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Interview shows Lula with the same old strategy

Lula’s interview with El País shows that the PT’s historic leadership remains sharp. His enormous intelligence, recognized by almost everyone who knows something of politics – except for the stupidity of those who, from the beginning of his presidential term, had been scandalized by his mistakes of Portuguese and his lack of university diploma and that, years later, became the first supporters of the current captain president – was the great mark of nearly two hours of conversation with Monica Bergamo and Florestan Fernandes Junior. Incidentally, the contrast between Lula’s intelligence and his capacity for communication and Bolsonaro’s inability was obvious. The latter, locked in his words, always nervous to expose the central plans of his government in the economy (whose content is dictated by the bankers and by Guedes), is only at ease, however crude, to utter his authoritarian and reactionary positions. Lula, on the other hand, dominates words and gestures with fluency and grace.

Lula’s conversation will certainly be widely used by the PT, and the dominant bourgeois media will certainly try to hide. Not for less. How would they show the people Lula’s argument by dismantling the social security reform and anti-popular bill underway in the country? Affirming that the neoliberal adjustment plan only serves to enrich the richest !? Nothing surprising then the media boycott that worked and manipulated undisguised to ensure the impeachment of Dilma, then the arrest of Lula and still the prohibition of his candidacy even in prison. As Lula himself said, the impeachment, converted into a parliamentary coup, would not have been complete without his interdiction. And, in fact, perhaps Bolsonaro did not win. I say perhaps because the elections would be other, although the extreme right movement, expressed in the strong electoral rise of Bolsonaro, could also be strong enough to win of Lula. It is striking, by the way, that Lula evaded this question and, confronted again with it, again failed to give the answer: why the extreme right grew so much in the wake of the PT governments? Although the interview reveals that Lula is still in shape and sharp, this was only one of the issues that was not discussed in depth.

Except that he did not delve into some matters, by choice, it was always a mark of Lula, part of his wit. That the PT uses the interview will be logical. The party is the left-wing party that has the most capable national leadership, by far. Of course, the PT has weakened a lot and will never regain its strength. It can be at most the shadow of what it was in the past. Bolsonaro’s strength lies in the fact that the PT has as its center the defense of a past that can no longer return. There is no chance of a progressive mass movement to form defending the back again in the wheel history. Hope mobilizes millions when it is guided by a place not yet reached. The PT project was carried out. Impeachment prevented the working class experience from being completed with the PT, allowing the party to resignify itself to a part of the country’s social and political vanguard; but the experience was enough to make it impossible for the PT to be the alternative to the national crisis. The absence of an alternative is a mark of current policy. Its central brand. I am referring above all to left-wing alternatives, since the projects of the bourgeoisie are projects of crisis or, at most, an authoritarian solution to face the crisis if they do not achieve hegemony and popular consensus to carry out their projects. Bolsonarism was the caricature and anticipated, preventive expression of this openly authoritarian possibility. Already Mourão seems the expression “sensible” – wise in the case because it does not explain this possibility among its current range of discursive options. But on the left, Lula remains the main leadership of the main opposition party, which is an asset of Bolsonism itself, which, in turn, with its stupidity and unpreparedness, is also an explanation for the PT to maintain itself – and even strengthened again, though much less than before. Lula, compared to Bolsonaro, becomes not only a brilliant and charismatic leadership – which he always was – but in the incarnation of any universal leadership.

In the interview, Lula evaluates the forces of the left and their leaders, identifying some and choosing the ones they prefer. He quotes Ciro’s intelligence and criticizes him as always, praises Flávio Dino (PC doB) and does not mention anyone from the PT, making it clear that in the PT, the leadership is himself. Nothing more obvious. Despite this, the journalist insisted and asked about Haddad. Just there came the praise and reference to the former candidate. But it’s not because Lula does not like Haddad. It’s just that Lula wants to continue leading and giving the cards himself. And that’s what you’re doing. It is left political forces to decide if they want to follow his line and give him the role of chief strategist. This has been one of the debates in PSOL. In the party, all defend that Lula is released and criticize that his prison had political motivation. But there are those who consider that Lula is innocent and those who do not grant him this certificate. In the interview, Lula did not fail to mention Boulos. He is his favorite in PSOL because he represents the wing that actively supports him, contrary to the challenge to his political leadership that has marked PSOL since its foundation in 2004, before the “Mensalão” and Lava Jato. After the scandals, new levies of militants and parliamentarians joined the PSOL, but the origin of the party was not related to the decline in popularity of the PT leadership. Lula treated the former PSOL candidate and MTST leader as he has always treated: a boy who promises. When I listen to Lula, I always remember his phrase that, in youth, everyone must be left and can be radical and then mature and become conciliatory.

As Boulos continues to mirror much in Lula’s leadership, the former president continues to pose as a counselor. And here is the point of the interview for a strategy that Lula does not hide: his insistence on doubling the bet on class collaboration. Of course, Lula is in a difficult situation and, in the absence of mobilizations for his freedom (such mobilizations have not had and will not have force), his luck is in the right hands with the ruling class, which controls Congress, the media and the judiciary. And, of course, the Armed Forces. So even the PT was so emphatic in condemning Temer’s arrest. It is the same reason why he lamented the fate of Sérgio Cabral, with whom the PT partnered, together promising national redemption with the World Cup and the Olympics. The continuation of the arrests of politicians due to corruption scandals hinders the plans for the anticipation of Lula’s freedom or, now, the granting of his house arrest. Thus it became entangled in a knot without possibility of untying the party that, in the 90s, had as its axis the fight against corruption.

But beyond his tactics of dialogue, Lula’s strategy continues to be class collaboration. Also in this case there are no surprises. It was his brand always. And again in the interview. I am not referring to his repeated assertion that he has peace in his heart, that he preaches love, that he will get better out of prison, that he is still the “Lulinha peace and love.” All this can be said without problems, can be interpreted only as an expression of good humor, good heart and peace of mind.

But Lula says much more. He says he wants to get out of jail and talk to the generals and know why he so hate the PT. In a moment like this, to say this is a clear sign of conciliation. Some may believe that this is what the left needs to defend. It’s not what I think. The leadership of an army that has never made self-criticism of the coup d’état, which has always defined it as a revolution, does not act naively. It is not there to be convinced. It is to protect the interests of the ruling class. A ruling class that is impoverishing an already very poor people.

When Lula announces that he wants to talk to the top of the Armed Forces, he tries to run for a role that has no place for him: the role of executive in chief of the state. Lula, as president, took on this role and adopted a strategy of class collaboration. He became so confident in the leaders of the bourgeoisie that he became embroiled in dangerous transactions with one of the most corrupt branches of the national bourgeoisie, the contractors, companies which, since the military regime, have accumulated capital in all kinds of bankruptcies. Class collaboration only matters strategically for the ruling class. This is a strategy that, in the end, only prepares defeats for the people. It causes confusion, illusion, demoralization. It demolishes the bases and corrupts the leaders. This is what happened in Brazil. We do not need a path that has already been trodden and that has resulted in an important defeat, for which we are all paying with the Bolsonaro government.

Faced with this new situation, the broader unity of action is needed, taking advantage of the contradictions of the ruling classes themselves, their internal differences in the way of life, culture, civil rights and democratic freedoms in general. A broad unity and a front of the working class, its organizations and parties that claim this condition, to face the neoliberal program, anti-popular adjustment in this case, relying on its implementation with bourgeois unity, despite the existing divergences in politics.

In this wake we must increase the associative capacity of our people, strengthen the confidence of the workers in themselves, bet with all the audacity in the youth and the renewal of a Left worthy of that name.

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  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
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