Brazil: No to Impeachment! No to the Call for New Elections!
All workers and oppressed: Out into the streets of Brazil to fight against the threat of a coup! The anti-coup struggle should be in conjunction with the class struggle against the austerity attacks of the government!
Statement of the CCR (RCIT-Section in Brazil), 6.12.2015
All that we from the CCR-RCIT have been denouncing in our articles since mid-2014, i.e., that a process of coup-de-etat was in progress, has been confirmed. This process, which started even before the presidential elections of October 2014, was yet further verified after the recent narrow victory of the Popular Front (PT-PMD).
Eduardo Cunha (PMDB), President of the Chamber of Deputies, the Brazilian Congress’ lower house, announced on November 2 that he had authorized the start of the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. This was after Cunha had concurred with the writ of impeachment which had been formulated by the jurists Helio Bicudo – a renegade founder of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT – the Workers’ Party) – and Miguel Reale Junior, which Cunha received on October 21 of this year and which stipulates, among other charges, that Rousseff’s government had been involved in so-called “tax pedaling” during 2015. “Tax pedaling” is the fiscal maneuver in which the Treasury delays bank transfers on public obligations to boost its ledger balances so that they comply with interim budget forecast goals, and has been deemed illegal by Brazil’s Court of Auditors of the Union (CAU). However, and critically, it should be noted that this same practice had already been used by previous federal governments, including that of the former right-wing president Fernando Henrique Cardoso from the PSDB, whose presidency was just prior to that of Lula da Silva, and is still even practiced by some state and municipal governors.
The writ of impeachment also contends that the Chief Executive, Dilma Rousseff, had violated the Fiscal Responsibility Act by having issued decrees releasing extraordinary credit during 2015 without the approval of Congress. Eduardo Cunha also pointed out that “Dilma acted to release the money, as the financial situation of the country was in surplus (more income than spending), and then sent a proposal to the congress to reduce the fiscal target.”
President Roussef has denied that her government has committed any wrongdoing and stated: “Today I received with indignation the decision of the President of the Chamber of Deputies [Cunha] to move forward with the writ of impeachment against the mandate democratically given to me by the Brazilian people… The alleged illegalities appearing in the writ are inconsistent and unfounded. There were no wrongful acts committed by me, nor any suspected misuse of public monies.”
To ratify the process of impeachment, it must first be supported by at least two-thirds of the 513 deputies (342 votes). If approved, President Dilma will be forced to step down for 180 days, and the process will then proceed to the Senate for a trial.
Resistance to the Coup by the Leaderships of Mass Movements
The heads of the Federation Union of Oil Workers (FUP), along with the leadership of the Central Workers Union (CUT) and activists from the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) have begun conducting joints negotiations with social movements throughout the country in defense of the mandate of President Rousseff.
“We are against the impeachment request accepted by the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha,” declared Francisco José de Oliveira, Communication Director of FUP, sounding almost like a sloganeer from a pro-Dilma campaign. “We are not standing still! No! Let’s rise up. We call upon everyone, social movements and students, to participate!” He has stated this over and again in numerous meetings held against the acceptance of the writ for impeachment.
Recently, another joint meeting was held at the headquarters of the Central Workers Union (CUT) in Rio de Janeiro to prepare a series of activities for the coming days to be undertaken by the Federation of Trade Unions and activists. The first demonstration was set for Tuesday, December 8, for which the CUT made available a fleet of 60 buses to transport demonstrators. The strategy is to call for the participation of protesters in the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and neighboring states.
The landless and students have also stated their support for Dilma and will join demonstrations in her favor. The leader of the Movement of Landless Workers (MST), Joao Pedro Stedile, pledged to mobilize popular movements to take to the streets in defense of the mandate of the president, saying: “Certainly, the popular movements will draw up their plans in the coming days, and we intend to mobilize our members to join demonstrations in the streets, to prevent any attempt to harm our nascent democracy.“
The Partido de Causa Operária (PCO –Workers’ Cause Party) states on its website that “We must take the struggle to the masses of working people, to the majority of the country that cannot win its rights by means of voting in the National Congress, but which can, mobilized and organized, prevent the coup in the streets, by resisting there the coup offensive.”
The Position of Former President Lula da Silva
Stating his indignation, former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that the opening of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff was a gesture of “insanity” by the President of the Chamber of Deputies [Cunha] and acused him of putting personal interests ahead of those of the country.
PSTU’s Opportunism – Favoring the Coup but Adding: “Throw Them All Out!”
