From the 1916 Societies:
Sean Bresnahan of the Thomas Ashe Society Omagh places the Temer coup in Brazil within its wider geopolitical context, discussing its implications for democracy and its relevance to the wider anti-imperialist struggle.
The little reported but ongoing political crisis in Brazil represents an imperialist attack on the people of that country, with both the legally-established institutions of democracy and the wider democratic process usurped by the right-wing government of Michel Temer and its seizing of power without democratic mandate.
The ouster of the elected government of President Dilma Rousseff, in a ‘constitutional coup’ orchestrated by reactionary sectors of the state in league with outside capitalist interests, should be seen in its appropriate context, as an external interference in the affairs of a sovereign nation in violation of international law. As such, it is to be condemned by Irish republicans and the wider anti-imperialist movement.
What is happening in Brazil at this moment, the destabilising of that society and accompanying ‘soft coup’, directly relates to the imperialist agenda of Washington and her allies, chiefly with attempts to re-absorb ‘the yard’ into their political and economic orbit. Political instability in Venezuela is likewise connected to this same project – which indeed reaches beyond South America to North Africa, the Middle East and right the way to the Asia-Pacific.
Brazil is one of the largest economies in the world today and a key member of the fledgling ‘BRICS’ association of nations, whose emerging initiative for economic partnership threatens the status of the Petrodollar as unrivalled world reserve currency. Thus, the ouster of the Rousseff left government and its replacement with a compliant local elite is intended to prise Brazil from that emerging alliance and reassert US regional hegemony.
Here we find the real motive behind this coup. There are also of course, though, obvious contributing factors internal to the society which are not to be discounted, factors relating to its demographic composition in terms of race and class. This much is evident not only in the all-white appointments to the Temer Cabinet but in terms of the economic interests it seeks to uphold. The anti-Israeli stance of Dilma Rousseff must also be considered, given the critical role of Zionist big media in her ouster.
Michel Temer’s coup government, since illegally seizing power, has at once sought to row back on hard-won reforms, the intent being to facilitate in their stead a neoliberal austerity agenda at the expense of the ordinary people of Brazil. In Ireland we know only too well the cost of such measures and their impact on society. We also have a long experience of the imperial agenda and its complete disregard for the notion of popular consent.
That the Temer government, absent democratic mandate and on behalf of its corporate paymasters at home and abroad, is imposing a right-wing attack on the rights of workers and on social protections for ordinary Brazilians represents a serious regression of democratic standards in Brazil and, indeed, the right of the Brazilian people to self-determination. The ouster of Dilma Rousseff effectively amounts to a subtle reimposition of dictatorship.
Such a serious assault on the democratic process demonstrates the lengths reactionary power is prepared to travel and should further stiffen our opposition to austerity policies as those of Temer – as those indeed in our own country – both of which have been forced on our respective peoples by a clientelist political class in the thrall of Big Business.
Indeed the imposition of authoritarian rule over and above the democratic will of the people can be witnessed not only in Brazil but here in Ireland. Not only is democracy yet denied to those in the Six Counties under British rule, in the South we have endured imposed austerity at the behest of the unelected and undemocratic ‘Troika’, who threatened to wreck the economy there unless their demands were met.
The experience of Ireland, with that now of Brazil, serves as forewarning for how democratic standards and economic sovereignty can be ridden over roughshod when power and the right require it. The lesson is clear. Only a politically aware and grassroots-centred popular movement for change can successfully resist power. It is the people alone that can bend power to their will and ordinary people must organise with the same in mind.
My full support is with those in the popular movements on the ground in Brazil, to the mass of the people who continue to resist the corporate agenda of Temer and his neoliberal sponsors, to those who are defending Brazil’s fledgling democracy from the machinations of the capitalist right. The struggle of one against power is the struggle of all. As republicans and as democrats our solidarity is theirs.
We must seek also that our own people build effective opposition to the same right-wing forces that occupy the north of our country and that hold the people to the south in the thrall of neoliberal austerity. We must remain focused and determined on playing what role we can in developing a popular alliance towards that end, that can challenge those forces and deliver in turn the Independent All-Ireland Republic that remains the right of our people.