactivating of South- America student struggle, in the high school marching resurgence in Chile, in the occupation movements in Paraguay which overthrew the minister of education. The budget cuts to university can move the Argentine student movement, which has been out for a long time at the national scene.
We have been saying in our documents and resolutions that the scenario from 2015 would be marked by unpredictability, which has been confirmed. Only now the bourgeoisie begins to define an exit to stabilize the regime and the crisis.
We want this document to arm our orientation in a transition situation between the new illegitimate government of Michel Temer, its prospects, and municipal electoral dispute, which can be an expression of popular indignation.
April 17: the act of the regime general crisis
The vote on Sunday, April 17, the Chamber of Deputies sealed Dilma Rousseff’s fate. The impeachment was opened by 367 against 167 votes. This was a decisive chapter in the political crisis of the dying regime of the New Republic.
Millions watched the real circus of horrors, where the parliament raised their demoralization, due to the depoliticization and coarseness of politicians present there. A sampling of how “small politics”, according to Gramsci, dominates the national parliament, gaining ground in acronyms that were essential to the PT government strategy, such as PR, PRB, PSD, PP, PTB and PMDB. From those acronyms came the freak show seen on 17 April.
As put Luciana Genro,
“The portrait of Brazil’s crisis is that we have had a historic session of the National Congress headed by a white-collar criminal, a gangster, as referred to him Mr Glauber Braga, our combative deputy. It says everything about this Congress.”
The hard truth is that PT and Dilma created the “crows” which later ripped their eyes.
The June 2013 uprisings fractured the regime, opening a new political stage in national life. We return to the document presented at the special issue for the V Congress of PSOL of Esquerda Socialista magazine, pointing the meaning of June as:
“A mass contestation movement of the bourgeois regime, an outbreak of hundreds of thousands of young people in politics that marked a qualitative change in the relationship of forces between classes for the social mobilization of the people. For those who said that the Brazilian people had no will or mobilization capacity, the uprising of June was a denial. June 2013 broke the rules. So we’ll have to re-discuss June, because it was the moment that broke the regime, which proved the wearing out of the regime built since the end of the military dictatorship, which hasn´t developed farer to the left because of the absence of a left alternative to the masses.”
Dilma and her (now arrested) marketer built a campaign profile evoking the “spirit of June” to win the election in 2014. She promised not to withdraw rights and deepen achievements. She promised and did not delivery. Dilma / Levy plan deepened the recessionary adjustment and condemned millions to a rapid deterioration in their living conditions. This blatant swindle was a key point for the mass disruption with the government in the most significant sectors of their own social and electoral base.
The criticism about the regime gained different forms and vectors. The multitudinous demonstration on March 15, 2015 was one of them. The middle class demanded the departure of Dilma, directed by an invitation that was fueled by the “new right” in social networks, supported by key actors from the right, constantly stimulated by Globo Network. We define these events as a “sham” compared to June. This demonstration attracted the sympathy of millions, some of them among the youth and the working class, building a series of Sunday-acts as pioneers in the campaign for Impeachment. The notion of simulacrum proved by the relations of these events with the fundamental institutions of the regime as the ideological apparatuses – frank and open support of Rede Globo, the most conservative magazines and newspapers as Estado de São Paulo, Veja and other media – and the repressive apparatus such as the military police fraternizing with some protesters. Strident portions of the extreme right have grown in this environment, as a result of the failure of response from PT and most of the old left. After years of dispersion, the hardest right galvanizes a spokesman, pro-dictatorship, against human rights, women, blacks and the LGBT community, in the figure of Jair Bolsonaro. The speech of some fundamentalist sectors (which left the governing coalition) within the evangelical bench also grown as an auxiliary line of the extreme right.
This environment settled the social base to take the next step: a reaction to move to the streets mass sectors in favor of a more bourgeois solution. With This reaction had mass support, guaranteed by the rejection of PT corruption: it was the social foundation for the defense of impeachment.
