The Organizer Weekly Newsletter
Issue No. 39 – September 28, 2021
Please distribute widely!
IN THIS ISSUE OF THE ORGANIZER WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
• Presentation – by The Editors
• Mass Expulsion of Haitians at Texas Border: The True Face of Capitalism – by Berthony Dupont
• Open Forum on Haitian Refugees: America Shows Its True Colors – by Cat Brooks (excerpts)
• Override the Senate Parliamentarian, Citizenship for All, Now! – by Movimiento Papeles para Todos
• Aukus: A New Military Alliance Against China – by Alan Benjamin
• Regarding the DSA 2021 National Convention: – Letter from Brazil
• Mexico Abortion Decriminalized: A First Step, More Is Needed – by Liliana Plumeda
• Brazil Report 1: “Contain” Bolsonaro, or Drive Him Out? – from our correspondents
• Brazil Report 2 – “Out with Bolsonaro!”: How Best to Respond to Bolsonaro’s Provocations? – Interview with Anisio Garcez Homem
• Mexico: Tribute to Our Departed Comrade Misael Palma López — by OCRFI Continuations Committee
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“This is not who we are!” This was President Biden’s response to the horrifying images of modern-day slave catchers on horseback wielding their reins as whips and lassos to round up Haitian immigrants on the Texas border and deport them back to Haiti.
Such was the outrage nationally and internationally over these photos – with emergency demonstrations in city after city – that Biden was forced to withdraw the mounted border patrol and retreat. On September 24, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that 12,000 out of the 15,000 Haitians amassed at a border crossing in Del Rio, Texas, would be allowed to remain in the United States and apply for asylum. The remaining 3,000 Haitians would be flown back to Haiti immediately. (Mayorkas insisted that whether those allowed to remain in the U.S. would ultimately be granted asylum is altogether another matter.)
What the photos taken at Del Rio, Texas, revealed was the “true face of capitalism,” writes Berthony Dupont, in the September 22 editorial of Haiti Liberté newspaper [see editorial below]. This was only one glimpse of the horrors inflicted daily by capitalism upon working people and the oppressed communities the world over.
Mexican and Central American children are still being caged in camps along the U.S. border. Tens of thousands of immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras are still denied access to Mexico – as per the strict directives from the U.S. government – and forced to return to Guatemala so they cannot continue transit through Mexico on their arduous trek to the United States. These images – though not widely distributed – are no less disturbing. That is why the Movimiento de Papeles Para Todos (Papers for All Movement) is “demanding that President Biden and top Democrats in Congress override the Senate parliamentarian and enact citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States – now! No more failed promises!” [See article below.]
War and unbridled exploitation are the face of a capitalist system in its death agony – a system that can survive only through massive war spending and speculation. Congress has just approved the largest-ever war budget — $770 billion — with an additional $1 billion installment to shore up the Israeli war machine and a promise of much more to come. A few days earlier Biden announced that this military buildup was needed to counter the “threat” from China; hence the need for a new military pact with Australia and the UK called Aukus. [See article below.]
An important thread runs through the lead articles in this issue of The Organizer Weekly Newsletter: the imperialist policies of mass deportations, plunder, destruction of nations, and appalling exploitation and oppression are fully bipartisan.
Berthony Dupont writes:
“When it comes to protecting the interests of Big Capital, there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, between Bush or Trump, Obama or Biden. These heads of State continue, under the leadership of ruthless imperialism, to seek the most ignoble ways and means to stymie the inexorable march of the peoples.”
Cat Brooks writes:
“These are the moments where Black folks remember that regardless of which party dominates the White House, our conditions, and those of our people around the globe impacted by U.S. imperialism, rarely change.”
The Papers for All Movement writes:
“Our Movement has made clear the need for an independent mass movement to overcome the Democratic Party’s decades of failed promises. … Without ending the Senate filibuster, the Democrats will again betray the undocumented community who are essential workers, in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century.”
