The Outlaw Regime of Brazil Intensifies Its Attacks against the Working Class
By Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (CCR, Brazil Section of the RCIT), November 2016, http://elmundosocialista.blogspot.com
Two important events took place in the middle of October: the arrest of the former President of the House of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha (PMDB) – the man responsible for opening the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff (PT); and the invasion of the Senate by the Federal Police to arrest, in a totally arbitrary and illegal action, some security officials of the house directly subordinate to the president of the senate , Senator Renan Calheiros.
In the case of the arrest of Eduardo Cunha, who is being accused of the misuse of public funds belonging to Petrobras and who has already been proved to have bank accounts in Switzerland, it is clear that the real intention of the investigators of “Operation Car Wash” and Federal Judge Sergio Moro is to lay the groundwork for imprisoning former President Lula da Silva. Throughout all the investigations related to “Operation Car Wash,” including those of Judge Moro himself, absolutely no attempt was made to arrest other politicians of the PMDB, PSDB and DEM whose names were mentioned, according to reports, during the questioning of those who were arrested and were blackmailed into spilling the beans by being offered Witness immunity. They have arrested only a few entrepreneurs in the construction sector and several former ministers of the Worker’s Party (PT), and even months ago threatened to arrest former president Lula da Silva, but not following through on the threat due to mass protests that threatened to trigger greater social unrest. But by holding a big fish like Eduardo Cunha, Judge Sergio Moro is attempting to improve his chances of imprisoning Lula, because by detaining Cunha he reckons that he can get rid of his image of accusing prosecuting only the PT, while at the same time perpetuating a false image of impartiality.
The Crisis Begins between the Sectors of the Bourgeoisie following the Impeachment of Dilma Roussef
On October 21, agents of the Federal Police (FP), under the authorization of a leading judge, Vallisney de Souza, and the Minister of Justice, Alexandre de Moraes (PSDB), invaded the Senate to arrest four security staff officials of this house of parliament on charges of hindering the investigation of corruption at Petrobras. Note that Alexandre de Moraes is one of three PSDB politicians who accepted the offer of the unelected, putschist president, Michel Temer, to participate in his government. According to the Federal Police, the detained security staff officials installed “without authorization” surveillance devices in the homes and offices of former President of the Republic José Sarney (PMDB), Senator and former President Fernando Collor (PTC-AL), Gleisi Hoffmann (PT), and former Senator Edson Lobão Filho (PMDB). So, it turns out, we now have two former presidents who don’t feel secure in their privacy in the new Brazil which emerged following the ousting of the government of Dilma Rousseff.
The moment Calheiros learned of the arrests of the security staff, the president of the Senate, spared no criticism of those responsible for the action and, regarding the Minister of Justice, declared in anger that “the attempt to embarrass the senate investigations with spurious claims is based on fantasy” and he called the magistrate who authorized the arrests, federal judge Vallisney de Souza Oliveira, “little Judge” and claimed that the Minister of Justice, Alexandre de Moraes (PSDB), says “good morning to horses”. He went on to say that “a judge of first standing can’t at any time threaten power. It is unfortunate that this happens in a spectacle with the participation of a government minister (Moraes), who has not been behaving as a minister but instead as the police.” Calheiros has stated that he has “hatred and disgust” of what he called “fascist methods” that were being, in his view, employed by the justice and that “More than ever we need to defend the democratic values. This is my duty. That’s why I’m repelling this invasion [of operation of the Federal Police], just as I repel all abuses committed against the Senate under my presidency.”
To complete the crisis between legislative, executive and judiciary branches of the government, the President of the Supreme Court, Minister Carmen Lucia, refuted the criticism of the President of the Senate against Judge Vallisney de Souza Oliveira, saying that “when any judge is disregarded, I too am being disregarded,” and continued by stating that the judiciary must be respected by the other branches of the Republic. However, she “forgot” that as President of the Supreme Court, she’s not simply a judge and would have to analyze what happened in a situation that, even by the standards of bourgeois democracy, the invasion of the Senate, a legislative body, by the Federal Police, an organ of the Executive, demonstrates that something is very wrong.
Two Weights, Two Measures
As one manifestation of what is very wrong, we will now review all the arbitrary arrests made by the promoters, judges and federal police against the politicians, businessmen or other persons who were somehow connected to the Workers’ Party (PF), the unsuccessful attempt to arrest Lula being the most grotesque example of such. Neither Renan Calheiros, nor the members of the Supreme Court saw any manifestations of authoritarianism or fascism in these incidents. The Coup of Impeachment that revoked 54 million votes and installed a far right-wing government ready to undertake a deep set of structural reforms that will put to an end the social rights of the poor and oppressed, all this to them “was an exercise of democracy,” but when the PMDB leaders or the Supreme Court itself suffer the consequences of what they themselves helped to install, then they claim that such actions are “fascistic.”
The Advance of the Outlaw Regime
The attacks against democratic rights are not limited to what happened just now. These attacks have arisen in the form of increasing judicial interference in the affairs of government, setting up a process by which judges are not just interpreters of the law, but are themselves acting in the role of political agents.
