Brazil: Army troops in the streets as the Temer Government advances its attacks against the workers
No to the slogan “Bring back Rousseff!”; “What is the practical use of the slogan “Out with Temer! “?
Everyone, participate in the 15 March general strike against the pension reform!
For a National Revolutionary Constituent Assembly convened by the workers
Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (Section of the RCIT in Brasil), 4 March 2017, http://elmundosocialista.blogspot.com/2017/03/tropas-do-exercito-nas-ruas-enquanto-o.html
“The Fascists find their human material mainly in the petty bourgeoisie. The latter has been entirely ruined by big capital. There is no way out for it in the present social order, but it knows of no other. Its dissatisfaction, indignation and despair are diverted by the Fascists away from big capital and against the workers. It may be said that Fascism is the act of placing the petty bourgeoisie at the disposal of its most bitter enemies. In this way big capital ruins the middle classes and then with the help of hired Fascist demagogues incites the despairing petty bourgeois against the workers.
The bourgeois régime can be preserved only by such murderous means as these. For how long? Until it is overthrown by proletarian revolution.” Leon Trotsky,Whither France? (1934)
The journalist Ricardo Kotscho wrote in his blog early in January that the decision of the government to put armed forces in them streets of the states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro, and the recently ordered censorship on the content of private talks between the wife of the President Michel Temer and her brother that supposedly can compromise her husband, these are sufficient in themselves to declare that Brazil is living in a state of emergency.
“Censorship of newspapers, something that hasn’t happened since the military dictatorship, and troops (of the army and the National Guard) in the streets to ensure public safety; what else is missing for a return to 1964?” Between the reality and fantasy in which the facts are trampled and denied, images from the past threaten the future of our democracy,” wrote Kotcho.
In Brasilia, at the request of President Temer, a judge prohibited Brazil’s largest newspapers, Folha and O Globo, from publishing information about the attempt by a hacker to blackmail the president’s wife, Marcela Temer. Censorship on newspapers is something we have not seen since the end of the military dictatorship.
Meanwhile, since the beginning of January, violent outbreaks in Brazil’s prisons have resulted in more than 200 deaths (actually probably many more, as official figures may not correspond to reality). In addition, the country’s economic, social and political bankruptcy, the most glaring examples have bee in the states of Rio de Janeiro , Rio Grande do Sul, and Espirito Santo, where public workers have resisted government proposals in the streets. Among these angry workers are police who participated in protests against cuts in their salaries and pensions, and an ever lengthening delay in receiving their salaries since December. In this context, the Temer government decided to make the armed forces available to face any possible “disorder” in Brazil.
In response to this step, we paraphrase the journalist cited above and ask “With troops on the streets to ensure public safety, what else is missing for us to return to 1964?” And to this we respond in kind, as he did, “Images from the past threaten the future of our democracy,”
One of the Brazil’s major writers, the publicist Raduán Nassarm, received in Sao Paulo in mid-February the 2016 Camões Prize which is granted every year by the governments of Brazil and Portugal to an important writer of the Portuguese language. In his firm, but friendly, speech Nassar took the opportunity to speak out against the government of Michel Temer, referring to it as “repressive.” What was supposed to be a tribute to the work or this writer was transformed by him into as a small but powerful act of protest. After expressing his thanks for the prize awarded by a unanimous vote of the members of the jury from Brazil and Portugal, the writer said that nowadays “unfortunately, nothing is so beautiful in our Brazil” and added that “we live in dark, dark times.” In his speech made reference to a number of recent episodes in Brazilian national politics, like the “invasion of the headquarters of the Party of the Workers-PT [by fascist gangs] in São Paulo,” the “invasion (by military police) of high schools in many states [during the second helf of 2016]” and “violence against democratic opposition demonstrating in the streets.”
In mid-December of the year last, the newspaper Estado de São Paulo published an article written by a general of the army and former Chief of Personal of the Ministry of Defense, Romulo Bini Pereira, in which he wrote that “in the event that the country’s economic and political crises enter stages which make Brazil ungovernable and which are inconsistent with the desires and expectations of society, entirely disrupting the existing democratic system, the armed forces may be forced to intervene in defense of the state and the institutions .”
According to the attorney Lucio França, an activist and leading member of the group Torture Never Again, the simple stationing of the military to conduct a new intervention is illegal. “This is completely unconstitutional; it is a Putch. They cannot defend military intervention in a democratic state, since that would be repeating what was done in 1964.”
Former President Dilma Roussef (PT), who was ousted from office in April 2016 by an institutionalized coup, defended her government and those of her PT predecessor, Lula da Silva, in a lengthy interview with the web site Sul21 (http://www.sul21.com.br/), saying that “the second stage of the coup has the potential of being far more reactionary and repressive.” She also criticized not only the dismantling of social policies, but the growing process of privatization which serves the interests of American and European Union imperialism. At one point in the interview, she admitted that the rapprochement of her and Lula’s governments the blocs of Russia and China in the context of the BRICs alignment played a decisive role as a catalyst for the institutionalized coup. She said: “In the case of Brazil, there is also an interest of having control of our geopolitical alignment.” A lot of people considered illegitimate the multilateral stance we adopted, which resulted in the emergence of the BRICS, a very significant group which brought together China, Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil and led to the founding of a BRICS bank. It is important to remember that one of the main international policies of the Obama administration was the containment of China, and it still is,” (under Trump).
