Friday, December 07, 2018

Brazil Elections: Part Two

Mothers against Bolsonaro

In Brazil right now, a perfect storm of the worsening crisis, the exhaustion of the Workers Party (PT), and the populist elevation of Bolsonaro, has created the conditions for a Bonapartist figure based on the petty bourgeoisie and one sector of the national bourgeoisie that wants to privatise all state owned property, to rise to power by using the electoral process. And when his electoral legitimacy is challenged by organised workers, Bolsonaro’s military ties guarantees him the loyalty of at least part of the military high command in mounting a military coup and creating a fascist regime.

In the semi-colonies we see one after another national leader exploit the anger of the petty bourgeoisie and unemployed to ride a ‘populist’ wave into power. In Brazil, the crisis is extreme and the rising anger of the petty bourgeois has pushed Bolsonaro, a career marginal politician of the far right, a captain in the army during the period of Military rule, and long-time advocate of a return to military rule, to the brink of power. His sudden rise to popularity is no mystery to Marxists.

The likely victory of Bolsonaro represents a trend of global capitalism facing its terminal crisis resorting to Bonapartism based on a maverick politician rallying the votes of the disaffected petty bourgeois to solve the crisis by removing all obstacles to making the workers and peasants pay for the crisis. It signifies the exhaustion of right-wing social democracy’s role in pacifying workers who fight back against all attacks to smash their resistance to imperialism’s drive to increase its super-exploitation of the weaker imperialist powers and semi-colonies.

The jailing of Lula and the impeachment of Dilma has shown that US imperialism does not favor the PT and favors the reactionary government. Even if the PT wins the second round, though highly unlikely, thinking that the Workers Party (PT) will do anything more than deliver for their imperialist masters is delusional.

The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) current in Brazil has jumped on the bandwagon calling for a vote for the PT in the second round. We expect the Unified Workers’ Socialist Party (PSTU) to make a similar decision this week. Should they do so they will abandon the fig leaf of class political independence they maintained in the first round.

This is where the centrists show their true colors. Their illusion in the parliament and the RCIT call for a “revolutionary” constituent assembly in all semi-colonies at all times overshadows the retailing of illusions in what can be wrung from the bourgeoisie without regard to the state of the economy. What was possible when the economy was riding high is not possible at all times with a miraculous ballot, and in fact the PT without a bourgeois suitor party at this moment is no more class-independent than it ever was. As a matter of program it is committed to popular fronts. For centrists to say this is not the issue now is a reflection of their bankruptcy, since they are staking the entirety of their ‘anti-fascism’ on the second round outcome. For them, without a PT victory the sky will fall and it will be useless to have other plans of struggle. They show their complete lack of confidence in the working class’s ability to defeat fascism with its own methods and without surrendering leadership to alien class forces who ultimately have NO STAKE in fascism’s defeat. Quite the contrary, in fact, as history ought to have shown these modern Kautskys. We reject all this centrism as middle class muddle headedness.

Look at this RCIT shamefaced excuse for supporting the popular front posing as worker revolutionism!…,
"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!” – “Brazil: Vote Haddad – Defeat Bolsonaro! The Challenge for the Working Class in the Second Round of Presidential Elections
Contrast the RCIT position above with our comrades’ of the Grupo de Trabalhadores Revolucionários do Brasil (GTR-BR) position…,

"The PT deceived workers that the reactionary 1988 constitution and bourgeois democratic regime could provide a good living for the working class and spent 20 years creating the illusion that a “left” government could change their lives. After 13 years governing with the bourgeoisie, it is linked to the inherent corruption schemes of the capitalist state and is the main supporter of the Popular Front, which is the biggest obstacle to working class independence.” – “Brazil elections: Down with the Popular Front! For class independence in the struggle against imperialism and fascism!” [1]
The Chinese state did not come to Dilma’s rescue. The BRICS bank did not and didn’t have the money to bail Brazil out. The international dimension to the PT’s popular frontism was and remains lost on our centrists’ understanding of Brazil’s experience of the world capitalist crisis. To sell illusions in the PT as victims of the “car wash” and a “coup d’etat” that did not happen is to deceive the working class. It is a betrayal equal to the 1952 SWP (U.S.) call for support for Paz Estenssoro’s MNR in Bolivia!

