[10/15/10] MST Informa #188: Let’s Elect Dilma Rousseff President of Brazil

Monday, November 15, 2010

At the start of this year’s electoral process, social movements in Brasil and Brasil’s Via Campesina made the political decision to undertake efforts to elect the largest number possible of legislators and governors identified with the flags of the popular working class, with profundity of Brasilian democracy sovereignty and with policies that battle the concentration of ownership and of income in our country. As for the presidential election, the people’s organizations that make up Via Campesina decided to fight so that there would not be an electoral victory of a neoliberal proposal, represented by the candidacy of José Serra. Passing the first round of this electoral campaign, held on October 3rd, we want, with this statement to the people of Brasil, to express our political decision regarding the elections this year. Evaluation of Round One The renovations that happened in the State Assemblies, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, beyond the election and reelection of progressive governors, are auspicious. In the Senate, especially, we were victorious with the election of comrades identified with our struggles and with the aversion to elect senators who became known for the persecution of social movements, and who identified with the interests of agribusiness. We consider victorious the electoral defeat of the government of Yeda Crusius, of Rio Grande do Sul, who distinguished himself, along with the government of São Paulo, with control of the media, criminalization of social movements and repression of the struggle for the Agrarian Reform, the housing movements, and the movement of professors from public schools. In regards to the presidential campaigns, debates have not addressed the principle problems that affect the Brasilian population. The campaign of Dilma Rousseff (PT) sought only, in a pragmatic way, to publicize the economic development and social policies of Lula’s government, leaning on the enormous popularity and approval ratings of the current government. With this strategy, she won almost 47% of the vote, which was insufficient to win the first round. The candidacy of José Serra (PSDB) surprised us, not for its identification with neoliberal policies, but for the low level of his presidential campaign. He was aggressive and chased journalists in interviews, tried to interfere in trials of the Supreme Court (STF), spread lies and unfounded accusations. He came to use his own wife, who toured the streets of Niterói (RJ) claiming that Dilma Rousseff “is in favor of killing little children.” Only a candidate without any commitment to ethics and truth, with total control of the media, could develop a campaign so low. The biography of the candidate is already the largest defeat in this election. The candidacy of Marina Silva (PV) accomplished the objective it proposed: to provoke the second round in this electoral campaign. Time will tell if her success has served to fortify democracy or has simply been used by conservative forces to return to the government. Already the candidates identified with leftist parties, who utilized the electoral space to defend the interests of the working class, have unfortunately had a meaningless vote. The social decline we have had for two decades in our country, the fragmentation of the organizations of the working class and the fragility of politics to communicate with society certainly has influenced the election results. It is a self-criticism of political parties that are limited to election campaigns to engage with society. And don’t miss going forward with groundwork and the formation of permanent policy. The elections of this year demonstrated the damaging power and undemocratic quality of the media. But, on the other hand, a network of independent communication, committed to freedom of expression and the right to information, and that fiercely confronted the monopoly of the media in our country was enhanced. These are steps towards the democratization of information and the construction of democratic and pluralistic communication, with the participation of society. The Second Round We reaffirm our commitment to defend the banner of the struggles of the working class and the construction of a democratic country, which is socially just and sovereign. Regardless of the elected government, whatever it may be, we will fight resolutely for the expansion of freedom and democratic rights that are now oppressed. We will fight also for changes in public institutions and public services, to benefit the vast majority of the population; to combat monopolies for the purpose of sovereignty and income distribution; to defend labor gains, the reduction in working hours, the right for civil servants to strike; and Public Welfare, of good quality, with the goal of security. We also support the implementation of urban reform, with housing, basic sanitation, public transportation and safety; construction of universal health services of good quality; reforms in public education and promotion of national popular culture with universal character; the end of plantations, limitation of foreign capital over our natural resources and the implementation of an anti-landlord Agrarian Reform; the establishment of new relationships between society and the environment, and an effective foreign policy of self-determination and solidarity with the people that prioritizes the integration of the people of the Latin American continent and of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the progress of Lula’s government toward these popular democratic causes was insufficient, in spite of the success of its foreign policy. We are also concerned that, in the range of alliances of Dilma Rousseff’s candidacy, there are political forces that are in opposition to these social demands. However, we have one certainty: José Serra, through his campaign, his administration in the state of São Paulo, and in the eight years with the Cardoso government has become the enemy of the banner of our struggle. Because of the anti-democratic and anti-popular nature of the parties that comprise his electoral alliance and for his authoritarian personality, we are convinced that his potential victory would signify retrogression for the social and popular causes in our country, for the democratic advancements of our continent, and a greater subordination to the United States empire. We do not want this setback to happen. Our Position at this Juncture Thus, the social movements of Brasil and Via Campesina Brasil affirm their support and commitment to fight to elect the candidate Dilma Rousseff for the position of president of Brasil. We want to join forces with the trade union movements, popular movements, student movements, religious movements, and progressive movements to provoke discussions within society, to expose the deceitful propaganda of the neoliberals and authoritarians, and require advances in democracy, and in the public policies that favor the population, to combat the corruptions and corruptors in the democratization of power in our country. We need to defeat Serra’s nomination, which represents the right wing and fascist forces of the country. We should continue organizing the people to fight for their rights and social change, while always maintaining our political autonomy regarding our government. We urge the membership of all social movements, fighters of the Brasilian people, to engage in this struggle, which is so important for the working class. Let’s struggle!! Let’s elect Dilma Rousseff president of Brasil. Translation by Kate Polakiewicz Via Campesina Brasil Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens- MAB Movimento das Mulheres Camponesas- MMC Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores - MPA Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra- MST Federação dos Estudantes de Agronomia do Brasil- FEAB Assembléia Popular- PE Centro de Estudos Barão de Itararé Fórum Brasileiro de Economia Solidária Marcha Mundial das Mulheres- MMM Movimento Camponês Popular- MCP Rede Brasileira de Integração dos Povos- REBRIP Rede de Educação Cidadã Sudeste- RECID Sindicato dos Engenheiros do Paraná- Senge-PR Uniao de Estudantes Afrodescendentes-UNEAFRO