Marxists and “left governments”

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 10:21

Sacha Ismail

“We are not a government party; we are the party of irreconcilable opposition… Our tasks... we realise not through the medium of bourgeois governments... but exclusively through the education of the masses through agitation, through explaining to the workers what they should defend and what they should overthrow. Such a “defence” cannot give immediate miraculous results. But we do not even pretend to be miracle workers. As things stand, we are a revolutionary minority. Our work must be directed so that the workers on whom we have influence should correctly appraise events, not permit

Amazon fires threaten the Earth

Published on: Thu, 05/09/2019 - 10:54

Mike Zubrowski

Fires are sweeping the Amazon rainforest. They are facilitated by global warming to date and also fuel future climatic catastrophe.

They have been driven by deforestation and sparked further deforestation. Brazil’s president Bolsonaro and politicians internationally have responded with empty words and little action.

August saw a spike in fires across the world’s largest rainforest. In 2019 so far Brazil’s space agency has recorded over 40,000.

There are fires in the Amazon all year round, and August is generally the beginning of “fire season”, but this year’s rate of fires is nonetheless

General strike in Brazil

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 10:50

Luiza Xavier

On Friday 14 June, schools, public transport, banks, universities and factories in Brazil stopped in Brazil for the first general strike under the right-wing Bolsonaro administration which took office in January.

The strike was called collectively by various trade union “centrals”, political parties (such as the PT, PSOL and the PCdoB), and numerous student unions. Its main demand is a stop to the pensions reform, which is set to go through the Chamber of Deputies in the week starting 17 June. Pensions have been used as a scapegoat, since the Temer government, to justify the lack of

Edge of Democracy

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 08:46

Janet Burstall and Tony Brown

Petra Costa was a child when Workers’ Party (PT) leader Lula da Silva became President of Brazil in 2003. Her parents had been detained and worked underground for the PT and the overthrow of the military dictatorship of 1965-1985. This documentary is a personal quest to make sense of her deep disappointment at the overthrow of the PT government of 2003-2018 by supporters of that military dictatorship.

She has assembled footage of her family, of protests, of interviews with PT supporters, with the two PT Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and, of parliamentary proceedings. Opponents

Capital and the Amazon

Published on: Mon, 29/04/2019 - 22:08

Mike Zubrowski

A report by Amazon Watch released on 25 April 2019 indicts the role of global commodity traders and financiers in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest – provides 20% of our oxygen, houses 10% of the planet’s biodiversity and 20% of its flowing freshwater. It stabilises global climate through driving weather patterns, and is home to many indigenous peoples. Preventing its deforestation is crucial in curtailing global warming and other world-wide climate catastrophes.

A huge amount of carbon is stored in soil, and is released in the process of

Bolsonaro’s economist takes aim at workers

Published on: Thu, 07/03/2019 - 11:23

Luiza Xavier

Brazil’s newly-elected far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has famously admitted that he does not understand economics, but he doesn’t think that understanding is a necessary qualification for being president. He was “running a political campaign and not studying for university entrance exams”. He stated that all economic policy would come from his adviser Paulo Guedes, a free-market economist and co-founder of Brazil’s free-market think-tank, the “Millenium Institute” in Brazil. Guedes is now Minister for the Economy in the Bolsonaro administration.

Guedes’ ultra-free-market economic views

Working as a CSA in São Paolo

Published on: Wed, 20/02/2019 - 21:35

JB, a worker-militant working on the railway in São Paolo, Brazil, recently visited London, and spoke to a number of radical workers' organisations including Tubeworker and the Angry Workers of the World. He is involved with the Invisíveis collective.

He wrote a document describing his experiences as a worker, and outlining his perspectives for struggle. They are not perspectives Tubeworker would entirely share, but we republish them here (with the author's permission) in the interests of making links between transport worker-militants internationally. The document was originally published in Portuguese by the Passa Palavra website.

The document is available here as a PDF.

Tubeworker also spoke to JB about his thoughts on the situation for workers' struggle in Brazil following the election of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. He told us:

"There's no doubt that we're in a very bad moment. There are widespread fears about what Bolsonaro's presidency might lead to, in terms of an increase in violence against workers, the left, and minority groups and so on, and these are fears that I share. There is a growing reactionary movement in society. Bolsonaro has talked semi-explicitly about armed struggle, and he will facilitate people getting guns more easily.

"I don't believe the institutions of the official left, the unions and the Workers' Party (PT), are part of the solution. They have been part of the administration of the state. Bolsonaro's working-class supporters are in part reacting to the institutionalisation of the left, and the fact that the left defends the system. They saw a vote for Bolsonaro as a way of creating a rupture with that system.

"Appeals to an abstract 'anti-fascism' won't help us. We have to get serious about practical organisation against the threat of fascism, including talking seriously about self-defence. We need to build a movement that can address the social grievances the Bolsonaro movement exploits. Not all of his supporters are convinced fascists, and working-class people who voted him could be reached by a genuinely revolutionary working-class movement that presents an independent alternative."

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Bolsonaro sets out plans

Published on: Wed, 09/01/2019 - 12:14

Andressa Alegre

Many Brazilians — especially those who are (or care for the rights of) women, black people, LGBT folk, workers, or leftists — feared the coming of New Year’s Day 2019, as far-right evangelical fundamentalist Jair Bolsonaro took power as president.

In his first speech as president, behind lines of armed police to intimidate the press, Bolsonaro promised to fight socialism, “gender ideology”, and the colour red. His inauguration was boycotted by the Workers’ Party (PT) and the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) in protest, but neither those parties nor any other group organised major

“Democracy Brigades” in Brazil

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 13:52

Luiza Xavier

Since the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won the second round of Brazil’s presidential election on 28 October — he takes office in January — the resistance has been limited to small initiatives focused on self¬defence of LGBT individuals, or legal representation of activists. Large demonstrations such as those seen after Trump’s election in the US have not happened.

The Workers’ Party (PT) and the PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party, left split from the PT) have both called meetings of their national leaderships to make plans for the months ahead, and the MTST (movement of homeless

Bolsonaro's threat to Brazil

Published on: Fri, 23/11/2018 - 10:55

Alessa Alegre

Shortly before he was elected president of Brazil on the second round (28 October), Jair Bolsonaro made clear the extent of his intolerance to political opposition, saying of his political opponents “either they go overseas, or they go to jail”.

He plans vastly to increase the powers of the militarised police, which will have a significant impact on working-class, predominantly black, communities.

A few days after his election, one of his political allies in the chamber of deputies proposed amendments to anti-terrorism, and stated openly they want to criminalise social and political movements

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