Are the centrists oblivious? Even the BBC sees…,
“Above all, Mr Haddad has been trying to portray himself as more of a moderate than the firebrand, working-class Lula. Part of Mr. Haddad’s campaign strategy has been to try to woo the wider electorate with promises of gradual reforms.

These promises come after turbulent years in which Brazil has been rocked by an increase in violent crime and a huge political bribery scandal that has tainted the entire political class, ensnaring not only Lula but several other senior figures in the Workers’ Party.” – “Brazil candidate Fernando Haddad: Betting on moderation
Facing the rise of fascism in Germany in 1931, Trotsky wrote…,
“The Communist Party must call for the defense of those material and moral positions which the working class has managed to win in the German state. This most directly concerns the fate of the workers’ political organizations, trade unions, newspapers, printing plants, clubs, libraries, etc. Communist workers must say to their Social Democratic counterparts: ‘The policies of our parties are irreconcilably opposed; but if the fascists come tonight to wreck your organization’s hall, we will come running, arms in hand, to help you. Will you promise us that if our organization is threatened you will rush to our aid?’ This is the quintessence of our policy in the present period. All agitation must be pitched in this key.

“The more persistently, seriously, and thoughtfully … we carry on this agitation, the more we propose serious measures for defense in every factory, in every working-class neighborhood and district the less the danger that a fascist attack will take us by surprise, and the greater the certainty that such an attack will cement rather than break apart the ranks of the workers.” – “The United Front for Defense A Letter to a Social Democratic Worker (February 1933)

“It is necessary to show by deeds a complete readiness to make a bloc with the Social Democrats against the fascists in all cases in which they will accept a bloc. To say to the Social Democratic workers: “Cast your leaders aside and join our “nonparty” united front” means to add just one more hollow phrase to a thousand others. We must understand how to tear the workers away from their leaders in reality. But reality today is-the struggle against fascism. There are and doubtless will be Social Democratic workers who are prepared to fight hand in hand with the Communist workers against the fascists, regardless of the desires or even against the desires of the Social Democratic organizations. With such progressive elements it is obviously necessary to establish the closest possible contact. At the present time, however, they are not great in number. The German worker has been raised in the spirit of organization and of discipline. This has its strong as well as its weak sides. The overwhelming majority of the Social Democratic workers will fight against the fascists, but – for the present at least – only together with their organizations. This stage cannot be skipped. We must help the Social Democratic workers in action – in this new and extraordinary situation – to test the value of their organizations and leaders at this time, when it is a matter of life and death for the working class.
Election agreements, parliamentary compromises concluded between the revolutionary party and the Social Democracy serve, as a rule, to the advantage of the Social Democracy. Practical agreements for mass action, for purposes of struggle, are always useful to the revolutionary party. The Anglo-Russian Committee was an impermissible type of bloc of two leaderships on one common political platform, vague, deceptive, binding no one to any action at all. The maintenance of this bloc at the time of the British General Strike, when the General Council assumed the role of strikebreaker, signified, on the part of the Stalinists, a policy of betrayal. [4]

No common platform with the Social Democracy, or with the leaders of the German trade unions, no common publications, banners, placards! March separately, but strike together! Agree only how to strike, whom to strike, and when to strike! Such an agreement can be concluded even with the devil himself, with his grandmother, and even with Noske and Grezesinsky. [5] On one condition, not to bind one’s hands.” – Leon Trotsky, “For a Workers’ United Front Against Fascism (December 1931)

[1] The vast majority of the left is defending the popular front to fight against fascism. The PT is terrorizing those who do not vote for the PT, accusing everyone of being on the side of fascism. Huge pressure, and ALL the left capitulated.

The PT is in a formal coalition with PCdoB and a small bourgeois party (PROS). Informally, it is allied and rising on palanques with various MDB cadres and “colonels” of politics.

Reblogged from Class War

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