UK gilt disorder may presage wider financial market problems, including in Latin America
UK gilt disorder may presage wider financial market problems, including in Latin America
If there’s a red wave in 2022, it will be powered by Latina candidates.
Anna Paulina Luna is ready for people to get to know the “new GOP.”
Luna, 33, is an Air Force veteran, political activist, and likely future Congress member representing Florida’s 13th District, a seat that got safer for Republicans in the latest round of redistricting. She’s also a granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and one of a record 43 Republican Latina candidates who ran for House seats this year, 17 of whom have won their primaries so far.
“I think that the new GOP that exists is not your stereotype of what it used to be,” she tells Vox. “We’ve had to really push back against this narrative that Republicans are just older white males, which to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it’s false. I mean, we’re so diverse.”
The “new GOP” Luna references doesn’t sound all that different in its policy goals from the one of years past. But if she and other members of her cohort win, the party will certainly look different. Currently, just 16 percent of House Republicans are women, while 9 percent are people of color. Should Luna and other Latina GOP candidates win this year, it would mark major progress for Republican efforts to broaden the party’s slate of lawmakers — and appeal to voters — an existential issue in a country that’s poised to be majority-minority by 2050.
Other Latina candidates vying for competitive seats include former Sen. Ted Cruz staffer Cassy Garcia in Texas’s 28th, former Happy Valley Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer in Oregon’s Fifth, and Prince William County official Yesli Vega in Virginia’s Seventh.
There are two big factors driving the surge in Republican Latina candidates this year, says Olivia Perez-Cubas of Winning for Women, a group dedicated to electing Republican women.
“There’s also growing frustration in the Hispanic community that Democrats no longer reflect their values”
“There has been a concerted effort on the right to focus on the Hispanic and Latino community, and to recruit more diverse candidates who are reflective of their district,” she tells Vox. “There’s also growing frustration in the Hispanic community that Democrats no longer reflect their values, and we’re seeing more candidates willing to run because of it.”
Both factors contributed to Luna’s candidacy. She was formally brought into GOP politics after being recruited to lead Hispanic engagement for Turning Point USA, a right-wing advocacy group. And she feels the Democratic Party hasn’t spoken to her views, particularly on border security or the economy.
Luna and other candidates also say that Democratic missteps — including poor outreach and first lady Jill Biden’s comments comparing the Latino community to “breakfast tacos” — have shown just how out of touch its leaders are with Latino voters.
“I think the pandering that they’ve done to how they’ve treated us, you know, we’re not stupid, and they don’t own our vote,” she says.
The GOP has been laying the foundation to become more diverse since 2012 — and it’s accelerated these efforts since last cycle.
After losing the presidential election in 2012 — when candidate Mitt Romney won just 30 percent of Latino voters — the Republican National Committee commissioned a postmortem report. It concluded the RNC needed to “make certain that we are actively engaging women and minorities in our efforts” when it came to candidate recruitment and that “we need to strengthen our farm team to ensure that we are competitive in up-ballot elections in the future when the electorate will be considerably more diverse.”
The idea was that electing a more representative pool of officials to state and local office could help Republicans reach a broader base of voters, and establish a deep bench for federal seats down the line.
That RNC report boosted efforts like the Republican State Leadership Committee’s “Future Majority Project,” which is dedicated to identifying and backing women and people of color for Republican seats at the state level. The project had some success including wins by 43 of 240 recruits in 2014, and some participants — like now-Rep. Young Kim (R-CA), going on to higher office.
In 2020, Trump’s share of Latino voters grew by 8 percentage points compared to 2016
Such progress looked likely to be squandered in 2016, when Donald Trump entered the Republican primary and trounced the competition on a message that seemed tailor-made to put off Hispanic voters: He infamously described some immigrants from Mexico as “rapists,” questioned a federal judge’s ability to fairly make decisions because he is Mexican American, and pledged harsh border enforcement and a wall along the US border with Mexico.
Despite Trump’s xenophobic and racist rhetoric, his campaign invested in connecting with more religious Latino voters, and ended up seeing numbers consistent with Romney’s.
All the while, Republicans at the state and federal levels continued to work on efforts like the ones recommended in the 2013 report. As chair of House Republican recruitment in 2018, Rep. Elise Stefanik focused on bringing on more women, Hispanic, and African American candidates, who she described as often more effective than white, male candidates in swing districts. And in 2021, the RSLC established the “Right Leaders Network,” which is dedicated to providing mentorship and training for women and candidates of color.
