Roberto Robaina e Israel Dutra
National Coordination of MES, May 19th, 2016
It is impossible to explain the current crisis of the political regime without understanding what meant the youthful and popular uprising in June 2013. That movement did not change the bourgeois democracy that erupted after the fall of dictatorship. In a precarious democracy, the left have only got the presidency by an agreement with the ruling classes. PT did it in 2003, when Lula strengthened the main elements of the establishment. The capitalist economic growth, combined with PT’s ability to control the mass movement, allowed a relative stability of bourgeois rule with a liberal workers’ government, to use the Comitern’s expression, or social liberal government, to borrow a term that we have used, or popular front government, according to PSTU and others organizations.
In 2011, the economic crisis has led to the first signs of instability in the country. The strike by Rio’s firefighters defeated PMDB government and created a breach to the movement known as “Primavera Carioca”. The deepening of the crisis and social latencies culminated in the uprising June. Even though it didn’t destroy the New Republic regime, this movement fractured this regime and caused a change in the balance of forces between the dominants and dominated classes, thereby rising a strong mass movement without direction, but with multiple expressions as the feminist agenda, the fight for the legalization of marijuana, the claim of LGBT rights, the most radical actions for housing and transport and some strikes of plebeian sectors as well. PT was no longer able to control the movement of masses. The two features of the system, which were strengthened with the arrival of the PT government in 2003, had been broken: economic growth and PT’s ability to direct the mass movement.
In 2015, when the bourgeoisie realized that the political battle took place in the streets, it decided to dispute the protests in order to nullify the progressive and revolutionary effects of June 2013. The bourgeoisie created a simulacrum of 2013 uprisings through demonstrations of March 15th 2015 onwards. PT corruption scandals made it possible for the ruling class to build the selective indignation environment.
The majority of people supported the impeachment as a result of the brutal adjustment of the PT government, through an unprecedented electoral larceny in recent history. Since Michel Temer was never an alternative to the people, the support of the impeachment decreased. In addition to PT’s smart campaign against an imagined return of dictatorship, Temer gives enough reasons for the people to be afraid of his name.
Country’s polarization was only between two fields and there was no competition for a third, since most of PSOL leadership rejected the bold policy of “new general elections,” besides the lack of initiative of the PSTU and the weak social roots of Rede. We had strength to attack both camps only in public opinion, which was insufficient.
The impeachment clearly changed the government. The regime does not change, but the government comes out of social liberalism – a social liberalism paralyzed, in full crisis since 2015 – for a reactionary bourgeois government. In this definition the Marxist rigor is needed. The political regime does not change. We are not in 1964. Nor are we in a situation similar to Honduras and Paraguay, although the Lugo’s capitulation approximate the Paraguayan government to Dilma’s governement. After all, the government did not resist in a serious way. There was no resistance, there was a political struggle to establish a narrative and a permanent investment in the institutions of the regime, the same institutions that have endorsed all the time the constitutional character of the impeachment process. We accept the formulas “palace coup” or “reactionary maneuver”, whose definition we have used with greater awareness. This reactionary maneuver produced a logical consequence: a reactionary government. The absence of women in the cabinet, the attack on artists and the positivist slogan “Order and Progress” as the motto express the character of this government. From now on, any government can be overthrown if not it comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Law.
The main objective of the new government is to liquidate the effects of the uprising in June 2013: land and school occupations, radicalized strikes. On the first day of the new government, the governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, sent the police to evict a housing occupation of the social movement “Nós da Sul”. On the same day, several high schools were unoccupied. The bourgeoisie and the government know it can not completely stop the effects of June; for that would be necessary to stabilize the system, which has not yet occurred. On May 14th, the Marijuana march brought together 40,000 people in São Paulo without the visible presence of the military police.
