Tuesday, July 13, 2004

An evening with Trots

Last night I attended a meeting at the Latin American Bureau, where the former PT deputy, Luciana Genro, was arguing in favour of her new left-wing party, the PSOL.

Luciana was taking time out from her meetings at the Marxism 2004 events which are taking place around London this week. Luciana, for those who don't know, is one of those disaffected with the current PT government in Brazil.

She claimed that the PT had sacrificed its principles and got into bed with the business, the bourgeoisie and the free market, at the expense of ordinary people. When several of her colleagues, including Heloisa Helena, were kicked out last year, they began to set up their own party, the PSOL, with its clear commitment to a socialist agenda.

Actually, it was rather like being at an SWP meeting. In fact, it probably was, since several English people were there from that party, including one chap writing for Workers Liberty.

So how did someone like me - a Lib Dem who had been burnt by the SWP/Respect lot lost month - end up in the LAB's library with 25 others listening to a bunch of Trots and unreconstructed socialists? Well, I have the vague idea of writing something about the left in Brazil, now that Brizola is dead and the PT is hiving off in different directions. Sometimes you have to suffer for your work!

If I sound jaded, then it's not without just reason. Personally, I find it hard to accept statements that the PT 'was never socialist', as Luciana suggested, or that there isn't sufficient democracy or pluralism in the PT. Indeed, you could argue that there is too much, which makes it hard for the part to govern. Still, each to their own; and hopefully it will make (what I hope will be) an interesting article.

Just a few final observations: why is it that SWP, Workers Liberty and other assorted Trots go around calling each other 'comrade', offering 'comradely greetings' and 'saluting each other' (perhaps a Galloway affectation)? Why are the men so deadly dull when it comes to conversation (I went to the pub to recover), always speaking in what I can only describe as sub-Habermas gibberish and always failing to buy their round? And finally, why are Trot women so hairy?

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