MES’ National Secretariat.
The Brazilian working class has shown that it is not defeated. Crossing their arms and leading acts with mass impact on the national day of fights of the 15th, the class entered the center of the national political scene. It is no small issue to stop the main city of the country, with demonstrations in all capitals, bringing together in all hundreds of thousands, with a majority popular adhesion to the agenda of fight against the pension reform. In the wake of what had been an act of March 8, a broad range of struggle of the women’s movement in Brazil was demonstrated, turning objectively against the Temer government in general and its retirement reform in particular. The “Temer out” echo had already been strong in carnival blocks, from North to South of the country, during the popular festivities. The day of fights represented a leap.
A strong day of struggles, with inequalities, that marks the national situation
The stoppage was felt in several parts of the country. Along with the release of the “Janot list” it was the big event of this week in Brazil. The entry of the working class in many respects reminded June of 2013, with massive demonstrations, which were not greater because there was not the proper preparation from the directions that lead the main trade union centrals of the country, namely CUT and Força Sindical. None of them wanted to mobilize seriously to turn Day 15 into a day of strike capable of overflowing the latent indignation.
With the shutdown of transport in Sao Paulo – bus and subway – the city has dawned with a real strike. The manifestation of the night in Paulista, overflowed, with the most optimists talking about 250 thousand people. The figures, although imprecise, account for the greatest demonstrations since June 2013, with the difference that it was the working class, with its methods and identity, that was fundamentally highlighted. Teachers across the country – in this case very similar to what we are following in neighboring Argentina – were the vanguard of the stopppages. The transportation also stopped in Curitiba, Florianópolis, Belo Horizonte, Recife, to mention the most important capitals. The late afternoon demonstrations were massive, social networks and applause from passers-by are symptoms that reverberated a broad willingness to support the protests and condemn PEC 287 – Retirement Reform.
The march of March 15 marked that the agenda of the fight against the pension reform has attraction to be the engine of a true general strike.
The bourgeoisie remains in defense of the adjustment and the government
In this context, the government weakened by corruption and by the social and economic crisis, reflected in its unpopularity, appeals for unity around adjustment and measures to attack rights, with the leading edge of them being the Retirement Reform. Its media campaign is in service of guaranteeing this legitimacy and disputing the opinion of the masses. So far it hasn’t been easy, because the rejection of the measures is growing, reaching the electoral bases of deputies and senators.
Since June of 2013, the space of the dispute of the streets by means of the popular mobilization gained force in Brazil. From the feminist spring, through the occupations of schools and now with the mobilizations against Temer and his attacks. March 15 should be an important milestone for strengthening this struggle, as say the reports that come from the preparation at the bases.
Operation Lava Jato undressed the rot of the political system, with PT and PMDB being the worst hit, but putting the entire political caste in check. In addition to the contractors held by the first phase of the OLJ, now important political articulators of the capitalist coalition that has ruled Brazil for some time are in jail. The core from Rio de Janeiro disrupted by the OLJ reveals the guts of the PMDB-led project, with Eike Batista and Sergio Cabral arrested, important connections being made with black marjet dealers in Miami and Punta del Este, serving the campaign pipeline of the caste’s parties. There is a great fear about the meaning of the Odebrecht list, which is about to be publicized.
How can we explain that the government is sustained by such bankruptcy, unpopularity and that its chief leaders are beset by corruption accusations?
The broad unity among all sectors of the bourgeoisie, which, for having no other plan, bet on the possibility of keeping Michel Temer at any cost as a “bridge” in order to reduce the cost of labor in Brazil, Social security, labor reform and outsourcing. Such measures are combined with the initiative of sales of important logistics sectors, such as roads and airports, and the fiscal tightening to state entities. This is the plan that unifies the bourgeoisie, its political and economic agents and its spokesmen in the mainstream media. An united front that involves the great party machines of the country, the leadership of the judiciary and the media headed by Globo Network. This guarantees the parliamentary majority for the government in the two legislative houses. The majority sector of the bourgeoisie knows that Temer is a “fuse to be burned”, as previously explained by the advertiser Nizan Guanaes. This is the menu to give Temer government some useful meaning from the point of view of capitalism.
