As we write this article, the Teamsters continue to mobilize throughout the country with the populations’ support. The Teamsters’ strike changed the situation and placed the government against the wall. Due to the enthusiastic support of the entire population, it posed a General Strike in the agenda, to unite the struggles in progress and their vindications in a movement that may impose a defeat on the Temer administration and his gang.
By Zé Maria, steelworker and national president of the PSTU.
However, as unbelievable as it may seem, several left currents in Brazil question the support to the strike. “What is behind the strike?” they ask, insinuating/accusing it is related to the “pro-coup right wing”. No attitude helps the right wing more than this, before a deeply just and progressive struggle.
Behind the Teamsters’ strike, one finds the dismantlement and privatization of the Petrobras. It comes from the FHC administration, the PT administrations continued with the auction selling the company and the Pre-sal fields, and the disinvestment policy that continues and deepens in the hands of the gangster administration led by Temer, with daily readjustment of fuel price and cooking gas.
Petrobras is managed in service of the interests of private, national and foreign investors, who rule the company through Pedro Parente’s presidency. They want high profits. This is the only explanation for a country like Brazil, with its amount of oil and refinery capability, to have such a high price of oil and diesel. This is the only explanation for a gas cylinder to cost R$70.
The vindications of the organization that summoned the strike are just and legitimate (see here). In name of tax adjustment and the payment of public debt, the government unburdens great entrepreneurs and loads most of the population with taxes. The high prices of fuels only serve to let the government continue to pay the debt with taxes and raise the profit of the Petrobras private auction holders.
The Brazilian tributary system unburdens banks, great entrepreneurs and focuses taxes on the workers, middle sectors and consumers. When a sector raises against this injustice, one must support it and seek to generalize and strengthen this movement, instead of making electioneering promises of “tributary reforms”.
We demand the reduction of cooking gas prices and fuels. Furthermore, let us fight for a Petrobras 100% nationalized under workers’ control, the immediate end of daily fuel readjustment and the dismissal of Pedro Parente, the current president of the Petrobras, whose only interest is to enrich the great auction holders at the expense of the population.
Why support the Teamsters’ Strike
The Teamsters are a typical middle sector trade in our society, which is ruined by the great bourgeoisie and its governments in times of crisis. Evidently, the great entrepreneurs of the sector attempt to seize the situation and use the struggle to pose their demands. And Bolsonaro’s followers attempt to gain hegemony in the movement to capitalize it for their project. This is class struggle.
The working class and its organizations must dispute hegemony in this movement, struggle to unite it to their struggles creating the conditions for a general strike to stop the country and gather strength to defeat the government. We must support the teamsters’ vindications at the same time we add the vindications of our class – to reduce cooking gas prices, reduction of shifts without reduction of wages, increase of wages, revocation of the labor reform, against privatizations and pensions reform, and out with Temer and his gang.
This is the only way to close the space for extreme-right sectors like Bolsonaro because the organizations of the working class are much stronger than the pathetic movement that supports him. This is the only way to stop the Teamsters’ movement from being led by the great bourgeoisie and make it join the enormous discontent of the Brazilian working class, to lever their struggle.
All support to the Teamsters’ strike!
Let us join our struggles! General Strike, Now!