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Crisis at upstairs: organizing people’s struggle

Source: https://movimentorevista.com.br/2019/03/crise-no-andar-de-cima-organizar-a-luta-dos-de-baixo/

Translated by Genaro Moraes


Bolsonaro’s incompetence on heading the presidency already begins to be perceived by important part of the Brazilian people. Ibope’s opinion poll recorded a 15-point drop in the government’s positive rating between January and March. A more attentive look at the poll shows that, in the poorer sections of the population and in large urban centers, the president’s popularity fall is greater. Government response to deal with the crisis is to tighten their agenda even more. In less than a hundred days of government, it is growing the consciousness that its strategy is one of dismantling the people, whether in its union and social organizations, or in the suspension of rights. The population must rise up against the plan of Bolsonaro and Guedes.

The political crisis that the government is going through disorganizes its own plans. Bolsonaro has opened several battle fronts, when the appeal of the bourgeoisie is to concentrate on the approval of the pension reform. The arrest and release of Temer is part of the intensification of the political crisis.

The economy’s results support the warning signal. Official unemployment rates reach almost 13 million Brazilians; most of the young employees do not have a signed work permit, depending more on informality and precarious jobs. On the last four years, the participation of the salary has decreased on the familiar budget, from 63% to only 56%. The indebtedness grows. All GDP predictions begin to be revised downwards. To complete the economic scenario, the market, so far in euphoria, has emitted mixed signals as a product of the political crisis, at the end of last week. The stock market fell and the dollar goes close to the 4 reais.

The Brazilian committee on an official visit to Trump achieved very little, besides flattering the president of the United States. He showed itself to be a faithful representative of the liberalism and offered a series of concessions in exchange for vague promises, such as entry into the OECD. The government used the trip to reaffirm Olavo de Carvalho’s influence on its strategy. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, there is a silent struggle, where evangelicals and Olavists fight for the control of the Ministry of Education and dissatisfaction is recurrent in the very bases of Bolsonarism.

Temer’s arrest

On March 21, the crisis took a new leap with the arrest of former President Michel Temer and one of his financial operator, Moreira Franco, in one of the new phase of Lava Jato Operation. The imprisonment of Temer, who concluded his mandate hated by the great part of the mass movement, has generated impact and crisis in the so-called “political world”.

A late arrest, after proven transactions such as the one of the “man in the suitcase”, by Rocha Loures, or the confessions of the owners of JBS, but still celebrated by those who suffered the misgovernment of Temer. His release, including Moreira Franco, Colonel Lima and five others, raises the temperature of people riot, giving space for hundreds of thousands to demand the withdrawal of all the measures implemented in his government, such as the labor reform and the Constitutional Amendment 95, which has frozen spending in social areas.

The statement headed by our parliamentarians and the national executive of the PSOL elucidates the position on not defending Temer, placing expectations on the development of a street struggle against corruption and the adjustment of governments.

The cycle of mobilizations in 2017, which had as a positive result the defeat of that social security reform project, had as a high point the combination of the exhaustion of the Temer government, considered as notoriously corrupt by the people, with the independent action of the mass movement in the general strike of April 2017 and the march of one hundred thousand that occupied Brasília, in the following May. The guideline taken by the leaderships of the trade unions and bt the PT was to empty the new general strike, betting on the electoral collapse of the Temer government.

Temer prison has been read by several analysts as a new chapter in the power struggle. A wing of the judiciary, represented by the prosecutors and Lava Jato Operation, dissatisfied with the defeats it suffered at the Supreme Court would have given a “message” to Maia, the Supreme Court and the main parties of the regime. Maia’s reaction was to attack Bolsonaro as someone who is unable to reach the necessary number of votes in order to approve the social security reform, a priority agenda that unites the different fractions of the government and the bourgeoisie.

Although the trend is a possible immediate cooling, the truce will not change the instability placed. The rulers has difficulties in organizing themselves, despite having a unity around the central struggle: imposing the adjustment by the reform of social security, commanded by Guedes and the bankers.

The difficulties of the political opposition in achieving a common action need to be overcome. The general balance of the crisis opens a loophole to strengthen resistance, and gain the majority of the population for the struggle against reform.


March 22nd: A step to prepare the fight against reform

The first day of unitary struggles against reform, under the Bolsonaro administration, was an important test.

It was an act of a countrywide scale that mobilized a broad union vanguard and had a partial impact on grassroots sectors, with some categories carrying out actions that allowed the 22nd to become an important act of struggle against reform, capable of stimulating the struggle and bringing the issue to people. It was a step that marked the willingness to fight, debating the reform in various sectors, especially teachers. Also significant were the metallurgical and chemical initiatives in the Vale da Paraíba, ABC, as well as the stoppage of a few hours of road transport in São Paulo, Natal and Fortaleza. Demonstrations, pamphlets and walks were recorded in almost one hundred cities.

Ford and Mercedes metallurgists in the ABC voted the need for the construction of the general strike. In many states, civil servants, health workers and municipal servants were present.

The liberal economic plans will be defeated with the mass movement on the street. Through these mobilizations, the construction of a political alternative must be forged, one that represents the interests of the Brazilian people.

The act was in the context of the important mobilizations of the month of March: the marvelous parade of Mangueira, champion of the carnival, the act of March 8th, where thousands of women occupied the streets, and March 14th, where the passage of the year of Marielle Franco’s death became an international day of protests. This reinforced the democratic feeling in the streets, making place for the organization of resistance to the government’s authoritarian plans.

Knowing that the 22nd was a success, we cannot lose sight of the great deficiencies that the workers’ movement is experiencing in Brazil. The attacks against union freedom, via Provisional Measure 873, were a sign that the government wants to suffocate the union movement, in order to prevent a massive struggle against reform. The layoffs and adjustment plans in the factories at the beginning of the year still generate lethargy as the mindset among the working class. The lack of representation of the traditional union leaderships, many of them adapted to the regime, with a bureaucratic union model, is another barrier that the class needs to break down to organize the struggle.

Only by adding new actors and building it in a unified way will we be able to take advantage of the gap that is opening up with the upstairs crisis, to defeat the Reform of social security and other attacks against the movement.


Build the struggle schedule from the grassroots

The idea that it is possible to fight and win the “social security battle” begins to spread.

We have to intensify the confrontation and calendars of struggles: the days in defense of the education and against the dictatorship, such as March 28th and April 1st. After Suzano mass shooting, defending the idea of the struggle against violence in schools and the ideas of the extreme right is a task for the student movement and teachers.

From the union movement, build a new national day of struggles in April, consolidate the idea of the 1st of May unified, an unprecedented event in São Paulo and the big cities. This is the way to build, with assemblies and debates in the categories, a calendar towards a general strike.

Our main task: to go to the grassroot to convince the majority of the population of the role of the reform, didactically, by saying that it attacks the poorest and women. To defend public pension as an achievement, denouncing that capitalization is only of interest to banks and millionaires and is a model that has failed in Chile and Peru. Also we must say that the richest must pay more, by taxing great fortunes and the dismantling the privileges.

We are engaged, using our mandates to empower popular and domestic committees, articulate a unified social and political front against the reform, and put PSOL at the head of this struggle.

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