Alan Benjamin writes:
“U.S. President Joe Biden has announced … the formation of a new military alliance … that qualitatively steps up Trump’s confrontation with China and raises the threat of war. An editorial in the French daily Le Monde states: ‘For any who still doubted it, the Biden administration is no different from the Trump administration on this point’.”
The stepped-up attacks on the working class and oppressed communities at home and abroad pose the need for an independent expression of the working-class majority in the U.S. That is why The Organizer supports Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) and why we call on you to do the same. You can contact LCIP at www.lcipcommittee.org.
– The Editors
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Mass Expulsion of Haitians at Texas Border: The True Face of Capitalism
By Berthony Dupont
(translated/reprinted from the September 22 issue of Haiti-Liberté)
This week, Haitian citizens around the world experienced the worst of the systems inherited from slavery and colonization. It is a sad spectacle that the great enemy of humankind, U.S. imperialism, has given us with more cynicism and brutality.
Capitalism, from its inception, could only grow and develop by exploiting with great violence the disadvantaged populations. This is the characteristic of capitalism. It is also the proof of the gap between the class of workers and that of the ruling elites, where the contempt towards migrants is not without evoking the atrocious fate reserved for them: barbarism!
The recent events at the Texas border, with the mass deportation of Haitians, did not surprise us greatly. What is surprising is that people were expecting something else, something positive or humane, no doubt. Obviously, this expresses a misunderstanding of the system, which has extremely deep root causes, and it is also an underestimation of the extent of imperial domination.
The governments of the capitalist powers have no humanity, no solidarity, and no morality. They are responsible for wars, economic plunder, misery, the dislocation of nations and the wave of displaced people and immigrants who leave their countries to follow the route of their plundered resources.
In truth, one of the reasons why this issue has caused a media storm is because, somewhere, it was thought that the system, with the new administration, was committing itself to abandoning its project, thereby going against the customs and privileges of the dominant classes.
Some people even wanted to criticize the migrants for the appalling risks they took in search of a better life. But the primary criticism that must be levelled is against the policies imposed by imperialism in the migrants’ countries of origin.
For example, in Haiti, imperialist plundering has empowered multinational corporations to appropriate our wealth and condemn the people to extreme poverty. All the country’s industries were privatized and then shut down. Dilapidated roads, insufficient schools, poor hospitals — all are a consequence of a policy of plunder orchestrated by imperialist capitalist domination, which dictates the destiny of our people.
This is why unemployment reigns and insecurity increases, while mismanagement, murders, embezzlement and corruption have led to the bankruptcy of most of the enterprises and state-owned companies. Destitute peasants are fleeing the countryside in starving hordes.
Working-class neighborhoods and rural areas are abandoned, with families without housing, or dilapidated housing. It is no coincidence that the most basic rights to health, food, and public services hardly exist, illustrating the consequences of the austerity policies and neoliberal “reforms” imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
When it comes to protecting the interests of Big Capital, there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, between Bush or Trump, Obama or Biden. These heads of state continue, under the leadership of ruthless imperialism, to seek the most ignoble ways and means to stymie the inexorable march of the people.
It is right and necessary for everyone to know that capitalism always acts in collusion with its local ruling class servants. The Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, was informed of the evictions, but as a native on duty, all he was permitted to do was answer: “Yes Sir!”
As for us, from Haiti Liberté newspaper, we demand: Stop the expulsions! Welcome all migrants regardless of their country of origin! This is not only a war against immigrants, but against the entire international working class.
We are convinced that the vigilance of the progressive and revolutionary working forces will be able to thwart the machinations of the system and put an end to the ongoing nightmare of the people. On the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the founder of the nation, we urge the exploited and poor masses to follow in the footsteps of this great revolutionary in order to completely liberate our country from the capitalist system and to establish a new system where the interests of the popular masses will have absolute priority.
We must therefore orient our coming struggles not only against the declared war of the current regime against the popular masses, but also against the main enemy: international imperialism.
