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The year begun with mourning, sadness and indignation. It is impossible not to shed tears and be touched about what happened to Brumadinho. But it is also impossible not to be angry at the Vale and all who are responsible for this crime.

By Editorial Committee Opinião Socialista. Brazil, 13/02/2019.

While we still mourn Brumadinho, ten boys die burned in the dormitory of the Flamengo soccer school, where children sleep in containers, in a place that could house, at most, a parking lot. It is sad and revolting!

Seven people more died on Rio, where the rulers are so useless that they cannot even protect the people from the rain. And 15 young men at once were murdered by the police. The mothers cry and denounce the bloodshed.

In São Paulo, near the end of the year, a viaduct collapsed. A report published by the Folha de São Paulo newspaper says there are six bridges and viaducts that risk imminent collapse and other seven with structural damage. Over a few them, more than ten thousand cars pass each day.

How does a country, which is the eighth economy in the world, plummet down like this?

The long decadence: the PT is also responsible

Brazil lives a process of profound decadence. It is subordinated to rich countries as a supplier of primary products in the imperialist world labour division. It suffers huge deindustrialization, denationalization of companies and technological backwardness. The Brazilian ruling class – 130 billionaire families – is okay with giving Brazil over and being a minor partner in the plundering and overexploitation of workers.

The PT ruled for 14 years in a moment of economic growth. It deepened this decadence, despite covering up the reality with small concessions. The crisis only just arrived and the make up was ruined, showing the degree of decadence, exploitation and pillage of the country for all to see.

Paulo Guedes will make everything even worse

The project of Bolsonaro and Paulo Guedes is to sell the country over once and for all. It will be profit above everything and the bankers above all. The pension reform is an example: it is the theft of retiree pensions to reward bankers. The public debt consumed, in 2018, R$ 2.9 billion of the country’s budget per day. The government pays the biggest interests of the entire world. Last year, the interest and amortizations ate 40.66% of the budget, more than a trillion reais.

And they found a way to give even more money to banks, by rewarding the cash surplus. The Auditoria Cidadã da Dívida (Citizen Debt Audit, a group dedicated to financial justice) shows that this surplus is of R$ 1,2 trillion or 20% of the GDP. Instead of lending money at low interest rates, the bankers keep this cash deposited, and the government offers to reward this money in exchange for nothing, as long as they deposit it in the Central Bank. This little child’s play has granted R$ 449 billion in interests between 2014 and 2017. This money does not generate a single job, does not produce a single nail. It only fattens the banker’s purse.

These R$ 449 billion are more than the market value of Petrobras, Caixa Econômica Federal, Bank of Brasil, Eletrobras, BR Distribution and BB Security put together! If Paulo Guedes sold all those state companies he would raise R$ 437 billion.

Another theft are the tax grants and subsidies for big companies. According to the ministry of Finance, between 2010 and 2019 they will amount to more than R$ 4 trillion, 80% of the total government debt.

Guedes thinks that is not enough. He wants to destroy pensions, give over state companies and deepen the labour reform. If this project is not defeated, it will mean high unemployment, miserable wages, more work precariousness, the end of all CLT (Consolidation of Labor Laws, the decree that rules labour relations in Brazil) rights, a huge gap in social security services, the diminishing of retirement pensions, as well as increased dismantling of public education and health and widespread privatizations.

We must unite to fight against the bourgeoisie, not reconcile with it

Only the unified struggle of the working class can stop the attacks, beginning with the pension reform.

We must go on a general strike. The unions, social movements and parties, which declare themselves part of the opposition (such as PT, PSOL and PCdoB), must join this struggle. It is unacceptable that they negotiate our rights, with a “least worse” alternative like the PT said, or like Ciro Gomes’s PDT is doing.

It is time to explain to and to unite the rank-and-file. To unite the unions, movements and union federations in the cities, create committees in the neighborhoods and in the fields, and demand from the union summits that they build the unified struggle, denouncing those who betray our side to negotiate rights.

The wealthy are the ones who must pay for this crisis. We must discuss and together create a project that deals with problems: an end to unemployment, a guarantee of decent salaries, housing, and public health and education. Land for those who work on it. Rights for women, black people and LGBTs. A future for our youth, and sovereignty for the country.

We must suspend the payment of the debt to the bankers. We must end the tax exemptions to big companies and banks. We must forbid the remittance of profits to other countries. We must retake the privatized state companies, like Vale, without paying a single dime in amends to its current owners, and place them under workers and communities’ control.

We can get there through a social rebellion of those who are below and a socialist government of the workers, supported by popular councils.

 

Translated by Miki Sayoko