The lack of a consistent alternative also acts for the inertia that ensures the continuity of government. There are common initiatives, days of struggle, but the major sectors of the trade union movement act hesitantly, not converging on a unified action capable of giving common sense to the resistance. Neither the Força Sindical, that has in its direction Paulinho, architect of the impeachment, nor the CUT, really want to paralyze the country. They act to mitigate the brutal offensive against the workers. Offensive verbalized by Lower House President Rodrigo Maia when he affirms that “not even the Labour Justice should exist”.
Lula has already made it clear that he does not want to defeat the Social Security reform and wants to rebuild with sectors of the bourgeoisie like Eduardo Paes and the PMDB in Rio. He wants to erode the government, but acts in a way that the direction of PT and CUT are not consequent in the fight to stop the reform. As part of this, the governments of Piaui and Ceará – governed by PT – have approved adjustment plans similar to what Temer requires for its entire base. In the case of Minas Gerais, Pimentel government (PT) with the PMDB and announced the sale of the Aguas circuit in southern Minas.
Lula used the speech in Paulista’s act to demonstrate that he wants a pact to return in 2018, destabilizing the current fight against the reform, throwing the weariness of the government to resume his classic strategy: “happy Lula 2018”. This is an obstacle to be overcome, you can not have illusions. It is one thing to properly appeal to the unity in defense of the rights of the working class; another is to accept the Lulist strategy of subjecting the general interests of Brazilian workers to his defense as a candidate, at a time when the new list of accused in the Odebrecth is about to come to public. Lula wants to use the social movement to support his position, not to defend the rights of the people who start going out to fight.
This explains why the social crisis does not overflow government plans, despite the rising resistance of sectors such as the civil service of several states and municipalities.
Corruption affects the whole caste
The Janot list updated definitions about the corrupt ones in the country. A good number of caste’s main leaders appear in it. Starting with the government of Temer that has five “notables” ministers in the famous list: Padilha, Moreira “Angorá” Franco, Kassab, Bruno Araújo and Aloyisio. The PSDB acts desperately to save its political bosses, trying to differentiate the slush funding for the campaigns and the corruption. They risk running out of presidential candidates, or having to appeal to the newcomer Doria, since Alckmin and Aecio are involved. An operation in Congress attempts to save the political system by changing laws to ensure that presidential elections can take place in 2018 without major trauma.
Ten governors, including Pezão (Rio de Janeiro) and Pimentel (Minas Gerais), are among those mentioned in the document awaiting Supreme Court judge Fachin’s opinion.
Among PT the situation is not less dramatic. Lulism does not make self-criticisms or accept anything that resembles the refoundation of the party. On the contrary, Lula’s candidacy for the presidency of the Republic and perhaps also for the presidency of the party is the guarantee that nothing new will come from this field.
The nomination of Temer’s former Justice minister Alexandre de Moraes to Supreme Court, the result of the tragic episode of the death of judge Teori Zavascki, is part of this “hush operation”, led by Gilmar Mendes to “stop the bleeding”.
There is an intrinsic relationship between corruption and the heads of adjustment. This relationship goes beyond Brazil, as we are noticing what the Operation Lava Jato expansion in Latin America meant, where the rulers of Argentina, Peru, and several Central American countries are directly involved in mega-schemes for the expansion of the interests of large Brazilian contractors.
Gilmar Mendes, Rodrigo Maia and the governing leaders discuss how to approve the adjustment, promote a political reform that maintains impunity, in addition to trying to keep PSOL and the left out of the dispute. In the dead of night, Maia works with Mendes for the return of slush funding amnesty debate. A real scorn.
We must support the struggles towards the General Strike
In order to dispute for a line that will bring the class to victory, we need to strengthen a clear political line of unity in the fight against the reforms of Temer, to give continuity to what was March 15th. March 8th has already demonstrated, with women in the vanguard, the potential of the working class and youth to struggle in the face of the attacks. The day put the chance to massify this fight. The example of the categories that are stopping like the subways of São Paulo point the way. The subway union, a reference of the left and of the class tradeunionism, played a decisive role in the stoppage. Teachers across the country are in the front line in resistance against adjustment, reform and the Temer government.
It is necessary to forge a unity with all the sectors that fight: the example of the victory of the strike of Florianópolis, where the union leaders – the union is another example of combativity – worked side by side with the PSOL councilors, with the presence of Luciana Genro supporting the servants and the determined leadership of the combative union, should excite us. The example of the resistance of the MTST in the occupation of Paulista, which had as a result the guarantee of popular housing. It is necessary to join forces and unify the struggles to build a real general strike in the country.
