Notes from the front – of 21/4/2016

People’s Assembly Against Austerity continues to advance

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity (PAAA) continues to place itself at the centre of all the key struggles against austerity and the 16 April demonstration was a big success.

Despite poor weather and the proximity to the May elections large numbers of people turned out.

The demo was a success as it bought together a host of unions, campaign groups and militants to unite around the key issues of housing, jobs, education and health with a key slogan that ‘Cameron must go!’.

Politically the movement is also advancing. This was most clear in the speech given by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, which was completely aligned with the anti-austerity movement.

A Labour leader, a Shadow Chancellor and an Opposition which supports an end to austerity is a wholly new development in British politics. Equally important John McDonnell and others are developing a series of popular economic policies based on robust economic analysis that amount to a credible alternative to the current government.

Militant opposition to austerity, popular alternative policies and a durable economic framework will all be required to defeat the Tories and roll back austerity.  The latest demo was another step along that road.  Get involved with the People’s Assembly here.

Oppose unfolding coup plans in Brazil

On 17 April Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted, by 367-137, for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Over the next few weeks the Senate will vote on the issue. If it approves the impeachment process by a simple majority there will be an impeachment trial and Rousseff must step down for 180 days. If two-thirds of the Senate vote against her she will be removed from office permanently.

The supporters of a coup are using the pretext of claimed budgetary irregularity to depose a democratically elected president. Rousseff is merely accused of transferring funds from state banks to federal accounts for the government to spend on its priorities.

The preparations of a coup d’état against the Workers Party (PT) involve key state institutions; police, prosecutors and judiciary; working in tandem with opposition parties abusing a constitutional process. The goal is to end of the 13 year period of PT rule, by overthrowing the Rousseff government and preventing a Lula government succeeding it. The aim is to destroy both leaders; Rousseff by impeachment, Lula by the courts.

The preparations to overthrow the PT are backed by the most powerful sections of Brazillian capital. In the Congress, the main opposition parties back a coup, including supporters of the 1964 coup that installed Brazil’s 20 year long dictatorship.

The US backs the plotters so it can restore its influence in Latin America largest economy and add to the gains it is making in the region since Argentina elected a right wing president.

Should the Senate approve the impeachment process the Vice-President Michel Temer, a coup plotter from the PMDB party, is likely to replace Rousseff. He has indicated he favours a severe austerity programme; ending the indexation of salaries and benefits to inflation, cutting health and education spending and privatising state assets – policies would further weaken the economic situation.

Rousseff has promised her opponents a long fight saying that ‘this is not the beginning of the end, this is the beginning of the fight, and it will be a long one’.

The PT is mobilising on the streets and preparing for the long struggle ahead. It has a significant base, 43 million (41.6 per cent) voted for Rousseff in the first round of the 2014 Presidential election.

Progressive people should defend Brazilian democracy from this coup.

Follow the campaign against the coup in Brazil
twitter: @No coup in Brazil