At four o clock on Saturday, April 2, over 200 people attended a public meeting in Joinville in the South of Brazil (in the state of Santa Catarina), the location of the famous CIPLA plant, which was occupied and run under workers’ control for five years. The local paper Primeira Pautahad published a full-page interview with Alan the same day and there was a lot of interest among left-wing activists, which was reflected in the excellent turnout.
The big majority were young people but there were a large number of workers and trade unionists, who had come to hear the British Marxist speak on the Arab Revolution and the crisis of capitalism.
Many of those present were members of the Joinville School Students’ Unions, the Student Union, and the youth of the Marxist Left, who had convened the meeting. But there were also leaders from the Public Sector Unions, Metalworkers, Teachers, etc.
There were also representatives of a local Tenants Association (Associação de Moradores) and Human Rights organizations. The general mood from start to finish was one of great enthusiasm for the ideas of Marxism.
The meeting was chaired by comrade Ulrich Beathalter, the President of the Public Sector Union. The meeting opened with brief speeches by comrade Tiago, the President of the Curso de Direito and comrade Adilson Mariano, a councillor of the PT.
The one dissenting voice was an old Stalinist who warned of the danger of what he called “triumphalism”. In reply comrade Woods compared the class struggle to the tides of the ocean. At low tide the beach is littered with the bodies of dead and dying fish that have been left stranded when the tide went out. But when the tide sweeps in again, as it always does, it washes away all the old, the dead and the dying, and brings in new life and oxygen.
Answering questions in relation to perspectives for Brazil and in particular the Workers Party (PT) Alan paid tribute to the militant traditions of the Brazilian working class that had overthrown a brutal military dictatorship. He said that the PT and the CUT (Brazilian trade union federation) were conquests of the working class and still enjoyed the support of millions of workers.
However, he pointed out that the right-wing leaders had abandoned the original socialist aims of the Party and were pursuing capitalist policies. Lula had been lucky insofar as his leadership had coincided with a period of worldwide capitalist boom. But Dilma Rousseff is not so lucky. Quoting the Bible, he said: “You cannot serve two Masters; you cannot serve God and Mammon (the God of Money)”. The PT must break with Capital and return to its original socialist aims, he affirmed.
At the end of the meeting a large number of people went to the bookstall to purchase Alan’s books that are now available in Portuguese, including Reason in Revolt, Reformism or Revolution and a new pamphlet produced by the Marxist Left (Esquerda Marxista). There was a long queue for the author to sign books. Many people signed the list expressing an interest in the Marxist Left.