The Lava Jato Operation, as defined in our April 2015 document, brought new ingredients to vent popular anger, baring business that political and entrepreneurial caste were doing in the shadows for the latter years.
This environment provided the fundamental change in the plans of important sectors of the bourgeoisie, after the end of 2015: from the pressure towards a fiscal adjustment coralling the government, to the line of a parliamentary overthrow. The December decision taken by the Supreme Court put in suspension the possibility of impeachment. However, the unpredictable dynamics are imposed: the bombastic denunciation of Delcídio Amaral, no less than the government leader in the Senate and former leader of the PSDB, precipitated the political disarray, leading most of the bourgeoisie and the media to make use of the “final solution.”
The bourgeoisie no longer bet on Rousseff as able to manage the country, as has been exhausted the classes pact and the economic model adopted in the last decade. It was the end of the coalition in order to a “managerial state capitalism,” in which BNDES financed the expansion of the presence of private mega-companies of logistics and construction – the contractors’ cartel, fundamental basis of the alliance between PT and PMDB, with some minors parties whose gear was guaranteed by illegal financing schemes.
April 17 also showed PT´s low resilience capacity. It was a crushing defeat of its strategy. PT did not summon mobilizations for the previous Friday, relied on the recomposition of its parliamentary base proposing material cooptation for more physiological parties. Lula commanded this operation directly from a luxury hotel in Brasilia. It was the histrionic Sílvio Costa (PT do B-PE) who vocalized this strategy. That is, PT deputies´s lack of haughtiness of is explained by the size of the government’s defeat, stabbed by its last fifteen years priority partners.
The impeachment was a reactionary change
We set the impeachment as a reactionary measure to give possession to Temer and impose a transitional government to build a new “standard” of normality in political and social relations. Therefore, we stood for the resolution in the V Congress of PSOL (December 2015) that guided the vote against the impeachment and already made reservations to participate in acts of government protection.
We didn´t define the “coup” as a semantic issue. We are against making comparisons with 1964 as several times the media and pro-government media did. The construction of this narrative was instrumental to the defense of the government, mistaking it for the general defense of “democracy”. We revisit the controversy established at that time with sectors such as Carta Capital magazine, which stamped on its cover a headline that claimed Brazil to be living a new 1964, abusing the concept of “coup” and distorting history in a dangerous act of desperation. As writes Charles Rosa,
“The right wing of opposition movements to overthrow Dilma Rousseff are absurdly opportunistic and without legitimacy, in large part because we already know the character of their spokesmen and articulators. They are the pot calling the kettle black. But such moves so far do not constitute a “coup” in the strict sense and do not change qualitatively the “rules” of the class struggle that is being “played” in recent years in the country, (As an astute internet commentator noted, the true “Fla x Flu” is “rich x poor”; “PT x Globo” is one more training game between holders and junior of the same football club). Be aware that implies not to adopt postures that can be instrumentalized “in the name of an abstract democracy” by “political sector pro-bourgeoisie” soon to be removed from the government, although no one in their right mind has the courage to say an unconditional ruling today.”
There wasn´t even a Honduras type of coup, as some have also stated. In the case of Zelaya´s deposition, there was a fierce fight in which the military surrendered and deposed the President at his home and Zelaya stayed for months at Brazil’s embassy, as an exemplary gesture delegitimizing the coup government.
What existed was a reactionary maneuver, headed by a sector as or even more corrupt than PT (such as Cunha and Temer), supported on the former government’s parliamentary base, which, changing sides, consolidated Temer´s, PMDB´s and the majority sectors the bourgeoisie´s maneuver. There was no qualitative change in the regime. There was not a “coup”. We can define as a “palace coup” in which the elected vice-president deposes the President through a process without any link to the responsibility for crimes in the case of tax pedaling, taking advantage of the erosion of the parliamentary base and public support for Dilma.
