With the potential comeback of Lula da Silva, Brazil may once again be on a path away from fascism and one that puts economic justice and anti-imperialism first.
by Alan Macleod
Part 5 - Impact, political and economic
If Lula and the Workers’ Party do come back to power, it seems likely that they will stymie many U.S. foreign policy goals, including isolating Venezuela, China and Russia. Yet Bolsonaro has proven so incompetent a leader and manager that both Ellner and Cannon believe that many in Washington will at least attempt to work with Lula, trying to move him to a more moderate position. However, the currently deeply divided political climate in Brazil does not bode well for centrists, as Ellner explained:
Most likely, the 2022 elections will be polarizing, which means that more ‘moderate’ candidates will be shunted aside. In that case, it is unlikely that the Washington establishment will distance itself much from Bolsonaro or manifest any sympathy for the Workers’ Party candidate.
Certainly, the investor class is not happy at the prospect of a return to the rule of the Workers’ Party: on the news of the annulment of Lula’s charges, the Brazilian stock exchange plunged by 4%; Reuters told its business readers that his release would have “dire consequences.” Presumably not for Brazilians, but for asset prices, as Bolsonaro’s “market-friendly economic reform agenda” (a euphemism for the firesale of state assets, huge cuts to public sector wages and pensions, and tax breaks for the wealthy) would come to an end.
However, the news that Lula is finally free has many across the region hoping for a better future. While Lula led the rebel alliance in the 2000s, the empire struck back in the 2010s, with many conservative or reactionary governments coming to power, often with the help of U.S-backed coups, dark money or lawfare tactics, as seen in Brazil. However, with the election of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico and Alberto Fernandez in Argentina, the defeat of the Bolivian coup, and the likely imminent return of progressive forces in Ecuador, there is a new hope across Latin America and beyond.
“If Brazil turns left again, especially with Lula in power, it will galvanize the left in the region once again,” Cannon stated, noting that a friendly Brazil would give its neighbors breathing space to grow independently while warning that the country desperately needs to find new political leaders younger than the 75-year-old former steelworker and that the region has to look beyond extractivism as the basis of the economy.
“[Lula’s] election will be a godsend for the multipolar world” Ellner added.