A look at the 2024 federal strike

Image: José Cruz/Agência Brasil
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By IAEL DE SOUZA*

A few months into the government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad

1.

I have been following the news published on some websites and newspapers about the strike at federal institutions. I am currently a professor at the Federal University of Ceará, although I joined federal higher education in 2010, through the Federal University of Piauí, where I worked for 13 years, in the interior, on the Picos campus and in the capital, on the Teresina campus.

One of them stands out for some publications and replies granted to authors/professors from federal institutes and universities who contribute to the analysis and reflection of the strike and union action, the website the earth is round. I intend to corroborate this process, based on some statements by noble colleagues Valter Lúcio de Oliveira, from the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), and Anderson Alves Esteves, from the Federal Institute of Science, Education and Technology of São Paulo (IFSP), those with which I agree, as well as inserting other mediations for the greatest and best possible approximation of the multifaceted and moving contradictions of reality, always in development due to measured and disputed relations of force and power.

To begin with, there is a fundamental aspect to be highlighted. Although education workers in all spheres of the federation were one of the segments whose vast majority supported and voted for Luis Inácio Lula da Silva for president in the 2022 elections, the achievement was much more due to removing the Bolsonarism of power and trying to stop the fascistization of politics and social life than in accordance with the proposal propagated in the electoral campaign, even though among the promises was to end (repeal) the Spending Ceiling of Michel Temer's government and value the federal employees, prioritizing education and health, both of which were extremely attacked during the pandemic and Jair Bolsonaro's government. It is also necessary to consider the absence of another persona who would be able to (re)unite political forces to confront the extreme right on meteoric rise.

However, a few months into the government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, defender of cuts and fiscal control, who in March 2023 created Complementary Law no. 200, known as the Fiscal Framework, but also called the Sustainable Fiscal Regime which, after all, is a New Spending Ceiling. When the government talks about cutting spending, the area most targeted, attacked and affected is the social one: health, education, social security, etc., fundamental for the entire Brazilian population, especially the popular, subordinate, vulnerable, miserable and needy sections. . Now, weren't education and health highlighted as priorities in electoral speech and propaganda? He lied, he cheated, he cheated. In the electoral dispute, anything goes!

Those who believed – some still, mistakenly and illusorily, believe – that the Lula government was/is “left-wing” or “progressive” begin to see its Alice in Wonderland collapse after Lula's speech at a ceremony in Planalto, on 10/06/2024, to the rectors of universities and federal institutes, with simultaneous transmission on social media, after two months of strike at universities and federal institutes, and already more than three months of administrative technicians in education (TAE's). 

As said by José Dirceu – despite having several criticisms of his actions, this does not prevent us from recognizing the justice of his statement –, the Lula government is “center-right”, and it is not new. Mauro Iasi (2012), in his doctoral thesis, published by Expressão Popular, entitled The Metamorphoses of Class Consciousness: the PT between denial and consent, demonstrated the political transformation experienced by the party throughout its Congresses in the 1980s and 1990s, ceasing to be anti-capitalist, anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist and “flirting” with the socialist project, placing the seizure of State power via elections and its maintenance as the first and last objective, moving further and further away from the social bases that generated it and from acting alongside them. It ended up becoming everything that it criticized, as an opposition, about the other parties that existed at the time.

Lula stops being the trade unionist, the metalworker, the migrant worker who marked his history and becomes something else, much closer to the logic of reproduction of the established and dominant power than one might imagine. The changes in speech, in positions, in the way of dressing and speaking, in the scenes of the electoral advertisements in which he ran can be observed and attested through an internet search, from 1989 to the 2002 election.

In both the first and second terms, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva did not break with the neoliberal political-economic project initiated by Fernando Collor and consolidated, infraconstitutionally, by the two terms of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (it was during his government that presidential re-election was approved) . Lula in 2002 was already a social-(neo)liberal (CASTELO, 2013).

