Brazil: Repression increases – A colossal explosion from below is being prepared

On October 27, the Military Police of São Paulo governor Alckmin killed yet another young man. The killer claims he inadvertently fired the gun. Douglas Martins was killed. He was 17 and lived in the poor neighbourhood of Jaçanã, famous for the Trem das Onze song by Adoniran Barbosa.

[Editorial Note of the Esquerda Marxista in Brazil]

After the murder of Douglas, a violent uprising broke out in the district. This occurred after his funeral and in protest against his killing. Hundreds of residents took to the streets. The reaction was immediate repression. The secretary of security of the Alckmin government requested federal troops from his friend and minister of President Dilma Rousseff, José Eduardo Cardozo.

The angry population occupied the Dutra highway, one of the country's major roads. They took over trucks, stoned and burned buses, erected barricades while they were faced with police tear gas, flash bombs and rubber bullets. With the mixture of anger, sadness and anguish of the population, the movement took on semi-insurrectionary proportions.

On the 29th, when a demonstration took place in Novo Mundo Park – which borders the Jaçanã – in protest against the murder of Douglas, another young man was killed by the Military Police (PM). This time it was Jean, aged 16. The PM claims that he was a criminal. Residents deny it. Again the people rose up expressing all their anger.

After the June days the population has begun to lose its fear. The powers that be, governors and the federal government have responded with repression. This is a sign of their weakness and fear.

Although the government are announcing reforms and declaring that the voice of the streets will be heard, the impotence of the government is becoming clear to an increasingly larger number of young workers. They can see that the capitalist system and its government cannot address the most urgent needs of the people.

But the demonstrations and protests on the streets lack an organization and a leadership. So the struggle is still atomized. In reality, this organization exists and it is the Workers Party (PT), but its leadership hides behind a blind and shameful class alliance with the bourgeoisie which sustains the coalition government.

In this way, the leadership is breaking the bonds of credibility that the people deposited in it. By clinging to class collaboration, it disorients and bewilders the population. People are increasingly turning away from the party and will reach the point of completely turning their back on it and seeking their own path in the painful search for an organizational and political way forward to channel their most basic aspirations.

Struggles tend to reach the point of widespread rage and explosions. In this turmoil a new ferment will take place, which will take up the traditions of the past that originally guided and led to the creation and building of the PT.

The Escalation of Repression and Oppression

In 2009, for the fifth consecutive year, the majority of killings of Indigenous people in the country was concentrated in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Of the 60 murders recorded that year, 33 occurred in Mato Grosso do Sul. The suicide rate among the Kaiowás currently amounts to 44 per 100,000. This number is almost 10 times higher than the national average and among the highest in the world.

In the dark years of the military dictatorship 380 people were killed or disappeared. Between 2000 and 2012, more than 450 landless peasant activists and Indigenous people were killed by military and paramilitary forces. Hundreds of trade unionists, strikers and popular movement activists are being criminalized; militants of the Movement of Occupied Factories are being tried and charged with conspiracy. The forces of repression are being constantly unleashed against the movements struggling for housing, against students at USP, UNICAMP and UNESP universities.  The Federal Supreme Court (STF) wants to jail PT leaders, accusing them of corruption but without proof. Recently, after the June days, hundreds of arrests were carried out. The federal government has used its troops to suppress and attack oil workers, teachers and protesters fighting for their rights.

Amarildo de Souza was a 42-year-old bricklayer who was taken in for questioning by police officers in the Rocinha neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro on July 14. He has not been seen since and his family and friends fear he might have died as a result of torture. How many more Amarildos have to be killed before the left parties – or those which claim to represent the workers – the trade unions, the student bodies, rise up? How many more before they demand an end to repression, to criminalization, to the National Security Act? How many more will it take before they demand the punishment of those who murdered or ordered the killing of militants who fought against the military dictatorship and of those who continue killing today with impunity?

The Dilma Rousseff administration, in unleashing its troops against protesters who opposed the auction of the Libra oil field, deepened the state's repressive measures against those who fight for their just demands. By doing so, she took off the lid of the cauldron of hell and through it all the right-wing demons came out: governors, the military and the bourgeois who long for the years of the dictatorship, reactionary new millionaires, the old Opus Dei, the activists of “Tradition, Family and Property”. If this wasn't enough, Dilma has declared solemnly that she is offering them help to guarantee law and order.

Can the police guarantee freedom of speech and expression? Can federal troops guarantee these rights? The essence of these bodies is the defence of the right to private ownership of the means of production on which all forms of exploitation and oppression rest. The bourgeois state is par excellence the armed body of landowners, bankers and industrialists. It is this body that stands against the people in the name of national defence and public and private property. Its public forms are the armed forces, the police and their mercenary militias in the slums and landed estates.

The on-going demonstrations against governors Cabral in Rio and Alckmin in Sao Paulo are met with fierce repression because they are struggling not only for their demands, but also to bring down these governments. It is for this reason that they are increasing repression. Our response should be to demand the dissolution of the Military Police forces, and the liquidation of the repressive institutions inherited from the military dictatorship. We must build new institutions. The sovereign will of the people must be allowed to express itself in peace and freedom, without exploitation. No reconciliation, no pacts, no confidence in the siren songs of the oppressors. Today, they paint their batons and rubber bullets pink, tomorrow they will use ammunition to machine gun those who fight.

Only a united and determined struggle of all the movements, of all the representative bodies of workers and youth, can stop the escalation of repression being carried out by the federal and state governments.

Down with repression!

Esquerda Marxista, November 4