snakes and lizards

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By ELENIRA VILELA*

We must occupy the spaces with the central points of the left's program and debate them with the population everywhere

The debate in the field of the left has been practically monopolized by some themes and I didn't speak out about them. I have been asked by many, many militants and leaders, so I understand that in the role I occupy, I owe some clarification.

The first question is: why didn't I write a thousand texts and (almost) didn't get into the bullshit about these topics? Either because I think they are secondary and there are already a lot of people taking a stand or because I think that even though what is supposed to fight a certain position is important, I think it ends up strengthening it by the method of confrontation.

So, don't feel deceived, but first I'm going to talk about what I consider should be having all the weight in our debates and then I'm going to talk specifically about each case. No, don't skip reading right there! What is important is important and quantity generates quality, if we only talk about one subject we make it important even if we always start by saying that it is not the center or any other tergiversation. So take a few moments to read this, before getting there in the controversies of the moment.

 

The left program

I believe that all left-wing militancy should give importance to insistently debating the program that must be defended by all left-wing candidates. No, I don't think we should wait for Lula, the Perseu Abramo Foundation, the party leadership or whatever it is to open this agenda, wait to be invited to a meeting and then give our opinion. I think we should occupy the debates with the central points of the program and debate them with people everywhere.

We have to make the number of public manifestations central to our program: whether in the speech of militants, leaders, parliamentarians, political groups about the fact that the government and parliamentary representations in all their aspects, from the choice of candidates and even the formation of collective candidacies, going through debates and organized events (whether face-to-face or virtual), public positions in interviews or published materials and in debates with communities in their territories, union bases, organized social segments (especially those that have had the greatest capacity for mobilization: feminist movements, black movements, peripheral movements, trade union movements of various categories: especially education, public service, anti-fascist couriers, health, oil workers and transport, among others; movements of organized anti-fascist football fans and of the left, occupations and movements for housing, movements of people with disabilities, movements of people in street situations, movements of solidarity with people for hunger and against violence, among others), everything that is said has to address our program.

And what is our program? A government program of profound reversal of neoliberal policies and democratic and popular advances such as: (1) the repeal of the spending cap on rights (EC 95); labor and social security reforms; the law of outsourcing of core activities and progress towards the new Statute of the World of Work proposed by the Union centrals; the autonomy of the Central Bank; the weakening of environmental preservation legislation on the release of pesticides, the facilitation of mining, deforestation, land grabbing, the creation and maintenance of conservation units and the demarcation and protection of indigenous and quilombola lands and the protection of traditional peoples and activities;

(2) reversal and annulment, interruption of privatizations in any scope with the revocation of the Partnerships and Investments Plan (law 13.334/2016); (3) the repeal of the Secondary Education Reform and the changes in ENEM, PROUNI, and FIES; (4) strong reversal of budget priorities, resuming investment in education, health, housing, social assistance, culture and all areas that have to do with social and labor rights, with national sovereignty and economic policy aimed at the people and not at facilitation the increase in the rates of accumulation of large financial capital, landowners, miners, fundamentalist churches, the arms industry and large bourgeois media companies;

(5) a substantial change in economic policy, with a reversal of the upward trend in basic interest rates, a substantial change in exchange rate policy (which requires the revocation of the exchange rate policy recently sanctioned by Bolsonaro at the end of the lights, which he handed over to the autonomous and occupied BC by market agents), the resumption of investment in the economy, especially in infrastructure, generating jobs directly and indirectly and investing in reindustrialization and development, including high volumes of investment in science, technology and innovation, including an active search for the return of the brains that evaded the country since the coup made possible by the collection of taxes on dividends and large fortunes and inheritances, including the audit of the public debt;

(6) resumption of a proud and active foreign policy with priority for south-south relations, strengthening of the BRICS and CELAC and defense of peace and peoples' autonomy, with a profound reconstruction of the instruments of defense of national sovereignty, including the repeal of legislation that facilitated enormously the purchase of land by foreign people and companies, resumption of airspace defense instruments;

(7) defense of a radically anti-racist, feminist, anti-capacitist, anti-LGBTphobic government, against all forms of oppression and discrimination and promoting equality material through equity policies with the defense of indigenous peoples and quilombolas. A government that resumes and expands measures in the search for Memory, Truth, Justice and reparation, in relation to State crimes in dictatorships and throughout colonization and slavery;

