• 25 abr 2021

    Recovering the strength of the workers’ and popular movement

Recovering the strength of the workers’ and popular movement

Masses 633, editorial, April 4, 2021

It is clear that the pandemic will continue during this year. The fact that it resisted for twelve months, without the government taking effective measures to control it, indicates that it will still cause many deaths, and will continue to be a major factor in the economic crisis. As much as big capital – bankers, investors, industrialists and traders – press for Bolsonaro and governors to reach an agreement on measures to contain the pandemic, there is no way to overcome the divisions. Moreover, it is too late, since contamination has spread throughout the country, has penetrated deeply into the population, and continues its course, mutating and becoming more lethal. It could quickly surpass 400,000 dead.

Partial and local measures of social isolation only slow down the rate of contamination a little, but they do not significantly reduce it. The time extension of the pandemic pushes the economy backwards, month by month, and aggravates the structural conditions of poverty and misery of the working masses. Vaccination has been taking place, but its slowness does not reach the speed of contamination, the depletion of the health system and deaths. It has reached the extreme point of lacking, in hospitals, medicine and oxygen for the functioning of the ICUs.

Brazil ended up occupying the epicenter of the health crisis, formerly flaunted by the United States. Its condition as a country with a backward capitalist economy and with a large part of the population surviving in poverty and misery gives the dimension of the historical bankruptcy of the bourgeoisie. Its leaders are unable to use all resources to contain the virus and protect the oppressed majority. This inability is due to the government’s subservience to monopolies and public debt creditors.

The emergency program, agreed between the federal government and the National Congress, served the interests of big capital and, to a much lesser extent, small and medium capitalists. It did not cover the basic needs of the poor and miserable population; it did not prevent the wave of layoffs, and the rise in unemployment to a level never seen before.

The lowering of emergency aid, from R$ 600.00, to R$ 300.00, and its extinction, in December 2020, exposed a planning in complete disagreement with the advance of the pandemic. The increase in contamination and deaths, already in January, occurred in conditions where there was no longer emergency aid, and capitalists continued to destroy jobs. The resumption of Bolsonaro’s negotiations with the National Congress ended in emergency aid of R$ 150.00, R$ 250.00 or R$375.00, depending on the family composition. It will be paid in 4 installments, starting in April. Although the aid is so small, only 45.6 million will be entitled to it, therefore, 22.6 million less than the contingent that received the R$ 600.00 in the first half of last year.

Bolsonaro declared that he was sorry for the value so low, but that was what the National Treasury held. This assessment was taken up by the National Congress and by the governors, who are in opposition. Between protecting the poor masses and the creditors of the public debt, Bolsonaro opted for the hunger of the masses and the payment of gigantic interest to bankers. This decision reflects the historical bankruptcy of the bourgeoisie and, consequently, of its state.

The mask of the reformist parliamentary opposition and the union bureaucracy fell, which said to the exploited that the R$ 600.00 emergency aid had been a victory against Bolsonaro. Now, the collaborationists shout that it was very little, but they did nothing to organize a movement for emergency aid that corresponded, at least, to DIEESE’s own calculations. They had nothing to do against the collusion of the National Congress with Bolsonaro, because organizing the mobilization of the masses would clash with the bourgeois policy of social isolation. It only remained for the leadership of the unions and centrals to use the willingness on the part of the multinationals to “contribute” to the March 24th lockdown.

The watchword of the union leaderships is to stay at home, not to hold street demonstrations, and not to call assemblies. It does not matter, therefore, whether emergency aid is a crumb, whether unemployment continues to rise, and whether hunger is widespread. For the bureaucrats, what the working class and other exploited have to do is to contribute with the government and the sectors of the bourgeoisie, who have taken charge of decreeing the isolations here and there, avoiding strikes, demonstrations and protests.

The policy of class collaboration, in the conditions of the pandemic and the economic crisis, is one of the greatest betrayals to the exploited in the entire social history of the country.

Workers are exhausted by the protracted pandemic, layoffs, and rising unemployment. This objective condition cannot obscure the task of working for the recovery of the strength of the workers’ and popular movements. This implies the relentless struggle of the revolutionary vanguard against the bureaucracy and the reformists’ policy of conciliating the classes. The defense of an exploited’s own emergency program and the organization of a united front, based on workers’ democracy and the methods of direct action, are still in force.