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


Source: https://movimentorevista.com.br/2018/07/um-programa-para-o-brasil-contra-o-jugo-do-capital-financeiro-e-a-sangria-da-divida/

Translation by Clara Baeder and Isabel Laurito


The electoral debate is getting denser and the moment of definition of the candidacies and colligations is approaching, after the Brazilian participation in the World Cup and after the dispute in the courts last weekend about Lula’s release. Moreover, in this respect, in our opinion, it was clear that the Federal Police should have complied with Judge Favretto’s order to grant habeas corpus to Lula. It is in this atmosphere of permanent political instability that, in about a month, the official campaign period will begin.

In the preparatory discussions for the presentation of the programme of the candidacy of Guilherme Boulos and Sônia Guajajara – in the alliance between PSOL, PCB and social movements such as MTST and APIB – we presented our contributions. In the working groups, we consider it fundamental to bring to the center of the political and economic debate the most crucial issues that should be on our agenda, a formulation that should offer diagnoses on the serious national problems, from which it is possible to organize the popular mobilization necessary for the profound transformations that Brazil needs. In particular, some polemics have arisen in the debates on the economic agenda and the central measures to prioritize our public agitation. This is a complex debate, which obviously cannot be exhausted in the few lines that follow. But it is essential that the PSOL militancy participate in this discussion, as a way to build a strong Boulos and Guajajara candidacy to run for the presidential election and point the way for the mobilizations after October.

In this respect, an important definition for the entire electoral campaign is how to point out a way out of the budgetary crisis, used by the Temer government and the bourgeoisie as a justification for the cuts in social areas and the freezing of investments by means of the law of the spending ceiling, to remunerate national and foreign rentierism and to maintain the bleeding of public resources destined to financial expenditures. The deepening of the fiscal adjustment, privatizations and pension reform are on the menu of the right-wing candidates. This recipe, however, does not find credible spokespersons, given the unpopularity of the measures, the disqualification of the political parties deeply involved in corruption scandals and the disastrous government of Temer, a true anchor for its candidate, Henrique Meirelles, and for all those who place themselves as “center” alternatives – in reality the candidatures of the neoliberal right, also emptied by the space occupied by Jair Bolsonaro in the far-right.

Among the centre-left and opposition candidates for Temer, the most outstanding one is Ciro Gomes, who has presented in his speeches and interviews a programme for the recovery of the economy’s investments with a focus on progressive tax reform; a change in the profile of the public debt to cover the financial costs; and a continuation of the fiscal adjustment, through a pension reform oriented towards capitalisation, the withdrawal of workers’ rights and the financialization of the social security rights of the people. Ciro presents his program as “viable”, credible, and asks the bourgeoisie for confidence, as he did at the CNI, arguing that only the center-left would have the capacity to carry out the reforms necessary for the recovery of economic growth. In other words, the interesting aspects of his preaching – the criticism of the cost ceiling, the proposals for the taxation of the richest and the criticism of the financial costs – show their inconsistency, from a left-wing point of view, when placed in focus his willingness to carry out with more capacity and “authority” the fiscal adjustment and reforms claimed by the bourgeoisie. At the same time, the alliances he is trying to make with parties like DEM and PP show his attempt to reorganize the congressional arrangement that led to the Dilma government’s failure. It is not enough to “place the PMDB in the opposition” by recycling the other corrupt elements, protagonists of the failure of the New Republic that we have been witnessing for the past five years.

In its turn, the PT presents a seemingly radicalised discourse for the defence of its leaders, but it does not explain how it will repeat the macro-economic management of its 13 years of government, many of which in close collaboration with Meirelles, Levy and other direct agents of the major banks, in which, as Lula boasts, bankers and businessmen won “like never before in history”.

In reality, the coalition governments led by the PT were guided by the defense of the profitability of big capital – through policies of exoneration that cost the Treasury hundreds of billions of reais or the stimulus to the merger and internationalization of conglomerates sedated in Brazil – and by the defense of the high remuneration of financial capital, through the maintenance of high interests, the sacrosanct defense of the “macroeconomic tripod” and the orientation towards the primary surplus. Not by accident, until the last minute, Lula recommended Dilma to place Henrique Meirelles in the command of the Treasury Department.

For all these reasons, the responsibility of the PSOL’s candidacy is enormous. In our campaign, we must show the need to break the yoke of financial capital, the hegemonic fraction of the transnational capitalist class, and from there raise the awareness of broad sectors about the link between the democratic tasks and the defense of our sovereignty with the economic measures that can point to a different kind of future for the working class and the Brazilian people. In our agitation, we need to explain complex problems in a simple, accessible and mobilizing way.