(8) change in the regulation of the functioning of the armed forces and internal security forces, keeping them away from politics, with the change of formation to one that respects human rights, that exterminates the ideology of the internal enemy and does not allow the people to or any segment of it is treated as an enemy, an end to xenophobia, elitism and anti-communism in these forces and promotion of public security through intelligence, confronting financial crimes that sustain organized crime and demilitarization and unification (or at least articulation) of the police and the end of the war on drugs as a policy to exterminate the black population towards a public health policy regarding consumption and legalization and control over sales;

(9) constitutional regulation of the private media and recreation of all extinct bodies or that underwent intervention such as EBC, MEC radio, Cinemateca, National Archive, Voz do Brasil and Rede Brasil to resume their role sovereign, of democratization of communication and preservation of national history, in addition to the resumption of priority to the promotion and regulation of popular communication, such as community radios and newspapers, independent media vehicles such as popular portals and channels, and organizations of the working class and social movements popular;

(10) urgently facing hunger (resuming and expanding Bolsa Família and the policy of regulating food stocks) and the effects of the pandemic and the coup, including special health care, especially for those affected by COVID, hunger and disorders emotional consequences arising from social breakdown, unemployment and long periods of isolation (including the consequences of domestic violence) and social assistance (resumption of construction and increasing strengthening of SUAS) and active search and investment to recover evasion and weaknesses in the formation of formal education during the pandemic due to the lack of working conditions for education professionals and access to students from all over the country due to the lack of conditions to access classes and materials for non-face-to-face teaching;

(11) Absolute priority to Brazilian children recognized as subjects of rights and motherhood in their social contribution, with strong investments in all public policies that should benefit and protect them, in addition to promoting their full development and repairing the consequences that the attacks on childhood promoted since the coup have left. The same with the elderly population of the country; radical defense of the secularity of the State, facing credonormativity, with the end of privileges to certain religious denominations that have been equipped as true merchants of the faith, enriching a few and promoting anti-popular ideologies, as well as the radical defense of religious tolerance, punishing any manifestation of religious intolerance and discrimination, especially against religions of indigenous peoples and those of African origin, but also against Islamophobia and any other form of oppression through the imposition of religious values ​​of certain groups on the population as a whole;

(12) change in public pricing policy, especially for electricity and Petrobrás, in order to detach from international prices, resume the production and distribution chain to the final consumer in order to guarantee the management of this sector that is so strategic and allow facing one of the main causes of the galloping inflation that has been indexing the national economy. Restructuring of the State with reorganization of careers, salary increase, reopening of civil service examinations and expansion of staff, end of interventions in federal universities and in the technical activities of the sectors. Conducting the expanded and improved Census.

 

Theory and practice

Well, I'm going to stop here because who am I to write the complete program, right? But some will say: impossible! This is practically the program of the revolution and we don't have the social strength to pay for it.

Well, first of all there is nothing revolutionary about this list. No one is being expropriated of their means of production, no takeover of the state by the working class by arms, no complete planning of the economy and social life, no end to private property, not even the means of production, nothing. Far from it. Absolutely everything is within the framework of capitalist social democracy with lower levels of exploitation and oppression.

Second, it is true that we do not have a correlation of forces to approve several points of this program, not even within the PT and greater difficulties in approving it in society. But what is our obligation? Tense in a responsible but forceful way so that the program is as advanced as possible and make it clear that the organized social movement and the working class will fight for it, whatever goes to the government program and wins, great! If we win, whatever is implemented as government policy: even better! What is left out will be the object of social dispute, street fights, pressure at conferences and the various mechanisms of political participation and strikes and stoppages. The war against the bourgeoisie is not over, it will not end if we elect Lula and even if half of the National Congress belongs to PT, PSOL and other left and center-left parties…

We've known this in theory forever. And in practice too, just look at all the examples in the history of Brazil, Latin America and the world. As the anecdote of the film tells Democracy em vertigem when a politician meets a mega businessman from the civil construction industry and asks “Hey, are you around here?” to which the businessman replies “We are always here, you are the ones who come and go”. The bourgeoisie is already putting pressure on the future Lula government and we have to do the same.

