Lula’s Popular Front Turns Screws on Workers

No to Class Collaboration!
For a Leninist-Trotskyist Party!

Reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 818, 23 January 2004.

The following article was written by our comrades of the Grupo Espartaquista de México, section of the International Communist League.

Once one of Latin America’s most famous labor leaders, the former metal worker Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva is now president of Brazil and has for the last year been thoroughly fulfilling all the promises he made... to the Brazilian capitalists and their imperialist overlords. Lula’s government has used its immense authority over the workers movement to impose many of the demands made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the impoverished Brazilian population, something his forerunners couldn’t achieve.

Lula’s Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT —Workers Party) was born out of dramatic workers struggles against the military dictatorship in the late 1970s and founded in February 1980. When Lula was elected president in 2002, many workers in Brazil believed one of their own had finally risen to power and would represent their interests. But their aspirations have been dashed. The coalition that brought Lula to power is an example of what the Stalinists call a “popular front,” but what we Marxists know to be a class-collaborationist coalition in which one or more workers parties joins bourgeois forces to rule on behalf of the capitalists.

In this case, the main mass workers party, the PT, along with the two sizable Communist Parties, the old Stalinists of the PCB and the formerly pro-Albania PCdoB, made an alliance with the Liberal Party of José Alencar, owner of Brazil’s largest textile conglomerate, Coteminas. Alencar’s Liberal Party is not just some bourgeois formation; it is the political front for a “born-again” outfit, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which, predictably, is opposed to abortion and gay rights.

Lula explained his alliance with Alencar, stating: “It will make it possible to symbolize for the first time the union of labor with the representative of capital, in a perspective of making in this country a new social contract, a new relationship in Brazilian society” (O Estado de São Paulo, 22 June 2002). In reality, this is not the “first time” the PT has sought such a nationalist, class-collaborationist union between labor and capital; since at least the 1989 presidential elections, this has been its program and perspective.

The popular front ties the proletariat to its class enemy, subordinating the workers’ interests to capitalist rule. The whole history of Leninism and Trotskyism has been a struggle against class collaboration and for the political independence of the working class. That is how the Bolshevik Party was able to lead the workers of Russia to power in October 1917. Following the February Revolution which overthrew the tsarist monarchy, the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries entered into a coalition government with bourgeois forces. Lenin’s Bolsheviks denounced this as a betrayal of the proletariat, refused to give any support to the government and demanded “Down with the ten capitalist ministers!” It was a measure of the bureaucratic degeneration of the Soviet workers state that, against the whole experience of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Stalinized Communist International enshrined the “People’s Front” at its Seventh Congress in 1935. Renouncing the revolutionary internationalism that animated the Russian Revolution, the policy of the popular front was part of the Kremlin’s futile strategy of appeasing world imperialism by derailing workers revolution around the world.

Class-collaborationist maneuvers like the popular front are a guarantee to the bourgeoisie that the capitalist economy and private property will be protected. The experience of Chile in the early 1970s illustrates this. In 1970, Salvador Allende came to power at the head of the Unidad Popular, a popular front of the Socialist Party and the Communist Party in coalition with small bourgeois formations. Committed to upholding the bourgeois state, the Unidad Popular government preached that the workers should trust the “constitutional officers” in the high ranks of the armed forces. As we wrote at the time of Allende’s coming to power:

“It is the most elementary duty for revolutionary Marxists to irreconcilably oppose the Popular Front in the election and to place absolutely no confidence in it in power. Any ‘critical support’ to the Allende coalition is class treason, paving the way for a bloody defeat for the Chilean working people when domestic reaction, abetted by international imperialism, is ready.”

— “Chilean Popular Front,” Spartacist No. 19, November-December 1970

Tragically, our warnings were proven correct. In 1973, General Augusto Pinochet led a bloody coup that crushed the left and trade unions in Chile, and resulted in thousands tortured, disappeared and murdered. This is an example of why Leon Trotsky, co-leader with Lenin of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, said that the popular front is not a tactic, but the greatest crime.

The key difference between Brazil today and Chile in the early ’70s is that Chile was in a pre-revolutionary situation which the popular front served to defuse. In contrast, Lula came to power with the blessing of the Brazilian bourgeoisie because the capitalists figured he had the authority to convince workers to accept austerity measures. Moreover, less than a year after the sustained protests in Argentina against the IMF’s bleeding of that country’s economy, sections of the Brazilian bourgeoisie wanted a president with the credentials to control or prevent any potential struggle. The PT is a bourgeois workers party, a party with a working-class base but a leadership with a pro-capitalist program. This contradiction between the base and the top of such a party is suppressed when it takes office and administers the capitalist state. Indeed, to both the imperialists and the Brazilian bourgeoisie, Lula is a credible servant.

