Following with the activities of Alan Woods in Brazil, there was a public meeting at the Oil Workers’ Union (SindPetro) in Rio de Janeiro. The meeting was opened with greetings from the coordinator of the Union, Cancela.
Cancela spoke about the struggle of SindPetro in favour of 100% state-ownership of oil company Petrobras, and how that would benefit the Brazilian people and the poor. He showed facts and figures to prove that the money raised from the sub-salt oil fields could be used to solve, to a large extent, the problems of health care and education that the Brazilian people face, and he stressed the need for unity in that struggle.
Before the meeting there had been a meeting of the Slate 1 in the union elections, which the Marxist Left (Esquerda Marxista) is a part of. Several members of the slate, despite tiredness from work and the other meeting, attended Alan’s meeting. The audience was composed of youth, teachers and others, as well as comrades from the national leadership of the Brazilian Communist Party, including its general secretary Ivan Pinheiro.
The presidium was made up of Luiz Bicalho, from the Central Committee of the Marxist Left, Ferdando Leal, an oil worker, and member of the Slate 1 and of the Marxist Left, and comrade Alan Woods.
Alan started the speech by explaining that for several years, almost two decades, there has been a constant campaign of the ruling class in the mass media to hammer home the idea that, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, socialism is finished, that history itself is finished, and that the kingdom of the free market will bring happiness and welfare for all. In the end, the reality of capitalism, as Marx explained, prevailed. The crisis of 2008 brought back all the scenes of misery, hunger, destruction and war created by capitalism.
Alan reminded the audience that the revolution in the Arab countries did not come as a bolt from a clear sky. Thousands of strikes swept Europe in 2010. In Egypt there had been a wave of strikes for several years. On top of that we should remember that this is not just a revolt in “the Arab world”. The movement in Wisconsin shows that the revolution knows no borders: in a city with a population of 200,000, 100,000 marched and occupied the Capitol.
This does not mean that we will see the red flag being hoisted from the White House in the next few days, but what is true is that the workers are starting to move everywhere in the world. The revolution did not stop with the overthrow of the dictators (in Egypt and Tunisia) and with the imperialist intervention in Libya, but it will continue with ebbs and flows.
In the end Alan pointed out that a key element in a revolution is the need to build a revolutionary party, a Bolshevik party, of the need to unite all socialists and communists in a strong party that can lead the struggle. Alan Woods invited all those present to join the International Marxist Tendency and its Brazilian section, the Marxist Left, and to help build such a party.
The speech was followed by a fruitful debate, with many questions and contributions which Alan answered when he summed up the meeting.
Source: Esquerda Marxista (Portuguese)