We made the L and went on strike

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By LORENZO Stained Glass*

The current government perhaps thinks it's bad for them, much worse for the extreme right, which may explain the 0% readjustment proposed for education

According to the portal G1, at the time of writing this text, at least 51 federal universities and 79 federal institutes are on strike for an indefinite period, preserving, however, what is normally considered essential services.

Salary losses for federal education workers, since Michel Temer's government, are estimated at 47%. The current government proposes a 0% adjustment for education, although it has willingly readjusted some of the categories of the federal public service: the PF will receive 24,20% until 2026; the PRF up to 27,40%; in addition to seven other categories, including tax auditors; Central Bank analysts etc.; and also, as usual, categories of the judiciary.

For education workers, the proposal is 0% for 2024, 4,5% for 2025 and 4,5% for 2026. It is clear that the government's proposal does not even minimally address the wage gap that plagues us; Furthermore, for the funding and maintenance of federal educational institutions, the government allocated 5,96 billion, but ANDIFES (National Association of Directors of Federal Higher Education Institutions) indicates that at least another 2,5 billion is still needed for operation minimum of these institutions. For these and other reasons, the category launched the ongoing strike.

The fact that we received 0% salary correction had a huge impact on the class. After all, when any of our students receives 0 (zero) in an assessment or test, it is a sign that nothing they have done was worthy of being considered by the teacher, which does not do justice to the fact that, every year, the productivity of federal institutions of teaching increase qualitatively and quantitatively.

On the other hand, the narrative is already emerging that Universities did not participate in political struggle during the governments of Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro and that, opportunistically, they launched a strike at a time when it is necessary to help the Lula government in rebuilding the country after the hecatomb of the extreme right in power.

This narrative needs to be considered with some care. Firstly, there was a strike in Michel Temer's government when they fought, in 2016, against the PEC on the spending ceiling, which was, as we know, approved by parliament, which made our political struggle at that time useless. .

Furthermore, we cannot forget the student and university teaching protests in 2019, known as the “education tsunami”, which occurred throughout that year (e.g. on May 15, May 30, June 14, August 14, October 2 and 3), being the first major mobilization against Jair Bolsonaro's government. Due to cuts in education from basic to higher education and freezes in the areas of science and technology development, there was a significant stoppage in higher and basic education, accompanied by protests led by students and education professionals.

It should also be taken into account that, from 2020 onwards, we began to experience the Covid epidemic with the consequences that we all know. It is reasonable to think that, from this date until the end of Jair Bolsonaro's government, with a large part of the population having subsistence problems and experiencing unemployment, it would, in fact, be very opportunistic for us to undertake to pursue our demands under the conditions in which the country and the world met.

Therefore, it is not appropriate to suggest that education workers “cooked up” under Jair Bolsonaro and that we are now “surfing” in a favorable moment. President Lula himself, although he claims that “he has no morals to speak against strike” (Mail Braziliense, 10/04/2024) declares, not without irony, that, “under the previous management, workers did not involve themselves in strikes” (Valor Econômico, 07/04/2023); he also states that the blame can now be placed on Minister Fernando Haddad (and no longer on the IMF as in the past).

It thus seems to us that there is a certain division of political roles: our president tries to preserve his political capital and the person responsible for the economy plays the role of villain. This is an always efficient trick, especially because Fernando Haddad already seems convinced that he is not qualified to be Lula's dauphin in future elections.

The justification for the economic area is now called preservation of the zero deficit, a euphemism for the spending ceiling of Michel Temer's government. This is the good old salary squeeze that has made our fortunes since the military dictatorship. According to economist Paulo Nogueira Batista Jr (Brazil247, 19/04/2024), the factor that most impacts the public deficit is the high interest rates charged by the Central Bank's monetary authority and not public spending, which is being contained and is reasonable when compared to the deficits of the main economies of the world; Furthermore, we have a highly favorable primary surplus and robust foreign exchange reserves.

In other words, the “market” and the corporate media suggest economic chaos when thinking about increasing public spending in sectors such as health and education because they try to postpone, as much as possible, a relevant reduction in interest rates, which receive no complaints. , evidently, due to rentier “activities”. The government has not yet been able or does not wish to free itself from this trap, or even plans to do so at a snail's pace to stay “on good terms” with everyone in the propagated “broad front”.

It remains to be seen whether broad sectors of the working class will be able to have the patience that is expected. After all, the current government perhaps thinks, in a lackluster logic, that it is bad with them, much worse with the extreme right, which may explain the zero score we received.

*Lorenzo stained glass He is a professor at the Faculty of Letters of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).


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