Brazil: The Arrest of Lula da Silva – Yet Another Step in the Creeping Coup

For the Organization of Struggle Committees! For Mass Demonstrations against Those Plotting the Coup! But No Confidence for the Pro-Austerity PT-PMDB Government!

Statement of the Corriente Comunista Revolucionária (CCR, Section of the RCIT in Brazil), 9.3.2016




1.            Friday, March 4, 2016, was a day to be remembered in history. Federal police went to the apartment of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Bernardo do Campo, where they arrested him and took him away to the Congonhas airport, from where he was sent to the State of Paraná to appear before a federal judge, Sergio Moro, and from there, depending on circumstances, he may already be under indefinite imprisonment. The huge military apparatus has provided a political reality show for the pleasure of the putschist press, the political sectors of the fascist right, and the angry middle class; a show deliberately orchestrated by order by Federal Judge Sergio Moro, Brazil’s national version of the notorious American senator Joseph McCarthy.


2.            Lula da Silva was not sent from Congonhas airport to prison in to Paraná just because crowds in various state capitals around the country swarmed into the streets to demonstrate their support for him. In São Bernardo there was an actual confrontation between right-wingers and pro-Lula militants which was broadcast live by the television networks, causing nationwide shock. During the day the demonstrations relentlessly kept coming on. At Congonhas airport, which was supposed to have been Lula’s first stop on his way to prison, there was so many people demonstrating that the federal police tried to explain that "Lula’s not being sent to prison, but he’s only on his way to a routine investigation so that he can clarify some things!"


3.            In order to take Lula away to testify, "forceful coercion" was used. This arbitrary judicial proceeding and clear breaking of the law now used against Lula has previously been used against several politicians and businessmen, mainly linked to the Workers Party (PT). The legal justification of "forceful coercion" as defined by law is the determined taking into custody of someone who refuses to voluntarily give testimony when they are summoned, which was certainly not so in the case of the former president, because Lula was not even accused of this. Rather, his arrest was simply a show of force of the putschist right, supported by the judiciary and the media, in particular the O Globo Group Organization. In this “reality show” the “good guys” are the Federal Police and the “villain” is Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil. But the heinous schemers have shot themselves in the foot, as Lula da Silva’s arrest showed how much broad support he still has from the humblest sectors of population, social movements and trade unions.


4.            Lula had previously criticized the actions of the Federal Public Ministry and the federal judge Sergio Moro, who in reprisal authorized his arrest by the Federal Police. The former president had called early actions of these putchists “fireworks displays” saying “Unfortunately they have preferred to use their predominance, their arrogance, their fireworks. It’s unfortunate that part of the judiciary is working in collusion with the press.” Lula also reiterated that he has not refused to give testimony to the Federal Police, and that an invitation by them for him to appear would be sufficient. Ironically, he said that “starting next week, whoever wants to conduct a brief conversation with Lula, will have to pay for a plane ticket, as travelling by bus will take too much time,” and that he himself is inclined “to make the trip across the country on foot.” The former president also commented that he felt “outraged” and “hurt” by the action of the Federal Police. He added that the entire episode has led the PT to “raise its head” after having “been with its head down for so long” hinting that he may be a presidential candidate in 2018, adding that “Whoever wants to defeat me will have to face me in the streets.”


The Creeping Putch and the Position of the CCR National Section of CCRI (RCIT)


5.            There is no guarantee whatsoever that Lula will actually be a candidate in 2018, nor is there even any guarantee that President Roussef will herself end her term in office in almost another two years time, given the ongoing impeachment proceedings against her. As we have stated in previous documents, the creeping coup that is process in Brazil is being sponsored by American and European imperialism. The struggle of the judiciary and the putschist press is not the fight against corruption and much less against the supposed “communism” of PT governments. According to our document of 20/08/2015: “What is really at stake for those directing the reactionary mobs on the streets is not the fight against corruption or even the supposed communism of the PT governments. If such pretensions were in fact the case, people like Congressman Paulo Maluf would already be behind bars. Governor Geraldo Alckmin and the PSDB in the State of São Paulo are insufficient in themselves to explain the misappropriation of millions of dollars allocated to the expansion of the subway lines. Much more than corruption, what is at stake for the forces of reaction in Brazil who are doing their utmost to topple the government of Dilma Rousset is their desire to placate the pressure being exerted by imperialism and Brazil’s own national bourgeoisie: to bring about full privatization of the pre-salt; to privatize the Bank of Brazil and the state bank “Caixa Economica Federal”; to fully implement the outsourcing of work by contract; to severely limit or even entirely eliminate vacation rights for workers, their Christmas bonus, their maternity leave, etc. Such wide-sweeping, brutal attacks against the workers of Brazil is much more than the PT governments could ever possibly accomplish without entirely losing their social support base among the working masses. It is precisely these last arch-reactionary goals which are what lays behind the current coup movement.”


6.            In the event that the coup movement is successful, all progressives and leftists (or those who are considered as belonging to the left), all social movements, neighborhood organizations, progressive political parties, strike movements, trade unions, all will in some way suffer at the hands of the advancing semi-fascist repression. However, one thing must be clear: We do not support the Popular Front government of PT / PMDB. We must continue to fight not only the coup movement, but also the harsh attacks on the workers and the poor, the measures taken by President Dilma Rousseff, like the privatization of the pre-salt oil reserves and the new pension reforms.


7.            We reaffirm our declaration from last August that “Above all, it is urgent that the working class and oppressed organize without delay to meet head-on any threat of coup. The coup, if it occurs, will not be rescinded by parliamentary agreements or legal maneuvers. It is only the working people, the youth of the cities, suburbs and hinterlands across the country that undertake this fight. We need to organize ourselves in the workplaces, in the neighborhoods, in the favelas and form popular committees which will struggle against the looming coup.”


8.            We call upon the CUT Trade Union Federation, the Frente Popular de Esquerda (Left Popular Front), the MST, militant chapters of the PT and other mass organizations to hold a national congress of delegates as soon as possible. Such a democratic congress should discuss and adopt an immediate plan of action in the struggle against the coup plotters.


9.            It is imperative that all popular and workers’ organizations break with the Popular Front government so that they organize and struggle independently of it.


10.          Furthermore, it is necessary the workers and popular organizations found a revolutionary workers’ party for Brazil that will be a part of a new World Party of Socialist Revolution.

* No to the coup of impeachment  and no to the calling for new elections!

* Mobilize the masses to go into the streets and fight at one and the same time against the attacks of the Roussef government on the workers and the poor AND against the coup movement!

* Mobilize for a mass antifascist demonstration on March 13!

* For the creation of action committees in the factories, trade unions, neighborhoods, slums and outlying regions in defence of our rights and against any coup movement! For the creation of Struggle Committees! For Mass Mobilizations against the Coup Plotters! But no confidence in the Pro-Austerity PT-PMDB Government!