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IW 03

Brazil

Brazil and the Left

LULA’S GOVERNMENT, WHICH WAY OUT?

The PT left, the trade union bureaucracy of the Workers Central (CUT), the Landless Movement (MST) and the National Students Union (UNE) leaderships recently published a “Letter to the Brazilian People” in order to denounce the “right-wing coup d’etat” against Lula, [supposedly] hidden under the disguise of the campaign against corruption. The “Letter…” calls to “defend the government” that has reinforced the presence of that same right-wing in the Cabinet and reaffirmed its pro-IMF policies. The document against the "pro-coup forces" is more than a formal contradiction, because in the reformed Cabinet (now with more “neo-liberal” members), Lula has appointed the CUT’s General Secretary as Minister of Labor.

A leader of this bloc, Walter Pomar, also one of the vice-presidents of the PT, thought it appropriate to recall that years before, a similar campaign against corruption brought down the main leaders of the Italian center-left government and as a result led to… Berlusconi’s government. The reminder means that he has found a new excuse to continue to support the bankers’ government presided over by Lula, and means that the ‘mobilization’ of the left is a dirty task that the PT’s leadership was not able to do by itself. In Italy, the ‘mani pulite’ put Berlusconi into government, simply because he was not so ‘pulite’, since he set free the number one corrupt figure. The bribes and dirty deals that are emptying the PT are the consequences of a method of government: the coalition with a right-wing composed of thieves. The PT had taken part in an open collaboration with capital and imperialism, using the argument, among others, that this would avoid social collapse and would clear the road for its own ‘administration’. On July 24, 2004, the Citibank president explained in the Financial Times that when Lula accepted a general agreement with the international banking system, they renewed the Foreign Trade credits for him, the suspension of which would have caused a collapse in Brazil.

Corruption “is the necessary method of governing a class collaboration front in which the ‘proletariat’ would corrupt the bourgeoisie that had already corrupted the ‘proletariat’ for many long years and that corrupted it definitively when it tolerated its formal, conditioned and partial access to ‘power’” (Jorge Altamira in Prensa Obrera #908, July 13)

A story

The collapse of the PT must be measured on the scale of a political construction of more than a quarter of century; all directed towards preparing the ascent to the government of the capitalist State for the representation of the exploited, with the pretension of managing it with an injection of morality and ethical rules. It ended in disaster after hardly two years had passed. The collapse, total, raises a crisis of power that is still in development.

The Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), formed by leaders expelled from the PT and militants who quit the party, characterizes the argument of the threat of a coup as an excuse. But what is not an excuse is that the class collaboration government has entered a mortal crisis, that the masses need a way out, more so because they voted for this bourgeois government of a workers party. The answer that “they are all the same” does not solve anything, because even now, the workers do not place Lula and the right on the same plane. The position of the PSOL, of joining the fight for popular demands with the fight “against corruption and the IMF”, with the added call to vote for the PSOL in 2006, is an evasive maneuver and constitutes immobilism. Something similar is raised by the PSTU. Which is why they are preparing a national political rally, where they will attempt to make progress in the gaining the adhesion of new groups leaving the PT and the government that they consider “terminated”.

The “termination” of this process, however, should be formulated as a way out of the open crisis in power and facing the masses themselves. An experience of more than two decades is nearing exhaustion. It is necessary for the workers to have their own policy and line of action: for the PT to break with the bourgeoisie, expel the corrupt and pro-IMF’ers, expel the capitalist and pro-IMF ministers, and adopt a plan of reorganization under the command of the working class. In order to make these aims possible, it is necessary to dissolve the corrupt, non-representative Congress and to raise the call for a Constituent Assembly to be imposed through popular mobilization.

An opportunity arises for the Brazilian left to open up substantial and important political deliberations on a way out of the current situation, a debate that should redefine the terms in which the workers and the exploited can develop their own alternative, independent of the bourgeoisie and its representatives. This is the balance sheet for a policy that marks an epoch and also the basis for paving the way towards overcoming it.

By Pablo Rieznik