The ouster of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef and the ongoing process of impeaching her are in fact a coup organized by the wealthy classes in the country with the support of their foreign masters. The objective of this is to roll back important reforms aimed at bettering the lives of the people and instead place in the hands of the oligarchs Brazil’s key industries and resources.
The coup in Brazil, now known as soft coup, raises important questions related to the dominating classes in that country.
A coup is organized when capitalist system fails to manage contradictions or reach a compromise. Imperialism uses the tool to punish economies trying to chart a route distant from the world system’s orbit.
The failure to enter into a compromise or manage contradictions is an incapacity carrying crucial questions. The incapacity is of the classes dominating the scene. Their preferred approach at that given moment – the time of organizing a coup – is to increase conflict.
The “soft” coup – change of regime by manipulation of legal procedures within legislative structure – in Brazil has been organized by the country’s rich in collusion with their external masters. It “produced” the unseating of elected president Dilma Rousseff, the ongoing process of so-called impeachment of Dilma, and installation of a corruption-ridden political arrangement.
In an interview with RT, Dilma said: “This coup is not like usual coups in Latin America, which normally involve weapons, tanks in the streets, arrests and torture. The current coup is happening within the democratic framework, with the use of existing institutions”. (“Dilma Rousseff: Old Brazilian oligarchy behind ‘coup’”, full interview, May 19, 2016)
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has referred to the impeachment process in Brazil with the following words: “Military dictatorships are not needed anymore; they need submissive judges, a corrupt media that even publishes private conversations, which is absolutely illegal.”
All are present in the Brazil-coup-scene: corruption-ridden “gentlemen’s” external connection, intelligence agent; patronization by class-brothers, major parts of state and media owned by the rich; diplomats with overthrow-government-experience; conspiracy and blackmailing. It’s a political play starred by wealthy players with their characteristically bourgeois conscience!
The commoners in Brazil were just trying to widen their access to essential rights in a reformative manner. But acts of the oligarchy are working as a hindrance to its capacity to co-opt.
The oligarchy’s response to the pro-commoner-changes – PT’s steps to widen the commoners’ access to rights – is anti-co-option as the wealthy are snatching back gains whatever the commoners made so far, although the commoners were not expropriating bourgeois properties, and were not radically changing production relations.
The impeachment, part of the coup, is being carried out, as Dilma said, “to control the state bypassing the new election”. The coup-makers are trying, as Dilma said, “to replace the entire political program that includes both the social and economic development aspects”.
The oligarchy likes to escape democratic process with sham-arguments and lies, and the mainstream media claiming to be respectable and credible is part of this business with lies.
The order of business of the soft coup-makers registers an incapacity, which bears a crucial message for societies dreaming or striving for creating or widening democratic sphere – democratizing socio-economic-political area – or, facilitating commoners’ access to essentials of life, from which they are permanently excluded.
During the Lula-Dilma phase, the commoners gained in income, health care, housing, education, economic and social rights, agrarian reform, cooperatives. By 2014, Brazil was removed from the UN’s Map of Hunger. Respectable international research literature with findings of positive impact of these is now in abundance.
During the phase, initiatives for political participation in public policy forums by labor organizations and social movements were taken. In the education sector, the poor got better opportunities to flourish their creativity ignored by the rich. Students from the poor families had wider access to higher education. “It took the country 5 centuries to reach […] 3.5 million students enrolled in universities, and only 12 years [2003-2014] to reach the current 7.1 million university students.” At the secondary level, in the hundred years up to 2003, 140 federal technical schools were created; in the last 12 years, it went up to 442. (William J. Mello and Altemar da Costa Muniz, “Class Struggle in Brazil: Who Will Defend the Working Class?” May 16, 2016)
During the phase, the state’s intervention limited financial speculation, expanded internal market, and accelerated investment.
For the poorest, the political effects of the steps were transformative in a country dominated by the rich for centuries. The poor increasingly gained access to aspects of life previously reserved for the rich.
Now, the wealthy group is planning to take away whatever the people have so far achieved: wider access to rights and participation. Their plan includes handover of a part of health care and education to private capital. It’s the old hunger for profit by throwing the poor into the “merciful” clutch of cruel health - and education - markets. The putschists are trying to implement a program, which is, in plain words, indiscriminate looting.
The rich are eyeing the strategic wealth: sale of public assets, reining in the oil and gas industry, opening up agricultural land ownership and controlling stakes in airlines to the rich, concessions to the rich in the area of infrastructure, and auctioning out ports.
