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(en) Brazil, FAG PUBLIC MESSAGE ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION RESULTS - The victory of Lula and the defeat of the Brazilian left.

From "Chris R" <christopher@nodo50.org>
Date Thu, 14 Nov 2002 11:14:59 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

After four months of many negotiations, conclaves and broken-down alliances,
the Brazilian State finally and officially knows who its new president is. A
foreseeable result and all official political policy makers were prepared
for the victory of the coalition led by the PT with Lula at front. It took
twelve years and four candidacies so that finally, in his last attempt, the
ex-factory worker was elected. Every four years, his speech became more and
more moderate, his program got milder and milder and the alliances forged
went more and more to the right. The second round of votes on Sunday, 27th
October, 2002, was the crowning of a definitive turn to the right of the PT,
a party that arose from social movements and from authentic syndicalism at
the end of 70's, that had an ample popular base and an original proposal of
socialism and democracy.

To consolidate the final transformation of this Party to the image of the
middle-class Social Democrat programme, an electoral and class alliance was
braided ranging from still authentic left-wing social movements (that
campaigned very much against their will) up to symbolic presence as
Vice-president of a textile industry businessman with investments abroad,
Jose Alencar, the PL (Liberal Party, linked to the Pentecostal Church and
charismatic renovation). Senator for Minas Gerais. In the second round of
vote, as was also expected, even one of the Trotskyist parties, the PSTU,
resolved to give "critical support". Arguing that the other side of the
Right was getting nervous and using terror in its electoral marketing (which
was true), Lula, his allies and critical supporters joined in an emotional
campaign that fled from firmly declaring that any kind of commitment with
the poor of the country would be established. They cried a lot and affirmed
nothing. The result: a peaceful transition, calm and quiet, with the
commitment of the PT and of its national leadership (not by chance a
hegemony of ex-Stalinists) to fulfil all of the contracts and commitments
(IMF, IBD and World Bank included). The elected offered clear signs to the
financial market (in fact, less than 1000 physical persons that run the
speculative circuit in Brazil) that their profits will not lower much, and
all the politicians reinforced the idea of institutional normality. In other
words, since nothing really is at play, the system and its institutions can
function without worries.

Some factors have to be studied in depth. This "will and desire of change",
manipulated by the media and by official party policies, separates and
temporarily removes any chance of change in the real world, in the disputes
over serious themes and definitions, those that can alter the distribution
of power of the national elite and of the transnational companies that are
their allies. Within reformist prospects, it was possible, even in a
conciliatory way, to seek to obtain more, to liberate the social forces to
dispute the elections by putting to the public a programme of basic reforms
in Brazil. The same basic reforms, redistributing production and urban and
rural lands, which toppled populist President João Goulart on 1st April,
1964, when the Military Dictatorship took over Brazil. They are these same
basic reforms that marked the non-alignment of Brazil in the international
economic order and would have lead a Lula government, if it had been elected
in 1989, to be knocked down by another coup d'etât (by the Congress or the
military). These minimal land and production reforms, independent
development, the social function of the land and access to city rights
(urban reform) that no government will apply either in Brazil or in the
Latin America. This is because here, in the backyard of the U.S.A., for us
Latin-Americans, major structural reforms are more utopian than a social
revolution, and are more distant from the reality of the struggle than a
militant grassroots movement with its own program.

The week before the second round of elections, the cover of Veja (the main
weekly political magazine in Brazil) of the Abril-Civita Group (connected to
Rede Globo, the leading TV channel in Brazil, a subsidiary of the American
CNN), apart from being a pearl of electoral terrorism, was a straightforward
message of the national corporations and foreign capitals and interests
acting in Brazil. The magazine openly declared that Lula and the hegemonic
currents in the PT (that are the most moderated) will have to "secure" what
they call the "free radicals", or in other words: the minorities of the PT
in social movements which are already organising their opposition to the
Lula government and are even thinking of leaving the Party. In this way,
neither Lula, nor the PT, nor its coalition nor its right-wing allies cause
fear or alarm in the ruling class, in the political class and their leaders.
There only remained still one problem in the eyes of the elite: the danger
of the PT and its government moving the organised social forces towards a
programme of conquests and benefits through the bourgeois State. The PT
leadership knew this very well and in no moment of the campaign called the
oppressed, workers, proletariat, women, students and blacks to combat! The
call was another, it was aimed at everybody and at nobody, at the collective
figures of capitalism who do not want to say anything. It treated everyone
equally (at least in the world of law and literature) and called on
"citizens, consumers, tax-payers and voters" to vote, to pay taxes, to carry
out an electoral campaign with airs of patriotism, to carry coloured flags
and banners and to stick stickers on their chests. The people no longer
exist for the PT (this is because for the Right they never existed, and were
always an object of control and repression) as a mass and a class that is
organised and struggles against the enemy, they can be relaxed and assured
with the Lula triumph. What exists are just the citizens of a country that
is found only on paper, that by chance is called Brazil and with the touch
of a magic wand stops being the land of genocide and slavery -in the past
and in the present, in the gaols and in prisons, in the huts and
shantytowns- and turns into "one of the greatest democracies on earth."

