The Workers' Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) is a left-wing political party in Brazil.

The color of the party is red, and its symbol is a red "PT" star with the "PT" label in white. The flag of the party is an inverted white "PT" star on a red background.

Other well known members of the Worker's Party include: Frei Betto, Ana Julia Carepa, Marcelo Déda, Wellington Dias, Antônio Palocci Filho, Luiz Gushiken, Guido Mantega, Binho Marques, Aloízio Mercadante, Dilma Rousseff, Eduardo Suplicy and Marta Suplicy.

The party is recognized as one of the most important left-wing parties of Latin America.


It was officially founded by a group of intellectuals and workers in February 10, 1980 at Colégio Sion (Sion High School) in São Paulo. Brazil's current president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was one of its founders, and is the most famous member of the party at the present time. Among others present at its founding were Henos Amorina, Djalma Bom, Wagner Benevides, Jacó Bittar, Apolônio de Carvalho, José Cicote, Manuel da Conceição, Olívio Dutra, Moacir Gadoti, Édson Khair, Mário Pedrosa, Henrique Santillo, Arnóbio Vieira da Silva, Lourin Martinho dos Santos, Paulo Skromov and Jaques Wagner.

The PT was legally recognized as a political party by Brazilian Electoral Superior Court on February 11, 1982.

Electoral history

Since 1990, the Worker's Party has grown in popularity on the national stage by winning elections in many important cities, like São Paulo and Porto Alegre (1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000), as well as in states like Rio Grande do Sul (1998). This winning streak culminated with the victory of its presidential candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2002, who succeeded President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of PSDB.

1994 general elections

Leading up to the 1994 general elections, Lula was the leading Presidential candidate in the majority of the media's polls. As a result, the centrist and right-wing parties openly united behind Fernando Henrique Cardoso. This strategy succeeded, and Cardoso won the election with 54%; Lula only received 27% of the vote. However, it has been noted that "the elections were not a complete disaster for the PT, which significantly increased its presence in Congress and elected for the first time two state governors."

2006 general elections

On October 29, 2006, the Workers' Party won 83 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 11 seats in the Senate. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was re-elected with more than 60% of the votes, extending his position as President of Brazil until January 1, 2011.

The Workers' Party is now the second largest party in the Chamber of Deputies, the fourth largest party in the Senate, and has 5 state governorships.

Internal debate, 2003-2007

The relative changes in the political orientation of the PT, the Federal Government and Lula himself were well received by the majority of the population, but, as a historically more radical party, the PT has experienced a series of internal struggles with members who have refused to embrace the new political positions of the party. These struggles have fueled public debates, the worst of which had its climax in December 2003, when four dissident legislators" were expelled from the party for not following majority sanctioned political decisions. Among these members were congressman João Batista Oliveira de Araujo (known as Babá), and senator Heloísa Helena, who formed the Partido Socialismo e Liberdade (P-SOL) in June 2004.

In a recent move, 112 members of the radical wing of the Party announced they were abandoning PT in the World Social Forum, in Porto Alegre, on January 30 2005. They also published a manifesto entitled Manifesto of the Rupture that states that PT is no longer an instrument of social transformation, but only an instrument of the status quo, continuing with references to the IMF and other economic and social issues.

Political crises

The Mensalão scandal

In July 2005, the party suffered from a sequence of corruption accusations, started by a deputy of PTB, Roberto Jefferson. Serious evidence for slush funding and bribes-for-votes has been presented, dragging PT to the most serious crisis in its history - known colloquially as the ''Mensalão. José Genoíno also resigned as president of the party and was replaced by Tarso Genro, former mayor of Porto Alegre.

A small minority of party members defected as a result of the crisis. Most of them went to P-SOL.

2006 electoral scandal

A new scandal unfolded in September 2006, just two weeks before general elections. As a result, Berzoni left the coordination of Lula's reelection after an alleged use of PT's budget (which is partially state-funded, through party allowances) to purchase, from a confessed fraudster, a dossier that would be used to attack political adversaries. On April 25, 2007, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal unanimously cleared Lula of any responsibility for this electoral scandal.


Its members are known as petistas, from the Portuguese acronym "PT".

Since its inception the party has been led by:


There are about thirty factions (tendências) within the PT, ranging from Articulação, the center-left group that Lula is a part of, to Marxists and Christian socialists.

Former factions

Tendencies categorized as the "Left-wing Workers' Party"

Other tendencies

International political relations of the Workers' Party

Relations with the British Labour Party

Prior to the 1998 general elections, Peter Mandelson, a close aide to British prime minister and former Labour Party leader Tony Blair, stated that the Workers' Party's proposals for the 1998 presidential elections represented "an old-fashioned and out-of-date socialism." Representatives of the Workers' Party publicly protested this statement. Labour-Workers' Party relations have since improved.

Worker's Party Group in London

The Worker's Party Group in London was founded in 1989 by some Brazilian Citizen who were living in London at that time some of them are still in the group, the group has a co-ordenator called Graca Rocha who has lived in the UK for the last 25 years. The group has 8 members.

The group has the responsability to work with the Brazilian community in London to help them to understand their Brazilian rights in the UK.


Further reading

In English

  • Baiocchi, Gianpaolo - Radicals in Power: The Workers' Party and Experiments in Urban Democracy in Brazil
  • Branford, Sue and Bernardo Kucinski - Lula and the Workers' Party in Brazil
  • Keck, Margaret E. - The Workers' Party and Democratization in Brazil

In Portuguese

  • Couto, A. J. Paula - O PT em pílulas
  • Dacanal, José Hildebrando - A nova classe no poder
  • Demier, Felipe - As Transformações do PT e os Rumos da Esquerda no Brasil
  • Godoy, Dagoberto Lima - Neocomunismo no Brasil
  • Harnecker, Martha - O sonho era possível; São Paulo, Casa das Américas, 1994.
  • Hohlfeldt, Antônio - O fascínio da estrela
  • Moura, Paulo - PT - Comunismo ou Social-Democracia?
  • Paula Couto, Adolpho João de - A face oculta da estrela
  • Pedrosa, Mário - Sobre o PT; São Paulo, CHED Editorial, 1980.
  • Pluggina, Percival - Crônicas contra o totalitarismo
  • Rosenfield, Denis L. - O PT na Encruzilhada, 2000.
  • Tavares, José Antônio Giusti with Fernando Schüller, Ronaldo Moreira Brum and Valério Rohden - Totalitarismo tardio - o caso do PT
  • Singer, André - O PT - Folha Explica

External links

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