Therefore, the first gross mistake made by union leaders is to claim that the Lula government is a “progressive”, “left” and “democratic” government. In fact, they tend to refer to democracy in a very generic way when, in fact, there is no such thing as “pure democracy”, as Lenin (1979) well remembered. Either it is about liberal democracy (interests of rentiers, financiers, businessmen, bankers, in short, capitalists) or democracy of rural and urban workers. What they call democracy is, in fact, liberal democracy (or social democracy and not “social democracy”, direct democracy, exercised by rural and urban workers), where the interests of a minority are transformed in the interest of the majority through legal tricks (SOUZA; PIOLLI, 2018).

If one assumes that the relationship of power and force will be measured and disputed with a “progressive”, “left” government, the strike tactics and strategies – long shaken and weakened by the institutionalization, bureaucratization and judicialization of union struggles since the 1990s – are compromised from the beginning, because it is based on an illusion, on something that does not correspond to reality.

2.

Since August 2023, unions have been trying to negotiate with the government through their ministries, however, without success, only obtaining delays and extensions without effective signals. Hence the outbreak of strikes and strikes in April 2024 at federal universities, with administrative technicians beginning their strike movement in March 2024, as did some federal institutes, increasing membership in the April month.

One of the problems is that many believe that this government is still one of “class conciliation”. Now, “in a divided and divided country, there is no space for certain pacts that were previously made” (SAFATLE, 2024a), there is no longer any reconciliation possible in a reality of increasing polarization. “The left has collapsed around the world, giving up its transformative role to be the manager of a 'democratic center' that no longer exists” (SAFATLE, 2024b).

Another issue is the “very broad front” formed to defeat Bolsonarism and try to combat the fascistization of politics and social life. Its formation was due to the inability of the left to enunciate a short, medium and long-term political-social project and program responding to the vital material issues experienced by the subaltern segments – and even those so-called average – related to the increase in precariousness and social vulnerability. which increased the feeling of despair and economic-social insecurity of millions.

As recalled by Ladislau Dowbor: “(…) the ease with which you can lose your home, see your children starve and your family drown in debt – not to mention murders, torture, absurd wars with violence ranging from raped children to high-tech bombardment – ​​pushes us into a permanent battle against each other, even though we know that the only thing that works is collaboration. It seems that individual short-term advantages, mixed with each other, have taken over” (DOWBOR. “Dumb science, political idiots and moral savages”. Other words, May 10, 2024).

In all places where the “broad or very broad fronts”

were implemented, did not last or led, in the end, to a paradoxical strengthening of what they were fighting against. In this situation, the extreme right plays a perfect game, where it mobilizes the speech of the simple man against the political caste. In the end, no matter how punctual our victories are, the extreme right returns (SAFATLE, 2024b).

The very broad front, in addition to being a Trojan horse that could end up contributing to Lula not finishing his term, as happened with Dilma Rousseff, was also a strategic error resulting from the inability to critically analyze the consequences of the 2008 crisis and the conditionalities imposed on world politics, which begin to operate in extremes. “The class agreements that produced liberal democracy, as it appeared after the Second World War, with its outlines of macro-structures of social protection, no longer exist” (SAFATLE, 2024b).

Furthermore, unions, from the end of the 1980s, through the 1990s to today, have undergone major metamorphoses, from offensive and combative to defensive/negotiations/search for consensus, a result of the “social conciliation” policy.

From this summary sketch of the concrete situation of concrete reality, it is possible to say that the forms of struggle undertaken by the union leaderships in the federal education strike today are out of step with the demands posed by reality, this is because, without permanent pressure on the streets, in the squares, without occupation for an indefinite period of time (while the negotiations last, guaranteeing the achievements of the strike movement's demands) of the “public” and symbolic political spaces until the decisions are forwarded, there is no resolutive effectiveness in the negotiations.

It is not ignored that it was the strike movement that initiated meetings with the Ministry of Management and Innovation of Public Services (MIG) and other government bodies, however, effective resolutions and real gains only happen when, in conjunction with bureaucratic-legal efforts -parliamentary negotiations, mass occupations of the masses in struggle occur, that is, extra-parliamentary actions of an unforeseen duration, depending on the advances and achievements of just demands. This is what our history, past and recent, proves.

We can illustrate with the case of the Occupied Schools in São Paulo, in 2015 (Escolas em Luta), and the occupations of schools in 2016 (against the New Secondary Education, against PEC 95, among others) that spread across several cities in the country .

