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Brazil: Successful Socialismo Revolucionario congress
"SOCIALISMO REVOLUCIONARIO, the Brazilian section of the CWI, made a leap forward during the last year. The growth in membership and branches, the new branches, like Rio de Janeiro, the interventions amongst students, in the trade unions work, and the growth in our paper sales, all reflect this progress. Our work in P-SOL, and the coming election campaign, will give us the possibility to make a new leap forward and double our membership".
Marcus Kollbrunner, Socialismo Revolucionario, Brazil
This was the message given by Mariana Cristina, who introduced the discussion on party building at the congress of Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Brazil), on 25-26 March. This optimism and determination permeated the congress, at which delegates from ten different cities were present.
There was a lengthy discussion on the political situation in Brazil, and, in particular, developments in the new socialist party, Party of Socialism and Liberty (P-SOL).
P-SOL is going to play an important role in the elections later this year, especially with its well known MP, Heloisa Helena, standing for president. She is currently polling 5%-8%.
"Brazil is in a transitional period. The PT [Workers' Party- the governing party of President Lula] is no longer an alternative for real change for the working class. Lula's government has implemented a series of neo-liberal attacks on workers rights, at the same time that the banks make their biggest profits ever. An alternative is being constructed, the P-SOL, but is still only in the beginning," argued David Torrio in his introduction.
David explained that: "P-SOL is at a crucial stage. There is a pressure from various currents to limit the party to just an electoral front."
Andre Ferrari, (a member of P-SOL's National Executive) also explained the need to fight against what would be a retreat in the building of P-SOL.
"We see this kind of retreat in the electoral programme of Heloisa Helena, compared to the provisional party programme. For example, she is no longer calling for the foreign debt not to be paid, but instead calls for a 'prolongation of the profile of the debt' - that would mean paying less interest but for a longer period!"
"[But], regardless of a retreat within the P-SOL party, it is important to recognise that Heloisa Helena's election campaign is going to be seen as a left alternative by workers and youth, in general, and will get widespread support. Socialismo Revolucionario (SR) will participate fully in the campaign, and also campaign for our own candidate for state MP in Sao Paulo - a campaign that will have a more coherent socialist programme that will be needed to fight the coming government, who ever wins the election."
In The Socialist 6 April 2006: