Statement on Brazil
Fight the Impeachment! Fight Dilma’s government and its austerity measures!
Originally published in Portuguese in April 2016
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The following statement was originally published in Portuguese on April 11th, as an abridged version of a broader article published on March 23rd. It was written before President Dilma Rousseff (PT) was temporarily removed from office on May 12th (she will still be judged by the Senate and the Supreme Court). On June 1st we published a second statement on the tasks faced by the working class regarding the interim government of Vice President Michel Temer (PMDB) and the attacks he has been launching against labor rights, public services and social programs with the aid of the former right wing oppositional parties (PSDB, DEM and others). It summarizes our position to fight Temer’s government, with no support to the PT or its satellites.
Dilma deserves to be judged for her crimes against the working class, such as her attacks on labor rights, her complicity with the repression against the workers’ movement, the handing over of the country’s natural resources to imperialism etc. The same is true about former President Lula. But that can only be achieved through working class struggle to stop and revert government attacks. This Impeachment process is a maneuver of the right-wing oppositional parties PSDB and DEM, as well as sectors of the PMDB (the Vice President’s party) to gain full control over the Executive office. They want to profit from Dilma and the PT government’s complete demoralization and crisis. If Dilma is removed by them, this will not be beneficial to the working class and wouldn’t change the succession of attacks unleashed against us. On the contrary, the attacks would be intensified. Revolutionary Regroupment says NO to this Impeachment, not due to sympathy towards the PT, but for considering that this process is a smoke screen created by the right-wing opposition in order to benefit from the enormous popular dissatisfaction with Dilma’s government, which is to a great extent a product of the attacks the government has conducted against the population, attacks which the proponents of the Impeachment want to deepen.
For a workers united front against the austerity measures!
The central task for the working class in the current situation is the creation of a workers’ united front independently from both the right-wing opposition and Dilma’s government, capable of uniting several ongoing struggles around the following axis: Fight Dilma’s “austerity” measures! No cuts to public health and education! No removal of labor rights and no lay-offs! Down with the “Anti-terror” Law, which is an attempt to criminalize the workers’ movement and the left! The bosses must pay for their crisis! Fight the right-wing opposition and its Impeachment maneuver! Such a united front would mean working class mass action. The left groups and parties that want to take part in it would have complete freedom to express their ideas and criticize each others’ political views.
Enough of blocs with government forces!
Many groups on the left, including most internal currents of the PSOL (Socialism and Freedom Party), such as USec‘s “Insurgência” and the CWI section (LSR), as well as the Stalinist PCR are taking part in political blocs dominated by pro-government forces, such as the “Fearless People‘s Front”. While claiming to be “For democracy” and against the Impeachment, those blocs include the PT, the PCdoB and the bureaucratic leaders of CUT, CTB and UNE (the trade union federations and the national students’ organization that support Dilma’s government). They are an obstacle for the creation of an effective united front dedicated to organizing and strengthening the resistance against Dilma and the rest of the bourgeoisie’s austerity. On several occasions, the “Fearless People‘s Front” puts aside any critique of the government and adapts itself to the position of the government forces, such as the PT-led “Popular Brazil Front”. At this crucial moment, the last thing the workers need is to be tied to the pro-government forces. We call upon all the militant ranks of these mass organizations to break from such blocs of class collaboration and fight for workers’ unity in opposition to all bourgeois forces.
The error of the “Oust Dilma, oust them all!” slogan
Ideally, we are for “ousting them all”, in the sense that we want to remove all the representatives of the bourgeoisie from power. But to raise such slogan in the current situation, in which the only concrete possibility of “ousting Dilma” is the consolidation of a right-wing PMDB-PSDB government, won’t help workers’ interests. To raise such a demand shows indifference towards its concrete results. It of course would be completely different if instead the threat against Dilma came from the working class. The “Oust Dilma, oust them all!” slogan, raised by the Morenoite PSTU (LIT-CI), by the also Morenoite CST (PSOL internal tendency and section of UIT), as well as by some Anarchist groups does not prioritize defeating Dilma’s attacks through the mobilization of the working class, but instead emphasize removing her from power in a moment when the working class won’t be able to do it – only the right-wing opposition will. Such position derives from the false logic that Dilma’s fall, independently on how it occurs, would give room to a “weaker” government, meaning some kind of victory to the working class. We do not wish to help the right-wing opposition, which is growing stronger and stronger. Dilma’s fall by the hands of the right-wing opposition would only give place to a government that would attack us even harder.
No to “general elections” – What we need is a revolutionary workers government!
We also reject demands for new “general elections”, which many groups on the left such as the PSTU (LIT-CI) and the MES (PSOL internal tendency and section of Movimento) have been raising. From the point of view of the workers’ interests, bourgeois elections are a dead-end. As a rule, the bourgeoisie only massively invests in and supports those campaigns that are willing to defend its class interests. The workers don’t have a say on matters that really affect their lives: how their workplace should be managed, who should pay for the economic crisis, should labor rights be removed etc. Bourgeois elections are merely a “chance” that the population has to choose their executioners. During periods of low ebb, it is possible to use the elections as a platform to denounce capitalism. But it is not acceptable to rise the demand for “general elections” at the current moment, when what is required is a relentless struggle against the austerity measures. Sometimes those groups say that the elections they fight for would be different – “controlled by the workers” or some variant of that. But it doesn’t change their confusion. If the working class had enough power to enforce “elections” of this kind on the ruling class, then we could as well build our own government. The MRT (Trotskyist Fraction – Left Voice network) slogan for a “Constituent Assembly convened by the workers” suffers from the same problem. The agitation that needs to be done is for a revolutionary workers‘ government which can meet our social and democratic interests. Although it is not possible to implement such government immediately, we must patiently explain its necessity while fighting to build a broad united front of struggle. Revolutionary Regroupment strives to build a revolutionary party that fight for the following demands:
No more lay-offs! We must demand the reduction of working hours without loss of pay, allowing the return of laid-off workers and the creation of jobs for the unemployed. The capitalists are the ones who must pay for the crisis of their system!
Open the files to reveal the fortune that the big capitalists and bankers continue to make while the cost of the crisis is thrown at us!
To halt the effects of growing inflation we demand immediate raise of wages according to the rise of prices and also a minimum wage that meets the basic needs of the working family, currently calculated at R$ 3,725!
Down with the Outsourcing Bill! For the integration of outsourced workers to the regular staff of the companies to which they provide work, with full rights and wage equality! To fight sexism and racism we demand “Equal pay for equal work”!
Down with Dilma’s reform of Social Security, which plans to increase working time and reduce the payments!
No more oil auctions to international companies! Stop the attacks on Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras! We demand the full re-nationalization of Petrobras and the expropriation without compensation of the foreign oil companies under workers’ control!
Down with the “Anti-terror” Law, which is meant to be used against social movements! For the dissolution of the Military Police and other repressive forces! For the right to demonstrate, a democratic right increasingly curbed by capitalist governments! Drop all charges against those who fight the injustices of capitalism!
Down with churches’ interference with women’s rights! For the legalization of abortion and the guarantee of free and safe procedure by the public health system!
Down with the super authority of Judge Sergio Moro and the Judiciary! For the right of the people to elect the judges and other positions of responsibility! No more privileges for the corrupt political caste: that all elected members of parliament receive only the average wage of a worker!
Land for those who want to live and work in it! Expropriation of the land and estate of large capitalist owners for the benefit of the population!
Brazil: down with the coup government!
Fight Temer’s attacks, no support for the PT or its satellities!