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First victory of the movement! We can go for more! Release all the prisoners and dismiss the lawsuits!

By LER-QI, Brasil Thursday, June 20, 2013 On June 6, several thousand people, especially young students, went out to the streets of São Paulo, the biggest city in the country, to repudiate an increase in transit fares of 0.20 reals (from R$ 3.00 to R$ 3.20), that Dilma Rousseff’s government ordered nationally. The police responded […]

Left Voice

June 24, 2013
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By LER-QI, Brasil
Thursday, June 20, 2013

On June 6, several thousand people, especially young students, went out to the streets of São Paulo, the biggest city in the country, to repudiate an increase in transit fares of 0.20 reals (from R$ 3.00 to R$ 3.20), that Dilma Rousseff’s government ordered nationally.

The police responded with harsh repression that ended with dozens of people wounded and arrested. The movement quickly spread to several other of the biggest cities of the country, like Rio de Janeiro and the capital Brasilia, as well as provincial capitals like Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Belo Horizonte.
The anger of the thousands of demonstrators extended not only to the increase in the ticket, in a transit system already expensive and inefficient in itself, but the millions in expenditures on stadiums and tourism infrastructure, that Dilma’s government has been making, facing the Confederations Cup (that began on Saturday, June 15), the 2014 soccer World Cup, and the 2016 Olympics, were beginning to be questioned.
The government, with the support of the mass communications media and the bourgeois opposition (the PSDB, among others), branded the activists as “vandals” and “violent,” and the movement was harshly repressed for days, in all the cities. Shocking pictures of brutal police charges against demonstrators, that were carrying out a sit-in in the vicinity of the memorable Maracanã Stadium of Rio de Janeiro, or of the brand-new Mané Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia, were seen. Helicopters and unmanned aircraft (drones, like those that the US uses in Afghanistan), that are for military use (in this case, purchased from the Zionist State of Israel), were even used there, to locate the groups of demonstrators precisely and to repress them. There were even complaints from Amnesty International of totally excessive repression that was being used against the demonstrators.
But the young people resisted; they faced tear gas attacks, rubber bullets and police charges, and they defended themselves, with rocks, Molotov cocktails, improvised barricades, vinegar and handkerchiefs, to mitigate the gases. Brazil had its own “indignant” ones, and the indignation grew and became a mass phenomenon. Surveys announced that 54% of the population was supporting the protests. The repudiation of repression filled the streets with people, and now tens of thousands are mobilized throughout the country.
Monday, June 17, was a milestone in the movement, since the mobilizations went from several thousand to tens of thousands in each city, and more than 200,000 nationally. They are the largest mobilizations since the “Fora Collor” movement that went through the country in 1992, against corruption and the neoliberal policies of the then President Collor de Melo.
Thus, the masses dealt a very harsh blow to the repressive line of the “progressive” government of Dilma Rousseff and the Workers Party [PT] that former President Lula Da Silva leads, and “moderate” and “conciliatory” speeches have begun to appear. Government officials have begun to try to calm the moods. The right wing has also repositioned itself, by attempting to get close to the mobilization and beginning to speculate on being able to capitalize, in passing, on the exhaustion and loss of support of the voters for the government.

Finally, Dilma spoke in the afternoon to repudiate “every type of violence” and guarantee “the right to demonstrate.” Even more than that, she said that it was necessary “to listen to the street and its demands.” The different provincial governments have begun to back down from the transit fare increase, and the police adopted an attitude of “containment” that could not deal with the massive size of the mobilizations, especially in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where they ended up backing down, in front of popular outrage that practically seized the parliamentary headquarters.

In the middle of these huge events, our male and female comrades of the LER-QI are participating in the marches and encouraging the participation of the students and workers, like, for example, with the militant support staff union at the University of São Paulo. Here, we are publishing one of the first statements of our fraternal organization in Brazil.

First victory of the movement! We can go for more! Release all the prisoners and cancel the lawsuits!

