- Juntos! – formation
In 2008, we characterized that the international economic crisis, combined with the failure of Left leaderships in the twentieth century, would produce an incitement of class struggle, without the presence, however, of political references to the mass movement. On the one hand, this situation would open the possibility of a revolutionary action that was independent of the obstacles imposed by the bureaucratic and treacherous old leaderships. On the other, it imposes a difficulty for the socialist project’s penetration into the mass movement, orphaned from political alternatives or organizations enabled for the seizure of power. To face this, it would be necessary to adopt a policy that kept faithful to the revolutionary socialist strategy, while simultaneously eradicating any form of sectarianism, so as to dispute the consciousness of a working class to whom the socialist leaderships were discredited.
At around 2011, this hypothesis seemed to be endorsed by the wave of occupations and multitudinous demonstrations that shook the world, markedly at Europe and the Arab countries. We predicted, then, that these goings-on would come to Brazil when the economic crisis put an end to the Lulist development cycle. Further, it became evident that the youth was the most dynamic sector from the working class. This occurs for two reasons: the youth are the ones who suffer the effects of the economic crisis more directly, mainly through unemployment; and this sector hasn’t lived the desolation of the historic defeat of the Left, symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It was based on this characterization, and taking for inspiration the youth movements that were gaining the world, like “Los Indignados” in Spain, that Juntos! (Together!) arised – a youth movement that should organize part of the fighting vanguard and be incorporated into the mass movement’s most dynamic processes. We organized cores in universities, schools and neighborhoods, searching to intervene in local processes (such as student demands or urban struggles) as well as in the great events of national politics. We adopted a horizontal and democratic form of organization, with an aesthetic that was attractive to the young people and an understandable discourse, that would dialogue widely with the youth, and not only with the most convinced and supposedly conscious revolutionaries. In the meantime, we did not abandon a radical and consistent practice, independently of the treacherous and bureaucratic leaderships. Our main resources for growth were our printed newspaper and social media, besides our performances in demonstrations, always creative and taking.
In June 2013, Juntos! would go through its first great test. That month, in Brazil, demonstrations against the rising of public transport fares evolved (after violent repressive action from the police) to a popular rebellion of millions fighting for several loose demands that could, with some difficulty, be synthesized in a struggle against establishment – at the same demonstration, police violence, the manipulation of great media vehicles and the corruption of the political regime were denounced, and better public services, like health and education, were demanded. For weeks, practically all of the large and medium-sized Brazilian cities had their streets taken by the popular uprising. Most of the protesters were young and the rejection towards political leaderships was very emphatic. The protesters rejected all of the organized parties (which had become too blurred with the discredited and corrupt political system) and were vocally in favor of the horizontal and spontaneous nature of the demonstrations. To face that, we had the tactic to identify with the radical aspect of the movement, while simultaneously disputing its politicization, and patiently respecting its level of consciousness. We were far from leading or even heading the movement (it would be impossible and we did not even aspire to it), but we grew very much and were one of the process’ most prominent sectors, even with relevant appearances in the great media.
That very year, a few months before the June processes, Juntos! was present in the International Camp of the Anticapitalist Youth that occurred in Buenos Aires. After a vigorous fundraising campaign, we sent delegations of every region of our country and faced many hours of traveling. We got to face the challenges and opportunities faced by our fellows from Venezuela, the vigour and organization of our Argentinian comrades, the Peruvians’ fighting spirit, and the rich experience of militants from every part of the world.
In 2017, new challenges are on the table, not only for Juntos! but for the youth all over the world. In that sense, the International Camp in Rio de Janeiro will have a fundamental role in this vanguard’s formation and organization. But before that is addressed, a brief reading on the current Brazilian situation…
- Present-day challenges
The whole world is living a juncture of economic and political crisis, and Brazil is no different. The state and federal governments apply the Brazilian version of the austerity packages, scrapping public services and attacking basic labor rights. The situation turned worse when, in May 2016, a parliamentary coup led Michel Temer to the Presidency, a notorious corrupt who imposed the raise of the minimum retirement age, as well as a package of restraint to the public investments for the next twenty years. This picture becomes even more complex and unpredictable because of the Car Wash Operation – a police operation that investigates a gigantic bribing scheme involving contractors and politicians from all of the establishment’s parties, including the government’s higher echelon and the President himself. To face this, it is fundamental to organize the working class for a struggle that unites the resistance to the economic attacks with the combat to the demoralized and corrupt system.
The youth will be fundamental for this task’s accomplishment, and Juntos! is the tool we have to intervene. Already on the last year (2015), the São Paulo secondary school students showed that the youth will be crucial for this period’s confrontations. When state governor Geraldo Alckmin tried to implement a program to threaten the public education network’s conditions, which even envisaged the shutting down of dozens of schools, a huge spontaneous student movement occupied hundreds of educational institutions to resist. The movement won the public opinion and forced the governor to back down – something rare in Brazilian politics. Similarly, more than one thousand schools and universities were occupied all over Brazil this year in defense of education – one of the strongest resistance processes that Temer has had to face so far. We believe that many more youth movements like these should happen through the next years, not only for the education theme but because the youth is one of the sectors that most directly suffers with unemployment and the attacks on labor rights.
The Juntos! International Camp will be an excellent opportunity to arm the youth for the tasks of this crisis period. We believe the presence of young militants from other parts of the world will be of great importance, since the processes that occur here in Brazil – like the attacks on labor rights and on social services, as well as the fraying of the political regime – seem to us very similar to those that occur at the rest of Latin America, the United States and Europe. Besides, it will take place in the famous city of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most dynamic poles of Brazilian class struggle currently, which may be an excellent opportunity for foreign militants to get to know the Brazilian fighting vanguard.