• 13 jan 2021

    Worsening of the Crisis – what is the response of the working class?

Worsening of the Crisis – what is the response of the working class?

Masses 626, Editorial, January 10th, 2021

One year ends and another begins, with the worsening of the health, economic and social crises. Brazil has surpassed the mark of 200 thousand deaths, caused by the pandemic. The “second wave” filled the beds and ICUs, and the daily deaths reached high points in the series. Thus, the pressure on the federal government to start vaccination in January increased. There is no way to hide that the bourgeois policy of social isolation has failed. There remain the violent consequences of the pandemic and the economic crisis, which fall mainly on the poor and the miserable.

It is in these conditions that, on the one hand, the small emergency aid was extinguished, and on the other, Bolsonaro decreed the minimum wage of R$ 1,100.00, responsible for the vast poverty of the masses. Mercedes-Benz confirmed the objective of closing the Iracemápolis plant in São Paulo, which will result in the destruction of 370 jobs. From the 1,681 dismissal plan, Eletrobrás managed to impose 1,200, using the PDC (Consensual Dismissal Plan). Petrobras opened the PDV (Voluntary Dismissal Plan), for the month of January. The guideline for lowering wages and layoffs are two interconnected ways, used by capitalists and their governments to unload the economic crisis on the working class and other workers.

At the end of the year, prices for staple products were high, weighing heavily on the value of the basic food basket. Bolsonaro’s minimum wage is an affront to the elementary needs of most Brazilians.

Meanwhile, agribusiness carried out a protest with tractors in the countryside of the state of São Paulo, demanding from Governor Doria the revocation of the fiscal measure that removes 20% of subsidies and benefits, restating the ICMS. The Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of São Paulo (Faesp), and the São Paulo Supermarket Association (Apas), mobilized 300 municipalities with the demonstration. In view of the protest, the government suspended the application. The tax package, approved by Alesp, after major legislative conflicts in October, is far-reaching, privatist and attacks on civil servants.

The re-elected mayor, Covas, and Governor Doria, immediately withdrew the right of part of the elderly to the transportation pass. Paulo Guedes, Minister of Economy, awaits the election of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, to present a project on a new formal job contract, the Yellow Green CTPS (Work and Social Security Registry). It is a measure that serves the implementation of labor reform. With this new formal job contract, employers can hire without having to guarantee rights and pay social security contributions. The precariousness of labor relations is taken to the extreme.

Youth is being sacrificed year after year, for not having stable jobs, rights and regular wages. It is aghast that 77.4%, two thirds of the young labor force, are in these conditions of bourgeois slavery. Youth unemployment and underemployment reflect the disintegration of capitalism and barbarism.

The country officially starts the year with 14.2 million unemployed, 14.6% of the workforce, rising cost of living, rising underemployment, hunger minimum wages, end of emergency aid, capitalists publishing layoff plans, governors cutting benefits to the poor, and the Minister of Economy preparing the Yellow Green CTPS.

The working class and the other exploited are facing such a calamity that they will have to react sooner or later. The long pandemic hit the exploited hard. However, it was their disorganization and the class conciliation policy of the union and political leaderships that blocked the initiatives of struggle. This picture of calamity clashes with the passivity of the masses. And it exposes the betrayal of the leaderships, which subjected unions and popular organizations to the bourgeois policy of social isolation. That straitjacket will end up being broken by the pressing needs and the instinctive revolt of the exploited.

The campaign is in defense of jobs and wages. It is a matter of making ample propaganda and agitation for the organization of a national movement, constituted on the basis of assemblies and grassroots committees. It is becoming difficult for the union bureaucracy to keep the proletariat from blocking direct action. The banner that the union leaderships break with the policy of subordination to the interests of the bourgeoisie, and open the unions to the masses becomes more and more understandable to the employed and unemployed, in particular to the youth. It is in this way that the working class will recover from the suffered blows, and will lead the movement of the oppressed majority against the bourgeoisie and its rulers.