Continue the struggle to overthrow the plans of the bourgeoisie and Bolsonaro
On June 14, Brazil was experiencing the first general strike against the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro. It was a demonstration of the strength and willingness of the working class, youth and peasants to face the attacks of the bourgeoisie and its government.
The strike defeats the repression of the State and the businessmen
According to Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT) -the main Brazilian trade union central/confederation and one of the ten organizers- 45 million workers stopped totally or partially and hundreds of thousands protested in at least 380 cities across the country. The strike had mass support in the public sector: education, civil servants, etc., as well as in metallurgical, banking, agricultural workers, oil companies ... They stopped 10 of the 12 Petrobras refineries, and 19 of the 27 capitals of State saw the transportation system affected in an important way.
The strength and breadth of the strike stands out even more if we take into account that the right-wing government, and the ruling class as a whole, resorted to a harsh repression to try to stop the strike. In Sao Paulo’s subway, the most populous city in Latin America, the justice system intervened, trying to restrict the workers' right to strike. They responded by paralyzing a large part of the service. The same happened in the rest of the public transport services, especially where it is carried out by private companies.
In the face of demobilization and the lack of a unified and continuous response by the leaders of the major unions, the precariousness of the labour force has expanded dramatically in recent years (with particular intensity in the private sector). It has also been used by employers to threaten workers and try to prevent the success of the strike.
The pickets’ activity and the roadblocks, which multiplied throughout the country, were key to allow many workers to strike. Following the line of the central government, different regional governments in the hands of bourgeois parties, like the PSDB, ordered the police forces under their command to violently repress the pickets and carry out charges and arrests against the demonstrators in several cities.
This shows once again that the traditional bourgeois parties cynically and hypocritically criticize some excesses of the Bolsonarist far-right but, at the moment of truth, they act to defend the same class interests and against the rights of the workers and the people. That is why it is a serious mistake to defend "broad democratic fronts" against the extreme right, calling sectors of the bourgeoisie to participate in them, as the PSOL leadership is proposing.
The political polarization and the spectacular increase in the rejection to Bolsonaro
The deepening of the economic crisis, the leaks about the manoeuvres and conspiracies of one of the strong men in government - Judge Sergio Moro, current Minister of Interior and Justice and responsible for the Lava Jato investigation - with the prosecutors to imprison Lula, in order to ease Bolsonaro’s electoral victory , the constant scandals of corruption carried out by his party (PSL) and his family ... are increasing his discredit at breakneck speed, even among a part of the middle class layers and desperate and backward workers who voted for Bolsonaro.
One month before the general strike, on May 15th, students and teachers were at the forefront in a historic mobilization against attacks on public education, in which two million people participated. Reflecting the existing polarization, the Bolsonarist ultra-right organized a counter-demonstrations on May 26th. However, the attempt to mobilize its social base in a great demonstration of forces, to intimidate and restrain the students, peasants and workers’ movement, did not achieve its objective. The most clearly anti-communist and fascist sectors participated, a few tens of thousands of people who, compared to the massive mobilizations against the government, demonstrated their weakness in an action that can only be described as a resounding failure. This confirms that the correlation of forces at this time is favorable for the working class and the people to go on the offensive and defeat the government. In fact, one of the most chanted slogans on the streets of the 14J was "Fora Bolsonaro".
In an attempt to deactivate the struggle in the streets and provide the union bureaucracy with an excuse not to keep mobilising by calling a new general strike, deputies of bourgeois parties such as the PSDB and others have submitted secondary amendments to the pension reform. These do not affect the essence of it. In the best of cases it would mean going back to the attack on the pensions which the bourgeois and coup government of Temer tried to pass in 2017 and that, in the end, did not dare to execute after the general strike of April of that year, although it did carry out the labor reform.
At that time the general strike had no continuity, allowing the Temer’s Government to maintain itself in power and, later, to open the way to the victory of Bolsonaro. As it happened then, the leaders of the UGT and Força Sindical centrals have shown once again they are willing to negotiate on the basis of these cosmetic changes. Given this maneuver to try to divide the movement, it is essential to continue the fight in the streets, as the most left-wing sectors of the trade union movement have stated.
Keep fighting with a new general strike.
For a united front on the left with a socialist program!
The leaders of the CSP-Conlutas and the rest of the forces that constitute the trade union left and the left with combative politics should push for the organization of assemblies in the work centers to make a balance sheet of the 14J and discuss the next steps to be taken. It is necessary to propose in all assemblies the approval of resolutions demanding that the rest of the organizations -starting with the CUT- call for a new general strike which demands the total withdrawal of the counter-reform project of pensions and that incorporates in the claims the withdrawal of all the other attacks launched by this reactionary government: against public education, democratic rights, the rights of women and the LGTBI community, the environment...
This movement must make an appeal to the activists and militants of the CUT and PT to unite and break with the demobilization policies and pacts with the bourgeoisie of the reformist leaders.
We must promote the creation of committees to fight in the factories, in the neighbourhoods, in the countryside and in the education centers so that the mobilization in the streets continues, is unified and extended, with a plan of struggle that goes further. It must allow the deployment of the whole strength of the working class, students, women and LGTBI community, day laborers, peasants, indigenous peoples and all of the oppressed, to overthrow Bolsonaro’s Government.
Linked to this, it is essential to raise a socialist program, which proposes the expropriation under workers' control of banking, big land estates and property and large companies in order to have the necessary resources to guarantee the defense and improvement of public pensions, education and health, access to housing, decent wages and working conditions. This would make possible to democratically plan the economy according to social needs and not the interest of a handful of corrupt and parasitic oligarchs.