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[BRAZIL] The left needs to unite the struggle against austerity to the struggle against corruption

Israel Dutra and Roberto Robaina (MES and PSOL’s National Leadership)

A serious political crisis marks Brazilian national scene. This crisis is combined with the worsening of the living conditions of the population as the economic crisis deepens. The data is alarming: there is no prospect of recovery and the economy has shrunk by 8.3% since the start of the current prolonged recession.

The tragedy that has touched the country with the terrible accident of the Chapecoense football team did not prevent the deputies and senators from voting two agendas against the people: the continuity of the adjustment and measures that disfigure the anti-corruption package, thus threatening the continuity of investigations of Lava-Jato Operation.

The first-round approval in the Senate of the proposed Constitutional amendment number 55 (PEC 55), for a spending ceiling in public expenditure, even in the condition of a strong challenge, with a combative march that gathered more than 20 thousand people in the Esplanada, was the work of Renan Calheiros’ articulation with Temer to follow the agenda of the ‘Bridge to the Future’, to pay the interests of the national patronage. Hours later, the House approves PDT’s amendment that rescues former PEC 37, restricting the investigative power of the Prosecutor’s Office and Attorneys. Renan immediately seeks to complete his work: to save the caste, the Temer government, and to ensure that there is no interpenetration between the two agendas. A masterplay to sustain the Congress and the government.

The question that moved the whole crisis was the desperate attempt of the main parties: uniting PT, PSDB, PMDB and others to guarantee amnesty to slush funding, despite of the popular outcry. Had it not been for the crisis between former Ministers Calero and Geddel, Temer and the two heads of the legislative houses would not have given in to this question.

The PSOL deputies correctly denounced, together with Rede’s, more than once, the attempt to approve the amnesty to slush funding. PSOL also had a correct position in voting against the amendment that limited the power of prosecutors and judges.

In the middle of this board of popular discontent and spurious agreements, the November 29th demonstration against the PEC 55 signaled an important point of resistance to adjustment, led by youth occupying schools and universities. However, on the other front that weakens the caste and the government – that of the fight against corruption – part of the left refuses to fight against corruption, weakening the fight against the government, paving the way for recomposition of Renan and the regime. And the most serious point: leaving an avenue open for right-wing groups to have an almost solitary role in the attempt to channel popular outrage.

This disastrous position was sustained by Popular Brazil Front (Frente Brasil Popular) and the People without Fear Front (Frente Povo Sem Medo): they condemned the fight against corruption, criminalizing the entire judiciary, stating that Operation Lava-Jato is nothing more than an operation of “imperialist agents”. This disastrous definition not only does not properly arm the tasks of the period but it is also responsible for the growth of the right on the streets.

It appears that these fronts really “can’t get it”; the growing of the null voters in October elections, the rejection of all politicians, as surveys of government popularity show, and the feeling of the streets do not tell them anything.

The left can’t be held hostage to this logic, “in solidarity” with the political caste, in a narrative that only leads to direct or indirect support for Renan; The same Renan who is the articulator of the adjustment and the PEC.

Operation Lava-Jato had a quality leap when arrested in Rio de Janeiro, with clear evidences, the ex- governor Sergio Cabral. His accumulated fortune is only the tip of the iceberg of the gang that has ruled power in Rio de Janeiro for the past ten years. This gang wants to unload a brutal adjustment against the people and the functionalism through Pezão and Picciani. The prison of Cabral was celebrated by all corners in the capital of Rio.

It is necessary to make a fight without truce against the right, be it the right that governs or that seeks to “take to the streets”. We are part of those who have faced right-wing MBL in school occupations, in the debates, in the streets themselves. And we know that we don’t fight the right by leaving the ground free for them to pose as heralds of the fight against corruption. In the previous stage, these sectors managed to divert the legitimate feeling of fighting against corruption, to fighting against Dilma, resulting in the Impeachment. Now, in the light of the Temer government, the situation is different: Renan and the governments are in the limelight because they need to save the caste and promote adjustment. This causes cracks in the right field itself. And to fight in the streets, popular indignation is an elementary task.

The sectors of the “fronts” that refuse to take this fight as theirs, confuse the vanguard and divide the fight against the government. They end up weakening the fight against the adjustment, by placing confidence in the congress and leaving to the right the fight against corruption.

Every position has its context. In a time when the attack on the prosecutors aims to liquidate the Lava Jato and ensure the impunity of those who did the impeachment to stifle the operation, giving the dominant class the brutal application of neoliberal adjustment, to add voices to these attacks is to play their game.

If the left continues to insist against the anti-corruption discourse, it will isolate itself more and more from the people, taking the whole of the vanguard to a defeat.

A real left has to follow the fight against the adjustment, in the state mobilizations, in the fight against the PEC and to be consequent in the fight for the continuation of Lava-Jato as stood Luciana Genro, Chico Alencar, José Padilha, among others. To unite the two struggles is the only way out to resist the Temer government and to draw the profound conclusions from the experience of “Lulismo” as a left that has become corrupted and has become part of the regime.

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