Brazil’s social movements oppose institutional coup against Dilma Rousseff, demand ‘Temer Out’

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May 13, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Brazil’s Federal Senate voted on May 12 to proceed with the impeachment process against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in a move that many see as an attempt by the right-wing opposition to carry out a “institutional coup”. Below Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is publishing translated version of statements released by the Popular Brazil Front, a broad coalition that involves the Unified Workers' Central (CUT), the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), and the National Student Union (UNE), among others, and by the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), Brazil’s largest social movement in the wake of the Senate vote. They have been translated from the Brazil Popular Front site by Federico Fuentes

Brazil Popular Front: The popular vote has been usurped by parliamentarians seeking to seize political power

The majority of the Federal Senate, in approving the opening of impeachment proceedings against the President of the Republic, has capitulated in the face of the oligarchy’s coup against the Constitution, and become an accomplice in the flagrant breach of the democratic order.The popular vote has been usurped by parliamentarians seeking to seize political power. Acting without the backing of elections, they are part of the coalition of conservative forces that came together to establish an illegitimate government at the service of large local and international economic groups.The opening of proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff, the reason for her temporary removal, is nothing more than a farce: with no crime of responsibility having been committed, it is simply a means towards inflicting heavy setbacks on workers and Brazilian workers. The intentions of the coup leaders have been openly declared: reduce wages, end the policy of increasing the minimum wage, cut spending on social programs, eliminate civil rights, privatise state enterprises, reduce public investment, annul constitutionally-imposed expenditure on health and education, abdicate national sovereignty in the face of imperialist centres.To fulfil this anti-people and anti-national program, they will not hesitate to go beyond the institutional coup in progress, adopting measures of criminalisation and repression against democratic resistance, social movements and progressive parties. The Popular Brazil Front calls on workers from the city and countryside, on intellectuals and artists committed to freedom, on youth and women to reject this attack on democracy, in all centres of study, workplaces and communities.We are all united under the slogan “Temer Out“: there will only be peace when government is restored to those who received a constitutional mandate at the last elections. The coup will be defeated in the streets and institutions. We will continue pressuring the senators until the day of the final vote. We will continue demanding that the Supreme Court express its opinion on the merits of the impeachment. Concomitantly, we will defend the social gains made to date and react against the unpatriotic agenda of usurpers. Once again in our history, the Brazilian people have the mission of returning the country to the rule of law and a democratic regime through their own actions. Brasilia, May 12, 2016

Landless Workers’ Movement (MST): This is an anti-democratic and institutional coup that disrespects the will of 54 million people

The Landless Workers' Movement (MST) publicly expresses its rejection and dissatisfaction regarding the decision of the Federal Senate, this Thursday (12), to approve the process of impeachment against President Dilma Rousseff and temporarily remove her from her post. We are sure, as stated in the impeachment text, that the President did not commit any crime of responsibility via “fiscal pedalling”. If she had, then the process should also include the vice-president who has now assumed power, Michel Temer, and Senator Anastasia, former governor of Minas. This is an institutional and anti-democratic coup that disrespects the will of 54 million voters and that was orchestrated by the most conservative sectors of society, particularly the neoliberal business community that is subservient to the interests of US companies. It is a coup supported by a permanent campaign by the mass corporate media - especially Globo - and the selective and media-focused actions of sectors of the judiciary. The coup endorsed by the Senate not only disrespects the opinion of the population as to who should be the head of state, but, as announced by the usurper vice-president, intends to apply a regressive, neoliberal program which stirs up sad memories among the Brazilian people of the former Collor-FHC governments. This would represent an anti-popular step backward and a social regression that has repeatedly been rejected by the majority at the polls. Unable to live with democracy and submit themselves to the popular will, the elites have removed the president without any evidence of a crime, simply to impose its project of social cuts, unemployment and privatisation. The "Bridge over the recession," proposed by the coup leader Michel Temer, will only accentuate the social and economic crises and deepen political instability in the country. Similarly, given its history, the new government does not represent a break with the corrupt methods that have been denounced in the streets. We hope that the Senate will redeem itself when it has to judge the merits of the impeachment process. And if it does proceed, the democratic and anti-coup party forces should appeal to the Supreme Court. Brazilian society knows we are facing an economic, political, social and environmental crisis. This crisis will not be overcome with coups. What is needed is a broad debate in society that brings together the majority of the popular and social forces, to find ways to build a new project for the country to confront the crisis. Regarding the existing political crisis, we believe together with the other popular movements, that the only genuine way out is a deep political reform that returns to the people the right to choose their legitimate representatives. The current Congress has no conditions or political will to bring this about. Hence the need for the Senate to approve a plebiscite to give the people the right to convene a constituent assembly, which will culminate in a political reform and the holding of general elections under democratic conditions. The MST will remain mobilised in defence of democracy and social rights, together with the Popular Brazil Front and the thousands of workers who do not accept the coup. We will always remain in the fight against landlordism and agribusiness, for popular agrarian reform and the constitutional right of all rural workers to land and a dignified life in the countryside. No to the coup! Temer out! MST National Coordination
Brasilia, May 12, 2016