[Marxism] Re: Brazilians urged to take to streets

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 4 07:51:59 MST 2005

Fred Feldman wrote:
>The rightist opposition to Lula is now getting more support from
>Wall Street -- if I read my New York Times correctly (a recent article,
>pretending to sympathize with indigenous demandsthat a planned China
>sponsored dam project should benefit their community or not be built at
>all, ended by supporting rightist charges that Lula is selling out
>Brazilian national interests to China).

And should we assume that Wall Street is conspiring to topple Thabo Mbeki 
when articles such as these appear?

 >>A new book by the United Nations' special envoy to Africa on AIDS brings 
to light an extraordinary breach between the organization and South Africa 
over the crisis, under which the government has effectively banned the 
envoy from carrying out his duties here for the past year.

The book, written by Stephen Lewis, singles out South Africa's government 
and its president, Thabo Mbeki, for what it calls bewildering policies and 
a lackadaisical approach to treatment of the nation's millions of 
H.I.V.-positive citizens.

Virtually every other nation in eastern and southern Africa ''is working 
harder at treatment than is South Africa with relatively fewer resources, 
and in most cases nowhere near the infrastructure or human capacity of 
South Africa,'' Mr. Lewis says in the book, ''Race Against Time'' (House of 
Anansi Press).

Mr. Lewis, a Canadian who has served since 2001 as the special envoy to 
Africa on AIDS for the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, wrote 
that ''every senior U.N. official, engaged directly or indirectly in the 
struggle against AIDS, to whom I have spoken about South Africa, is 
completely bewildered by the policies of President Mbeki.''

He contended that his colleagues are ''incredulous'' at how Health Minister 
Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has exaggerated the possible side effects of 
antiretroviral drugs and wrongly suggested that a diet of sweet potatoes 
and garlic can be as important as antiretrovirals in treating AIDS.<<

(NY Times, October 25, 2005)

I actually am grateful that the NY Times prints articles such as these, 
whatever the motivation.

>Dirceu's identification of Lula with the bourgeois nationalist (and
>therefore somewhat resistant to complete US imperialist domination)
>tradition in Brazil is significant, in my opinion.

Dirceu is an interesting character. He was a former student leader who 
trained guerrillas in Cuba when Brazil was ruled by a dictatorship and was 
able to return to Brazil only after undergoing plastic surgery to conceal 
his identity. He was charged with handing out $30,000 a month in kickbacks 
to buy the votes of PT opponents in parliament. That's a tidy sum. Now, if 
the votes were for land reform or something, I myself would organize a 
rally for Lula (smallish, I'm afraid).

>It is not unusual today to find among leftists dismissals of bourgeois
>nationalism as completely discredited and no longer able to attract any
>real mass support in conflicts with imperialism.  Iraq has shown that
>this is simply not true.

I wasn't aware that the neocons have been agitating for regime change in 

>On the part of the left, failure to defend bourgeois-nationalist forces
>when they come under imperialist attack can only weaken the effort to
>bring together genuine popular-revolutionary movements.In fact, a
>sectarian posture on this issue can facilitate devastating blows that
>can throw back the prospects for a considerable time.

If Lula were in hot water like Allende was in the early 1970s, I can 
understand such an appeal. Lula is being attacked from the right for the 
same reason that Clinton was attacked by the Republicans for 8 years. The 
Brazilian right wants to be in the driver's seat because there are 
perquisites associated with power. Bourgeois politics is an immense trough 
at which both rightist and fake "socialist" parties can get fat at. That's 
what the Lula corruption scandal is about, not a titanic struggle between 
the workers and Wall Street. 

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