RIO DE JANEIRO – Larger than the contiguous United States in geographical area, Brazil has the second largest economy in the western hemisphere and the eighth largest in the world. Brazil has a population of 170 million, 46 percent of whom are of African heritage.
Its major resources are oil, timber, hydroelectric power, coal, diamonds, other minerals and the Amazon River. U.S. transnational corporations have determined that Brazil is too important to ignore.
From Dec. 9-12, 2001, the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) held its 10th Congress here. There were 821 delegates representing over 32,000 active members, or militants, as they call them. An international delegation of 32 parties and organizations represented many nations including Viet Nam, Cuba, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, India and Mozambique.
Party President Joao Amazonas presented opening remarks to the Congress. Amazonas discussed in broad strokes the major concerns of Brazilian Communists. At this Congress, Amazonas was elected “honorary president” and Renato Rabelo was elected the party’s national president.
Deliberations were guided by a 64-page document, titled “Propositions,” which was made available to the membership in July. This document presented a political analysis of the challenges facing the Brazilian working class and proposed tactics for responding to them.
The PCdoB’s analysis is that this moment in human history is dominated by the drive of U.S. imperialism for world domination. This reality was aggravated by the events of Sept. 11 and the subsequent “war on terrorism” that threatens much of the world, including South America.
There is a peculiar relationship between Brazil and the “war on terrorism” scheme. The core of the issue has to do with trade and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Bolivia and Chile as well have responded favorably to invitations to join.
The Bush administration has determined that trade expansion is a national security issue. The United States sees MERCOSUR as being in direct competition with the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the pivotal role the U.S. would play relative to that agreement.
The success of MERCOSUR would mean that the U.S. would not hold exclusive hegemony and the hand of the less powerful nations would be strengthened through their alliance with Brazil in MERCOSUR.
The administration has also said that Al Qaeda has cells in Uruguay and that Hezbollah and Hamas, along with other terrorist groups, operate in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. As a result, any of the MERCOSUR member countries could become a target in the “war on terrorism.”
While economic dependency, denationalization, structural crisis and stagnation are wreaking havoc on the Brazilian economy, the sea of inequality in Brazil widens. The constrictions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) only make matters worse. In 1998, Brazil accepted $41 billion from the IMF. When Brazil decided to spend $22 billion over 10 years to combat poverty, the IMF balked at the plan.
The neoliberal policies being forced on nations through the process of globalization are taking their toll on Brazil. The Brazilian state is being forced to privatize its holdings, particularly in energy and telecommunications, and cut pensions to retired civil servants.
The Brazilian left argues that the electricity crisis Brazil is now facing is a direct product of such privatization.
The PCdoB says that there is a contradiction between two national tendencies in Brazil. One tendency is for denationalization and subordination to imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism. The other tendency is in favor of national sovereignty, democracy and providing for the needs of the masses of the people.
The PCdoB’s strategic plan is to link the fight for the latter tendency to the fight for a socialist future. One of the key economic goals in this struggle is to suspend privatization, especially in energy and sanitation.
Brazilian Communists see the main responsibility of the present moment as defeating the effort to recolonize their country. Creating a coalition of forces and choosing a presidential candidate behind whom everyone can unite is the most immediate task, according to the PCdoB. Whether or not Lula, as Luis Inacio da Silva of the Workers’ Party is known, will be the candidate of this popular front is yet to be determined.
Alone, no opposition party will be able to win in October against those implementing policies of neocolonialism and recolonization, such as President Fernando Cardoso’s administration. The Brazilian working class has the task of uniting all of the patriotic, democratic and progressive forces into an alliance that can win the presidential election.
President George Bush’s plan of perpetual war will lead the world toward peril and barbarism, not safety. The U.S. people need to substantially increase the forces who are vigilantly waging peace in opposition to the Bush administration’s waging of war. We must stand on the side of democracy and social justice, which will lead to real social progress and an end to threat of terrorism in the world.
Dee Myles represented the Communist Party USA at the congress of the Communist Party of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro Dec. 9-12, 2001.
In Solidarity with Brazilian Communists
The following are remarks presented by Dee Myles to the 10th Congress of the Communist Party of Brazil.
Since Sept. 11, the political landscape has dramatically changed for us in the United States, just as it has changed around the world. In the U.S. hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs in the recent period. Social programs, including public education, low-income housing and health care, are suffering dramatic cuts to what were already inadequate budgets.
As the Bush administration is trying to retroactively reimburse big business for taxes paid over the past 15 years and billions of our tax dollars are being poured down the war drain, the prospect for the future grows even dimmer. We are charged with being unpatriotic if we dissent against these policies and the “Bush Doctrine” of perpetual war.
Our voice joins with your voice in saying, “No!” We will not be coerced into supporting the mad drive of U.S. imperialism as its thrust applies at home or abroad under the guise of fighting terrorism.
While we resolutely stand against all forms of terrorism, we will not allow U.S. imperialism to win our allegiance as a cover for furthering its goal of world domination. We do not stand with U.S. imperialism; we stand with you.
As your document states, U.S. imperialism is on a mission of exclusive world hegemony and it is using the fight against terrorism as its cover. We stand with you in calling for the United Nations to be the forum through which the effort to stop terrorism is waged and not U.S. military extremism, which devastates innocent people and threatens over 60 sovereign nations. We stand with you in the call for peace.
Our task, the task of the U.S. working class, will not be easy. We have to work to convince people that the policies of U.S. imperialism and its agencies played a major role in propelling this form of terrorism to the front stage of world history; that opposition to the Bush Doctrine of perpetual war is the only avenue through which real patriotism in our country can be expressed; that U.S. imperialism stands opposed to the very policies that will help rid the world of terrorist acts that threaten the whole of humanity; that a foreign policy based on social justice, equality and respect for national sovereignty is the only way to construct a world that can be rid of such terrible acts.
We, as Communists, must say more. We know that the drive of capital in its transnational corporate imperialist stage is antithetical to advancing democracy at home, as well as internationally. We know that the time has come for private property to find its resting place with the extinct relics of human history.
It is with great humility that we state without equivocation that our party, the Communist Party USA, must face up to its historic responsibility for the sake of the people. We know that, because we are in “the belly of the beast,” the people of the world are depending on us to carry our share of the load by fulfilling our historic mission. We know that our success is important as a contingent of the international struggle for real social progress.
We accept the challenge of living to win a world where working-class men and women of all nationalities, nations and races can be truly free and equal. We salute you and extend our hand in fraternal comradeship.