Brazil: Overthrowing Dilma Rousseff

Published on The Bullet, Socialist Project’s E-Bulletin No. 1237, by Alfredo Saad Filho, March 23, 2016.

Every so often, the bourgeois political system runs into crisis. The machinery of the state jams; the veils of consent are torn asunder and the tools of power appear disturbingly naked. Brazil is living through one of those moments: it is dreamland for social scientists; a nightmare for everyone else.

Dilma Rousseff was elected President in 2010, with a 56-44 per cent majority against the right-wing neoliberal PSDB (Brazilian Social Democratic Party) opposition candidate. She was reelected four years later with a diminished yet convincing majority of 52-48 per cent, or a majority of 3.5 million votes … //

… Booming Economy: … //
The Opposition: … //
The Investigation: … //

The Coup:

Why is this a coup? Because despite aggressive scrutiny, no Presidential crime warranting an impeachment has emerged. Nevertheless, the political right has thrown the kitchen sink at Dilma Rousseff. They rejected the outcome of the 2014 elections and appealed against her alleged campaign finance violations, which would remove from power both Dilma and the Vice-President – now, chief conspirator – Michel Temer (strangely enough, his case has been parked). The right simultaneously started impeachment procedures in Congress. The media has attacked the government viciously for years, the neoliberal economists plead for a new administration to ‘restore market confidence’, and the right will resort to street violence if it becomes necessary. Finally, the judicial charade against the PT has broken all the rules of legality, yet it is cheered on by the media, the right and even by Supreme Court Justices.

Yet… the coup de grâce is taking a long time coming. In the olden days, the military would have already moved in. Today, the Brazilian military are defined more by their nationalism (a danger to the neoliberal onslaught) than by their right-wing faith and, anyway, the Soviet Union is no more. Under neoliberalism, coups d’état must follow legal niceties, as was shown in Honduras, in 2009, and in Paraguay, in 2012.

Brazil is likely to join their company, but not just now: large sections of capital want to restore the hegemony of neoliberalism; those who once supported the PT’s national development strategy have fallen into line; the media is howling so loudly it has become impossible to think clearly, and most of the upper middle class has descended into a fascist hatred for the PT, the left, the poor, and the black. Their disorderly hatred has become so intense that even PSDB politicians are booed in anti-government demonstrations. And, despite the relentless attack, the left remains reasonably strong, as was demonstrated on 18th March. The right and the elite are powerful and ruthless – but they are also afraid of the consequences of their own daring.

There is no simple resolution to the political, economic and social crises in Brazil. Dilma Rousseff has lost political support and the confidence of capital, and she is likely to be removed from office in the coming days. However, attempts to imprison Lula could have unpredictable implications and, even if Dilma and Lula are struck off the political map, a renewed neoliberal hegemony cannot automatically restore political stability or economic growth, or secure the social prominence that the upper middle class craves. Despite strong media support for the impending coup, the PT, other left parties and many radical social movements remain strong. Further escalation is inevitable. Watch this space.

(full long text).

(Alfredo Saad Filho is Professor of Political Economy at the SOAS Department of Development Studies. His research interests include the political economy of neoliberalism, industrial policy, alternative macroeconomic policies, and the labour theory of value and its applications).

on en.wikipedia: Alfredo Saad-Filho, BSc, MSc, PhD, is a Marxian economist. He has degrees in Economics from Universidade de Brasília (Brazil) and the University of London (SOAS), and has taught and researched in universities in Brazil and Mozambique as well as the UK. His research interests include the political economy of development, industrial policy, Latin American political and economic development, inflation and stabilisation, and the labour theory of value and its applications. He is a member of the Deutscher Memorial Prize Committee, an associate editor of the Socialist Register, and a member of the editorial board of the Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, the South Korean journal Marxism 21. He is also a participating editor of Latin American Perspectives, a member of the advisory board of Historical Materialism, and a member of the international editorial board of Studies in Political Economy, among other journals. He held the position of head of department of Development Studies at SOAS between January 2007 and December 2009, and was a Senior Economics Affairs Officer at the UNCTAD Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries, in Geneva, Switzerland …;


Einblicke in das Arsenal legaler Plünderungen – Dr. Dirk Solte, 72.11 min, von AStAderJLU … Vortrag während den Ökosozialen Hochschultagen in Gießen;

Suisse: quelque 1600 arbustes plantés à Domdidier, Canton de Fribourg, dans La Liberté.ch, le 23 mars 2016: une vingtaine d’agriculteurs ont uni leurs efforts mardi à Domdidier pour planter environ 1600 arbustes d’une quinzaine d’espèces. Une galerie photo du projet est à voir sur notre site internet;

Suisse: pour un revenu de base sans condition, par Francis Fasel, Villarimboud, le 21 mars: On nous annonce dans les vingt ans à venir une disparition massive des emplois. En effet pour des soucis de rentabilité et d’efficacité, la robotisation des outils de production et la digitalisation de notre économie s’accélèrent. Nous savons de plus que les nouvelles technologies ne créent pas autant d’emplois que l’économie traditionnelle. L’exemple de l’avènement des caisses automatiques dans les supermarchés le démontre: elles suppriment des emplois …;

Suisse: Le nouveau patron des Verts réaffirme l’originalité de son parti, dans La Tribune de Genève, par Marc Bretton, le 20 mars 2016: pour Nicolas Walder, élu à la présidence samedi, son parti reste le seul à dénoncer le dogme de la croissance infinie;

Les Français déboussolés face à la complexité des allocations sociales, dans atlantico, par Alexandre Delaigue, le 17 mars 2016: une majorité de Français ne maîtrise pas, ou mal, les subtiles nuances du système de prestations et d’allocations sociales, à en croire les embarrassants résultats de la dernière étude de la Drees à ce sujet. La complexité du système actuel et son manque d’efficacité confèrent d’autant plus d’attrait au revenu universel qu’il pourrait fournir des méthodes pour lutter contre la pauvreté;

Scots need tax cuts too, Sturgeon warned, on, by Tom Martin, March 17, 2017:  Nicola Sturgeon has come under renewed pressure not to use Scotland’s new powers to axe George Osborne’s income tax cuts for the middle classes;

FRANCE: Impôt sur le revenu, tout ce que vous devez savoir sur le prélèvement à la source, dans Dossier Familial, par Anne-Gaëlle Nicolas-Koch, le 16 mars 2016;

Scrapping salary sacrifice to hit basic tax payers – Zurich, on FT Adviser, by Ruth Gillbe, March 16, 2016;

Il n’y aura pas de taux unique de TVA pour relancer l’économie, dans Le, par Berhard Wuthrich, le 16 mars 2016;

New Zealanders want to give everyone a ‘citizen’s wage’ and scrap benefits, on, by Caroline Mortimer, March 152016; ,

Sex work, utopia, and what we can learn from prison abolitionism, on openDemocracy, by Kathi Weeks, March 14, 2016;

… and this:

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