After the biggest protests of the masses seen in the country since the Fora Collor (a democratic movement for the impeachment of President Fernando Collor de Mello in 1992), the movement has achieved an important first victory. By confronting the brutal repression by the police, it imposed in the streets the cancellation of the increase in the ticket price of public transportation in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro. With this, the bus and the subway in São Paulo again cost R$3.00 and in Rio de Janeiro, R$2.75. Alckmin, Governor of the State of São Paulo (PSDB, of the former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, an opponent of the PT), is already trying to reposition himself, by suggesting that he would be making a “big sacrifice,” while Haddad, the Prefect (Mayor) of the City of São Paulo (PT), is keeping the blackmailer’s talk that “Investments will be compromised.”

We know very well that these statements are false, since the mafias of public transportation will continue making obscene profits. For that reason, we are joining hundreds of thousands of people, that, through different cities, have gone out to the streets, showing the strength that we have when we break the bonds of resistance to change, and that now they feel this retreat of the governments of Rio and São Paulo is their very own victory.
However, as we all know, our struggle goes far beyond the twenty centavos! This Thursday, June 20, we have to go out with all our power to demand: Release the prisoners throughout the country and end their trials! Continue the mobilization until we really achieve the free ticket for young people, retirees, and unemployed workers! We must nationalize public transportation, without compensation, and we must put it under workers’ control! The demonstration called for June 20 must commemorate this victory, but not only that. It must continue the struggle so that we will really get a response to our demands, for certain!

We will not go back to normalcy! We will go for more!

The power of the June 17 demonstrations

After June 17, 2013, that definitely marked a turning point for the governments of different cities of the country and for the federal government, and a jump in support for the actions that have been occurring since the beginning of June. The demonstrations against the transit hikes definitely went national with actions in 12 states (provinces) of the country, and different cities of several states, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets also against the ridiculous spending on the overly ambitious constructions for the soccer World Cup and the Confederations Cup, becoming the biggest demonstrations since the 1992 Fora Collor process. That led the bourgeois media to report that we are facing “a country in protest.” The official estimates varied between 215,000 and 300,000 demonstrators throughout the country; however, it is likely that half a million people were mobilized, with a lot of passive support, that is expressed in the surveys made by the media, as well as by the applause that the marches receive from the people who are in their houses while they pass through their streets. In Rio de Janeiro, there were around 120,000 people, while in São Paulo, it is estimated that there were 100,000, although the bourgeois media state that 65,000 gathered.

The importance of the wave of demonstrations that inundated the country last night is not limited to its breadth, but to the political character that it assumes in an increasingly pronounced manner, although, up to now, it is also widespread. This diffuse facet is summarized in the very social composition of the movement, quite multi-class, and with a large middle-class presence. But that does not mean that there are no groups of the poor and of workers that are also acting within it, and, in all the cities, massively supporting, although passively, the movement’s demands. However, that still did not prevent the increasing political dissatisfaction from clearly making itself felt, with the seats of power of five capitals of the country being a target of the demonstrations. In Brasilia, hundreds occupied the roof of the Congress, having behind them the support of thousands, while in Rio de Janeiro, a part of the demonstrators threw stones at the building of the Legislative Assembly and forced the police to take refuge; in São Paulo, demonstrators were repressed by the police when they tried to reach the Palácio dos Bandeirantes (the São Paulo Prefecture or City Hall); in Curitiba, demonstrators also occupied the state government headquarters, just like in Porto Alegre. On Tuesday night, more than 50,000 people were marching, when some groups tried to occupy the São Paulo Prefecture building and were repressed in the sixth action called, only one day after the biggest protest, which shows the depth of the process that has begun. In Belo Horizonte, the demonstrations are also assuming an immense size, with the action surrounding the city Prefecture, even under the threat of harsh repression, authorized directly by Dilma. Today, June 19, dawn broke with blockades of avenues and highways, Régis Bittencourt Highway, Via Anchieta, Estrada do M’Boi Mirim, carried out by members of social movements and the homeless, demanding the reduction of transit fares and housing, which confirms the tendency of groups of the poor to enter the scene.