The International Communist League opposes popular fronts and all other forms of class collaboration as a matter of principle, as a key component of our fight for the political independence of the working class and against its subordination to the bourgeoisie.

Lula Regime Attacks Workers, Peasants, the Poor

In its first year in office, the Lula government has produced a budget surplus even higher than the one demanded by the IMF. This was achieved by slashing social expenditure and increasing layoffs, accompanied by state repression. The government, for example, spent 48 billion reals (roughly $17 billion) to pay debt interest to the IMF in a three-month period last year, while less than a third of this amount has been invested in infrastructure. Since Lula took office, unemployment has risen by some 600,000. According to the New York Times (4 January), the purchasing power of the population has diminished by 20 percent, while expenditures on social programs have been reduced by 8 percent in comparison with the final year of the previous government.

The government’s attack on the pension system sparked outrage. Hailed by the IMF, this measure, enacted on December 11, will drastically reduce state workers’ pensions. The minimum retirement age will be raised to 60 for men and to 55 for women. The official retirement age for men now surpasses the average life expectancy of 59. In response to the proposed pension cuts, the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT—Sole Center for the Workers)—the gigantic union federation associated with the PT—launched an 800,000-strong public workers strike in July that lasted over a month. When the pension reform bill was presented to the Brazilian Senate and National Congress, four parliamentarians from the “left wing” of the PT dared to vote against it. In revenge, Lula’s PT leadership expelled them from the party in December.

Another instance in which the Lula administration has demonstrated its loyalty to capitalism has been the land question. Lula’s former allies in the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST—Landless Peasants Movement) demanded land for 120,000 peasants. Lula dashed their hopes by whittling his promise down to a mere 7,000 parcels. The failure to distribute even that triggered a wave of land occupations by the peasants. Lula countered by allowing the big latifundiários (plantation owners) to arm bands of paramilitary murderers to defend their property. The Pastoral Land Commission documented that 71 agricultural workers were murdered between January and November 2003. Meanwhile, peasant leaders languish in jails; José Rainha, a leader of the MST, was convicted for land seizure in 2000 and imprisoned for over three months beginning in July 2003—i.e., under Lula’s regime.

This December, the Lula government signed into law a bill that raises the minimum age for gun ownership to 25 years and requires a psychological test before purchasing a gun. The law explicitly forbids citizens from carrying their guns anywhere outside the home. This ensures that only the cops, security guards and paramilitary death squads will be armed in the streets, giving them an even freer hand to carry out their reign of terror against landless peasants in the countryside and the poor, especially black people, in the favelas, the shantytowns that permeate the urban landscape. According to Amnesty International, over 700 people, overwhelmingly black, were killed by the cops in the state of São Paulo between January and October 2002. The new law also sets a 2005 nationwide referendum to try to ban guns altogether. No to gun control!

The Potential of the Brazilian Proletariat

Brazil is a huge country of 175 million people with the eleventh-largest economy in the world; its industrial infrastructure makes it the economic heart of Latin America. Brazil is a country of extremes, not least in its distribution of income. While big foreign firms like the German auto giant Volkswagen make millions in profit from their Brazilian plants, the impoverished population starves in the poor and overcrowded favelas. The “war on drugs” has turned these favelas into shooting galleries where police gun down street children and the poor. According to the most conservative estimates, there are hundreds of thousands of meninos de rua (street kids) in Brazil today, fighting for survival.

In the countryside, barely 1 percent of the population owns 46 percent of the arable land; some 4.8 million rural families have no land. Despite the myth of racial democracy, Brazil is a hideously racist country where roughly half the population is black or mulatto (the government is notorious for undercounting the number of blacks) and treated like second-class citizens. Abortion is illegal except in cases of rape.

In the last decade, conditions for the working masses in Brazil have gotten worse. This is a direct result of the capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union in 1991-92 which emboldened the American imperialists and their rivals to squeeze the semicolonial world even harder for profits. From Latin America to Asia and Africa, the number of people living on less than $2 per day has swelled as their governments fork over billions of dollars in debt payments to the IMF and World Bank. In countries such as Argentina, the industrial working class itself has been decimated and pauperized by layoffs and factory closings. One manifestation of the worsening conditions for the working class and poor in Brazil is the increasing prevalence of debt slavery. Numerous organizations document the use of slave labor in the production of Brazilian charcoal as well as on ranches, in mines and logging operations.