Ahead of 2020, Trump and the Republican National Committee made key investments in wooing Latino voters as well, including opening up field offices in predominantly Latino areas. This cycle, the RNC has set up more than 30 community centers including at least a dozen focused on Hispanic voters. These centers serve as key locations for campaign events and voter registration, as well as other social gatherings, according to RNC spokesperson Danielle Alvarez.
Such investments appeared to pay off in 2020; Trump’s share of Latino voters grew by 8 percentage points compared to 2016, according to data from Catalist, a Democratic firm. And several places saw rightward shifts: Zapata County in South Texas flipped from previously voting Democratic to voting for Trump, while multiple counties in that region and in South Florida shifted right, with Joe Biden winning by much smaller margins than former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did. Florida Reps. Maria Salazar and Carlos Gimenez, both of whom had support from Republican leadership, flipped Democrat-held districts.
Of the 14 Democratic-held House seats that Republicans flipped last cycle, 13 of those were won by a candidate that was either a woman or person of color, the Christian Science Monitor reported. Additionally, Republicans more than doubled the number of women in their House caucus, from 13 to 29.
That meant Republicans narrowed Democrats’ control of the House to a super-slim margin, a feat they chalked up to the strength of candidates in swing districts. Essentially, one big lesson Republicans took from 2020 was that diverse candidates can provide electoral advantages.
“We learned that we could overperform in new kinds of districts by recruiting compelling candidates with interesting stories and different profiles that reflect the districts they are trying to represent,” says Calvin Moore, a spokesperson for the Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee endorsed by House Republican leadership.
One big lesson Republicans took from 2020 was that diverse candidates can provide electoral advantages
In practice, that has led the GOP, and notable outside groups, to put more resources behind a wide range of candidates.
“For minority candidates who are not in the political industry whatsoever, it can be really intimidating to jump in and run for office if you have the passion, but you don’t have the infrastructure to do that,” says Lorna Romero, an Arizona-based Republican strategist who previously served as a communications director for John McCain’s 2016 Senate campaign.
Such efforts have significant support from the most powerful Republicans.
“I think that Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, the Republican leadership, has been the most receptive leadership group on these issues, of making sure … we’re recruiting good candidates in every part of the country,” says Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), a founder of the Hispanic Leadership Trust, a political action committee started in May that’s dedicated to supporting Hispanic and Latino candidates. For example, McCarthy has personally backed Juan Ciscomani, a former adviser for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, while party leaders advocated for Chavez-DeRemer to run in Oregon.
Other candidates — like Luna, Vega, and Garcia — have been elevated as part of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program, which highlights strong campaigns to donors and provides national exposure.
“They’re very much encouraging all candidates from different walks of life to step up to the plate,” Luna told Vox.
The mentoring and attention provided by initiatives like the Young Guns program and Right Leaders Network have helped candidates build out their infrastructure, but so has money from a slew of political action committees.
In addition to the Hispanic Leadership Trust, there’s been an explosion of PACs dedicated to funding Republican women candidates as well as minority candidates. Both Stefanik’s Elevate PAC and Winning for Women were started to bolster the number of women in the GOP conference. Catalyst PAC was also founded by Republican strategists Larissa Martinez and Rina Shah in 2019 to promote candidates who are underrepresented in the Republican Party including people of color and LGBTQ candidates.
Together, these PACs — as well as the Congressional Leadership Fund — have spent heavily to boost Latina candidates. For instance, CLF spent $164,000 on ads to support Monica De La Cruz in Texas’s 15th District and $200,000 to support Mayra Flores in Texas’s 34th District during their primaries.
This influx of money and infrastructure make the process of running for office more feasible for candidates who were previously reluctant to take it on.
This influx of money and infrastructure make the process of running for office more feasible
Those candidates — including at least 17 Latina candidates who’ve won House primaries this year — span the GOP’s ideological spectrum. Some, like Flores, are more conservative and have backed hardline immigration policies much like Trump’s. Others, including lawyer and former radio host Yuripzy Morgan, in Maryland’s safely Democratic Third District, are closer to the center and more focused on pocketbook issues.
“I know it is a bit of a dirty word in politics. But you know what, the majority of Americans are moderate, I am moderate. And I’m not afraid to say it,” Morgan tells Vox.