In recent days the official website of the Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado (PSTU – Unified Socialist Workers’ Party; a self-proclaimed “Trotskyist” organization) has published: “The PSTU has been advocating for some time the need for workers to organize and move out into the streets to put an end to the Dilma government, but also to throw out Eduardo Cunha, Aécio Neves (the candidate for president of the right who lost to Roussef), Michel Temer (the vice-president-PMDB), and all deputies of this Congress.” PSTU’s website also adds that “Dilma lied during the elections, saying she would not attack the workers.” PSTU also proposes to call for new general elections in the country for the president, senators, congressmen, and state governors.
Our Position on the Popular Front Governments of Lula da Silva and Dilma Roussef
The PT and its typical Popular Front governments have consistently attacked workers in the form of wage squeezes, privatizations of airports and highways, balancing government budgets to pay off international creditor vultures, subsidizing the landowners destroying the Amazon basin, and by giving subsidies to powerful organs of the press, diverting huge sums of money in alliances with sectors of the bourgeoisie, etc. In order to come to and retain power, since Lula da Silva’s accession in 2002 the PT not only practised corruption but thoroughly corrupted itself, paving the way to a predictable tragedy.
Irregardless, from the point of view of Western imperialism (US-EU-Japan), the financial bourgeoisie, and Brazil’s big landowners, the PT, despite its collusion with anti-worker forces, is irreparably flawed due to its social origins rooted in the mass movements and the role its leadership played in the struggle against the military dictatorship in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Even though the PT leadership has sold out to the system and introduced many attacks on workers, especially public workers, like Lula da Silva’s Pension Reform of 2003, such roots are unforgiveable in the eyes of Brazilian and international capital, and it is for the reason that the coup is considered by them to be a necessity.
We in the CCR, the Brazilian national section of the RCIT, clarifies that we have not ever nor do we intend to give any political support to PT governments (Lula and Dilma). But we do defend them against rightist coups, just as revolutionaries did when they defended the elected government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) against the fascist forces of Francisco Franco, without, however, being committed politically to that same government.
The Role of the Russian and Chinese Imperialists
The most important reason why Western imperialism wants the removal of Rousseff and the PT from power is that governments like those of Lula and Roussef have consistantly strengthened ties with Russia and China, the new imperialist powers seriously rivaling traditional Western imperialism both militarily and economically. Recent events in the Ukraine and Syria are two prominent examples.
Also, the PT plays an important part in the alliance of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which aims to make visible its growing economic power and to project greater geopolitical influence worldwide, something which also worries Western imperialism.
Furthermore, the social origins of the PT forced the party to make concessions to the poor in the form of policies attacking economic misery, providing family-packages and other subsidies, and in particular dealing with the extreme poverty characteristic of the outskirt regions in the North and Northeast of the country, and in order to prevent the recurrence of mass migrations to the rich regions that were common until the 1990s.
And a point of greatest importance: The PT has not fully privatized the basins of the Pre-salt layers which are worth billions of dollars, nor has it privatized Petrobras or the state owned Bank of Brazil and Caixa Economica Federal (another state bank). PT is also under intense pressure from its rank-and-file of millions of workers affiliated with its trade union confederation CUT, not to support the proposed project to totally outsource all Brazilian workers. Western imperialism and their Russian-Chinese rivals would just love to invest in a country where, through outsourcing, workers will have become semi-slaves, with no minimum labor rights.
All the above explains the rationale for the ongoing coup process which is determined to lead to the impeachment of Dilma Roussef’s government and at the same time the demoralize the PT and the undermine the otherwise likely strong candidacy of Lula da Silva in 2018.
The notion that the coup and the impeachment process should be defended due to “rampant corruption” can only be explained by two factors: (1) Political invention designed and disseminated by the bourgeois-owned media; (2) Deeply rooted political opportunism of groups extending from the right of the political map to the petty-bourgeois pseudo-left. As described above, things are not so simple. Rather, the coup and impeachment are all interests of Western imperialism, led by US imperialism.
In response, social movements and workers should take to the streets with two tasks: (1) To combat all attacks on workers by Dilma Rousset’s Popular Front government and its economic ministers – such as increasing interest rates, instituting pension reforms, degrading unemployment insurance, criminalizing social movements with the new laws against terrorism, decreasing wages, etc.; (2) To fight against the coup orchestrated by the most conservative and reactionary sectors that have resurfaced in recent years since the end of military dictatorship in 1985.
It is vital that revolutionaries work to build organizations independent of the government of the Popular Front, and that they found a new workers’ party whose strategy is to fight for a government allying the poor rural and urban workers based on councils and popular militias.
We from the CCR national section of the RCIT declare:
* No to impeachment! No to the call for new elections!
* All workers and oppressed into the streets to combat the threat of a coup! For a united class struggle against the government’s austerity attacks!
* For the creation of militant committees in the factories, neighborhoods, slums and in the outlying areas of the country, as well as within the trade unions in urgent defense of our rights and against any coup movement!
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