Throughout the 20th century, the enormous investment of foreign and state capital into Brazil’s economy produced a modern industrial infrastructure which, however, coexists with the most backward forms of subjugation in the countryside and with a brutal and unstable political system. Therefore, although the national capitalist class holds state power, it is forced to live on the credits and investments of its imperialist masters.

At the same time, if the imperialists seriously felt that their financial interests in Brazil were being jeopardized either by an insurgent proletariat or by nationalist or populist elements, they would not hesitate to intervene. For example, shaken by the 1959 Cuban Revolution and the failure of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, the John F. Kennedy administration feared the spread of “Castro-communism” throughout Latin America, particularly in desperately poor regions such as the northeast of Brazil. Kennedy launched the “Alliance for Progress” with promises of “nation-building” and aid for the needy. Part of the U.S. “aid” package was training the Brazilian police and special forces in the bloody arts of “subversive tracking” (i.e., assassination) and “crowd control” (i.e., police riot). Kennedy’s intervention in Brazil culminated in the 1964 military coup d’état against the bourgeois-nationalist Goulart government. This ushered in two decades of totalitarian dictatorships under the military and their death squads.

Today, the Brazilian bourgeoisie, sitting on top of one of the most important economies in the continent, aspires to overcome its subordinate status and become an independent imperialist power. (In fact, Brazilian capitalism is one of the few “Third World” economies that can support its own airplane industry, EMBRAER, and even an independent space program.)

The Lula administration flaunts a number of timidly nationalist positions regarding foreign policy, particularly its opposition to the tariffs imposed by the U.S. government on imports of Brazilian steel, and recently walked out of the Cancún summit of the World Trade Organization in protest of the FTAA’s agrarian policies. Fundamentally incapable of opposing the imperialist system, Lula’s government offers symbolic gestures of “independence”—which are sufficient to infuriate the arrogant Bush administration—such as Lula’s visit to Libya and Syria, where he called to “end the occupation” of Iraq, or the decision to photograph and fingerprint all Americans entering Brazil, in retaliation for the treatment given by U.S. authorities to Brazilians and others. Additionally, Lula recently signed a commercial accord with China covering agribusiness, technology, construction and natural resources, and jointly launched an earth-monitoring satellite last October.

Notwithstanding the pretensions of Brazilian capitalists and the nationalist ideology they push, the historic reality of our era is that the imperialist countries of North America, West Europe and Japan are not willing to let any other country become a major imperialist power. Indeed, the door to the imperialists’ elite club was slammed shut by the turn of the 20th century and never reopened. South Korea and Argentina provide dramatic examples: yesterday’s perpetually “emerging powers” have been devastated by brutal economic crises generated by the demands of the imperialists.

The solution to the economic backwardness suffered by the Brazilian people cannot be found in the “national” development of capitalism. The only solution is the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution. Only a socialist revolution, with the proletariat at its head, can begin to liberate the working class, the peasantry and all the oppressed. The fight for proletarian power in Brazil must be linked to a revolutionary internationalist perspective of workers revolution throughout the region and in North America.

In “Imperialist War and the Proletarian World Revolution” (1940), Trotsky wrote:

“South and Central America will be able to tear themselves out of backwardness and enslavement only by uniting all their states in one powerful federation. But it is not the belated South American bourgeoisie, a thoroughly venal agency of foreign imperialism, who will be called upon to solve this task, but the young South American proletariat, the chosen leader of the oppressed masses. The slogan in the struggle against violence and intrigues of world imperialism and against the bloody work of native comprador cliques is therefore: the Soviet United States of South and Central America.

He continued:

“Only under its own revolutionary direction is the proletariat of the colonies and the semicolonies capable of achieving invincible collaboration with the proletariat of the metropolitan centers, and with the world working class as a whole. Only this collaboration can lead the oppressed peoples to complete and final emancipation, through the overthrow of imperialism the world over.”

In Brazil today there exists a social force of flesh and blood capable of carrying out this perspective: the industrial working class. Currently, only 9 percent of the Brazilian gross domestic product comes from agricultural production, while over 29 percent comes from industry, above all metallurgy and auto manufacturing. The Brazilian proletariat, with its enormous black component, has behind it a heroic history of struggle, and is organized in strong union federations. With its hands on the levers of the economy and the power to shut down production, the Brazilian proletariat is the social force that can lead the struggle on behalf of all the oppressed, from the urban poor in the favelas, to oppressed women, to landless peasants. The culmination of this struggle must be a society where those who labor rule: a workers state.