But are we going to end up hurting the candidacy this way? Well, we have to take every precaution to ensure that this doesn't happen, but that doesn't impose a silent acceptance of any attitude by Lula, DN or the national coordination of the campaign that will come to form. That's why I wrote the text about the importance of sectorials, for example.[1] It is necessary to establish a deeper connection with the various social sectors, as defended by Mano Brown or Galo and this connection will also have electoral results and results in the defense of the continuity and achievements of the future government. So it is essential, before, during and after the elections, so that Lula can run, so that he wins and with a large parliamentary base, that he takes office, that he governs and that he makes the government that we want and defend.

In addition to this relationship with expanding the social base of active militants and sympathizers, another aspect is to emphasize more and more that directors, leaders, public figures and our candidates make proposals that are consistent, close or affirming this program we need to amplify, in the networks, in the debates , in the means of communication we have access to, in partisan and sectoral debates and in our grassroots activities. When someone says something that we strongly disagree with, we tend to highlight it a lot, criticize it a lot, make texts in response. When he says something that we agree with, we treat it as “he does nothing more than the obligation”. The effect of this is that it is much easier to know what we are against than what we are for, even among our own people. But this is counterproductive in the debate with the base: we need to dedicate more time to valuing what we agree to bring people together and then have a debate about what we disagree with already with perspectives of struggle that is changed and incorporated or advances in that direction.

But for that it is necessary to put rationality before the liver. I'm not saying we can't criticize a leader's posture, anyone who knows me knows that I do that a lot. But I don't just do that. And I don't mostly do that, especially in broad external contexts, but not internally either. And if I did (and I know I did) I was wrong. If you see Lula's positions for the repeal of the Labor Reform, of a leader for the decriminalization and legalization of abortion or of a governor for the demilitarization of the police, publicize it a lot, debate with the base why it is fundamental and then why it is fundamental to (re)elect that person or someone he supports.

In addition to all this mobilization around the program and the construction of candidacies consistent with it (yes, it is obvious that this will reach Alckmin, but just read a little more), we have to think about and organize our actions in this election year. First, this action cannot revolve only around electoral activities, not even for you who think that everything revolves around elections. As I said earlier the process will be very difficult and the change in the correlation of forces in society does not happen only, or even mainly, with votes.

It is necessary to keep everyone militant and mobilized, fighting, putting pressure, stopping the evil of the coup project that the government is approving and that means that there will still be mobilization outside Bolsonaro and they need to be bigger and bigger, that we must carry out strikes, specific mobilizations against the passing cattle, fights to maintain services and create or strengthen grassroots organizations (territorial, thematic or by categories or workplaces) that will serve as a support point for the creation of committees in all corners of the country to elect Lula and female deputies ( the) federal, senator(s), governor(s) and state deputies.

About that, the third task: campaign for federal deputy as much as you do for Lula. And without this campaign for the legend, because unfortunately most Brazilians are not politicized enough to vote for a party, it is necessary not to let the person vote for the one that the son or the neighbor say is good people in the region and convince the people to vote for a specific person and if for some reason the person rejects your first choice, have two more from the party in your pocket. But never offer three or four at the same time, that doesn't pass firmness, it seems that for you it doesn't matter and we go back to what the neighbor who is from the region recommended.

And now what you wanted:

 

The conjunctural debate

About the federation: I'm in favor of going with the PCdoB because they need it to survive and some specific points have to be very agreed and signed. Regarding other parties, including PSOL and PSB, I don't believe that the needs for creating the federation outweigh the issues involved in the demands for state scenarios, so I don't think it's something to really worry about. The chances, for example, of closing with the PSB are almost nil, since it is practically impossible to close enough agreements in the state elections of São Paulo and Pernambuco, which is already enough for the federation not to leave.

