Recovering the economy and promoting social justice to rebuild Brazil – Brazilian Workers’ Party

Leaders of the Workers Party (PT) and social movements gathered in seminars of the PT caucus in the House and Senate say that the main task is to recover the economy and promote social justice.

By the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT)

Leaders of entities linked to the PT (Lula Institute and Perseu Abramo Foundation) and to the social and trade union movement (MST, CUT and IndustriALL-Brazil) said on Tuesday (1st Feb) that a future Lula government will have the main task of pulling Brazil out of the current economic crisis and lessening the social setbacks after the 2016 coup.

The statements occurred during the debate on the situation analysis of the Resistance, Journey and Hope Seminar, coordinated by Deputy Marília Arraes (PT-PE). The event is promoted by the PT leadership in the House and Senate, in partnership with the Perseu Abramo Foundation and the Lula Institute.

At the opening of the debate, the PT member – who is also 2nd Secretary of the Chamber’s Board of Directors – stressed that the discussion would be an important moment to analyze the setbacks that occurred after the 2016 coup, but also to remember the advances made by the country during the 13 years of Lula and Dilma’s governments.

“The initiative of this seminar is important to analyze this turbulent and uncertain moment that we have been living since the parliamentary coup of 2016, which aimed to remove the PT from power and prevent the advancement of social policies for the working class. We had 13 years of achievements, but in half of this time we had the destruction of almost everything after the coup”, recalled Marília Arraes.

The first speaker, economist and university professor Márcio Pochmann, pointed out that Brazil needs to adopt measures to reinsert itself in the transformations that are taking place in the world. He stressed that Brazil needs to take advantage of the economic hegemony shift from the West to the East (from the USA to China) to insert itself as a protagonist in this scenario.

“Brazil, for example, has become the 4th largest consumer of digital products on the planet, financed by the exportation of primary products”, he warned about the need for the country to increase investments in science, technology and innovation starting in 2023. Márcio Pochmann also warned that Brazil also needs to reverse the country’s deindustrialization process.

“Brazil was already the 6th industrial power in the planet in the 1980s, but after the country’s subordinate entry in the globalization process in the 1990s we lost strength and today we are only the 16th power”, he pointed out.

According to Pochmann, Brazil also needs to take advantage of the dispute for world economic hegemony between the United States and China to obtain advantages for the country’s development.

“It won’t be easy for Brazil to leave a peripheral position. We have to take advantage of this dispute between the USA and China, and we currently have an advantage in relation to 20, 30 years ago, when the United States had an almost dictatorial hegemony. We have to use this polarization to our advantage”, he defended.

Class Struggle

The MST National Coordination member João Pedro Stédile stressed that the reconstruction of the country also goes through the class struggle in society. According to him, this opportunity needs to be taken advantage of in the face of the crisis capitalism is facing, which is no longer able to organize its own economy and guarantee income and employment for workers.

“In Brazil, from the 2016 coup, for example, 28,000 industries were closed, we had 1.8 million workers laid off with countless social consequences. Today Brazil no longer has a social pyramid, we have an Eiffel tower, where 1% hold the wealth in the country, while at the base we have more than 70 million people who are thrown in the gutter,” he recalled.

The MST leader also pointed out that the reconstruction of Brazil goes through confronting the environmental crisis the country is going through, with attacks sponsored by large companies, like Vale, responsible for the tragedies in Mariana and Brumadinho. “And Vale, to this day has not paid the costs of the destruction, and meanwhile has had a recent net profit of 20 billion,” he denounced.

At the end of his participation, João Pedro Stédile also pointed out that it will be necessary to rethink the current bourgeois State, which emerged from the French Revolution (started in 1789). “The financial market controls this State. It elects a ruler or later buys him. There is nothing democratic about this bourgeois state anymore. We have to think more and more about strengthening popular participation,” he said, referring to councils, observatories, plebiscites, and referenda.

Recovery of employment and income

In analyzing Brazil’s social situation, Perseu Abramo Foundation leader Artur Henrique pointed out the increase in the cost of living since the 2016 coup, especially by the poorest population. According to him, another major setback that must be faced head-on in a future Lula government is the recovery of the labour market. The former union leader noted that even the timid recovery in the level of employment shown by the most recent surveys show the degrading of the sector in the country.

“There is talk of an increase in the level of employment, but these are informal jobs or jobs with practically no rights. And even so they are hiring for lower income jobs. With this there is no money for consumption, which still has the purchasing power eroded by high inflation,” he pointed out.

Industrial recovery

Another point analyzed during the debate was the fall in industrial activity in Brazil, with the consequent drop in the number of jobs in the sector. According to IndustriALL-Brazil’s president, Aroldo Oliveira, Brazil will have to stimulate the industry’s growth starting in 2023. As an example of Brazilian decadence, Aroldo highlighted the recent fact that Brazil is no longer Argentina’s main trade partner, and has recently been replaced by China.

“We have to articulate an industrial policy for Brazil. We need to re-stimulate the sector as occurred between 2003-2014 (in the period of PT governments), when 19 million jobs were created, including more than 3 million jobs in industry,” he observed. He also pointed out that in the last six years, after the coup of 2016, 17 industrial enterprises were closed per day in Brazil, with a loss of more than 1 million jobs.

At the end of the debate, former Brazil’s TUC president Vagner Freitas praised the PT benches in the House and Senate for the resistance shown to the setbacks proposed from the 2016 coup, and more recently by the Bolsonaro government. However, the trade unionist asserted that only with the election of a president committed to the interests of the population will the country’s situation be reversed.

“For the working class to have a better life we need to elect Lula president. This will be the great answer to the last six years of mismanagement that have occurred in the country,” he concluded.

From the PT Chamber

  • This article was reproduced from the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT) here, and kindly translated by Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head of Latin American at Middlesex University.

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