Statement of the Corriente Comunista Revolucionária (CCR, Section of the RCIT in Brazil), 22.4.2016
The process of political coup in Brazil, backed by the US, which we from the CCR have been denouncing for several months, took a decisive turn on the evening of Sunday, April 17, 2016. In a horror show in which the country’s members of congress had to vote for or against impeachment of the democratically elected president of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, they revealed to an astonished country the extent of their pettiness, not only with regards to political issues, but their total lack of a sense of the absurd. The impeachment of the President Dilma was approved by 367, exceeding by more than 20 votes the two-thirds majority needed. For those voting for impeachment, it was not merely enough to condemn a president for whom there is no actual accusation to justify the entire process; rather these deputies, almost to a person, in order justify their vote in favor of impeachment declared that they were casting their for God, for their families, their cities, their pet dogs, for the love of the country, etc. All this nonsense, but nothing addressing the real matter at hand, the accusation that Roussef had taken borrowed money from public banks to cover a shortfall in expenditure on social programs such as “Bolsa Família” (family bonus for the poorest people), one of the trademarks of the Popular Front governments of Roussef and Lula during the past 13 years.
Congressman Jair Bolsonaro from the Christian Social Party (PSC) was unable to control his fascist impulses and even declared that he was voting in favor of impeachment in honor of the former military dictatorship and its main torturer, Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ulstra. (1)
Just a few days before the vote, the PMDB, the main bourgeoisie party participating the popular front, the most prominent representative of which was Vice President Michel Temer, declared that it was breaking with the government and that they were relinquishing their offices.
It was then that the leadership of the Workers’ Party (PT) finally realized that the chief architect of the coup was the Vice President Michel Temer himself.
Soon after, other important bourgeois parties like the Popular Party (PP) and the Democratic Social Party (PSC) fell into line and declared that they too were in favor of impeachment.
It then became clear to the PT that their pact with the elites which had enabled Lula's two-time election to the presidency as well as that of his successor, Dilma Roussef, was no longer in force.
Understanding the Background to the Coup
To understand the background of the coup which culminated in the vote of April 17, let’s first recall a paragraph from the article we published here on December 6, 2015: “… from the point of view of Western imperialism (US-EU-Japan), the financial bourgeoisie, and Brazil’s big landowners, the PT, despite its collusion with anti-worker forces, is irreparably flawed due to its social origins rooted in the mass movements and the role its leadership played in the struggle against the military dictatorship in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Even though the PT leadership has sold out to the system and introduced many attacks on workers, especially public workers, like Lula da Silva’s Pension Reform of 2003, such roots are unforgiveable in the eyes of Brazilian and international capital, and it is for the reason that the coup is considered by them to be a necessity.” (2)
First of all, it’s vital to realize that Brazil is facing its worst recession in decades. Therefore, the bourgeoisie needs a more aggressive, anti-worker government for the implementation of liberal reforms and privatizations. The Popular Front government was not fit for such a task, due to the political and social influence of workers and mass organizations within it.
In addition, Brazil’s conservative and reactionary bourgeoisie is pro-American because of the country’s historical and traditional dependence on US hegemony throughout the South American continent, while they are anti-Chinese because the PT government’s having aligned itself with BRICS.
Therefore, as we have stated in previous documents, the primary interest of the Brazilian bourgeoisie in overthrowing the Popular Front government has its origin in this class’s fealty to US and European imperialism, in contradistinction to the rising eastern imperialist powers, Russia and China. As part of this campaign, it is incumbent upon western imperialism to smash the alliance of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa), as well as weaken the Bolivarian populist governments in Latin America. The coups that brought down the presidencies of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009 and of Fernando Lugo in Paraguay in 2012; the unrelenting right-wing pressure on Venezuela where an unsuccessful coup was staged in 2002; the right-wing pressure on Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina of the Kirchners; all these cases clearly demonstrate that what’s at stake here is something much bigger than just a fight against corruption. The intervention of western imperialism to confront the growing influence the eastern imperialisms of Russia and China head on is evident not only in Latin America, but in Africa, the Middle East, and in eastern Asia. The military coup in Egypt in 2013 which overthrew President Morsi under the command of General al-Sisi; the military dictatorship installed in 2010 in Thailand; and finally the formation of Ukraine's semi-fascist government in 2013 are all a part of this same process.
