April 13, 2016

Abstract, Commentary: Rejoinder by Armando Boito and Alfredo Saad-Filho

:::::: Abstract ::::::

by Armando Boito and Alfredo Saad-Filho

Our article provides a class analysis of Brazilian society, examines the (changing) structures of political representation in the country, and explains the institutional conflicts during the federal administrations led by the PT. We argue that those conflicts express, in complex and mediated ways, disputes between classes and fractions within the dominant power bloc. Our analysis is carefully supported by examples drawn from the sugarcane-ethanol chain, Petrobras, the Brazilian Develoment Bank, the judiciary, the Federal Police, the mainstream media, and the recent corruption scandals.
This textured and historically grounded class analysis has been almost completely lost on our critic. His overlong and misleading summary of our argument is followed by the exposition of his own alternative: the PT was never aligned with the internal bourgeoisie; there is no internal bourgeoisie anyway; Lula was a “left Bonapartist” ruler; and the Brazilian state enjoyed considerable autonomy until it was overwhelmed by the financial bourgeoisie. Those ideas are not situated in the literature in general, let alone in his own work (only one eight-year-old piece is cited). His conjectures are not backed up by careful historical, political, economic, or sociological analysis, and he fails to provide an alternative account of the institutions of the state. He ignores the greater part of our argument, and his alternative is both inconsistent and unsupported.

He objects to our account of the class character of the PT as representative of the large internal bourgeoisie since, presumably, a party created by popular organizations could not “place the interests of the internal bourgeoisie at the heart of its policies.” This is a mistake. History offers plentiful examples of working-class parties’ migrating to the bourgeois camp; this is even the rule rather than the exception, …


Latin American Perspectives
March 2016 vol. 43 no. 2 Abstract 217-219

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