Brazil: First observations on the new Lula-Alckmin government

By Comité de Enlace – Alternativa Socialista and Lucha Socialista/PSOL – ISL Brazil

In a historic inauguration, Lula received the presidential sash from the hands of a group of people represented by a black woman and recycler, one of the greatest indigenous leaders of the country, a black child and inhabitant of the periphery, a teacher, a cook, a defender of the anti-capacitism struggle, a metallurgist and an artisan. A symbolic act never seen before in the history of the Brazilian Republic. With the presence of thousands of people from different parts of the country, superior to the inauguration of 2003, Lula-Alckmin began their government accompanied by the international press and the retinues of many countries. We bring you the first general observations about this new government:

1. The end of Bolsonaro’s government represents an immense relief for the majorities after four years of intense attacks and deaths of thousands of people. Lula’s electoral victory and inauguration on January 1 of this year symbolizes the popular response against Bolsonaro’s extreme right-wing political project. Unfortunately, Bolsonaro and Bolsonarismo are not over, nor has the former president been forcibly removed from the streets and imprisoned, nor has his movement ceased to exist. On the contrary, they have concluded with the already expected promise that they will make a rabid opposition to the incoming government. The main bolsonarista leaders, including the former vice-president, have assumed positions in Parliament and state executives.

2. The slogan “Union and Reconstruction” of the Lula-Alckmin government is symbolic for us to understand the new government’s proposal. There is an ongoing debate as to whether the government is a “Popular Front Government” (classic or singular), as was the first Petista cycle, or a “normal bourgeois government”. There are still characterizations of “Government of National Reconstruction” and “Government of National Unity”. All this debate will continue. Therefore, there is no doubt that the nature of class conciliation, the attempt to reconcile capital and labor is the central hallmark. But that in itself does not answer everything.

3. There are central features of the “Popular Front” in this government that are important to fully understand: the support of workers’ organizations and conciliatory social movements; the illusion that the popular strata, although polarized in recent years, nurture in the government. These are important elements of form and consciousness that we cannot overlook. At the same time, the new government has the content of demobilizing the working class and instrumentalizing it for the ways of the Redemocratization Regime. This content can only be revealed through concrete experience. It is up to the revolutionary left to act to try to accelerate this process without falling into sectarianism, despising the form, nor into opportunism, erasing the content.

4. There are two important phenomena that are going to collide in this new government, very different from what it was at the beginning of the PT cycle in 2003. One is the aforementioned, some characteristics of a “Popular Front”; the other is that of the extreme right with strength in the opposition -although momentarily reduced by the loss of the federal government machinery. Opportunism throws the organizations into the arms of the Lula-Alckmin government for fear of mobilizing and confronting bolsonarismo in the streets; sectarianism makes a stylistic differentiation of the two phenomena but, in practice, puts everything in the same bag. Both, when and if the moment demands it, can be disastrous.

5. The illusion about the “left wing” in the Lula-Alckmin government, or even that the government is an “empty shell” to be occupied, is serving as pressure for a part of the left to occupy the space “before the right occupies it”. This pressure has been expressed, for example, by the PSOL, showing loyalty to the new government and being ashamed even to pronounce the word “independence”. The tendency is that this first period of Lula-Alckmin pressures the main organizations to immobilism and to adhere to the policy of patience with the new government.

6. The ministerial composition, a total of 37, shows the political vein of reconciliation of PT-Lula with the main parties representing capital, the physiological centrals, social democracy, green capitalism and laborism – União Brasil (merger of the DEM with the PSL, Bolsonaro’s former party), PSD, MDB, PSB, REDE and PDT. To these are added two left-wing parties, PCdoB and PSOL. This seam is part of the composition of the list for the elections, of the agreements for the victory in the second electoral round and the acceptance of the transition process operated in the last months of the Bolsonaro government until the beginning of the current government and, most importantly, the acceptance of governability under the rules of the bourgeoisie and its Regime.

7. The first measures of the new government were progressive, such as the 600 reais for the poorest families; the withdrawal of Petrobras, Correios, EBC, DataPrev and other state sectors from the privatization process; the revision of the administrative secrecy imposed by Bolsonaro; the decrees to combat deforestation and against mining on indigenous lands and environmental protection. But there are much more profound ones, such as the counter-reforms approved in recent years (retirement, labor, secondary education, spending ceiling, anti-terrorist law, among others), privatizations and the dismantling of the public sector that must be repealed as soon as possible.

8. As immediate tasks to be conquered, we believe that it is necessary to prepare the wage campaigns of the categories in this first semester; to demand the restitution of the inflation of the last 4 years and the real readjustment of 5%; in the same way, to demand the freezing of the products of the basic basket and of the rates of electricity, water, sewage, gas, telephone, internet, IPTU and rents; Zero fares for public transportation; creation of work fronts to absorb unemployed youth; immediate payment of the minimum wage to teachers and nurses; direct elections of career civil servants to put an end to the distribution of positions in federal public offices.

9. It is necessary to turn Lula’s speech “dictatorship never again, democracy forever” into concrete democracy, not just a gimmicky phrase. Concrete democracy means rights for the majority of the people, for the working class. For this, we have to confront the millionaires and billionaires, we have to say no to the rules of the fiscal regime – that is why it is important to repeal the spending ceiling, as well as the infamous fiscal responsibility law. Following the regime’s rules, this will have very little leeway. The only possibility will be through social pressure, which was demonstrated at the inauguration with the cries of “Amnesty no!” to Bolsonaro. The popular base itself has made it evident that it wants and needs concrete changes.

10. The PSOL has an important task in this period that is beginning. To maintain without hesitation its political independence, to mobilize against the Bolsonarist extreme right, anti-Bolsonarism continues to be the order of the day, and to be part of the mobilization of the working class for the annulment of the attacks, the conquest of new rights and the defense of those that still remain to us, in the face of the coming attacks. By the official way is to accept the governability of the Regime and the dictates of the capitalist vultures of the market, by the street is to impose our policy.

11. The national and international situation puts as a priority for the working class a fundamental task, the construction of an anti-capitalist, revolutionary and internationalist tool. We live in a stage in which the capitalist system and its governments (in its various forms) constantly attack the peoples, opening processes of socially polarized confrontations. In these processes, the reformist, non-revolutionary organizations are put to the test, either they radicalize and break with any illusion of class conciliation, or they fall victims of adaptation and assimilation to the bourgeois democratic regime. Hence the urgency of reinforcing the revolutionary tool, the revolutionary party. To turn everything around.

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