What exists is a new normality in the regime: it will now be easier to take rulers when the local bourgeoisie wants and when the ruler has no parliamentary basis. The pathetic argument of “Tax Pedaling”, which imposes no liability crime will serve as an iron cage for any government that wants to break the limits of the Fiscal Responsibility Law.
We will denounce Temer and those who made the impeachment maneuver to increase attacks on people, but also denounce PT for having allied to them, for becoming corrupt, leaving to be left long ago (though the people does not think so, which is why the whole left is being questioned). PT taught to trust the bourgeois regime as if this regime were respectful of the vote and possible to achieve real change. PT was betrayed and dragged up by the regime in which deposited all its strength, refusing to build any real participation alternative.
At the pinnacle of the June Days, Dilma shelved the idea of giving powers to a national constituent assembly as part of a political reform and give “voice to the streets”, a rhetorical position that didn´t last 24 hours. Attending Temer´s request, she backed off the ideia of giving powers to a national constituent assembly to follow his rite of “governability” in alliance with PMDB, PP, other physiological parties which only serve corporations. Towards the people on the streets, Dilma offered on national television a pact in anticipation of her electoral larceny, even before the 2014 campaign.
It was only because of its adaptation to the regime that PT was accepted winner of the 2002 elections. The Letter to the Brazilian People, written by Lula was not only symbolic, but it was the trust certificate from the PT in the institutions that now it accuses of giving a “coup”; PT has been integrated to the system.
Since the climax of the crisis, we haven´t passively watched those changes. We are among those who raised the need for a third pole, as most urgent task, to avoid polarization and the announced defeat among those who exchange caresses and blows in the National Congress swamp.
We urge the need to build a third field that should not entrench the government in defense of the flag of “democracy”, as the majority sectors of the government’s defense didn´t bet on mobilization to defeat the impeachment.
It is significant that Rousseff and the PT have chosen Jose Cardozo as spokesman in the government’s defense. The same minister who acted to dismantle June and the fight during the World Cup, articulator of the approval of the anti-terrorist law. As a gesture of surrender, it should be noted how the discourse Rousseff at the UN was revealing. Rousseff lost the greatest opportunity to denounce the “coup”, backing not just because a tactical problem, but above all because she is part of bourgeois democracy and did not question it beyond discourse. Dilma was categorical in saying to the world that we live in a full democracy, directly in their words, a “thriving democracy.”
The struggle for general elections was the only option with range of masses. An opportunity to dispute the conscience of more than two thirds of the population which pointed diffusely for this solution as the most reasonable for the country’s crisis. This responds to the specific needs of the mass movement and not to the vanguard confusion attracted by PT´s and its apparatuses´ narrative.
The biggest limitation to PT and its satellites is to be part of the regimen. Even if PT was in the opposition with some braggeries, we do not agree with the hypothesis that the PT can indeed radicalize against the future government, including being part of its strategy to ensure that Lula is a strong card to 2018. PT´s center is to build a social and political front – in the mold of Uruguyan Frente Amplio – to reduce damage to the Party’s image, with Lula’s head, enunciating “happy 2018”. Attorney Janot´s statements complicate this strategy because Lula is increasingly exposed to allegations of corruption.
Michel Temer as restorative proposal: new government perspectives
The objective of most of the bourgeoisie is that Temer complete Dilma’s mandate – with support of the bourgeoisie and relative reduction of the political crisis and therefore uncertainties. This will lead to an improvement of the economy for the capitalists, not for the poor. That is, under the banner of stabilization, Temer must operate with skill the structural changes that he needs to impose. He already has the acceptance by the bourgeoisie to recover investments and open new markets for new sectors that see in Brazil new opportunities.
The attacks on the civil service will intensify. A much larger scale than the PT government. This should be one of the hallmarks of the new government PMDB and allies.
