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New Workers' Party Founded In Brazil
AMIDST ENTHUSIASTIC scenes, upwards of 1,000 workers, young people and representatives from the landless movement, formed a new party - "Party of Socialism and Liberty" (SOL) - in Brasília on 5-6 June. 20,000 participated in regional and city meetings leading up to this historic conference.
The impetus for SOL came from the sharp rightward shift of Lula's PT government and party. Some left PT MPs originally protested against attacks on workers' pensions rights and the brutal offensive against the civil servants - but only one senator in the upper house, Heloísa Helena, and three MPs in the lower house, voted against these vicious attacks.
In the conference, militant speeches for "socialism" and "revolution" gained an enthusiastic response from the floor, with constant chanting of slogans and demands for socialism now.
Party leader Heloísa Helena is a very popular figure and an extremely effective mass orator, as is Babá, another MP from Pará in the north of Brazil. She said that "the party will hold up the banner of socialism and struggle relentlessly against a system which kills workers and the poor".
SOL's constitution is very democratic, with the right to tendencies to put their position within the party and publicly if they so wish. A political programme was accepted far to the left of other parties that have been created elsewhere, with an explicit pledge for socialism and revolution.
Some aspects of the programme however, need clarification and these were taken up by the members of Socialismo Revolucionário, the Brazilian section of the Committee for a Worker's International.
This new formation is not a classically "broad party" but a coalition of sizeable Trotskyist and revolutionary trends. But with the right approach it could find a big echo amongst angry and radicalised Brazilians.
JOAO BATISTA (Baba) was an MP of the ruling PT party but was expelled for opposing the cuts programme carried out by Lula's PT government. Baba, a founding member of SOL, will address the opening rally of Socialism 2004. Book your ticket today!