National Sections of the L5I:

We have lost a battle but not the war – the struggle goes on!

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Gaining more than the necessary two-thirds majority of the 513 deputies in Brazil’s Congress the constitutional coup by the reactionary and corrupt right-wing parties took a major leap forward on the night of Sunday 17 April with the opening of an impeachment process against the President Dilma Rousseff.

The proposition – carried by 367 votes against 137 with 7 abstentions and two absences - now goes to the Senate. If it passes there, this will mean that Dilma, of the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, or PT) will be replaced by Deputy President Michel Temer. of the PMDB, a figure with more serious allegations of corruption against him than the President.

The PT and the government-supporters fought strongly to win this battle in the chamber. With a lot of political and juridical arguments they tried to refute the denunciations and did everything to win the votes of the undecided. But they could not succeed in preventing the opening of the impeachment.

In the streets and squares across the whole country we had the opportunity to see once again all the “old” militants of the movement together with the enthusiasm of the youth who manifested, in their courageous and organized militancy their important potential for the fight for a just society of social equality and democracy. At the end of the vote all were indignant at the result, but totally convinced to continue the struggle on the streets of the country to prevent the finalization of the coup in the Senate.

But the struggle thus far has not been in vain. It demonstrated to the working class once again that this Congress does not represent us. In its overall majority it consists of careerists that make laws in the interest of property owners and the only way to win them over is bribes and lucrative posts in government for their followers.

Not juts with the size of their vote, but even more in their speeches – in which they argued that they voted for their children, nephews and relatives – they demonstrated which class’s interests they were defending. Above all we could observe how the most reactionary right was “armed to the teeth” with limitless hatred for our social and democratic rights, conquered in so many struggles.

The far-right deputy Jair Bolsonaro (Christian Social Party-PSC) did not leave any doubts about the coming attacks when he shouted, “… against communism, the Sao Paolo Forum and in memory of colonel Brilhante Ulstra I vote for Yes”. Ulstra was the head of an infamous torture unit of the 1964-85 military dictatorship.
Marco Feliciano (also of the PSC) showed the same approach, scornfully gloating “… goodbye PT, party of the plebs…”, whilst others referred to the electorate of the PT as “vagabonds”. So we can say without any doubt, that this Congress represents not the working class or popular masses but the rich and the privileged.
We have lost the battle in Congress, but the struggle is only just beginning. We have to fight back with a general strike. The big trade unions that represent the working class have to organize and prepare a general strike, using the dynamics of the huge mobilizations and the indignation of the working class against the “legal” coup.

Together with the trade unions (CUT), the Frente Brasil Popular and the Frente Povo Sem Medo, two organisations that have been mobilizing for a month against the coup, but also resisting the attacks on social rights carried out by the PT-led government itself; these certainly express the radicalization of the struggle.

Today all these organizations have to be brought together and their actions coordinated, along with the social movements, the Landless Workers Movement (MST) and the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) and the youth. We have to be clear that it is not just the fate of a government that is at stake, but all the rights that we have fought for so long.

If our huge mobilisations do not prove sufficient to prevent the completion of the coup in the Senate, we will have to radicalize even further and attack the very basis of the rule of the capitalist class, their command over the means of production – the factories, the land, the mines!

We need to take advantage of May Day, the day of struggle of the international working class, to open the way for the general strike against the coup!

Against every one of the attacks against our rights!

Defend democratic rights!

We will not lie down faced with this coup, we will fight back!

General strike to defeat the coup!

18 April 2016