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Open Forum on Haitian Refugees: America Shows Its True Colors
By Cat Brooks
[Following is an Op-Ed article published in the September 25 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle. Cat Brooks is the executive director of the Justice Teams Network, the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project and the co-host of “UpFront” on KPFA Radio.]
More than 12,000 Haitians trekked thousands of miles, across countries and continents, through horrific conditions, including starvation, sickness, and rape to get to the U.S. for sanctuary.
The wealthiest and most resourced country on the planet told them to go home.
Not just told them — screamed it at them — laced with vile, race-based obscenities, manifesting in arguably the largest and fastest mass deportation since the last time we expelled Haitians.
The last thing America wants is more Black people.
The images are grotesque. Black folks being herded like cattle. Like dogs. Whipped with horse reins. Charged by cops on horses. Huddled under a bridge. Sweltering in 104-degree heat.
Humans seeking asylum and the American dream.
What a nightmare.
With the exception of my ancestors and Native Americans, who in this country does not descend from those seeking refuge, asylum or simply a better life?
I forgot. That is a white privilege. Or better stated, a privilege for the white.
What’s happening in Texas harks back to the days when Black bodies were chased down by the first police (slave catchers) on horseback with whips for doing little more than seeking freedom.
Sanctuary, if you will.
These are the moments where Black folks remember that regardless of which party dominates the White House, our conditions, and those of our people around the globe impacted by U.S. imperialism, rarely change.
Why are Haitians at the border in the first place?
As explained by the Bay Area activist group Haiti Action Committee:
“Many fled Haiti years ago as it descended into terror following the U.S.-orchestrated coup against Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004. After the coup, many left the country … (as a) UN occupation shattered the economy and brought about a massive cholera epidemic. Many came from Brazil and Chile, where they had been recruited for low-wage labor after the earthquake of 2010, and then forced out when no longer needed.”
Additionally, many Haitians reported being the recipients of racist terror in Latin American countries after the economic downturns, particularly in Brazil after the Olympics. Add to this the recent earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 2,200 people and left hundreds of thousands without shelter, and the recent assassination of its president.
Now, the United States government, which bears such great responsibility for this migration, is loading up plane after plane for deportation to Haiti, which does not have the capacity to handle these refugees.
America should be ashamed of itself. As a Black American, I’m ashamed because I haven’t done nearly enough to amplify the alarm bell being rung by brave Haitian activists and their Black American allies. I’m ashamed because, despite a wealth of political study, I didn’t understand how Haitian liberation was tied to my own. And I’m ashamed because I live in a country with “s–hole” policies when it comes to Black people.
This is America. Your America. Still.
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Override the Senate Parliamentarian, Citizenship for All, Now!
Dear unionists and activists,
On behalf of the undocumented families and formerly detained immigrants leading the Movement for Citizenship for All, we contact you urging your support at this critical juncture. On January 20, 2021, 40 organizations endorsed our Movement’s Inauguration Call to Action, which made clear the need for an independent mass movement to overcome the Democratic Party’s decades of failed promises.
On the eve of President Biden’s inauguration, we said: “Without ending the Senate filibuster, the Democrats will again betray the undocumented community who are essential workers, in the midst of the worst global pandemic in a century.” (Read the full statement here.) Today, we are witnessing this betrayal in real time. Sunday [September 19], an unelected Senate parliamentarian nixed undocumented immigrants from the budget reconciliation process, a process which would have allowed the Democrats to enact a pathway to citizenship without the 60 votes required by the Senate filibuster.
As the Democrats prepare to use the Senate parliamentarian as the latest pretext to deny our communities citizenship, we urge you to endorse this demand letter to President Biden and top Democrats in Congress, demanding that they override the Senate parliamentarian and enact citizenship for all, now! No more failed promises!
