Archive for the ‘Brazil’ Category

The Brazilian Workers’ Party: Buried in systemic chaos

Monday, April 20th, 2015

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for April 3, 2015. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Raúl Zibechi

Systemic crisis and chaos work like a pillaging machine that leaves nothing in place: it destroys, devastates, annihilates whatever it finds in its path. It subjugates the lives of the dominated and the dominating, although both have ways of dealing with the new situation. Those on top try to profit from the chaos in order to stay on top. Those below face greater challenges whenever their survival is at stake. They can come out unscathed only in movement and in community, struggling alongside others on whom disorder has forced brother- and sisterhood.

Systemic chaos tends to destroy all the actors as a whole (to neutralize and transform their identities), beginning with the most fragile and least resistant. The Lefts cease being Lefts not because they have little support — they can have millions of votes — but because, interwoven with power and with the powerful, they have cast aside the ethics for staying on top. What happened with the Workers’ Party [PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores] of Brazil is a good example.

It is worthwhile to read a recent interview with Frei Betto conducted on March 30 by O Estado de São Paulo. During the military dictatorship he worked in ecclesiastical base communities contributing to the founding of the PT. He acted as part of Lula’s first administration (from 2003 to 2005) as coordinator of the Hambre Cero [Zero Hunger] program. He quit after two years, at the time of the disclosure of the corruption scandal over monthly payments to opposition members of congress so they would vote for their bills and wrote Mosca Azul: Una Reflexión sobre el PT en el Poder. (more…)

What the coup and the dictatorship meant for Brazil

Sunday, April 5th, 2015
((Rachel Clemens refuses to shake hands with dictatorial President João Figueiredo))

((Rachel Clemens refuses to shake hands with dictatorial President João Figueiredo))

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for April 1, 2015. See original here and related article here.]

by Emir Sader

Brazil had spent three decades constructing a national development project, with equitable distribution of income, and less than two decades of political democratization when the military coup of 1964 broke with these two currents and installed a military dictatorship and an economic model of over-exploitation of labor, concentration of income, luxury consumption and exportation.

It was a movement promoted by big business, the government of the United States, the domestic and international media, with the support of the Catholic Church. For the sake, supposedly, of the salvation of democracy, which was said to be in danger – the marches were called Marcha com Deus, pela Familia e pela Liberdade (March with God, for the Family and for Freedom) – they instituted the most brutal dictatorship Brazil had ever seen.

It was a radical turn in Brazilian history. The building of democracy and a national and popular project begun in 1930 with Getúlio [Dorneles Vargas] were interrupted abruptly. In addition to repression of everything that appeared democratic to them – popular parties, labor unions, the media, universities, congress, the judiciary, among others – a tightening of salaries was decreed immediately. Because it was not just a political dictatorship against democracy, it was also a dictatorship of big business against the working class. (more…)

Brazil: Impeachment, coup d’état and the dictatorship of the market

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

impeachment ja[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for March 6, 2015. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães

Impeachment is the effort to annul, by legislative means, by the votes of 513 congress members and 81 senators, the results of the November, 2014, election, which reflected the will of the majority of the Brazilian people when they elected President Dilma Rousseff by 53 million votes.

Since 2003, the television networks, especially TV Globo, the major newspapers, like O Estado de São Paulo, A Folha de São Paulo and O Globo, and the principal magazines, whether A Veja, Isto É or Época, have dedicated themselves to a systematic campaign to demoralize the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT ─ Workers’ Party) and the progressive parties and to attempt to prove the inefficiency, the disarray and the corruption of the PT administrations, including their social programs, which have brought 40 million Brazilians out of destitution and poverty.

Now the communications media, their candidate having lost the election, are attempting, with the providential aid of members of the judicial branch, the Public Ministry and the Federal Police, to create a political climate and public opinion that would bring down or immobilize the president and thus annul the will of the majority of the Brazilian people.


How the oligarchy of the world attacks Brazilian democracy

Monday, December 15th, 2014
((El Clarín photo)) ((El Clarín photo))

((El Clarín photo))

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for December 10, 2014. See original here.]

by Felipe Cabello

The availability of the internet facilitates access to information from diverse countries of the world and through it we can follow the paths of the news and identify its origin, its distortions and emphases, and often its deceptions or its incessant repetitions for clearly political and economic purposes. Identifying the origin of the news through the internet also allows us to recognize those centers and media that are the creators and originators, especially in international news, and others that are at most translators, repeaters and simple echo chambers.