The weight of Brazilian industry within the continent gives an idea of the electrifying effect that the Brazilian proletariat in action would have on the rest of Latin America and the world. From the restive Bolivian working masses and the discontented workers of Argentina, including the vast sector of unemployed, to the workers of the Mexican maquiladoras, from the multiracial working class of the U.S., especially the Latino immigrant proletariat, to the black proletariat of South Africa, a workers revolution in Brazil could be a catalyst for class struggle throughout the world. In turn, given the level of international interpenetration of the modern economy, a workers revolution, even in Brazil, could not survive in isolation, nor could socialism be constructed without extending the revolution internationally, especially to imperialist centers like the United States.

We Spartacists fight to bring to the workers of Latin America the understanding that they have no common interests with their “compatriots” of the national bourgeoisie, but that, instead, their best comrades in the struggle against imperialism will be the workers of industrialized countries like the United States. In the last instance, only with the participation of workers in the imperialist states can capitalist imperialism be destroyed, and the enormous resources of these countries be placed at the service of all humanity. It is necessary to break the workers in countries like the U.S. from the influence of their chauvinist trade-union leaders who push the interests of imperialism, and win them to an internationalist perspective of joint struggle with the workers of all the oppressed countries.

The Responsibility of the Left

The four PT members who were expelled from the party for voting against the pension “reform” last December are all part of the PT “left wing,” which reportedly influences some 30 percent of the membership of the PT and the CUT trade-union federation. Expelled Senator Heloísa Helena and others have recently launched a new party to “reclaim” the traditions of the PT. But workers disillusioned with Lula deserve better than old garbage hidden in new pails.

The PT is a social-democratic party; that is, an organization whose basis of support in the workers movement is in contradiction with its programmatic goal: administering the capitalist state. In the 1980s, the PT’s local governments administered the interests of the bosses, collaborating in layoffs, budget slashing and state repression. The best known case was that of Luiza Erundina, the PT mayor of São Paulo, who broke an important strike by the municipal transport workers. Beginning in 1999, the PT held the governorship of the state of Rio Grande do Sul for four years, where they controlled the state police forces and implemented the austerity program of the federal government.

Where were these distinguished “left” PTers all these years? One particularly grotesque case is that of minister Miguel Rossetto, one of the most famous “left” PTers, a member of Socialist Democracy, the Brazilian associate of the United Secretariat (USec) and also Lula’s minister for agrarian development—i.e., he is helping to directly administer the capitalist Brazilian state. As our comrades of the Ligue Trotskyste de France wrote in Le Bolchévik (No. 166, December 2003):

“Miguel Rossetto is ‘minister of agrarian development’ in a government that has distributed less land to the landless peasants than all preceding governments, jailed José Rainha, the historic leader of the Landless Peasants Movement (MST), and grants immunity to the killers in the pay of the latifundistas. In the November issue of Lutte de classe, journal of Lutte Ouvrière, you can read: ‘On August 14, the Supreme Court annulled a decree allowing the expropriation of 13,200 hectares [about 25,000 acres] to 500 families, sparking the occupation of the land, which led Miguel Rossetto to declare that “in a democratic state of law, the decisions of the Supreme Court must be respected”.’...

“We are opposed in principle to participation in an executive organ of the bourgeois state because it would mean taking responsibility for and participating in the repression of workers and the oppressed.”

This has been a split issue ever since the French Socialist Millerand accepted a ministerial post in 1899. The debate this betrayal precipitated in the Marxist movement drove the revolutionary Marxist Rosa Luxemburg to write her classic 1900 polemic Social Reform or Revolution. The bourgeoisie allows “socialists” into their governments on the condition that they defend capitalism against its enemies. To accept executive office is to accept in practice the false proposition that the working class can lay hold of the bourgeois state machinery and wield it for its own purposes. In reality, the lessons of the bloody suppression of the 1871 Paris Commune showed that the levers of the existing capitalist state power cannot simply be seized by the workers and used to liberate the proletariat. The bourgeois state, the executive committee of the capitalist class, at its core consists of bodies of armed men committed to defending capitalist property. It must be smashed through socialist revolution and replaced by organs of proletarian power, i.e., a workers state.