On behalf of the Movimiento de Papeles Para Todos
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Aukus: A New Military Alliance Against China
By Alan Benjamin
On September 15, U.S. President Joe Biden, flanked by the British and Australian prime ministers, announced in Washington the formation of a new military alliance against China: Aukus, which is an acronym for Australia, United Kingdom, and United States. It’s a pact that qualitatively steps up Trump’s confrontation with China and raises the threat of war.
An article in The New York Times written September 16, the day after Biden’s surprise announcement, quoted security analysts who noted that with this agreement, Australia would be able to use the new nuclear-powered submarines to patrol the South China Sea, from which it could deliver missiles aimed at China – all, of course, under U.S. control.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that under this agreement, Australia was cancelling the order for 12 conventional submarines, signed in 2016 with the French Naval Group, for US$66 billion. “The first major initiative of Aukus,” he stated, “will be to deliver a fleet of [U.S.] nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, along with the purchase of U.S. Tomahawk missiles.”
An editorial in Le Monde (September 17), the leading French daily, reported on how France and other Western European countries were not even consulted about this new alliance. It went on to explain the significance of this agreement as follows:
“For any who still doubted it, the Biden administration is no different from the Trump administration on this point: The United States comes first, whether it’s in the strategic, economic, financial, or health fields. ‘America First’ is the guiding line of the foreign policy of the current White House.”
Fareed Zakaria, a mainstream commentator on foreign policy for CNN, wrote an article in the Washington Post that expands on this “New Cold War with China”:
“After almost eight months of watching policies, rhetoric and crises, many foreign observers have been surprised — even shocked — to discover that, in area after area, Biden’s foreign policy is a faithful continuation of Donald Trump’s . …
“A senior European diplomat noted that, in dealings with Washington … the Biden policies were ‘America First’ in logic, whatever the rhetoric.
“A Canadian politician said that if followed, Biden’s ‘Buy American’ plans are actually more protectionist than Trump’s. Despite having criticized Trump’s tariffs repeatedly, Biden has kept nearly all of them.”
Biden’s August 31 Speech on the United States’ “New Strategy”
In his August 31 speech explaining the pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Biden highlighted the “changing world” in which China, in particular, has become a “new threat” to the United States. The announcement of the Aukus partnership is an expression of the U.S. pivot to China. Biden stated:
“We’re engaged in a serious competition with China. We’re dealing with the challenges on multiple fronts with Russia. We’re confronted with cyberattacks and nuclear proliferation. We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet these new challenges and the competition for the 21st century.”
The goal is clear: U.S. capitalists need to conquer new markets to offset capitalism’s declining rate of profit— and toward that end, they must overturn socialized property relations in China, which, despite the inroads of capitalism, remain a major obstacle to the global system based on the private ownership of the means of production.
The U.S. pivot to China is rooted in the global crisis of the capitalist system, which leads the United States, the main capitalist power, to engage in a general offensive against the working class the world over in its quest to increase its profit margins.
U.S., British, and Australian workers have nothing to gain from the gigantic military expenditures financed at the expense of jobs and public services. In opposition to Biden’s and the capitalists’ plans for war and misery, the workers must raise the banner for working-class internationalism — of the Workers’ International.
Regarding the DSA 2021 National Convention: Letter from a Brazilian Workers Party (PT) Activist in Curitiba
I read in your recent issue of The Organizer Weekly Newsletter that Dilma Roussef, a former president of Brazil, was among the featured guest speakers at this summer’s national convention of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
The history of the emergence of the PT in Brazil is truly an inspiring example for those seeking to build a mass party for the working class and youth in the United States. The PT’s 1980 founding Manifesto – adopted in the aftermath of the great metalworker strikes in the ABC industrial triangle in Sao Paulo and the mass demonstrations demanding an end to the military dictatorship – states:
“The Workers Party is born from the will for political independence of the working class, which is tired of serving politicians and parties committed to maintaining the current economic, social, and political order. It is born, therefore, from the will of emancipation of the popular masses.”
The same document affirms further on:
“Its [the PT’s] participation in elections and its parliamentary activities will be placed at the service of organizing the exploited masses and their struggles.”