These demonstrations make clear that, although the adjustments in the public transportation fare prices are very important, since they really hit the workers and young people in the pocket, especially if we take into account the fact that the “almost full employment” that the country experienced under Lula’s rule was based on job uncertainty (low wages and hyper-exploitation), it has become obvious that it is not just about that. Countless international bourgeois analysts, impressed with the protests, are indicating that the country would be coming out of lethargy. This characterization seems to be valid, to account for the growth of the demonstrations after Alckmin’s harsh repression in São Paulo, in agreement with Haddad. The increase of the ranks that make up the actions since then is a big blow to the common sense, prevailing until then, and fostered by the PT itself in power, of criminalizing every and any type of social protest. Basing themselves on a hypocritical justification that the protests “threaten the right to come and go,” the São Paulo city government, now in the hands of the PT, backed all the very cruel behaviour of the (state) military police (PM), let loose on the first four demonstrations that occurred in the city, spreading outrage throughout the city. By hurling the shock troops against young people and the students, it allowed the whole São Paulo middle class to witness, live and direct, how the police act every day in the neighborhoods of the outskirts, against black people and the poor. Jailing hundreds of people for carrying vinegar and locking up students in maximum-security penitentiaries, like that of Tremembé, and the protests that keep happening in Rio de Janeiro, where the PM used lead bullets, and in Belo Horizonte, where two people are still seriously injured, because of the repression on June 17, showed how yesterday’s dictatorship survives in today’s democracy for the rich. As a response, the people’s anger went national, and the movements against the public transit ticket increases are channeling social dissatisfaction with the governments, with inflation, with the inefficiency of all public services, with life having been made precarious, contrasted with the government’s immense expenditures on the World Cup, made because of what happened, the jeering at Dilma at the opening of the Confederations Cup, and legalized corruption in actions, which is added to the privileges of the country’s political caste. In Salvador, the workers at the hotels that will accommodate teams for the World Cup matches, have just gone on strike. The workers of the São Paulo transit company (CET) are initiating militant actions for their demands.

Geraldo Alckmin, Governor of São Paulo state, who was the one that most kept the hard line towards the protests, demanding police repression in the previous actions, was forced to state that he prohibited the use of rubber bullets, and, in the June 17 demonstration, that closed the big avenues of São Paulo City for more than 5 hours, the police were practically unseen. Haddad had to back down from the demand for repression and revise his statements that he would not negotiate with the movement, by now calling on the MPL (Free Pass Movement), that appeared in front of the government as a representative of the movement, without having been legitimized in any forum yet, to create a common dialogue group to debate “the impossibility of lowering the [fare] increase.” Dilma and Renan Calheiros made statements that they are public demonstrations and legitimate, since they are peaceful. Lula was the one who most sought to avoid clashing with the movement head-on, by saying that “democracy is not a pact of silence,” and that “social movements and demands are not police matters, but matters for negotiation,” and that he believes in Haddad’s ability to negotiate. While the São Paulo Prefecture was being stoned by the demonstrators, the Prefect met somewhere else with Dilma and Lula, who made an emergency trip “to seek a solution” to the political and social crisis that has begun. Since action, and not just words, is the measure of truth, Dilma Rousseff’s government goes on showing what it is made of. While she cynically says that “Brazil woke up stronger,” because of the demonstrations, the federal government is sending, without delay, the Força Nacional to carry out repression in Belo Horizonte, just as it previously did to the civil construction workers in Jirau, Santo Antônio and Belo Monte.

A new national situation

Brazil is proceeding to join the cycle of the end of the stage of bourgeois restoration, that concluded internationally with the capitalist crisis and the first responses made by young people, groups of the poor, and the working class, to the attempt of the bourgeoisies to unload the crisis on their shoulders. Although the recent Brazilian demonstrations have been taking place in a different context, that does not now include an acute economic crisis, the awakening of groups of the masses, with young people in front, was imbued with a spirit of the age inspired by the uprisings in Turkey, and by movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Spanish indignant ones, an inspiration that is expressed here more in relation to the reactivation of the protests, as a method related to the demands of those movements.

Although strikes have already increased nationally, mainly motivated by a redistributive inspiration, and, therefore, with an economic character, what has been taking precedence in the country up to now was great stability. This stability was combined with an extremely high popularity of Dilma’s government, that still remains, despite having undergone a decline from 65% to 57%. The demonstrations that are spreading, involve a turning point in the situation, putting the prefects and governors on the defensive, and forcing Dilma to break her silence of almost two weeks. According to how it develops, it could completely change the scene in the country.

