The second campaign round of Brazil’s presidential election between Worker’s Party (PT) candidate and president Dilma Rousseff and Brazilian Social Democratic Party candidate Aecio Neves has started and a large portion of the electorate and the politicians connected to leftist parties have decided to take a stance.
The Liberty and Socialism Party (PSOL), for instance, drafted a note indicating a non-neutral neutrality: They do not support any of the candidates, but recommend that no one vote for Aecio Neves. Politicians from the party, including well-known deputies Marcelo Freixo and Jean Wyllys, have declared their support for Dilma, albeit they state they are taking a “critical” position and do not endorse all of her policies.
The voters are left in a curious position: In social media, it is possible to see PSOL sympathizers and militants saying they are voting for the “lesser evil,” who is supposed to be Dilma, in their opinion. The situation is so ridiculous that they even state that “her defeat would be our defeat, a defeat of the social movements and the left.” It is a cognitive dissonance that supposedly sees Dilma’s victory with disgust, but that effectively works in favor of PT’s project to stay in power.
A bigger defeat for social movements is that Dilma Rousseff will suffer no consequences for her actions and is still seen as a representative of the concerns of the left — in contrast to PSDB’s elitism, which is identical to PT’s. It does not matter that Rousseff and PT are strategic allies of large corporate conglomerates, subsidized by BNDES. It does not matter that PT campaigned for the violent expropriation of hundreds of thousands of families and created monopoly zones for the World Cup that excluded Brazilian workers. It does not matter that indigenous and riverside populations’ rights in the Amazon are continually violated. It does not even matter that PT’s policies contribute to expand Brazil’s housing deficit and push the poor away from urban centers. What matters is that leftists signal their opposition to an elite — to which the PT core leaders actually belong.
During the World Cup, Luciana Genro, the PSOL presidential candidate, stated that it was not a proper moment for protests. Genro’s and the Brazilian college left’s political convenience does not factor into common people’s considerations. That is why we spoke at C4SS in defense of civil disobedience during the World Cup, replacing FIFA’s authorized commerce with free street vendors, bazaars, and non-aligned ventures.
All these factors show the worst trait of the Brazilian left: Its slavish faith in the state. There is, in the left, a very messianic and Leninist notion of what is a political party: The Worker’s Party, despite all the injustice and suffering it promotes in its policies, symbolizes social change and should be kept in power at all costs.
That’s why Brazilian libertarian socialist Mario Ferreira dos Santos used to say that “politics, as a political method of the socialists, is but a means to an end,” but those means “end up becoming more important than the ends and replace them.” Mario noticed that political parties are a “false process of social emancipation” that replaces ends with means and through which we are “never able to reach the desired ends; when we achieve something, it’s always in spite of politics.”
The partisan left pro-Rousseff, nowadays, puts their political means on a pedestal and despises their supposed ends, deifying the role of PT in Brazilian history as a revolutionary vanguard. In doing so, they relativize the absurd injustices committed by their government.
Maybe these militants think they are fulfilling some sort of historical mission and that soothes their conscience, but it certainly does not return the dignity and homes of the evicted and the affected by the World Cup, nor does it give back to the Brazilian people the billions that capitalists pocketed in cooperation with the government.
Government is the enemy of the poor and the minorities. No supposed progressive vanguard can deny this fact.
Translated into English by Erick Vasconcelos.
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