The National Day of Strike and Struggles against the Social Security reform is already the biggest day of strikes and demonstrations in the country. Massive stoppages of several categories –specially the most pauperized working segments– and major demonstrations with radicalized actions, like pickets and occupations, show the disposal to struggle of the Brazilian working class against the reforms and against Temer’s government.
By Opinión Socialista Editorial Team – PSTU Brazil.
In São Paulo, the day opened with a general atmosphere of a real General Strike. The 24 hours stoppage, reaffirmed by Metro workers the night before, as well as the bus drivers’ stoppage early in the morning affected transportation across the city, with only trains working.
Population, despite being recurrently instigated by a strong campaign of the press against the strike, showed support. “Because if the government wants to eliminate workers’ conquests, I support the strike. I think we have to stop everything,” said a Metro customer stalled in Barra Funda Station to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. Similar situations were seen during live transmissions on TV.
Workers of a great number of factories in the city also adhered massively to the stoppage. In the South Region, workers rallied together with activists of the Movimento Luta Popular [Popular Struggle Movement] and blocked the Ponte do Soccorro [Socorro Bridge]. There were also stoppages in factories of the East and North regions.
Teachers and high-school students protested in Brasilândia, North region of the City of São Paulo. They also participated during the day closing the bridge of Freguesia de Ó.
The Dutra [highway that links São Paulo with Rio de Janeiro and the cities between] was also closed during the morning.
All of this besides several rallies along the Capital.
In São José dos Campos, about 10,000 metal workers demonstrated early in the morning. Workers of TI Automotive [auto-industry] marched blocking the Dutra highway direction SP-RJ, and they walked 2 kilometers all the way to Petrobrás Refinery Henrique Lage.
Metal workers of General Motors also marched nearly 2.5 km and blocked the Dutra, stalling the work-shift for 3 hours. In Chery [automotive], in Jacareí, workers decided to carry a 24 h. strike. There were also demonstrations by JC Hitachi [air conditioners] and Prolind [aluminium] workers.
At the beginning of the afternoon, a concentration in the centre of São José dos Campos gathered about 2000 people, including metal workers, professors, teachers, drivers, oil workers, mail workers, chemical workers, food workers, public workers, landless activists, students, among others.
In the ABC region [metal-industrial pole of São Paulo], metal workers from Volskwagen stopped, and an unexpected event expanded the strike along the region: bus drivers responsible to take the workers to the factories refused to work, and factories like Mercedes Benz, which was not participating of the strike initially, ended up closed too.
In Rio de Janeiro, there was a demonstration of the SOS Employment Movement that blocked Avenida Brasil during most part of the morning.
Port Complex workers also refused to work protesting against the Social Security reform.
In Salvador (Bahia), the day began with the blockade of avenues in the region of Iguatemi – Bus Terminal. Public and private schools also stopped, and bank workers carried a partial stoppage that lasted all morning.
In Rio Grande do Sul, M15 began with stoppages and a “trancazo” [regional figurative expression for stopping the flux of people, T.N.] of the Carris bus company, in Porto Alegre.
There were also demonstrations by the CEEE electric energy company’s workers, and employees of the Mother-Child Hospital President Vargas [HMIPV].
In Pernambuco, there were stoppages in several districts and also in the capital, Recife: municipal and state workers, bank workers, the cleaning sector, water and drainage workers, metro workers, bus drivers; and the health and education sectors protested and made a unified act organized by the Unions.
In Aracaju, there were oil and cement workers and popular movement demonstrations.
Beyond the strong stoppage adhesion across the country by the most diverse categories, demonstrations were also significant: about 50,000 in Curitiba, 30,000 in Fortaleza, and about the same number in Belo Horizonte.
The first hours of the national day of strike and struggles categorically evidenced workers’ willingness to struggle. Metal workers in several parts of the country, like São Paulo, São José dos Campos and Paraná, adhered massively.
Of the 36 Postal Unions, 30 adhered to the strike. Transportation sector was decisive, like in the case of São Paulo and Belo Horizonte metro workers, besides bus drivers in several cities of Brazil; as it was also decisive the participation of municipal, state and federal public workers.
The popular support to the protests and demonstrations was massive. The rejection to the government and its measures can be seen from the bus stops to the supermarket lines. Outrage takes hold of the population. A General Strike is not only necessary as it is possible.
Originally published @ www.pstu.org.br
Translation: Sofia Ballack.