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

The experience of the construction of the mandate and the current in São Paulo

Pedro Serrano 

Since January 2017, the Esquerda Socialista Movement, internal tendency of PSOL, began the construction of a mandate in the City of São Paulo, led by the councilor, leader and public figure of our organization, Sâmia Bomfim. From then on, the responsibilities of our organization in the city, our possibilities of construction and rooting, were extended. São Paulo is the largest and most populous city in the country, the epicenter of many of the main national political events. In a short time, the strengthening of the political expression of Sâmia and, consequently, the scope of the policy and the profile of our organization for previously unreached sectors is already remarkable.

However, the inauguration of a mandate does not encourage only “practical” questions and the immediate construction of our organization. This brings to light the historical debates carried out by the revolutionary left about the intervention of the workers inside the institutionality as a way to take advantage of the democratic gaps opened up in certain political regimes, without this leading to the adaptation to the bourgeois parliament or to parliamentary pragmatism.

However, the inauguration of a mandate does not encourage only “practical” questions and the immediate construction of our organization. This brings to light the historical debates carried out by the revolutionary left about the intervention of the workers inside the institutionality as a way to take advantage of the democratic gaps opened up in certain political regimes, without this leading to the adaptation to the bourgeois parliament or to parliamentary pragmatism.

Historically, two opposing positions are presented as equally wrong. On the one hand, the ultra-left sectarianism that rejects any institutional intervention to see in a path of inevitable bureaucratic degeneration. On the other, the reformism that guides the partisan strategy around institutional disputes and partial gains, losing the compass of the great transformations and the intervention in the class struggle. If the first vice condemns an organization to political marginality, without the capacity to alter the state of affairs, the second cancels the transforming and revolutionary nature of the party, which becomes part of the reproduction of the dominant system.

In this way, we believe that the position of a revolutionary organization facing the challenge of institutional intervention must be both daring and vigilant, ambitious and judicious. We must be willing to use these spaces and electoral processes as instruments to challenge mass influence, maintaining the political principles of our program (whose ultimate goal is the destruction of that institutionality) and organizational independence in relation to the bourgeois state.

In the Brazilian scenario, we observed in the last decades a relevant weight of the elections as moments in which the mass identifies, although distant and with growing disinterest, the debate on power. Therefore, we never hesitate to point out the importance of PSOL to seriously contest elections. In this sense, we defend that the party is a living instrument of intervention in the processes of struggle, in strikes, demonstrations of youth, to expand its insertion in the neighborhoods, etc., so that it does not repeat the mistakes and the trajectory of the PT. Speaking of the mandate of Sâmia Bomfim in the capital of SP, as in this text we will do, helps to give materiality to the debate.

Who is Sâmia and what led her to parliament?

Sâmia Bomfim, 28 years old, is a young revolutionary militant. He was born in the interior of the state of São Paulo and moved to the capital at age 17 to study Literature at the University of São Paulo. In this space, he began a trajectory of militancy that has now been completed for more than a decade. He was active in the student movement, directing the Academic Center of his course and the Central Directory of Students of the USP (main DCE of Brazil) for about 5 years. In the period, he starred, along with more than one generation of militants, many of whom are now builders of his mandate or members of the MES / PSOL in other cities and states, strikes and rectorial occupations, as in 2007 and 2013.

Sâmia combined early student militancy with the world of work. In 2011, she was admitted as a public servant at the same university, as technical-administrative. He joined the category union and built the extensive strike of 2014, which lasted more than 60 days and demoralized Governor Alckmin (PSDB).

All this trajectory was combined with the construction of the MES / PSOL, of which Sâmia is a young leader, and with the experiences made in the period. Oriented by the international reading of a historical turnaround from the economic crisis that began in 2008, which led the world to witness again large mass movements, our current made a firm commitment to insertion in youth. In the case of the United States and in Latin America, Brazilian youth could be the vanguard of the resumption of the processes of struggle in the world, country, after long years of calm under the hegemony of the PT governments.

It was what we noticed in June 2013 when millions of young workers and Brazilians of all ages took to the streets and opened a death crisis in the New Republic regime whose effects intensify and contradictions are felt until the current period , in the progressive and regressive symptoms.

Sâmia was the founder of the Juntos! Movement, a broad youth collateral of the MES, teacher and enthusiast of the Emancipa Network, a social movement driven by our current that organizes thousands of young peripherals who study to enter universities, and also leadership of Juntas! , our feminist group. In addition to the participation highlighted in June 2013, she gained reference in the streets during an expressive day of feminist struggle that took place at the end of 2015, as well as in various mobilizations that took place in the social networks around the guideline. It became remarkable, as of 2013, a growing role of women in the processes of confrontation, especially the young women who built the “Feminist Spring”, and today we can say that Sâmia is the largest political representation of this phenomenon.

