By Frei Betto on September 29, 2016
I continue joining those who are saying “Temer Out!” and denouncing, here in Europe where I am currently working, the usurpation of Delma by the Vice-President as a parliamentary coup. But the progressive political forces, which delivered the victory to the Workers Party (PT) in four parliamentary elections, must do self-criticism.
There is no doubt, except for the myopic sector of the opposition, that the 13 years of the Government of the PT were the best of our republican history. It was not so good for the IMF, which deserved a red card; not good either for the big corruptors, who have been favored with protection from the Public Prosecutor’s office and the Federal Police; nor was it good during that time for the interests of the United States, that was affected by an independent foreign policy; nor was it good for those who defended the funding of electoral campaigns by companies and banks; nor for the invaders of indigenous and slave territories.
The past 13 years were better for 45 million Brazilians who benefited from social programs, allowing them to leave misery. It was better for those who receive minimum wage that was revised annually above the level of inflation. It was better for those who then had access to the University, thanks to the quota system, the ProUni (University for all Program) and Fies (The Financing Fund for Postsecondary Students). It was better for the domestic market that was strengthened by the fight against inflation. It was also better for millions of families who benefited from the Electricity for All and Mi Casa, Mi Vida programs; and for all the patients served by the program More Doctors.
Despite everything we were wrong. The coup was also possible due to our errors. In the 13 years we did not promote political literacy of the population. We did not try to organize the popular bases. We did not value the media who supported the Government or had effective initiatives to democratize the media. We did not adopt an economic policy oriented towards the domestic market.
In the moments of difficulty we called the arsonists to put out the fire meaning we called the neo-liberal economists who think with the mind of the wealthy. We did not make any structural reform, such as the agrarian, fiscal and the provisional. Now we are victims of the omission in regards to the political reform that never took place.
In what ashamed trunk will we keep those authors who persuade us to analyze reality through the liberating optics of the oppressed? Where are the masses, the popular communities, the critical consciousness in art and faith?
Why did we abandon the peripheries; treated the social movements as less important and closed schools and militant training centers?
We were contaminated by the right. We accept the adulation of their employers; we enjoyed their royalties; from the power we made a trampoline for social ascendency.
We changed a Brazilian Project for a power Project. To win elections became more important than to promote changes through the mobilization of the social movements.
Deceived, we abided by a bourgeois conception of the State, as if the State could not be a tool in the hands of the popular forces and that it had had to be always protected by the elite. The price to pay for the committed mistakes arrived. And in the streets of the country the reaction to the coup was not strong enough to prevent it.
But let us leave pessimism behind and look forward tobetter days. It is time for self-criticism in practice and reorganization in hope.
Frei Betto is Brazilian theologian and one of the greatest exponents of the Theology of Liberation.
Translated by Resumen Latinoamericano, North America Bureau