Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL)
November 11, 2018
Resolution on tactics for the period
1. Many uncertainties surround the future government of Jair Bolsonaro. On one hand, he is surrounding himself with establishment names to gain the confidence of the elites – Paulo Guedes, Onix Lorenzoni, Alberto Fraga, Sergio Moro. On the other, he continues to threaten the press, social movements and opposition political forces, signaling a willingness to carry out an authoritarian escalation.
2. Thus there are two hypotheses at the moment, both of which are dangerous. The first is that Bolsonaro postures as a kind of “Brazilian Trump”: a man who espouses disgusting positions but acts more or less within the limits determined by the institutions and agenda of the ruling factions of the bourgeoisie. Another hypothesis is that Bolsonaro implements an agenda similar to that implemented in Turkey: a government resting on a conservative mass base that promotes a slow and gradual constriction of the democratic regime, with persecution of opponents, prisons and increasing militarization of society. This would be a scenario with even more dire consequences.
3. Of course, in Brazil 2018 no one can implement a dictatorship by decree. The strangling of the already limited democratic system in Brazil could only occur as a result of a protracted political struggle. In this struggle, the market will seek other victims first, such as the pension system and strategic state companies (Petrobrás and Eletrobrás). At this moment, all signs, including the exchange rate with the dollar and the value of the shares on the Stock Exchange, point to a period of understanding between the Bolsonaro economic team and the dominant factions of the market. There is no doubt that the candidate of the Partido Social Liberal (PSL, Bolsonaro) was not the preferred name of the financial elite, which had Geraldo Alckmin as its authentic representative. But the ruling classes have no attachment to names and may reach a quick understanding with Bolsonaro, if he is able to attend to their interests.
4. Given this scenario, we must recognize the difficult correlation of forces in the confrontations to come. There is a mixture of distrust and discrediting of politics, fueled by cases of corruption involving parties of the old left and by the juridical-media circus promoted by Operação Lava Jato (“Operation Car Wash”). Despite this, Haddad’s nearly 47 million votes show that it is possible to organize a camp of broad popular and democratic resistance. Among social organizations, the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto (MTST, Homeless Workers Movement) and the Frente Povo Sem Medo (FPSM, Fearless People’s Front) are strengthened, which is why they may be priority targets of the reactionary offensive. They will count on our total and unrestrained solidarity. Among the parties, PSOL has credibility to collaborate in the organization of a left pole in the process of resistance.
5. In the traditional right there are still uncertainties, although the most likely scenario is a gradual convergence of parties like PSDB, MDB and PPS with the base of the Bolsonaro government. As the parties of patronage they are, their survival is closely linked to their ability to occupy spaces in the state apparatus. On programmatic issues, such as pension reform or privatizations, these parties will join the government bench. In other battles, such as changes in the law for buying and carrying weapons or changes in the penal code, the government’s ability to win a majority will come down to our ability to prevent it from succeeding. In the case of constitutional amendments – such as pension reform – the government will need at least 308 votes, which can only be achieved with the support of these parties.
6. We cannot rule out even greater political violence. On the night of October 28, after Bolsonaro’s victory was announced, there were more than 50 acts of political violence carried out against his opponents. The year 2018 already marks an exponential increase in attempts against political leaders – among which the greatest expression was the assassination of our comrade Marielle Franco. The spread of hate speech and intolerance may empower groups that operate in parallel to state actions. This calls for a full discussion in the left in general, and in PSOL in particular, on the tasks of self-defense and the need for a change in the political culture of the popular forces to adequately address a possible scenario of increased conflicts and violence.
7. PSOL’s tactics in the last period were oriented toward the possibility of composition of a broader camp to the left of the PT. The crisis of social-democracy and its national variants is a world phenomenon, a product of the new stage of capitalist accumulation, which makes impossible the promises of social gains without conflict. In this context, the emergence of new political forces critical of the limits of class conciliation is a reality in different countries. In the case of Brazil, this bet was correct within the historical conditions we have faced so far. However, the arrival of Bolsonaro to the Presidency of the Republic will require of us a greater appreciation of united-front action. This is not to say that we abandon, as a party, the perspective of the reorganization of the left with a view to forming a new pole of the socialist left. It only means that we understand that this task needs to be balanced with the need for a democratic united-front policy to avoid setbacks.