Privatization of public organizations and socially owned properties is equal to taking away people’s power/opportunity to control their resources. The usurpers’ job is to intensify exploitation, and thereby increase profit. It’s transmuting a political effort widening people’s sphere into a booty-making machine.
Assault on people and their organizations has already begun. A group of wealth owners have suggested use of the army in cases of agrarian conflict. The Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) is one of the first targets of the assault.
The Ministry of Women, Racial Equality, and Human Rights has been virtually eliminated as the ministry has been amalgamated into the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Justice is handed over to Alexandre de Moraes, a former security official accused of deploying death squads. The Ministry of Agriculture has been handed over to Blairo Maggi, the billionaire by cutting down millions of acres of Amazonian wilderness, and the recipient of Greenpeace Award for 2005 – the Golden Chain Saw. Maggi, supported by the bancada ruralista, the country’s powerful agribusiness lobby, helped push the Forest Code, which indemnified landowners once engaged in illegal wilderness clearances. (Jon Lee Anderson, New Yorker, “A way forward for Brazil”, June 1, 2016)
The Brazil-political panorama, thus, is the following:
(1) effort to establish and widen people’s sphere is being subverted;
(2) the wealthy are unwilling to accommodate the people with access to minimum opportunity in areas of livelihood and politics; and
(3) there’re hands of the Empire in the entire business of subverting people’s attempt to access minimum conditions of life.
The effort to establish and widen people’s sphere, and ensure people’s access to minimum opportunity in areas of livelihood and politics carry prospect of democracy.
Thus, the questions that emerge are:
(1) Why is the prospect for democracy being subverted?
(2) What class equation, political alignment and structural conditions are garnering the anti-people move?
To the elites, the coup is, it appears, “less costly” than income redistribution and democracy. But, actually, the moves are widening and sharpening area of conflict with the people. An excluded majority ultimately challenges the system. The question, then, is: Why are the wealthy and their masters treading the path of a widened and sharpened conflict?
It’s the ruling interests’ incapacity to concede an area to the people. The propertied classes and their masters don’t have the capacity to make concessions. The masters and their servants are trying to demolish prospect of gaining space by people; and this means, they are not inclined to accept even reformist/welfare measures unless they find them cornered.
It’s, now, a blatant show of the wealthy group’s corruption-based “democracy”, a democracy of the corrupt wealthy interests. A regime without legitimacy, with an image tarnished by corruption and conspiracy, with an image of a puppet of an empire assigned with the job of subverting a people’s effort to improve their life is not accepted by the commoners. Moreover, such a leadership stands on weaker ground while they confront the commoners.
With the conditions – widespread corruption, conspiratorial politics, a group of politicians in the pay roll of an intelligence agency, absence of legitimacy, and intervention by the world masters – wealth-interests, in the long-term, can’t effectively secure its rule. So, the questions that come forth are:
(1) Why the wealthy interests in Brazil are to resort to a corruption-ridden political leadership?
(2) Was there no other option available to the interests as the leadership is without any legitimacy?
It’s a show of incapacity of the Brazilian wealthy classes and their masters. Facing a possibility of weakening of hold on economic and political powers they are taking away people’s gains, even at the cost of widening the area of conflict as they fail to co-opt the commoners although the failure endangers rule of the wealthy and their masters. Along with these, their drive for more intensified exploitation – higher profit, and for greater loot – is active.
Power-grabbers in Brazil are going through the path of failure in co-optation even at the cost of delegitimizing them. An increased role of imperialism aggravates the situation.
The usurpers’ electoral performance, political maneuvering, resorting to conspiracy and manipulation of political process are evidences of their incapacity. Therefore, the wealthy part bent on assaulting the people is failing to carry forward the task of democratization.
There are issues of snatching back people’s gains, which is related to the issues of regeneration of capital and capacity to compromise by the propertied classes.
So, the questions that also come up are:
(1) Why the rich classes in Brazil don’t enter into compromise?
(2) Don’t they need it?
(3) Isn’t it required for regeneration of capital there in Brazil?
(4) What’s the implication of this non-compromise on the working people, especially on those generating surplus value, and on the capital there?
The questions posed above are also related to functional issues of people’s march forward: organization, intensity of movement, alliance. Capacity to organize powerful organization, and to intensify struggle between antagonistic classes plays role in these areas, and also on future flight of political development in Brazil.
* The article, originally part of a longer essay, was first run by TeleSUR in early August 2016.
* THE VIEWS OF THE ABOVE ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE PAMBAZUKA NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM
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