(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)
TEACHERS AND STUDENTS STOP AND PREPARE GENERAL STRIKE AGAINST BOLSONARO
In practically all the country, teachers, students and servants of the education crosses arms in protests against the project of dismantling of the public education conducted by Jair Bolsonaro and Abraham Weintraub; 30% cut, which will be questioned in Congress, aims to financially stifle public institutions and open space for the total privatization of education. “It’s going to be a big drag to build the biggest general strike in that country’s history and defeat the government’s pension reform proposal,” said Douglas Izzo, president of CUT-SP
MAY 15, 2019 AT 05:24
For Brazil Apparel – The day May 15, 2019 will leave a mark on the history of the sectors of education in the country. This is the assessment of Douglas Izzo, president of the Central Workers Union (CUT-SP) on the general strike of education which takes place this Wednesday (15).
The stoppage occurs in repudiation of the 30% cut in discretionary budget 2019 for all universities and federal institutes, announced by the Ministry of Education (MEC) a few days ago. According to Izzo, the great act will be a “warm” to the general strike of all categories convened for June 14. “It will be a big rush to build the biggest general strike in history of this country and defeat the proposed government pension reform,” he said.
He adds that the mobilizations highlight the criticism of Bolsonaro’s policies and his ministerial team. “A general strike in the first half, not even completing 6 months of government, means that this government is heading the wrong way,” he says.
“It means that government policy is a misguided policy.” Democracy is the people’s government for the people. Unfortunately, this government has been elected by the more people making policy to serve the richer part of society. the majority of Brazilians have already realized that these policies attack the whole Brazilian population, be it in their rights, or in education, or in public policy, “explained the leader in an interview for Brazil de Fato.
Brazil de Fato – Faced with cuts in universities and federal institutes, what is the importance and expectation for the mobilization of this May 15?
Douglas Izzo – The expectation is of a great paralysis involving workers in basic education, of the universities, also involving students of basic education, of the universities of São Paulo and of the federal universities. We will have a great act.
Day 15 is a day that was defined by the National Confederation of Workers in Education (CNTE) as a day of struggle, a warm-up for the general strike against pension reform. The manifestations of the 15th that will happen in the 27 Brazilian states incorporate the fight against the cuts that the Bolsonaro government is imposing for the whole of education, from basic education to higher education.
So we have two axes of struggle: against the pension reform and also against the cuts imposed by the federal government, which will bring enormous losses to Brazilian education. To the students, the teachers and the country. It will be an important moment of struggle for those who advocate for quality public education.
It is important to emphasize that until very recently, when we held the National Conference on Education, the struggle of Brazilian society as a whole and educators was for a 10% increase in GDP in education. Unfortunately, with the election of this president aligned with US imperialist interests in South America, with the election of president who runs a government for the upper floors, we are understanding of attacks that try to withdraw rights from the workers, who want end the public university, who want to end the Brazilian education.
Attacks that want to end Social Security and that has presented to society as a whole policies, which in our understanding, are delayed. As for example, the policy presented by the Moro that means to release the police to assassinate our young people in the peripheries of the big cities.
The prospect, then, is to shake up the organization of the June general strike?
Yes. We had a great May 1st, which was already a lever for the general strike on June 14 and I have no doubt that this May 15 will be an important date to further increase the wave of protest, and of dispute, including narrative with the government, against the policies of processes that attack education, that attack the right of the workers, that attack the social security in Brazil and that, from the point of view of international politics, delivers the Brazilian patrimony to imperialist powers and submits to the interests dictated, in particular, by the United States.
It’s going to be a big drag to build the biggest general strike in that country’s history and defeat the government’s pension reform proposal. [This reform] means ending public pension system and establishing a funded pension, which will meet the interests of bankers, who most want to approve the pension reform.
What, from the historical point of view, does a general strike even before Bolsonaro complete the first semester of the presidency? Are the people realizing what is at stake?
It means that government policy is a wrong policy. Democracy is the government of the people for the people. Unfortunately, this government was elected by the more people are making policy to serve the richer part of society. The part of society that holds economic power. Most Brazilians have already realized that these policies attack the entire Brazilian population, be it in their rights, or in education, or in public policy.
A general strike in the first half, not even completing 6 months of government, means that this government is headed the wrong way. You are wrong in your policy, you are wrong in the way you treat trade union entities. You are wrong in dealing with the political forces in the country. Proof of all this is that it is the lowest-rated government … Historically no government in the history of the country has had such a low approval in the first three months of government.
What is in common between attacks on unions and dismantling in universities? Is there an attempt to narrow the spaces of critical thinking?
This government tries to restrict and combat all critical sectors, which have critical mass in society. It is thus in the treatment of culture, with teachers … A government that elects the teacher as an enemy is doomed to failure. The same is true of trade unions.
Trade unions have the role in society to defend the fundamental rights of the working class as a whole. What the government did in editing Provisional Measure (MP) 873, which attempts to prevent workers’ monthly payment, means an attempt to destroy the union as a whole in Brazil in order to avoid resistance and approve all this policy of retrogression, which points to the withdrawal of rights and the end of retirement in Brazil.
But the unions remain firm, they are still struggling. The plant unit on May 1 was a beautiful demonstration that we are on the right path. The unity of the sectors of education entities, which will build a great act tomorrow in all Brazilian capitals, is the answer to this authoritarian, antidemocratic government that wants to dismantle everything that exists of civilizing politics and that we build with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, there in the 1988 Constitution.