Thursday, 1 September 2016

On the Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff

For anyone unaware of what is happening in Brazil, the president has been formally impeached under spurious charges of "corruption", which in the context of Brazillian politics reminds me of the line in Apocalypse now about handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. About 60% of the people who voted for Dilma Rousseff's impeachment are themselves under investigation for corruption.
Basically this is a right wing coup against a popular president with a leftist background but whose coalition government has been in-acting pro-austerity policies. In the local context you could compare Rousseff to Gerry Adams or the current leadership of the ANC, someone who in the distant past was a Marxist guerrilla fighter when the country was under a corrupt anti-democratic junta in a state of civil war but in the intervening decades has made the long journey to parliamentary politics and eventual power through the normalisation of the political process and a series of increasingly extreme betrayals of their leftist principles and capitulations to neo-liberalist orthodoxy, while winning a few minor reforms.

Mug Shot from her Guerrilla days
So basically she's gone from Ché to Tony Blair over the course of her career. But apparently that wasn't enough for the shower of bitter old bastards that make up the Brazillian ruling elite who have never forgiven her for being what she once was and have now mounted what is effectively a coup. These are the same old bastards that were behind the '64 coup, but this time they are using the judiciary and constitutional means rather than the army because an armed coup d'etat wouldn't fly these days.

And it looks like its going to be successful. It also shows up the limitations of reformism. The Workers Party was cobbled together out of a broad left alliance of the old militant left, Labourists and Trades Unions and were generally elected over the last 13 years on fairly innocuous social-democratic platforms and in power never really challenged the status quo or American imperialism in the region and were used as a wedge to beat down other more progressive genuinely leftist leaders in the global south. They never tried to mobilise the masses behind them, create a social revolutionary movement on the streets or do anything about shifting the power relations that constituted the old order.

Which goes to show, the various competing factions of the ruling class and their representative parties, left right and centre, they're all just spokes on a wheel, this ones on top, then that one's on top, and on and on it spins, generating profit for those on top and crushing those on the ground. Our aim should not be to stop the wheel (as the WP tried to do), but to break it.