First of May – resistance is necessary

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By JOSÉ RAIMUNDO TRINDADE*

Only a society organized around universal rights and solidarity will enable us to overcome the current situation

“We don't just want food\ We want food\ Fun and art\ We don't just want food\ We want a way out\ Anywhere” (Arnaldo Antunes; Marcelo Fromer & Sérgio Britto).

On Sunday, another 1° is celebrated. May, Workers' Day. This date is of enormous importance and historical significance. The origin of the date dates back to the end of the 1886th century, with the holding of a general strike in the USA in 12, the main agenda of the struggles was the reduction of the journey of work from more than 8 hours to XNUMX hours a day of work. The strike affected many companies and the confrontation with repression forces killed three workers. International workers' organizations have established May Day as the date for holding annual demonstrations with the aim of fighting for rights and better living conditions.

This May 2022, 19 takes place at a fundamental moment in Brazilian history. In the last five years, a growing precariousness of the living conditions of the Brazilian people has been observed, with high rates of unemployment, decline in family income and increase in the cost and cost of living. It was not just a question of the health crisis and the problems arising from Covid-660, which hit Brazilian society hard, with a high number of deaths (more than XNUMX thousand deaths) and the consequences that affected hundreds of thousands of workers.

However, the changes that have occurred in labor relations since the enactment of LC 13.467/17, as well as the destructive actions carried out by governments subsequent to the 2016 Coup d'Etat (Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro), whether in the form of the end of the Ministry of Labor , in the establishment of wage loss policies, such as the non-adjustment of the minimum wage, without considering the very harmful effects of an economic crisis that has dragged on into its seventh year.

It is worth emphasizing that the changes established from the infamous Complementary Law 13.467/17 (agreed as Labor Reform) led us to a labor market that intensified the conditions of fragility and vulnerability of workers, strengthening the figure of autonomous, intermittent, partial, temporary work and outsourcing, factors that lead to an increasingly precarious labor market, notable in the figures referring to underutilization, self-employment and informality.

Contrary to what the press and the government publicized, the crisis of unemployment and underoccupation of workers pre-dated Covid-19. The data below reveal a scenario of strong rigidity in the economic conditions related to the Brazilian labor market, both not observing the economic recovery at the necessary speed, but also observing the degradation of basic living conditions, and in the period 2014/2021 it is observed Based on data from the PNAD (National Household Sampling Survey), a set of unfavorable aspects was identified for those who make a living from their work.

(1) The unemployment rate is increasing, and between 2014 and 2021 the number of unemployed workers practically doubles, from 6,8 million to 13,2 million.

(2) The entire discourse around the notorious labor reform (LC 13.467/17) was based on selling the false propaganda that there would be more job creation. The numbers show the opposite. In addition to the unemployment rate almost doubling, as already noted, so-called formal employment, that is, with a formal contract, decreased by almost 12,5%, going from approximately 37 million workers to 32,9 million employees with a formal contract, which denotes the complete failure of these measures that are only destructive of workers' rights.

(3) The number of self-employed workers grew by almost 20%, going from 20 million to close to 25 million workers, which is conditioned by the growing difficulty of the economy and the expansion of informality, denoting the greater social precariousness present in the country. Informality has deepened its structural character in Brazilian society, visible in the millions of workers at traffic lights and street corners as sellers and providers of various services, thus the informal employed population, without rights and extremely precarious, is greater than 36 million Brazilians, reaching the record rate of 40,1%.

(4) The mass of earnings from work in the economy decreased sharply, decreasing by more than seven million reais (-2,8%). This restriction on the mass of income largely explains the loss of consumption capacity and the worsening living conditions of the Brazilian population. Likewise, the average income of Brazilians

(5) A growing number of workers find themselves in conditions of underemployment, that is, they seek better conditions for their reproduction and that of their families, but are unable to do so. In 2021, together with unemployed, underemployed and discouraged workers, we have more than 36 million workers.

Brazilian Labor Market Indicators (2014/2021)

Source: National Survey by Continuous Household Sampling (IBGE, 2021).

*Population estimates presented per thousand people, percentage rates, income in reais and mass income in millions of reais.

Faced with the picture presented, on this May Day, more than ever, the imperative need for workers' organization (in the workplace, housing, study, worship) and their tenacity in the search for better days arises more than ever. Only a society organized around the principles of universal rights and solidarity as a human condition will enable us to overcome the current situation, building social regulations and guaranteeing jobs and wage rights, regulated employment contracts and shorter working hours that are consistent with life. The moment is one of resistance, but also of echoing that “we don't just want food, we want food, fun and art”. These steps are only the initial steps towards building an anti-capitalist movement that will lead us to a society that breaks with capitalist exploitation, poverty and inequality.

*Jose Raimundo Trinidad He is a professor at the Institute of Applied Social Sciences at UFPA. Author, among other books, of Agenda of debates and theoretical challenges: the trajectory of dependence (Pakatatu).

 

 

 

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