The imprisonment in 2013 of José Dirceu (PT) a former minister of Lula da Silva in the case of the “Mensalão” corruption scandal was decided by the Supreme Court not based on evidence, but using the “goal-directed theory of human action,” created by Hans Welzel in 1939 and developed by jurist Claus Roxin, in his 1963 work Täterschaft und Tatherrschaft, have gained momentum in Europe and Latin America. This theory posits that no hard evidence is needed to establish someone’s guilt, but only the assumption that “everybody knew who really was in charge.” In this sense, former Minister José Dirceu is a political prisoner.
With the emergence in March of 2014 of the corruption scandal related to “Operation Car Wash” and the rise of Judge Sergio Moro, the Brazilian version of US Senator Joseph McCarthy, the abuses have just accumulated. Coercive imprisonment of individuals, without those being investigated knowing beforehand what are the charges against them, most of whom were from the Worker’s’ Party (none were from the PMDB, DEM or PSDB), even though other members of rightist parties were implicated in the witness immnunity deals offered to prisoners. The priority target thus far has been only members of the PT, the implicit goal being to prevent the candidacy of Lula da Silva in 2018.
In addition to forced arrests, judge Moro continues to imprison the accused indefinitely, without trial, until they all agree to “denounce” their alleged crimes and their alleged accomplices, something which is called witness immunity. It is clear that, after a certain time in prison, a detainee may be willing to hand over his own mother to the police. This is the modern Brazilian version of medieval prison, the main difference being that torture is not physical. It’s obvious that, as the PT is the main target, several of its former ministers and former members of the governments of Lula and Rousseff have been “indicted” and are in jail, but none of the members of the PMDB, PSDB and DEM.
On September 14, the Federal Prosecutor Deltan Dallagnoll, using a PowerPoint presentation, claimed that Lula da Silva had committed crimes of active and passive corruption, money laundering, and that he also allegedly received 3,500 million reais (just over 1 million dollars) of from the Petrobrás affair. What drew particular attention was the prosecutor’s remark that: “We have no concrete evidence against former President Lula, but we are truly convinced [of his guilt].” Again, in the absence of real evidence, what determines the guilt of the accused is the degree to which the accusers are “convinced.”
Eight days later, the Federal Court of the 4th region in the state of Paraná, home to Judge Sergio Moro, decided that the investigation into “Operation car wash” does not need to follow the rules of common legal processes. The defendants’ lawyers pointed out how the investigations are deliberately ignoring the limits of the law; for example, they are allowing evidence to be submitted from the wiretapping of law offices as well as leakages of illegally obtained information from telephone surveillance involving political authorities, all conducted without the legally necessary authorization. But to the Special Court of that of the 4th region, “Operation Car Wash” has “brought us unprecedented problems and it requires unprecedented solutions.” On the basis of this authoritarian concept, officials have closed investigation proceeding against Federal Judge Sergio Moro for having leaked conversations between former presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from when Dilma was still in office.
Former President Lula Turns to the UN Human Rights Commission
The defense for former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has submitted a petition to the UN Human Rights Committee against Judge Sergio Moro, accusing him of violating Lula’s human rights. The petition denounces the “deprivation of liberty” represented by the order of the 24th stage of the forced “Operation car wash” back in March. It also complains of the “leak of confidential materials (audios)” with the disclosure of (family) telephone conversations of the former president.
Lula’s Defense hired a British firm specializing in human rights. The lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, has denounced the impartiality of Sergio Moro because he, for example, attend a launch of a book about Operation car wash. “Moro is behaving as if he himself constitutes an anticorruption commission.” For the British Robertson, there should be a distinction between the judge responsible for an investigation, and the judge responsible for a trial.
The PMDB – Former Ally of the PT in the Popular Front – is Now the Target
This week’s new development involved prominent politicians of the PMDB becoming targets of “Operation Car Wash“. Of course these are no ordinary citizens. They are senators of the Republic who, when they began to feel insecure, asked Renan Calheiros, president of the Senate, to order senate security officials to search their homes and offices. But the Federal Police, under the command of the Minister Alexandre de Moraes, was alerted, and with the judge’s authorization were sent to arrest the senate security officials. Obviously, because they directly report to the president of the Senate, in their testimonies before the Federal Police, they claimed in their defense that they were only followed orders. The senators, having parliamentary immunity, could only be arrested on direct orders from the Supreme Court.
The President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros, together with Senators Lindbergh Farias (PT) and Vanessa Grazziotin (PC do B), as well as Paulo Pereira (SD) announced that the Senate will file a lawsuit in the Supreme Court to “establish the healthy limits of power.” In the announcement, the President of the Senate made reference to the episode involving the search and seizure carried out in the apartment of Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, the conduct of officials when they attempted to arrest former President Lula as well as leaks of audio conversations between Lula and former President Dilma Rousseff a month before the removal of the latter by the House of Representatives. However, we would raise an additional point: How is it possible that a judge, without the authorization of the Supreme Court, felt free not only to authorize wiretapping in the offices and homes of senators of the Republic, and arrest security personnel in the Senate, while targeting the biggest party in Brazil, the PMDB?