The attack on the “half-price economy,” as called by some bourgeois commentators, will begin around the edges, preparing the toughest attacks later. In addition, there is pressure to accelerate the pension reform.
Pension reform is a measure that had been announced by Dilma through her Minister Rossetto. This is pointed out by World Bank reports as “major reform” to ensure the closure of the public accounts, further penalizing workers. The pension reform of Lula in 2003 was one of the first symptoms of how the PT and the bourgeoisie were willing to attack rights and historical conquests of the Brazilian working class. With the same fury, Dilma approved with PT vote in parliament, even in 2015, restrictions on unemployment insurance, pension for death and sickness. Temer is suggesting to go all the way to pension reform with a minimum age of 65 for men and women.
The Temer program comes from two previous elaborations: the documents known as “Schedule Brazil” and then, in more final version, “Bridge to the future”, voted as a guiding document of the PMDB post Dilma.
Their main proposal is to build an occasional fiscal liberalism, undoing the constitutional counterparts aimed to social areas. That is, back off the investment in key areas of health, education and security. The freeze on the civil service financing, already tested by Dilma, must also take more aggressive forms. There is also big cuts in the funding for research, education and extension, making public universities one of the most attacked sector of the “bridge”.
Temer has made clear his intentions. “The State shall transfer to the private sector all that is possible in the field of infrastructure.” His initial proposal of “notable government” has been resized to meet business community to his parliamentary base.
The issue of privatization, from the hole of the state where the answer to the “Petrobras crisis”, will be the expansion of opening to private capital. It would be ironic if it was a national tragedy that the PMDB was, along with sectors of the PT, the party that more pillaged and shared influence in Brazil’s largest state, now offers as privatizing solution thereof. The pace of privatization will be accelerated and extended with great banner of Temer government – the normalization of the investment and the recovery of investors will come around, as the main writers of the new government bet.
Temer called Henrique Meirelles, a bourgeoisie henchman – and always good to remind he was also Lula’s – to give cohesion to his plan. The agreement with the PSDB is the other key to stability. FHC and part of PSDB’s headship have stated the obvious: to join the government as a guarantor of national unity idea. One can not underestimate the alliance of Temer with the union bureaucracy linked to Força Sindical and its satellites.
Meirelles should carry out a plan to deepen the adjustment measures and attacks on workers’ rights, with the necessary drive by the bourgeoisie and the media. The new economic plan may take up the idea, expounded in the theses of the “Bridge to the Future” that negotiated prevail over legislated, burying even more historic achievements of the Labor Code.
As Temer will respond to his parliamentary base delayed rights and customs issues? It is essential to monitor the steps that this new joint government will take, because we have a dynamic of struggle and leadership of women, LGBT’s, Black and indigenous in recent years that may clash with conservative character measures the Temer may designate.
A flagrant contradiction in charge of Dilma impeachment process, the political weight the accused Eduardo Cunha is another real problem for the bourgeoisie and its way of governance.
But such stability can not be taken as absolute. Until Temer reach a breather in 2017, he will have to cross several turbulences, as the IMF report predicted “3.8% fall” in 2016 and confirmed the “worst recession of the century.”
Temer has in his favor, in addition to wide arc of bourgeois support, a broad parliamentary basis. However, there are many contradictions in the new government set as part of the adjustment plan. We include:
- PMDB is the largest party involved in Operation Lava Jato
- The dispute over the tax increase as the CPMF, added to the tax issue, in particular the crisis of state debt;
- Questioning the legitimacy of the Temer government; Temer’s popularity is around 8%;
- The confusion that can be caused by the release of energy with sectors that still barred social struggle, now located in opposition
The greatest weakness of the new government is its implication in the OLJ, with unpredictable consequences. This is the fundamental contradiction for the future of Michel Temer.
