Sao Paulo saw a demonstration of 6,000 people organised by the main trade union federation, the landless movement, and the national union of students. All are closely linked to Lula and the PT. While the marchers opposed any attempts by the right to topple Lula they also attacked corruption and the government’s neo-liberal policies.
The protest’s significance was that the industrial region of Sao Paulo is Lula’s base, from which he launched the PT on the back of a wave of strikes by engineering workers.
Unrest over corruption in government is connecting with opposition to its economic policies and spreading into the organisations which provide the PT’s social base. Events are moving quickly. Over the coming months key groups of workers are set to press for significant wage increases.
The right is also keen to exploit the situation with a campaign to impeach Lula. Initially big business was not keen on talk of removing a government that has served it well, but the right is now beginning to smell blood.
Inside the working class and the mass movements the danger is that the “all politicians are corrupt” argument can lead to apathy and this can open the door to the right.
Many crucial activists are not openly talking of leaving the PT. Some may join P-Sol, but many will not yet be ready to take that step. P-Sol has an opportunity to build a broad campaign against the corrupt politicians which forge links with to the challenge to Lula’s free market policies.