AND: Editorial – raise a wave of occupation strikes in defense of public Education

We publish an unofficial translation of the A Nova Democracia editorial.

Education professionals on strike must receive the maximum force from the masses of students, in addition to other workers, adopting the most advanced tactics in the struggle against scrapping and privatization: the occupation strike.

On November 10, 2022, in the midst of the election campaign, the current president of the republic was blunt on the microphone when referring to the tax cuts that which public services. “Why the people must suffer because of ensuring tax stability in this country? Why do people always talk about cutting expenses? Is it necessary to create surpluses, spending ceiling?” Surrounded by a well-fed audience, at the Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil (Brasilia), he was greatly applauded, and he even cried while remembering the hard moments of his life. Before and after this day, he said and reiterated that “Education is not an expense, it is an investment” and that he would treat the issue as a government priority.

Now being president, Luiz Inácio decided to ignore the federal Education strike, which is already 90 days (in the case of administrative technicians). On May 27, after offering adjustments much more below than what was required by the category, he abruptly ended the negotiations; there is a video in which the government representative, as a sign of hostility and contempt, turns his back to the union representatives. Additionally: the government decided to manipulate the strikers – without success – by signing an agreement with the PT union, pelego [Translator’s note: unionist defending the position of the State], which does not represent even a fifth of the professionals. How bad it is! Is it this type of democracy and relationship with striking workers what the current government attempted to “bring back” to the country? Well, this reminds more to Bolsonaro’s usual attitude. In fact, it draws attention that, while the teachers and administrative technicians of Federal Education get nothing, the police officers of the PF and PRF, a den of Bolsonarists, received, this year, salary increases up to 77%, and they did not need to do strikes… Anyway, priorities.

The government’s inflexibility has a very firm reason. There is no way to satisfy the insatiable tycoons of the financial oligarchy and, at the same time, win over the popular masses. The “tax framework”, proposed and approved by this government itself, limits investment in public services – in an increasing process of scrapping since 2013, with Dilma, and taken to the last consequences by the far-wing, Jair Bolsonaro. It not only limits – only in April of this year, the government cut Education funding by R$280 million, and for Farmacia Popular, which lost 20% of its resources. Previously, the Law of the Yearly Budget for 2024, approved last year, had already removed R$30 million from Federal Institutes and R$310 million from universities. This, without mentioning the starting error, when handing over the Ministry of Education to a representative of its private sector. The current government is carrying out the removal of public Education and the other basic rights guaranteed in the very constitution that it swore to defend, like other governments, but in a trickle: there is no doubt that this favors and endorses the campaign, which is becoming bigger and bigger in press monopolies in recent days, due to the privatization of universities.

Although it is an unchanged tendency in the country’s history, it never stops to be surprising to contrast the difference between the candidate in the campaign and the elected representative; like illusionists, they make promises with one hand, and with the other, replace them with measures that are harmful to the people, planned to the smallest detail, with the removal of rights, pretending to be imperceptible. Unfortunately for politicians from the ruling classes, committed to the “powerful” ones, the masses do not allow themselves to be dragged along, as before, by cheap tricks, as was shown by the powerful strike in federal Education, even before the cowardly pressure of government opportunism and sabotage. It remains to be asked: how wants this government, which dares to call itself “left-wing”, to “stop Bolsonarism”, thus frustrating the popular masses, who demand exactly what was promised to them in the campaign? Once again, we insist: the government, when trying to reconcile the interests of antagonistic classes, always leans towards the ruling classes of big bourgeoisie and big landlords in service of imperialism, mainly Yankee, and therefore, it only strengthens the ultra-reactionary right and the far right. These rights feed from the failure of the false left.

Education professionals on strike must receive the maximum force from the masses of students, in addition to other workers, adopting the most advanced tactics in the struggle against scrapping and privatization: the occupation strike that mobilizes students, technical-administrative staff, teachers and the entire community, to shake the government and its guardians with all their might and defeat all open and insidious attempts to privatize Education!

Addition: the privatization of more than 200 school units of the state administration, the government of Ratinho Jr., in Pernambuco, approved on the 3rd, when this Editorial was already written, takes a step as a role-model experience, and demonstrates what level we are at the destruction of public Education, the authoritarian restriction of the right to teach and learn, which will bring with it maximum repressive surveillance and persecution of student organizations and the teaching staff. There is no doubt that this will raise a wave of struggles: here, as much as in the struggle for a public and free University, the tactic of the occupation strike appears urgent. These events demonstrate that, objectively, whether it is the false left or the right, the march of State policies follows the path of privatization and reactionarization in Education.

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