The new government’s strategy wants to impose more order and minimize social conflict through a more repressive state. It relies on people’s exhaustion, on the bourgeois unit that was caused by the impeachment, on the weakness of the far-left and the confusion created by PT that is now presented as leader of struggles. Michel Temer works to reduce the size of the health service, to create more taxes and to bring back the CPMF. The stoppage of the housing program and the end of the Ministry of Culture aroused strong resistance, especially from the movement of artists, in which some supported the impeachment.
The role that the PT search play hinders the fight against Temer. After a historic setback, the party demoralized itself. At the same time, PT continues to exist as an apparatus. The direction of PSOL has been unable to offer another reading and another policy, a fact that allows PT take up some empty spaces. However, PT will not regain the sympathy of the majority of the people for many years. The stain of corruption will prevent the PT to direct processes that have the possibility of massification.
That’s why it is so difficult that the “Fora Temer” materializes as mass movement, although there are reasons for this, since Temer is unpopular and began his government clearly showing its reactionary character. On the other hand, it can not be ruled out completely, since June effects are still present. On May 15, mostly women marched against Temer in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro Marcelo Freixo was one of the leaders of the protesters. Besides the tension with the artists, especially in Rio de Janeiro, hangs an international suspicion about the legitimacy of Temer, as evidenced by NY Times editorial, the statements of the Secretary General of UNASUR and the interview of former President Colombian Ernesto Samper.
“Lava Jato” Operation is the ghost that scares the government. In connection with other operations, such as “Acrônimo” and “Zelotes”, the LJO remains a factor of unpredictability. The condemnation of José Dirceu, without any reaction from PT, shows that the evidences are consistent. It is not known if Lula himself is not already with their movements determined by the operation, which would explain his defeated face when Dilma still announced combat. Among the main ministers of Temer are eight politicians accused of corruption. The denunciations of former Senator Delcídio Amaral and contractors can destabilize the entire regime, even though they try to focus on PT. In the show “Roda Viva” this week, Delcídio showed that his arsenal is far from exhausted.
Regarding the PT’s role, we must analyze a certain division of labor. If the leadership of the party is demoralized, the directions of CUT (sindical union), UJS (youth) and MST (landless rural workers), that operate in ” Frente Brasil Popular” and “Povo sem Medo” fronts, act as transmission belts of PT’s policy. These fronts are stronger and more popular than PT; its leaders have more capacity to dialogue with university students, who weres in protests of June. Even though they don’t vote in PT anymore, this youth ideologically had not yet broken with PT’s reformism. But this is not all youth, especially young school students and young people of the suburbs. So we also have to dispute by the awareness of Brazilian youth with PT.
There are many important ongoing struggles. In Rio Grande do Sul, there are more than a hundred of occupied schools, in line with the strike of state teachers. In São Paulo, the universities also begin a unified strike with the students’support. In many categories of public servants, health, education, among many, there are strikes or indicative of strikes.
We support all these struggles. This is our strongest point where we have the greatest growth potential. In direct fights the PT’s space is smaller. In the structures, the PT’s space is smaller. We must act aware that the situation has changed. Reactionary project had a clear victory by approving the impeachment, almost a win by WO, being a so clear change of ideology as it is.
The “For a Temer” is calling the existing acts so far, despite the PT’s presence that disrupts the massification of these protests. In Minas Gerais, the situation is different. Forces linked to the PT wants a “Fora Temer” with “Volta Dilma” (Return, Dilma). Identification with the previous government aborts the massification of the fight. So, of course we will not support. This is a ground for the political dispute with the “general election” (even though we know that “elections” are a complicated field…) because the leaders behind these actions are armed against us since they know that we are not subjected to the narrative of lulists sectors . They know we fight inside PSOL for our party not follow PT. They use the positive image of PSOL to clean their own faces. This is a serious problem and will be in the future.
We will continue targeted in the summit of PT not only by its corrupt character, but also for allowing the growth of the right-wing with a fake speech of the left.
