The foreign circumstances upon which the Brazilian electoral campaign is launched is not prone to the manifestation of platitudes or to sowing illusions. For a start, the economic environment is once again cloudy with signs of incoming storms. The harsh declarations made by Mr. Bernanke, the new president of FED, the United States’ Central Bank, announcing tough times, and the instability felt by financial markets in the previous weeks are eloquent manifestations of the capitalist system’s frail economic and financial health and prove wrong the optimism that was being shown until recently by some sorts of analysts interested in presenting a rosy and calm scenario. In order to avoid self-criticism, those sandcastle builders start to debate whether the “development cycle”, the period of “intense world economy growth” and the “new prosperity of the recent five years” have come to an end. And in order to overcome the essence of the problem, as if endeavoring to find solutions to unavoidable impasses, they start debating whether the adjustments will be mild or tough, whether they will come soon or in the near future.
The PCdoB’s 11th Congress, held very recently (last October), already called attention to the gravity of problems presented by the structural unbalances of the United States’ economy, by the gigantic dimensions of the twin deficits, and by its resulting indebtedness. It is clear that, in the presence of such factors, the volatility and instability will constitute the defining character of the economic situation and that proposed “ways out” would consist in greater protectionism by the United States in an attempt to impose free trade agreements and mechanisms of financial extortion to dependent countries. Brazil is considerably vulnerable and sensitive to international instability. The Brazilian economy is still prisoner to financial usury, depending on portfolio applications to roll over its debts. It is not ready to face turbulences in the international scene and has not met the conditions to enter a virtuous cycle of growth. Brazil is still led to practice a restricting economic policy, with unrealistic inflation goals, high interest rates and a fiscal effort that is incompatible with the social crisis it faces, creating politically unsustainable situations such as refusing to grant fair raises to retired workers, exposing the government’s parliamentary support base in the House of Representatives to the shame of suffering a series of defeats while waving a ragged banner before a hypocrite neoliberal right.
The frailty of the world economic situation, with evident domestic consequences, does not allow any sort of triumphal stance. It is nor coherent to proclaim “successes” in the economic policy and deny social rights. In order to be victorious in the electoral dispute this year and in President Lula’s probable second mandate, the progressive forces will have to take into account the need to find economic rationality in another policy that is aimed at national development with income distribution and valorization of labor, defending national sovereignty and the people’s rights, who can no longer pay the bills resulting from neoliberalism. For a long time there will be no room for hybrid policies. It is necessary to face underlying problems and to find ways out of the historical crossroads before the country. It is necessary to find a new way, after all.
The political front also will not find a tranquil foreign environment with its unavoidable repercussions in the domestic political situation. We are facing the application of a policy of force imposed by the United States’ imperialism, which has buried illusions regarding multilateralism falsely sown since the mandate of Bush Senior and especially during the eight years when the superpower was under the Clinton administration. The current practice now is one of disregard to international norms and derision of multilateral bodies, especially the UN, which the Bush administration has considered irrelevant. The last events in Iraq, where the aggressive army turn out to be a gang of criminals, and the crisis that the United States is cultivating with Iran, preparing the environment to another “preventive war”, reveal that we are not living times prone to illusions. In the Brazilian environs, the United States’ imperialism is also provoking crises and creating an unstable political environment since the positions regarding Bolivarian Venezuela and the recently inaugurated Evo Morales administration in Bolivia were toughened up, as well as in the instrumental use of Uribe’s repressive government, reinforced by his reelection. Also as part of the United State’s strategy towards the continent, the attempts at bringing forth Free Trade Agreements everywhere were intensified as it tries to impose the FTAA by different means and ways. It is necessary to bear in mind that the main core of Brazilian dominant classes and their stronger political representations, namely PSDB and PFL, are forces on which the United States’ imperialism rely on in order to fulfill those threats. Those forces will not use licit or illicit means parsimoniously, among which provocations or even anti-democratic conspiracies in order to retake hold of the country’s central government. Only ignorance regarding the Brazilian troublesome republican history may lead someone to imagine an easy electoral ride in 2006 or a quiet administration in case Lula’s reelection is achieved. And only unawareness regarding the world reality and the laws of historical development of the imperialist power’s system may lead someone to imagine a peaceful rearrangement of world forces. A Party as seasoned as ours in so many class battles, often bloody ones, cannot believe in the fairytale of a world where wealthy and poor, powerful and subjugated live together peacefully as model families gathered around a council of kind and smiling sages. The period when international relations turned into the art of handling conflicts lies way back in the past, unless the rules imposed by imperialist powers are accepted. Brazil may play an important role in the international scene and try to reach a new position in the play of forces, but that will demand the mobilization of creative energies by its people, clarity regarding the position it holds in the disputes that are objectively imposed and the defense of its interests as a sovereign nation with wisdom and strength. On the contrary, deluded or submissive, it will always be a colony, some part of the periphery.
Before such dangers in the economic-social and political fields, so many attacks by the reactionary and imperialist forces that put at risk world peace, national sovereignty and continental safety, it would be naïve to imagine a feeble political environment during the electoral campaign and a probable second mandate free of conflicts. Instead of illusions on overcoming economic restraints imposed by neoliberalism, it is necessary to fight decidedly for national sovereignty and for social rights, what will only be possible with a new economic policy. And instead of spreading illusions of the Kantian dream of perpetual peace, of good management and multilateralism, it is necessary to prepare our people for the great struggle that will take place sooner or later with an anti-imperialist character. That is one of the main tasks of the Communist Party and the uninterested contribution it gives as it takes part of the political and electoral front with a unified and democratic spirit.
José Reinaldo Carvalho, journalist. Communications Director of Cebrapaz and member of the Political Commission of PCdoB’s Central Committee.