ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Samba sociale, l’éditorial de Bernard Duraud
by Bernard Duraud
Translated Monday 22 July 2013, by
Brazilians, once again, are taking to the street. After the wave of protests in June, the major syndicats are now taking over the voice of opposition, thus giving national resonance to demands that go far beyond the mere price of public transport. All, and that includes the students, and several associative movements, are talking about the Brazil they want to see.
Besides the deplorable conditions of public transport in large urban areas, the most visible causes of their dissatisfaction are the disastrous state of the health and education systems.
While the Lula era, carried by substantial economic growth, may have seen real social progress, particularly with regard to the poorest sections of society, the model promoted by the Worker’s Party (PT) currently in power, which aims for a more efficient redistribution of national wealth, has now reached its limits. "What has been achieved thus far was a step in the right direct, says Marcio Pochmann, but it’s not enough." This economist points out that the criticism aimed at President Dilma Rousseff, orchestrated by the main right-wing opposition, has hardened since the end of last year in reaction to measures taken by the federal government. At that time the mother of all battles was a direct confrontation with "the hard-core of neo-liberalism", in other words, the twenty or so families living off bonds and calling all the shots.
In 2012, Brazil remained one of the most non-egalitarian countries of Latin America in terms of income. Approximately 40% of the federal budget was absorbed by debt (most of which was internal, belonging to these same wealthy families) as opposed to 4% going toward health, 3% for education and less than 1% for transportation. The confederations have also added a 40-hour working-week to their grievances; according to them, the restructuring of work, primarily in the tertiary sector, submits workers to a hellish form of exploitation where reduced job security is becoming the norm. Here also the State is failing.
Rally slogans, relayed primarily by social networks, have included, "we will sweep away corruption". This catchword illustrates a certain dishonesty, not because corruption doesn’t exist, but because since the 1988 Constitution this struggle has seen some real advances. Strange also, is the fact that the political reform (changes in the electoral system, an end to private campaign contributions) which "Dilma" wanted to put in place is being systematically obstructed in Congress by the right-wing opposition. And to put the icing on the cake, the private media oligarchy has arrogated a monopoly of the public interest and common good. The centre-left coalition now in power, gathered around the PT, and "Dilma" are today being vigourously challenged by a people on the march. It is their duty to lean on this energy that is flooding the street so as to enact policies of greater scope and importance.