What is deplorable and tragic about this is that in Chile, for example, a country with interests similar to those of other Latin American countries, the newspapers with the greatest circulation repeat, without the slightest hint of analysis, reasoning or criticism, news that attacks the relations between countries with common origins and with problems similar to those of the rest of continent. A recent clear demonstration of this was the major campaign against Brazil and the re-election of President Dilma Rousseff, concerning which there was no sparing of insults, lies and calumnies to sabotage her administration and to hinder her re-election. This negative propaganda campaign, which began about two years ago and was to continue without interruption until her re-election, began in Europe and the United States on the pages of media that answer to the interests of the one percent of the world’s population, like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times and The Guardian. (more…)

Brazil: Divisions left and right

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

[Translations of two articles, from Brasil de Fato for November 14, 2014, and Carta Maior for November 11, 2014. See originals here and here and related articles here, here and here.]

SakamotoDemonstration in São Paulo sends messages to the federal government and to the ultra-conservatives

By Leonardo Sakamoto

Called by the Homeless Workers’ Movement [MTST], a march in São Paulo on November 13 to demand popular reforms and to criticize ultra-conservative rhetoric began at the Museum of Art on Paulista Avenue, passed through the wealthy Jardins neighborhood and ended at the Praça Roosevelt.

With the participation of social organizations, labor unions and leftist political parties (both pro-administration and in the opposition), the action sent a message to Dilma: if there is a reduction in resources for social programs and if the demands of the financial market are prioritized to the detriment of programs that guarantee the dignity of workers, the social movements will close down the country. The action also attacked the demands for impeachment by groups unhappy with the results of the elections. (more…)

Environmentalists move to the right in politics

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo, Brazil, for September 20, 2014. See original here and related article here.]

By Emir Sader

Originally, environmentalist demands sprang from within leftist parties, thus enriching and expanding their platforms. Leaving behind the narrow vision that a resolution of the contradiction between capital and labor would resolve all others, demands about gender, about ethnicity, about the environment, came to rejuvenate the Left.

But this process also affected the traditional leftist parties. Some, like the social democrats or the nationalists, supported variants on neoliberalism; others,in particular the communist parties, were directly affected by the fall of the USSR. Within this context, social movements and even NGOs participated actively in resistance against ascendant neoliberalism. (more…)

Brazil: A platform to please the bankers

Monday, September 1st, 2014
((Marina Silva))

((Marina Silva))

An ecologically correct Thatcherite in the court of candidate Marina Silva

[Translation of an article from Página12 of Buenos Aires, Argentina, for August 25, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Dario Pignotti

Ever since the environmentalist leader announced she will run in the presidential election, the only person in her entourage to offer details on her platform has been María Alice Setúbal, of the dynasty that founded and still runs the most important private bank in Brazil.

((María Alice Setúbal))

((María Alice Setúbal))

María Alice Setúbal has promised that if Marina is chosen in the October 5 election, the future administration, beginning on January 1, 2015, will do away with President Dilma Rousseff’s heterodoxies, detested in the financial community, where she is described as a “statist and interventionist.”

Marina Silva (of the Brazilian Socialist Party) is diametrically opposite Dilma (of the Workers’ Party), Setúbal explained, since the ecologist’s economic plan “focuses on clear points, stressing tax reform and fiscal responsibility,” to be achieved by cutting expenses and shrinking the state. Marina, in second place in the polls, with 21 percent of the intended vote, 15 points below Dilma, was named candidate last Wednesday shortly after the death of former Socialist Party presidential candidate Eduardo Campos in an airplane crash in São Paulo. (more…)

Brazil: What workers can expect from the three leading presidential candidates

Monday, August 25th, 2014

candidates [Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for August 23, 2014. See original here.]

By Najla Passos

Brasilia – The Departamento Intersindical de Assessoria Parlamentar (DIAP – Inter-Union Department for Parliamentary Consultation) has no doubt that of the three leading candidates President Dilma Rousseff is the one who can best assure moving forward on the workers’ agenda. According to the organization’s director of research, Antônio Augusto Queiroz, their conclusion is based on a combination of data taken from the candidates’ platforms, a close examination of each candidate’s political profile, an analysis of the correlation of forces they will have to face in parliament and, mainly, an evaluation of the advisers who surround them.

