PT versus Psol?

Image: Stela Maris Grespan
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By LUÍS FELIPE MIGUEL*

A Brief Note on a Media Obsession

A media obsession is to claim that the PT was the big loser in the November 15 elections. Another is to give advice to Boulos, saying that he needs to distance himself from the PT (Vera Magalhães is an expert on this).

The PT was not defeated. Elected fewer mayors than 2016, but increased the number of total votes received. It expanded its presence in medium and large municipalities. It is in more second rounds than any other party. It is the party that won the most votes for councilors in cities with more than 500 inhabitants.

This is no small feat for a party that has been suffering so much for so long. If it were necessary to define the result of the first round of 2020 for the PT, I would say “discrete signs of recovery”.

The results also show that the dialogue between PT and PSOL is essential for the Brazilian left.

PSOL came out of the first round with few city halls and few councillors, that is, it remains a small party, but it is in the second round in São Paulo (and also in Belém), which makes all the difference.

The most important thing is that the two have complementary characteristics.

The PSOL is capable of channeling the enthusiasm of an urban youth that, to a large extent, no longer recognizes itself in the PT. But the PT remains the main party of the organized working class in the country – a space in which the PSOL, to the frustration of its socialist currents, finds it difficult to assert itself.

(This, incidentally, is the “cunning” of Vera Magalhães and the like: trying to distance the PSOL from class commitment, encouraging a liberal approach to the identity demands of which he became a spokesperson.)

PSOL finds it difficult to act as a party, operating more like a federation of causes. The PT, on the other hand, surrendered to Lula's indisputable leadership, is too centralizing.

Both are vulnerable to the temptation of electoralism, even if it manifests itself in different ways – in the PT, opportunist coalitions that can even include the PSL; in PSOL, bets on snipers without programmatic commitment and Hobbesian state of nature for campaign resources.

Even so, the PT and PSOL capacity for joint action is essential for the consolidation of a left-wing pole in Brazilian politics – to which, naturally, smaller parties are added. And that pressures, by its very existence, the most opportunist subtitles to behave more coherently with their discourse.

It is not about erasing differences, on the contrary. Not even demanding a single candidacy in 2022 – not least because politics has to be thought of beyond the elections. But having a clear understanding that it is the same field and that, during the long period of resistance and democratic reconstruction that we have ahead of us, unity will be necessary.

* Luis Felipe Miguel He is a professor at the Institute of Political Science at UnB, where he coordinates the Research Group on Democracy and Inequalities (Demodê). Author, among other books, of Domination and resistance: challenges for an emancipatory policy (Boitempo).

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