On the contrary, what we see is a rejection of the mention of the word occupation in the Assemblies. It is never the moment or the time to do them, to radicalize. No matter how much it is exemplified, it does not go through the union leadership, who try to discredit these statements in every way. According to the speeches of union representatives, whether from universities or federal institutes, radicalization means participating in the May 01st demonstrations, standing in front of the MGI building, having breakfast in front of the plateau and hoping to convince the president to talk and negotiate.

Everything revolves around securing tables and negotiations. This does not mean to say that such actions do not have their weight and importance. Obviously, these are forms of pressure, but forms of pressure that do not bother or disrupt the functioning of government bodies, public and symbolic political spaces, therefore, do not cause an effective impact that makes people in positions of power move. We need to learn to do occupations like the indigenous people, the landless rural workers movement (MST), the homeless workers movement (MTST) and even high school and university students do.

3.

There is another point not addressed that I believe is fundamental. The teaching category is not a homogeneous whole but rather heterogeneous (different positions of society, man, world and class). Maybe my peers don't expose the fact so as not to upset them. But the truth must be put on the table, “naked and raw”, as the popular saying goes. There are substantial differences between the (disjointed) teaching staff on campuses in the interior and those in the capitals. The segmented didactic classification of the working class into A, B, C, D and E also occurs among teachers.

Invariably, a considerable proportion of teachers in the capitals have a “middle class” mentality and come from it, although in their speech they call themselves “education workers”. Meanwhile, in the interior, identification as “working class” is more common, even with better remuneration than other workers in other categories due to the place occupied in the social-technical-hierarchical division of work in capitalist sociability. Furthermore, the candidates for the interior campuses are from another generation, from another historical-social context, from other socioeconomic conditions, just like the new candidates who enter the campuses in the capitals, who end up creating a counterpoint and setting things in motion, but they are not the majority.

Meanwhile, what surprised me the most is the way the assemblies are conducted. I participated in the federal strike in 2012 when I was at the Federal University of Piauí, on the Senador Helvídio Nunes de Barros campus (interior campus), in the city of Picos. At that time, assemblies were held in the campus auditorium, with the participation of unionized and non-unionized teachers and also students.

There was a time to present the analyses, defend proposals, which were heard, then reflected upon by the assembly, replicated, recreated and only then voted on, after seeking to highlight all the pros and cons, using the facts of the concrete situation for an analysis. concrete and as close as possible to the contradictions and multiple determinations of reality. The vote had four segments: (a) who approves; (b) who disapproves; (c) undecided; (d) who abstain. I understand that this is what truly comes closest to collective construction and social democracy.

The current assemblies – and I can say this with knowledge of the facts, as I participate in all of them, as well as in the meetings of the local strike command – are a simulacrum of democratic participation, so no one can complain that they did not have the “right to speak” and that the space is not democratic. It opens with a situation analysis, as said by professor Valter Lúcio Oliveira. Next, there are registrations for participants, generally 10, and may include 5 more, if the assembly approves a second block. Each person has three minutes of speech for analysis and also, in some cases, proposals. However, these proposals are not discussed by the Assembly.

The pros and cons are not analyzed, the necessary mediations are not carried out, there is no defense of ideas, no counter-proposals, no replies, no rejoinders, or anything. The panel takes note of what is said and the proposed propositions. At the end, he makes a summary stating the points raised by the assembly, which will be evaluated by the general local strike command, where a very small number of people appear. I ask: is this an assembly? Is the general local strike command, in fact, representative or would the assembly, despite the difficulties, have greater legitimacy? Detail: in meetings of the general local strike command, if questions and analyzes are raised that do not agree with the management, which follows the guidelines given by Andes, readings that do not correspond to reality are considered.

As said by Valter Lúcio de Oliveira, if “the context of the strike is the most propitious moment to discuss the different dimensions of the teaching union struggle, at the same time, it is the least propitious moment to delve into such issues, as it is when everyone the sides, and particularly those who lead the movement, are unwilling to innovate and advance on these fundamental issues (OLIVEIRA, Valter Lúcio de. “For a teachers’ union that values ​​the base”. the earth is round, June 13, 2024).