The new president knows all these contradictions and will seek to undo them by adopting a policy that combines composition / cooptation with coercion. His dialogues with the trade union bureaucracies are right signals. He will blackmail the other union sectors with measures such as the end of the union tax. On the other hand, he will not hesitate to use the “hard” laws that Rousseff did vote for her government, as the Anti-Terrorism Act and emergency measures, taking advantage of the completion of the Olympics. In short, the Temer strategy is to build the feeling that we are in an upward dynamic: the worsening of today would propel the improvement tomorrow.
There is a serious danger of backsliding in the institutional field, where Temer using the mainstream media and the rejection of PT may impose a reactionary constitutional reform, reducing the space of the PSOL and left with electoral laws even more draconian and strengthening more repressive aspects of current legislation. This hypothesis depends on the correlation of forces and the left weight to resist Temer government. Regarding the barrier clause, we will refer to this later.
However, real Brazil’s problems will follow and swell. The social crisis has in Rio de Janeiro a laboratory: the health crisis, financial shambles, paralyzed public service and the eve of the Olympics. The fall of the bike lane increased the ranking of deaths in “Olympic” public works: 13 deaths have occurred so far, 11 of them in accidents. Chronic problems should also follow across the country, no response so far to the devastation caused by Mariana tragedy or ZikaVirus epidemics.
The struggle for hegemony in the new cycle
The new political reality of the country will follow marked by the search for an alternative. The landing of the PT in opposition indicates that Lula will try to realign his space to regain ground in the mass movement.
Despite growing as a result of the failure of PT, it is difficult to build a strategy in PSOL. This is expressed by the fact that PSOL was not part of the construction of a third field in the “hot” period of political crisis.
The line of general elections would give sense a political field that escape the polarization between “stay Dilma” and “out Dilma.”
Our position helped to build important bridges with personalities who have positioned themselves for new general elections. This also brings us to the social base that relates to Rede (Marina Silva’s party).
PSOL stayed in an intermediate place when it chose not to bet on a mass campaign for new elections, as did Marina, for example. On the one hand, the combative stance of PSOL parliamentary group won the respect of many sectors; on the other hand, it increased the risk of non-detachment to PT, as the case of PSOL and Intersindical sectors who participated in the act with Rousseff on 1st May, or acts that shared stage with Lula.
The same Lula who said the need for a new pact, a new “letter to the Brazilian people”, demonstrating that the polarity against the alleged coup was a rhetorical piece to push for a rearrangement over which keep fit and leave Lula unpunished to compete in 2018. His goal is to dispute on the left the sympathy of sectors that operate mainly in Brazil Popular Front.
We think this discussion is important, not only to judge the past, but to think of the Party’s action in the future.
PSOL now has a great opportunity before the municipal elections. A chance for the party to be, objectively, a third field, away from the right and the wreck that meant the left related to Rousseff and the PT.
The fundamental risk of those who uncritically embraced the drive line with government sectors was not separate from the PT and its project; and consequently defending “generally” the fundamental institutions of the regime. The defense of our precarious and unjust democracy under the argument that it was the only possible defense. Renouncing the demands of the streets in June and then the demand for real democracy.
It is true that we will not give up the defense of a renewed left, democratic and combative. Therefore, we must discuss PT’s strategy and draw lessons for the development of the PSOL.
The challenge is to relate the PSOL’s strategy as a fight that combines street action with positions of power, pouring new democratic instruments and a new institutional framework. The Party should seek to intervene in this new framework, seeking to avoid identification with the PT.
Marina earned points in the polls when defending new elections. Unlike the pro-government sectors say, Rede was the alternative that grew to society and not the most reactionary sectors.
Rede appears with big electoral chances in 2018. At the same time, the party is weak organically because it does not intervene directly in the mass movement. The division of its small bench in the impeachment vote is also a warning on the difficulties of the heterogeneity of its composition.
However, the Rede managed also a good location adjacent to the PSOL in representation against Cunha.
In this contradictory scenario, we reiterate our strategy. We defend the legacy of left, but we do it in a new form.