We hold the conviction that, accoutered with a program of this kind, Guilherme Boulos and Sonia Guajajara can present a solution and even occupy a huge electoral space that is still empty: that of millions who seek for a way out to unemployment, informality, precariousness of work, lack of public services, social crisis on the cities, violence and the ten of thousands of brazilians, especially poor and black, who are murdered every year. This majority of working people feels resentful, justifiably, at the widespread corruption and the failure of the regime’s parties. We can offer a progressive way out of the widespread social hate, pointing effective measures that will allow us to surmount the crisis and show a socialist horizon for Brazil. This is the size of our challenge. If we do not succeed, we will lose space for inconsistent alternatives, such as Ciro Gomes, or to right-wing Bolsonaro, that in a very reactionary and dangerous way dialogues with the people’s anger.

The character of neoliberal globalization and our measures: a problem of framing

Facing the deep economic crisis from last years, different fractions of the bourgeois found themselves united by measures they thought were needed to take back profitability of capital in Brazil: it is a harsh neoliberal program, based on 1)compression of labour costs (for whom the labour reform, unemployment pressure and new outsourcing law plays an important role); 2) the seizure of growing plots of public budget in order to guarantee the remuneration of rents and capital applied to public debt (with the ceiling law, the deep cuts on social areas, maintenance of the highest real interest rates in the world, the attacks on functionalism and the proposals of pension reforms and devinculation of budget from social areas); and 3) in the deepening of the plundering of lands, natural resources (with the expansion of the agricultural frontier, the changes in the Code of Mining recently concluded, the proposals of flexibilization of environmental licenses and of permission of sale of lands to foreigners) and of public patrimony, generating devalued assets for which capital thirsty for profit from all over the world can be invested (as evidenced by the redoubled spirit for privatizations of Eletrobrás and energy distributors, of oil fields and Petrobrás auctions, of companies and infrastructure assets and the sale proposals of Caixa and Banco do Brasil, among others). Considering all the measures together, these proposals of bourgeoisie represent an unprecedented attack to brazilian people and its rights.

The fight against this program, therefore, must name our enemies, understand how neoliberal globalization operates and what the foundations of its crisis are. One of the most insidious weapons of neoliberalism is to present itself as a logic, a nature of the world and of social relations. In the absence of options, everyone should adjust to its presuppositions. It is necessary to say once again: no! The global financial capital, as a hegemonic fraction of transnational capital, directs through its agents (in governments, state institutions, central banks, multilateral organizations, in financial institutions, universities and in the media) the global economy and submits the national states to its interests, promoting programs of adjustment, trade liberalization and foreign investment, privatization and devaluation of assets to guarantee profitable investment flows in the global economy. Public debts play a fundamental role in this mechanism, not only because of the pillaging of public resources with their remuneration, but also because they allow financial capital (large banks and global investment funds, rating agencies, etc.) to direct the entire economic policy of the national States, coordinating it with their needs for accumulation. The international experience shows this quite eloquently.

Especially considering everything that has taken place in recent years in Brazil and in the world, we need to be clear about these mechanisms and explain to the people how financial capital hegemonizes the whole of the global bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisies – the rest being equally permeated, given the already totally contaminated borders of the bourgeois fractions, by interests in financial remuneration and in the guarantee of their profitability.

Some of the programmatic sketches discussed on Boulos and Guajajara campaign point out correctly, for an example, for the need to revoke the 95 amendment (law of ceiling), the law of fiscal responsibility and devinculation of union budget. This is fundamental, but it is necessary to explain clearly to the people the reason begin these proposals: we need to revoke such mechanisms because they are the mean from which brazilian government its submitted to the interests of profit from international capital and national bourgeois. Nonetheless, it is a very harsh battle. Obviously, that would lead into a deep coping with the bourgeois, that would certainly do anything to stop any of this measures from being approved. It will be necessary to organize the fight, calling the people to engage on it.

For that reason, in our opinion, the counselors of Boulos candidacy, such as the economist Laura Carvalho, make a mistake when downplaying and even battling against the proposals of public debt audit. Using arguments such as that what the left traditionally assesses about the accounting of financial expends are usually imprecise and mistaken, that there are pension funds investments on some debts securities or even saying that economist and technicians already know the numbers, these counselors criticize the audit innocuous and chose to criticize the debts only for its high interests, and the flux and profile of contracts. This approach seem to us very wrong for a number of reasons: regardless of the controversy over numbers, the audit would not only help to elucidate them, but above all would help to mobilize the people by showing that the national budget is not intended to guarantee public services and the realization of people’s rights, but in fact is controlled by banks, investment funds and by a privileged minority that controls the national wealth. After all, it matters little whether “technicians and economists know the numbers”, since this battle will not only be solved with a minister’s pen, but with the strength from streets.

