The atmosphere at Temer’s “sale” is like a stock clearence. He is the most hated president in the history of Brazil, and is no longer able to meet the main demand of foreign bankers and entrepreneurs: the pensions reform. The problem is that what he is selling is our wealth. The “sale season” of oilfields, government companies, and whatever else is left for international capital has started.
By: PSTU Brazil
Facing the international economic crisis, Temer and the Brazilian bourgeoisie are selling the country on a large scale to imperialism – the wealthy nations – lead by the USA, to their multinational corporations and bankers. It is an endless list, but Embraer is the main example of this policy. It is a cutting-edge technology company founded and developed with money from the state and Brazilian labour, but it is now being given to the giant Boeing.
The sale of the country is related to almost all sectors of the economy: oilfields, refineries and the most developed companies that are still based here. There is only one objective: taking Brazil back to its colonial status. That is what they are doing with the oil: extracting raw oil here, exporting it, then it is refined outside of the country and then sold back to us as gasoline and gas at an increased price. What is Brazil’s role? To sell cheap raw materials according to the interests of the wealthy nations.
Temer’s government, the National Congress and the Brazilian bourgeoisie – who dreams to be the minority shareholder of the multinational corporations – are working for that, as are their candidates for President (with General Elections set to be held in October).
THE ELETRICITY BILL WILL INCREASE
They sell Eletrobras, and the price is paid by you
Temer remains obsessed with giving Eletrobras (National Electricity Company) to private capital. Six regional energy distribution companies have already been targeted and in the process of sale: Alagoas, Piauí, Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia and Roraima. As part of the agreement made by the government with the buyers, in addition to going into the hands of these companies, Eletrobras will assume the current debts of the privatized ones, valued at R$ 11 billion. How is this debt going to be paid? By our electricity bills, of course.
According to the ABRACE president, an association that gathers the biggest industrial consumers of energy, the impact of the privatization on electricity bills could rise up to 5% – 6%.
On July 11th, the congress voted a pro-privatization pack to ensure the profits for Eletrobras’ new owners. Among these approved items is the transfer of the costs of illegal electricity connections (a common thing in Brazil to skip the payment of electricity) to the bills of the legal consumers.
The President of the Lower House of the Congress, Rodrigo Maia, has made an agreement with the other parties, suspending the privatization of the Eletrobras for now, in exchange for the immediate privatization of the distributers, which is already happening. It means that, to avoid a worse image during the elections in October, the government and the other parties will hand over part of the electrical sector this year, with the commitment of selling all of it in 2019.
It is giving away an entire strategic sector of the country, which had already happened at a big scale in the 90’s. The sale of the Eletrobras, which is responsible for around 30% of power generation in Brazil, is a bucket of cold water on the sector. The result is going to come on the bills of millions of Brazilian workers (that are already forced to pay the more expensive gas and gasoline because of the privatizations of Petrobras) who will have to pay more for electricity to ensure the profits of a few foreign billionaires. That is without mentioning the 23 thousand workers who are going to lose their jobs.
Embraer: the foreigners will buy even the sky
Embraer was one of the biggest scandals of the series of privatizations led by the FHC’s (Fernando Henrique Cardoso) government in the 90’s. Sold at the end of 1994 in an auction that lasted only a few minutes on the Bovespa (stock exchange of São Paulo), for miserly R$ 154 million. Just to show what that means, the profit of the company in 1997 was R$ 1.5 billion. Yes, billion. To leave no doubt about the crime against the nation it was, the payment was done in public debt titles of state companies, so called “filthy coin”.
Since then, through the following governments, the denationalization of Embraer only increased. Nowadays, around 80% of its shares are in the hands of foreign investment groups. Names that are hard for Brazilian people to pronounce such as Vanguard, Legg Mason or Oppenheimer. Despite being in the hands of international capital, the Brazilian government does keep a relative control over the way the company is run due to the possession of a special kind of stock called “golden share”. The company, in spite of denationalization, keeps factories in São José dos Campos, Botucatu and Araraquara.
The so-called agreement with Boeing was announced by the press as a “joint venture”, in which the American multinational has 80% of the company, and Embraer the other 20%. That is just another way of saying that they are buying it. The purchase of the Embraer by Boeing puts at risk the maintenance of its factories in Brazil, and along with that, thousands of jobs. There are 18 thousand workers and, in the Paraíba Valley region, other 4 thousand indirect workers who participate in the production sector.
The São José dos Campos (SP) Steelworkers Trade Union is denouncing that this will mean the closure of the factories in Brazil over a period of ten years. Why would a multinational corporation keep producing high technology in a country designated to be a simple exporter of soybean, corn and meat?
From Madonna to the Brazilian petrochemical industry
Another big company being sold to the foreigners, that no one hears anything about, or almost nothing, is the Braskem, a petrochemical company responsible for vital products of the industry. Petrobras has 36% of the company’s stock, and Odebrecht (construction company) from the Lava-jato (a huge investigation over corruption involving private construction companies, state companies and politicians) has 38%.
After all the rottenness that came out with the Lava-jato, Odebrecht is going to sell part of its shares to become a junior partner of the Dutch group LyondellBasell. The shares on the hands of the Petrobras are in the divestment program of the company. The Russian/American billionaire Len Blavatnik is behind the Dutch group. He is also the owner of the Warner Music.
The billionaire who will control petrochemical production in Brazil is the same one who will decide about the tracks of Madonna’s career.
FOR A SECOND INDEPENDENCE
Renationalization of privatized companies under workers’ control
Temer’s government, the National Congress and the Brazilian bourgeoisie are servants of the imperialism, big bankers and multinationals. Their only task is to give away all of the country’s wealth to pocket the crumbs, acting in defense of the imperialist policy of re-colonizing Brazil.
The presidential candidates are also at the service of this project. Bolsonaro has already stated that he is not against the privatizations, and his economical “Guru”, Paulo Guedes, has said, “all must be privatized”. What about Ciro Gomes? The electoral rhetoric, supposedly left-wing, doesn’t hide his history, moreover as part of the economical staff of the pro-privatization FHC government.
The Workers Party (PT) has an equally cynical speech of denouncing the privatizations, but says no word about those ones performed during their governments. Dilma is responsible for the biggest privatization in the country`s history, giving away the gigantic Libra oilfield from the so called Pré-Sal (Pre-Salt) to foreign capital. Also, the Governor of Minas Gerais, Fernando Pimentel, tries to sell the patrimony in big batches, just as Temer does at the Plateau Palace (Palacio Planalto). He has tried to sell the Copasa (Sanitation Company), parts of subway, roads, prisons, health centers, and also the Codemig (in Portuguese: Economical Development Company of Minas gerais).
These projects do not oppose Temer’s. They only discuss the rhythm in which they give our wealth away. Confronting the interests of imperialism is not even close of being on their agenda.
Re-nationalization under workers’ control
Facing imperialism means facing its servants here in Brazil. Embraer showed how the Brazilian bourgeoisie act together with the government to give all away to the big international bankers.
To end this uncontrolled selling of the country wealth and patrimony we must stop all privatizations, re-nationalize all of what has been privatized and put these companies under worker’s control, including Petrobras and Embraer. It is also necessary to nationalize the 100 biggest companies, including the multinationals, which together, control around 40% of the GDP.
Translation by Chico