The dispute of June inheritance as a popular juvenile uprising, symbol of a mass movement independent political action. Only with a new “June” we can build a new institutional framework.
Opinion polls made by researchers from USP and other universities about social and political composition of the acts of 13 and 18 March conclude that there is massive weight for progressive measures in society, in both rallies, diametrically opposed to their meanings. The strength of ideas such as that the state should provide health and education as priority; the free pass in large cities; the civil rights; among many of the progressive agenda; It indicates the space to our intervention.
The struggles continue: scattered, but radicalized
There is no centralized rise of struggles able to mark the country’s situation. The lack of a clear pole for social struggles prevents widespread outrage can overflow.
The independent trade unions and combative further demonstrate political failure and weakness of social insertion.
This difficulty, added to the fact that the vanguard is divided, puts the impossibility of a centralized action and offensive of the mass movement at this conjuncture.
The ongoing struggles and conflicts should multiply. The trend is that the struggles follow dispersed and radicalized.
The battle of the civil service against the installment of wages and the scrapping of public service conditions is present in several states: Minas Gerais, Ceará, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, etc.
The problem of state debt makes up the attack that governors have imposed to the servers. Under the justification that the cash is broken, they chop wages and attack more and more civil servants. That is the reality of many states.
Rio de Janeiro is the most advanced point of the dismantling of the public service. The Pezão governor is away for health reasons, a strike in most of the government offices complete the scenario. We need to monitor not only the latent social situation, also the real role that can play the PSOL; and the unknown factor of the Olympics.
The youth has also given shows of force, with a recovery out of the traditional directions: the entrance of the secondary school students, with the method of school occupations, thanks to the victory over Alckmin in December 2015, a direct inheritance of June 2013. There are several states where registered movements of school occupations. Rio de Janeiro has dozens of occupied schools as a banner in support of education; São Paulo returns through technical schools, with a nourished and combative vanguard forged last year. The scenes of the violent repossession of Centro Paula Souza, through a high-scale police operation, were reported throughout the country, showing secondary school students’ willingness to fight. It is also remarkable Ceará public teachers’ strike, which has been combined with school occupations – there are almost 30 – enthralled by high school students facing the authoritarian PT governor Camilo Santana.
The slogan “occupy and fight” is a demonstration of radicalization and collides against the regime. It is a leap in the consciousness of young people and reflects June 2013.
The struggles of women, black men and women, the LGBT community should also follow. And environmental struggles as the wide vanguard formed to condemn the Mariana disaster, which occurred six months ago.
Demonstrations and conflicts for housing, popular demands, among others, should also follow.
The industrial labor movement has been hit by the problem of layoffs, closing vacancies in various industrial centers of the country.
Governments will intensify repression. The bourgeoisie will want to normalize the repression by instituting force measures such as the expansion of penalties for those who want to protest. The siege to the entities and popular organizations through the courts will be expanded.
The big question is to overcome the difficulty of an alternative organizational pole with authority and call capacity.
In addition to the fights, we must boost union compositions and anti-bureaucratic tickets, to extend bridges and syntheses with new union vanguard sectors that are beginning to emerge; several union elections demonstrate that, with the crisis of the apparatuses and insufficient combative left. We still have several important union elections this year.
The best way to act at this conjuncture is to support concrete struggles and demands of the people and youth in all its dimensions; participation in the initiatives that protect the unit around concrete issues, wage campaigns, housing defense.
We need to be attentive to the youth entry with more vim and vigor in the coming political events in the country. And we need to keep up with functionalism and wage campaigns of the heaviest categories, industry and the service sector.
We need a plan of fights that can organize democratically in the workplace, study and housing converging for a day of protests and struggles with the rights of defense staff and an independent exit to the working class and youth.
