Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 August 2003

Brazil: "Lula has betrayed us"

AS A union demonstration of 80,000 government workers marched to the Congress building in Brasilia on 6 August, "Lula has betrayed us" blared out of the truck mounted PA system.

Dave Carr

As demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and by finance capital, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of the Workers' Party (PT) has attacked the pensions of state employees in a new 'reform' bill - raising the retirement age and increasing the number of years' qualifying contributions.

This is expected to cut government expenditure by $18.5 billion over the next 20 years.

The recession-hit capitalists hope that this measure, along with other public sector cuts, will reduce the government's massive $25 billion budget deficit and also its foreign debt.

Along with previous privatisations, the bosses are pushing these 'neo-liberal' policies to boost profits. In other words, the ruling class is using Lula to make the workers pay for the crisis of their system.

In response, some two-thirds of federal government workers have been on indefinite strike since 8 July and now university teachers employed by Sao Paulo state are striking.

The trade unions have called another mass demo for 19 August.

The first round vote in the lower house of Congress on the social security reform bill was: 358 for, 125 against, with nine abstentions. Three of the deputies who voted against are part of the PT left wing and they now face expulsion from the party.

Other left deputies were less forthright in their opposition and meekly abstained.

The government made some concessions but only to top civil servants and judges!

Homeless movement

ELSEWHERE, WORKING-class people have been taking direct action to deal with the country's widespread poverty.

On 19 July, the Movement of Roofless Workers (MTST), organised an occupation on a former Volkswagen site, (the 170,000 square metres that were abandoned by the company more than 12 years ago).

With the battle cry "occupy and resist" some 7,000 people camped in Sao Bemardo do Campo, in Sao Paulo state. And on 21 July more than 4,000 homeless managed to occupy four abandoned high-rise blocks in the centre of Sao Paulo.

In spite of the attacks from the press and the authorities, the struggle of the roofless in Sao Bernardo has won the support of the communities neighbouring the occupation, unions, social movements and activists in general.

According to one of the coordinators of the encampment, the occupation gained the support from the workers of Volkswagen, who are struggling against the company's "restructuring" plan to sack 4,000 workers.

After talks between the coordinators of the occupation and the factory committee of the Volkswagen workers, the roofless are ready to occupy the factory together with the workers if Volkswagen starts the process of dismissals.

In return, the workers express their solidarity by donating food to the occupation. The roofless families have now peacefully evacuated the site before eviction by heavily armed police.

There are approximately 6 million empty properties in the country due to high rents and the difficulty to obtain loans to buy your own house. According to the press, there are over 6 million 'roofless' people in Brazil.

The real estate speculation in big cities, falling purchasing power and unemployment are the main reasons why families are forced to live under bridges and to the "favelization" (growing slums) in the metropolitan centres.

Therefore, the struggles of the roofless is not only about housing, but also about jobs.

Socialist challenge

IN LULA'S election last October, the socialist warned that the hopes of PT supporters would be dashed if their president satisfied the financial markets and the IMF.

With the adaptation of the PT leaders to capitalism and the weakness of the PT left, it means that the question of building a socialist alternative is being posed more sharply.

For interviews with activists of the MTST and up-to-date reports on the pensions struggle, see the CWI website.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 23 August 2003:


Hutton Inquiry: A can of worms for Blair

Spin, or the art of lying

Occupying forces face hostility

Dr Strangebush builds Nukes

BNP cash in on disillusionment with Labour

Postal Workers say: Time for action

Brazil: "Lula has betrayed us"

General strike in Chile

Kick big business out of football

Discussing a new Left party in Wales


Home   |   The Socialist 23 August 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleInternational news in brief

triangleBrazil: General strike against Temer regime


triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleJoin the Orgreave Halloween rally

triangleTheresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares


triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleStudent occupation at Chelsea College of Arts


triangle47,000 kids exposed to illegal toxic air


triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice