The scene – broadcast in the media – of starving people picking up refuse from a butcher’s shop to feed themselves shocked the country. This growing misery is the daily lot of a growing number of Brazilians.
In the « Out with Bolsonaro! » demonstrations, which took place throughout Brazil on 2 October, there were many banners against the high cost of living and the price of fuel, against the administrative reform that is destroying public services, against the privatisation of the Post Office and the public company Eletrobras. In these demonstrations, the oil workers’ union organised processions and stands, handing out brochures and denouncing the rise of fuel and gas prices as the consequence of the government’s policy of favouring speculative profits.
Should there be a « broad front » with the right against Bolsonaro?
According to the organisers, 700,000 demonstrators marched in 200 cities across the country. This time, in addition to the trade union centres, community movements and parties claiming to speak on behalf of the working class (Workers’ Party [PT], Socialism and Freedom Party, Communist Party of Brazil, Workers’ Cause Party and Unified Socialist Workers’ Party), right-wing parties (DEM, PSDB, PSD, PSL, NOVO) were among the organisations formally calling demonstrations, in the name of a so-called « Broad Front » against Bolsonaro, advocated by many leaders of the « left ».
The fact that these right-wing parties are calling has not increased the ranks of the protesters. So why this « broad front »?
In an interview, Aloizio Mercadante, former Lula government minister and president of the PT’s Perseu Abramo Foundation, had to recognise: « The most serious thing is (that these parties) have not broken with Paulo Guedes (Bolsonaro’s economy minister ed. note), Pinochet’s former economic adviser and who also promotes this authoritarian neo-liberalism (…). The DEM is a member of the Bolsonaro government, so is the PSDB. These right-wing parties, representing big capital, continue in parliament to vote for every one of Bolsonaro’s counter-reforms in the interests of the financial markets and the bosses. This is what has just happened in the parliamentary commission that approved the bill to destroy public services.
« There is no more important task for the workers than to finish with Bolsonaro »
The president of the CUT (Central Unica dos Trabalhadotral – the Unified Workers’ Central) Wagner Freitas, in his speech on 2 October in São Paulo said: « Every added day with Bolsonaro means more misery, more unemployment and more deaths. There is no more important task for us workers than to put an end to this genocidal government that is destroying the future and dreams of the Brazilian working class. »
Fernando Haddad, former PT candidate in the 2018 presidential election, echoed Wagner Freitas’ words: « The elections are one year away. Ask the people in the suburbs, the workers in rural areas, the unemployed, the high school students if it is possible to wait another year to end this nightmare. It is not possible! »
Economy Minister implicated in the Pandora Papers
The day after the protests, it was revealed that the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, was involved in the Pandora Papers scandal. He has $11 million in a bank account in a tax haven. An account – the possession of which is in theory forbidden to senior civil servant – that has largely benefited from the policy that is promoted by the Minister of the Economy himself. It is the same policy that impoverishes the workers and the people.
As the president of the CUT said, « there is no more important task for the workers than to get rid of this government« , and, to quote Haddad, « we can’t wait another year to end this nightmare ». The workers and the people have nothing to gain by putting their trust in those false allies of the right-wing parties, who are only using the demonstrators as a means of putting pressure on Bolsonaro to speed up his counter-reforms. It is time for the CUT and the PT, and the organisations claiming to act in the interests of workers and youth, to call the working class to a general strike to oust Bolsonaro and his policies that fatten the billionaires. The time has come to fight for a workers’ government.
From our correspondent in Brazil, Anisio G. Homem, 4 October