Sunday, 23 June 2013



Before you get too excited about the protests in Brazil, lets put this into the wider context. Brazil is one of the progressive bloc of governments in Latin America. It is the B in BRICS. Whatever its flaws, the Workers Party (PT) government is broadly progressive with its reforms at home and usually on the right side when it comes to international politcs. It is considered a problem by the US.

Some of the protesters, as is often the case in these things, have genuine, honest grievances that deserve to be heard. Others dont. However, the common demand of the protests is to remove the Workers Party and Dilma from government. But to be replaced by whom?

Members of Communist, trotskyist and socialist groups have been attacked on the protests, their flags and banners taken by force and burnt. Neo-Nazis are also reportedly active on the protests, alongside the anarchists, students, football hooligans, the politically naive and the a-political. Plain-clothes police are reportedly stirring things up on the protests.

Just because their are large numbers of people on the streets does not mean they are calling the shots or that their interests are the ones that are being furthered. And without a conscious, revolutionary leadership, the protests are open to manipulation and misdirection.

I am not condemning the protests outright, but I am expressing caution. After what we have seen in Libya, Syria, the "colour" counter-revolutions in the former Soviet bloc and the western backed protests against Putin, it seems oddly predictable that the next subject of mass protests would be on the continent that has moved most out of US control and for progress and independence, and here it is, happening in what is arguably the most important nation of the Latin American progressive bloc.

President Dilma Rousseff has responded admirably, and it is to be hoped these protests can be used to back further radical reform by the Workers Party. A big danger is that hostility on the streets to the PT will push the PT to the right in defence of the state. Rousseff seems to be indicating this will not be the case. However, the right of her government, of the PT and those whispering in their ears from the state will have other ideas.

Any opposition calls for elections should be resisted, unless it looks as though the PT could strengthen its position. The PT is the only progressive party in a position to make a government. The alternative is the parties of the neo-liberals and the Generals.

Be vigilant and seek truth from facts. And always ask, whose class interests are being furthered? Which international class forces have most to gain?

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