[Brazil] "Political reform" attacks left parties and legalizes the funding of corrupt ones

Written by Mariúcha Fontana – PSTU
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 19:08
The Brazilian National Congress approved on Thursday, 28 a barrier clause which prevents the left parties from having access to television time during the elections and also to the state party fund, the same fund the Congress, a few days before, had tripled for the other parties.
At the same time, the day before, after a maneuver of the House Speaker, Deputy Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), the deputies also approved to include in the Constitution the right to funding the political parties by private business. These Acts are part of the “political reform” under discussion at the Congress. To be sanctioned, they must go Senate and return to the House of Representatives.
It is worth remembering that Eduardo Cunha is accused by Public prosecutors to be involved in the huge corruption scandal called “Lava Jato Operation” by the federal investigators.
This reactionary “reform” makes far worse what was very bad already. This Congress – filled with corrupted politicians – whose popularity is around 9%, according to a poll by the DataFolha Institute, takes away democratic rights from workers and makes Brazilian politics even less democratic.
This voting is a very hard attack against democracy and, if it is also passed in the Senate, it puts parties such as the PSTU, the PCB or the PCO, in fact, in a situation of near illegality, because the right to contest elections becomes purely formal. In practice it cannot be exercised. By taking away the free television time of the PSTU it decrees its invisibility, and prevents the vast majority of voters to become aware of the party and its proposals.
Today, the political system is already extremely undemocratic, by failing to ensure equal time on television for all parties and equal participation in debates, by allowing private funding and million-dollar campaigns, which distort the participation of the parties and the will of voters, since it allows overpriced, misleading campaigns built on lies constructed with advertising agencies, not to mention vote buying. In addition, the minimum electoral quotient required for electing the first deputy or senator distorts the proportionality and favors electoral machines.
The proponents of this reactionary reform argue that the problem of the Brazilian political system is the number of parties and the small acronyms, which would be “rental” parties, which legalize themselves to receive money from the party fund and then sell their rights to TV time for the bigger parties through spurious coalitions. But the problem of the political system is not in the number of existing parties. On the contrary: we had to overthrow the dictatorship to obtain the right to political organization.
The problem is, actually, in the major parties. Starting with the PMDB of Eduardo Cunha [ the major party in Congress], which does nothing but to deal with the PSDB, or the PT, or the companies that fund its million-dollar campaigns, depending only on what party would give it more advantages.  The major parties are corrupted and corrupters (they sell and buy political interests, they rent and are rented).
Thus, the decision of the parties represented in Congress to remove the TV time from the parties without such representation is just a case of legislating in their own cause, because they decree TV time a monopoly of those parties.
But the problem is a lot more serious because it nearly puts in illegality three left parties. The Military coup in 1964, as it stripped the legality of left parties and outlawed them, as it stifled freedoms and democracy, wanted to avoid that the ideas of those parties could reach the people.
The Chamber of Deputies, by preventing the left parties [without Congress representation] from broadcasting their political programs through TV during the electoral campaigns, in a country of continental dimensions as Brazil and with over 200 million inhabitants, does the same thing. It attacks democracy, it tries to silence these parties, preventing them from having access to means of mass communication.
What morals have these major parties like the PT, the PMDB, the PSDB and others that are mired up to their necks in the “Lava Jato” scandal to determine which party has, and which has no right to broadcast their ideas to the people? It is unacceptable that parties such as the PCdoB and the PSOL have given a favorable vote to this undemocratic constitutional amendment, which almost outlaws three left parties, just because it does not harm them.
The Brazilian electoral system, which is already deeply unequal, becomes even more unfair and undemocratic. And it is not only undemocratic to our party and to the others which have also been harmed. It is undemocratic to the Brazilian people, because they have the right to know the ideas of our party, and those of others. In order to even disagree with the ideas of our party and thus to deny us their vote, it is necessary that the voters know our proposals. Without this there is no free vote, there is no sovereign vote. There is manipulation of people because they are given only the information that matters to the parties that control the Chamber of Deputies.
This decision of the Chamber is just one more of the reasons why the PSTU believes that the problems affecting the lives of our people will never have resolution within institutions such as the National Congress: a prostituted institution controlled by the economic power and filled with corrupt politicians. Only the struggle of the working class and the people fighting in the streets will change this country.
But we will not give up on defending democratic rights. And we will not compromise the right we have, as a political party, to have access to TV to say what we think to the Brazilian people. To denounce this den of corruption that is the National Congress. We will fight to defeat this ruling of the National Congress. Many who are building the PSTU faced the dictatorship and did not allow it to shut them up. It will be not now that this will happen.
And we want to count, in this struggle, with all those who defend democratic rights in this country, including those parties who voted for the barrier amendment in the first turn, as the PSOL, the PCdoB and PT. If the democratic rights exist only for a few, they do not exist for anyone. This struggle is, therefore, for all who advocate freedom and democracy.
Translation: Grabiel Tolstoy

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