Lula-Alckimin Alliance – with which program?

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By ARMANDO BOITO*

It is symptomatic that a good part of the left has fallen into the trap of discussing names

A good part of the left has been wondering whether an alliance with Geraldo Alckmin is interested. This question, as it has been posed, is impossible to answer. And it is impossible because the question is wrong from a democratic and popular perspective. It shifts the political, programmatic discussion to the merits of Lula's and Alckmin's people, when what matters is knowing what will be the political program on which this alliance is being built.

It is symptomatic that a good part of the left, both defenders of that alliance and its critics, has fallen into this real trap that consists of discussing names. They are lost in considerations, most of them merely conjectural, about the electoral gains or losses of such an alliance; they are also lost in the discussion about the candidates' personalities and their past and recent political history. Of course, political history counts, but the problem is that politicians can change their minds. Many socialists became bourgeois politicians and important conservative bourgeois politicians became progressive politicians. Therefore, the political history of this or that politician, barring extreme situations, is not a decisive criterion. In Brazil, the political debate is very personalized and, unfortunately, part of the left is lost in this so-and-so.

The first thing that matters is which program Lula and the PT will propose for an alliance that encompasses Alckmin's candidacy for Lula's vice-presidency. In an alliance, each party must present the minimum common program that it understands should serve as a basis for the alliance. It is the beginning of negotiation. Concessions will have to come from both sides. In the case of the PT, what “dis-reforms” will it propose to start negotiations around an eventual Lula-Alckmin government?

Let's conjecture offhand and just to illustrate a list. The PT could propose several “unreforms”: (a) labor; (b) social security; (c) resumption of appreciation of the minimum wage; (d) the spending ceiling; (e) independence from the Central Bank; (f) return to the pre-salt sharing system; (g) suspension of the privatization processes of Eletrobrás, Correios, Petrobrás refineries; (h) return of the tax on exports, as Peronism did in Argentina with an arduous struggle, etc., etc.

As political measures: (a) demilitarization of the government and state institutions (STF, TSE) and return of the military to the barracks; (b) end of barrier clause for political parties; (c) end of parliamentary perks that place them above their parties; (d) investigation of crimes committed against public health and so on.

Let us now suppose that Alckmin accepts some of these “unreforms” and these political measures and rejects others. The alliance enters into an evaluation process in interested progressive party organizations, but a political, programmatic evaluation. A debate like this, in addition to guiding the left politically, politically educates the popular masses. And we saw how much organization and political education were needed when it came to resisting the 2016 coup.

In a process like this, the following question would be correctly posed, that is, what interests the democratic and popular movement: is it in the left's interest to support the common program proposed by the Lula/Alckmin alliance? In response, I would say that I don't see why the left should not support such an alliance if it contemplates significant “de-reforms” and democratic political measures. However, in that case, I repeat, everything would be based on the political program of the alliance, and not on the names, on the people who embody it.

Many may argue that such a position is idealistic, because in Brazil this is not how politics is done or how it has been done. Well, the left does not have the task of doing politics as it has been done, but rather doing it in the way that interests the democratic and popular movement. For the rest, in fact, the discussion takes place around names only on the surface or in the appearance of the political process. Behind the curtains, the party leaderships and the people directly involved – Lula and Alckmin – will have a minimum program built on the basis of whispers between the party leaderships, far from the party's militants. We will have a hidden program while the masses and part of the left are lost in the discussion of names.

*Armando Boito is professor of political science at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of State, politics and social classes (Unesp).

 

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