These brief “biographical” paragraphs serve less to describe a person than to demonstrate that the substrate of the electoral victory of our current in SP was a long, patient and daring job of insertion in the social sectors and intervention in the struggles. This, therefore, is the profile of our parliamentarian and the propaganda we make around her public figure: a young woman, feminist, worker, striker, anti-capitalist, radical, etc. As you can see from experience, there is room for that in São Paulo and in Brazil, that is, there is room for our policy in the face of the terrible Brazilian crisis.

A mandate for what?

We build our mandate guided by the elements discussed above. Our objectives can be synthesized in three axes: i) strengthen the processes of the class struggle, giving support to the sectors and seeking to combine the street struggle with the institutional struggle; ii) permanently denounce the rottenness of the Brazilian political system by making, from inside parliament, a denunciation of the institution itself and a call for people to trust in their own strength; iii) indicate, in a general way, an alternative power whose scale is not only municipal, but national and international.

Regarding the first point, in just one year of mandate, we took several exemplary actions. In the general strike of 04/28/17, the largest in Brazil in decades, all our forces were turned to the distribution of materials calling for strikes in neighborhoods and transport, in addition to speaking in plenary defending the demonstration. On the day of the general strike, Sâmia woke up at the picket line of the metroviarios, the protagonist of the strike, and last night at the demonstration that brought together more than 50,000 people in front of the home of President Temer. A month later, even being a councilor from São Paulo, Sâmia went to Brasilia in the massive demonstration in front of the national congress, in which police repression was seen as intense as the resistance of the demonstrators, holding the flags of PSOL, Juntos! and Emancipa.

More recently, in January 2018, a judicial action of our mandate was combined with a new process of struggle of the metroviarios. These triggered a strike against the partial privatization of the lines by Alckmin, and an action moved by Sámia, the day of the strike, prevented the realization of the auctions. Although hours later the government had reversed the decision in higher instance, the legal measure generated a huge political event, moralized the workers and exposed the maracatas of the government and businessmen, as the issue gained space in the mainstream media. One of the leaders of the category and membra of the union is leader of the MES (the also young Ana Borguin) and his figure has been strengthened in the process, as an immediate partner of Sâmia and vice versa. It should be noted that Alckmin, today, is the main name of the “markets” for the presidential election of 2018. That same method of combining struggles we have done with various categories, such as teachers and others.

The second point (denunciation of the political regime and the parliament) is central. It happens that the political crisis in Brazil, as well as in the world, exponentially widens the discredit of the masses with the old parties and with bourgeois democracy. It is noticeable, more and more, that it is a democracy sequestered by the “markets”, which make politicians and governors true marionettes of their interests and figures sunk in corruption. We have to differentiate ourselves radically, under penalty of serfs seen as “part of the system”. From within the parliament, Sâmia resounds popular dissatisfaction with the institution itself. From small actions, such as rejecting wage increases and privileges, leading a common life, to the broader call for political action by workers and the middle sectors.

Finally, the third point is oriented by the global construction we make of MES and  PSOL. Although the mandate of Sâmia has the municipal limit of action and concrete and immediate commitments with the municipalities, we believe it is essential to point out, whenever possible, the general defense of an alternative of power and radical transformations in Brazil and in the world.

The own experience of intervention in the parliament, in our current, has a previous history. We are inspired by figures such as Luciana Genro, Fernanda Melchionna and contemporary MES parliamentarians in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Natal. As a voice heard in the municipality with the power to “form an opinion”, Sâmia resonates the master lines of the strategy we are conducting, seeking to translate our positions according to the level of consciousness of the masses. The same is true from the international point of view. We lend solidarity to the struggles and resistances in the world. Samania and his team travel for international exchange events between the left and the revolutionaries. Debate the relationship between local problems and the global logic of capital (for example, in the privatizations of the mayor João Doria of  PSDB, in which foreign multinational companies often benefit).

Conclusions on the relationship between construction of the current and construction of the mandate

For all the above, it is clear the importance of the combination between the construction of the mandate and the construction of the revolutionary organization. Without it, everything can be lost in “parliamentary activism” or in reformism. Already a well-conducted process, as we seek to do in São Paulo, can provide the organization’s policy with a superior scope, as well as insertion and support in the face of the growing working class. It is a tool and both to break with marginality, a fundamental condition for becoming a serious politician, a mass politics, our great goal.

The increase of our political expression through the public figure must be accompanied by an increase in the social rooting of the organization, presence at the base and participation in struggles. Also the organizational methods of the current can not be confused with the State, being fundamental the subordination of any militant, even of the parliamentarian, to the party regime. In this way, we believe we are conducting a high-value experience in the municipality of São Paulo, pointing, in the midst of the political and economic crisis that penalizes Brazilians, a focus of hope, a path, although embryonic, to build a new world and a new society.

Pedro Serrano – Political Coordinator of the mandate of Councilwoman Sâmia Bomfim (MES / PSOL)





A new page to support and build new alternatives in Latin America and the world, defending the power of the workers and people against the 1% of the rich and privileged, and a society without exploitation.

Writing office

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