Due to the regional importance of Brazil, the largest country in South America and one of major countries of Latin America, with the ninth largest economy in the world, it simply was not possible for it to be left out of this ongoing, intensifying worldwide geopolitical dispute.
The Rules of the Game have Changed
This is why the conditions for the so-called “pact” of the elites with PT governments no longer exist. This is why only naïve impotence is expressed by speeches like that of former president Lula da Silva, who was astonished in light of the approaching coup, claiming that “never before had the rich gained as much as during my administration,” attesting to his inability to even comprehend why so much hatred is directed against PT, against the government of Dilma Roussef, and even against himself personally during the recent attempt to arrest him.
Let there be no delusion that in the next step of the impeachment process, in the Senate, the coup will somehow be extinguished. The only way to stop the coup is by means of a broad popular mobilization. We cannot lower our heads. It is our task, we the working class, together with the trade union federations and the social movements and progressive parties, to organize large mobilizations culminating in an unlimited general strike to defeat the coup.
Fighting over the Spoils
In the last hours few hours, as the writing of this article draws to a close, two important news items have been released. First, Judge Maria Thereza de Assis Moura of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), has declared the start of submission of evidence in the impeachment hearings of President Dilma Rousseff and of the Vice President Michel Temer. In addition, Judge Teori Zavascki from the Supreme Federal Court (STF) ruled last Wednesday, April 20, that the allegations made by Senator Delcídio Amaral (formerly of the PT/MS) must be included in the inquiry into the alleged corruption conspiracy at Petrobras. Amaral’s allegations include accusations against President Dilma Rousseff, but also against Vice President Michel Temer and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, among other figures.
These two items taken together confirm beyond any doubt that there is now an open contest being waged between the main bourgeois parties over the presidency, should Rousseff’s impeachment be approved by the Senate. Given this dog fight over the booty, assurance had to be made that there is no longer a forgone conclusion that Vice President Michel Temer will assume the presidency should Roussef be convicted in the Senate hearings (thus the ruling by Judge Maria Thereza de Assis Moura). Clearly, from these developments we see that the main opposition party, PSDB, is not particularly interested, after having expended so much effort, in simply ousting the president, only to have to hand over power to the PMDB for another two and a half years, and all this gratis! Rather, for the PSDB, the most opportune thing now is to call for new elections for president, to be held together with the forthcoming local elections for mayors. This PSDB position, as incredible as it sounds, is identical to that made months ago by the pseudo-left PSTU party when they adopted a stance in favor of the coup demanding: "Throw them all out! For new general elections!” Furthermore, this very same position is now unabashedly being defended by former PT Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, now heading up a green party called Rede, which in recent research by Datafolha Institute (always questionable ) is supposed to have the support of 20% of the Brazilian electorate.
As we wrote in our article of December 6, 2015: Brazil: No to the impeachment! No to the Call for New Elections!, our tasks today remain to defeat the coup in the streets with independent mass mobilizations of the working class and the oppressed! To force CUT and all mass organizations to consistently fight for our rights! For the organizing of mass demonstrations, the occupation of squares and other public places and the declaring of a general strike against the putsch and the putschists! And for the formation of anti-coup action committees in all workplaces, neighborhoods, and schools!
- Defend the PT, Lula and Dilma against the right-wing attacks! But no political support for the popular-front government! Fight against their anti-worker austerity measures!
- Nationalize the property of the multinational corporations under workers’ control. No cooperation with any imperialist Great Powers: the USA, EU, China, Japan and Russia!
- For the formation of a government of the working class in alliance with the urban poor and the landless peasants of throughout Brazil! We can only secure our future and our rights if we overthrow 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!
See also the interview of Glenn Greenwald on CNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb_W5OfcW6I