Multiple Republicans emphasized the importance of backing candidates with “authenticity” and connections to their communities. Among those running in Texas, for example, Monica De La Cruz is a small business owner, Flores is a respiratory care therapist who worked with Covid-19 patients, and Garcia is a former congressional staffer. Some, including Luna and Vega, also have experience in the military or law enforcement; Flores and Irene Armandariz-Jackson, a real estate agent and anti-abortion activist running in Texas’s 16th District, are married to partners who’ve worked as border patrol agents.
Several candidates are running in swing districts, where Republicans hope they will be more appealing to independent and moderate voters. In 2022, at least 10 of the most competitive battleground House districts — the ones that have been listed as toss-ups by Cook Political Report as of early September — have Republican challengers that are either women or people of color. The GOP has a good chance of retaking the House this fall, and it’s counting on candidates like De La Cruz, Garcia, and Chavez-DeRemer to make that happen.
Republicans are likely looking beyond 2022 with their recruitment efforts as well.
The party’s ability to connect with different minority groups is becoming more critical as the country becomes increasingly more diverse: In 2000, Hispanic voters made up 7 percent of the US electorate. In 2018, they comprised 13 percent. According to a US Census projection, the US population will be majority-minority by 2045.
“The math just doesn’t add up for Republicans in places like Texas if they can’t bring people of color to their side. This is a last ditch effort to hold onto power without actually changing their policies,” argues Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, the executive director of progressive advocacy group NextGen America and founder of Jolt, an organization dedicated to mobilizing Latino voters in Texas.
Republicans see a major opening with Latino voters both because of the support they’ve already received, and their belief that Democrats are neither doing sufficient outreach nor speaking to the top concerns that voters have.
“We often hear … minority voters feel like Democrats are taking their vote for granted,” the RNC’s Alvarez tells Vox. Strategists within the Democratic Party, too, have repeatedly warned the party that they needed to get involved in voter outreach earlier in the campaign cycle, rather than doing so just ahead of Election Day.
While Democrats are preparing to run campaigns centered on abortion access, their climate achievements, canceling student loan debt, and their success in lowering the cost of certain prescription drugs, Republicans argue voters — including Latino voters — are more worried about energy costs, education, and public safety. Many GOP candidates say that voters in their district are most concerned about the same issue: the economy.
“This inflation affects everyone,” says Armendariz-Jackson, who is running in Texas’s 16th. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, brown, or white. We’re all hurting.”
Republicans believe focusing on the economy will pay particular dividends with Latino voters because it’s also a way to talk about shared values, says Geraldo Cadava, a Northwestern University political scientist and author of the book The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of An American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump.
“I think Latino conservatives are doubling down on free enterprise, they are still preaching a prosperity gospel, that wealth creation is the specialty of the Republican Party,” he tells Vox.
Broadly, Republicans feel Democrats still treat the group as a monolith, and have been using Jill Biden’s “breakfast taco” gaffe to sell Latino voters on that idea. Garcia’s campaign, for example, is selling a line of merch that reads “unique as a taco.”
“I think Democrats have … put us in a box where if we’re Latino we’re supposed to be Democrats, we’re supposed to want illegal immigration,” says Armendariz-Jackson. “And that couldn’t be further from the truth, especially those who have immigrated to the United States legally.”
Latina candidates Vox spoke with were clear about why they felt the Republican Party was a good fit for them. But the rise of Latina Republican candidates has prompted debate about what such representation means when Republicans have promoted xenophobic rhetoric and harmful policies directed at Latino people.
Some Republicans argue that Trump’s racist remarks aren’t offensive to Latino voters, and that they’ve been taken out of context. “You have many Latino conservatives flatly denying that Trump was saying anything racist against their community as a whole because they say that he was talking about a very specific group of immigrants who had broken the law by entering the country without papers,” says Cadava.
Strategists and candidates note, too, that the GOP is bigger than Trump’s particular views. It’s a dynamic that reflects an ongoing tension in the party, which has tried to make its tent a little bigger, while being dominated by Trump and other leaders who espouse racist and xenophobic viewpoints.
Despite Trump’s past rhetoric, the party is successfully diversifying. And that has led to the rise of candidates who are able to deliver Trump’s talking points in bold new ways. Because Latino candidates share certain aspects of their identity with the voters they’re speaking to, they can sometimes be more effective messengers for Republican ideas than white men.