Now, while his fellow Socialist Democracy tendency members, like Heloísa Helena, are purged from the PT for voting against Lula’s attack on pensions, Rossetto has opted to hold on to his ministerial portfolio. Indeed, most of the Socialist Democracy parliamentary cretins are more than willing to maintain their little niche inside Lula’s PT. In fact, Heloísa Helena’s vote against the pension reform was in opposition to the general line of Socialist Democracy—the tendency’s other MPs voted in favor, with two abstaining! This should be enough for any member of the USec who considers himself a socialist, or at least an opponent of the IMF’s measures, to abandon his organization with disgust. This is the bitter fruit of “doing work” within a popular front.

In November 1994, when the USec’s association with Lula’s PT was still a point of international “pride,” and the USec boasted of its “influence over the masses in Brazil,” the speaker for the International Communist League, Joseph Seymour, said in a public debate with the USec leader Ernest Mandel:

“You’ve got nothing! You know what you have in Brazil? You have a bunch of apparatchiks for Lula! If tomorrow Lula said, ‘Repudiate the Fourth International, repudiate Trotskyism, repudiate the dictatorship of the proletariat, or you’re expelled,’ you know what would happen? Half of you would be expelled, the other half would repudiate Trotskyism.”

— “Spartacist League Debates Ernest Mandel,” WV No. 611, 25 November 1994

The majority of the leaders of the “left” tendency in the PT belong to other organizations which cynically claim to be Trotskyist. Luciana Genro and João Batista Araújo (Babá), for example, belong to different currents which follow the late pseudo-Trotskyist Argentine caudillo Nahuel Moreno. But the PT, with its internal currents, is not the only organization of the Brazilian workers movement. The Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado (PSTU), Brazilian section of the Morenoite tendency, is another group that seeks to take advantage of the disillusionment among workers by presenting themselves as the left alternative to the PT. In the first round of elections in 2002, the PSTU ran independent candidates, obtaining more than 400,000 votes and the support of a big part of the so-called “far left” in Brazil. However, the PSTU voted for Lula’s popular front in the second (and decisive) round of the elections.

In fact, the campaign documents of Zé Maria, presidential candidate for the PSTU, are distinguished from those of Lula by their more nationalist rhetoric. Far from utilizing its campaign to unmask the fraud of bourgeois “democracy,” the PSTU explicitly promised to administer the capitalist state supposedly for the benefit of the dispossessed majority. Yet the most revealing part of its electoral program is the extensive section dedicated to “public security,” where they promise to subject the Brazilian police and army to “democratic control” by the population. As core elements of the bourgeois state, the police and army can never be reformed to serve the interests of workers and the oppressed. Moreover, consistent with its reformist politics, the PSTU in its 2002 electoral program called to improve the salaries and the working conditions of the police, complaining that currently the police lack “security equipment such as bulletproof vests and even handcuffs and ammunition.”

Let’s not forget that we are talking about the racist Brazilian police, which uses its bulletproof vests to “safely” (for the cops) repress workers demonstrations, its handcuffs to chain peasant fighters and its ammunition to assassinate street children! It should be an elementary truth, for anyone claiming to be a Marxist, that police are not part of the workers movement but the attack dogs of the bourgeois state!

In the end, it was a division of labor in the service of class collaboration: the PSTU used its extensive influence among workers to bolster the “proletarian” credentials of the PT; the PT, in turn, subordinated the workers to the bourgeoisie in a capitalist popular-front government which is now implementing the IMF’s austerity plans. The PSTU shares responsibility for the Lula regime’s anti-working-class measures.

Another organization on the Brazilian left, the Liga Bolchevique Internacionalista (LBI), is characterized by covering its reformism with revolutionary phrasemongering and vile anti-Semitism (see “The Brazilian LBI: Centrism of Fools,” WV No. 806, 4 July 2003). The LBI correctly denounced Lula’s popular front and refused to give any support to the reformist PSTU, criticizing them in particular for their position to reform the police. But, in reality, the LBI does not oppose the popular front out of any principle, as shown by its support to the PT in the 1989 elections.

When the criminal World Trade Center attack took place in September 2001, the LBI described it as a legitimate act “by the Islamic militants who responded militarily to the permanent war that imperialism imposes on the peoples and oppressed nations of the Near East, by means of the unconventional ‘military’ resources they had available” (Jornal Luta Operária, September 2002). The LBI went so far as to assert that the workers killed in the attack on the WTC were a “minority” among “CIA agents” (Marxismo Revolucionário, December 2001)!

