Temer out! General elections now! General strike to defend our rights!

The carpeted hall of the federal Senate has once more been a stage for the greatest of infamy. The vote on the definitive impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, on spurious grounds, represents a dangerous precedent which puts the democratic rights of the Brazilian people in serious danger.

The fraud and political, judicial and media manoeuvres used to push through the impeachment give is an impression of the level of rottenness of the Brazilian political system. We can expect nothing from these old and notorious corrupt suits and ties who will say and do anything as long as it represents the interests of their masters, big capital.

If this reactionary political elite is able to do this to a President, who did not represent any serious threat to the establishment, imagine what they could do to Left political forces of the working class which do represent the need for radical structural change in the country.

The decision of the Senate confirms an old truth: that our “democracy” is not real, but only to keep up appearances, when it is convenient for the masters of capital.

This decision is part of a project which deepens the attacks and counter-reforms against the workers in the interests of big business in the middle of one of the worst crises in the history of the country.

To guarantee the privileges of those above, they need to stomp on the rights of those below. This is the shameful role which has been assigned to the shameful figure of Michel Temer (acting right-wing President following the removal of Dilma).

The Temer government will spare no effort in its crusade against social and workers’ rights. To fulfil its role it will not hesitate to attack democratic rights, including the right to organise and demonstrate.

The new impulse of this illegitimate government against the workers can only be contained by united struggle of the working class and poor.

When she could no longer try to reverse the pro-impeachment position of the Senate majority, Dilma Rousseff criticised part of the counter-reforms and attacks of Temer in her last speech. However, many of these attacks began with her programme, and she made no self-criticism of herself or her PT party in this regard.

Discredited and without popular support, after going against her campaign promises and adopting the programme of her adversary in those elections, the right-wing Aécio Neves, Dilma no longer had the political strength to carry through her project of cuts, privatisations and counter-reforms. This led the main core of the capitalist class to opt for a “new” president, who moreover will not even stand for re-election, and thus will not depend on popular approval.

The big mobilisations against Temer since the beginning of the impeachment process in that fatal session of the congress, chaired by the corrupt Eduardo Cunha, showed the willingness for struggle and resistance by the working class. However, these mobilisations were directly or indirectly sabotaged or impeded by the leadership of the PT and its allies.

From the beginning, (ex-President) Lula and the PT opted for the road of re-building pacts with political forces in the congress and with big business. The vocation for class collaboration, which in the end is the fundamental cause for the failure of Lula-ism, is woven into his DNA. These people do not learn and will not learn from their defeat.

The parliamentary coup denounced by Dilma in the Senate was not confronted as it should have been by the leaders of the PT. The idea that the struggle against the impeachment meant only the return of Dilma, already prevented these anti-coup mobilisations from having sufficient strength to defeat the manoeuvres of the right. In this context, it is fundamental to defend a policy whereby the people have the power to decide who governs. In other words, to demand the calling of new elections with really democratic rules.

When Dilma herself, following much resistance, accepted the idea of new elections (thinking this could win a favourable vote from some senators), her own party, the PT, rejected the idea. The leadership of the PT and Lula himself were comfortable with the idea of Temer ruling until 2018, so that he could lose popularity and prepare conditions for Lula to return.

What a terrible day dream! If Temer manages to govern until 2018, he will put forward a historic series of attacks on the working class. Moreover, the offensive against those who rise up against it will not be negligible. For all that Lula opts for conciliation, he is in the firing line for the “Lava Jato” corruption case, and is unlikely to get to 2018 still intact.

There is a strong cynicism in the policy of the leadership of the PT. The tough measures of Temer are still seen by the PT leaders as essentially a necessary evil. In that sense, for them it is preferable that Temer promotes the counter reforms. This frees the PT from the responsibility and allows the party to return to Left rhetoric, as it normally does in the run up to elections.

We can no longer have any illusion in the role of the PT leadership, either in the fight against Temer or in the building of an alternative Left power in the country.

It is necessary to build a wide unity to struggle against Temer and his attacks. This unity in struggle should create conditions for a general strike. However, it is necessary to in this process to build a political alternative of the socialist Left involving PSOL (Party of Socialism and Liberty, the broad left party in which LSR participates), PSTU (united socialist workers party), PCB (Brazilian communist party), and other socialist organisations and social movements like the MTST (Landless workers movement), CSP-Conlutas (Left Trade union federation) etc.

These are the tasks for the consequent socilaist Left and of the activists of the trade union and social movements, workers, young people, women, LGBT and al the oppressed. There is no time to lose!

Temer out! General elections now! General strike to defend our rights!

Committee for a workers' International publications

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