June 19: new turning point

Image: Action Group


The current situation in the country leads us to an urgent need for greater left-wing activism, with the first step being to make the 19th of June the biggest street movement in recent years.

The social struggle in Brazil has historically gone through cycles greatly influenced by economic waves and the format of interaction between the national economy and society and international imperialism. The end of the business-military dictatorship, starting in the late 1970s, was the result, on the one hand, of the economic crisis and the rise of intense social struggles in factories, neighborhoods and streets.

The set of the cycle that began, approximately in 1976, with the resumption of trade union movements and neighborhood struggles, initially in São Paulo and later in the rest of the country, and which was consolidated with the reconstruction of the large student, worker and peasant organizations ( UNE, UBES, CUT, MST) in the early 1980s.

The cyclical social struggle culminates in the 1980s with the large demonstrations for Diretas Já and the General Strike of 1987 against the Sarney government and the wage tightening policies characteristic of that government. This long cycle of social disputes faces a strong defeat, first of an electoral nature and later of disorganization of the social movements in 1995 when, after the movements removed Collor de Mello from the presidency, we have the election of FHC and the first great destructive neoliberal moment that leads the near destruction of the Oil Workers' Union – at that time very strong – and also the wave of privatization that dismantled part of the Brazilian industrial circuit (privatization of CVRD, Telebrás, Embratel).

The continuation of social struggles and the failure of the neoliberal economic cycle in its first phase (FHC), led to the strengthening of union institutions and civil society, culminating in the experience of the PT's reformist social governments.

These governments actually composed a non-neoliberal interlude, resulting from five conjuncture-structural movements of Brazilian society that made possible the formation of an unprecedented historical bloc in its history:

i) resulting from the leadership crisis of the Brazilian bourgeoisie after the neoliberal structural adjustment of the FHC government;

ii) adequacy of the resistance of the social movements represented organically around the large popular organizations (CUT, MST);

iii) a period of economic growth driven by the commodity export sector;

iv) a peripheral Fordist adjustment unprecedented in Brazilian history (expansion of domestic income with distribution); v) maintenance of rentier macrostructural conditions.

The neoliberal resumption partially interrupted with the rise of the PT, was placed as a new conjunctural stage. Six components seem to be central to this new authoritarian neoliberal cycle:

i) The resumption by the Brazilian bourgeoisie of the classic mechanisms of overexploitation of work, undoing the mechanisms of salary recomposition and increase in the average salary resulting from the PT's salary reforms; on the other hand, the imposition of more intensive and more flexible working hours to the interests of capital, which establishes an increase in the average exploitation rate of the economy with the intention of recovering the profit rate, this was the central objective of LC 13.467/ 17, EC 06/19.

ii) Control by transnational capital of oil production sources established in the pre-salt layer and of prospecting technologies controlled by Petrobras, which may in the short term attract a wave of investments that makes the neoliberal cycle viable, but this possibility is depending on a resumption of growth in the main central economies that makes a new cycle of growth in the price of oil and mineral commodities in general possible.

iii) The dismantling and privatization of the entire national energy structure (Eletrobras), deepening two movements: a) the definitive dismantling of the Brazilian industrial structure, making the “Primary-Export Specialization Reproduction Standard”, based on agricultural and mineral production the only national productive chains; b) defining a rent-seeking area (with the liquidation of state properties) for the national and international financial sector.

iv) The tightening of fiscal control and the implementation of a model of Fridemian equilibrium (Milton Friedman), via Constitutional Amendment 95/16 (New Fiscal Regime) which has two objectives: to provide all the surplus capacity of the State to transfer income to the global financial center and; make the use of the fiscal budget unfeasible as a tool for social agreement and medium-term stabilization of a new popular-reformist government.

v) The ideological advance of a total individualist-mercantilist culture, something that we could call neoliberal totalitarianism, whose epicenter focuses on conservative, homophobic, racist and misogyny attitudes, favoring right-wing discourse, including fascist segments, and still cornering more to the left and popular-democratic conceptions.

vi) The political instrumentalization of neo-fascist military sectors, which was conventionally called the Military Party. Florestan Fernandes, in one of his last articles, asserts, with enormous insight, that the “military issue” is the main burning issue of the current historical situation.[1] It is placed “at the core of power, of the definitive rupture with the past and with the perspectives of a future for democracy”. As Florestan puts it, the military “at its summits, were tied to a reactionary defense of the existing order, at home and on the international stage”.

The conjuncture conforms, therefore, the intensification of a double crisis: organic, from the political point of view of rupture of the institutionality established with the CF/88 and; structural, from an economic point of view, with the attempt to recompose the decline in profitability of the main productive segments (primary-exporters) and to deepen the primary-exporter pattern, with its complete integration of the conditions of dependence on the US economic center and the conditions for the financial expansion of transnational capital.

This configuration of political and economic crisis is far from a solution, and a new authoritarian renegotiation is not ruled out, and coup deepening movements established by Bolsonaro and his military “entourage” are a very strong risk at this time.

The picture takes us to a context of the urgent need for greater activism on the left, strengthening the proactivity of street actions, even with an extremely fiercer agenda than the current one. However, the first step is to make the 19J the largest street movement in recent years, which requires a mobilizing capacity that takes the democratic and popular forces to the maximum of their ability to call together and confront, including the presence of all their greatest popular leaders. and institutional agents of this field in the streets next Saturday, I mean governors, mayors, senators, federal and state deputies, councilors and the great social leaders.

Barring the deepening of the neo-fascist coup is the only central task at the moment!

*Jose Raimundo Trinidad He is a professor at the Graduate Program in Economics at UFPA. Author, among other books, of Criticism of the Political Economy of the Public Debt and the Capitalist Credit System: a Marxist approach (CRV).


[1] FERNANDES, Florestan. Thought and action: the PT and the paths of Socialism. São Paulo: Editora Globo, 2006.


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