Meeting on 15-16 December 2017, the National Board of the Workers’ Party adopted the following statement:
1. The year 2017 was marked by the resumption of political initiative by the country’s popular and democratic sectors, and the PT played an important role in this process. We returned to the streets to defend workers’ rights and national sovereignty together with social movements and political fronts. Our legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate have firmly maintained the fight against the policies of the governing coup-forces. We conducted with great success the caravans “ Lula Pelo Brasil” (Lula throughout Brazil), which mobilized crowds in the Northeastern States, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro.
2. We arrived at the 2018 election year with the candidacy of President Lula consolidated in such a way that it no longer belongs to the PT – it belongs to the Brazilian people. It is up to us to defend the candidacy against the systematic attacks of the coup leaders, who will use every means to try to prevent people from expressing their will in the elections.
3. The judicial hunt against President Lula aims to prevent people from electing him once again. Lula has been convicted without evidence in a case where there is not even a crime, just as it occurred in the coup d’état against the legitimate president Dilma Rousseff. The unprecedented celerity with which the Federal Court of the 4th Region determined the trial is another casuism imposed on President Lula by sectors of the judicial system. If they dare to condemn Lula, they will prove the political nature of the whole process.
4. The original plan of the coup – the usurping government, the congressional majority and its allies at the top of the judiciary and within the military forces, the media oligopoly, the big business and its international partners – was another. After four consecutive defeats in presidential elections, the coup plotters imagined they would be able to elect one of their own in 2018, thus creating the conditions to continue the attack against the workers’ rights, liberties and the national sovereignty, in the dismantling of the Brazilian State.
5. This anti-popular program includes the Constitutional Amendment 95, which freezes social investments for twenty years; the counter-reform that ends with labor rights and the attempt – so far blocked – to end Social Security; the attacks against Petrobrás and the pre-salt sharing regime, and MP (provisional measure) 795, which benefits foreign oil companies, destroys the national content policy and threatens the commitments made by Brazil in the Paris Climate Agreement. It also includes attacks against human, civil and cultural rights, such as attempts to allow slave labor, to undermine abortion legislation, through PEC (bill for constitutional amendment) 181, and to reverse women’s rights; the obscurantist “School Without a Party” project; the setbacks in the SUS (national health system), with changes in the Basic Attention National Policy and in the Mental Health National Policy; the censorship of artistic production and the attack on the presence of gender equality and sexual diversity in the curricula. The coup is against the idea of a plural country. It also materializes in attacks against public universities and their leaders, criminalization of social movements and incarceration and genocide of black youth, increase of racism, feminicide and LGBT-phobia.
6. However, the popular resistance against each and every one of the measures adopted by the coup leaders, the resounding economic and social failure of the usurping government, in a scenario of worsening international crisis, and especially the growth of the popular acceptance of Lula and the PT stir up the contradictions and cause growing difficulties for the coup candidates.
7. Once the democratic freedoms are maintained, it seems that the elites will be defeated again in the 2018 elections. Thus, those who promoted the coup seek to prevent Brazil’s largest popular leadership from running for the presidency of the Republic again. They have no doubt that Lula is the only left-wing candidate able to win the elections and disarticulate the material and institutional bases of the coup, interrupting the dismantling, revoking the measures, defending the Constituent Assembly, national sovereignty, structural transformations in benefit of people, a development policy that combines economic growth with reduction of inequality.
8. In order to block Lula, the different sectors of the coup coalition consider several options: to try and build a candidacy that unifies them; to prevent his candidacy; to interdict the PT; to change the political-electoral system; to establish a “semi-presidential regime”, without consulting the people, that removes the powers of the president-elect; and even not to hold elections. The only alternative that the coup leaders disregard is to democratically accept the possibility that Lula will dispute, win, take office and govern. The coup has no limits, nor commitment to legality, justice and democracy.
9. Preventing Lula from participating in the elections would be one more serious and radical affront to democracy and the free expression of popular sovereignty. We reiterate that an election without Lula is a fraud. To avoid it, our president must continue to lead popular preferences, as shown in the caravans, it is necessary to advance with people’s organization and mobilization, and to make it clear that the escalation of discretion will not only increase the crisis and political instability, but may also result in popular rebellion.
10. The struggle for Lula’s right to run for the elections is not just PT’s. Center and left-wing sectors linked to other parties and candidates participate and support this struggle. “Fora Temer”, the defense of threatened rights, the revoke of coup measures and the convening of a Constituent Assembly are not exclusive PT’s flags either. Lula’s candidacy is also supported by various sectors and personalities. Based on the resolutions of the 6th Congress, our Party will have to build and participate in instruments and alliances that take such plurality into account.
11. Building a democratic and popular solution to the political, economic and social crisis Brazil is facing will require a long and complex struggle. This struggle is already under way and is going through a victory of the Left in 2018 presidential elections. Most of the people already demonstrate their intention to vote for Lula. To reinforce and consolidate this intention, PT’s National Board invites each militant to:
a) To participate in the struggles against the coup and its policies, at national, state and municipal level. We militants must be at the forefront of the fight against anti-social, anti-democratic and anti-national policies, starting with the fight against Social Security reform. As CUT (workers union) and other trade unions have already said: “If they (legislators) start to vote, Brazil will stop”.
b) To promote the youth mobilization, denouncing youth unemployment, loss of rights, dismantling of public education and genocide of black youth, in a consonant agenda with the PT’s youth movement and the youth movements represented in the organizations of the “Brasil Popular” Front.
c) To contribute in the construction and implementation of the resolutions of the Second Conference of the “Brasil Popular” Front and other people, workers, youth, women, black man and women organizations.
d) To build the Popular Committees in Defense of Democracy and Lula’s Right to Be Candidate (for the presidency), as well as the engagement in the caravans and other activities in defense of his candidacy;
e) To take action against the growing aggressiveness of the extreme right, which appeals to terrorism against social movements, practices attacks against the lives of popular leadership, and even supports electoral and non-electoral alternatives of a fascist and dictatorial nature.
f) To adopt an electoral tactic that allows the election of strong left-wing parliamentary groups, thus contributing to change the most conservative profile of the National Congress.
g) To discuss with the population the need to revoke the measures of the coup leaders, the need for a program that materializes the country that people want, showing how this articulates with the need for a Constituent Assembly.
h) To call the PT headquarters to transform their headquarters into Pro-Lula Popular Committees.
12. The aforementioned activities must have as a permanent concern the active involvement of broader sectors of the population. We warn that the arbitrariness of the judicial system and the lies of the media oligopoly can lead to civil disobedience.
13. The reconstruction of democratic liberties in Brazil goes through the elections. But as the recent Honduran case demonstrates, coup leaders – not just the openly fascist and dictatorial, including those who try to present themselves as “democrats” – do not consider the possibility of respecting the will of the people. Against the coup, people’s strength will be decisive, and will manifest as much in the streets as in the polls. As at other times in our history, our people will know how to defend justice and democracy.