(fwd from Michael Yates) Brazil's PT

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Sat Jul 20 21:39:40 MDT 2002

: I attended a talk on Saturday, July 20, given by Jose Dirceu,
president of the Brazilian Workers Party.  The talk was at the Cornell
Labor Studies Center in Manhattan.  Dirceu is in the US, meeting
largely with business and politcal leaders, trying, I gather, to
assure them that a PT victory by Lula da Silva this Fall will not
unduly threaten business interests.

Mr. Dirceu gave a sophisticated presentation, rather short on
substance but long on rhetoric.  He was introduced by Stan Gracek of
the Internation Affairs Dept. of the AFL-CIO (Gracek also served as a
very able translator).

After his talk, Dirceu took questions.  I introduced myself as
associated with Monthly Review, and I asked the following question:
"Any nation which seriously tries to extricate itself from the grip of
imperialism will face a very serious response, from capital flight to
low intensity warfare to worse things.  If the PT comes to power and
implements programs based on its principles, how, concretely, does it
plan to deal with this response?"

I could tell that the AFL-CIO fellow was a little annoyed with my
question.  Dirceu answered it at some length.  He said that the
ability of the PT to deal with the response of imperialism to its
programs would depend on: -its alliances with Brazilian business (he
seems to believe that there is a segment of the Brazilian business
class which is primarily nationalistic).  -its alliances with
progressive forces around the world.  -its support from people in the
US.  -whatever work it could do, with its allies, to change the world
political situation.  -its belief that there are forces within the
international community who are beginning to see that neoliberalsim is
a disaster and that polices such as that favored by the PT owuld
actually be good for Brazilian growth and stability.  -its belief that
there are those with power who see that a reaction by imperialism in
Brazil would lead to such a disaster (with far reaching implications
for all of Latin America) that it would be better to let the PT rule
in peace.  -his belief that the Brazilain state would have the power
to take actions to counter an imperialist reaction and stay in power.

He ended by saying, in effect, "Let us take power, let imperialsim do
what it will do, and then we shall see."

I left with the impression that James Petras' assessment of the PT in
his recent Monthly Review article is correct (Petras thinks tha tthe
national PT has moved decisively to the right).  Can we imagine
Allende coming to the US and saying these things and having these
meetings?  Allende might have been naive, but he did not give up his
principles and certainly not before the fact of an election.

Michael Yates

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