What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether Petrobrás will be privatised – as Alckmin’s assistant, Mendoça de Barros, affirms in the Exame magazine – and with it, Banco do Brasil, Caixa Economica Federal and Eletrobrás. Emir Sader writes.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether social movements will be re-criminalised and repressed by the federal government.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether Brazil will continue to follow its foreign policy of priority to alliances with Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Cuba as well as other countries from the global South, as an alternative to submission to US policies.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether there will be a return to policies of savage privatisations in education.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether cultural policies will be centred on private funding.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether we’ll have fewer or more precarious jobs, fewer or more jobs in the formal sector.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether there will be more or less public investment in areas like energy, communications, roads, sanitation, education, health and culture.
What’s at stake in the second round is more than whether we’re going to continue reducing inequality in Brazil through redistributive social policies – micro credit, rising of real purchasing power of the minimum salary, lowering the prices of basic goods, Bolsa Família, electricity to rural areas, among others – or if we’re going back to the PSDB-PFL line of policies exercised by the former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
What’s at stake in the second round is all this – which, already alone, makes an immense difference between the two candidates. What most of all is at stake in the second round is Brazil's international position, with direct consequences on the country’s destiny.
With Lula, foreign policy will continue to prioritise regional integration and South-South alliances in opposition to the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) and favour the Mercosur. With Alckmin free trade would be the priority: the FTAA, a bilateral treaty with the USA, isolation of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), which would weaken the Mercosur, the South American Community of Nations, alliances with South Africa and India and the G20.
What’s at stake in the second round is whether Brazil will subordinate its future to policies of free trade or regional integration. This makes a major difference for the future of Brazil and Latin America. Adopting free trade and opening for good the country’s economy to large international – particularly North American – monopolies means giving up the right to any form of internal regulation – environmental, monetary, quotas etc. It means to definitely condemn Brazil to a situation where market policies are at the centre, with the perpetuation of inequalities that make our country the most unequal in the world.
What’s at stake in the second round is finally whether we will have a country that’s less unequal or a country that’s more unequal, if we will have a sovereign or a subordinated country, if we will have a more democratic or a less democratic country, if we will definitely turn into a speculative market and consolidate ourselves as a conservative country that’s driven by oligarch elites (like a mixture of luxury department store Daslu and Opus Dei). If we will be a country, a society, a nation – democratic and sovereign – or if we will be reduced to a stock market, a shopping centre surrounded by misery from all sides.
All this is at stake in the second round. In this situation no one can be neutral, no one can distance himself, no one can be indifferent.