Brazil CrisisAs I write, the Brazilian Central Bank has thrown in the towel and announced that the R$/US$ exchange rate is to float freely and that a new exchange policy shall be announced the following Monday. The Fnance Minister, Malan, has gone Washington DC to seek financial aid. The FHC government, having to cope with the public deficit (created by the high interest rates offered to foreign investors, which have led to the present crisis in the debts owed by the states to the fed. government) has announced it intends to present a bill project introducing discounts in pensions paid to retired state employees (the said project has been alread 4X rejected by the Congress). The Spokesperson of the House of Representatives, Oliveira, has said that "fear of the crisis will make the project pass". The cynicism of Cardoso's henchmen, even by Brazilian standards, is astounding...
I do not agree with Nestor that the Sao Paulo bourgeoisie will try, for the moment, a reaction to the IMF policies.The project of passive integration in the World Market has gone to far to be forsaken at present, and the Sao Paulo bourgeoisie cannot govern alone; it needs help and parliamentary support from the interests of the bourgeoisie of the North-Eastern states, that supports itself on huge transfers of federal public resources(Nestor is, I think, taking things in Argentinian terms of absolute predominance of the federal center over the periphery). However, any return of domestic inflation will mean that the Cardoso regime is, for all purposes, dead and done.
My hint is that the present regime will try to handle things 1st. by going business-as-usual, by means of furthering the present fiscal squeeze in parliament. However, an emergence of disorders will create the need for more repressive steps to be taken. In the long run, that can mean the reemergence of an authoritarian order, or the beginnings of a conflict between rival bourgeois interests (which makes for much of the fragility of the present regime, that has to buy off each crucial vote in parliament piecemeal) that may lead even to the end of national unity and fragmentation of the country. All things considered, more than ever before, the Left- and in this I agree completely with Nestor- will prosper only by identifying itself with the national interest as a whole. But of that later.
As the Brazilian Congress prepares hurriedly to appease frightened investors and the IMF, after confiscating up to 25% from state employees' pensions, by imposing a regressive tax of 0.38% on all withdrawals from bank accounts and huge budget cuts, the proposal of extraordinary elections made by former Porto Alegre mayor(Workers' Party) Tarso Genro finds rebuttals in the bourgeois press. Today, there is an article in the column of Elio Gaspari's(a kind of latter-day Braz. Walter Lippman) in this vein, from which I translate:
Genro's coup d'etat [*golpismo*, coup-minded idea]
"Genro's proposal amounts to a coup[...]"
"FHC is the constitutional president of Brazil until the 1st january 2003, and will stay in that condition. He was elected by the majority of citzens. His mandate can not be doubted in his legitimacy and to doubt it borders on the criminal or is an eccentric jerk[...]"Much on the same vein follows.
Genro will, in the incoming Party Conference of the PT, next month, to have his proposal adopted as official party policy, to be campaigned upon. In fact, the possibilities of the campaign are great, for, departing from the legalistic idea of proposing a constitutional amendment, what is being exposed is one of the major shortcomings of bourgeois democracy- already put by Marx in 1870 (*The Civil war in France*): after having elected some representative of the ruling class's interests, citizens surrender him/her the sovereign power and have no right to oppose his/her policies during his/her legal term, except if they involve some legally defined felony; even then it is for the judiciary or the legislative branch to have the final say. Out of liberal, radical democratic means, we end by putting problems that involve the socialist transformation of society.