Lessons from a strike

Image: Zhanna Leontyeva
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By WOLFGANG LEO MAAR*

There is an undeniable collective and public interest always present at the heart of every work of those dedicated to education and health, even if it is primarily focused on their own interests.

The strike at federal universities leaves some issues that require homework for those who defend policies that lead to a sovereign, democratic and fair country.

There is a large contingent of workers committed to a job that, by assumption, in this extreme capitalist society is one of the least alienated and alienating jobs left. With collegiate democratic organizational structures structured for decades on the initiative of the workers themselves, almost forming a model, a laboratory of the society we want.

They studied for long years and in their place of work they interact guided only by the path of science, of knowledge, their primary target as the perfect antithesis of the flat earthism in force in these lands very recently, with deaths and oppression. They carry no weapons except those of persuasion, which is why they are truly essential, although devoid of the exclusivity of this use of the force of good argument.

On the contrary: they intend for knowledge to be in fact what it actually is – the legitimizing basis of democracy as a social form that guides all political life, giving it potency and power. Knowledge is worth more than a rifle; Would it be appropriate to claim a hierarchy for readjustments here? For education and health outside of any contingency?

Good arguments such as the one that concludes with the statement that resources for education (and we could add: as well as for health) are not expenses, but investments.

There is an undeniable collective and public interest always present at the heart of every work of those dedicated to education and health, no matter how much it is primarily focused on their own interests. But they are workers who, under the regime of capital, must be valued.

In the case at hand, the majority of them are people who do not usually speak loudly and are not in the habit of speaking out in public, giving big speeches or beating their chests to boast of advantages. Even so, in a moment of great apathy and political complacency, they decided to go on strike. There is an effort that is impossible to minimize in this attitude, motivated by the feeling of penury and neglect to move forward in your daily life.

And even so: what they are asking for is little. Good universities in Brazil are very low cost compared internationally and yield excellent results that cannot be diminished, aimed at the public community. Universities are indispensable and wait for no other attitude than the demand for them to form knowledge, the only resource that can take us forward and beyond. They deserve recognition!

The attitudes of these Brazilian men and women demonstrate the indisputable difficulty, the contradictions of investment containment policies that are imposed by the capitalist forces on duty. And as such they should be interpreted: they are not against the government; they are against the coercions of rentier financial capital and in this sense they ally themselves with the government's own interests, helping them to acquire social strength to impose themselves. The work is not silent, stunned! The living memory of this conflict is the lesson.

Someone once said: dream big and want to make your dream come true. Just it. That of the dream country.

*Wolfgang Leo Maar He is a senior professor at the Department of Philosophy at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).


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