Brazil: Rallies launch ‘Movement for a New Party’

Socialist alternative needed to Lula’s neo-liberal policies

With the right turn of the Workers’ Party (PT) government of Lula, its neo-liberal policies, and the expulsion of the PT Federal deputies, Baba, Luciana Genro, and João Fontes, and Senator Heloísa Helena, the proposal to build a new left party in Brazil has gained strength.

A meeting held in Rio de Janeiro, on January 19, issued a public statement and formed the "Socialist and Democratic Left – Movement for a New Party”. Since then, steering committees have been set up in most of the states around Brazil and seminars and launch events are taking place in most state capitals. The aim is to build for a major nationwide event in Brasília on June 5-6.

Revolutionary Socialism (Brazilian section of the CWI) argues that the new party should be a broad left formation able to attract all those dissatisfied by the current course of the PT and ready to continue the struggle. At the same time, a new party would be an important area of the Marxist left to advocate a socialist programme and a revolutionary strategy for the workers’ struggle in Brazil.

Over 500 activists took part in a public rally to promote a new party on 12 March, in Rio de Janeiro, including activists and leaders from several unions, student and community movements, and a group of 65 members and leaders of the PT in the city of Duque de Caxias, who announced they were leaving the PT and were ready to discuss building a left alternative. A group of 10 striking Federal Police workers also took part and supported the event.

In São Paulo, despite torrential rain and traffic chaos, a rally on 19 March attracted over 700 activists. The event was chaired by three representatives of the currents composing the movement, including André Ferrari of Revolutionary Socialism, the Brazilian section of the CWI. Miguel Leme, an SR member and on the leadership of Apeoesp (the state teachers’ union) also spoke at the rally. Over one hundred SR papers were sold.

In addition to the congressional representatives (Heloísa, Baba, Luciana and Fontes) other speakers at the event included a group of left intellectuals, some of them founders of the PT, who broke from the party and are helping to build a left alternative. Representatives of social or community movements, unions and political currents also expressed their commitment to the new party.

The audience included leaders of sectors inside the PT that have not yet left the PT but will probably do so in the future. Although the Socialist Democracy tendency (DS, the Brazilian group of the Unified Secretariat/Mandelite tendency) played a very negative role in supporting the Articulation slate (the right wing and majority current of the PT) at the last PT municipal convention in São Paulo, sections of this current that disagree with the line of their leadership attended the event, showing that there may be a split in this current in the future.

In Belém, there were over 700 activists at the 22 March rally to launch the movement for the new party in the state of Pará, in the north of the country, which is part of the Amazonia area. A major public event is planned for Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on 26 March, and then for several more state capitals during April.

Revolutionary Socialism works to build a new left party as an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and socialist force capable of drawing together most of the left and activists, to make it a mass organisation. In the course of this campaign, Revolutionary Socialism puts forward the ideas of Marxism and calls for the strengthening a revolutionary, left internationalist force, capable of posing a consistent alternative to capitalist crisis in Brazil and worldwide

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March 2004