“If you put Donald Trump and Mayra Flores side by side, they are largely saying the same thing”
“If you put Donald Trump and Mayra Flores side by side, they are largely saying the same thing,” said Cadava. “But for Latinos, hearing that same message from Mayra Flores would be more compelling to them than from Trump.”
Critics of the GOP’s effort to expand its Latino base argue its central problem is that the Republican platform does little to center the needs of Latino voters.
“Republicans have done a great job showing off their Latina candidates, but they’ve done a terrible job addressing the actual concerns of the Latino community,” says Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, a group dedicated to turning out Latino voters, in a statement. Republicans have opposed policies like the Affordable Care Act and a $15 minimum wage, both of which would disproportionately benefit Latinos.
But Republicans — including the party’s Latina candidates — say such points of view are shortsighted and narrow-minded. Most of all, they say, arguments like Kumar’s miss the genuine connection that Republican messaging has for a segment for voters.
“That’s kind of offensive that just because you’re of a certain descent, you need to vote a certain way. And if you don’t vote that way, you’re not representing your community,” says Romero, the Republican strategist. “That’s one of the things that upsets me most.”
By Vijay Prashad – Jul 31, 2022
ON August 7, 2022, Colombia will have a new president (Gustavo Petro) and a vice president (Francia Márquez), both stalwarts of the country’s left-wing movements. They will form the first left government since the country won its independence in 1810. Two months later, on October 2, the people of Brazil will vote in the first round of their presidential elections. Polls show clearly that the former president and left leader, Lula, has an advantage over the right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro; there is even a suggestion that Lula might prevail in the first round and prevent the second-round vote on October 30. If Lula wins, then of the twenty countries in Latin America, more than half would have a government of the centre-left to the left.
The current wave of election victories for the left and centre-left does not entirely mirror the situation in the 2000s when a ‘pink tide’ developed after the left-wing breakthrough in Venezuela led by Hugo Chávez. At that time, the United States was focused on the Middle East, commodity prices were high, and there was a general sentiment across the region against the previous military and neoliberal regimes. Chávez led a process known as Bolivarianism that combined regional integration with policies geared to address deep-rooted social problems in the hemisphere. It was widely acknowledged that hunger could not be abolished, for instance, without a departure from dependence on Northern Atlantic capital markets and on the US military presence. Anti-imperialism shaped the broad social programmes in the Bolivarian experiments from Venezuela to Argentina.
The current election victories have taken place in conditions far more uncertain than in the decade of the 2000s. On the one hand, US imperialism is seen to be much more fragile than it was twenty years ago, with the feebleness of the US economy, the desperate attempt to weaken China and Russia by the United States, and a rising mood around the world that no longer seeks to follow Washington’s dictation. It is due to these developments that one can see a new buoyancy in Latin America, with the Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador providing evidence of the kind of independent thinking about foreign relations that is now commonplace from South Africa to Indonesia. But, on the other hand, the global inflation crisis, the problems of credit and debt, and the vulgarity of Washington’s threats have stayed the hand of many of these governments to frontally challenge US imperialism. Caught between a US-imposed Cold War against China and Russia, many of the countries in Latin America would rather sit it out, wait for general economic recovery, and meanwhile provide basic social welfare schemes as the limit of their ambitions. We are not, therefore, seeing Bolivarianism in its second phase.
Brazil and Colombia are good examples of the new moment, although this general orientation is visible in both Chile and Mexico. In these countries, the ruling classes – backed fully by US imperialism – remain in control of the economy. While the centre-left government of Gabriel Boric in Chile said it would nationalise the copper mines, its hand was stayed by this powerful bourgeoisie (this year is the fiftieth anniversary of the nationalization of copper in Chile by President Salvador Allende, whose government was overthrown in a coup the next year). The old capitalist classes maintain the old social hierarchies, entwining them with the power of US imperialism and the narco-capitalism of our times. Petro’s government in Colombia, for instance, has already been told by the armed forces that they will not tolerate any basic reforms (General Eduardo Zapateiro resigned in late July to prevent having to swear in Petro as the president – that’s the attitude). Finally, because of austerity policies and the legacy of the military dictatorships, the working-class and peasantry in the hemisphere are relatively fragmented and disorganised. Their inability to drive a radical agenda in many of these countries has been seen repeatedly. For instance, in Peru, despite the election of left-leaning Perú Libre’s Pedro Castillo to the presidency, the social and political movements have simply not been able to hold him to account as his government has drifted away from its commitments. The crisis in Argentina around a return to the IMF similarly shows the limitedness of the popular forces to drive their agenda through a government that is of the left. It is therefore proper to consider the possibilities merely to be social democratic and not socialist in this period.