Neither the will to change nor the civic reformist campaign grasps our
reality. The country has been in a recessive cycle for over four years,
unemployment is at its highest point in history, we are returning to a cycle
of inflation, salaries have lost purchasing power over the eight years of
the triumvirate in Brasilia that follows the commands of Washington and the
IMF: Fernando Henrique (government), Pedro Malan (the economic arm) and
General Alberto Cardoso (the military leader).

In one of his first difficult and serious interviews, the almighty national
president of Social Democracy (PT), the lawyer and Stalinist Jose Dirceu
recognised all this reality and affirmed what they would and would not do.
He said on Rede Cultura (a famous programme of interviews on State TV) that
his government will treat the National Congress as arena of debates and
negotiations and that they will achieve what they can without breaking any
international contract or commitment, giving first place to maintaining a
financial surplus (that is, maintaining taxes), leaving barely any finances
for the Executive, and attending to the interests of the alliances struck
over the campaign (with businessmen, with the right-wing PFL, with sectors
and oligarchies of the also right-wing PMDB, and with European capital).
When asked about which measures would be taken against the social movements
that wanted to make demands and fight against the federal government (even
being this a Social Democrat government), Jose Dirceu did not stammer and
immediately proclaimed: "In these cases, we will apply the severity of the
law!" In other words, comrades, once again they have proven that the
anarchists were right. Once the bureaucracy has sat down on the throne, with
power centralised in its hands, it represses and persecutes just like any
right-wing party. Even here in the urban areas of Rio Grande do Sul, how
many homeless squats are violently expelled by the Military Brigades? A
recent example: on 8th November, 150 families were expelled from a squat in
Porto Alegre, with ostensible violence from the "security workers" (the PT
now calls repression like this).

However, if the popular movements are seduced with the offering of posts and
departments, there they will always be treated well, they will always toss
out a few baskets of food or any other donation to silence the mouths of the
dissatisfied and that's the end of matter. That means, comrades, that our
problem is much deeper, and that the lives of the oppressed do not change or
improve with a "sensible man" occupying a part of bourgeois  power (the

Dear comrades, an analysis like this could go on forever, because examples
that show the contradiction between the social talk of justice and the
actual practice of left-wing governments have filled thousands of pages. But
this is not what concerns us now. We want to call on the authentic militant
socialists, those who are in grassroot struggles (modest, humble but
militant, like us), on class struggle fighters and on the people of Brazil,
on left-wing organisations, popular movements and unions to mark a model and
programme of fight and demands, no matter which government is in power.

2003 will be the year of ALCA trade negotiations and this is already our
first banner! We should fight for the immediate moratorium of foreign debt,
and for the suspension of internal debt! For taxes on companies, builders
and real estate agencies (urbanising shantytowns and creating policies for
the homeless)! For a land reform based on struggle, occupying and taking
over the lands of the owners of large estates! For the autonomy of decision
and public funds for all public education (elementary, high school and
university students)! For the expulsion of the USA from the Alcântara no
Maranhão military base! Against Plan Colombia and in solidarity with Latin
American revolutionary movements.

We will never gain our liberation following the rules of our enemies. For
the oppressed of Brazil, for the more than 100 million of black Brazilians,
for all of the working class to free ourselves from the whip, from hunger,
misery and violence will be by our own devices and nothing else. We believe
that only the fight of the people can liberate, and that only ourselves,
political organisations and social movements of organised people can show
the road to follow! It is urgent and necessary that we build a unity of
struggle as people and as class. The popular struggle cannot be towed behind
an elected bureaucracy. Little matters what we do on any October Sunday,
when we are obliged to vote, what matters is our daily militancy in popular
movements, in the cities, shantytowns, schools, factories, in the
neighbourhoods and in the street!


Federação Anaquista Gaúcha (FAG)
October 2002

Luciana - FAG Secretary of Relations
Tel. + (51) 32112476 / 91484391
postal address: cx postal 5036 / CEP 90040-970 / Porto Alegre / RS / Brazil

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