We in the CCR anticipated that, in response to the government attacks, during the first half of 2017, there would be a large popular mobilization against so-called Pension Reform and the new Labor Laws sponsored by the illegitimate government of Michel Temer. The recent unrest in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where for four months the public sector workers have not received their salaries, in resistance to the privatization reforms and the slashing of worker rights by the state governor (a member of the PMDB), put the city on a warpath resulting in clashes with riot police that lasted several weeks, manifestly a sign of things to come. At the same time, there was the outbreak of a mutiny by the police in the state of Espirito Santo against the shrinking of their real wages (for four years their salaries have not been incremented at all). More than 4,000 of the state’s police officers refused to patrol the streets, causing an unprecedented security crisis. As a result, for at least three days, the population of the state capital, Vitoria, as well as the peripheral countryside refused to leave their homes. In response, the state government asked the federal government to send in the National Guard and Brazilian army forces to maintain order.
The crisis in the prison system in the north of the country, in which more than 200 died, as well as the security crisis last month in the states of Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro, with more than 140 dead, together further encouraged sectors of the middle class, who helped make last year’s institutional coup concrete, to move on from there an request the return of military rule. According to the newspaper A Gazeta from the state of Espirito Santo “a political group linked to the Deputy Jair Bolsonaro (PSC-RJ) constituted the first line of communication and logistics for the disturbances by the state police in the beginning of this month (February), along with a team of experts in social networks.” In the picket lines of the striking policemen were posters with conservative and reactionary slogans like “For the return of the military!”, “Out with them all! [the politicians], “For an end to corruption!”
For several years, a congressman in the Chamber of Deputies, Jair Bolsonaro, from Christian Social Party (PSC), has been the most visible face of Brazilian fascism. His agenda is not only conservative in the sense that he’s against abortion, against human rights, against minorities, against women, etc., but he openly favors the torture and execution of political opponents and the expulsion of immigrants. During the vote in the Chamber of Deputies for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, Bolsonaro honored the memory of the most infamous torturer during Brazil’s military dictatorship, Colonel Carlos Brilhantet Ustra. The late Ustra was at the time of the dictatorship one of those professional soldiers who actually took part in the torture of Dilma Roussef, then a guerrilla in the militant group Comando de Libertação Nacional – COLINA. In a recent poll for the presidential elections still scheduled for 2018, Lula da Silva took first place with 30.5% of the vote. But ranking second was Bolsonaro who received 11.3%, running ahead of traditional politicians like the Governor of São Paulo, Geraldo Alckmin, of the PSDB and Marina da Silva.
We of the CCR view in police officers and their establishment the armed wing of the bourgeoisie for repressing the demands of workers, and for which there is strong evidence of involvement in the deaths of youths in poor suburbs and outlying regions. Therefore, we do not support policemen in their strikes. Furthermore, we view the support given to the strike of policemen by the majority sector of the leadership of the CUT, as well as of the Morenoite PSTU and the “left of the PSOL,” as being both opportunistic and very dangerous. Such positions only mislead the workers’ vanguard into supporting the repression apparatus of the state. Instead, the crucial task of revolutionaries is to advance the political independence of the working class from the bourgeois state. Therefore, a central slogan for revolutionaries during the current period of increasing repression, as well as the surge of criminality and insecurity in the streets (due in large part to the police strikes) should be: For self-defense committees of the workers and poor to defend the neighborhoods against the police, the military, and criminal gangs!
The public’s growing demoralization with and distrust of traditional politicians (products of corruption scandals and media pressure) can result in events similar to what happened in Egypt in 2013, when the elected government of President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by the military headed by al-Sisi.
In the current political crisis in the country we in the CCR do not advocate the slogan “Bring Back Roussef!” as one of the conditions for ending the institutional coup which usurped the power of the Workers Party (PT). This slogan, which is supported by reformists, we entirely reject because it constitutes support for Dilma Roussef’s popular front government. While we in the CCR certainly opposed last year’s institutional coup, at the same time we always rejected expressing any political support for this government. Instead, we consistently called upon mass organizations of the working class and the oppressed to break with the popular front.
What is necessary now is for the PT to denounce, without any reservations, any future alliance with sectors of the bourgeoisie, including in the judiciary branch, and furthermore commit itself to cancel completely and entirely any structural reforms (whether for pensions, in labor laws, for education, in matters of privatization, etc.), including those instituted by the governments of the PT (Lula, and Dilma, between 2003 and 2016) as well as those introduced by the PSDB (under President Cardoso from 1995 to 2003). While we are certainly aware that the bureaucracy of the PT is totally incapable of this task, it is crucial that the revolutionaries put these demands before the PT leadership, which will at the same time bring about our engaging in discussions with the PT’s rank and file supporters, who are often rooted in the CUT, MST and other popular mass organizations. Adhering to these very demands we make can only be done by a true revolutionary workers’ party!
Yet another current popular slogan is “Temer Out!” While this slogan is quite correct in expressing opposition to the present government which came to power via an institutional coup, it is not sufficient. Rather, it is vital to tie this slogan with ones calling for organized mass struggle against the pension reform and other attacks. We want to bring Temer down via a general strike, and not by choosing another political figure via the reactionary Congress. Under the present law, the choice of a new President of the Republic must be done by indirect elections held in the National Congress. Clearly, any president elected by a mostly conservative, ultra-reactionary Congress would in no way be beneficial for the workers and the oppressed.
Quite the contrary, we in the CCR advocate calling for the convocation of a Revolutionary National Constituent Assembly, one that would be convened and controlled by the workers and the oppressed via their organizations along with the social movements, being totally independent of the bourgeoisie and its parties.
* For mass mobilizations and a general strike to stop the attacks of the Temer government! No to the slogan “Bring Back Rousseff!”
* For a Revolutionary National Constituent Assembly convened and organized by the workers and the oppressed!
* For mass mobilizations 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 self-defense committees of the workers and poor to defend the neighborhoods against the police, the military, and criminal gangs!
* 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!
* Total support for the national strike of 15 March against pension reform!
* For a Workers Revolutionary Party, a new World Party of socialist revolution! The Fifth International!
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