Brazil

A debate has opened up within the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) about the question of whether it should enter the Lula-Alckmin government. The following open letter was drafted by our Brazilian comrades of Esquerda Marxista (Marxist Left), calling on the National Leadership of the PSOL to reject the decision of its National Executive to enter the Lula-Alckmin transition team, a first step towards entering a government that has committed to carrying out attacks on the working class in the name of ‘fiscal responsibility’.

Image: Esquerda Marxista

Bolsonaro’s defeat is a victory for the working class and the youth that opens up a new political situation in the country. Popular hatred for the reactionary government overcame the widespread and brazen use of the state machine in the electoral contest; the fake news; and the policy of class conciliation on the part of Lula and the PT.

On Sunday, Lula of the Workers’ Party (PT) narrowly defeated the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro (50.9 percent to 49.10 percent) in the second round of the presidential elections. While workers and youth are rightly celebrating this result, we should also note that Bolsonaro exceeded expectations, and managed to increase his vote by over 6 million between the two rounds, compared to an increase of 2.6 million for Lula.

The following is a statement by our Brazilian section, Esquerda Marxista (Marxist Left) offering solidarity with worker, youth and neighbourhood activists who have resolved to break up road blockades by hardline Bolsonaro supporters, refusing to accept the result of Sunday’s elections. Our comrades will participate in these efforts, and call for the main left and trade union organisations to back them.

The first round of the Brazilian elections are over. Our priority and central struggle now is to help the working class defeat Bolsonaro at the polls on 30 October. For this, first of all, it is necessary to understand the real proportion of votes in the first round. The 57.2 million votes for Lula and the 51 million votes for Bolsonaro correspond to 48.4 percent and 43.2 percent of the so-called “valid votes”. However, when we consider the total of 156.4 million voters eligible to vote in Brazil, it is clear that Lula received a vote of 36.6 percent of them and Bolsonaro only 32.6 percent, that is, less than a third.

Since being freed from prison, ex-president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known commonly as Lula), has had his conviction nullified, been found innocent, and had his political rights restored. Now he is in first place in the opinion polls for the upcoming presidential elections in October, on 46% as against 29% for the current president, Jair Bolsonaro.

The Bolsonaro regime’s handling of the pandemic in Brazil has been catastrophic. 400,000 people have died (officially), the healthcare system is collapsing and now hunger is rampant. The wretched capitalist system in Brazil has created a humanitarian nightmare and an ideal breeding ground for new, more dangerous variants. Even the ruling class is beginning to distance themselves from Bolsonaro as the mood in society turns to bitter anger against the regime.

The pandemic is out of control in Brazil. According to official data, at the time of writing (21 March) there have already been more than 294,000 people killed by COVID-19. Approximately 2,000 new deaths are registered on average every day. When underreporting is taken into account, these figures are likely to be significantly higher.

Brazil is beating records for the number of daily deaths due to COVID-19, and at the time of writing, the country has exceeded 260,000 casualties. Added to this is the collapse of the country’s health system, with the occupation of beds exceeding 80 percent of capacity in 16 states and the Federal District, with nine states exceeding 90 percent capacity. Read the original in Portuguese, originally published 4 March.

A strike by refuse workers in Brazil against job losses and state repression has ended after 15 days with an important, partial victory. We publish below a report by our Brazilian comrades of Esquerda Marxista from yesterday (available here in Portuguese), giving a balance sheet of the strike. Additionally, we publish an earlier report (Portuguese here) giving some further background on these events.

Ford announced last Monday the end of production of vehicles in Brazil. The decision led to immediate cessation of activities at the Camaçari (Bahia) and Taubaté (São Paulo) facilities, maintaining only the production of parts for stock, while the production of Troller jeeps will be maintained only until the last quarter of 2021 in Horizonte (Ceará). There are thousands of workers who will be newly unemployed in Brazil and Argentina, in addition to the thousands indirectly affected by the layoffs.

The upcoming municipal elections in Brazil are being seen as a litmus test of Bolsonaro's electoral support following two years of chaos, demagogy, attacks on the working class, and now the disaster of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is clearly a desire for radical change in Brazil, despite the shameful policies of class collaboration by leaders of the left.

Below are some of the messages of solidarity our Brazilian comrades of Esquerda Marxista have received in the face of the attacks suffered by one of their leading activists, Johannes Halter. Earlier this month, a hacker threatened to disclose personal data about Halter and his family if he did not take down the Esquerda Marxista Instagram page, which he manages. For more details, read this article, originally published in ...

The Brazilian section of the International Marxist Tendency has faced an online attack from an anonymous individual in an attempt to silence our revolutionary ideas. The IMT would like to send our full support and solidarity to the Brazilian comrades of Esquerda Marxista and comrade Johannes Halter, who has endured personal threats as well as threats towards his family. We ask all our readers to support the campaign by sending messages of solidarity to contato@marxismo.org.br.

Esquerda Marxista, the Brazilian section of the International Marxist Tendency, honored and paid tribute to comrade Roque Ferreira at his funeral on 5 September in Bauru. Because of the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the burial at Jardim Ypê cemetery was restricted to 15 family members. Roque passed away on 4 September after complications during his hospitalisation after testing positive for COVID-19. However, like everything in Roque’s life, his funeral was filled with not just displays of affection, but also a deep revolutionary spirit.

It is with great sadness that we have to report that Comrade Roque Ferreira, member of the Central Committee of Esquerda Marxista (Marxist Left) and of the National Coordination of the Black Socialist Movement, died yesterday afternoon (4 September), a victim of COVID-19.