Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

Israel Dutra e Thiago Aguiar (Secretariado Nacional do MES-PSOL)

In Brazilian Independence Week, Temer goes on sale of the national patrimony, opening the “doors” of the country to China.

Michel Temer chose the days before Sept. 7 for his most important presidential trip. In Brasilian Independence Week, Temer goes on sale of the national patrimony, opening the “doors” of the country to China. In fact, the real purpose of his tour around the Asian giant was to deliver the jewels of the crown of Brazilian wealth, using China as a trustee of the handover plan, a real leap in quality on Brazil´s dependence in face of powerful countries.

We know that the general objectives of the Temer government – which is the outcome of a palace coup and with enormous rejection rates – are to reduce the rights of the people and workers to reduce the so-called “Brazil cost” and increase productivity through espoliation; “stop the bleeding” of Operation Lava Jato to preserve as much as possible the political caste that struggles to survive; and develop the most ambitious privatization plan in history. These are the agents who now want to put control of strategic areas of the country in foreign hands.

Such business is part of a greater subordination of the country to the world system. The irony is that sectors of the left, which qualify the Chinese model of “market socialism,” do not realize the role that China has been playing in Latin America, and especially in Temer government, to widen its grip on our country.

With an eye on Eletrobrás [public power company], in the production and commercialization of minerals and grains, the Chinese already expand their tentacles in the South. The China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has announced plans for the completion of the Santa Catarina Bulk Terminal in São Francisco do Sul, and the Paraná Container Terminal, located in the Port of Paranaguá. According to the Brazil-China Business Council (CEBC), Chinese companies’ investment in Brazil grew by more than 13% only during the Temer period. There are more than 16 “strategic projects”, five in electric power sector and two in infrastructure sector. This explains Temer’s eagerness to implement the privatization plan, with China as a preferred partner. A circle that closes enlarging business in Brazil and for the political caste.

In Brazil, traditional politics is a great deal. While the public servants of several states are late in their wage payments, the image of the week was the apprehension by the Federal Police of the suitcases of money in the apartment connected to former minister Geddel Vieira Lima. More than R$ 51 million [more than U$16 million] was found in cash, one of the largest operations of this size in Brazil, shocking the country for the shamelessness. Geddel has been a well-known and important figure of the political caste for decades: he was one of the pivots of the “budget dwarfs” scandal in the 1990s, he was Lula’s Minister of National Integration, CEF [public bank] vice-president during the Dilma government and one of the initial articulators of the government Temer, when he was overturned by denunciations of favoring real estate speculation in Salvador.

Another deal revealed in recent days is the purchase of votes to make Rio Olympic venue in 2016. Carlos Nunzam, leader of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, was also caught with money in several currencies, by the way. A scandal revealed in Operation “Dirty Game”, which showed the connections of “King Arthur”, businessman linked to Cabral, in the purchase of votes of IOC leaders.

Meanwhile, the New Republic continues to agonize

The political crisis seems to never end. Like a bottomless pit, every week the investigations bring new revelations about the spurious relations of the public agents within the three powers. The new spectacular fact was the release of “informal” audio between Ricardo Saud and Joesley Batista, preceded by a press conference by Rodrigo Janot, showing how JBS criminals sought to manipulate the investigations, which in practice will invalidate the benefits obtained in the agreement of the JBS group owners.

The recordings are shocking. Joesley goes so far as to speak of “blowing up the judiciary and executive”. He cites the highest echelon, involving names like Senator Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI) and former minister José Eduardo Cardozo, whom they attribute to the possibility of revealing how the STF ministers would move. The audios reveal Joesley’s articulation with prosecutor Marcelo Miller, Janot’s former collaborator at PGR, who would have guided JBS’s accusation before earning a high salary at a renowned law firm. Miller’s role and the content of audios hitherto hidden by Joesley called into question the benefits obtained by the JBS and mobilized the government’s shock force to try to discredit the robust evidence gathered against Temer, such as Rocha Loures’s money suitcase and Temer´s “You have to keep this, ok?” for the purchase of Eduardo Cunha’s silence. Still in China, Temer did not hide his smile of satisfaction at the knowledge of Joesley’s new revelations, which would complicate Janot’s “second arrow”. It may be too early for Temer to celebrate: the imminent disclosure of Lucio Funaro’s accusation and Geddel’s arrest on account of the millions found in Salvador show how the leadership of the government and the PMDB are against the ropes.

On the other hand, Janot decided to file a new denouncement against Lula and PT leaders because of deviations in Petrobrás. After closing his caravan in the Northeast, in which he sought to demonstrate political strength for his legal defense and for a possible candidacy for the presidency, Lula suffered another heavy blow besides the new complaint from the Attorney General: Palocci, creator of the “Letter to the Brazilian People” and Minister of Finance in the first PT government, in testimony to judge Moro, decided to begin speaking what he knows. To sum up, Lula’s former right-hand man confirmed much of the revelations of Emílio and Marcelo Odebrecht, according to which an organic relationship was constructed between the PT and the contractor in which overpriced contracts and government measures favorable to the contractor were exchanged for millionary kickbacks, in the amount of R $ 300 million, in the form of legal and illegal campaign contributions, as well as “gifts”, lectures and other favors to Lula and other PT leaders. The situation of the party and of Lula complicates and leaders already speak openly in the press about a “plan B” for 2018.

