Sat Feb 04, 2023
February 04, 2023

Brazil | We defeated Bolsonaro at the ballot box! Now, the next challenges for the working class

By the National Leadership of the Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado (PSTU)

Lula has won the Brazilian presidential elections in the second round. All over the country, workers, youth and oppressed sectors feel relieved and rightly celebrate Bolsonaro’s electoral defeat.

Now, we, the working-class, must keep alert to Bolsonaro’s movements. If he doesn’t accept the poll results, we must carry out massive mobilizations and ensure that the will of the people is imposed, in the streets, with strikes and self-defense.

The PSTU called and campaigned for a critical vote for Lula in this second round to defeat Bolsonaro and his authoritarian dictatorship project. We saw how the government used, in an unprecedented way, the state machinery to perpetuate itself in power, as well as empowered employers to increase their harassment, threats, and intimidation of workers. Even the Federal Highway Police (PRF) mobilized to obstruct roadways to prevent or make it difficult for the opposition to vote.

The PSTU called for a critical vote because despite the importance of getting Bolsonaro out of the presidency, the alternative represented by Lula-Alckmin in our opinion will not defeat the extreme right, nor will it meet the needs of the working class. It is a relief to defeat Bolsonaro at the polls and, we insist, we must reject any attempt by Bolsonaro and his minions against Lula’s inauguration.

The ultra-right, however, cannot be defeated only with elections. It can become stronger if we do not change the conditions that made its emergence and rise possible. By this we are referring to the deep retrogression experienced by the country in recent decades, aggravated by the economic crisis, unemployment, hunger, and poverty.

Rely on the strength of the working class and organize the struggle from the base

We need to organize at the base to defeat Bolsonarism once and for all and ensure the new government is forced to hear the demands of the working people:

  • Repeal the labor and pension reforms
  • End hunger by carrying out an agrarian reform that encourages small farmers and guarantees food at low prices by nationalizing agribusiness
  • Guarantee employment, reducing the working week to 30 hours, without reducing salaries
  • Stop environmental destruction and demarcate indigenous lands
  • Invest in education, health, housing, and public services, suspending the payment of the debt to the bankers
  • Revoke privatizations, especially of Petrobrás
  • Commitment to heighten investigation to find out who killed Mariele Franco
  • And demand that the new government investigate and punish the crimes of Bolsonaro and his family.

We must organize ourselves to guarantee the demands of the working class, without putting any confidence in the Lula government which is allied with the billionaires.

Unfortunately, the new Lula-Alckmin government, in alliance with bankers, landowners, billionaires, and their parties, supported by the governments of rich countries, like Biden in the U.S., that rape the country, will inevitably end up attacking the working class. Their program is one of compromise with the “fiscal adjustment” and administration of the capitalist system, which lives for the profits and capital accumulation of the billionaires. The application of this program will inevitably lead to worsening living conditions of the working class and the poorest instead of meeting their demands, and this will only deepen the decadence and subordination of the country to international capitalists.

Building a left, working-class, and socialist opposition

Moving forward, we must build and strengthen a left, working class, and socialist opposition to Lula’s government. The left that integrates or remains as an appendix of the government will be committing a grave error because far from fighting the ultra-right, it will end up helping to pave the way for the latter to capitalize on popular dissatisfaction.

The PSTU, during the whole electoral campaign, defended the need to build a revolutionary and socialist alternative that actuates real change in society, putting workers and poor people in power. It is to that project we must now urgently turn.

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