sexta-feira, 20 de julho de 2012

Rascunho (em inglês) de palestra na Universidade do PIE

Good morning to all!

In the first place I would like to thank the invitation for the São Paulo Forum to contribute with the European Left Summer University.

For those who still do not know what the São Paulo Forum is, I recommend reading two texts: the Base Document and the Final Declaration of the 18th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum held on 3 to 6 July 2012, in Caracas, Venezuela.

These two texts have been translated into English and were sent to the organizing committee of this Summer University to be handed out to the participants.

I have also asked that two other texts be distributed, which have also been translated into English: the resolutions of the 4th Congress of the Workers Party of Brazil, on whose directing board I sit; and a text of my own, entitled Una ventana abierta [An Open Window], in which I detail what I will talk about here in a more summarized way.

Our panel’s theme is The crisis in Europe as a part of the global crisis.

I wish to contribute to this theme by addressing three issues: how we are facing the global crisis; how we are reacting to it; and how we are seeing the situation in Europe.

We agree this is a global crisis, even though it does not affect in the same way every region, country, social sector and dimension of human life. I will sum up, next, the main variables we see in this global crisis.

We consider, in the first place, that this is a crisis of neoliberal capitalism, that is, a crisis of the capitalist pattern of accumulation that has become hegemonic since the crisis of the 1970s.

This crisis of neoliberal capitalism is the expression of and is translatable into several interrelated crises: financial, trade, environmental, political, military and so on. For reasons of time, I will not approach these different aspects, yet I underscore that only by building on such concrete analysis will we be able to extract political guidelines to face the crisis.

The crisis of neoliberal capitalism is interrelated with another variable: the dislocation of the world’s geopolitical center, which seems to be shifting from the West back to the east, after at least 500 years.

A third variable of the global crisis is the decline in the United States hegemony. Surely decline is not demise. Besides, as we are witnessing, the United States’ dominant classes are acting aggressively to try and reverse this decline: at home, by operating a more reactionary shift from the social, political, and ideological point of view; and abroad, by resorting to the country’s media apparatus, the dollar’s monopoly, and the power of weapons.

The global crisis possesses a fourth variable, which is the conflict between two models of capitalism: the neoliberal type versus State capitalism, a conflict we can discern, however imperfectly, in the clash between the US–European Union alliance versus the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

Still regarding this variable, I would like to point out the following: the main conflict existing today in the world is intercapitalist, between distinct models of capitalism. The socialist alternative is still at a moment of strategic defensive and realizing this is of the utmost political importance.

A fifth variable of the global crisis is the uncertainty as to what its outcome will be.  . Actually, the outcome is being built in the struggles between the States and, within each State, between the different social classes.

The backdrop for this struggle is reminiscent of a classic Marxist idea: the profound contradiction between the development of the capitalist productive forces, between the capacity of humanity to create riches, and the limited character of relations of production based on private ownership and on private appropriation of this huge wealth.

This profound contradiction can be translated like this: the problems are increasingly more global and will not be resolved as long as power is concentrated in the hands of a few capitalists, transnational enterprises, and some few powerful national States.

The uncertainty about the outcome of the global crisis is the result, precisely, of the inexistence of a power that is capable of building such solution.

Evidently, this will not always be so. What is happening right now in the United States, in Europe, and in the Middle East is part of a somewhat coordinated plan to overcome the crisis, from the point of view of the social classes and countries that dominated and benefited from the neoliberal era.

The question is, “Will the working classes and the exploited countries manage to muster the political strength necessary to win the contest?”, whereas winning here means 1) defeating neoliberalism, 2) defeating capitalism and 3) beginning the transition toward an advanced socialist society.

Evidently we cannot know that. However, we can surely say that the process that has been underway in Latin America since 1998 and 2002, with the elections of presidents Chávez and Lula, is a fulcrum for the struggle of the working classes and for the struggle of the exploited countries of the world. 

How can we summarize what is happening in Latin America?

Very concisely, the forces that have opposed neoliberalism have managed to take over several of the most important governments of the region; and in those we are not the government, we have generally become the main opposition force.

Thanks to this there has been a change in the correlation of forces in the region we call Latin America and the Caribbean.  This change has made it possible to broaden the levels of political democracy and the social conditions of our population. At the same time, we have furthered national sovereignty and regional integration.

Evidently all this is taking place amid strong contradictions of all kinds. We are not speaking of perfect processes, those that only exist in the laboratories of the so-called political scientists. We are speaking of real processes, carried out by real people, within the framework of a worldwide correlation of forces that is still extremely hard for those who are leftist.

It must also be stressed that, since Obama’s election, we have been under a strong counterattack by the United States and our region’s conservative sectors. An example thereof are the electoral victories of the right in Guatemala, in Panama, in Costa Rica, and in Chile; as well as the coups in Honduras and Paraguay; or still in the re-creation of the United States Fourth Fleet, a decision we link to an attempt to control Venezuela’s and Brazil’s oil reserves.

Be as it may, the experience in Latin America and the Caribbean demonstrates that it is possible, even in the context of a still very difficult global situation for the left, to advance, win, build alternatives, and anticipate hope.

Lastly, we are convinced that we will not win alone. If there are no changes in the correlation of forces in other regions in the world, sooner or later we will suffer a setback in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This is why the São Paulo Forum is investing in organizing Latin-American migrants in the United States and in Europe. 

Moreover, this is why we expect the European left to be able to defend the Welfare State, to be able to defend democratic freedoms, to be able to defeat the conservative integration mostly controlled by the German and French financial capital, to be able to weaken European imperialism and colonialism and be able to, above all, to make the working class become once again a protagonist.

Lastly, I would like to highlight that the key theme, from our point of view, lies in politics, in the capacity to bring together the social and political leftist forces around a political project that can gain the support of the majority of the population.

This is what we have been doing in Latin America and, at least this far, we have made important accomplishments.

Thank you very much.

Tradutor: Robert Bruce de Figueiredo Stuart

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