Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

São Paulo Metro on Strike

Transit workers in São Paulo, Brazil join nationwide work stoppage on March 15th against austerity measures.

Victor Mariutti

March 15, 2017
Facebook Twitter Share

Image from Cuslar

In an effort to resist President Temer’s countless attacks on workers, bus drivers and metro workers in São Paulo voted today to go on a 24-hour work stoppage. They join the national teachers’ union, steelworkers, public utility workers, and bank workers who will also stop on March 15.

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil with almost 12 million people, putting it among the top 15 largest cities in the world. The São Paulo subway system is the second largest in South America, with a length of almost 50 miles. 4.6 million people take the subway every day. Yet, on March 15, that subway system will come to a stop in order to protest austerity measures proposed by the government.

The Temer administration’s plans include radically pro-business reforms to existing labor laws, a massive cut back of retirement benefits, laws that incriminate organized labor and strike action, the wholesale privatization of public services and cuts to education, among others. These pieces of legislation profoundly undermine workers rights and the rights of marginalized peoples.

This is what the Temer government was put in power to do. Last year opposition parties, business interests and the judiciary orchestrated an institutional coup which brought to power the current right-wing administration headed by Michel Temer, which is now pushing through these policies.

The Brazilian economy is in a downward slump for several years now. Furthermore, half of Brazil’s tax revenue is transferred to banks through debt interest payments. Yet, the Temer administration tries to place the burden of the current economic crisis on workers by crippling their livelihoods with the proposed cuts.

There will be several other sectors of the Brazilian working class that will stop on March 15. In Rio de Janeiro, the bus drivers will also engage in a work stoppage. Essentially all teachers in Sao Paulo will also be on strike on the 15th. In Sao Paulo, these stoppages take place despite threats from the governor and mayor.

While the 24-hour work stoppage is an important display of resistance, only a concrete plan for action that exceeds a single day will be able to resist the administration’s attacks. It is imperative now to engage workers in democratic assemblies to vote for a coordinated strike action. To that end, national trade union centers must be pressured into organizing and mobilizing their rank and file rather than negotiating with the administration or focusing their energies on future electoral campaigns.

Already we see multiple examples of resistance to the austerity measures. The most recent mayoral election cycle saw a massive turnout for leftist candidate Marcelo Freixo in Rio de Janeiro. In the University of São Paulo last week, students, faculty and staff confronted the police in a demonstration against massive layoffs. In Rio de Janeiro, state water and sewage utility workers, together with students and teachers fought against plans to privatize the water company. These acts attest to a desire to resist and defeat the capitalists’ attacks. The central task for the left is to organize a plan of action with rank and file workers that can effectively defeat Termer’s austerity plans.

Facebook Twitter Share

Latin America

Alfredo Cisneros, Mexican land defender from Michoacán, stands in a forest. He is the fifth land defender to be murdered in the country in 2023.

Alfredo Cisneros: Fifth Mexican Environmentalist Assassinated in 2023

Alfredo Cisneros Madrigal, indigenous leader and forest defender in Michoacán, Mexico was murdered on February 23. He is the fifth environmental defender to be murdered in the country so far this year.

Axomalli Villanueva

March 13, 2023

Lula Visits Biden to Repair Relations with U.S. Imperialism

Brazilian President Lula's U.S. visit shows that he's focused on maintaining the interests of Brazilian capital while aligning with U.S. imperialism and being careful not to alienate Beijing.

Caio Reis

February 16, 2023

SOUTHCOM Chief Aims to Increase Imperialist Plunder of Latin America’s Resources

U.S. Southern Command Chief Laura Richardson has expressed interest in lithium and other natural resources in South America. It shows the country’s commitment to corporate profits at the expense of workers, Indigenous people, and the environment.

Luigi Morris

January 26, 2023

The Peruvian Uprising: Massive Protests Demand the Fall of the Coup Regime and a Constituent Assembly

Peru has erupted in a massive uprising demanding that President Dina Boluarte resign, that the current Congress be shut down, and that a new constitution be established. The protests are the culmination of years of political oppression of the country’s indigenous communities, drastic poverty rates and precarity for Peru’s workers and poor, and a political regime that continues the legacy of Alberto Fujimori’s dictatorship.


Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023

20 Years Since the U.S. Invasion of Iraq: A Reflection from a Socialist in the Heart of Imperialism

A Left Voice member and anti-war activist reflects on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and how he learned to hate U.S. imperialism.

Sam Carliner

March 20, 2023

It is Possible to Win: The Pension Reform Crisis in France

A French socialist reflects on the way forward after Macron invites Article 49.3 to pass pension reform.

Paul Morao

March 20, 2023

“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 20, 2023