Brazil

The following open letter was issued by workers of the Hotel Transamérica chain in Brazil, who are putting out a series of demands to ensure their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the end of 2019, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) announced a drop in unemployment from 12.3 percent in 2018 to 11.9 percent in 2019, that is, a 0.4 percent reduction. This change is not only insignificant, it’s also distorted: over the same period the number of discouraged workers, who gave up looking for work, increased by 1.4 percent. Informal workers – those without any kind of contract or self-employed – increased significantly, reaching a record number of 41 percent of workers who have some occupation. In practice, this means that unemployment has not decreased. On the contrary, it has led to discouragement or dragged workers into a precarious work

...

This article was originally published on 14 March. The situation in Brazil has developed since, and more updates will be forthcoming, but it shows how the Bolsonaro government’s first move was to protect profits and continue attacks on the working class rather than protect public health.

On 4 December, the chamber of deputies approved the "anti-crime bill", presented by Justice Minister Sergio Moro. Overall, 408 congressmen voted "yes", including almost all of the PT (Workers’ Party) and three congressmen from the PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party). This positioning from supposedly left-wing parliamentarians exposes the extent to which one can go while working within the system, demonstrating the wrong policy, ignoring the global class struggle, and showing a lack of confidence in the working class.

Lula’s release is a defeat for Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash – the criminal investigation that aimed to clean up the rotten Brazilian state institutions before the eyes of the masses). Therefore, his release is a positive development for the struggle of the working class. Esquerda Marxista (the Brazilian section of the IMT) has been fighting against Lava Jato since the beginning and we denounced the conviction and imprisonment of José Dirceu and Lula, who were sentenced without proof in a political trial that is a

...

The following is an open letter to members of PSOL by Marxist Left (the IMT in Brazil), responding to the announcement of a new resolution adopted by PSOL’s National Directory that lays the ground for alliances with bourgeois parties.

“Money is the universal self-established value of all things. It has, therefore, robbed the whole world – both the world of men and nature – of its specific value.” – Karl Marx (1843)

From space, in various satellite images, you can see columns of smoke and suspended particles ascending above the most extensive and biologically diverse tropical forest in the world: the Amazon.

The fires in the Amazon and central-west regions of Brazil were felt in São Paulo. The sky darkened at 3pm and many people did not understand why. Then the news came, explaining that, besides the cold front, this was caused by the ground-clearing fires used in “slash-and-burn” agriculture. And then, a general commotion was stirred up on social media, in the newspapers, and across the international media. The environmental problem, which did not seem to be a major focus of public indignation, become a new point of expression for widespread dissatisfaction and government crisis. This issue fed the anger and resentment against the Bolsonaro government, which responded with nothing but

...

The Chiquitania region of Bolivia has been on fire since early August. The wildfires started on 2 August both west and east from San José de Chiquitos in woodland areas and dry woods, reaching Roboré later on. Prime Minister Quintana accused the right-wing of provoking the fires for political and electoral purposes. Until he can prove this, we’ll have to take his statement as an assumption that the wildfires did not spread from Brazil, as the government initially claimed. Rather, the cause of this disaster is to be found inside Bolivia’s borders.

The general strike of 14 June saw the participation of important sectors of the working class that have a tradition of organisation, such as metallurgical workers, chemical workers, oil workers, bank employees, public servants, etc. But the strike could have been stronger, with even larger demonstrations, if the union leadership had actually mobilised their base.

Millions participated in the general strike in Brazil on 14 June, with demonstrations in 380 cities across the country. The strike had been called to reject the proposed counter-reform of the pension system by the Bolsonaro government, but also reflected opposition to education cuts, which had already brought millions onto the streets on 15 and 30 May.

Yesterday, The Intercept Brazil news site published a number of correspondences between former judge Sergio Moro, and the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) prosecutors, led by Federal Public Ministry of Brazil attorney, Deltan Dallagnol. The Operation Car Wash corruption case led to the arrest and imprisonment of (among others) former PT president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”), who was convicted without evidence. These correspondences reveal the political objectives behind this operation, which included action to organise fraud in the 2018 elections.

This statement was produced by the Marxist Left, Brazilian section of the International Marxist Tendency, after the mass demonstrations against cuts to education and the pension counter-reform in Brazil last week. It analyses the meaning of that outburst of anger, the splits within the government and the way forward for the movement.