I felt this firsthand in the first assembly I attended. Super excited, full of energy and wanting to contribute, I gave a speech and proposed radical actions, trying, in three minutes (which is impossible), to justify why we should act in such a way. The result was an attempt to “seal” and “silencing” the union management that was at the table. He questioned who I was, no one knew me, how I could speak in an authoritarian way and say what the assembly, the collective, should or should not do. I was trying to appear, it was pure narcissism and self-promotion. I replied from where I was sitting, saying that it was nothing like that, but the person became even angrier.

I had the opportunity to sign up and counter the union representative's speech in a polite way and without much emphasis. I borrowed the words of Audre Lorde (2020) to say that even if I were attacked and misunderstood, I would not remain silent, because taking a stand in the situation was important and that if the person does not know the other, they should not attribute things to them that she is not. In addition to the fact that everyone has a way of speaking and expressing themselves, people become inflamed when speaking at assemblies, which is understandable. Afterwards, I replaced my propositions.

After this episode, I continued – and continue – to participate in the assemblies and meetings of the general local strike command, as well as in the proposed actions. Maybe others wouldn't do the same. There is an excerpt in the book by Asaid Haider (2019, p. 59. Italics are mine) that portrays what happened very well: “And a debate began about authoritarian practices in a general assembly (…). The crowd, the largest yet, was full of excited newbies ready to participate. But they were completely silenced, reduced to receiving instructions that were not democratically discussed.” But, for me, the most important thing is to be doing and participating in the fight, despite its structural limitations and modes of actions with compromised effectiveness, being consistent with my principles, values, vision and positioning of the world, class and with what I say and defend it in the classroom with students.

4.

Another question I ask is why the unions representing the teaching category did not mobilize and organize any demonstration or strike in universities and institutes when the cuts in the social area of ​​R$ 3,8 billion imposed in the 2023 Budget (“Cut in the social area of R$ 3,8 billion reais…”. Mail Braziliense, 2023) or when the Annual Budget Law (LOA) of 2024 was approved, with a budget “smaller than the amount achieved in 2023 with the so-called transition PEC” (“Andifes protests against the universities’ budget approved by Congress”. Medicine UFMG, 2024), or with the cut of funds for scholarships and basic education, announced on 11/04/2024 (“Lula Government cuts funding for scholarships, basic education…”). Folha de S. Paul.

Before the strike began, the students, knowing about this possibility through conversations with teachers in the classroom, asked why we would go on strike. I was extremely uncomfortable when responding because I believed that strikes should have been done a long time ago, since the announcements of cuts in social areas and budgets for Universities, and I said that, although the category's motivation was salary recovery, there were other issues essential to be demanded, such as the overthrow of the Fiscal Framework (otherwise, it is the end of the “public”, of “public” services and servers), as demonstrated by Mauro Sala and Evaldo Piolli (2024), the Federal Universities Budget and its impacts on the daily life and functioning of the university, missing people, cleaning materials, falling ceilings, leaks in classrooms ruining furniture, student scholarships, etc. Andes himself, in his speeches and advertisements about the strike, seeks to emphasize that the fight is not just for salary recovery, but involves an extensive agenda.

The problem is that, at the end of the day, strikes led by unions have as their central agenda the salary and career issue, they are corporate issues, demands regarding economic, working conditions and recognition/valuation of categories, and it is no different with the union of teachers and administrative technicians in education (ANDES, SINASEFE, FASUBRA).

The salary is, in fact, what makes a strike movement start and end. (…) in the text and in various statements by union leaders, there is an effort to include a long agenda that, we all know, would have already fallen by the wayside if the government had already offered the salary increase demanded by Andes. I am clear that this supporting agenda will only be the protagonist of a strike when the salary issue does not appear as an agenda point (OLIVEIRA, Valter Lúcio de. “Assemblies, strikes and the teachers’ union movement”. the earth is round, June 06, 2024).

In an attempt to end the strike movement, the government invests in a change of tactics and strategy, seeking to negotiate with the TAE's, “which could resolve the impasse and end the strike” and review some “ordinances and career structuring” (“Why the Lula government is considering reviewing its strategy for the strike at federal universities”. Estadão, 10 June 2024). It is not a question of repealing ordinances and laws, as required, but rather of review – revocation only in cases that do not affect the long-term interests of the developing “nation project” –, which demonstrates that the government, in essence, is in agreement with these harmful changes that make working conditions precarious and undermine the “public” and education workers.

