Matched game

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Comment on the article by Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo

It was posted on the website the earth is round an article by Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo, professor at UFSCar and first president of PROIFES, entitled “In defense of the agreement signed by Proifes”.

Paraphrasing Lula, the first two paragraphs of the text are dedicated to “remembering the past”. The first paragraph talks about the agreements signed by Proifes, the second paragraph criticizes the role played by Andes in the 2000s.

Unfortunately, the professor does not say anything about the existence of an opposition within the Andes, an opposition led by PT members, which received 41% of the votes in the last election (and a similar result in previous elections). This omission, obviously, aims to equate the Andes base with its board and this one with the PSTU. His description of the facts is, therefore, partial and specious.

From the third paragraph onwards, the professor begins to analyze, according to him in a “factual and objective way, the events relating to the 2024 salary campaign”. Interestingly, in this factual and objective analysis there is no, absolutely no, reference to the strike of teachers and administrative technicians. It is as if the positive points and advances (both exist) in the government's proposal were the product of the government's generosity and Proifes' brilliant negotiating skills.

In fact, the word “strike” only appears once in the text by professor Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo, to refer to the 2004 strike. By the way, I suggest you search the text for the words “struggle” and “mobilization” and its variants. It is a very didactic exercise, which leaves us thinking about what type of trade unionism it is that seems to be allergic to certain words.

Apart from these details mentioned above, Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo's analysis is correct in many aspects, whether in criticizing points in Andes' initial proposal, in defending details of the government's final proposal, or in pointing out problems in the counter-proposal presented in the the 27th. But so as not to tire people with numbers and percentages, I limit myself to saying that the teacher tells us only a third of the mass.

First missing third: it is not a fact that the “progressive evolution of the negotiating dialogue between PROIFES and the government” resulted from the supposed or real weaknesses of the Andes proposal and, also, from the supposed or real quality of the Proifes proposal. As was evident to me – when listening to the report given to the PT's national executive by José Feijóo himself, government negotiator – as well as to many others, there was a combined game between the government and Proifes. And this game accelerated, when José Feijóo realized that the strike was growing. But, as they say, that's part of it, although it says a lot about the conception of the characters involved.

Let's keep going.

Missing second third: the professor states verbatim that the proposal presented by Proifes “would not recover, as we know, the losses incurred in the two previous governments, but, in the circumstances and considering the current correlation of political forces existing, at national level, it would represent an advance ”; and states, also verbatim, that “the recently signed agreement between PROIFES and the federal government does not represent the recovery sought by the category after years of salary cuts imposed by those who repeatedly attacked education, but it means and must be seen as a desirable beginning of recovery, which will need to be greatly deepened later on. And that will need to be accompanied by a vigorous expansion of the allocation of more funds to Universities and Federal Institutes”.

Translating what the professor said: Proifes accepted a zero adjustment in 2024, which is particularly serious for retirees, because it considers that “in the current correlation”, “this would represent an advance”, a “desirable start of recovery”. Are these statements true? In part, yes, obviously. But it would be possible to go further: this is the opinion of part of the PT, starting with 13 presidents of teaching associations that make up Andes, a number, in fact, greater than the total number of associations that make up Proifes.

This is not, therefore, ultra-left radicalism. This is an opinion, based on numbers, of people who are card-carrying PT members, who oppose the Andes board, who constantly demarcate themselves with leftism and who, collectively, represent more than the entire Proifes.

Can the minority (Proifes) be right and the majority (Andes, Sinasefe) be wrong? By all means yes? Could we, PT members who work in the Andes, be wrong? We can, of course. And can we be defeated? We can, obviously. But the fact is that we proved, by a + b, that the total cost of accepting Andes' counterproposal is fully assimilable “in the current correlation”.

But, beyond these acacias, there are two other things that need to be said.

First: if the government wants to find an outcome for the strike (which, remember, does not exist in Professor Gil Vicente Reis de Figueiredo's report), the government needs to negotiate with the entities that represent the majority of those on strike. And it needs to negotiate some type of replacement in 2024 and also point out some perspective on other issues, starting with the topic of the global budget.

Second: the question asked by Professor Gil, in the final paragraph of his text, applies to himself. The question is: “How can an entity (…) concretely harm the category it claims to represent?” That's what Proifes did, by making a pas de deux with José Feijóo, exactly when the government was showing signs that it might give in.

I will not discuss here the internal functioning of Proifes, the fact that part of its base was and continues to be on strike, etc. This is irrelevant to what I'm discussing here. What is relevant is that Proifes helped José Feijóo to close the negotiations, at a time that may have been suitable for Feijóo, but was certainly not suitable for the category that Proifes claims to represent.

The rest, readers can conclude without needing to be said.

*Valter Pomar is a professor at the Federal University of ABC and member of the PT National Directory.

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