These are, without a doubt, two parameters that can serve as reference points when we discuss the necessary and urgent building of a workers’ party based on the trade unions and oppressed communities in the United States.
But Dilma Roussef is not someone who represents these founding principles of the PT.
As president of Brazil, especially in her second term, between 2014 and 2016, when she was ousted by a right-wing institutional coup, Dilma promoted a coalition government with political sectors linked to Big Capital. Her vice president was Michel Temer, a leader of a bourgeois party: the MDB. During her administration, Dilma promoted a very harsh fiscal adjustment policy against workers, the social base of the Workers Party itself.
In June 2015, on the occasion of the 5th National Congress of the PT, 400 union leaders of the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), the country’s main trade union federation, from all over the country released the Manifesto titled “O PT de volta para a classe trabalhadora” [The PT must return to the working class], which warned about the wrong course taken by Dilma Roussef’s government:
“We consider that the policy of regressive and recessive fiscal adjustment inaugurated with the appointment of Joaquim Levy, [a banker and venture capitalist], as Minister of Finance places the PT in opposition to the working class and to the popular layers that have always been its main base of support. This is an economic policy orientation that diminishes the role of the State, cuts investments and raises interest rates, ending up restricting social rights, lowering wages and increasing unemployment, with negative impacts on the GDP.
“We know what happened in recent history with left-wing parties that applied fiscal adjustment policies inspired by the IMF, as seen in some European countries: they fell into crisis, were defeated in elections, and lost their social base. We don’t want the same thing to happen to the PT! … We will only get out of this crisis if we resume our tradition of being a working-class party and organizing the party’s militant activists for social and political struggle.”
In November 2015, a National Meeting of Trade Unionists of the PT reaffirmed the June Manifesto cited above and added:
“We trade unionists gathered on November 27 in São Paulo want 2016 to be the year of the turnaround, whether in the economic situation or in the political situation. We have no other intention than to help the working class and its historic party, our PT, to overcome the crisis in which it finds itself, and we reaffirm our willingness to assume our responsibilities in this struggle!”
But this turnaround of the Rousseff government did not come — and the erosion of the social base of the PT only deepened, creating a propitious environment for the right-wing institutional coup of 2016 — a coup orchestrated in part by Dilma’s own vice president. In relation to this coup, the working class and the youth were kept passive by a policy of the leadership of the Workers Party and of Dilma, who refused to break the alliance with coup-plotting sectors of the government itself linked to national and international finance capital. Dilma refused to appeal to the working class and oppressed layers to defeat the coup.
It is important to register the fact that the coup to remove Dilma Roussef from office was enthusiastically greeted by Joe Biden, then U.S. Vice President under Barack Obama. In a speech at the opening of the 20th Conference of the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) in Washington in September 2016, a few months after Roussef’s ouster, Biden backed the illegal and authoritarian political operation, stating:
“I am not naïve about the complexity of the challenges, which will remain. As we meet here today, we are seeing major political changes happening in the region. The people, in Brazil, are following their Constitution to navigate a difficult economic and political moment, obeying the procedures established to deal with the transition of power … The United States will continue to work closely with President Temer as Brazil faces this pressure, because Brazil is and will continue to be one of the United States’ closest partners in the region.”
Dilma Roussef’s participation in the DSA Convention raises some serious questions. The founding principles of the Workers Party are without a doubt a source of inspiration for working people and youth in the United States to build a party based on the very principles of the PT.
But Dilma Roussef had turned her back on these principles. Her decision to seek to conciliate with the interests of Big Capital – a decision that was endorsed and promoted by the PT leadership — only alienated the government and the party from its social base.
The Brazilian working-class majority had elected a PT candidate because they wanted a government in favor of the majority of the people and not a handful of big capitalists in search of more profits. Let us also not forget that Biden backed the 2016 coup plotters in Brazil in the interests of big U.S. corporations and Brazilian capitalists and rural oligarchs.