The investigation on the castes must continue: we defend a democratic solution to the political crisis
We have argued that Operation Lava Jato (OLJ) must continue. At that time, it will not be supported by anyone. And it is this which can still destabilize the domination beyond logic resistance with insufficient force at this time to prevent the rise of a government Temer, but can help prevent the normalization of domination. For this reason it is so important to support OLJ and the resistance struggles against the fiscal adjustment.
The landmark is that for the first time the powerful lords were imprisoned.
There is an ongoing struggle between the continuity of the OLJ and a great covenant to smother it.
Virtually all the establishment parties are in the sights of Lava Jato. It is necessary to defend the continuation of Operation Lava-Jato. So we hold that the left should boost broad supra-partisan and civil society committees to the OLJ is not interrupted.
The defense of the fight against corruption will be a key dividing line to dispute the opinion of society. As we played this speech is what can link us with the mass movement, fed up and angry with the varieties. It should be borne policy to remove this flag in the hands of hypocritical and moralistic right.
Therefore, it is necessary to build a global solution to the crisis. We have to act and have policy on a whole period. The municipal elections will demonstrate the need to combine the struggle for a democratic and radical local program with the struggle for general solution to the crisis that has been dragging.
Our policy must focus on the link between the struggles for popular demands and youth, with the defense of continuation of Lava Jato and such a solution that involves the defense of general elections.
We will continue encouraging the campaign row over new elections within the whole Party to develop the leftist opposition to Michel Temer with a democratic appeal.
Along these general line, we support the struggles and support some flags and tasks – with democratic axis – for the period.
– Out Temer! General Election now!
Prison for Cunha and all corrupt! Cassation of all politicians involved in corruption schemes. Punishment for corruptors, lobbyists and companies; confiscation and return of public money; Operation Lava-Jato should follow. It can not be stifled or stopped. As well as the question of the school meals mafia.
– Against adjustment and economic plan Temer. Defense salary, employment, housing; against budget cuts in health, research and education. Down with the interest rates.
– In defense of the civil service. Against the dismantling of public services by state and local governments
– For the immediate audit of the accounts and the Union’s public debt Audit of state debts; against the installment of employees’ salaries; a new federal pact, an emergency plan to ensure the payment of wages in the states.
– The taxation of large fortunes / dividends;
– For more rights! In defense of the rights Womens, the LGBT community, Black, etc.
As part of the articulation of these slogans, besides the circumstances, we advocate the need for a republic, new institutions, with a National Constituent Assembly of popular character.
The 2016 municipal elections are the major challenge for the PSOL
PSOL has been working and gaining weight mass, occupying the space left expanded in June and now the end of the PT cycle. However, despite the national unity, PSOL know different relationships with the mass movement, reflecting the inequality of their relationships and experiences.
We can summarize as follows: there is a first experience in Belém-PA, where PSOL replaces PT, because Edmilson Rodrigues was already PT’s main expression, and now is PSOL’s. Second, the experience of Rio de Janeiro, where PT was liquidated on 1998 and never rised again, although PSOL, with the exception of some leaders such as Chico Alencar, is essentially formed by new leaders who were not leaders in PT. Freixo was projected as leader of the democratic struggle against the corrupt scheme of militias, gaining prominence in the electoral race in 2012 and today is a reference to massive sectors of the carioca capital. And thirdly, where PT is strong, because of the existence of the apparatus and leading on the left, as in the Rio Grande do Sul, or because the apparatus and the control unions, such as SP. In the capital of these states, nevertheless, PSOL disputes with force trying to be the hegemonic force or at least a majority on the left. In Porto Alegre even harder by the massive leadership of Luciana Genro, who was an emerging leadership in the PT and founded the PSOL, especially over the years and building a party of intervention.
In São Paulo there is a new framework, where PSOL has a chance to get out of marginality with the Erundina’s candidacy. The first survey where she appears as a candidate indicates almost 7% of intentions to Erundina. A huge change in the context of São Paulo PSOL.
