Brazil: Social movements reject coup, take to streets

Issue 

In response to a recent vote in the lower house of Brazil's parliament in favour of impeaching Workers' Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's two main coalitions of social movements issued the statement below on April 17.

Rousseff is under attack over a series of corruption scandals, but the forces allied against her — the political, media and corporate elite — have themselves been implicated in corruption. Many in Brazil, including left opponents of Rousseff's government, see the impeachment as an institutional coup by the right wing.

In response to a recent vote in the lower house of Brazil's parliament in favour of impeaching Workers' Party (PT) President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's two main coalitions of social movements issued the statement below on April 17.

Rousseff is under attack over a series of corruption scandals, but the forces allied against her — the political, media and corporate elite — have themselves been implicated in corruption. Many in Brazil, including left opponents of Rousseff's government, see the impeachment as an institutional coup by the right wing.

The Popular Brazil Front and People Without Fear Front were formed in response to the recent right-wing mobilisations against Rousseff. At the same time, they remain critical of the government's austerity measures.

Between them, they unite many of Brazil's largest social movements including Unified Workers' Central (CUT), the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST), and the National Student Union (UNE), among others. They released the statement below, which is reprinted from Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

* * *

This April 17, a date in which we remember the massacre of Eldorado dos Carajas [when 19 landless peasants were killed by police in 1996], will once again enter into the history of the Brazilian nation as a day of shame.

This is because a circumstantial majority of a Chamber of Deputies stained by corruption, dared to authorise the fraudulent impeachment of a president of the republic who has not been accused of committing any crime of responsibility.

Conservative and reactionary economic and political forces that have promoted this farce hope to wipe out the labour and social rights of the Brazilian people. They include corporate entities, politicians such as [president of the Chamber of Deputies] Eduardo Cunha, who are facing charges of corruption in the Supreme Court, parties that have been defeated at the ballot box such as the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, and forces from outside Brazil who are interested in pillaging our resources, privatising state companies such as [oil company] Petrobras.

They do so with the help of a coup-plotting media, in which Rede Globo plays a central role in the dissemination of coup-plotting ideological propaganda, and through their coverage of a judicial-police operation that is aimed at attacking certain parties and leaders, but not others.

That is why the Popular Brazil Front and the People Without Fear Front call on workers from the countryside and the city, and on democratic and progressive forces, jurists, lawyers, artists and religious figures to not leave the streets and to continue the fight against the coup through all forms of mobilisations, inside and outside the country.

Let's pressure the Senate, which will decide whether Dilma is to be impeached and face Minister [Ricardo] Lewandowski in the Supreme Court. The struggle continues against the coup and in defence of democracy and rights that we won through struggle, and which they want to take away from us under the false pretence of fighting corruption and impeaching someone who has committed no crime of responsibility.

The Popular Brazil Front and the People Without Fear Front state that we will not recognise the legitimacy of any supposed government led by [current vice-president Michel] Temer that may arise as a result of an institutional coup. This is the intention of the majority of the Chamber of Deputies that voted to move forward with the pro-coup impeachment process.

We will not recognise and will fight against any such illegitimate government. We will fight against every measure they try to pass against our jobs, wages, social programs, hard-won labour rights, and fight in defence of democracy and national sovereignty.

We will not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the majority vote in a Chamber of Deputies full of proven corrupt figures, whose chief, Eduardo Cunha, is facing charges in the Supreme court at the same time as he heads up the farcical campaign to impeach Dilma.

We will continue fighting to overturn the coup now underway in the Federal Senate and to move towards full democracy in our country, which requires a thoroughgoing reform of the current political system, as the only genuine way to fight corruption.

Throughout the history of the republic, peoples and democratic forces have suffered setbacks in various confrontations, only to shortly after achieve victory. The same is happening today: we will defeat the coup plot in the streets!

Therefore, our struggle will continue with strikes, actions and occupations over the next few weeks and the convening of a mass National Assembly of the Working Class on May 1.

The struggle continues! No retreat! Long live democracy!

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