Left on the Move Left on the Move Left on the Move

30M was bigger! Mobilize until defeat the cuts and the government!

Translated by Genaro Moraes


The streets of Brazil were once again flooded by hundreds of thousands during the day last friday. In different conditions on May 15, when the eruption of youth in the education uprising marked a turning point in the national political situation, even so the main cities of the country had massive acts. Bolsonaro government redoubled its bet through the 26M demonstrations and the increased repression inside the universities, but was faced with the force of student mobilization in more than 150 cities where protests took place. Again, in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the demonstrations were the largest, not so much in absolute numbers as in the 15M, but with student protagonism and mobilized acts, with many student columns and willingness to fight. In Belém and Fortaleza, the acts surpassed the 15M ones, and Salvador was close to it. In the interior of São Paulo, the protests gained volume in cities like São Carlos and São José dos Campos, besides Campinas with 20 thousand. In the South of the country, under torrential rain and very cold, marched 20 thousand in Curitiba – city where the troglodytes of the far-right have tradition – , from 3 to 5 thousand in Pelotas, and a greater number than that in Porto Alegre.

On May 26th Bolsonarism wanted to give a sign of strength, reaching the height of tearing a banner with sayings in defense of education, in the Law School of the Federal University of Paraná. This was the face of the “yellow-green” demonstration, but last friday the student movement came out with its head held high, raising the banner again in several cities, moralizing the vanguard and affirming that the game is only just beginning.

The government sets out to fight.

Seeking to capitalize on the cohesive base that emerged from the streets on the 26th, in a very organized manner, the Bolsonarism put support for its neoliberal reforms on the agenda. This was his response to the rift on the conservative front that led to the split between the Free Brazil Movement (of the liberal right) and the Bolsonarism, threatening the unity of his own party. The united order of the reform would be the pillar for the “pact” that brings together the “heads of the three powers” such as Toffoli (president of the Federal Supreme Court), Davi Alcolumbre (president of the Senate) and Rodrigo Maia (president of the Chamber of Deputies), the same trio that was the target of Sunday’s protests, taking Lula’s place in the anger of the demonstrators of the extreme right.

Defending social security reform as a matter of urgency and attack the so-called “centrão” (groups of physiological parties) is what remains for the government. By changing its agenda, it appeals to national bosses and sectors of the media, as a way to put criticism of its unpreparedness on the back burner. The accusations of corruption against Flavio Bolsonaro, the president’s son, are a threat by proving his connection with militias and demoralizing his anti-corruption discourse, the main basis of Bolsonaro’s election in the face of the most backward parts of the middle classes and the proletariat. During the week, the uncle of the first lady Michelle Bolsonaro was arrested in Brasilia, accused of being linked with militias in the Federal District.

On the streets, the government opts for confrontation. The pathetic education minister, Abraham Weintraub, broadcasts videos where he announces more attacks, the MEC’s decree to police websites and persecute parents and teachers goes in the same direction. In the case of federal educational institutions, the economic suffocation is increasing, lacking basic conditions to honor the debts, such as the case of the State University of Minas Gerais, which dawned without resources.

Bolsonaro’s problem is that the political and economic situation continues to be dragged into an impasse. Faced with the offensive of the student movement, with its insufficient responses, the government had to deal with the release of quarterly official accounts, with the fall of 0.2 in economic growth rates, plummeting the confidence of the market, opening the door to a new recession. There is a serious budgetary problem that threatens in June the payment of the Continuous Cash Benefit (paid to disabled people and disabled elderly people), generating a major contradiction in the Ministry of Finance and putting the economic team in the limelight, making the government appeal for the sale of state-owned companies.

It is not possible to overcome the impasse, even if it can control the agenda a little more, as promised by the pact that should result in a common document on 10 June. There is no response to the cuts and no promise of negotiation. On the contrary, Bolsonaro is still at war with the universities and the people.

In the struggle is where we meet! Build the general strike on the 14th, June! Towards the national education protest in Brasilia!

Our columns yesterday, where we grouped together with independent youth sectors such as Juntos! and supporting the Emancipa, were with their flags raised from north to south of the country. Everywhere, our militants were on the side of the student movement, of the political forces that were on the streets, helping in the self-organization, in the defense of the entities and betting on the need for a combative and democratic policy to go on the streets and drag the educational community into a struggle of the majority. And now is the time to discuss the next steps of the general struggle.

The first is to continue mobilizing the educational community, without dispersing the intense energy that is being released, uniting students, teachers, technicians, researchers, fathers and mothers, to collectively think about the calendar. This goes through unified plenary sessions, night walks, cultural activities, mobilizations in the cities, involving artists, a true campaign-movement that follows in the streets against the cuts.

Thus, we need to discuss how to organize the general strike, where, although part of the vanguard are with us, it is necessary to pass the construction between strategic sectors, guaranteeing the paralysis in transportation and in the key sectors of industry. To do so, we must discuss how to articulate the struggle against the cuts and the struggle against the reform of social security linked to the capacity of education to continue on the streets. The discussion of the organization from the grassroots is decisive in this case. And the involvement of all sectors such as the trade union movement, the peasant movement, the progressive wing of the churches and the homeless.

We need to demand that the union centers that have more weight in the working class do not make a protocolar national strike. The center of protagonism is not in the student movement. Thus, although the 30th has promoted and given strength to the strike, it does not guarantee it in itself. The role of the traditional leaderships is greater. What we saw on 30 June 2017 was a dismantling of that strike, which was in the wake of an important accumulation of struggles. The wave of education does not in itself guarantee the strength of the general strike. The union leaderships need to fulfil their responsibilities.

As a political task, the confrontation with the government as a whole is combined. Stay alert and strong for any provocation or advance on democratic rights and associative freedoms.

It’s possible to defeat Bolsonaro and Guedes. The education uprising is still alive. The Minister of Education does not recognize the movement and does not want dialogue. There is no room for hesitation: the entire movement must call for the immediate dismissal of Minister Weintraub along with a reversal of the cuts, combined with a revision of the spending ceiling so that the universities and federal institutes can get up and running until the end of the year. Putting Weintraub out as a form of unified unification throughout is a step to defeat the government as a whole and reverse the cuts that threaten Brazilian education. UNE (Students National Union) national congress should be the privileged stage for a major demonstration in Brasilia in early July. It should be the meeting of all the struggles.

Our flags are standing. The 30th was bigger.

MES National Secretariat, May 31, 2019

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