The 2023 Budget (Annual Budget Law – LOA) was cut by R$3,8 billion reais. Health and Education were the most affected social areas. News articles already reported that these areas were at risk of being paralyzed or delayed until the end of 2024, in the case of Federal Universities (“Cut in the social area of ​​3,8 billion reais…”). Mail Braziliense, November, 2023). The same report said that “the president promises not to do in 2024 what he is doing in 2023”, this according to the words of the secretary general of the Open Accounts, Gil Castello Branco.

However, verbal promises can be easily broken, serving only as a relief to calm tempers and reestablish order, demobilizing and disorganizing those who try to mobilize and organize. That is what happened. In April 2024, another Budget cut was announced, affecting several ministries, exceeding the value of R$4 billion reais. “The measure was taken to adapt the budget to the rules of the new Fiscal Framework. (…) In addition to the cuts, the government blocked another R$2,9 billion from the budget” (such resources may or may not be released during the year) (“Lula Government cuts funding for scholarships, basic education and popular pharmacy ”. Folha de S. Paul, April 11, 2024).

Another report denounces that Health and Education could lose more than R$500 billion in 9 years (from 2025 to 2033) with a possible change in the floor (minimum value), constitutionally guaranteed for both areas, respectively 15% and 18% of revenues Union's net revenues. The Union's National Treasury presented a report in April 2024 where it made prospects based on reducing the floors, in accordance with the rules of the Fiscal Framework, lowering them to a maximum of 2,5% of the Union's revenues. Union. “The government has said that it will propose a review of public spending, but so far it has not indicated other proposals other than limiting spending on health and education” “(Health and Education could lose 500 billion in 9 years with a possible change on the floor…” G1, March 28, 2024).

Complementary Law 200/2023, corresponding to the Fiscal Framework, is a new Spending Ceiling (MAURO; PIOLLI, 2024) that makes all “public” and social sectors hostage and victims of financial institutions, investment funds and external investors, where more than 40% of taxpayers' revenue goes to these parasites through the payment of the public debt system and its interest. The end (revocation, extinction) of the Spending Ceiling of Michel Temer's government was another of Lula's unfulfilled 2022 election campaign promises. Instead, we have a new Spending Ceiling that makes workers across the country, the popular and lower classes bleed, tightening their belts (salary squeeze), just like in the time of the military dictatorship.

Anderson Alves Esteves is correct in stating that the 'reconstruction' intended by Lula clashes with the Fiscal Framework: negotiations between government and education professionals illustrate the problem and take place under a budget already sequestered to pay the public debt. This is the defeat that the category's unions already have: the entire discussion is shackled by the premises and modus operandi of the Fiscal Framework. (…) It would be the problem to be resolved so that strikers and the government can successfully reach a common denominator that minimally meets their demands (ESTEVES, Anderson Alves. “Ttensions of the polyclassist composition…”). the earth is round, May 27, 2024).

That is why “the government has said that it has reached the financial limit to give in to the strikers” (“Why the Lula government is considering reviewing its strategy in the strike at federal universities”. Estadão, June 10, 2024). There are no resources for social, “public” areas because they are being drained to pay the public debt and its interest, leaving the rich increasingly richer, precarious and indebted, increasingly chipped and impoverished. Therefore, they have resources, and it is not little. They are trillions, and not billions, which could be invested in the areas of Health and Education and other social areas, of truly universal interest.

The union of the Federal University of Ceará (ADUFC), published in the news of its website on June 14, 2024, an evaluation of the strike actions and the PAC (Growth Acceleration Program) launched by the government at an event at Palácio do Planalto, on June 10, 2024, with the rectors of universities and federal institutes . The Andes National Strike Command also published, on June 16, 2024, a “conjuncture text” rescuing the entire process of the strike movement to date (using verbs in the past tense, not in the tense present, which says a lot about the leaders' state of mind and stamina to continue the fight).

