We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff: Not a Coup but Payback for Systemic Corruption

Click here to access article by Dady Chery and Gilbert Mercier from News Junkie Post

These authors provide a very different view from other alternative observers such as Pepe Escobar on the current efforts in Brazil to remove Rousseff and the Workers' Party from power.
After 14 years of Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT, or Workers’ Party), the Brazilian public has grown profoundly disappointed with a government that has failed, not only to keep its promise to clean up Brazil’s systemic corruption but also to avoid becoming tainted by this corruption. Inequality, social injustice, and racism are practically unchanged. Although Rousseff was elected with the expectation that the criminals of Brazil’s military dictatorship would be brought to justice, she promoted what she called a “national reconciliation” instead of their pursuit. Under both Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazil expanded its police and military to unprecedented levels in peacetime and became an active handmaiden to US imperialism in the occupation of countries like Haiti. It took Lula and Dilma’s fake socialism to invade Haiti, not Brazil’s military dictatorship.

Ms. Rousseff’s legal troubles should rather be viewed as a sign that Brazil’s justice system is sufficiently well to take down the country’s top bankers, industrialists, and elected officials.
I am more persuaded by their arguments than that of other alternative observers who only see these efforts from the perspective of an effort of US in collaboration with a Brazilian right-wing to move the Brazilian government more to the right. It is not that I disagree with the views of the alternative observers, it is just that I believe their framing of these political events is far too limited. On the other hand, I don't entirely agree with the authors that the current political events in Brazil are only driven by the Brazilian people who are rejecting the Rousseff government.

I believe that the recent political gains by the right-wing oligarchs in Argentina, Venezuela, and Brazil are the result of very compromised leftist movements in those countries. (The same applies to Bolivia and the Morales government.) Each of them has tried to move in a limited left direction by offering some redistribution of their nation's wealth with various social programs. Although such left gains have been helpful to working people, they are only barely tolerated for temporary periods by the combined US ruling class in alliance with the local oligarchs. Such governments are always vulnerable to the subversive reaction of the right-wing forces, consequently their "shelf life" is quite limited.

The alternative observers could argue that this was the only realistic possibility given the severe oppressive reaction that would be generated by the US Empire if these governments had tried to pursue a more significant path against their capitalist ruling classes. There is a lot of merit to this argument because indeed the history of Latin America is filled with numerous examples of US interference in countries that try to deviate too much in favor of working classes. But the recent histories of these countries that have tried mild reforms leads one inevitably to the conclusion that only a vigorous revolutionary effort can be ultimately successful in the complete and lasting liberation of working people.

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