If PMDB and PT, former government partners, are deeply affected by the allegations of corruption, the situation in the PSDB, the third pillar of the regime, is no better. With its main submerged caciques, slaughtered by the revelations of Lava Jato, the São Paulo directory of the Toucans, the last fortress of the party, is in an open war between Alckmin and his creature, João Doria, disputing the nomination to the presidential candidacy. Both seek to present a privatization and pro-market agenda to win the support of the bourgeoisie to their pretensions: while Alckmin announces privatizations of the Metro, CPTM, possibly of CESP, in addition to another round of capital opening at Sabesp, Doria left the city hall of São Paulo to dedicate himself to circulate the country in events of the Lide, “honors” or in jet trips abroad in search of “partners” for his plan to sell the São Paulo capital. Doria’s “management”, as we see, is oriented by cuts in education and social areas (attacking the student’s free pass and even marking children in pens in the day care centers not to repeat snacks!), much marketing and the promise of selling the Pacaembu stadium, the municipal markets, the Interlagos racetrack, the corridors and bus terminals and the transportation ticket. The dispute with Alckmin could take Doria to DEM around the proposal to build a new “center” from the old and corrupt PFL. Not by chance, Doria has just dug a pathetic appearance alongside Macron in Paris. The party of the Toucans appears to be on the verge of implosion, divided between governmentists and anti-governmentists, and witnesses the increasingly explicit conflict between Doria and Alckmin. The socialist left needs to take advantage of this fissure to expand the struggle against the Tucan privatizations in Sao Paulo and to denounce Doria’s farce, the “antipolitical” that stitches together with figures such as Romero Jucá, Rodrigo Maia and José Agripino how to make their candidacy possible.

The “Adjustment Party” wants to impose its plans

What unifies the different wings of the bourgeoisie is the need to promote adjustment. Whether it is more or less critical, unity between the government, its parliamentary majority, local governments, the mainstream media in its editorials or the employers, with FIESP [São Paulo Industrial Federation] and CNI [National Industrial Council] at the head, the word of order is to adjust the accounts, approve reforms and spur further wages.

However, the proof that it is impossible to reform this regime is with “political reform” in debate, which ended up looking cosmetic, given the intentions originally announced. The approval of the proscriptive proposal of the performance clause – which ended up being a little less draconian than the initial proposal – is an authentic left-wing attack and an attempt to strengthen the major parties of the regime slaughtered by corruption scandals. Other reform issues are still on the table, such as the form of electoral financing and – apparently, losing power – the “district” or “semi-district” proposal. In this respect, it seems that the intense disputes between the political factions of the caste are leading to paralysis.

The government this week boasted of his victory in the approval of Meirelles’ new fiscal target. This is indeed a sham, as Temer and the political crooks who took office in 2016 promised to reverse the deficit quickly. In fact, the rift only increases, with the physiological distribution of amendments so that Temer could escape the first accusation and with the pardon for the billion dollar debts of the big companies and bankers. For the people, cuts and contingencies abound in key areas. The government also talks about a freeze on wages and a reduction in the payroll of public servants, in addition to promoting the increase of fuel taxes. The stock market celebrates reaching the highest prices in more than five years.

The week was also marked by renegotiation of state agreements. The ridiculous scene of Rodrigo Maia in tears embracing governor Pezão – partner of the destruction of Rio promoted by Cabral and Cunha’s gang – is the best illustration of what means the “rescue” they are celebrating. The signed agreement foresees deep cuts in the state budget, salary tightening and increase of the social security contribution for the functionalism, the sale of CEDAE [public sanitation company] and until closing of universities, like UERJ! Rio Grande do Sul is the next state in Meirelles’ slaughter line. Sartori’s fractioning of salary payment for months has attacked the livelihoods of thousands of workers. The teachers’ strike shows that resistance must increase.

Finally, Maia returned to the charge with an assault on the pension reform, which would return to the agenda in October to meet the permanent pressure of the international markets and the national bourgeoisie. It is further revealed the high cost to the people of Temer’s stay in the chair of President. It was a setback for the Brazilian people and workers not to take advantage of the opportunity to defeat it, along with the labor reform, from the denunciations of the JBS, as was the frustrated general strike of June 30. In this case, with the complicity of the trade union and political leadership that sought, on the one hand, to preserve and expand their corporate interests and, on the other hand, contribute with the effort to “stop the bleeding.”

More than ever, it’s time to make PSOL an alternative!

In face of that, PSOL’s 6th Congress has even greater responsibility to elaborate a strategy for this period. We believe that it must prioritize: 1) the confrontation and defeat of Temer, the ruling gang, their measures to attack the rights of the people and the delivery of national patrimony; 2) to combine the fight against the adjustment to the fight against corruption of which the main parties of the regime – PT, PMDB and PSDB – are accomplices as a way of offering an alternative to the Brazilian people with the force to face right-wing hypocrites such as Doria and the protofascism of Bolsonaro; 3) for this, the PSOL must consolidate a balance of what the PT’s 13-year term meant, overcoming the conciliation of classes of Lullism, which ended miserably under the rubble of corruption and organic relations with the bourgeoisie; 4) in dialogue with social movements and society, to offer an exit for the crisis, pointing out the need to liquidate the rotten regime of the New Republic, which only has to offer more attacks on democracy and self-preservation for the caste by attacking rights of the workers and even of the permanent war against the poor people, preferential target of State violence.

It is a strategy that, in order to win, needs to be strengthened by the mobilization of the people and the youth, to deepen resistance against government adjustment, anti-national and anti-popular. Now in the process of partial struggles – strikes and local and sectoral movements, as in the case of the fight September 14 and in the 2018 elections, the PSOL must point in this direction with a program and a profile

To that end, PSOL militants must take the party’s course in their hands, going to congressional plenaries and fighting for an independent party, without undemocratic distortions that endanger the political patrimony thus far conquered. This is the basis for going beyond, trusting that the PSOL is facing a historic task and that has much to offer for the struggles of the Brazilian people.

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Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder