A political party is not defined just by its program and statutes, but by its morals. The PSTU militants can look back with pride to our trajectory on this field, and proudly compare our party with the rest of the left tendencies.

By José Welmowicki.


Evidently, the party members are and will be exposed to the pressures of the society, trade-unions, State and companies, acting to corrupt activists. But the essential is for the party to have a conception of morals to counteract these pressures.

Why are morals important?

No human organization survives without morals; that is to say without rules to regulate its internal life and its action. This is valid for any organization or society.

The bourgeoisie, knowing it is just a numeric minority of the society, always gave much importance to the defense of its domain. Part of this is the permanent combat to create and impose its selfish, individualist moral, specially to the working class, as otherwise it would be impossible for them to govern the society.

Precisely, the workers’ struggles and its constitution as a class since the XIX Century, allowed it to create a moral that is opposed to the bourgeois’. A moral based on unity to struggle for its interests as a class, and in solidarity among partners of struggle.

The moral decline of the capitalist society

By the end of the XX Century and the beginning of the XXI, as part of the so-called neoliberal wave, an opportunist gale devastated the workers’ organizations all around the world. Those were the times of the “death of Socialism”, and the most extreme individualism, still echoing until now.

However, on the contrary of what the ‘triumphalist’ propaganda said, the world was getting worst each day, with growing signals of barbarism. As it could not be different, this general decline of the society had a strong expression on moral grounds. Values that used to be hypocritically cultivated, like honesty, pacific coexistence, common good and solidarity were directly abandoned, and replaced by an “all-valid” moral.

It is all valid for an individual advantage, like a better position at work. It is valid to trick my partner or a relative, serving selfish interests. This is what we are thought on daily basis. To scam in a public work, to divert money from public health or education, are considered a proof of audacity.

Moral degeneration of the workers’ movement organizations in Brazil

Nowadays, it is very normal to hear from a worker or activist that “everyone corrupts”. This reaction can be explained in Brazil because it went through one of the deepest processes of political and moral decline of the international workers’ movement: the bankruptcy of the PT and the CUT

The process of full integration of the PT and the CUT to the State apparatus meant a moral setback to those organizations, and caused a major rejection and skepticism among the vanguard and the activism.

The scandal of “Mensalão”[1], in 2005, showed the integration to the State apparatus gave origin to an “apparatus moral”. It is all valid to keep the parliamentary representation and a State position.

The moral trajectory of our tendency

Out participation of the PT and the CUT was built over political, programmatic, methodological and moral battles. From the first moment we proposed for the PT not to make alliances with the bourgeoisie, and we denounced the voluminous campaigns financed by the bosses. But the policy of the PT leadership was to encourage the use of the Prefectures “bourgeois-style”, and so open the doors to corruption.

Since the victories of 1998[2], a wide network of business and agreements was installed, through dirty agreements with garbage collection and busses companies, and fake contractor companies and consultants that earned major commissions for projects that only existed on papers. We saw cases like the one in Santo André’s (São Paulo) that led to the murder of the PT Prefect, Celso Daniel.[3]

The Socialist Convergence (CS), back then part of the PT, acted in the opposite direction. One time, a member of our tendency was elected Prefect by Timotéo, Minas Gerais, in 1998. However, some months later he decided to repress a strike of municipal employees, breaking with CS’s orientation.

This militant, who controlled the wage an important city, was immediately expelled of Convergence, as he had broken a principle; he took part for the bourgeois State against a workers’ strike. Many PT leaders, even from left tendencies, could not believe we were capable of “throwing” such amount of resources out like that.

Yet, for us it was about defending the revolutionary and class nature of our tendency. It was this intransigence regarding our principles what made us survive the period of militancy inside the PT, and leave the party with our moral compass intact, saving our principles.

Tendencies like the Socialist Democracy (DS – Unified Secretariat), of Trotskyst origins, adapted progressively to this, and so, degenerated politically and morally. Today, they are part of the corrupt administration of the State, and also of the repression to social movements.

The PSTU, since it foundation, was very clear about this. Our political campaigns are driven with resources we get together with the workers; we never accepted bourgeois funds. There is a very simple reason for this rule: to take the financial support of our class enemies is to open the door for them to determine the policy of our party.

Ultimately, the bourgeoisie is coherent: it will only finance those who are not a threat to it. This was the reason why we denounced the funds of Gerdau[4] taken by the PSOL for its campaign in Porto Alegre, 2008. For us, not everything is valid to elect a candidate.

Originally Published in Opinião Socialista – Special: 15 years of PSTU

Translation: Sofía Ballack



[1] Mensalão was the name given to the corruption scandal for monthly payments to some parliamentaries to vote, in the Congress, in favor of the Bills the government was interested in.

[2] Electoral victories.

[3] Although the investigation was never cleared, it is a known fact his murder (2002) was directly related to his involvement in these corrupt negotiations.

[4] Main private Iron and Steel company of Brazil.