The newly elected PT (Workers’ Party) led government of Lula in Brazil has aroused massive expectations and demands for change amongst the workers, peasants and others exploited by capitalism. Millions of workers, youth and peasants saw last year’s presidential election of Lula, formally an industrial worker, as ushering in the prospect of a transformation of Brazil. There are still widespread hopes that Lula will implement radical reforms in the interests of working people. However, since being elected Lula has begun to implement policies that are aimed at appeasing the ruling class and especially international imperialist organisations such as the IMF. Many workers, especially activists and young people, are now beginning to question and oppose the policies that Lula has implemented since being elected.
This week Lula has announced a series of "reforms" of the pensions, which are, in reality, counter-reforms. These proposals take away the gains won by the Federal government employees. This is being done to satisfy the money markets because of the increasing deficit in the public sector. Lula is defending this ‘reform’ on the grounds that it removes the ‘privileges’ of workers in the public sector. In reality it will simply bring these workers down to the level of the workers in the private sector. In addition to this the government has announced a series of "labour reforms" making it easier to sack workers. These attacks will also weaken the trade unions. These are the same measures that the PT opposed when the previous government of Cordoso tried to implement them! Lula has now declared that the PT was "mistaken" to oppose such reforms when they were introduced.
These measures and others are beginning to arouse opposition from sections of workers and peasants who voted for Lula in the hope that Brazil would be transformed in their interests. Preparing to face opposition from sections of the workers and from the left of the PT, Lula has appointed "left" leaders to key positions in the government. This is being done in the hope of being better able to control the opposition that is now beginning to develop to his attempts to carry through pro-capitalist policies.
Some sections of the "left" in the PT have fallen into this trap. Rather than being prepared to fight the pro-capitalist policies of the government they have assumed government responsibilities. The leader of the PT parliamentary group, charged with getting government policies through the Congress, is Nelson Pelegrino of Força Socialista (Socialist Force – a Left tendency inside the PT).
Incredibly, Miguel Rosseto, a member of the "Trotskyist" group, Democracis Socialista, the Brazilian section of the USFI (United Secretariat of the Fourth International), has taken the post of Minister of Agricultural Reform in the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MDA).
The question of agrarian reform is of crucial importance in Brazil. Millions are organised in the landless movement, the MST, which has now lifted its "ceasefire" with the new government. In the northern state of Mato Grosso, thousands of families have organised land occupations under the leadership of the local MST while, at the same time, negotiations for land reform continue at national level. In response to these occupations the Federal Police has been deployed. The Miguel Rosseto’s MDA has issued a statement defending the, "legitimate right of social movements to protest". However the same statement denounces the current land occupations as "surpassing the limits of democratic demonstration".
This scandalous action by a so-called Trotskyist shows how correct the CWI Brazilian section, Socialismo Revolucionario, is to oppose joining the government. The task of socialists is to prepare to struggle against the pro-capitalist policies the government is implementing. However, this is not the only opportunist and anti-working class measure taken by Democracis Socialista (DS) members following the victory of Lula in the elections. In the Senate, DS members Heloisa Helena, who has a reputation as a left-wing fighter, failed to turn up to the Senate and vote against the appointment of Meirelles as President of the Central Bank. Meirelles was a senior executive in the US Fleet Bank, Boston, and is an open representative of capitalism and imperialism. She also failed to turn up to vote against the election of Jose Sarney, the former rightwing President of Brazil, as President of the Senate.
Moreover it now appears that the Democracis Socialista is preparing to block inside the CUT (the main trade union federation) election with the PT right-wing leadership faction, Articulaçion together with the PCdoB and other currents, to give the PT leadership an overwhelming majority in the union.
The Democracis Socialista has clearly abandoned the struggle for revolutionary socialist policies in Brazil and is accepting the pro-capitalist polices of the PT leadership. The task following the elections in Brazil is to struggle against such policies and to begin to build support for revolutionary socialist policies as an alternative to capitalism.