A general strike that needs to be prepared in advance, with grassroots democracy, committees by workplace and neighborhood, with assemblies of workers. With a broad enlightenment to the whole population, seeking to reach the deeper layers of the people, explaining the need to stop, disputing the reform narrative and condemning the corrupt Temer government.
It is up to the trade union and popular foundations, with the weight that the left has, to demand from the big trade union centrals that put a date to the general strike to defeat the reform and to continue the fight against the adjustment of the governments and of the congress.
To build a real leftist alternative, a political pole with the face of PSOL
If Lula is seeking to ride the mobilization to make his own campaign, we need to go beyond denouncing his nefarious role – bondsman of the alliance with the banks and the last major retirement reform that has withdrawn rights. By the way this was the reform that led him to expel from PT Baba, Luciana Genro and Heloisa Helena, who were among the founders of PSOL.
We need to build another path. PSOL should immediately open the debate on its next candidacy for the presidency of the Republic. Since 2006, when Heloisa Helena got 7% of the votes, we could not get a name with a mass appeal. In 2010 Plínio was candidacy of brave resistance. In 2014, Luciana Genro, chosen as candidate on the eve of the campaign, was a success that enabled the PSOL to express the demands of June 2013, also channeling the feminist wave that sweeps Brazil and the world.
The 2018 race is central. We need to go beyond the barrier clause and open a new cycle of a new left in the country.
We want to build a unitary name, capable of cohesion not only the PSOL, but all the forces of the left at that moment. A name that represents the experience of the state where PSOL has expressed more strenght in recent years. We are sure that this name is Marcelo Freixo. In June 2013 Rio gathered 1 million in the streets, most of them young people who, in the previous year, in 2012, built Carioca Spring, giving Freixo a million votes. Rio defeated Cabral in 2011, with the firemen’s strike. It was in Rio in 2016 that the PSOL went to the second round. It is there that, in 1998, the PT failed because Lula supported Garotinho against Vladimir Palmeira. Rio has already shown that the PMDB is Cabral, Temer and Lava Jato. It showed that it takes a coherent left. So we need to run. Freixo would be the best name for PSOL and for the whole left.
It is true that Freixo faces security problems as a result of his fearless actions against the militias. It is necessary to demand that the Sstate maintains his security, or ensure that the party puts its resources to guarantee it. We are committed to guarantee this hypothesis.
If the so called far left does not have its strongest name, it leaves the space to the far right. Bolsonaro is this sign. It is no wonder that in Rio de Janeiro the names are stronger on both sides of the spectrum.
We want to accelerate this debate, of the name and the program. Let’s reaffirm that Luciana follows with her name at the disposal of the party. Luciana may be a candidate for several positions, but the political decision of MES and herself is to help the party have a strong name (within our parameters) for the presidential race. Luciana demonstrated, in 2014, her quality of debate to express an anti-capitalist program and to channel the fight against machismo, LGBTophobia and oppression. In addition, she is founder of the party. It is worth rescuing the balance resolution that the National Executive of the PSOL voted unanimously at that time as part of an effort to unify every Party:
“Thus, our candidacy expressed an important accumulation in the most dynamic social movements of the conjuncture after the days of June. We were together with the MTST, MLB, Popular Brigades, among other housing movements. Our campaign reinforced with the struggle of the LGBT community, mobilizing this sector around the line “for more rights”. We received support from intellectuals and contemporary public opinion, such as Gregorio Duvivier, Márcia Tiburi, Marina Lima, bloggers from the left. The youth held high-impact events, “viralizing” the campaign on the streets and in social networks. ”
We should tell the people: it is true, this democracy is rotten, it is dominated by the millionaires. But the exit is not the end of democracy, intolerance, repression. The way out is real democracy, self-organization of workers, youth, women, the LGBT community, blacks, strengthening the struggle for rights, against prejudice and oppression. The way out is not to accept that the millionaires and the political caste continue to rule in favor of themselves and against the majority of the people.
We want to accelerate the debate on the political alternative to build an alternative pole to the caste with a broad programmatic debate to help rid the country of the social catastrophe to which the illegitimate government of Temer is taking us.
This is our responsibility, the responsibility of the PSOL and all the agents who work for the left.
MES/PSOL’s National Secretariat, March 15th, 2017.