by Paul Hampton
More than 100 people attended a conference about Brazil at the School of Oriental and African Studies on Saturday 8 March. It was called because of the interest in Brazil following the victory of Lula, the Workers' Party candidate, in a Presidential election last year.
The main discussion centred around why Lula's government has been so conservative in its economic policy so far, and whether it has broken (or will break) from the neo-liberal policies of its predecessors. Kucinski, a member of the communications department in the government, defended the PT's position, while other speakers, including from the floor, were more critical.
It was agreed to set up a solidarity campaign, through the existing Brazil Network. This should not become a mouthpiece for the government. We need to be clear who we are in solidarity with - workers and social movements like the MST, if necessary against the government. PT members and others disagreed, but it was felt these differences could be contained within one campaign.