Socialist Appeal - British section of the International Marxist Tendency: the Marxist voice of labour and youth.

On Sunday 17th April, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian President, was approved on Sunday by a united front of bourgeois parties in order to establish a new government to act in the interest of the capitalists. But the impeachment has unleashed the forces of class struggle in Brazil, and the new government will be unable to stabilise the situation.

Dramatic events unfolded in Brazil on Sunday 17th April, as the Congress [Parliament] voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. The whole country was following the process, divided into two camps: the reactionary pro-impeachment bourgeois and petit bourgeois; and the anti-impeachment workers and youth.

Such were the passions on both sides that the authorities had to build a temporary two metre-high, one kilometer-long metal fence to keep apart the thousands of pro- and anti-impeachment demonstrators outside the Congress building in Brasilia.

Parliament voted by a big majority, 367 for impeachment and 137 against, more than the two-thirds required to start proceedings against Dilma. She is accused of manipulating government accounts. In reality what she did is not criminal. She did what all Presidents have done in the past, i.e. delaying payments and procuring bank loans to keep government finances functioning. In her absences on international trips her Vice-President also signed such documents, but he is not up for impeachment. This reveals that it is just an excuse to proceed against her, as the bourgeois politicians have decided they want her removal. Most of the politicians moving against her are themselves being investigated for corruption, so the farce is complete!

The next step is that the 81-member Senate must vote on the same question next month. The Senate can block proceedings, but all the indications are that it will not and will confirm the Congress vote. Once the Senate votes to proceed, Dilma will be suspended as President and a Senate trial will begin, which can last up to six months. In the interim period she would be replaced by Michel Temer, the Vice-President. After the six-month period a vote would be taken and if a two-thirds majority finds her guilty she wil be permanently removed from office and replaced by Temer until new elections take place in 2018. Temer is from the PMDB, a bourgeois partner in the government coalition.

The bourgeois parties are exploiting the fact that Dilma had become an unpopular leader in the midst of a severe economic crisis. She is in no way as popular as Lula was when he first came into office. Then Brazil was booming on the back of Chinese expansion. Brazilian capitalism could afford to make concessions. For example, between 2003 and 2015 eighty-five percent of labour contracts granted wage increases above the rate of inflation. There was what we would call a “feel-good” factor that the PT leaders based themselves on. But now there is a severe crisis and such conquests are no longer possible.

Fred Weston - editor of www.marxist.com - writing from Brazil on Monday 18th April


Brazilian impeachment unleashes forces the ruling class will regret

By Serge Goulart, the Marxist Left in Brazil

On Sunday 17th April, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the Brazilian President was approved on Sunday by a united front of bourgeois parties in order to establish a government of Temer [the current vice-president] and Cunha [the Parliamentary speaker], with support from the PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party), DEM (Democrats) and other parties.

This government will be unable to stabilize the situation. Its advent has introduced into the political arena what Lula and the PT (Workers’ Party) leadership fear most. The masses are now convinced that this will be a government of attacks (which is true) and that they have every right to overthrow it in the streets without waiting for elections (which is also true).

The Congress of Temer, Cunha and Aécio [leaders of the main opposition party PSDB] destroyed in one day the work that Lula and the PT leadership built for thirty years: the idea that you must respect the institutions, the regularly convened fraudulent elections, the institutions through which the ruling class maintains the working class and the great mass of youth in slavery.

The political representatives of the bourgeoisie decided to throw all bourgeois legality (the framework defined by the bourgeois state for more or less peaceful coexistence between classes) into the bin, and instead threw themselves into an assault on the government.

An ultra-reactionary, unprincipled and unscrupulous pack of wolves voted in the name of God, family (mostly their own) and friends (read: their own criminal gangs), shouting in the name of the country (as reactionaries always do), and united by the murkiest private interests. They ignored the warnings of all the imperialists and overthrew the government without the least unity, legitimacy nor popularity to rule.

Imperialism alarmed

The major imperialist powers throughout the world, in the weeks previous, warned these provincial mafioso bourgeois parties against the adventure they were getting themselves into.

The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, The Financial Times, The Economist and a slew of imperialist mouthpieces warned against this on their front pages. They warned that an impeachment carried out by a Congress where the majority is guilty, or accused of corruption, was a reckless leap in the dark. They all warned against creating an uncontrollable situation, that the impeachment advocates had no stable government to put in place of Dilma, and that in the process they were throwing a considerable part of the population into open struggle.