The R$5,5 billion announced by the government as a result of the PAC would be allocated to: (1) construction of 10 new university campuses; (2) improvements to the infrastructure of the 69 federal universities and 31 university hospitals, with: (a) R$3,17 billion in consolidation; (b) R$600 million for expansion; (c) R$1,75 billion for university hospitals.

Budget adjustments were made by the government on 10/05/2024, totaling R$347 million, of which R$242 million for universities and R$105 million for federal institutes. The new recovery, triggered by the strike on 10/06/2024, is R$400 million, of which R$279,2 million for universities and R$120,7 million for federal institutes. However, the recomposition requested for the 2024 Budget is R$2,5 billion for universities and R$1,5 billion for basic, technical and technological education, falling far short of the minimum necessary, serving only to guarantee the functioning of the institutions in the year 2024 and the payment of their basic expenses, nothing more than that.

5.

This government strategy is perverse. In order for there to be new campuses, the existing ones must be in perfect working order, with the necessary investments guaranteed to enhance the value of employees and infrastructure/assets so that they can provide quality services to the community and students. There is no point in creating new campuses or hospitals if you do not invest in existing ones and provide conditions for students to stay as a way of combating dropout rates due to their socioeconomic vulnerability.

Furthermore, the government tells society that it has already improved the salary conditions of teachers with increased benefits (food allowance, daycare allowance, health allowance, although insignificant in relation to other powers). In his speech at the event at the Palace, on 10/06/2024, he asserts: “Let's see the other benefits, do you already have an idea of ​​what was offered? Do you know what was offered?” (“Lula criticizes extension of the federal teachers’ strike”. Agency Brazil, June 10, 2024). “The amount of resources that comrade Esther made available is an amount that cannot be refused” (“Why the Lula government is considering reviewing its strategy in the strike at federal universities”. Estadão, June 10, 2024).

Now, this statement by President Lula causes both society in general and the students themselves, who are not actively participating in strike actions and activities, nor following the union reports or those of their representative student entities, to begin to question its legitimacy. . This is the underlying strategy of such a speech, seeking to discredit the strike movement in the eyes of the population, with the support of newspapers from the mainstream bourgeois media.

My colleagues have already said that these modest increases in benefits are not incorporated into salaries and do not reach retirees. Our fight is for salary improvements for everyone, active and retired. We cannot accept the logic of “divide and rule”. If it is for the collective, in fact, sacrifices must be made by all of us! We are also fighting for better working and living conditions for students, and for the infrastructure and assets of federal universities in a calamity situation.

From now on, Andes and its affiliated unions should focus all efforts on overturning the Fiscal Framework and demonstrating the harm and destructive effects of the “scorched earth” that it will bring to “public” services and all employees( as) public, in all spheres of the federation (municipal, state, federal) in some years, having as objective, concrete and factual data the National Treasury report itself.

The government will not “hold its ground” and will maintain the 0% increase in 2024 for federal employees in education. Therefore, the fight now should be to change the projection of the salary recovery proposal previously presented for the years 2025 and 2026, in order to get closer to the 22,79% calculated by Andes to recover losses between 2016 and 2022. It is known , as Machiavelli demonstrated in his work The prince, that you need to aim higher than the target to have a greater chance of hitting it. Therefore, a new proposal should consider working with a percentage of 12% for 2025 and 12% for 2026, hitting with all its might on the issue of overturning/revoking the Fiscal Framework, showing in numbers and data to society as if not If we put an end to it, it will put an end to the conditions for maintenance and survival of most of us, putting an end to everything that still remains of the “public” and of public servants who are the ones who really help and They provide services to the popular, subaltern, working, vulnerable classes who are increasingly unassisted by the State.

This means that we will have to strengthen the wall movement at a time when it is weakened by the wear and tear of strike time and signs of exhaustion among union leaders. I believe that the situation has reached this point because there has been neglect of the fact that the strike in education does not directly and immediately affect the dynamics of everyday social life. The consequences of a strike in education take longer to be felt, they are mediate (and not immediate), unlike, for example, what happens with a strike in public transport (bus, subway, train), affecting the daily lives of several other categories of workers.

