Opportunism, childhood disease of leftism

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By HERLON MIGUEL*

Considerations about the strike at the Federal University of Bahia

1.

The PT government provides an important moment for mobilizations, organizations and the fight for the expansion of rights. Brazil's recent political history has been marked by this dynamic, where civil society mobilizes in search of social advances.

In this context, the strike emerges as an essential instrument of political struggle. Capitalism, with its structure of exploitation, is based on laws that support the privileges of the elites. Therefore, it is crucial that workers organize and go on strike to demand their rights and confront social injustices.

Comparing governments, data reveals significant disparities. In the last year of former president Jair Bolsonaro's administration, in 2022, federal universities received only R$53,2 million in resources, the lowest amount since 2013. Throughout his four years in office, the former president inaugurated only a university, which contrasts with the expansion policy observed in previous governments. The reduction in investments during Jair Bolsonaro's government led to precarious research and teaching at universities, with harmful consequences for education in the country.

In the context of universities, mobilization during Jair Bolsonaro's government was limited. Unfortunately, few initiatives were taken. Fundamental sectors of the left were apathetic. Now, in the third Lula government, they are mobilizing, which is positive, but what is the tone of the leftist mobilization?

2.

We are currently living through the first years of the new Lula government, at a time of ethical and economic challenges. Institutions face difficulties in offering quality services due to the dismantling of the State. Recently, the University of International Integration of Afro-Brazilian Lusofonia (UNILAB) received a significant investment, 9 million reais, to resume work on the campus, highlighting its importance in promoting integration between Brazil and Portuguese-speaking African countries .

This investment and a set of others that are being made in education, such as, for example, the construction of more federal institutes, is related to the historical importance that PT governments give to education, ranging from specific actions to more structuring ones. Even so, reforming education is a very complex task given the size of the sector, accumulated historical demands, the expansion of conservatism in the last federal government, among other problems.

In the case of Unilab-Campus Malês, initially, the strike was not approved. This non-approval had two fundamental pillars: harming the academic life of students, some of whom suffer from all the cultural, economic and social difficulties to remain in Bahia, and the need to maintain ongoing processes that will qualify and improve this campus that suffered so much under the last government, and, in this sense, it would delay processes, works and deliveries. In the second moment, the strike was approved.

Perhaps, the teachers who are against the strike, in fact, are placing their individual interests secondary, since in fact, there is a salary gap and fundamental adjustments that need to be made to their careers. However, this feeling of care for the student and Brazil's historical moment is relevant.

In the case of UFBA, and in agreement with the majority who were at the teachers' assembly organized by the union, the strike was initiated. Legitimately, but engendered by feelings peripheral to party disputes.

I participated in fundamental struggles at UFBA, as it was the focal point of the Bahian university's struggles and mobilizations. Of the fights I would highlight, I remember two moments well. The first referred to the University Reform, proposed by a very qualified team (Tarso Genro, Fernando Haddad, among others).

This policy had a diverse set of actions, of which I would like to remember the University for All Program, the government suggested the transformation of unpaid taxes into places for poor people. In the second moment, REUNI, a university restructuring program, is now responsible for the largest number of places, courses and, consequently, black people at universities.

At both times, PSol, the main sector of the current opposition to APLB in Bahia, was against it, mobilized and organized a set of initiatives against the actions that subsequently positively changed the lives of thousands of young people. This movement of theirs (PSol) meant that, in the heat of radicalization, several serious teachers were deluded. In reality, they won a set of elections and became a hegemonic force in important organizations such as ANDES.

This same sector was one of those responsible, with its sectarian agendas and wrong disputes, for all the movements that, together with the right, strengthened “Fora Dilma”.

3.

In all cases, the academic community realized, after the policies were implemented and the actions were implemented, that the initiatives proposed by the PT governments were good and changed the face of the university. More than that, it was realized that PSol's positions, to the detriment of what is good for the Brazilian people, especially in the actions of union activism, have as a basis for their narratives organizing opportunistic arguments to dispute devices such as DCEs and unions.

Unfortunately, in the heat of emotions and driven by their individual interests, many serious people “go with the flow” and end up, up front, realizing that it was merely a partisan dispute. After those first years of the Lula government, the purposeful and unified left won in several important DCEs and unions.

It is important to highlight that APUB was present in all the important struggles of the last period, demonstrating its historic commitment to defending the rights and interests of teachers and public education as a whole. The people who lead the union are activists with presence in struggles in Bahia and Brazil in defense of education.

It is essential that civil society mobilizes and pressures the government in search of adequate investments and educational policies that promote inclusion and academic excellence. However, it is essential that we look with a magnifying glass at which interests are involved in each of the political disputes.

It is essential to identify two aspects. The first is that PSol da Bahia has a lot of serious people, this opinion here is not about the party as a whole, but about an old and daily practice, especially in UFBA, of making the political/partisan dispute override the interest of the academic community.

Today, the dispute over narratives carried out, especially on social media, by PSol activists aims to dismantle and weaken APUB, an organization that represents teachers at federal public institutions in the State. Only that!

There is an opportunistic attempt to take powers from the union, the group aims to weaken the leadership of APUB, revealing itself as an action that, instead of reducing union representation, undermines the cohesion and effectiveness of the organization. This dissident approach, instead of promoting unity and defending the interests of teachers, fragments the collective voice of teachers, thus weakening their ability to negotiate and defend their rights, which harms everyone for future actions.

It is important to say that PSol is an important party for Brazilian democracy. He was fundamental in the fight to maintain democracy. But for some years now, the party's militancy, specifically in Bahia, has been going against the political unity, fundamental to the Brazilian left. I would highlight Bahian activists such as councilor Laína, Fabio Nogueira, Kleber Rosa, among many other people.

Education is one of the fundamental pillars for social transformation and the construction of a more just and egalitarian society. Therefore, it is the duty of all of us, as citizens and members of the academic community, to defend quality public education, which meets the needs of the population and promotes human and social development. Strike is a worker's right and must be exercised fully.

However, after the entities are weakened, what is left? Who succeeds? And finally, teacher/student, don't be manipulated. Strengthening the union is strengthening yourselves.

Forward, teachers. Forward, APUB.

*Herlon Miguel He is studying for a master's degree in technology management applied to education at the State University of Bahia. He was director of the National Union of Students (UNE).


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