Strong worker’s demonstration in Brazil and the failure of da Silva and the government unions

Feature image: worker’s demonstration in Manaus due to 1st of May, Brazil. Source: AND

The 1st of May was marked by the contrast between the worker’s combative demonstrations, and on the other side the great failure of da Silva and the pro-government central unions.

As reported by the newspaper A Nova Democracia, in Manaus a demonstration that gathered hundreds of workers, students, indigenous peasants and democratic organizations took place to claim the historical tradition of the Worker’s Day.

Throughout the morning, slogans and agitations were made and interspersed with musical performances which raised the struggling spirit of those present. Among the slogans were those from indigenous peasants, who highlighted that they “reject the climate of negotiation and the inability of the government to guarantee their rights” and declared their support for all the strikes taking place in the country.

In the march, different unions, such as the National Union of Federal Servants of Basic, Professional and Technological Education (SINASEFE) and the Union of Higher Education Workers of the State of Amazonas (SINTESAM), which are on strike, also attended. In addition to the Amazonas Federal University Teachers Association (ADUA), which declared its support to the other strikes and its intention to carry out strikes.

Other popular movements, such as the people’s housing movement denounced the constant murders of homeless people in the capital of Amazonas and the right to have a home.

In this popular march it was possible to observe the support from the masses, who came out and shouted the slogans of the demonstrators.

This example of people’s struggle and support from the people drastically contrasts with the failure of da Silva and the pro-government central unions, who in Rio de Janeiro failed to gather more than 2,000 people at their “big” public speech, which was clearly a failure even for them who were expecting more people.

Failure in the public speech of da Silva and the pro-government central unions. Source: AND

This emptiness in the public speech shows the rejection from the masses of the president of the government and of the measures carried out. The contradiction he is facing in his attempt to show himself as a “popular” leader while the measures approved support the big landlords and the big bourgeoisie is becoming more and more acute and is shown in the disinterest of the masses in listening to his speech.

Along with this, the pro-government central unions are also declining as they reject the most essential measure of workers’ struggle, the strike, since that would “favor the extreme right”. However, statistics show that workers continue to strike, with strikes increasing by 6% in 2023 compared to 2022.

During the public speech, da Silva focused on measures that “are favorable to the people”, such as the Tax Reform, leaving unmentioned the lack of repeal of the Labor Reform or Michel Temer’s Outsourcing Law and Jair Bolsonaro’s Security Reform. He also defended the institutional policy and praised the “competences of ministers and deputies”. It is not difficult to know how this defense of Brazil’s rotten political institutions resonates among the Brazilian people: according to a Datafolha survey of April 2024, only 22% of the population considers the work of Congress good.

The last central point was the issue of the agrarian reform, where he had the shamelessness to bring the Minister of Agrarian Development up to the scenario and highlight the “Land for the People” program. He summarized the program as follows: “[the Minister of Agrarian Development] intends to offer to the landless, CONTAG, FETAG [peasant unions], to all those who want agrarian reform that they no longer need to invade land because we have a platform of land to choose from and go to work.” However, only R$ 520 million will be invested to this plan, in opposition to the approved Safra plan, the largest in history with R$ 364 billion destined to the latifundium. This investment is insufficient according to the calculations of CONTAG, which states that R$ 7 billion are necessary, and MST, which states that R$ 2.8 billion per year are necessary.

A Nova Democracia adds: In front of the failure of the Agrarian Reform, organizations such as the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) defended the Agrarian Revolution, gathering thousands of families throughout the country, taking land from latifundium and carrying out the People’s Court. Luiz Inácio’s measure does not benefit any of these sectors of the Brazilian peasantry. And the conflicts in the countryside continue to grow: last year the number of 2,203 represented the highest number since 1985 (beginning of the historical series made by the Pastoral Commission of the Land).”

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