Brazil: National Executive Board confirms PSOL’s independence from Lula’s government


First published at Revista Movimento.

In a meeting held this Saturday (December 17), in São Paulo, the National Executive of the PSOL defined its position on participation in the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party, PT). As Sâmia Bomfim (Socialism and Liberty Party, PSOL), leader of the party in the House of Representatives, had anticipated, the position of the majority prevailed to not occupy positions in the new administration. The national resolution should serve as a parameter for state leaderships to establish their relationship with state governments.

On the other hand, the party guaranteed support to the PT administration when it is attacked by the right and especially when popular demands are met. The PSOL will fight for the realization of campaign promises, like fighting hunger, creating jobs, revoking the spending cap, building a democratic budget, as well as economic and social measures such as taxing large fortunes, taxing profits and dividends, etc. The PSOL’s commitment was established in the resolution “PSOL with Lula against Bolsonarism and for the rights of the Brazilian people”.

PSOL president in Porto Alegre and leader of the Socialist Left Movement (MES), councillor Roberto Robaina commented: “We consider this a great victory, a strategic victory, not only tactical. Although the resolution has a limit of not declaring that the PSOL is independent, it makes it clear that the party will support whatever the government offers that is useful for the people. The party will confront the extreme right and will not accept attempts to delegitimize the government – because we have a coup plotting extreme right – but will also have an independent position, in the sense of defending the working class. For not having governmental commitment with measures that do not serve the people, for whatever reasons, such as the need for the PT to negotiate with bourgeois parties for governability. We will not accept measures that attack the people and, by not being part of the government, the party guarantees its autonomy in practice, to maintain positions that are clearly left-wing”. 

The National Executive decision was eagerly awaited by the party’s activists. In the days preceding the meeting, the PSOL went through an intense debate about the tactical and strategic directions to follow. A part of this debate – which was even made public, via the press – presented, basically, two positions.

The debate within PSOL was over participation in the new government with posts and positions in ministries or public administration bodies. The defenders of this idea – among them PSOL president Juliano Medeiros and federal deputy-elect Guilherme Boulos – justified it by the need to supposedly “take the elected government further to the left”. But most of the PSOL claimed the importance of not being part of the government in order to preserve a founding commitment of the party, which is to remain faithful to the banners of the working class, of the social movements, through militancy and parliamentary struggle. Independence would allow a clearer defense of these agendas before a new administration that has allied itself and now has commitments to fulfill with the most diverse bourgeois sectors.

“For this sector of the party, there would also be no possibility of disputing Lula’s government from the left, because the new government already has an orientation, which is that given by Lula, by the PT, in composition with bourgeois parties. The hegemonic thought of the Lula-Alckmin slate and alliance is that of a collaboration of social classes that goes in the direction of maintaining the bourgeois democratic regime unchanged, and of the exploitation of the working class as the logic of the economic functioning of the country. Composing the government would compromise the PSOL”, says the councilman, one of the founders of the PSOL.

These points of view were reexamined in the meeting of the National Executive Board. In favor of participating in Lula’s government, the movements Primavera (SPring) and Revolução Solidária (Solidarity Revolution, led by Boulos) ended up having to incorporate, in order not to lose the majority, the proposal of not accepting to be part of the government. They had already backed down before, and presented that the party’s final resolution should include the non-appointment of positions in Lula’s government. But the suggestion was questioned, correctly, by Insurgencia, a current allied to this sector but which did not accept such a formulation, since it would not veto the participation of party members by invitation, for example. The questioning was supported by other left wing currents in the PSOL, such as the Socialist Left Movement (MES) and Fortalecer (Strengthen), which led the negotiation to a final resolution aligned with the autonomous position of the PSOL.

Read the full national resolution here.

Tatiana Py Dutra é jornalista da Revista Movimento.