Oppose expulsions in PT - Brazilian Workers' Party

We the undersigned, like millions of others around the world, shared the joy of the Brazilian people when Lula was elected President of Brazil last year.

After more than a decade of neo-liberal policies devastating the peoples of the world; after more than four years of a new, diverse, international movement of opposition arguing that another world is possible - in which Lula, the PT and the World Social Forums in Porto Alegre played a crucial part - it seemed that at last there would be a chance to show there really is an alternative.

Of course the circumstances are difficult, the legacy is a heavy one, and time has been short. But it is with deep alarm and dismay that we learn the PT is now considering expelling three of its most outspoken members of congress for publicly opposing the governmentıs planned pension reforms. It is not our business to express an opinion about the detail of the Brazilian governmentıs policies. However we do know that pension reform, not only in Latin America but here in Europe and elsewhere, has been a key issue pitting neo-liberal governments and the IMF against the organised labour movement. Just one day after the PT decided to begin disciplinary proceedings against these three members of congress, millions of workers in France and Austria took action against pension reform in their countries. We also understand that the PT itself opposed similar pension reforms when they were proposed by the previous government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

It therefore seems to us very grave that the PT leadership is now considering drastic punishment against those who continue to argue for the PTıs traditional policies. Of course, as Emir Sader of the World Social Forum International Council has put it, the Lula government may well have the right to change its mind about such issues, but to punish those who have not changed their mind would send a terrible message around the world. To those millions of workers on the streets in France and Austria, to the many millions more who have been mobilising against neoliberalism and war, it will seem to say, "Sorry, we donıt care about all that, weıve decided there really is no alternative". It will also suggest that the PT as a party has given up on its proud tradition of democracy, pluralism and tolerance.

We therefore urge you to step back from any expulsions and reaffirm the PTıs role as a beacon of hope for all of us around the world who want to work with you to realise our common dream - that another world is indeed possible.

Signatories so far include:
Michael Albert, author of "Parecon: Life after Capitalism", ZNet
Noam Chomsky, Professor, MIT
Bob Crow, General Secretary RMT
Billy Hayes, General Secretary CWU
Michael Albert, author of "Parecon: Life after Capitalism", Znet/Z Magazine
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary PCS
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Labour Party
John McDonnell MP, Labour Party
Ken Loach, film director
Chris Ballance MSP, Green Party
Frances Curran MSP, Scottish Socialist Party
Robin Harper MSP, Green Party
Carolyn Leckie, MSP, Scottish Socialist Party
Joe Higgins TD (Teachta Dála, member of Irish Parliament), Socialist Party
Jean Lambert, MEP, Green Party
Simeon Andrews, press officer, Socialist Campaign Group of MPs
Chandana Keerthi Bandara, journalist
Geoffrey Barber, USDAW
Mike Barton, secretary, MSF-Amicus London Computer Staffs Branch*
Graham Bash, Labour Left Briefing Editorial Board
George Binnette, secretary, Committee to Defend Asylum Seekers
Birmingham South Socialist Alliance
Robin Blackburn, New Left Review
Sue Blackwell, vice-president, Birmingham AUT*
Dr Kambiz Boomla, Secretary, Tower Hamlets Socialist Alliance*
Brent and Harrow Socialist Alliance
Andrew Burgin, press officer, Stop the War Coalition
Pete Burnett, secretary Newcastle-upon-Tyne Trades Union Council*
Mike Calvert, assistant secretary, Islington UNISON*
Terry Calvert, president, Waltham Forest Trades Union Council*
Professor Alex Callinicos, University of York
Louise Christian, human rights lawyer
Ken Coates, ex-Labour MEP, Nottingham University
Pete Cooper, Central London CWU executive*
Nick Davies, secretary Uplands branch, Swansea West Constituency Labour Party*
Simon Deville, secretary Voluntary Organisations UNISON and UNISON delegate to Leyton & Wanstead Labour Party
Professor Gen Doy, De Montfort University
Ben Drake, deputy convenor, York City UNISON *
William Edwards, Exeter Socialist Alliance*
Richard Eyre, ex-Director, National Theatre
Maggie Falshaw, membership secretary, Tower Hamlets Socialist Alliance*
Barry Finnegan, ATTAC Ireland* and Irish Social Forum Communications Working Group*
Pete Firmin, president, Brent Trades Union Council*
Lindsay German, Stop the War Coalition steering committee
Alex Gordon, RMT national executive
Dr Jamie Gough, Northumbria University
Peter Gowan, New Left Review
Dr Richard Hatcher, Faculty of Education, University of Central England
Louise van der Hoeven, Socialist Alliance executive*
Rob Hoveman, Socialist Alliance executive*
Bryan Hulley, GMB Southampton shop steward*
Onay Kasab, Greenwich UNISON branch secretary*
Mick Jardine NATFHE NEC
Helen Jenner, UNISON NEC*
Jim Jepps, Socialist Alliance executive*
Paul Laverty, screenwriter
Elizabeth Lawrence NATFHE NEC and Regional Secretary (Yorkshire and Humberside)*
Soraya Lawrence, Southwark Socialist Alliance
Gill Lee, Lewisham NUT executive*
Fred Leplat, UNISON London regional committee*
Liz Leicester, chair Camden UNISON *
Marion Mainwaring, auditor Woodspring Constituency Labour Party* and member, Bristol SERA
Margaret Manning, Branch Sec T&G 6/389*
Michael Mansfield QC
Ray McHale, Service and Conditions Officer for Cheshire UNISON and Chair of Ellesmere Port & Neston Trades Union Council
John McLoughlin, chair Tower Hamlets UNISON*
Will McMahon, Socialist Alliance executive*
John Meehan, Socialist Democracy, Ireland
Thomas E. Mertes, Center for Social Theory and Comparative History, Los Angeles
Anton Moctonian, assistant secretary Camden UNISON*
Fiona Monkman, UNISON NEC*
Kevin OıBrien, UNISON NEC*
John Owen, UNISON NEC*
Rahul Patel, Westminster UNISON branch secretary*
Ralph Parkinson, UNISON NEC*
Tony Phillips, treasurer, Waltham Forest Trades Union Council*
Judy Rafferty, president Birmingham NUT*
Roland Rance, secretary, Waltham Forest Trades Union Council*
John Rees, Stop the War Coalition steering committee
Bernard Regan, National Executive Member (Inner London) National Union of Teachers *
Andy Richards, chair Brighton and Hove UNISON *
Stuart Richardson, assistant secretary, Birmingham Trades Union Council and Birmingham NUT executive*
Richard Scrase, Human Shield Action, editor Green World
Reg Sieloff, Musicians Union East London*
Geoff Smith, MSF/AMICUS 0541 Birmingham City branch*
Murray Smith, journalist
Southwark Socialist Alliance
Alan Thornett, Socialist Alliance executive*
Jean Thorpe, UNISON NEC*
Greg Tucker, RMT National Train Crew Secretary
Mike Tucker, UNISON NEC*
Bob Whitehead, secretary, South Birmingham Socialist Alliance
Mick Woods, Enhedslisten, Denmark*
Nick Wrack, national chair, Socialist Alliance*
Doug Wright, UNISON NEC*

*personal capacity

To sign the petition click here

You can also download the petition at the Socialist Resistance website.

Frontline issue 10 will have a full article on this issue.