Anisio Garcez Homem
Workers Party (PT) activist
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Mexico Abortion Decriminalized: A First Step, More Is Needed
By Liliana Plumeda
MEXICALI, Mexico — On September 6, the Mexican Supreme Court unanimously invalidated Article 196 of the Penal Code of the State of Coahuila, which provided for a three-year prison sentence for women who voluntarily terminated their pregnancies, thus setting a precedent for the entire country.
With this decision, Mexico – where the population is predominantly Catholic and religious, and where the churches have always played a political role – has taken a remarkable step towards liberalizing the laws allowing the right to abortion. The Supreme Court’s decision means that women will no longer be thrown in jail simply because they cannot afford to pay for an abortion at a private clinic or to travel to states where abortion rights are legal and safe.
But decriminalizing the right to abortion is not the same as legalizing it.
Decriminalization means no longer criminalizing abortion. This is a step forward, but it does not guarantee legal, safe, and free access to abortion. That is why it is essential to win the legalization of the right to abortion guaranteed by the State throughout the country.
Historically, in Mexico, the struggle against the interference of the Church in State and public health issues has been paid for dearly, and with bloodshed since the 19th century. In 2017, the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, won the presidential election claiming to be the new Benito Juárez, who was president of Mexico from 1867 to 1872 and who was the strongest supporter of a secular State.
The contradiction is that López Obrador received financial support for his campaign from the evangelical churches — particularly from their main political representative, the Partido Encuentro Solidario (PES). In some states, the Catholic hierarchy is funding the campaigns of local deputies. The reaction of church representatives has been swift. The most extreme case was that of a priest in the state of Coahuila who called from his pulpit to “kill the abortionists” — an appeal to murder women who terminate their pregnancies.
The Supreme Court’s decision is an expression of both the pressure of women’s mobilizations and the country’s overall political situation.
Although the president had spoken out against decriminalizing abortion, the Supreme Court judges overruled it. This decision is therefore a step forward. But the effective separation of church and State has not been won yet. It is necessary, moreover, for working class and poor women to have access to free, quality public family planning and sex education services that will allow them to stop putting their lives at risk.
Statistics show that a working-class woman who has an illegal abortion is twice as likely to die from it as a woman from a privileged background. So, the debate is not “yes or no to abortion”, but rather “safe and legal abortion or illegal abortion.” Only the affirmation of the right to legal, safe, and free abortion will put an end to illegal abortions, whose complications kill thousands of women every year. From this point of view, the working class has every interest in fighting for the separation between church and state.
On September 28, women will take to the streets massively. Our slogan will be “Immediate release of all Mexican women imprisoned for deciding when and how they want to be mothers.”
 Mexico is a federal state. The state of Coahuila is located in the northeast of Mexico, along the border with the United States. Legislation on abortion, like everything else, can differ from state to state, but within the framework of federal laws.
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BRAZIL Report 1: “Contain” Bolsonaro, or Drive Him Out?
In conflict with the Federal Supreme Court (STF), one of the State’s highest institutions, President Bolsonaro is seeking to mobilize his far-right base, calling for demonstrations on September 7.
“Everyone must buy a gun!” said Bolsonaro to an audience warmed by his allies in the evangelical churches, asserting that there were three possibilities for his near future: “To be imprisoned, to die, or to be victorious.”
Rejected for months by the working class and popular masses, Bolsonaro has now lost the support of entire fractions of the capitalist class. His gesticulations threaten stability and make it impossible to implement the counter-reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund.
Reflecting these concerns, the CEO of the Brazilian subsidiary of Credit Suisse bank wrote: “Without stability, everything can collapse. We have been building this stability for 36 years, with the democratization process in 1985, with the Constitution in 1988 and the first elections in 1989. … We cannot jeopardize this. It would be suicide.”