For this reason, strike actions would have to guarantee the concomitance of two simultaneous movements: parliamentary struggle (negotiation tables and other actions of the kind – breakfast, marches, acts – through institutional, political-legal procedures) and extra-parliamentary struggle (occupations by all public servants at universities and federal institutes on strike across the country simultaneously), with the clarity that it is the second that can make all the difference in objective and effective gains , signed and stamped, at negotiation tables, putting an end to delays, extensions, delays and procrastinations.

The first experience that comes to mind is the teachers' strike in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 (DANTAS, 2016). The wall movement established a camp in the city square to draw attention to their demands and created the Radio Plantão, maintained by teachers, to inform and talk to the population, giving “time and voice” for students, fathers, mothers, grandfathers and other Oaxaqueños to take a stand on the reasons for the strike, the problems faced by education and in schools, politicizing city dwellers.

In Fortaleza, the indigenous people occupied the Education Department building in April 2024 and only left after a meeting with the authorities, which took place on the same day, at night. Subsequently, in the same month, the movement of landless rural workers (MST) occupied and even set up tents in the Education Secretariat building, forcing assistance and negotiation, which took place in less than a week.

These are just a few examples. What they have in common is the fact that they actually radicalize their actions, and in the current scenario, more than ever, radicalization is a prerequisite. “This is the time when some kind of radicalism is necessary and possible because nothing else will work. Of that I'm sure. Nothing short of true radicalism will work” (“Nancy Fraser Seeks the Map of Post-Capitalism.” Other words. March 23, 2023).

I hope that Lula's statement on 10/06/2024 has shaken and awakened many who were still in a trance, living on illusions, to the need to radicalize actions in arm wrestling with the government and its interlocutors, and not ending the fight, as the tone of the “Texto de Conjuntura do Comando Nacional de Greve do Andes-SN” appears, using the verbal conjugation in the past tense, as if it were the end.

If we go out and we are in the rain until now, it is to get wet! Can there be retaliation and coercion with point cuts?! From what we are seeing, there is no need to doubt it. But will we give in? We cannot surrender through a strategic presidential speech to delegitimize the strike movement, we cannot accept the continuity of the Fiscal Framework and the consecutive and deadly cuts to “Public” education on a municipal, state and federal scale and to other social areas vital to our people . The National Treasury's projections for the duration of the Fiscal Framework are terrible and irreversible.

If we do nothing, there will be no reconstruction possible in the present, much less in the near, far-off future. The effects will begin to be felt more intensely from 2026. Is that right? Our motto, from now on, should be: “Occupy, resist to continue to exist!” Is it the beginning or is it the end? That is the question.

*Iael de Souza is a professor at the Department of Fundamentals of Education at the Federal University of Ceará (UFC).

References


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“Cut in the social area of ​​3,8 billion reais. Health and Education the most affected”. Correio Braziliense, November 8, 2023. Available at: https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/politica/2023/11/6652202-central-no-governo-area-social-tem-corte-orcamentario-de-rs-38-bilhoes.html#google_vignette.

 “Dumb science, political idiots and moral savages.” Ladislau DOWBOR, Other Words, May 10, 2024. Available at: https://outraspalavras.net/crise-civilizatoria/humanidade-gigantes-cientificos-idiotas-politicos-e-selvagens-morais/.

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OLIVEIRA, Valter Lúcio de. “For a teachers’ union that values ​​the base.” The Earth is Round, June 13, 2024. Available at: https://aterraeredonda.com.br/por-um-sindicato-dos-docentes-que-valorize-a-base/.

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SAFATLE, Vladimir. “The left is dead and the extreme right is the only real force in the country, says Safatle”. Folha de São Paulo, February 24, 2024a. Available in: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrissima/2024/02/esquerda-morreu-e-extrema-direita-e-unica-forca-real-no-pais-diz-safatle.shtml.

SAFATLE, Vladimir. “Safatle: book reviews prove that the left is dead”. Folha de São Paulo, March 13, 2024b. Available in: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ilustrissima/2024/03/safatle-criticas-a-livro-comprovam-que-esquerda-morreu.shtml#:~:text=Da%20minha%20parte%2C%20eu%20n%C3%A3o,choro%20e%20ranger%20de%20dentes.

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