I am against it even if it were possible, for several reasons. But if I'm 98% sure it won't rain, I don't take an umbrella. Especially when I saw that there are a lot of friends carrying one. I agree with most people who wrote against this construction of a federation with the PSB, with Julian Rodrigues.[2]

About Alckmin: I am not going to enter into the debate about who the author is, but rather why I assess that it prospered, two reasons: (a) a part of the national leadership of the PT and those closest to the Lula campaign assess that taking Alckmin out of the race in São Paulo contribute a lot to elect Haddad; (b) the bourgeoisie sees it as a way of forwarding their plan C to the elections, according to André Esteves, namely: putting the yoke on the probable Lula government. Despite thinking that many efforts should be made to elect Haddad governor, after all, having the government of the largest state in the federation in GDP and population has enormous weight in the correlation of forces in the superstructure and is decisive for many things, including significantly expanding the bench from the left in the Chamber, I have many doubts that this would be enough or even necessary, after all the strength of the toucan machine will remain in the hands of toucans, but the volatility of the votes is high and could turn the wind in São Paulo.

I don't think that's enough of an argument to accept the second reason this story made headlines; the bourgeoisie wants to put the yoke on the government. And she will do it anyway: trying to keep the BC autonomous from the will of the people and at their service as it is, pressing for reforms as she did when she demanded a Letter to the Brazilian people and then, in the first year of Lula's government, a first pension reform that removed many rights.

And even knowing that this pressure will always roll, the further away from the center of government the better, so someone with Alckmin's profile on the ticket is not acceptable. His presence mobilizes fewer votes in favor than he withdraws, for two reasons: (a) when alliances are made, the first sum is a burden and not a bonus, and very little of Alckmin's supporter base will come with him; (b) it will not necessarily demobilize votes, but militancy. This year the election will be a war and we will need all the militancy with blood in their eyes and a lot of horn to fight back the sea of ​​lies that will be propagated by the Telegram and the like, to be on the street consolidating the base and the program, in addition to the parliamentary base and what is gained there is lost much more here, in a place where we cannot weaken.

In this case, I confess that I think that the discussion is going on with weak arguments from side to side and I think that the way it is going has meaning, even if the alliance does not consolidate, much more as an execution of the yoke plan in our possible future government, because we accept the version that the dinner of the Prerogativas group was set up for this meeting, which is simply false, or that the meeting of the two was the most important fact of the dinner, when the collection – which was not to honor Lula , but for the campaign against hunger and the event is annual – and the Black Coalition speaks in that space and to that audience of rich or prestigious white men and because we spread ridiculous conspiracy theories that Dilma was not invited, which again is false.

Can Lula talk to Alckmin? You can, especially when France or someone else is in demand. Is he going to talk to the right, with coup leaders, with people from the bourgeoisie? Go. They're the ones looking for you because they can't ignore you anymore and that's great news. It would be a problem if Lula gave priority or even worse exclusivity to this type of agenda. But no, he has made agendas with collectors, the black movement, public service unionists and union centrals, oil workers, youth, family farmers and in these agendas he does something that few leaders and even left-wing leaders do: he listens, pays attention, no stay there with your body present, looking at your cell phone and worried that your turn to talk will come soon and be able to leave.

This posture is fundamental and everyone needs to adopt it. Here in Santa Catarina, the pre-candidate for government only meets with party leaders from left and center (and even center-right) parties, almost all white and old men who have proven electorally that they represent very little of society. And this is a problem and unfortunately I know very well that it is not an exclusive problem for a person or a state PT.

On Quáquá, Cantalice, identity and attacks on Dilma and relativization of the coup. Good Washington Luiz, which is the name of Quáquá, unfortunately it is a personal loss for me. We've known each other for almost 30 years, we've done student movement together and we've been very close. I recognize the important work he did in the Maricá city hall, with emblematic projects that are an example to be followed. But in the internal debate and in the debate on the oppression agenda, it has been changing and for the worse for years. He cut ties with me when one day he made a post saying that “the so-and-so deputy should run a scholarship instead of wasting her time criticizing him on the tribune”, or something like that.

I cannot retrieve the text literally because at the time I was blocked on all networks after I argued that we cannot be misogynistic and sexist even when we criticize people from the right. The conversation evolved and he told me that the person criticized in question was a man who even responded to accusations of beating his own wife. Then I realized that in his concept, calling the subject in the feminine was already a curse word, that is, the curse was being a woman, for him being a woman is derogatory. Being a woman and a sex worker is another way to appropriately curse a man who beats women. He didn't call him a woman aggressor, he called him a woman. Obviously, I was really irritated and I was very incisive about how sexist he was by acting that way and he ended up calling me a pseudo-feminist and using the same arguments he insists on using today: it was right to talk like that because he is from the favela, he I was being sincere and the feminist movement did not understand, it is hysterical and only hinders the true struggle of the people.