Monroe Doctrine and the Cuban Revolution
Two hundred years ago, the forces of Simón Bolívar trounced the Spanish imperialists at the Battle of Carabobo and opened a period of independence for Latin America. The next year, in 1823, the United States government announced the Monroe Doctrine. On the surface, the Monroe Doctrine merely says that Europe has no right to intervene in the Americas. However, a close read of the text, the debates in the US around this text, and the use of this Doctrine indicates that it was the constitution of US imperialism, now no longer merely for the Americas but a Global Monroe Doctrine. By this Doctrine, the United States gave itself the right to intervene politically and militarily in the countries of the Americas whenever and wherever it wished. It was based on this doctrine that the US intervened repeatedly in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, overthrowing governments as recently as 2009 (Honduras) and attempting to overthrow governments currently (Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela).
Resistance to the Monroe Doctrine emerged when it became clear that the US would use this as a licence to intervene in the hemisphere and not to prevent European imperialism. After all, when Britain secured the Malvinas Islands from Argentina in 1833, the US did not stand against the Europeans, and nor did the US prevent the entry of European capital to subordinate the new states of the Americas (catalogued in great detail by Eduardo Galeano in his Open Veins of Latin America, 1971). The US intervention into Mexico in 1846-1848 resulted in the US annexing a third of Mexico’s sovereign territory, a violation of the territorial and national rights of Mexico. These events – Malvinas, Mexico – show the real face of the Monroe Doctrine, an instrument of US imperialism in the hemisphere that has been virtually adopted by the Organisation of American States, founded in 1948, which Fidel Castro called the Ministry of the Colonies.
The Cuban Revolution of 1959 was a direct challenge to the Monroe Doctrine. The Revolution affirmed the concepts of sovereignty (against US intervention) and dignity (for the social growth of the people). Inspired by the example of the socialist Cuban Revolution, wave after revolutionary wave has flooded Latin America with hope against US imperialism and for a left-wing breakthrough. The first wave was crushed by extreme violence against the Cuban example through military coups organised by the US programme called Operation Condor. These coups from Brazil (1964) to Argentina (1976) stayed the hand of the Cuban alternative. The illegal US blockade against Cuba did not prevent the island from accelerating its socialism and from expanding its internationalism. The second wave of leftism – from the Nicaraguan and Grenadian revolutions of 1979 – opened new hope, which was once more contested by the imperialists through their ‘dirty wars’ in Central America and by imperialism’s alliance with the narco-terrorists of the region. The third wave came with the election of Chávez in 1999 and the advancement of what was known as the ‘pink tide’ in Latin America. The tide was undermined by the illegal US hybrid war against Venezuela, by the decline in commodity prices, and by the weakness of the social and political movements to contest the entrenched bourgeoisie in many countries of the region. In each of these waves, the example of Cuba shined.
We are now in the fourth wave of a left emergence since the Cuban Revolution of 1959. The wave is significant but should not be exaggerated. Even the mildest centre-left governments will be forced to address the serious social crises in the hemisphere, crises deepened by the collapse of commodity prices and by the pandemic. Policies against hunger, for instance, will require funds either from the various domestic bourgeoisie or from the royalties raised for the extraction of natural resources. Either way, these governments will be forced into a clash with both their own bourgeoisie and by US imperialism. The test of these governments, therefore, will not be merely in what they say about this or that issue (such as Ukraine), but how they act when faced with the refusal by the forces of capitalism to solve the major social crises of our time.