As for the cops, in a polemic against us in the same issue of Marxismo Revolucionário, the LBI complains with bitterness: “The most incredible thing is that this tendency [the ICL] grossly falsifies the LBI’s positions, accusing us of defending the police, or that the police are part of the working class. Grotesque lie against the LBI.” Really? While they hypocritically recite: “No support to the reactionary police strike” (“Strike in the Police,” Marxismo Revolucionário, December 1997), the LBI explained touchingly that “to support the demands of the police is not the best way to accelerate an open fissure within the ruling classes.” And then they proceeded to propose a “better” way: “For the formation of red unions inside the troops of the armed forces and the Military Police!” In the Brazilian steel town of Volta Redonda in 1996, the LBI ran for leadership (and won control) of a cop-infested municipal workers union. Their leader, Artur Fernandes, was a staunch supporter of keeping the cops in the union. Cops out of the unions!

The LBI’s rotten bloc partner for control of the municipal workers union in Volta Redonda was the LM/LQB (Luta Metalúrgica/Liga Quarta-Internacionalista do Brasil), which was later to be embraced by the minuscule Internationalist Group of Jan Norden as its Brazilian affiliate. An LQB supporter and ex-cop, Geraldo Ribeiro, ran for president and won with a majority of the cops’ votes. The ICL insisted that LM/LQB act in accordance with its professed agreement with our program and act to separate the cops from the municipal workers union. But after a sufficiently lengthy period of discussion, we broke fraternal relations with the LQB over its unprincipled trade-union opportunism (see “A Break in Fraternal Relations with Luta Metalúrgica,” WV No. 648, 5 July 1996). Afterward, when the LQB’s rotten bloc with the LBI fell apart, each side dragged the union through the bosses’ courts to hold tight to their union posts.

For a Leninist Party in Brazil!

Increasingly, the workers are calling the PT the “Party of Traitors.” With its gigantic working class becoming more disillusioned with the broken promises of the popular front, the peasant movement fighting desperately for land and the political situation highly volatile, Brazil promises to be the stage of convulsive class battles. However, there are no impossible situations for the bourgeoisie; it is necessary to throw them out.

The situation in Brazil powerfully exemplifies the statement that Leon Trotsky made in the Transitional Program in 1938: “The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.” We Marxists in the ICL understand that what’s necessary to unchain the revolutionary potential of the Brazilian proletariat is to forge a revolutionary internationalist party. Such a party would struggle to break the working-class base of the PT away from its current leadership as part of the struggle for workers power, fusing intellectuals and students won to the side of the proletariat with the most advanced elements of the working class.

In a 7 September 2003 manifesto, the PSTU declared, “We Need a New Party to Unite the Brazilian Left.” In opposition to the Brazilian fake Trotskyists, we fight to build a Leninist vanguard party. Their “new mass party” is in fact an old reformist idea: Karl Kautsky’s “party of the whole class.” It was one of Lenin’s greatest contributions to the Marxist movement to realize that the precondition for a successful proletarian socialist revolution was a split with the opportunists in the workers movement, the labor lieutenants of capital in the trade unions and the “socialist” parliamentarians who cling to the coattails of the bourgeoisie.

We fight for an authentically Marxist party which will champion the rights of all the oppressed—blacks, women, homosexuals, peasants—with a class-struggle program dedicated to bringing the working class to power. In Brazil, while suffering intense racial oppression, black and mulatto workers have enormous potential social power as part of the proletariat.

A revolutionary party must aspire to become the “tribune of the people”; that is, to be capable of counterposing, in practice, the liberating ideas of communism to the prejudices of the dominant ideology in all aspects of social life: against prevailing male-chauvinism in Brazil’s Catholic society; for the struggle for women’s liberation as a central element of the party’s program, fighting for free and legal abortion and against anti-gay discrimination; fighting against deeply rooted racism, raising the banner of black liberation and fighting in defense of peasants and indigenous people against the landowners’ and cattle ranchers’ brutal campaign of extermination. Such a party must be built in the struggle against the narrow and economist perspective of the pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy. It must put itself at the head of the struggles of all the oppressed as part of the fight to establish working-class rule, smashing the rule of the bosses and placing the immense resources and energies of the country in the service of the most urgent human needs. This perspective is necessarily internationalist and is part of the struggle to reforge the Fourth International to lead new October Revolutions. It is the perspective of the International Communist League.

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