As the September 7 protests approach, part of the bourgeoisie is worried: Will Bolsonaro launch his troops to occupy the STF, like Trump’s supporters invading the Capitol in January 2021 in the United States?
In the workers’ organizations, many activists are wondering about the slogan put forward on the website of Brazil’s main trade union federation – the United Workers Center (CUT) – as aiming to “contain Bolsonaro.” According to the CUT leadership, this means “to contain the authoritarian excesses of the president.”
Politically, the leaders of the Workers Party (PT), like those of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), have their eyes set on the first round of the presidential election … in October 2022! By accepting the institutional calendar, these leaders do not envisage anything other than maintaining a “contained” Bolsonaro in office for more than a year!
However, for months and months, demonstrations after demonstrations, hundreds of thousands of workers, called by their organizations, have been demanding “Out with Bolsonaro NOW!” Out with Bolsonaro means out with his policies at a time when hunger is spreading among the poorest sectors and 580,000 Brazilians have paid with their lives for the catastrophic mismanagement of the pandemic.
Just in the past few weeks, strikes have been breaking out across Brazil: the bus drivers’ strike against privatization in Porto Alegre, the workers’ mobilization against the privatization of garbage collection in Florianopolis, the mobilization of the population in Ouro Preto (Minas Gerais) to prevent the privatization of water, among others. In Ouro Preto, the newspaper Brasil de Fato reports that genuine popular committees of self-organization are being formed to prevent the privatization of water. In addition, the powerful mobilization of indigenous peoples in Brasilia, against the theft of their lands by the big landowners, once again raises the urgency of agrarian reform in Brazil.
On September 7, in the face of Bolsonaro’s provocation, new workers’ demonstrations were called under the banner of “Out with Bolsonaro!” It is not “containing” Bolsonaro – and leaving him in power until October 2022 to carry out his destructive policies – that the working-class and peasant majority want. What they are demanding, day after day, is to drive him out, and drive him out now!
— Report from our correspondents in Brazil
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BRAZIL Report 2 – “Out with Bolsonaro!”:
How Best to Respond to Bolsonaro’s Provocations? – Interview with Anisio Garcez Homem, labor activist in Curitiba
Question: What happened on September 7?
Anisio: On September 7 in Brasilia, São Paulo, and other cities, Bolsonaro gathered hundreds of thousands of his supporters with the explicit threat to prepare a coup against the Supreme Court (STF), which he accused of preventing him from governing. In reality, Bolsonaro’s target is STF Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is leading a judicial investigation against the Bolsonaro clan. This investigation is being pursued by a fraction of the ruling class that had supported Bolsonaro in 2018, but who now fear that his antics threaten both the country’s stability and the anti-labor counter-reform agenda.
Bolsonaro did not dare go so far as to have the STF headquarters occupied, which would have been a real coup. He lacked the support of significant sectors of the military police and the armed forces – and he lacked a greater participation in these rallies. But he still defied the institutions, declaring that he would no longer respect the orders of the judiciary as long as Judge Moraes remained in office. On September 10, Bolsonaro backed down, sending a “letter to the nation,” written by former President Michel Temer. This retreat caused him to lose the most extreme components of his base.
The problem for the Brazilian bourgeoisie is that it has no candidate other than Bolsonaro to face Lula – the Workers Party (PT) candidate – in the 2022 presidential election. And it also knows that, according to current polls, Bolsonaro will lose to Lula. At the same time, the bourgeoisie understands that Lula’s victory will be perceived by the masses as a powerful call to demand the repeal of all the counter-reforms and privatizations imposed in recent years.
Question: What has been the response of the labor movement to Bolsonaro’s provocations?
Anisio: One could summarize the position of the PT leadership and the CUT trade union federation, both controlled by Lula’s political current, as follows: “Contain Bolsonaro until the 2022 presidential election.” The workers and youth, however, have been mobilizing by the hundreds of thousands to oust Bolsonaro now!