If the movement is diverted, a matter for which the governments are already preparing, like that of Haddad, that has a facilitator in the bureaucratic policy of the MPL, as a minimum, this movement will have established a precedent, which is the return of the social mobilizations in the big capitals of the country. However, the breadth that it reached shows that there are real possibilities of going for more and opening a new situation, more favorable for the advance of the working class and of the vast majority of the population. But, for that, it is necessary to work out a strategy and a program to expand the demands and win.

The need to fight the division between legitimate demonstrators and “vandals”

The governments, the bourgeoisie and its communications media, having been forced to yield to the massive support for the mobilizations, are now using a new way to divide the movement. This, which is a means repeatedly used by the groups that want to restrict the social anger that is expressed in the demonstrations, separates the demonstrators into two categories: the legitimate ones, who would be peaceful citizens, and the “vandals.” During the first demonstrations, the government thoroughly justified the action of the police, stating that they responded to the action of the most radicalized groups. In São Paulo, mainly after the brutal repression on June 13, when even journalists were hit in the eyes by rubber bullets, feeling a little bit what black young people and the workers that live on the outskirts feel on their skin every day, public opinion made a turn and began to back the demonstrations, on partially realizing how savage the Brazilian police are.

However, although condemnation of police violence is progressive, the contradiction is that it came accompanied by a lot of pacifism, that characterized the big June 17 march in São Paulo, that was shouting, “No violence,” in front of every gesture, no matter however minimal it was, that came from the most militant groups, as “vandalism.” We do not share this position, that equally condemns police violence, that is, the class violence of the state, in defense of the bourgeoisie, against the vast majority of the population, with the legitimate anger expressed by radicalized groups, because of their living conditions, and the repression to which they are subjected daily. In turn, the organizations of the left are adapting themselves to the prevailing pacifism in this new moment of the struggle, by not contributing to making a group of the most radicalized and militant young people advance, so that it will break with this politics of “peace and love,” that is at the service of diverting the struggle. That kind of talk only serves to criminalize the action of the militant groups that are in the struggle. We need to begin a patient dialogue with the groups that compose the movement, by denouncing this tactic of the government and the conciliatory leaderships to divide and impose limits on our demands and showing how the anger of the groups of the poor is justified, while police violence is not. We are not promoting acts of destruction and looting; we are acting in defense of the methods of the workers’ movement: strikes, picket lines, organizing self-defense, unity and workers’ democracy for the struggle; however, we consider that the anger that the groups misnamed “vandals” show against the police, the institutions of the capitalist state, businesses and banks, are a legitimate expression of their rage at the dreadful conditions of life, of oppression and violence that they suffer daily, without finding in the workers’ movement strong union and political organizations (revolutionary class parties) that deserve trust, in order to fight seriously against that state of affairs. We demand the release of all the prisoners in these conditions and the dismissal of all the cases.

The leaders and the conciliatory leaderships encourage “pacifist” pressure, but much less outrage is visible regarding the infiltration of disguised police agents to spy on the social movements and infiltrate the demonstrations, even to create disturbances that can be used to justify repression. The Justice Minister himself, from the PT, “offered” the “intelligence services” of the Federal Police to Alckmin’s government, in order to “control” the demonstrations. In this “democracy” for the rich, under PSDB governments and those of the PT, not only does police violence continue in force, but also the services of persecution from the epoch of the military dictatorship, since all the agents and commanders from the military regime still go unpunished, and many continue practicing, in the police and the rest of the repressive agencies.

The bourgeoisie and the government will use the events of June 18th in São Paulo to deepen the divide between the combative branches and the protesters. We oppose this policy and we will combat the criminalisation, already begun by the establishment, of the radical methods used by the working classes and other parts of the population. We fight to provide a revolutionary strategy to the rage being distortedly expressed at the moment. This strategy will be capable of rectifying the terrible situation which brought on this anger, and will begin by refusing to separate the protests into ‘peaceful’ and ‘violent’ one, something which the government and middle classes will use to weaken the mass movement, criminalising the most radicalised arm, as a means of justifying the harsh repressions of the workers’ struggle which will come for certain in the near future.