Incoming presidents face a daunting agenda, above all delivering strong growth
Amid threats of a coup from Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, efforts are underway to channel all opposition to the president into voting for the Lula-Alckmin ticket1Translator’s note: The Broad Front ticket in the upcoming presidential elections includes Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, who was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and is the leader of the Workers’ Party (PT). His running mate for vice president is Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), who is a former governor of São Paulo State. in the upcoming presidential election. In support of this, two manifestos “in defense of democracy” are slated to be issued on August 11. They involve a broad sector of the political regime, together with the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (FIESP), the Brazilian Federation of Banks (FEBRABAN), and many business executives — not Bolsonaro’s direct allies, but those who have supported his attacks, the 2016 institutional coup that opened up space for the Far Right, and all the reforms and economic attacks since then.2Translator’s note: In December 2015, a process began in Brazil to impeach the president, Dilma Rousseff, for “corruption.” The charges were based on Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash, so named because it was first “uncovered” at a car wash in Brasília, a criminal investigation into corruption by the Brazilian federal police that began in 2014 during Rousseff’s first term as president and initially centered on the Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras. It was later used to jail Lula — part of an effort, aided by U.S. imperialism, to keep the PT from winning the 2018 elections. At the end of August 2016, the Brazilian Senate voted to remove Dilma from office, finding her guilty of violating budget laws — and resulting in a bloodless coup employing the institutions of the state. In contrast to this reformist agenda, we need a plan of struggle, including strikes and demonstrations, to defeat these coup threats and reforms with the power of workers, women, Black people, Indigenous people, youth, and the LGBTQ+ community.
Bolsonaro’s July meeting with foreign diplomats was a high point of his coup threats this year. But the reaction from important sectors of the political regime, the U.S. government, and the press and business community was one of broad rejection. This was part of what compelled Bolsonaro, in his speech officially launching his reelection campaign, to omit any mention of the legitimacy of the elections and the polls — even with his most reactionary base present. It was an expression of the strong pressure he was under and the absence of a relationship of forces that would have made coup efforts effective. That is why, in his speech, he instead spoke demagogically to women, youth, and Northeasterners,3Translator’s note: In Brazil, people from the Northeast of the country have long faced significant racial and regional prejudice. in addition to announcing increased emergency aid in 2023. He was looking to reverse the unfavorable scenario of a possible defeat in the first round of the elections.
The recently announced “Letter to Brazilians in Defense of a Democratic State Based on the Rule of Law,” a manifesto that will be presented on August 11 at the University of São Paulo Law School, is one of the two major documents pretending to respond to Bolsonaro’s coup threats. The manifesto will be read by Celso de Mello, former minister of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court (STF). It is part of an effort to situate the judiciary — a pillar of the institutional coup, the authoritarian political regime, the ongoing attacks, and the crisis in the country — as a great “defender of democracy” along with big capital, which is now opposed to Bolsonaro politically while praising his entire ultraliberal economic agenda. They require the continuation of that agenda by any government.
Signers of the manifesto include bankers such as Roberto Setubal, Pedro Moreira Salles, and Candido Bracher from Itaú Unibanco; Fabio Barbosa, former president of Santander and FEBRABAN; and José Olympio Pereira, the former president of Credit Suisse in Brazil. They include Horacio Lafer Piva, chair of paper giant Klabin and former president of FIESP. There are leading members of the bourgeoisie such as Guilherme Leal, the chair of Natura Cosmetico, and Suzano CEO Walter Schalka. Neoliberal rightists include economist Pedro Malan, the former minister of finance, and former Central Bank president Arminio Fraga. More than a dozen former ministers of the STF have signed on, as has Miguel Reale Júnior, the former minister of Justice who opened the impeachment process against Dilma Roussef. Aloysio Nunes Ferreira Filho, of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PDSB), is also a signer.
A second manifesto with the same objective will be launched at the same event on August 11. It has the signatures of institutions, and already has won the support of major sectors of the national bourgeoisie, including FIESP and FEBRABAN.
Broad sectors of the major coup-plotting media are also calling enthusiastically for the launching of the manifesto, including Folha de São Paulo and the historically reactionary Estadão. Increasingly, the Globo Network is indicating its support. In other words, this is a huge movement of the big bourgeoisie, the political regime, and its institutions.
After Bolsonaro’s meeting on July 27, not by chance, there was a statement from the U.S. Embassy. On the same day at the bilateral meeting of U.S. secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Brazilian minister of Defense General Paulo Sérgio Nogueira, sources report that Austin expressed that the United States expects fair and transparent elections. That U.S. imperialism and the Democratic Party — the orchestrators of Lava Jato4Translator’s note: See note 1, above, for an explanation of Lava Jato. and the institutional coup in Brazil, and who throughout history have supported military coups all over the world — and now want to pose “in defense of democracy” is the most absurd cynicism.
