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'Não nos representam!' A left beyond the Workers Party?

Doesn't represent us

Activists discuss plan for free transit at the occupied municipal chambers. Bottom picture: outside the walls of the municipal chambers, “Não Nos Representam!” (Doesn't represent us).

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Manuel Larrabure

July 18, 2013 -- The Bullet -- It started as a good idea. Rather than taking the path of the old Latin American left, in the form of the guerrilla movement, or the Stalinist party, Brazil's Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT), aided by strong union and social movements, decided to try something new. The challenge was to somehow combine the institutions of liberal democracy with popular participation by communities and movements.

Brazil: The mass protests in June-July 2013

July 11: National Day of Struggle

July 11: National Day of Struggle.

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Alfredo Saad Filho

July 15, 2013 -- The Bullet -- The mass movements starting in June 2013 were the largest and most significant protests in Brazil in a generation, and they have shaken up the country's political system. Their explosive growth, size and extraordinary reach caught everyone – the left, the right, and the government – by surprise. This article examines these movements in light of the achievements and shortcomings of the democratic transition, in the mid-1980s, and the experience of the federal administrations led by the Workers’ Party (PT) since 2003.

A Summary of the facts

Brazil: 'Anti-capitalist left must contribute to the development of the movement' -- PSOL


More at The Real News

July 1, 2013 -- Real New Network -- Brazilian protesters force compromise for improvements in public services. President Dilma Rousseff conceded many of the demonstrators' demands, and called for a national compromise to improve public services, by investing 100% of Brazil Oil revenues in education and health care.

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

International Viewpoint -- This interview with João Machado was conducted by Juan Tortosa of the Swiss journal SolidaritéS on June 23 and June 27, 2013. João Machado is a member of the leadership of the Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL) and of the Enlace current within it.

* * *

Brazil: Is 'Lulism' over?

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with Dilma Rousseff.

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

André Singer interviewed by Guilherme Evelin for Revista Epoca, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Federico Fuentes

June 23, 2013 -- André Singer, the person who developed the concept of “Lulism”, says that the recent street protests have opened up a long cycle of mobilisations that will force the government and the country to make some crucial decisions.

Brazil: João Pedro Stédile of the MST: 'We are in the midst of an ideological battle'

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

João Pedro Stédile Interviewed by Brasil de Fato, translated for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by Federico Fuentes

June 24, 2013 -- Brasil de Fato -- It is time for the government to ally itself with the people or pay the price in the future. This is one of the evaluations of João Pedro Stedile, national coordinator of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST) on the recent mobilisations across the country.

According to Stédile, there is an urban crisis installed in Brazilian cities, provoked by the current stage of financial capitalism. “For people, large cities have becoming a living hell where they lose three or four hours a day in transit, which they could instead be using to spend with their family, studying or participating in cultural activities”, he says. For the MST leader, reducing public transport fare prices was of great interest to all the people and this was what the Free Fare Movement got right by calling for mobilisation on behalf of the interests of the people.

Free Fare Movement to Brazil president: 'What matters is meeting the demands of the social movements'

Military police fire on protesters in Sao Paulo. Photograph: Sebastiao Moreira/EPA.

By the Free Fare Movement São Paulo, translated by Federico Fuentes

June 24, 2013

To President Dilma Rousseff

We were surprised by your invitation to this meeting. We imagine that you were also taken by surprise by what has occurred in the country in recent weeks. This gesture of dialogue on the part of the federal government is in contradiction with the treatment you have given social movements, a policy that has remained consistent through this administration. It seems that the uprisings that have spread throughout the cities of Brazil since June 6 has broken old barriers and opened new paths.

From the beginning, the Free Fare Movement has been part of this process. We are an autonomous, horizontal and non-partisan social movement, that never intended to represent all of the protesters who took to the streets of the country. Our voice is just one more among those shouted in the streets, written on placards, scrawled on walls. In São Paulo, we initiated protests around a clear and concrete demand: repeal the fare increase. If previously this seemed impossible, we proved that it was not and have advanced the struggle for what is and always has been our central concern, a truly public transport system. That is why we came to Brasilia.

PSOL leader: 'Brazil is changing! The people should not leave the streets'

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Roberto Robaina, translated by Federico Fuentes

June 23, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Brazil is changing! The youth uprising youth -- which has received active support from sections of the poorest people and more conscious middle classes -- has already had a greater impact on the history of the country than the "Collor Out" protest movement [of 1992, against then president Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello]. The current political system has fractured. And these facts are positive. We will be faithful to these developments, to borrow a concept from French philosopher Alain Badiou.

