During the 11th to the 13th of June the downbeat 5th Congress of the PT (Partido Trabalhador – the “Workers Party”) took place. This was a congress marked by disinterest in the plenary speeches, by booing from its participants, by pessimism about the political situation, demonstrating a crisis in the Party that deepens every day. This situation is set to continue as this Congress reaffirmed the political line that caused all this, a line promoted by the interests of a corrupted leadership.
The second lesson to be drawn from the 5th Congress is the failure of the Party as an instrument of struggle for the working class.
While the speeches of Lula, Dilma and the main leaders highlighted the achievements of the Party during the last 12 years in Government, the harsh reality is that there is a deepening of the crisis and further attacks on the working class.
In April alone, 97.828 jobs were cut, 53.850 of these in industry. Inflation has increased rapidly to 8.47% for the last 12 months, its highest value since 2003. Dilma’s Government continues its attacks; approving the MPs (“Provisional Measures”) 664 and 665, which remove labour and social security rights. The Government also demands cuts in social spending, mainly in education and health, and proudly announce a new wave of privatisations of railways, highways, ports and airports.
This is the reality absent in the speeches of the leaders of the PT and in the political resolution of the Party Congress, entitled "Salvador’s Charter", a work of fiction designed to defend the Government. This typifies the politics that have destroyed the PT making it useless as a tool of struggle and mobilisation of the working class.
In this Document, superficial self-criticisms are made about the departure of the Party from the social movements and about its failure to create a system of communications to counter the influence of the “corporate media”. According to this Document, these policies (that is, the policies of class collaboration) have “made it possible for PT Administrations to built tactical parliamentary majorities that guarantee for the Government approval of public policies and the maintenance of institutional stability”.
Any hint of criticism of the Government was removed from the final Document, leading to discontent from CUT (the main national trade union) leaders and the CUT rank-and-file. The worst criticism made is: "we need to orientate the overall direction of the economic policy to the implementation of strategies to resume growth, (...) defence of employment, wages and other labour rights, that allow the expansion of social policies ".
The discussion about the Party’s funding was a symbolic event. In April, the leadership decided that the Party should not receive any more money from companies, but, of course, left individual candidates free to receive these monies. This decision should have been endorsed by the Salvador Congress. However, the leadership retreated, preventing the Congress from making that decision postponing it to a new meeting of the National Committee. Lula said in his speech, that launched the digital platform to collect donations from individuals, that "if we need…[private donations, then]...with the same pride that we give our R$ 10, we will ask". In reality, the PT is dependent upon bourgeoisie funding and is unable to resume independent financing from militants and supporters.
Currents in the Party in their theses, see the rise of the right-wing in society, a "conservative wave", and say that the magic solution to all these evils is Political Reform. As we have said, the campaign for Political Reform shifts the focus away from the concrete responsibility of the Government in failing to meet popular demands. It also feeds the illusion that it is possible to improve the increasingly hated bourgeois institutions. One of the central proposals of the advocates of this path is the public funding of election campaigns which will only complete the incorporation of political parties into the state with the diversion of public money for candidates’ campaigns, including those of the right and far-right.
We have explained in many different articles in our pages that this "conservative wave" does not exist. What is a growing is a social polarisation between the workers in struggle, that are "tired of everything that is out there," and the bourgeoisie who need to intensify their attacks due to the deepening economic crisis. Today, there is no social base for mass fascist organizations, no basis for a military coup in the interests of the national bourgeoisie and imperialist powers, there is not even support for an impeachment of Dilma. Only small groups of the extreme right believe that any of these options is an achievable outcome.
The truth is that Dilma’s Government leans more and more towards the interests of capitalism. Overthrowing this Government with a coup or an impeachment would only sharpen the class struggle and would pave the way for a civil war. The bourgeoisie aims to drain the PT of political vitality until 2018 when they will once again take the up the reins of the central Government in their own hands. From the moment it was no longer able to control the masses, the PT was no longer a useful tool for the bourgeoisie; this was evident in June 2013 and during the major strikes that followed.
The politics of class collaboration and the submission to the interests of the bourgeoisie have destroyed the PT as an instrument of struggle for the working class. The hopes raised in the hearts of millions when they elected Lula, the sacrifice of militants who give years of their lives to build the Party - their dreams have been betrayed by the leadership. The 5th Congress of the PT shows that there is no salvation for this patient who is being continuously poisoned.
Esquerda Marxista, whose history is marked by the fight to build the PT and who has always stood for the principles upon which the Party was founded, has repeatedly advocated that the PT break its coalition with the bourgeoisie and resume the struggle for socialism. We decided at our Conference in April 2015 to end 35 years of our intervention in the PT. We concluded that there is no room now to build the ideas of Marxism within the Party. The youth abandoned the PT long ago as have large sections of the working class. It is clear that there is an emptying out of left and revolutionary militancy from the PT.
Unlike the PT and its current internal trends, we look enthusiastically to the present political situation. The working class remains strong, is fighting, resisting and searching for a way out. The bourgeois institutions, including the traditional parties who engage in the defence of order, are increasingly hated by the masses. We see the same process around the world, particularly in Greece and Spain.
Tremors are shaking the structures of the global capitalist system. A new world is struggling to be born from the bowels of decadent capitalism. We invite everyone to engage in the fight for a Left Front bringing together activists, trade unionists, youth groups, social movements, collectives and parties, that seeks unity for the intervention in the class struggle between all those who remain faithful to the principles of class independence and the struggle for socialism. So that together, we fight against the attacks and for a decent future for humanity. To keep the flame that once helped build the PT burning and to take it forward in the fight for revolution and for socialism.