A possible third way in Latin America

How has Lula changed since the founding of the Workers’ Party in 1980?

The political identity of Lula, and of the Workers’ Party, is the result of a union struggle in the context of a final dictatorship and the organization of a working-class aristocracy imbued with Marxism and left-wing Catholicism. This identity is therefore marked by a very strong worker consciousness. Then, during the democratic period, Lula appeared three times in the presidential election and had three failures, even if they are “honorable” failures, very typical of left-wing parties in their infancy: as long as we are totally Marxist and against the market economy cannot exceed a base of 30-35% of the vote. Lula’s evolution is relatively recent. A year ago, the PT had no chance of winning. And finally there appeared a new Lula with a new political identity, benefiting both from his former legitimacy as a very marked leftist man, through many struggles, including prison, and at the same time much more reformist, social -démocrate. An evolution conditioned by the need to come to power, so to widen its electoral base, knowing that this base is not specified in the popular classes, it is rather in the middle classes, the electorate of the PT is rather an electorate of “professors” moreover 38% of PT executives are teachers. Popular classes are more nuanced. A party vote for him, by identification, because he has a typical course, born in the Nordeste, descended to São Paulo, a rural become urban. Another party follows the argument of its opponents that it is not trained enough to govern the country. This argument is rather fallacious when you know that it has a very solid trade union formation, thirty years of political struggle behind it and that the PT has the experience of having governed many large cities and states.

Is the Workers Party united behind its leader?

We are in the euphoria of victory and the divisions are hidden, but there are tendencies on the left that do not accept this “social-democratic” evolution. This will probably be one of the first problems of Lula when he came to power, discipline his party, which is not a majority in Congress and must, therefore, make alliances on all sides, including right. In addition, it will have little economic and financial leeway. Debt and interest rates are very high, unbearable, but he will not be able to afford to lower interest rates right away because the attacks on the real would be even stronger than they are now.

How will he be able to fight against inequalities, his goal, in one of the unequal countries in the world?

There are things that can be done even without much room for maneuvers, such as insecurity, the fight against drug trafficking and corruption in the police, a major problem that is not purely economic. Then there is the question of the welfare state, the capacity to reform it and make it more effective. And then the continuation of the agrarian reform, already largely started by Cardoso. Another important point is the revival through international openness, which is part of its program. That is to say, the payday loan consolidation http://www.replicachristianlouboutinstore.com/instant-personal-loan-immediate-cash/ of Mercosur and the development of relations with Europe, to boost exports, give a little oxygen to its economy. All this would already be a strong contribution to the fight against inequalities, with the leitmotiv a certain reinvention of the role of the State. This is what he is expecting from all of Latin America. The Lula experience is sort of the chance of a “third way” in Latin America, after the period of protectionism and the authoritarian bureaucracy of the 60s and 70s, then the return of democracy accompanied by neoliberalism. This last model went into crisis, as we saw in Argentina. The third way, of which Lula could be the model, would be that of a reinvention of the public action, of the action of the State, one could call it “social-democratic” but it would be an old word whereas the thing is new and multiform. On the other hand, if Lula fails, for example, if there is a default in the payment of the debt, in this case, it is a huge Latin American and international crisis. And the United States is fully aware of this and this is why the IMF has been relatively mild with Brazil.

Does not the United States have a bad eye on Lula’s coming to power?

Brazil has an international weight. He wants, it was already the case with Cardoso, to counterbalance the United States in the draft North American Free Trade Agreement (Alena). Counterbalance does not mean fighting against each other, but being powerful enough to negotiate a correct integration project. Cardoso was the only South American leader with both the idea and the means to create a South American “block” to counterbalance this. Lula wants to continue and accelerate in this direction. Continue also in the direction of strengthening relations with Europe. To arrive at a balanced relationship with the United States is Brazil’s strategy, perfectly compatible with the European strategy of a multipolar world. Here again we can speak of a third way: it is no longer the shady anti-American nationalism of the 60s and 70s, nor the neoliberalism subservient to the United States of the following period, but the search for a balance that does not deny that the relationship with the United States is important while refusing to play a “subordinate” role in this relationship.