Public transport ticket prices were the trigger. Now multiple issues are being raised. All of them progressive. The argument that all this will open up space for a right-wing coup is simply ridiculous. This argument, put forward by sectors that want to demobilise the protests and protect the Workers Party (PT) government, seeks to hide the fact that the position of President Dilma Rousseff's PT government and Rede Globo [one of Brazil's main TV stations] are the same. They are united in their defence of the regime and share the common goal of propping up the current economic model.

Brazil: Massive protests fuelled by majority's lost expectations


Real News network report, June 24, 2013. More at The Real News.

[For more on Brazil, click HERE.]

By Charmain Levy

June 22, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The massive protests across Brazil have taken everyone – even the instigating group, the Movimento do Passe Livre (MPL, Free Fare Movement) – by surprise. Some international lefties and political analysts have repeated mainstream Brazilian journalists’ claim that they are the most important protests since the end of the military dictatorship in 1985. This is false.

Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff from Brazil’s social movements; A succinct report from the MST

In the midst of the largest street demonstrations Brazil has seen in decades, some of the country’s most important social movements – including the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT) and the National Union of Students (UNE) – sent the following open letter to Brazi’s president Dilma Rousseff on June 20, 2013. Translated by Federico Fuentes.

* * *

This week, Brazil has witnessed mobilisations across 15 capital cities and hundreds of other cities. We are in agreement with the statements coming out of these protests, which affirm the importance of these mobilisations for Brazilian democracy, because we are conscious of the fact that the changes we need in this country will come through popular mobilisation.

First reflections on the mass movement that has shaken Brazil

 More than 1 million people protested across Brazil -- in at least 80 cities -- on June 20.

See also "Open letter to President Dilma Rousseff from Brazil’s social movements; A succinct report from the MST". For more on Brazil, click HERE.

By Emir Sader, translated by Federico Fuentes and Kiraz Janicke

June 22, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The mass movement, that began as a protest against increased public transport prices, was unprecedented and surprising. Those who believe that they can immediately capture all its dimensions and future projections will most probably have a reductionist view of this phenomena, forcing reality to fit into previously elaborated schemas, in order to confirm their arguments, without taking into account the multifaceted and surprising character of these mobilisations.

'Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions': compelling contribution to our understanding of the 'pink tide'

Latin America’s Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Socialism
By Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes
Fernwood Publishing and Zed Books, 2013. Order Here

Review by Richard Fidler

March 11, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Latin America was the first region targeted by the neoliberal phase of capitalism, and it suffered some of its worst consequences. But it is in Latin America that neoliberalism has been most contested in recent years by new social movements of landless peasants, Indigenous communities and urban unemployed.

In a number of countries, this powerful democratic ferment has led to the election of anti-neoliberal, anti-imperialist governments — a process that started with the initial electoral victory of Hugo Chávez Frias in the late 1990s.

Brazil: Left workers’ unity attempt fails

Delegate addresses the national congress of militant Brazilian trade union federation, Contulas.

By Raul Bassi

July 11, 2010 -- An attempt to forge greater unity among militant union sectors in Brazil has imploded. The Working Class Congress (Conclat) was held in Sao Paulo on June 5-6 to try and bring together various radical union currents. The key forces behind the congress were Conlutas and Intersindical, both formed in opposition to the main union confederation, the Unified Workers’ Confederation (CUT).

The CUT unites approximately 60 million formal or informal workers out of a total population of 200 million, making it the biggest workers confederation in the continent. The CUT has had a very close relationship with the governing Workers Party (PT), both during its period of ascendency as it emerged out of the militant workers' struggles of the 1970s, as well as during its transformation to what it is today.

Has the World Social Forum been co-opted by capitalism? Does it have a future?

March 3, 2010 -- Olivier Bonford and Eric Toussaint are members of the International Council of the World Social Forum (WSF) and of the the Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM). In this interview with Marga Tojo Gonzales, they discuss the future and role of the World Social Forum as it enters its second decade. They also examine the relationship between the WSF and the call for a Fifth Socialist International by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. Translated by Vicki Briault and Christine Pagnoulle.

* * *

Marga Tojo Gonzales: Ten year after the first use of the slogan, "Another world is possible", a majority of humankind still lives in subhuman conditions, and with the international financial crisis, the situation has become even worse. Does this mean that the alternative globalisation movement has failed?

Haiti: Anti-Brazil mobilisations grow in quake's wake

Introduction and translation by Felipe Stuart Cournoyer

February 1, 2010 -- Below is a translation of a news report that appeared in the January 31, 2010, issue of the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo. One of the most vexing issues in Latin America’s relations with Haiti is the grievous lack of understanding on the part of anti-imperialist forces about the nature of the repeated imperialist occupations of the former French colony, and of the crushing of the Lavalas movement, including the ouster of the country's democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

I understand that at least some currents on the Brazilian left -- for example the PSOL -- understand that the UN occupation of Haiti was really a US-NATO occupation. This became clear when the US put an end to the pretense and used the January 12, 2010, earthquake devastation and catastrophe as a pretext to directly occupy Haiti with US troops.