While we see that the manifesto has been assigned by some in the progressive sector, it is the signatures of these sectors from the bosses and bourgeoisie that sets the tone of the politics being defended. Behind the planned events of August 11 and the manifesto are no less than those responsible for the 2016 institutional coup, which opened space for the Bolsonaro government and the military to occupy enormous weight in the Brazilian political regime. They are the various political agents, the judiciary, and big capital who were responsible for applying all the economic attacks that have flowed from the institutional coup, including all the counter-reforms that have wreaked havoc for the Brazilian working class, which is suffering from unemployment, hunger, and a rising cost of living. The more a Lula-Alckmin victory is seen as a probability, the greater the movement of direct and indirect support for the ticket — all with the goal of taming the future government’s program even more than Lula has already promised. Those who now come to speak “in defense of democracy” are our tormentors, not our allies.
The manifesto is inspired by the “Letter to Brazilians” of 1977, during the military dictatorship, which was read aloud by then minister Goffredo da Silva Telles Júnior.5Translator’s note: In August 1977, a jurist and professor named Goffredo da Silva Telles Júnior famously read a letter denouncing the legitimacy of the military government and what was called the “state of exception” under which Brazilians were ruled. It called for reestablishing the rule of law and the convening of a National Constituent Assembly. The Brazilian bourgeoisie attributes the demise of the dictatorship to this act, ignoring any role of the masses. As we explain here, the reference is aimed at hiding the central role of the working class in the struggle against the dictatorship, as well as that of the student movement, to highlight the role of a “jurist,” “civil society,” and institutions of the regime. What they want is to control things to keep the power of the workers and youth from engaging in class struggle.
Using “defense of democracy” as a cover, these sectors that have now become opponents of Bolsonaro are lending their support to the Lula-Alckmin ticket in a maneuver that is supposed to be “above partisanship.”
In his July 27 interview with Universo Online, Lula made it clear that after a long period without dialogue with the business community, they are now coming to him. This August 11 move is part of this. Lula also gave a nod to the Armed Forces, saying, “The military is more responsible than Bolsonaro.” He repeated that when he was president previously, his government funded the military. Now he is expressing his willingness to come to an agreement with the Armed Forces without challenging their role in the political regime or their enormous privileges.
The Workers’ Party (PT) and Lula continue with their line of channeling all questions and dissatisfactions into voting for the Lula-Alckmin ticket and the Broad Front slates in every state — a front with the traditional Right, including all sectors that led the 2016 institutional coup, that have an openly conservative program, and that are allied with big capital and various other sectors of the Right.
Thanks to its weight in the leaderships of the mass movement, especially the CUT trade union confederation, the PT has been building passivity with this goal for some time. Now, through the “Out with Bolsonaro Front,” it has decided to call August 11 as a “national and international day of united mobilization in defense of democracy, for free elections, and against political violence,” and has already said there will be further mobilizations on September 10 — an effort to forestall militant demonstrations against Bolsonaro from taking place in the streets on September 7.6Translator’s note: September 7 is Brazil’s Independence Day, and Bolsonaro has called on his supporters to take the streets on that day to back his claim that the elections are being rigged by the Electoral Court (TSE) to ensure a Lula-Alckmin victory. Traditionally, the PT holds demonstrations on that day, called Grito dos Excluídos (Cry of the Excluded), and it is those demonstrations it has postponed.
The goal is to make sure any actions are extremely well controlled, with the broadest Broad Front possible, and without raising any economic demands — because for them, the unity they seek is not that of the working class with the poor to fight for our demands. What they want is to reestablish the alliances that Lula made in his previous government with conservative sectors who are assured that their profits and privileges won’t be touched. The objective now, and even in a possible Lula government, is to have the workers continue to pay for the crisis.
Many say that it is time for the broadest unity to fight the extreme Right, Bolsonaro, and the military. Some on the Left even try to defend some sort of “unity of action” with the bourgeoisie, trying to establish a Marxist basis for such an approach — which we have already debated here. But the only truly broad unity that can actually defeat Bolsonaro, the extreme Right, and any coup threat is the unity of the working class, youth, women, Black people, Indigenous people, and the LGBTQ+ community engaged in the class struggle. And that can happen only by combining the fight against the coup threats with the most deeply felt economic demands, and doing so in a way that is independent of the bourgeoisie and any sector of the bosses.
