Nathalie Drumond and Fabiana Amorim
November 29th marked the struggle of the youth and their occupations. The gigantic act in Brasilia was a message for the powerful of this country, that nothing more about our lives will be decided without us being listened to. We are alert and prepared to resist. Juntos bet all our chips in the 29N, mobilizing from North to South of Brazil, so that Brasilia became the capital of the occupations and youth overflowed all their resistance and solidarity.
Against Temer measures the youth is in struggle!
The youth caravan in Brasilia on the 29th wasn’t just any act, but the meeting of the generation that has transformed the Brazilian student movement into the biggest and most pulsating in the world. Since the announcement of Michel Temer’s first measures, which directly attack education, high school students have once again occupied their schools and also federal institutes, spreading to federal and even private universities. Youth has become the declared enemy of the Temer government, which with proposed Constitutional amendment – PEC 55 (formerly PEC 241) and its ceiling on public spending for 20 years, can cut more than 40% of the education budget, affecting our schools, universities and also basic education. Alongside the High School Provisional Measure, which does not propose any calendar of debate in schools, will flexibilize the curriculum and increase the workload, which is completely contradictory for a government that will freeze spending on education. For these and other things, one year after the first school occupation in São Paulo, students from the whole country stand up and decide to take their future for themselves. Or, as we have said, nothing about us will be decided without us.
Even so, Michel Temer and Mendonça Filho, Minister of Education, didn’t signal any space for dialogue with the students. On the contrary, in every opportunity they had they underestimated the students’ understanding of government measures and repressed us, demonstrating that intransigence is also part of their adjustment package against people. Therefore, the student movement as a whole and several social movements and workers, such as ANDES (university teachers’ union), SINASEFE (federal institutes’ union) and FASUBRA (university technicians’ union), decided to occupy Brasilia on the 29th, in the first round of the PEC 55 vote in the Senate, to put Temer and his allies against the wall.
Brasília: heart of the occupations
While buses from all corners of Brazil arrived in Brasilia, we woke up with the tragic news of the death of 71 people in the crash of Chapecoense’s airplane. The country leaned in tears and solidarity. Nevertheless, Congress and Senate decides to keep their voting sections full steam ahead, demonstrating the powers’ complete insensibility with what happens outside of their castles. The moment the protest in Brasilia began showed it even clearer. We lived stunning hours of intense repression. Tear gas bombs, rubber bullets, pepper gas, cavalry and helicopters, this was the way Temer received the more than 20,000 people who occupied the esplanade.
Special mention should be made about Juntos column, which, in addition to being the most organized and one of the largest, with about one thousand high school and university students from all over the country, was certainly one of the bravest. We were the front line of the act and kept our flags firm amidst the tear gas.
Against the adjustment and the corruption!
As if the intransigence of the Senate and the approval of PEC 55 by 64 votes to 14 weren’t enough, on the same day Congress voted the 10 measures against corruption. However, what was meant to be a more intransigent package to those who steals the people’s money, was transformed by the hands of the congressmen in a maneuver to save them from condemnation. Juntos raised high our band on the 29th, giving the message that we didn’t accept any attack on the rights of the people, but neither the corrupt maneuvers to save their heads.
We know that even with a majority in parliaments – at the expense of fancy dinners and favor exchanges to approve their measures – Temer can’t stabilize his government because of the resistance of the youth as well as for having a government mired in corruption. One day after the 29th, Renan Calheiros became a defendant in the STF [Brazilian Supreme Court]. The next day, there was a Juntos escrache [“escracho”] in his mansion, demanding “Down with Renan”. This week, even the president of the OAB [Brazilian Bar Association] called for the immediate removal of the president of the Senate. In addition to the request from the STF, which accuses Renan of having diverted money from his office to a car rental company that didn’t render any service, the senator may be in what will be another atomic bomb in the regime. The Odebrecht owners’ plea agreement contains more than 200 names of politicians who have benefited and received money from the contractor. No wonder they try at all costs to brake Lava Jato Operation, the regime doesn’t want any more politicians in jail. Avaaz itself began a petition this week alerting to the attempt to brake the Lava Jato Operation, which has already caused much damage to those on the top.
The youth will keep resisting
Every student who returned from Brasilia had at least one certainty: we are many. The schools and universities occupations produced a generation of thousands of radicalized young people willing to donate their lives to secure their rights. Precisely for this, we won’t back down. Regardless of what is voted in the parliament, so displaced from the life of the people, this victory no one can take away from us. We returned to our states even stronger to continue resisting: on December 13th we will occupy the streets of the country once again.
We know that PEC 55 is only the first measure of the setback package that the Temer government prepared to adjust the accounts of the economic crisis on the poorest and hardest working people. The next year will continue to have a lot of confrontation and struggle, and it is precisely for this reason that we Juntos will organize during Easter (April 15 and 16) a great international camp in the city of Rio de Janeiro, to continue to organize those who don’t give up your dreams and your future.