Thirty-Five Million in Brazil General Strike

Show Need and Potential for Communist Revolution

The largest general strike in a generation shut down Brazil on Friday, April 28. Thirty-five million strong, Brazilian workers and youth shut down roads, highways, airports, schools and more.

This was a political strike against massive cutbacks to retirement benefits and restrictions on union activity. These policies are part of the Temer government’s “austerity” plan. They align with demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Brazil rein in spending.

Brazil, a regional power, was long beholden to the pro-US IMF and World Bank. Brazil is also part of the China-based BRICS. The BRICS bank was billed as an alternative to World Bank and IMF domination. But it’s turning out to be more of the same. Workers have no friends among imperialists or national capitalists!

The April 28th strike took place amidst mass disgust with the brazen corruption of politicians of practically every electoral party. That includes those tasked with rooting out corruption, who were themselves on the take. Capitalist politicians everywhere serve the capitalist ruling class, but in Brazil they more openly help themselves along the way.

The general strike showed the need and the potential for the mighty working class to go on the offensive against the capitalist system itself. We call on Red Flag readers in Brazil and everywhere to organize for communist political strikes and, when we can, for communist revolution.

The general strike grew out of a series of demonstrations in March that revealed the profound anger of the masses. On April 28, protests rocked 240 cities, including virtually all of Brazil’s largest urban centers. Unlike the two-day general strike in March 1989, neither the Workers’ Party nor the largest trade union federation (CUT) was in control.

Leadership emerged mainly from transport workers (road, subway, rail and port). Workers from the metal and chemical industries (including oil workers) also turned out in strength. They were joined by teachers, bank and postal workers and youth.

The objects of the workers’ wrath — corruption, attacks on pensions, workers’ declining standard of living – all stem from capitalism. Communism is the only solution.

In communism, there will be no money or privilege. Everyone will get what they need and there will be no excuse for anyone to live better than the rest. Everyone, especially leaders, will regularly participate in criticism and self-criticism. Any signs of corruption will be nipped in the bud.

In communism, there will be no hard and fast line between “workers” and “retirees.” Almost everyone will be willing, able and happy to contribute their labor to benefit the masses, in whatever way they can, for most of their lives.

Nobody will suffer the constant drudgery of wage slavery. Nobody will be cast off as “useless” at a certain age. Older workers won’t need “pensions” because their needs will be met just like everyone else’s.

We expect to win communist workers’ power in a world devastated by capitalism and its wars. It will take time – no one can say how long — to achieve the standard of living we want and need. But masses, mobilized for communism, will quickly end the extremes of wealth and poverty. We will dig up and destroy the roots of racism, sexism, and the global inequality created by capitalist imperialism.

This is what 35 million strikers in Brazil needed to hear. But they didn’t hear it from Brazil’s multitude of “leftist” parties. Red Flag readers in Brazil must spread this message. We invite them to join and build the International Communist Workers’ Party! Our party comrades in South Africa are showing the way.

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