Regarding the economy, we do not know the size of the fiscal adjustment that is advertised. In 2016, the crisis remains. GDP will fall somewhere around 3% and unemployment will continue high. People may even have a feeling that the country has stopped getting worse, because the interest rates tend to fall with decelerating inflation and the trade balance surplus. But the possibility of “apparent improvement” will only be felt in 2017. Before that, the recession has already been contracted. And this range is a heavy moment, where instability will weigh. Then, the questioning of the government Temer can be so strong that prevent their plans.
The pension crisis is real and business interests by reducing production costs as well. The government will focus on the attack on pensions and thus to impose fiscal adjustment. The unity of the whole bourgeoisie is crucial to realize its plans, besides the consent of the mainstream media and the repression of protests. In order to gain public opinion on the need to cut social security benefits, Michel Temer will shore up in the delay of popular sectors, in the unemployment drama and promises to recover Brazil.
Although part of the neoliberal adjustment has been drafted by Dilma, Temer have the need to be faster than its predecessor. So, Henrique Meirelles, head of the Central Bank during the Lula era, was chosen to command the Treasury. In addition to unpopular measures, the government will seek stability around the unit of the bourgeois class; a certain economic recovery can sustain this effort and can strengthen the candidates linked to the government of “Order and Progress” in the elections.
In this case, our output is resisting to Temer’s adjustment plans. We will report each of the measures against the people and will connect with the struggles of sectors to enter into combat. These struggles must win public opinion. Next to that, we will prepare along with workers organizations and the youth a fighting plan to unify the demands and defeat the “Bridge to the Future.”
As part of this political struggle, we will also introduce a more global alternative in the October elections. PSOL will have the enormous responsibility of defending a great political revolution in the country, to break the distrust of the people and the domination of elites.
PSOL has good conditions in Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and Belém. Our candidate in municipal race, Luciana Genro, fights to reach the second round in Porto Alegre. Despite the media siege against us, we will compete with PMDB and PT, the best preserved section of the party in Brazil since Olivio Dutra and Tarso Genro have enough prestige in society. In São Paulo, Erundina emerges again and helps PSOL to leave the isolation in the capital.
It is extraordinary that the municipal elections can be a huge obstacle for the stabilization of the bourgeoisie and the new government. There is a plan to restore the electoral threshold and reduce the institutional space of PSOL. In this sense, the “gag law” was only a “free sample” of this plan.
Even then PSOL can strengthen much. There are great expectations in several cities like Florianópolis, Natal, Nova Friburgo, Niterói, Pelotas, Santarém, Sorocaba and more.
In the new situation, we will go beyond support to the struggles. The structuring of our policy will be around some axes:
– “Fora Temer”, against the new government’s adjustment. “New general elections now!”;
– Supporting the struggles of workers and youth; defeating measures against brazilian people. Fighting against cuts of labor and pension rights. Salaries on the right day for public servant across the country. Wage increase. More resources for education and health. More investments in popular housing. In defense of SUS (Unified Health System).
– Support wealth tax and capital tax.
– Cunha in jail. Jail to corrupt politicians and the corruptors entrepreneurs. Support the immediate resignation of the ministers which are implicated in Lava Jato, with the same argument used by Supreme Court before. Support the end of Legal immunity to the corrupt politicians! Support the continuity of Lava Jato! Confiscation of property stolen from the people.
– In defense of the rights of youth, women and LGBTs. Against repression. Fight for the end of black youth genocide. Support the mobilization of artists and workers. In defense of culture.
– Cancellation of Dilma and Cunha’s “gag law”, which expels the PSOL of the TV debates. No to electoral threshold that Temer and PSDB prepare against PSOL and the democratic rights.
We must articulate that immediate struggle to elevate up politically the resistance mobilizations, claiming PSOL as part of building a new political course in the country. Part of that strategy is to fight for a great National Constituent Assembly with popular character. We believe that only with self-organization of workers and youth, with its entrance in the scene with an independent historical action, as were in June 2013, we will be able to start a change in the political system.
Translated by Fabiana Lontra