The local big capitalists resisted the idea of impeachment for almost a year (see statements of FIRJAN, Itaú, Bradesco, Estadão, etc). But their mediocre political representatives, left to their own devices, combining unmentionable interests with lust for gold; with political and intellectual degradation; with the introduction into politics of the lower and more ignorant brains of the ruling class; these blind political representatives, frenzied by the possibility of an assault on the train which carries their wages, put tribal interests above all else. They temporarily freed themselves from the industrialists, the bankers, the speculators and the big bourgeois and, alone, struck on the path of adventure.

At a certain point the bourgeois stopped resisting, and, one by one, resigned themselves to join with their crazed representatives in the irresponsible policy of impeachment. They have joined in because, on pain of losing complete control, they could not do otherwise.

They are like someone who stops struggling temporarily, allowing themselves to be carried along by the current, waiting for a moment when they may find something to grab hold of and haul themselves out of the river. In this case, it is to avoid a revolutionary crisis and save corrupted and rotten capitalism, controlled by imperialism and its native junior partners. For now they have tied their fate to these maddened, mediocre politicians and carpet-baggers.

This alliance of the big bourgeois with the crazed interests of the Brazilian petit-bourgeois believes itself to be joining Macri in Argentina, and the opposition Leopoldo Lopez in Venezuela, in an international front for the “restoration of law and order”. Capitalism’s need to attack the labour force, to increase labour productivity by increasing direct and indirect exploitation, sucking surplus value as a vampire sucks the blood of its victims, takes them on the path of no return. Before them lies the field of open struggle between revolution and counterrevolution.

The pitiful "socialists" who organised this circus now cry for "democracy"

Many people, the Marxist Left among them, fought against impeachment in the streets. Unfortunately, all that was heard from those who fought impeachment in Congress was:

  • The defence of Dilma’s personal honour (the existence of which is highly debatable in a President surrounded by a sea of corruption)
  • The defence of an electoral mandate that Dilma herself, along with Lula, soiled by standing on one programme, but then carried out the opposite
  • The defence of democracy, as understood as the right to rule through doing the opposite of what was promised in her election campaign
  • A barrage of apolitical insults against corruption, gangsterism and the non-existent honor of their former allies who led the political farce in Congress. None of these accusations were linked to the capitalist system itself, but presented as a matter of honor and personal ambition
  • Announcements of struggle in defence of rights that Temer wants to attack

Unfortunately, all those who watched the four-hour flea circus in Congress witnessed the PSDB virtually disappear from the scene, despite being the mainstay of the whole process. All the hatred of the advocates of the Dilma government was turned against their former friends and allies: the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party), PP (Progressive Party), PSD (Social Democratic Party), etc.

The futility and betrayal behind the “programmatic alliance” of the PT and PCdoB (Communist Party of Brazil) with bourgeois parties (PMDB, PP, PSD, etc) was revealed early on as a programme of granting everything to the capitalists, of agreeing to the policy of imperialist plunder.

For years the majority of the PT leadership fought all those who defended class independence. They attacked as lunatics those opposing the policy of class collaboration, those who demanded that the PT should break with the capitalists, expropriate capital and act as a real workers' government. Now, after Sunday, it is clear who the lunatics were!

What brilliant leaders, those who presented the PMDB, PP, Maluf, Sarney and Collor as allies. What brilliant leaders, those who resurrected these political corpses when they had in their hands the weapons to bury them!

Throughout this dirty Sunday, Dilma’s parliamentary defence raised no voices to attack capitalism and defend socialism. At best, some voices warned against attacks to come.

Anti impeachmentProtestBrazilApril2016

Legality broken by the bourgeoisie and defended by the "socialist" reformers

The irony of history is terrible, but tasty. In recent months, the apparatus of the PT and the PCdoB, along with the leaders of the CUT, the CTB, UNE and the MST (worker and peasant organisations), launched themselves with all their strength into the political arena with the farcical line: "There will not be a coup". With this they sought to defend the government and respect for the institutions. They were “more royalist than the king”. If the bourgeois were incapable of respecting the constitution and bourgeois legality, the “socialists” would show them how.