PSOL still appears as an alternative in various cities such as Natal, Florianópolis, Fortaleza, Salvador, Recife, to name a few capitals; but also with real chances in Niteroi, Sorocaba, Nova Friburgo, where our parliament members compete for the mayor chair with the support of popular sectors.
Let’s have a debate about the recovery and alliances and relations with whom the PSOL and left must bet.
A part of the PT and sectors of Popular Brazil Front has defended a line of “embrace” the PSOL, giving a garment of social movements to a leadership that is an apparatus whose recent history of class collaboration led to a part of the population mistook the name the left with corruption and partnership with contractors.
PSOL has a strong history of opposition to the PT. But there is a sector of the party, an exposed pro-PT wing, represented by SP union sectors and a part of the collective Rosa Zumbi, talking about “refounding PSOL” and argues for an enthusiastic alliance with PT in the first round of municipal elections.
We will fight against this perspective because the own electoral success of the PSOL will be conditioned by their ability to get away from the old political caste and to support the new social and political sectors that are in dynamism and with new ways of doing politics.
This is the challenge of the PSOL. The search for bridges and a radical democracy program for cities, which revolutionize the local structural, with a “common” character to define the radical democratic measures – with the end of the party bureaucracies privileges, transparency and participation as a rule and method of the key decisions, dialoguing with the civil service and the whole people. The challenge to present a program to the urban crisis, transport, public violence, unemployment that is credible, participatory and radical.
2016 will be a great test for the whole PSOL
In Porto Alegre, we are in a critical campaign. For the first time, we have real chances to win the electoral race and build a local power pole in our direction.
Porto Alegre, as you know, is a city reference for the whole of the global vanguard. Less than two decades was designed as an example of participatory democracy and world space because of the World Social Forum. The city carries a huge historical legacy. Recently, Porto Alegre anticipated part of what would be the June Days, where a multitudinous mobilization of youth defeated the proposal by the city to raise tariffs transport, in April, so two months before the explosion June in Sao Paulo. And on that occasion, there was a particular combination, the action of the mass movement with a PSOL policy: the bench Party councilors in the capital won the legal case which led to the return of the rate to the previous price.
The party will have significant applications in cities such as Pelotas, Manaus, Santarem, Sao Goncalo, Viamão.
An election victory, with the expansion of the absolute voting on the party and representation in city councils, would be a step to overcome the gag law or any new barrier clause.
In 2018 the gag law will impact for the second time, but with more strenght. This step of the bourgeoisie is one of the hypotheses to stop any alternative arising out of the regime.
The law of Gag was working to stabilize the regime and to marginalize the left and reduce the institutional of left pressure on the regime. Who was the articulator of the law? Eduardo Cunha. PSOL campaigned for the law was not passed, articulating with part of the political superstructure. Despite calls from the PSOL, the coup against democracy that the law promoted Cunha, Dilma sanctioned, and the law can now be used against the democratic right of the debate. These are the steps to prepare the increased exploitation of workers in general and the defeat of the civil service in particular.
But will the reducing the institutional space, increase possibilities of explosions, protests, space for unpredictable extra-parliamentary action? It also increases the difficulties of the left, though can have a positive effect by reducing the space of opportunism. We have to shuffle these issues.
We must prepare ourselves for the battles to come
There is debate in society. The difficulties to put on foot an alternative with mass weight are the difficulties of historical path of the labor movement, women and youth.
We are preparing for the resistance situation to Temer government and to present real alternatives to the municipal elections. Collaborative sites like “If the city were ours” in Rio de Janeiro and “Share the change” in Porto Alegre begin to make the debate on city project with a wide vanguard, beyond the PSOL itself.
Along with that we do not lose sight of two strategic tasks: the constant support for the ongoing struggles and the need for reorganization of anti-capitalist and revolutionary forces.
(*) National Coordination of Movimento Esquerda Socialista/ internal tendency of PSOL.
9 May, 2016.