More than one million people took to the streets of Brazil on 15 May 2019 in nationwide strikes opposing the government’s massive attacks on education. Brazil’s far right President Jair Bolsonaro has been in office for less than five months and is already facing large resistance to his ultra neo-liberal agenda – and it is teachers and students that are leading the way.
Jair Bolsonaro’s administration has wasted little time in advancing its project of systematically destroying the role of the state in Brazil’s economy. Bolsonaro’s radical neo-liberal offensive simultaneously encompasses drastic attacks on the economic and social rights of Brazil’s working class in addition to threatening the long term economic and social development of the country. Bolsonaro is effectively auctioning off Brazil’s future for the benefit of US capital and its allies.
It has been a week since the election of Jair Bolsonaro and the new President-elect is wasting no time in pushing forward his extremist agenda. He is working closely with Brazil’s outgoing President Temer to fast-track radical attacks on pensions alongside a serious assault on civil liberties before he formally takes over the Presidency on 1 January 2019. The mainstream press in Britain have presented Bolsonaro’s victory as a complete landslide, sweeping away a Brazilian left that is portrayed as having suffered a final, historic defeat. It is true that Bolsonaro’s support in this election was very substantial with over 57 million votes. But the left’s candidate for President, Fernando Haddad, secured 47 million votes, concentrated in the poorest sections of Brazilian society. This vote reflects the deep social roots that the left has in Brazil and indicates that it will continue to be a huge factor in Brazilian politics. In fact the left has already made clear its intention to resist Bolsonaro’s government, with the tens of thousands of people taking part in the first anti-Bolsonaro protest just two days after the election on Tuesday 30 October.