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PSOL’s Congress of 2023

Valerio Arcary
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
Portuguese proverb

1. Despite the reactionary situation, PSol has grown in recent years within the context of the recovery of Lulism: it has been an achievement. It has consolidated itself as the second force of the Brazilian left and one of the most important anti-capitalist parties internationally. It surpassed the electoral threshold clause, regardless of the Federation with the Rede. In 2022, PSol received 3.57% of the valid votes for Federal Deputy (3,787,697 votes). In 2021, 50,000 party members voted for the selection of delegates for the Congress. By the end of 2022, PSol had 226,000 members. An important portion of activism, numbering tens of thousands finds its reference in PSol and is present in various movements such as labor unions, student organizations, popular and women’s movements, Black and Indigenous communities, environmental and LGBTQIA+ causes. The role of the initiatives of the Frente Povo Sem Medo (People Without Fear Front) has been significant, as seen in the response to the coup attempt on January 8th. This process was made possible by the prevailing internal political line of the Bloco PSol de todas as lutas (“Psol of all struggles” bloc): the defense of the tactic of the United Front of the Left , especially with the Frente Brasil Popular (Brazil Popular Front), namely, PT (Workers’ Party), MST (Landless Workers’ Movement), and UNE (Students’ National Union) against Bolsonarism. Preserving this approach, while prioritizing popular mobilization over being present in ministries, will be crucial for PSol. The role of PSol is to be a useful tool for the struggle of workers and youth and a focal point for the reorganization of the Brazilian left.

2. It is worth recalling the four stages of PSOL’s history up until today: (a) the heroic moment of its foundation was an immense challenge because the belief in the possibility of the existence of a party to the left of PT, with the capacity to gain mass support, involved immense risks; (b) the second rupture from PT led by Ivan Valente’s group in 2007 and the consolidation as a left opposition to the Lula and Dilma Rousseff governments through Plínio de Arruda Sampaio’s courageous presidential campaign in 2010 favored an independent appearance in the movements sparked by the June 2013 protests and expanded the audience of Luciana Genro in 2014; (c) the third stage began with the shift in response to the “institutional” coup in 2016 and the struggle for a United Front of the Left against Temer and Bolsonaro, the integration of Resistance, the privileged relationship with MTST and APIB led by Sonia Guajajara, which allowed for a leap in quality that led Boulos to the second round in the 2020 election in São Paulo; (d) the fourth stage begins with the balanced stance towards the Broad Front government led by PT: PSOL does not integrate the government because it is a government of class collaboration, but it defends it in the streets and in Congress against the threats of the far right: a tropical version of the Portuguese left-wing alliance.

3. The main challenge of the Congress is to defend the continuity of a political strategy that has been successful thus far. The line should ensure the defense of three axes: (a) the relentless fight against the far right because Lula’s election was by a narrow margin, without a prior wave of large mass mobilizations like in Bolivia, Chile, or Colombia, and Bolsonarism still holds positions in the three southeastern states’ governments, the Armed Forces, and the Police, in addition to its mass influence; (b) the defense of social mobilization in the class struggle through the United Front of the Left, uniting the Popular Brazil and People Without Fear Fronts in the face of the need to unify the working class, which remains divided by fascistoid poison, in struggles for the concrete demands of the people and the youth, such as on January 9 against the coup, and in the campaign for the repeal of the high school reform; (c) the struggle for a program of anticapitalist structural reforms, which requires political independence from the government to propose measures that go to the end in repressing the neo-fascists, such as the arrest of Bolsonaro, the demand for the resignation of Campos Neto, the rejection of the fiscal framework approved, and the need for tax reform that achieves justice by taxing income and wealth. Those who advocate for a pure “neither-nor” line, meaning left-wing opposition to the Lula government, have not learned the fundamental lesson of recent years: the country is fractured by the overwhelming weight of the neo-fascists. The experience of the last four months has confirmed that the space for opposition to the government of the Broad Front is currently fully occupied by right-wing opposition, led by the far right. It was already irresponsible to agitate for “Fora Todos” (Everyone Out!) between 2015-16 when the far right took to the streets with “Fora Dilma” (Dilma out!), imagining that Brazil was in an “Argentinian” moment of 2001/2002 that sparked the “Que se vayan todos” movement. Repeating the same mistake in 2023 would be unforgivable.

4. The leadership dispute in the Congress will not be a bureaucratic struggle for control of the apparatus. It is not artificial. It corresponds, roughly speaking, to accumulated differences in strategy, and it should reenact the struggle between the Psol of all Struggles Bloc (PTL), which unites PSol Popular (Primavera and Revolução Solidária) and PSol Semente (Resistência, Insurgência, and Subverta), which played a key role in getting us to this point, against the Left Bloc, led by MES, associated with collectives like APS Nova Era, and the tendencies Fortalecer and Comuna (which has just split), as well as smaller groups. The voting will not be done in ballot boxes, as in 2021, due to the pandemic. It will take place in face-to-face Plenary debates of party members. The municipal stage will take place in cities between July 29 and September 3. The state stage will take place between September 9 and 10 and September 16 and 17. The National Congress will be held on September 29, 30, and October 1. The balance of power will be measured based on the mobilization for the Plenaries, and there is some margin of uncertainty. But it is most likely that there will be growth in the PTL Bloc, ensuring a majority greater than the 56% in 2021. At the same time, an increase in the influence of MES within the Left Opposition Bloc is predictable.

5. PSOL’s project should be to be a broad left-wing party with an anti-capitalist momentum that brings together currents with varied strategic definitions and combative activists from social movements who embrace a program of structural reforms. PSOL is not a militant Marxist party structured in unitary nuclei of intervention in the class struggle. However, the dilemma should not be reduced to an ultimatum choice: either a “perfect” Bolshevik party or the fragmentation of the radical left into dozens of impotent tendencies, condemned to marginality as literary circles of propaganda. The existence of PSOL is more than progressive: it is a rare, valuable, and precious jewel. The construction of a party to the left of PT is only possible by respecting the limits of possible agreements. PSOL organizes itself as a Front of groups that intervene together in electoral processes, but it is not a machine of institutionalized officials in parliamentary offices. PSol cannot be a Revolutionary Front like the FIT in Argentina. Those who defend this perspective are sowing, whether consciously or not, the explosion of PSol. It cannot have Leninist-inspired centralism, or else it will explode. PSOL has never been stronger than it is today, and it can be decisive in the fight against the far-right and a pole for the reorganization of the left, attracting groups and activists from diverse origins still dispersed. Boulos is at the peak as the most popular leadership on the left, second only to Lula, leading the polls for the 2024 election in São Paulo. There are good reasons to continue betting on the continued growth of PSOL.



Marcado como:
brazil / psol