Make the impossible possible

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By Ricardo Gebrim*

No leftist current or organization can avoid a profound assessment of the process that led us to the coup and our strategic limits, producing the necessary self-criticism

When Lula won the 2002 presidential elections, his party was no longer guided by the strategy that clearly stated that: “under the conditions of Brazil, a government capable of carrying out democratic and popular tasks, with an anti-imperialist and anti-landlordism character, is a government of social forces in conflict with capitalism and the bourgeois order, therefore, a government hegemonized by the proletariat, and which can only be made viable with a revolutionary rupture”.

It is true that this conception approved by the Fifth National Meeting of the Workers' Party never became a political line and gradually disappeared from the horizon of this association's formulations from 1994 onwards (See Darlan Montenegro “The 5th National Meeting of the PT: programmatic changes and reorientation partisan click here).

Authors such as Lincoln Secco and Valter Pomar report in detail the process of altering the PT's strategy. in your book The Idea: Lula and the meaning of contemporary Brazil, Secco highlights the role of the former president in this process: “Lula knew how to lead the democratic revolution of Diretas Já, the Constituent Assembly and the 1989 election. revolution against order”, to quote Florestan Fernandes. Thus, in the 1990s the direction was reversed. The social struggle ebbed, but the PT grew in the institutions”.

In turn, Valter Pomar, in his book To metamorphose, when describing the trajectory of the PT’s strategic change, predicted, still in 2014: “What will happen if the PT is not able to build a new strategy? Millions of male and female workers who one day voted, trusted and even militated for PTism are going to be divided. A minority will follow in other leftist parties and movements. A part will adopt conservative positions. The vast majority will stay away from active politics for a long time.”

Abandoning a strategy of centrality in the conquest of power inevitably determines a policy of mere crisis management, trivializing action and leading to an increase in frustration. Gradually building strength comes down to conquering space in legal-political institutions. Accumulations that the coup dismantled like a house of cards.

We suffered a strategic defeat with the 2016 coup for abandoning the strategy centered on the conquest of power. The responsibility cannot fall only on the PT. Although having been the hegemony holder in the working classes and being at the head of successive governments, it has the main charge, other leftist organizations cannot be exempted, even those that did not share the strategic relegation, due to their impotence in building an alternative. No leftist current or organization can avoid a profound assessment of the process that led us to the coup and our strategic limits, producing the necessary self-criticism.

What does a strategy centered on the issue of power mean? It means concentrating forces with the aim of destroying the bourgeois state apparatus and its supplantation by a revolutionary state based on the hegemony of the proletariat in close alliance with the other popular classes and sectors. This historic rupture is irreplaceable in every true revolution and was present in all the triumphant experiences of the XNUMXth century.

Of course, such an objective faces formidable challenges. The main thing is the absence of the strategic rear guard represented by the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries that experienced transition to socialism, resulting in a correlation of forces on the world stage that limited revolutionary advances.

Evidently, the absence of this “strategic rear guard” that was represented geopolitically and militarily by the USSR and its field of countries, does not definitively prevent the conquest of State power, but, by providing an extremely unfavorable correlation of forces, it obliges the revolutionaries to control the pace of its advances in each country, building articulations and alliances with blocs that face the hegemonic power.

What does it mean to develop a strategy centered on gaining power when there are no concrete circumstances that make it possible? The book by Martha Harnecker Make the impossible possible rescues an important systematization of the revolutionary experiences of the XNUMXth century, containing fundamental concepts for the current challenge of the left forces in reopening the strategic debate.

In historical moments when revolutionary conquest appears to be impossible for the left, politics must consist, then, in the art of discovering the potentialities existing in today's concrete situation to make possible tomorrow what seems impossible in the present. It is no coincidence that the most advanced and surviving experience among the progressive and leftist governments that were elected in the 2000s is that of Venezuela.

Although it has important specificities that made it possible to resolve the military question, the Bolivarian revolution has a leading vanguard that is clearly faithful to a power strategy. The challenge of formulating a strategy, adequate to the changes produced in recent years, requires a thorough assessment of the previous period and a rigorous analysis of the objective reality.

It is not about denying the electoral struggle, but understanding its purely tactical role, investing the main energies in building solid social foundations. We have hesitated to face such difficult, such radical questions. However, insisting on the same defeated strategy, betting on the centrality of the electoral struggle, is to condemn the left to survive as a residual force, impotent to direct transformations, even if the circumstances of social struggles change positively.

*Ricardo Gebrim He is a member of the National Board of Popular Consultation.

Article originally published on the website Brazil of Fact.

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