What the PMDB and the PSDB Represent
The answer to our question is simple, and is a manifestation of the struggle for power that has begun between the PMDB and the PSDB: While the two bourgeois parties, PSDB and DEM, teamed up with the PMDB to bring about the coup d’état that removed President Dilma from office, they never set aside their differences. Each of them has its own agenda and they are only united in adopting neoliberal reforms to attack the workers.
From the end of the military dictatorship in 1985, the PMDB was the party that always competed within the upper echelons of power (during the military dictatorship it was the only opposition party, then named MDB); first with its own candidate, Jose Sarney, elected to the presidency of a civil government by the electoral college after the end of the dictatorship and subsequently participating in various national governments up to those of Lula and Dilma Rousseff. The PMDB, despite failing to elect any President after Sarney, is still the party that governs most of the prefectures of the country. Is a party that is in power in some large and medium sized cities, as well as in small rural towns. It’s a party that has specialized in using the state apparatus to benefit its base of supporters, and in this way their patronage and pragmatism enabled them to form an alliance with the Worker’s Party (PT) in a kind of Popular Front government of the.
The PSDB was founded in 1988, after splitting from the PMDB. The pompous name of the party, translated to English as the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, is nothing but a farce. They are not and never have been a party based on what we understand to be social democracy as, for example, the PT is. The PSDB emerged as a political party closely linked to Western imperialism (the US, Europe and Japan). The social basis of the PSDB is the industrial heartland in the State of São Paulo. It is the party of the upper bourgeoisie of the wealthiest state in Brazil. It is funded by FIESP-Federation of industries of the State of São Paulo, by the powerful Federation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism of the State of São Paulo and by the wealthy large landowners who own the agribusiness in the state. The PSDB is the chief representative of Wall Street’s interests in Brazil. Its strength in the State of São Paulo is undeniable, but at the same time this is its greatest weakness, because it cannot expand beyond the borders of the state. To date, their only victory on the national level was when they managed to elect Fernando Henrique Cardoso who served as president of Brazil from 1995 to 2003. And today, even though it joined the PMDB to bring about the institutional coup which toppled Dilma Rousseff, the PSDB is working behind the scenes to erode the government of Michel Temer. This aim is what led to the events whereby the Minister of Justice, who is a member of the PSDB serving in the government of the PMDB, began the investigations against the leaders of the latter party within the weak government of Michel Temer. Now we’re witnessing the second stage of the institutional coup that brought struck the Workers’ Party, as the PSDB has set its sights on the other main partner of the Popular Front, the PMDB. Behind all of this are clearly the interests of American imperialism, and the main objective is to transform Brazil into a country that completely conforms to the neoliberal mold, just like what happened in Chile starting with the dictatorship of General Pinochet under the guidance of the “Chicago school” ideologues like George Stigler and Milton Friedman who advocate the Minimum State.
The Crisis among the Sectors of the Bourgeoisie is the Opportunity for Workers’ Resistance
The invasion of the Senate by order of a judge (something unthinkable in countries considered great powers) is yet another step in the process of disintegration of the so-called constitutional regime base on bourgeois law, and has opened the path to a major decline, or even the total destruction of, the few remaining democratic rights that workers have under the capitalist system in Brazil.
There no longer exists in Brazil the right of any citizen, who suspects that his or her home is under surveillance or being bugged, to hire a specialist to find the object and remove it. Anyone doing so can be arrested. The so-called “democratic rights” are being systematically demolished in Brazil. If the new regime which came to power after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff is doing this to Senators of the Republic, what can we expect will happen to ordinary citizens, member of social movements and leftist parties?
It is clear that the regime imposed by the putchists is designed to hand over the national wealth to imperialism (in the greater privatization of Petrobras; the large-scale privatization of all sectors; and the freezing of the level of public expenditures, etc.). No less, it is also an outright assault on the workers in favor of national and global big business (the destruction of laws which benefit the workers; the reform and degrading pensions; the total outsourcing of the public sector; layoffs; etc.); all this is being done to impose the plans of the putchists and those who stand behind them: to liquidate any remnants of anything resembling a democratic regime.
CUT and Social Movements Call for a General Strike on November 11
The National Executive Directorate of the Central Única dos Trabalhadores-CUT (Unified Workers’ Central), met in late October in Brasilia and reaffirmed November 11 as a national day of strikes, organized together with the other Trade Union Centers and various entities of the social movements that make up Frente Brasil Popular and Povo Sem Medo (Brazil Popular Front and People Without Fear).
* Mobilize for the General Strike November 11! For mass mobilization against the pro-austerity offensive of the far right! For the setting up of action committees in factories, unions, neighborhoods, slums and outlying regions in defense of our rights and against the government of putchists!
* For the mobilization of autonomous worker resistance and the convening of a national constituent assembly!
* For a national conference of delegates of all mass anti-putchist organizations to discuss and adopt a plan against the new regime!
* For a working class government in alliance with the peasants, urban poor and the landless! We can only guarantee our future and our rights if we bring down capitalism, the source of our misery!
* The CCR – Corrente Comunista Revolucionária – is dedicated to building an authentic revolutionary party in all of Brazil and Latin America. This is the only way that we can fight consistently for our rights!
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