On this subject, the approach from Luciana Genro campaign from 2014 offered a way out, showing the importance of facing politically and pedagogically the theme of public debt, so that, supported by street mobilization, we could cancel or suspend the illegal payments, devaluing the illegal debt, while also defending the pension rights for small savers.

There is an even more important aspect to this debate. Doubts and legitimate questions about the effectiveness of a proposal such as the audit of public debt cannot make the socialist left only briefly mention or elide the diagnosis regarding neoliberal globalization and financialization or the economy, which is deeply related to the imprisonment and direction of the national state to place it at the service of the profitability of transnational capital, its financial fraction, and the big national bourgeoisie.

This is not an academic debate. The bourgeoisie’s program for Brazil is deeply related to all that is said above. Last week, the conclusion of negotiations for Boeing to take control of the Embraer commercial jet slice was announced. Similar events have been reported in recent months: negotiations for the sale of the Braskem, by Odebrecht and Petrobras, to international investment funds; the inclination to pulverize and denationalize the stock control of the Vale after the new shareholders’ agreement; the growing presence of Chinese investment funds in the purchase of generators and electricity distributors; the sale of Petrobrás auctions carried out by Temer and Parente; in addition to the consolidation in recent years of large open capital conglomerates, based in Brazil or abroad, which monopolize or “oligopolize” fundamental sectors such as food and protein (JBS and Marfrig, now the two world leaders in the sector, with headquarters in the USA), cellulose (with the fusion of Fibria and Eldorado Celulose), among many others, showing how the transnationalization of the Brazilian economy is accelerating. Outside our borders, the merger between Bayer and Monsanto was recently announced, creating an immense transnational company that controls the chemical chain from one end to the other, absorbing, through its sales of fertilizers, pesticides, beyond its patents and royalties, a fundamental part of the Brazilian agribusiness income, pointed out by many as a solution for the national economy, increasingly deindustrialized in the face of the difficulty of competition with the global production dispersed in value chains.

As a consequence, for an example, the balance of power between capital and work is disadvantage for the last one; strategic sectors from economy starts to be controlled by international forces, deepening the denationalization of economy; the unemployment grows; the balance of payments tends to face chronic problems with remittances of foreign currency profits from vital activities such as power generation or transportation; among many other bad consequences.

The programmatic outlines under debate in Guilherme Boulos and Sônia Guajajara campaign also correctly point to the need for a profound tax reform that faces the privileges of the rich and the oligarchy as a way of recovering fiscal capacity, making investments that will generate jobs and invest in public services. Measures such as the taxation of large fortunes and inheritances, taxes on profits and dividends and taxation of speculative investments must certainly be mobilized to confront inequality and attack the gains of the bourgeoisie. None of this has even been raised during the 13 years of PT governments and it is fundamental that the socialist left defend them in the election.

These measures, however, will face a hard resistance from the higher classes and can lead to the paradox of being utopical if we approach these ideas by a point of view that puts too much value on the measures as being “practical”, formulated based on achievable techinicities. The international examples must guide us: the tragical experience from the years of PT governments – that promised changes, but only attended the big capital interests – the collapse of social democracy in Europe or even the failed example of Syriza, in Greece; all these experiences show us that transnational capital and its major fraction, from the first minute of a government of a left-wing homeless movement leadership in Brazil, would attack without any pity, operating its tools of pressure and submission on financing and on the brazilian currency.

For a PSOL strong on october elections and ready for the fights ahead us

Our program can not be guided centrally only by tax measures that would enable the return of investment, growth and job creation. The bourgeoisie has shown more than enough that the success of this approach would depend on the deep mobilization of the working class to place in its hands the fundamental levers of state power against the power of the bourgeoisie, especially its hegemonic financial fraction.

For all this, PSOL campaign needs to present a diagnosis of our fundamental problems and an agitation that points to a concrete solution to the problems of unemployment, family debt, housing, security and the recovery of public services at the same time that shows the need to fight for power, advancing in the deep gears of submission of the brazilian state to the transnational capitalist class, the national big bourgeoisie, and the financial fraction that hegemonizes them. This is the synthesis of an orientation that points out a path to the 2018 election, as well as to the struggles that will inevitably follow from October onwards, given the depth of the brazilian crisis.

This is also the best way to deal with the neoliberal right-wing program, which wants to condemn our people to social misery and the desert of austerity, while showing what sets us apart from inconsistent outputs, such as those presented by Ciro Gomes or PT, which may present themselves as “viable” or in better chances of electoral dispute. The vote in PSOL is a vote for change and a vote for the deep transformation of the country. We fight against a logic that naturalizes the lack of alternative, showing that it exists and will arise from our mobilizations, naming our enemies and measuring their strength.

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