Thu Jun 13, 2024
June 13, 2024

The First 100 days of Lula’s Government

In his speech on the first 100 days of his government, Lula defended the new fiscal framework that gives continuity to an austerity regime in order to prioritize the payment of the country’s debt to bankers. “If there is a government with experience in exercising fiscal responsibility, it is mine. I have lost many people from the PT because of the primary [budget] surplus, some even went to the PSB, others to the PSTU,” he said referring to his first mandate.

By PSTU Editorial Brazil

The slogan chosen by the new administration tries to convey the idea that they are going back to a time when things were supposedly going well, or at least not so bad. But first, we must ask, is it true that “Brazil is back”? Second, what if we did go back to the time of the commodities boom when there were compensatory measures for the very poor on the one hand, and the tightening of laws, the revocation of rights, and the further precarization for those with some means in order to enrich big agribusiness, banks, and contractors? Wouldn’t we arrive at the same place we are now? With the capitalist crisis, the process of recolonization came to light. After its unmasking, deindustrialization and impoverishment appeared, and it was revealed that inequality never actually decreased at all.

Bolsonaro’s government put the country in explicit and ultraliberal barbarism mode. But it was the PSDB and PT governments that built the social bases and political disappointments that allowed the emergence of Bolsonarism in the first place.

The first 100 days of Lula’s government, even when they appeared to address the workers or sovereignty, were centrally at the service of paving the way for the current fiscal framework, seeking conciliation for the preservation of the leadership of the Armed Forces, and of guaranteeing, in relations with China, the United States, and the European Union, the preservation of the interests of the Brazilian ruling class submissive to imperialism.

Instead of a working-class project based on its mobilization to confront the 1% of international and national capitalists, Lula’s government of class conciliation relies on the democracy of the rich, on Lira, Pacheco, and “the centrists,” as well as promises to govern for all. But it is not possible to make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Lula’s first 100 days point to a social liberal program, in other words, neoliberalism with a minimum income.

The program and alliances of Lula and the PT aim at administering capitalism in crisis in conciliation with the bourgeoisie and imperialism. That is why we raise the need to build a working-class project for the country, which is not tied to a project of the bourgeoisie because otherwise, the deep changes that are necessary will not take place. And without those changes, our country will continue to be more and more subaltern and decadent, poorer, and the working class more precarious and squeezed. And these last three months prove it.

Bolsonaro’s electoral defeat and also the failure of his coup attempt were met with relief by a large part of the working class and the most oppressed sectors. And it is understandable that the removal of Bolsonaro has generated relief, expectations, hope, and excitement.

But the hope that the country’s surrender to capitalism and privatizations will be stopped, that the labor and social security reforms will be repealed, including the New Secondary School, and that there will be no amnesty, once again, for coup plotters, have been falling by the wayside because they do not fit into the new framework. Not even the defense of indigenous peoples, black people, and women fit into the new framework.

Class independence

The task facing the working class is to build a class-based camp that can strengthen its project for the country, confront the capitalists and imperialism, and also effectively defeat Bolsonarism.

Lula said in his speech: “the ultra-left plays a fundamental role, because while you are not going to do all that they say, at the same time they prevent you from shifting too far to the right.” In fact, the role played by the left in government now is to reinforce hopes and expectations and prevent mobilizations that can confront this government project, the bourgeoisie, and the far right.

The workers must demand of their organizations that they have political independence from the government and the bourgeoisie and that they act to organize the class in defense of their demands.

A workers’ program

We need to engage in struggle in order to demand from Lula the total repeal of the labor and welfare reform and the new secondary education. We must also demand employment with a reduction of the working day to 30 hours a week without a reduction in wages. In addition, we need to demand the doubling of the minimum wage with the goal of getting to the Inter-Union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies’ (DIEESE) minimum wage which today is calculated at 6,571.52 reals.

It is also important to demand a stop to all privatizations and reestablish under workers’ control the state enterprises that have been handed over, beginning with Eletrobrás, Vale, and Petrobras. We must also demand the nationalization of Avibras, an important defense factory that is about to be handed over to foreign capital.

In order to accomplish this, we must take the opposite path to that of the fiscal framework, which will only maintain the neoliberal structure. It is necessary to end the supposed independence of the Central Bank, suspend debt payments to bankers, lower interest rates, nationalize the financial system, and end all subsidies and multi-million dollar exemptions to large corporations and multinationals.

The surest road to defeat Bolsonarism is with mobilizations, self-defense, and class independence. Not with amnesty for coup plotters or alliance with the bourgeoisie and neoliberal fiscal framework. What we can do now is organize a national strike against violence in schools, demand the investigation and imprisonment of those who threaten on the internet and, in addition, organize self-defense in assemblies with brigades elected by parents, students, teachers, and employees, and demand that the government finance them.

This is the way to create the conditions for us workers to build our own government, without capitalists, and supported by democratically-elected popular councils.

Socialist Opinion editorial article, published April 12, 2023 at www.pstu.org.br

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