[Marxism] » What lessons from the Workers Party for fighting global neoliberalism?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 14 05:50:46 MST 2019

By Patrick Bond

Just as Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) heads of state 
prepared to meet in Brasilia on November 13-14, hosted by Jair 
Bolsonaro, a double political earthquake hit: Lula’s freedom from prison 
on November 8, followed by a coup against Bolivian president Evo Morales 
on November 11.

Lula was central to BRICS’ establishment a decade ago. Details about the 
profound injustices and indignities suffered by Brazil’s 2003-10 
president – who was jailed in April 2018 on (illegitimate, frame-up) 
corruption charges – and the potential for a Workers Party (PT) 
resurgence can reliably be found (in the English language) at 
Brasilwire. The situation remains fluid because the 74 year-old former 
president has more trials pending and is technically not allowed to 
return to politics due to his earlier bogus conviction, but appeals are 

Regardless of how lawfare plays out, Lula has created 
socio-political-economic schizophrenia: what Brazilian journalist Pepe 
Escobar describes as the contrast between social democracy and 
neo-fascism. More power to Lula and a resurgent Brazilian left – with 
all due caution about whether the balance of forces justify such 
hopefulness based upon the fate of a single politician, no matter how 
superlative his skills.

Certainly when, in early 1989, I interviewed him on the U.S. Pacifica 
radio network, his answer to my question was stunning: “You just came 
from the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce, so what did you tell them?”

Lula: “If they don’t give up their rings, we’ll chop off their fingers.”

But that radical Lula changed dramatically in the period since, after 
repeated runs for the presidency. His political agenda moderated and his 
hunt for allies among a supposedly patriotic bourgeoisie quickened, 
especially during the 2002-11 commodity super-cycle. But he also doubled 
the minimum wage and, with rising cash transfers to the masses, he cut 
sharply into Brazil’s notorious inequality. He left office with the 
world’s highest presidential approval polling: 80 percent.


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