We started well!

Gabriela Pinilla, Arenga, Mural Painting. 2 X 2 meter diorama, 2020, Museo de arte Moderna, Medellín, Colombia


Let's follow the example of Chilean and Colombian workers

With expressive manifestations in all the big cities of Brazil, the Acts of the 29th of May were an important victory for the workers. History shows that the people on the street are the only antidote against the tyranny of the market and the authoritarian threat.

A loophole opens up for the deposition of Bolsonaro and Mourão, the precondition for workers to get a vaccine in their arms and food on their plate. It is vital to take advantage of it with firmness and determination, not only to free society from the perversities of the militia captain, but, above all, to interrupt capital's permanent offensive against labor and reorganize the Brazilian economy and society from the bottom up. The urgency is maximum. The situation of the working class is calamitous.

With the circulation of the coronavirus at full speed, the vaccination campaign in slow motion and the national health system collapsing, Brazil has one of the worst lethality rates for Covid-19, accounting for approximately 13% of all deaths – almost five times higher than its participation in the world population (2,7%). In the first five months of 2021, there were another 265 deaths from Covid-19. Without radical changes in health policy, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington estimates that, by the end of August, an additional 143 to 317 people (worst case scenario) will lose their lives. That is, the country will reach the mark of 815 to 990 thousand deaths (official + underreported) since the beginning of the pandemic.[I]

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the unemployment crisis. The modest recovery in economic growth, whose annual expansion is expected to be below the drop seen in 2020, was not accompanied by a recovery in the job market. In the first quarter of 2021, unemployment, discouragement and underutilization rates continued to deteriorate. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis, 6,6 million jobs have been destroyed, and the number of unemployed, discouraged and underutilized workers has increased by 5,6 million, reaching more than 33 million people, nearly a third of the workforce. work.[ii]

As if the unemployment crisis were not enough, workers face an increase in the cost of living. Even with official inflation stabilized at the level of 5% per year, research by DIEESE shows that, in 7 of the 17 main capitals in Brazil, the basic food basket has undergone a readjustment of almost 20% in the last twelve months. As a result, in April 2021, in the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis, Porto Alegre and Vitória, the value of the basic food basket began to consume more than 60% of the income of workers who earn the national minimum wage (two years ago virtually frozen).[iii]

The worsening of the social crisis caused a significant increase in the population living in poverty. In 2020, Emergency Aid prevented the problem from manifesting itself. However, in 2021, even with the new Emergency Aid, it is estimated that more than 9 million people will fall into poverty, compared to October 2020, of which 8,4 million in extreme poverty. The contingent in a state of poverty and extreme poverty must reach 28,9% and 9,1% of the Brazilian population, respectively, the equivalent of the population of France and Chile.[iv]

The deepening of the social crisis provoked a resurgence of hunger. A study by the Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security calculates that, despite the income transfer determined by the National Congress, in the last three months of 2020, 117 million people suffered some degree of food insecurity and 19 million went hungry, 55,2 .9% and 2018% of the Brazilian population respectively – a considerable increase in relation to such indicators in 36,6: 5,8% and XNUMX%, respectively.[v] With the worsening of unemployment and the significant reduction in Emergency Aid, the problem has worsened dramatically.

The deposition of Bolsonaro and Mourão is a national emergency. The sanitary genocide, the permanent negotiations, the systematic disrespect for republican institutions, open corruption and state violence as a solution to the political crisis make his stay in the Planalto an unacceptable threat to citizenship and the environment. It would be unforgivably irresponsible to leave them bleeding until 2022 in the hope of an extemporaneous electoral solution along the line of least resistance. This is, however, the bet of the opposition within the order, including its left wing. It is not surprising that the national leadership of the CUT, MST, PT and even some regional PSOL, in total dissonance with the feeling of their militancy, have shamefully omitted to call and mobilize the population for the 29M. It is hoped that this will not be repeated at the demonstration scheduled for June 19th.

In the fight against Bolsonaro and Mourão, it is important not to lose sight of the class perspective. The bet on herd immunity, liberal reforms, fiscal austerity and an authoritarian solution to the national political crisis is not exclusive to the Bolsonaro government. These are policies that serve the interests of big capital. Bolsonaro represents his maximum dose. The minimum dose only reduces the pace and intensity of the advance of capitalist barbarism.

Bolsonaro must be deposed now, through a popular intervention, based on a program of immediate change in the economic and political model. Let's follow the example of Chilean and Colombian workers. Occupying the streets, paralyzing factories, overthrowing the government and winning the vaccine as the first step towards refounding society, with substantive equality and respect for nature as its guide. It is time to organize the counteroffensive of labor against capital.

* Plinio de Arruda Sampaio Jr. is a retired professor at the Institute of Economics at Unicamp and editor of the website Contrapoder. Author, among other books, of Between nation and barbarism – dilemmas of dependent capitalism (Voices).

Originally published on the website www.contrapoder.net .


[I] See https://covid19.healthdata.org/brazil?view=daily-deaths&tab=trend

[ii] Data from PNAD-Contínua, May 2021

[iii] See https://www.dieese.org.br/analisecestabasica/2021/202104cestabasica.pdf

[iv] According to the classification of the IBGE, the population in situation of poverty and absolute poverty is considered to be the one with a monthly income of, at most, R$ 436 and R$ 151 per person in the household, respectively. The work mentioned is “Gender and race in evidence during the pandemic in Brazil: the impact of Emergency Aid on poverty and extreme poverty”, Notes on Economic Policy, No. 10, MADE-USP, authored by Nassif-Pires, Luiza; Cardoso, Luisa; Oliveira, Ana Luíza Matos, from 22/04/2021. IN: https://madeusp.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/NPE-010-VF.pdf

[v] See National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic, carried out by the Brazilian Research Network on Sovereignty and Food and Nutritional Security. In: http://olheparaafome.com.br/VIGISAN_Inseguranca_alimentar.pdf


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