Lula has already said that his ticket is not of the Left, that it won’t repeal the reforms, and that he is not proposing any structural change in the authoritarian political regime that was degraded by the institutional coup. Lula and Alckmin are not going to open a path to resolving the demands of the working class and the poor, will not open the way to resolve the demands of the working class and the poor, even less so now that the country lacks the economic conditions for granting concessions as was the case in Lula’s second government. Instead, it will be like his first government, with attacks such as the pension reform and other neoliberal measures — as André Singer, a member of the PT, has already spelled out in a book.
It is essential that the Revolutionary Socialist Pole, together with the parties that stand to the Left of the PT and are running their own candidates such as the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) and Popular Unity (PU), do not fall into this trap of class conciliation and of a supposed “defense of democracy” — which in truth is a campaign of the Lula-Alckmin ticket.
We must join forces to demand from the majority leaderships of the mass movement — first and foremost from the CUT, the CTB trade union confederation, and the National Union of Students (UNE) — that they promote a real plan of struggle against the coup threats and for the revocation of all the counter-reforms and attacks, and that they call for a struggle for the economic demands of the working class against high prices and hunger. Let’s not accept electoral actions that are in step with the big bankers, industrialists, and leaders of the political regime, who will define the program of these actions according to their interests. This is not a “fight against a coup.” Class independence is imperative. We must impose on the bureaucratic leaderships an effective plan of struggle, organized from grassroots assemblies in the workplaces and schools, encouraging self-organization of the rank and file, and place the working class as an active subject on the political stage so that it can take control of the situation.
If we join forces in this political struggle, it is even possible to win over sectors of the vanguard of workers and youth — ones that are outside of organized parties — to this perspective of confronting Bolsonarism, the military, and the Right through class struggle. We are putting Esquerda Diário and all our resources at the service of the political, ideological, and theoretical battles of this moment.
The sectors that make up the Revolutionary Socialist Pole, calling for a vote for the ticket of Vera Lucia and Raquel Tremembé, must be on the front line of this battle. This includes the United Socialist Workers’ Party (PSTU), part of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) and various activists and organizations, such as us from the MRT.
We call on every activist and organization to wage this common political struggle, to fight a common battle in every union, student body, and with the organizations and parties of the Left.
First published in Portuguese on July 29 in Esquerda Diário.
Translation and adaptation by Scott Cooper
|↑1||Translator’s note: The Broad Front ticket in the upcoming presidential elections includes Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, who was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and is the leader of the Workers’ Party (PT). His running mate for vice president is Geraldo Alckmin of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), who is a former governor of São Paulo State.|
|↑2||Translator’s note: In December 2015, a process began in Brazil to impeach the president, Dilma Rousseff, for “corruption.” The charges were based on Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash, so named because it was first “uncovered” at a car wash in Brasília, a criminal investigation into corruption by the Brazilian federal police that began in 2014 during Rousseff’s first term as president and initially centered on the Brazilian state oil company, Petrobras. It was later used to jail Lula — part of an effort, aided by U.S. imperialism, to keep the PT from winning the 2018 elections. At the end of August 2016, the Brazilian Senate voted to remove Dilma from office, finding her guilty of violating budget laws — and resulting in a bloodless coup employing the institutions of the state.|
|↑3||Translator’s note: In Brazil, people from the Northeast of the country have long faced significant racial and regional prejudice.|
|↑4||Translator’s note: See note 1, above, for an explanation of Lava Jato.|
|↑5||Translator’s note: In August 1977, a jurist and professor named Goffredo da Silva Telles Júnior famously read a letter denouncing the legitimacy of the military government and what was called the “state of exception” under which Brazilians were ruled. It called for reestablishing the rule of law and the convening of a National Constituent Assembly. The Brazilian bourgeoisie attributes the demise of the dictatorship to this act, ignoring any role of the masses.|
|↑6||Translator’s note: September 7 is Brazil’s Independence Day, and Bolsonaro has called on his supporters to take the streets on that day to back his claim that the elections are being rigged by the Electoral Court (TSE) to ensure a Lula-Alckmin victory. Traditionally, the PT holds demonstrations on that day, called Grito dos Excluídos (Cry of the Excluded), and it is those demonstrations it has postponed.|
The post Against Bolsonaro’s Coup and Reforms — For Demonstrations and Strikes without Bankers and Businessmen appeared first on Left Voice.
The recent election in Colombia has produced new hope for the country—and for the whole region.
Central banks in the region are forced to raise rates, some aggressively