The stance taken by the CUT and PT leaderships has sown confusion among the rank-and-file members of these organizations. For example, on September 7 there were also workers’ and popular demonstrations demanding “Fora Bolsonaro!” [Out with Bolsonaro]. But these demonstrations were poorly organized. Lula, moreover, has not participated in any of these demonstrations so far; many PT and CUT activists expect Lula to lead these protest actions, just as Bolsonaro is leading his putschist demonstrations.
At the moment, thousands of indigenous people are camping out in the capital city of Brasilia to protest a bill that threatens to hand over their ancestral lands to large landowners and mining companies. Under these conditions, “Fora Bolsonaro!” is synonymous with the defense of indigenous lands – just as “Fora Bolsonaro!” is synonymous with the withdrawal of Bolsonaro’s counter-reform law that is destroying public services.
The PT leadership has stated, “We demand the immediate halt to the anti-people reforms being discussed in Parliament.” This is perfectly correct. But in order to win this demand, it is necessary to give ourselves the means to do so; we need to move from words to deeds, by preparing the general strike in the broadest unity that will drive out this government. New demonstrations to demand “Fora Bolsonaro” have been called for October 2. It is with this fightback orientation that these actions must be prepared — and Lula must take the lead.
(Interview conducted by Jean Alain on September 13, 2021, and published in Workers Tribune, France)
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Mexico: Tribute to Our Departed Comrade Misael Palma López
It is with great sadness that we have just learned, this Thursday, September 9, 2021, of the death of our comrade Misael Palma López, a historic labor leader in the education sector in the state of Chiapas and an activist of the Fourth International and its Mexican section for many decades.
Like millions of workers around the world, Misael was struck by COVID. Transferred a few days ago to the intensive care unit, he fought the disease with all his strength until the end, as he had fought it all his life, before it finally struck him down.
With Misael’s death, the Fourth International and its Mexican section have lost a workers’ leader, a “mass activist” who was known, recognized and respected in the workers’ movement, in Chiapas and in the entire Mexican nation. “Historic” is not too strong a word, because thousands of teachers remember his role in the fierce strike movement in which he helped, from Section 7 of the SNTE, to impose union democracy. Labor activists from all over the world have met him in numerous conferences and international labor initiatives, including the International Tribunal against Child Labor in Mexico City in 1993.
Recognized in the labor movement, including by his opponents, he was also recognized by his comrades of the Fourth International. So, after the crisis of 2015, when the main leaders of the OST capitulated to the revisionist and liquidating group, Misael committed all his strength to the battle. It is no coincidence that all but one of the Trotskyist activists in the state of Chiapas joined together to defend the program of the Fourth International and, together with a handful of young comrades from the north of the country, formed the OCRFI committee in Mexico, which has since become the Internationalist Communist League (LCI), to whose leadership he was naturally elected.
Misael was deeply committed to solving the crisis of the revolutionary leadership of the proletariat. Until his hospitalization, he actively participated in the LCIs’s efforts to strengthen ties with activists of all tendencies in the workers’, peasants’ and people’s organizations in order to take a step forward with them towards the common building of a movement for an authentic independent workers’ party. He understood, as he recently wrote in the LCI’s Transición newspaper, that in the profound crisis that the workers’ movement is experiencing, in Mexico as well as internationally, this was a transition towards the founding of the revolutionary workers’ party.
The Fourth International can be proud of having had Misael in its ranks.
We salute the memory of comrade Misael and send his family and friends our deepest condolences, support and sympathy. And to all his comrades of the LCI, from the north to the south of Mexico, we offer our fraternal support and our unwavering commitment to continue the struggle that was his throughout whole life: the construction of the Fourth International and its Mexican section.
Camarada Misael, Presente!
Alan Benjamin, Socialist Organizer (USA); Daniel Gluckstein, TCI of the POID, French section of the Fourth International; and Dominique Ferré, TCI of the POID, French section of the Fourth International – In the name of the Coordinating Committee of the Organizing Committee for the Reconstitution of the Fourth International (OCRFI)
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