Well, the bourgeoisie ignored the example of the "socialists" and "communists" and showed, once again, that this litany of legality, respect for the institutions and democracy (even this bastardized democracy) is only necessary when you need it to control the slaves. And only the reformists believe in it.

Now that all "legality", all "democracy", all "respect" has been broken and trampled upon, now that the "Coup" has happened, how will the reformists-without-reforms respond?

We can confidently predict that Lula and the rotten leaderships of the PT and PCdoB will continue calling for “legality” and “respect” for the institutions. They will try to counter the "coup" by institutional means. Trying to convince the coup leaders that they should not carry out coups is like trying to convince monkeys that they should not eat bananas.

This will translate into a policy of diversionary maneuvers and innocuous demonstrations. The objective will be to apply pressure to reach an agreement with the putschists. It’s the line of Dilma's speech, before the vote, when she stated her desire to create a national unity government with the coup leaders. It’s the line of poor Lula who asked that "comrade Temer, at the end of all this, should apologize."

Dialectics

Both Lula and Rousseff made a lot of noise against a coup, in order to save the institutions of the bourgeoisie. Now that the "coup" has been carried out, the masses throughout Brazil who do not want, and will not accept, a government of Temer / Cunha / Aécio, will feel free to fight in the streets for the overthrow of the next government. One thing has turned into its opposite. The institutional brake has become a revolutionary lever for mobilisation.

The “People's Brazil Front” and the “People Without Fear Front” (that the Marxist Left is part of) has said it does not recognise any legitimacy in any government coming out of this process, and calls for mobilisation in the streets to defeat the right wing, calling for a National Workers’ Assembly on May Day. The Marxist Left will do its utmost for the victory of this National Workers’ Assembly. In this Assembly a fight from below should begin against all the institutions, to defend the working class and youth and open the way to expropriate the expropriators.

In this struggle the main obstacle will again be Lula and his reformist followers. Only now their policy is fatally wounded. It's time to bury the class-collaborationist line and boldly raise the flag of the United Front for the immediate and historical rights and demands of the exploited and oppressed.

Henceforth, no government can enjoy stability. The crisis took a leap forward on Sunday. A new political situation has opened in Brazil. We are moving rapidly towards a revolutionary crisis.

Over the next couple of weeks days no-one governs. After the decision of the Senate, in which Dilma will probably be removed and Temer take over, a government of attacks will be formed. But it is a government of attacks which will be completely unable to govern without provoking a revolutionary explosion.

They do not have the firm support of international capital, which rightly fears a social explosion. The new government will serve as shock therapy against the workers. The Brazilian working class does not feel defeated, but is strong as a result of the struggles and achievements of recent decades. It is clear they no longer supported the Dilma / PT government. The working class does not want the right-wing government and will fight against its policy of increasing exploitation and oppression.

The entry onto the scene of the working class, the masses and the youth, will decide everything in the next period. Rising up against the government, congress and the judiciary, they will formulate their own demands. There will be no room for the "Lula of peace and love". Demonstrations will be completely transformed. They will be militant and combative, expressing the desire to bring down the ruling class and their representatives.

In these struggles the Marxists will be raising the demands of the workers and youth. We will be defending the revolution and socialism, defending, not the return to an alleged bourgeois democratic legality, but the struggle for socialism, a National Constituent People's Assembly, a Workers’ Government which brushes aside Congress, the government and the judiciary, and wipes the country clean.

For the working class to rise and take down the "putschists" and their political and economic representatives, it is necessary to raise the flags and methods of the class struggle. There is not, in Brazil today, any false struggle between "democracy" and "fascism", but the struggle between revolution and counterrevolution, between capitalism and proletarian revolution, between barbarism and socialism. The masses can only fight with the weapons of the proletarian revolution.

In the midst of a great economic crisis, the most mediocre parliamentary representatives of the bourgeois have provoked a political crisis of cyclopean proportions, opening up a new political situation. The bourgeoisie has torn away the paper on which was written "legality" and unleashed forces that Lula and the PT managed to contain for years and years. The Brazilian masses feel free to overthrow in the streets any institution of this capitalist country, subjugated by imperialism and ruled by its lackeys and native gangster partners.

Once again, it is the whip of the counterrevolution that pushes forward the revolution.

Published on In Defence of Marxism

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