The spontaneous character of the movement and the necessity of moulding a leadership now

It is clear that the movement which sprang up two weeks ago has a spontaneous character. It is deeply heterogeneous, with a rather significant youth involvement, especially of both public and private university students, and secondary school pupils. Its greatest limit rests in the question of its direction.
The organisation which has placed itself at the head of the movement in São Paulo, and other cities, is the Movimento pelo Passe Livre [The Free Pass Movement]. According to its own data it has forty supporters, mainly university students, who organise protests for fare reductions every year, though none of these demonstrations have reached the level of importance of the current one. These demonstrations have indicated that they go far beyond the Movimento pelo Passe Livre, which is being legitimised as the ‘leaders’ by the government precisely because their policy already prepares the way for a rapid end to the struggle, the desired objective of the government and the establishment.
Until now, the demonstrations have been organised via Facebook, and have not had a leadership capable of organising them, nor giving them a programme to undertake. Thus the Movimento Pelo Passe Livre puts itself forward as the bureaucratic head of the movement, without being requested to by the movement. Basic questions such as the route to be taken by the protests are answered by the MPL without prior consultation with the movement. They claim to support a policy by Tarifa Zero, which is in fact inspired by a proposal, presented during Luiza Erundina’s time as mayor of São Paulo, that wanted to subsidise private transport companies. If this programme is incapable of touching with a single finger the immense profits of the public transport mafia, today in concrete terms the policy pursued by the MPL is a mere repeal of the fare increase.

The Left (represented by the PSTU) has already organised, last May 15th, a talk to ‘organise the support for the fight against fare increases’ through the CSP-Conlutas and the ANEL in São Paulo. Juntos, youth of the PSOL, as well as the MPL itself, took part in this session in which we played a critical role as the real intention was to forge a ‘direction’ for the acts, to be co-ordinated by a leadership formed by the organisations there present. In our estimation this means continues to be bureaucratic in relation to the rest of the movement, above all through its growing mass element, since a mere minority is represented by these organisations. However, instead of prioritising these agreements between currents at the top, we believe it necessary for the movement to be organised from every place of work and study! There must be meetings in universities and schools to discuss and organise the political stances to be adopted by the mobilisation, and its practises, as well as to decide how to organise the demonstrations including in matters of security and self-defence. The demonstrations called on the 17th June in various universities, such as USP, must begin this organisation, one that must be developed, and representatives must be elected, with mandates and the possibility to be repealed, to form the leadership of the whole movement.
The CSP-Conlutas, the ANEL and the Intersindical must convene democratic forums to discuss and implement a popular and youth oriented strategy which includes the preparation of strikes and paralysations around a programme of the rights of the youth and workers, unifying factions in the struggle to face the governments and the employers in defence of the interests of the majority of the population. We must demand that the central unions and the CUT, which limited itself to declaring that ‘the public transport is expensive and inefficient’, also mobilise its bases along these lines and a government doormat. At the same time, we consider the call the groups on the left, such as the PSTU, have made to be progressive; forming a ‘unified field’ of the Left in these protests, but this must contribute to the development of the self-organisation of the masses of workers and young people.

In this way we will succeed in forming a legitimate leadership capable of strengthening the mobilisations. This will also improve the feeling of antipathy present in the demonstrations as part of the spirit of watchful times, which erroneously mixes the urge to reject politicians and institutions of the establishment with a rejection of politics in general, a situation which can open up room for reactionary elements to grow.

We are united in the essential defence of the right of all parties and organisations of the Left, as well as social movements, to express themselves with their flags and other materials at the events, against all the ‘spontaneous’ attacks or organised rightwing groups. The effective means of combating this preconception, which can be felt in anarchist sectors as well as the wealthy middle class of the big cities, is precisely to demonstrate in practise that revolutionary politics has nothing to do with conventional politics. This is to be achieved with the revolutionaries as the front line promoting organisms capable of bringing self-determination to the sectors involved in the struggle with a programme of class independence which includes combating corruption and the suffocated democratic demands. Thus, instead of artificially creating leaderships whose authority is not recognised and are only formed by organisations, they must promote means of self-determination and they must fight for their core strategy by political means.