“Campaign platforms conceal more than they reveal. They are all made for winning elections. So citizens should pay attention to platforms because they give clues, to the candidates’ speeches, which also help, but mainly to the people who surround the candidates, who will form their team if they are elected. No president does anything in isolation. What they do begins with what their team thinks, with what their team puts together,” he states. (more…)

Brazil: Hostility against Dilma has a color and a class

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The Brazil that cheers for the team at home and in public places reacts to the elite who paid high prices to curse President Dilma Rousseff

[Translation of an article from Carta Maior of São Paulo for June 15, 2014. See original here and related articles here,  here and here.]

By Najla Passos

Brasilia – President Dilma Rousseff reacted on Friday to the curses she heard from the privileged fans who could afford the admission prices set by FIFA for the opening match of the World Cup in Itaquerão, in São Paulo.

During the inauguration of the first stage of the southern line of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) in the Federal District, one more of the “World Cup projects,” which they kept telling us would never be ready, she recalled that not even the physical assaults she suffered during the dictatorship intimidated her to the point of diverting her from her path and that of her companions. (more…)

Brazil: If the Right should win

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

[Translation of an op-ed from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for June 5, 2014. See original here.]

by Igor Fuser

In this year’s presidential elections [on October 5], Brazil is facing the risk of a brutal political regression, with the eventual return to the federal government of the forces of the Right, represented principally by tucano [of the centrist Social Democracy Party] candidate Aécio Neves. If that happens we will have a change of direction toward a more unequal, more authoritarian, more conservative country. It is self-deception to imagine a simple return to the times of FHC [Fernando Henrique Cardoso, tucano, president from 1995 to 2003]. In order to understand what may lie ahead, it is better to think of the United States Tea Party, Colombian uribismo [policies of rightist former president Álvaro Uribe], the Ukrainian Right. (more…)

Brazil: A bitter cup

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Brazil[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for May 29, 2014. See original here and related articles here , here  and here.]

By Rodrigo Vianna

The greatest soccer event in the world is coming back to Brazil after more than 60 years. Memories of the 1950 World Cup, when we were defeated by Uruguay right in the Maracaná Stadium, remain in the popular imagery. When FIFA [Fédération Internationale de Football Association] chose Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, euphoria filled a large part of the Brazilian populace: Would this be the time to raise the cup at home? If there was a shadow of a doubt from a technical point of view over our team’s ability for such an accomplishment, from the political point of view holding the World Cup here seemed a conquest, a mark of the “Brazil of the Future.”

Meanwhile, the apparent unanimity surrounding this event began to sour with the activities in June of last year when thousands of people protested across from the stadiums where the Confederations Cup matches [a FIFA-sponsored tournament held the year before the World Cup] were held. Since then, the Cup has been in the headlines. On the one hand, calls for protests against the Cup; on the other, all the TV publicity by the sponsoring companies, in the tune of the Cup. But will there be a World Cup or not? There seem to be only two sides to this dispute: you either defend the Cup, FIFA, the government, the state, or you are against them: against the Cup, against the team, against Brazil. This is what false questions do: they lead us to false dilemmas. (more…)

Brazil: Why some in São Paulo hate the World Cup

Monday, May 26th, 2014

xcrowd2[Translation of an article from Folha de São Paulo for May 25, 2014. See original here and an op-ed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva defending the World Cup here.]

by Rafael Andery

In spite of 1958. In spite of 1962. Of 1970 and 1994. Of 2002. In spite of Pelé and Garrincha, of Bebeto and Romário, of Ronaldo and Rivaldo. In spite of the “homeland of the soccer shoe” and of Nelson Rodrigues. In spite of Neymar and of all the other stars, many natives of São Paulo are not even a little interested in the performance of the Brazilian team in the World Cup.

The reasons for the indifference vary. From high rents to contempt for the commercialization of soccer, to aversion for the sport or the costs imposed by the organizers of the event, the truth is that a little less than a month before the opening of the Cup in Itaquerão, in the eastern area, the competition does not seem to be creating as much excitement as did previous editions. (more…)