However, to my knowledge, Brazil's Workers Party (PT) government has been silent on this issue. Its military has the lead role in the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), misnamed to be sure.

Bolivia also has troops in the same UN police force. 

L’appel historique de Chavez pour une 5eme Internationale

par Federico Fuentes

2 décembre 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- S’adressant aux délégués de la Rencontre Internationale des Partis de Gauche qui s’est tenue à Caracas du 19 au 21 novembre (2009), le président vénézuélien Hugo Chavez a déclaré : « il est temps de constituer la 5ème Internationale. » Face à la crise capitaliste et la menace d’une guerre qui représente un danger pour l’avenir de l’humanité, « les peuples réclament » une unité plus forte des partis de gauche et révolutionnaires qui sont prêts à lutter pour le socialisme, a-t-il dit.

A l’instar de son appel de 2005 pour la construction « d’un socialisme du 21ème siècle » et son appel de 2006 pour la création au Venezuela d’un nouveau parti de masse révolutionnaire – le Parti Socialiste Unifié du Venezuela – l’appel de Chavez à l’unité de la gauche et pour une nouvelle internationale est un événement historique.

El llamado histórico de Hugo Chávez para conformar una V Internacional Socialista

por Federico Fuentes

2 de diciembre de 2009 -- CADTM/Green Left Weekly -- Hablando a los delegados del Encuentro International de Partidos de Izquierda realizado en Caracas, el presidente venezolano, Hugo Chávez señalo “que llegó la hora de que convoquemos a la Quinta Internacional. Frente la crisis capitalista y la amenaza de guerra que poner en peligro el futuro de la humanidad, la unidad de partidos de izquierda y revolucionario dispuesto a luchar para el socialismo “es un clamor del pueblo,” dijo Chávez.

Como su llamado en 2005 a construir el “Socialismo de Siglo XXI” y su anuncio de la construcción de un partido de la revolución al final del 2006, el llamado de Chávez a unificar la izquierda en torno a la Quinta Internacional representa en hecho histórico.

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez calls for international socialist unity

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

November 27, 2009 -- Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of Left Parties held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said that with the capitalist crisis and threat of war risking the future of humanity, “the people are clamoring” for greater unity of those willing to fight for socialism.

Chavez used his November 20 speech to the conference, which involved delegates from 55 left groups from 31 countries, to call for a new international socialist organisation to unite left groups and social movements: “The time has come for us to organise the Fifth International.”

Historic

Venezuela: Chavez calls for new international organisation of left parties

By Kiraz Janicke, Caracas

[Read the conference declaration HERE.]

November 23, 2009 – Venezuelanalysis.com – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called for the formation of a “Fifth International” of left parties and social movements to confront the challenge posed by the global crisis of capitalism. The president made the announcement during an international conference of more than 50 left organisations from 31 countries held in Caracas over November 19-21.

“I assume responsibility before the world. I think it is time to convene the Fifth International, and I dare to make the call, which I think is a necessity. I dare to request that we create my proposal,” Chavez said.

Workers Party of Brazil: The different strategies of the Latin American left

PT partisans. Photo by Mondmann.

By Valter Pomar, secretary of international relations, Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil

October 10, 2009 -- It has become commonplace to say that there are two lefts in Latin America: one would be “carnivore”, the other “vegetarian”; one would be radical, the other moderate; one would be revolutionary, the other reformist; one would be socialist, the other capitalist.

Dichotomous definitions of this kind are made by spokespersons (official or unofficial) of the US State Department, with the explicit purpose of bringing about discord in the Latin American left, making it fight itself rather than its common enemies.

Caracas to host world meeting of left parties, October 7-9, 2009

By Federico Fuentes, Caracas

September 5, 2009 -- Caracas will play host to one of the most important international gatherings of left parties in years, when delegates from across the world meet for the First International Meeting of Left Parties over October 7-9, 2009.

The meeting has been called by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), a mass revolutionary party headed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The gathering was agreed upon at the recent Sao Paulo Forum (FSP) held in Mexico City over August 20-22. There, the PSUV delegation presented the proposal to organise an international meeting of left parties.

The FSP was first established in 1990 at the initiative of the Workers’ Party (PT) of Brazil. At the time, the PT had a good reputation on the international left. It was forged out of the workers’ struggles against the Brazilian dictatorship and had developed into a mass workers’ party that spoke of the need to break with capitalism. Since then, the FSP has evolved in a reformist direction, although several important revolutionary parties such as the Cuban Communist Party continue to be involved.

Some of the member parties — like the PT — are now in government in Latin America and are carrying out policies they once strongly denounced.

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