8. The policy that must predominate in the scenario that is approaching, therefore, is one of a democratic united front in the defense of the rights of the Brazilian people. This means bringing together all progressive, democratic and national sectors around a front against the government of Jair Bolsonaro, fully preserving our political independence. Within the united front, we will work with MTST, Partido Comunista Brasileiro (PCB) and others to create a pole on the left which guarantees our identity and strengthens our project to confront the elites.
9. For this, two tasks take precedence. The first is to maintain the political alliance we built in the 2018 presidential election. This is today the sector capable of expressing an independent and combative politics in the mass movement. It is through this alliance that we can strengthen the FPSM, articulate joint actions with other sectors of the social movement and respond to the enormous militant disposition of thousands of Brazilians, especially young people, who took to the streets in the second round to fight the far right. We must, therefore, encourage the creation of spaces of rank-and-file action, such as committees of youth without fear, women without fear, LGBTs without fear, in addition to existing spaces.
10. The second task is to reinforce our combative action in parliament. For this, we will have a broader parliamentary representation with young women, Blacks and experienced parliamentarians. The alignment between party and bench must be even greater in the next conjuncture, with regular meetings of the national leading bodies and leadership and joint analysis of the most effective tactical moves in each moment. At the beginning of the next legislature the dispute over the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies and of the legislative assemblies will be important moments to affirm our policy of unity and combativeness.
11. In addition, there are organizational tasks that we need to address. For example, it is a fact that we are not sufficiently prepared for an escalation of political violence. Our culture as a party – although we count among us valiant exponents of the struggle against the Military Dictatorship – is totally adapted to democratic normality. We have not developed a mindset capable of providing the minimum conditions for self-defense, which needs to be rapidly ensured. The situation is even more serious for our allies, since the parties are often the last victims of a process of constricting the political regime. Before us, social movements, trade unions, human rights activists, and others will fall victim.
12. Another key aspect concerns communication. Although we have important influence in social networks through our elected positions, we will need to hone a communication policy able to confront the slander network led by Bolsonaro. During the truckers’ strike we had an indication of the attacks we would face in the elections, as we were targeted by the trial run of the messaging machine imported by Bolsonaro and his followers, possibly with direct foreign support. The operation was repeated in the elections with overwhelming effect, without any party being able to face it.
13. Finally, it is the task of PSOL to deepen the discussion on two very important issues, the first on the fight against corruption. The Brazilian state, historically subordinate to the ruling classes, has become a mechanism by which these classes use the state apparatus to divert and corrupt public officials. But at the same time, this reality generated the conditions for the discourse legitimizing a judicial system which promotes the persecution of political enemies, condemning without proof and making a spectacle of the judicial process with the justification of the struggle against corruption. It is therefore necessary to return to this discussion with the depth it deserves and to find a balanced position.
14. The other theme concerns the political use by the far-right of the agenda of civil liberties and customs. It is necessary to develop a tactic able to confront the ideological offensive of the reactionary agenda of restriction of rights and persecution of women, the LGBT population and Blacks, among others. Realization of good sectoral meetings and seminars in 2019 could be a decisive step in this task, as well as encouraging meetings of categories of workers, especially in public service, which is the central target of the dismantling that the next government intends to implement. Unrestricted privatization and outsourcing and pension reform are the main measures against the working class that the next president intends to carry out. In the defense of democracy and freedoms, foster encounters and discussions with sectors of the intelligentsia, magistrates, inter-religious sectors involving progressives of the Catholic and Evangelical churches, as well as African-Matrix religions.
15. The murder of our comrades Marielle Franco and Anderson is a measure of the escalation of political violence in our country. We will continue to emphasize and give importance to this in our action to combat the Bolsonaro government and the wave of hatred and prejudice. PSOL will propose joint actions with other democratic sectors in a broad pressure campaign for the investigation of the crime, not only discovering the murderers, but also those who ordered the killings.
16. It is time for resistance. The election of Bolsonaro is a blow to the already limited democracy we have lived with in the last three decades. We must not underestimate the impact of this defeat. However, we are the ones who did not give up the socialist project when many bowed to reasons of state; we are those who struggle to reorganize a left pole able to liberate the transforming energy of our people; we are the ones who have not chosen the easy side of history. We will fight in political and juridical institutions, but especially in the streets, to prevent Bolsonaro from imposing his program of hatred and suffering on the Brazilian people.
This resolution was originally published in Portuguese here.