Being from the favela does not authorize you to be sexist, because if the people of the favela reproduce structural machismo and misogyny, they are also its biggest victims, since in the favela, what you have most are women and black women. Those who suffer the most rape are black women, they are also 60% of the Brazilian working class, they also earn 30% on average of what a white man earns, so being from the favela and defending the favela requires being feminist and anti-racist and teaching the brothers to stop being misogynistic and sexist and not assert themselves by supporting the sexism they reproduce. Speaking the people's language is not required, and Lula has learned this over time and today he continues to speak the people's language, reproducing less sexism and racism every day.

This sincere argument is the same as Bolsonaro's, I say into the microphone what others say in the corners. Well, that's not a quality, it's a defect. It is a breakthrough when someone does not change their own thinking, but recognizes that it is inadequate to the point of regulating themselves not to express it publicly. Obviously, the ideal was for the person not to think like that and that is to purge ingrained prejudice and oppression. That's why at a certain point there was a campaign that asked: where do you keep your racism? But when you find it, you should purge it and not affirm it. And the same goes for sexism and LGBTphobia. That's why we also say that LGBT people will not go back to the closet, but their prejudice and discrimination must come back, or go to waste, which is the ultimate goal.

Finally, women are making a storm out of a teapot or they didn't understand what he said and the criticism is not sexist, it's just a political statement. It's not the one who hits that says how much it hurts and where it hurts, it's the one who gets hit. One of these days, Luís Felipe Miguel wrote “now they invented ostentation identity” (again I can't recover the words verbatim, because I was also blocked by him on all the networks because I was trying to explain to him how he chooses to criticize the movements against the very oppressions more than the oppressors) and along the same lines is what I read from Cantalice and their pseudo-criticism of what they conceptually wrongly call identitarianism. As this text is turning into a book, I put it here for you to read at another time the text I wrote about it.[3] There I affirm that the only identity in the case is that of privileged men trying to defend their right that they consider sacred to talk about everything, even what they don't understand, even what they don't feel, even what they don't know. And I also explain how reasonable it is to act when someone tells you that you're being sexist, racist, lgbtphobic and such, spoiler: it's not trying to say that it's still right and that the movements are hysterical or don't understand.

Finally, I say that he used another of Bolsonaro's tactics in this case: saying things that are known to be controversial to attract attention. And it did. I don't think he shouldn't receive the answer and I insist that he needs to receive a formal response from the party body which he is part of and which he represents (Vice President of the PT never gives an interview to express his personal position). But I'm not going to talk about him for a long time, it's about giving him what he wants and needs.

I take great pleasure in talking about Quáquá to talk about Mumbuca, Vermelinho and the Ernesto Che Guevara Hospital, but trying to grow on someone like Dilma Ivana Roussef? No. Is it irrelevant who received 54 million votes or who received 74 thousand? What's the criteria? I don't measure anyone's relevance that way. Much less someone like Dilma Rousseff, whom I and Quáquá and almost nobody gives a damn. And as Ponciano said so well… she went to the beach and smiled, because you don't even need to laugh.

It was a blow. The coup is ongoing. Bolsonaro is not a change in course of the coup project, but an acceleration and deepening of this project. Anyone who relativizes this fact of reality and tries to blame a single person for this phenomenon of the socio-metabolic order of the current stage of capitalism is blind and incapable of analysis (if you are a social scientist, things went very wrong) or scoundrel and work to strengthen the coup and the class that promoted and implements it.

Elenira Vilela is a professor at the Federal Institute of Santa Catarina and a union leader.

 

Note


[1] available at https://www.manifestopetista.org.br/2021/11/30/a-organizacao-setorial-do-pt-a-democracia-interna-e-a-capilaridade-da-militancia-petista/

[2] available at https://revistaforum.com.br/rede/federacao-partidaria-o-pt-deve-embarcar-nessa-onda-por-julian-rodrigues/#

[3] https://aterraeredonda.com.br/o-silencio-e-a-etica-ou-a-etica-do-silencio/?doing_wp_cron=1641780231.1889729499816894531250

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