A program to continue the struggle and respond to the demands of the workers and the population

From the LER-QI and the groups that we share with independent students and workers, we have acted with enthusiasm and placed our modest forces so as to contribute to development of the mobilizations. Therefore, the programmatic debate is of the highest importance. In its beginning, the movement had as an epicenter the demonstrations in the city of São Paulo, against the 20 centavo increase in the bus and subway fares. We were on the frontline of defending the fare reduction without subsidies, and this conquest is a first victory of the movement. However, from the massive size that the movement gained, we believe that it is possible to go for more. And that the demand for a reduction should be tied to a program that will really solve the crisis of mass transit, that begins by eliminating the increase, but cannot end there.

For that reason, we believe that this movement can take, from now on, the banner of a free ticket now, for students, young people, the unemployed and retirees, on the way to nationalization without compensation of the transit system. The program of a free ticket now for students, young people, the unemployed, and retirees, far from “romanticism,” is a perfectly possible program, without anything for this having to be taken from the budget for health care and education. It is sufficient to carry out a policy of a progressive increase in the taxes on the great fortunes, non-payment of the debt to the banks, big companies and speculators, that, if they are carried out, can not only maintain existing services, but improve them qualitatively.

For these demands to be won, it is necessary, in the first place, to fight, as a matter of principle, against the repression of those who struggle, by demanding the end of the police offensive against the demonstrators, as well as the immediate release of all the prisoners without exception and cancellation of all the court cases. Together with this, we defend the creation of independent commissions, that will involve unions, social organizations, youth organizations, human rights organizations, and leftist organizations, that will investigate and punish the police and investigate the effects of their repression, like the people recently injured, from Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.

The government’s argument for the adjustment was high inflation. However, it shamelessly omits, in the first place, the fact that the fare charged by the city, relative to the minimum wage, is one of the highest in the world. A calculation done by the daily Folha de São Paulo shows that each Brazilian worker needs to work almost 14 minutes to pay for the daily ticket, while in other countries that time drops to 1.5 minutes. And while each worker spends a third of the minimum wage to pay for transportation, the mafias of the public transit companies have 20% of their expenditures guaranteed with money coming from the public coffers, while 70% comes from the value of the tickets, and the capitalists pay only 10%.

The bourgeoisie is trying to throw one group of the people against another, by stating that, in order to get the free ticket, an increase in the municipal tax on urban property would be needed, or cutting expenditures on health care and education. Meanwhile, the public transit mafia is saying that it “feels” inflation and does not have what is needed to take responsibility for paying maintenance expenses of the service without a fare increase, which is completely backed by the government. Mayor Haddad is lying, in order to hide the enormous robbery that goes to the capitalist coffers. If the transit fare were calculated by the inflation indices from the Real Plan (1994), it should now be R$ 2.16, and not R$ 3.20. That is, each worker hands over to the capitalists R$ 1.04 above the inflation rate, for every ticket that he pays for. This is real robbery. The Mayor says that the demonstrators “demand the impossible” to continue supporting the capitalists at our expense. As a minimum, in order to talk about “social justice,” the ticket should be reduced to its real value, R$ 2.16.

However, public transit workers have outdated wages, with conductors, when they exist, earning little more than a thousand reals. The bosses’ politicians are lying, the businessmen are lying, the press is lying, the legal system is lying. Society has no control over the “costs” of the services, which shows that there is no democracy. Therefore, in the first place, we demand that the transit companies and SPTrans (of Rio) and those of other cities open their accounting books. We are sure that, in this way, it will be proven that they are far from not having what is needed to take charge of the costs of the service, and how, in reality, they are holding astronomical profits.

