Brazil: For the many not the few – Boulos for president!!!

Guilherme Boulos and Sonia Guajajara

Manifesto from Boulos for president in Brazil – UK committee

The coup in Brazil – and the Temer government

In 2016, a parliamentary coup took place, overthrowing an elected government and giving power to sectors of even more corrupt of politicians than those it claimed to defeat. Since then, backed by the big media groups and parts of the judiciary, the coup tramples on the constitution, protects its allies and persecutes the opposition. As revealed in a leaked audio from one of the current government leaders, “it’s part of a big national deal, with the big business, the military, the Supreme Court, everyone.” It was not by chance that they imprisoned former President Lula when he was leading the polls for October’s elections with a large advantage – definitively making him a political prisoner.

The coup has occurred to make the working class and the majority of the population pay for the crisis. Temer’s government imposed an accelerated agenda of attacks on the social rights and democratic freedoms of the Brazilian people. They approved laws prohibiting an increase in social investment for 20 years, which were already scarce, including public health and education. They presented a Labour Reform Bill which directly attacked rights acquired through decades of struggles. They are trying to impose pension reform that, in practical terms, makes the retirement unreachable for most of the country’s workers.

They particularly allowed agribusiness to deforest and pollute, making Brazil stand out as a consumer of agrochemicals and transgenic products. The rather limited agrarian reform and the measures to protect indigenous lands have been halted; and they seek to privatize companies in essential sectors such as water and energy. Brazil is experiencing immense setbacks in its cities, fields and forests in order to increase the profits of large corporations, big farmers and bankers. As a result, since the coup, the extreme poverty, unemployment and social inequality – and their immediate consequences, such as crime and violence – have significantly increased.

The fascist threat

Along with that, the country witnesses the growth of the far right, with its propaganda based on hatred and prejudice. A fascist candidate, second in polls, praises the military dictatorship and openly supports torture and repression. In addition, he is currently facing lawsuits for racism, misogyny and homophobia and even rape apology.

Paramilitary militias increase an escalation of terror. They executed the Rio de Janeiro City Councillor Marielle Franco, and recently shot former President Lula supporters. There is a significant increase in cases of assassination and imprisonment of young people, mainly black and poor, justified by the “war against drugs”. Rio de Janeiro currently has a military intervention in public security that, rather than reducing crime rates, only increased the repression of the residents in the poorest areas of the city, the favelas. In fact, it ended up encouraging, even more, the ideology which “criminalizes poverty”.

The struggle goes on

But the Brazilian people resist. About a year ago, Brazil experienced one of the largest general strikes in its history. Several groups of workers organize and struggle in various parts of the country. Young students occupied schools in defence of public education. Women carry out significant mobilizations against misogyny. The social housing movement MTST – one of the most dynamic social movements in Brazil since the major demonstrations in June 2013 – have been standing out in the struggle for social housing. Their leader Guilherme Boulos has become a reference point;  denouncing austerity policies which harm the majority of the population – policies that take away from the poorest and social investment to benefit the richest 1%.

Here in Britain, we actively took part in Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign For the Many, not the Few, where the Labour Manifesto presented policies to defeat this same model of austerity. Corbyn, in few weeks, brought that agenda to the greater part of British working class and youth. He inspired many who were demotivated, sceptic or even attracted by far-right alternatives such as UKIP, which experienced growth with its racist and xenophobic campaign for Brexit. Corbyn has achieved a surprising election result, and today, with the fragility of Theresa May’s (chaos) coalition, Labour has a good chance of reaching government and implementing those policies – and that will have a significant impact all over the world.

For the Many, not the Few In Brazil – Boulos for President!!!

We bet on a similar path for the 2018 elections in Brazil. The PT is not an alternative, just like the old Blairites. Both applied social cuts, austerity and privatization. Just as here in Britain, Brazil needs a renewed left, overcoming the limitations of the PT’s conciliatory experience, proposing radical reforms and challenging the privileges of the 1%.

That is why we support Guilherme Boulos’s candidacy to cancel Temer’s reforms, nationalize the strategic companies, allocate public resources to education, health and transport, invest in social housing, tax the millionaires and save the public pensions. We also  back the candidacy of Sonia Guajajara for Vice Presidency, one of the most important representatives of indigenous peoples, reflecting the agenda of those communities struggle for human rights, against racism and for defence of the environment. We want a government for the majority in Brazil.

The candidacy of Boulos has every possibility of reflecting in Brazil the same phenomenon seen in Britain with Corbyn. That is the most effective way of struggling against the coup and the far right, presenting an alternative to organize the people and raise the socialist left to a new level in Brazil.

Let’s go together, with no fear of change. Also in Brazil, “For the many, not the few – Boulos for President!!!”

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See also an interview with Sonia from Jacobin here and an article on racism in Brazil from The Conversation here.

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