The Challenge for the Working Class in the Second Round of Presidential Elections
Statement from the Corrente Comunista Revolucionária (Section of the RCIT in Brazil), 13 October 2018, www.elmundosocialista.blogspot.com
The Brazilian general elections held last Sunday, October 7, resulted in the ultra-reactionary right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro-PSL in first place and Fernando Haddad- PT in second place, forcing the second round for president to take place. Bolsonaro won 46 percent of the valid votes, only 4 percent below what it would be needed to win in the first round. The role of social networks, much more than traditional media, was decisive for this partial victory of Bolsonaro. In addition, four days before, the influential pastoral leaders of the various evangelical churches, Christian fundamentalists, abandoned the PSDB's traditional right candidate, Geraldo Alckmin, transferring millions of votes from this sector in favor of the PSL candidate.
Fernando Haddad, former mayor of São Paulo, was in second place, with 29% of valid votes, which corresponds to approximately 30 million votes. Considering that voting is mandatory in Brazil, abstention and invalid votes have reached a record 40 million votes. The character of the exception regime becomes clearer when, ten days before the election, the Supreme Court decided to cancel the votes of 3.5 million citizens, mainly in the northeastern region which is the main electoral base of the PT, because they supposedly didn’t register their names in electronic electoral polls.
In summary, the candidate Jair Bolsonaro benefited from the absence, omission and cancellation of these voters who together accounted for 43 million voters. In fact, Bolsonaro obtained only about 30% of the total votes of the possible.
The Congress (federal deputies and senators) now elected to take office in 2019 has a more conservative and reactionary character than the one elected in 2014 and which endorsed the coup d'état of 2016 that removed the former president-elect Dilma Rousseff from-PT Workers' Party. Of those parties who lost most of the seats in the congress were, by great irony, the traditional right-wing parties that commanded national politics since the end of the military dictatorship: PSDB and PMDB elected only slightly more than half of what they achieved in 2014. The criminalization of the policy sponsored by the process allegedly against corruption the so-called "Lava Jato" (Car Wash) hit not only the Workers' party, but the rightists old guard politician also involved in the corruption investigations.
This space was occupied by new deputies and senators linked to the extreme right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. In fact, the Social Liberal Party (PSL) of Jair Bolsonaro, composed of military, Christian fundamentalists, and reactionaries of every kind elected up to the closing of this article 52 new federal deputies and four senators from 16 states. This extreme right defends a deeply neoliberal economic agenda that will greatly increase attacks on the working class. In terms of comparison, the proposals announced by the Bolsonaro economic team point to worse than all the attacks on workers already made by President Michel Temer in the last two years. The only difference is that now these policies is combined with of racism, chauvinism, misogyny, anti-immigrant feelings, anti LGBTs, anti-indigenous peoples, etc.
As we reported in various articles bourgeois democracy in Brazil has been massively undermined. Behind the facade of a parliamentary system, there exists a disguised new military regime since February of that year which began with the military intervention in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The demoralized and unpopular government of Michel Temer is now a government supervised by the military. Also the Supreme Court abandoned his appearance of “impartiality” and takes into account in its decisions the "suggestions" of the command of the army. This is so explicit that the new Supreme Court President Dias Toffoli, having taken office in September of that year, called as adviser a retired general Fernando Azevedo e Silva. He is an influential general in the military who has just left the Army Chief of Staff, the executive branch of the Army command.
Thus, even in the remote possibility that Fernando Haddad-PT manages to overcome his difficulties and wins this election, his governability will be highly weakened. Thus a new impeachment would not be ruled out. He would face distrust of the military headquarters, a hostile judiciary, an equally rampant conservative monopolized media, a widely opposed congress.
The great mistake of the Workers Party in those years was to rely only blindly on the electoral path and its rotten alliances with right-wing parties that led to some neoliberal policies such as Lula da Silva's pension reform in 2002, some privatizations, generous subsidies to landlords, millions of dollars to the media, including the media empire of Rede Globo de Televisão. All without exception turned against the PT by and removed it from the government. They brought to power through a coup d'etat the Temer government which deepened the neoliberal economic policies much more than what would have been able in a government of the type of Popular Front under Lula or Rousseff.
For all this, we in the CCR reaffirm the need to have no illusions about the limited bourgeois democracy and the corrupt system parliamentary system. However, we unconditionally defend all democratic rights, whether against the coup-d’états, the military or the institutions. We combine this defense of democratic rights with the convening of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly with delegates elected by the workers and popular sectors who can debate and build proposals to solve the great problems of the Brazilian people.
We also defend the cancellation of all the structural neo liberal reforms made by the reactionary putchist government of Michel Temer. Brazil’s national wealth was ‘stolen’ by privatizations (Petrobras;Eletrobras; Embraer;) in favor of the imperialists countries, included China. The labour reform destroyed historical worker’s rights, the great landowners now have permission to destroy the forests, educational reform destroyed any chance to form a democratic and critical sense for our youth.
As we said in our last article on the presidential elections "In the past the CCR didn’t call for critical support for Lula or Rousseff because their candidature always had a popular front character symbolized by the fact that the Vice President was from the PMDB, an open bourgeois party.” We also said that “this time in presidential elections 2018 is different, since they have a vice-president of PCdoB, who is clearly a small bourgeois labor party”. In such a situation, it is important that the revolutionaries call for the critical vote for PT candidate Fernando Haddad. We know Haddad is a reformist politician. But this election reflects a significant class polarization and the PT and its candidate reflect - in a reformist way - the aspirations of the working class and of all the anti-putchist segments of society. Revolutionaries need to patiently explain to workers why the reformist policy of the PT and its old alliances inevitably lead to failure and why a revolutionary program with a truly revolutionary party fighting for a workers' government in close alliance with the urban and rural poor, is the only way forward!
* No to the criminalization of political demonstrations and the criminalization of social movements!
* Immediate freedom to Lula da Silva!
* Public safety is not the role of the Armed Forces! For the cancellation of federal military intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro!
* For the creation of action committees in factories, unions, neighborhoods, favelas and peripheral regions in defense of our rights and against the putschist government and against any military intervention! For committees of self-defense of the workers and poor in the neighborhoods and peripheries!
* Down with the constitutional law that allows the army to intervene in political matters!
* For the Revolutionary Constituent Assembly!
* For a Government of the Workers in alliance with the Urban and Rural Poor!
* For a revolutionary workers' party – a new World Party of the Socialist Revolution! For the Fifth International