Nor do we defend the idea that the solution to the transit crisis is increasing the state subsidy to public transit, as the MPL proposes, since that would simply be keeping the profit of the transportation mafia intact, by making the population pay for the profits of these capitalists by other ways, like the cuts in health care and education that the governments bring up as “indispensable.” We defend the idea that public transit should be nationalized, without compensation, and put under the control of committees of workers and riders, who are the most interested in offering quality service, accessible to the whole population. So too for those that already have part of their lines in the hands of the state, as is the case with the subway, that, we believe, should be controlled by the workers.
Every politician should earn the same as a worker

This vast movement also shows an enormous dissatisfaction with corruption and the wastefulness of the bosses’ politicians. For that reason, it is a task of the groups of the left to present a policy that can expose this privileged caste. Instead of a “middle-class country,” it is known that 72% of the Brazilian population earns from zero to twice the minimum wage, while 4.8 million people are immersed in absolute poverty. These numbers demonstrate that “Brazil as a power” is only for some people. The demonstrations could be the beginning of the end of the dream of consumption on credit and of the progressive and peaceful improvement of living conditions, that the PT government set up so much, but never guaranteed the structural conditions to achieve.

Such a scandal from the bourgeoisie, that it is impossible to reduce the fares by some tens of centavos, bumps into the reality of a simple calculation, that more and more groups are beginning to make. As for example, the costs of the Soccer World Cup, or the costs of corruption and diversions from the public coffers, so common in our country, that annually R$ 59 billion is swiped. Or, also, above and beyond the salaries of the Senators, that reach the ceiling of 26.7 thousand reals, exceeded by the innumerable bonuses, as well as the fact that every Senator has, on average, 322 times the minimum wage, to pay for the costs of his office, with a sum of R$ 218,316 monthly.

The salary of the federal deputies reaches the same quantity, but, counting the benefits, they can reach more than 40,000 reals. Therefore, the legal activity of the parliamentarians is estimated at more than 20 billion reals, with salaries and bonuses, while the National Congress costs the country R$ 23 million daily. With the diversions, corruption and over-billing religiously practiced by the national political caste, they add up to a cost of 79 billion reals.

The Attorneys Union of the National Treasury (Sinprofaz) estimates that evasion of taxes could reach 415 billion reals in 2013 – almost 10% of the Brazilian GDP (all the wealth produced). Mayor Haddad says, cynically, that if fares were reduced by R$ 0.20, 200,000 houses would cease to be built, since the Mayor’s Office would have a cost of R$ 400 million. Up to now, he has not built a single house. If it is the truth, it would be possible to build more than 20 million houses, just by charging the big evaders. The evaders must pay their debts, under penalty of confiscation of their assets and fortunes! All that, taken from the toil of the workers, for the support of these real parasites, that act solely for their own benefit and that of the class they defend, the bourgeoisie.

Facing this decadent bourgeois democracy, that is democratic only for the rich and their agents, that robs the hard labor of those who work, in order to live like “kings,” in a country of poor people, we defend the idea of putting an end to this entire caste of politicians corrupted by finance capital and its functionaries, and completely ending at once, all the privileges robbed from the work of the vast majority of the population. Every public official, from the executive, as well as all the Deputies, Senators, and judges, should earn the same as every worker should earn; this is a minimum wage from the Dieese [Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies] (R$ 2,873.56).

A general increase in wages, that will replace inflationary losses; that the wage floor and retirement wage should be the Dieese minimum wage, for everyone. All the workers with job uncertainty should be legalized, registered and have all the labor and social rights. There is money for all this. It is in the safes of the big capitalists and the bosses’ politicians!

Let us proceed from the victory achieved on June 19, to go for more!
June 19, 2013

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SEIU Local 500 marching for Palestine in Washington DC. (Photo: Purple Up for Palestine)

Dispatches from Labor Notes: Labor Activists are Uniting for Palestine. Democrats Want to Divide Them

On the first day of the Labor Notes conference, conference attendees held a pro-Palestine rally that was repressed by the local police. As attendees were arrested outside, Chicago Mayor — and Top Chicago Cop — Brandon Johnson spoke inside.

Left Voice

April 20, 2024
A tent encampment at Columbia University decorated with two signs that say "Liberated Zone" and "Gaza Solidarity Encampment"

Dispatches from Labor Notes 2024: Solidarity with Columbia Students Against Repression

The Labor Notes Conference this year takes place right after over 100 students were arrested at Columbia for protesting for Palestine. We must use this conference to build a strong campaign against the repression which will impact us all if it is allowed to stand.

Olivia Wood

April 20, 2024