The rebellion of truck drivers at a crossroads - Iniciativa Revolução Universal

We translate from Spanish this material originally published in Portuguese by comrades from Brazil organized around Universal Revolution Initiative. It’s a leaflet distributed during the struggles that are currently taking place, in the spring of 2018, in the region dominated by the Brazilian State.

Submitted by Blesk on June 5, 2018

Block roads to open ways!

Involved in the biggest rebellion since 2013, the Brazilian working class reappears today on the historical scene. The riots and protests at the Carnival, as well as the wave of demonstrations after the death of Maríelle Franco, were already signs announcing the current social rebellion. The struggles we are experiencing today were being held back by electoral manipulation/polarization, by the coup of 2016, by the spectacular demagogy of journalists and judges, who tried to save the system with their false discourse of “moralization of politics” (an attempt to use the working class as cannon fodder in the dispute between bourgeois, by the State and the seat of government that today is the Federal Supreme Court), and by the even greater deterioration of our conditions of survival. All this, however, after several struggles in recent years against the World Cup and the Olympics, against privatization, against repression, against militarization, against casualization of the civil service, against pollution, against education reforms and afterwards of the strikes/revolts of March-June 2017. Weaknesses on the one hand as well as the flagrant sabotage of such struggles by both wings of the State (“the right” and “the left”) on the other hand, threaten again now the exemplary truckers’ rebellion that paralyzed the economy of the country and that, despite the perseverance and determination with which it is being conducted, needs to identify obstacles and enemies in order to succeed. All support for workers in struggle! For the construction of the insurgent general strike!

Opportunities and threats of the current social struggle in Brazil: the truckers’ struggle shows a strong potential for social transformation and mobilizes the working class as a whole in its support. Its chances of success appear in several characteristics:

* Spontaneity: contrary to the lies of the press and politicians who want to isolate the movement, the strike began before the unions decreed their “support” as from May 21st. When the rise in fuel prices began, several truckers stopped delivering their merchandises, and they even began to block the roads. This spontaneity is preventing the unions and the electoral parties from gaining complete control over the struggle. The decisions are made in the picket lines and through social networks (Facebook and WhatsApp), outside the electoral and union channels and replace the face-to-face general assemblies.

* Strategic generalization/action: the scope and impact of the movement reaches the entire national territory, which turns this struggle into the biggest rebellion since 2013. The country’s trade and fuel routes have been cut off and the capitalist economy has been strangled, forcing the government and the bosses to surrender. The government intends to displace troops against the struggle, and actions are proposed such as blocking all the accesses to Brasilia. The tactical intelligence of the strike, demonstrated by a category of workers who know the veins and arteries of the logistics of this country, makes this movement of struggle indispensable to stop and defeat the State.

* Sympathy and class solidarity: as during the rebellion of 2013, the struggles linked to the question of transport are and will be decisive for the social struggles of tomorrow. Yesterday the social radicalization was produced by urban transport fares; today, for the gasoline of Temer. Transport plays the role of the great villain in the worsening of the cost of living, since it directly impacts final prices and undermines wages. The Brazilian working class immediately supported the movement: in several cities and states, support committees were set up, giving food and resources to the strikers. Other categories, such as drivers of school buses, motorcyclists, oil- and dockworkers, are adding their support. The struggle of the truckers becomes everyone’s struggle, it generates immediate sympathy and what will determine or not its success, beyond road blocks, and its firm and non-negotiable perseverance, will be the solidarity of the working class as a whole.

There are many pitfalls for the movement: transport business entrepreneurs, fleet owners are trying to use it to get financial support from the government and maximize their profits, at the expense of the hard and uninterrupted work of the truckers. The unions say they speak on behalf of the truckers and do the impossible to stop the strike, trying twice to reach agreements with Temer (May 25th and 27th), which did not work only because the workers, suspicious towards those false friends, rejected the agreements. The infiltration of the patriotic-fascist militant right, the attempts to isolate the strike by the press and the “left” sector of capitalism are the most serious threats and they attack the movement inside and outside. They are part of a single strategy.

* The strategy to dismantle the movement: while using the tactics of the scissors between the “right” and the “left” to defeat the struggle, the State and the bosses launched a well-armed and articulated dynamics with the PT’s [1] pseudo-leftists on one hand, in total solidarity with the bolsonarists[2]/defenders of military dictatorships on the other hand. The biggest beneficiaries of all this are the government of Temer, the employers’ association and the national and international oil cartel. This happens because the movement does not have a clear direction, but its meaning and identity are in dispute. The erosion of the union-electoral “left” prevented its strong presence in the strike, and part of it contributes only with rhetorical support. The theatrical, intimidating but limited use of the army, which still fails to be characterized as a military coup, contributes to the farce, although the generals are already casting greedy looks at the power.

* The action of the “right”: seeing the potential and spontaneity of the movement, the groups of the militant right infiltrate and concentrate on three objectives:

a) take control of a movement of the working class (something that the right has rarely managed to do in history) and thus have a public faithful to its political ambitions: pre-election agitation and support for a possible military coup;

b) above all, campaigning for Bolsonaro, while diverting and removing the objective of the movement from the workers’ hands;

c) tarnish the movement and accelerate its isolation, since Bolsonaro and the patriotic-fascist right know that the working class as a whole does not have many sympathies for their flags, so that when trying to appear as the owners of the strike, the rejection to the struggle of the truckers can increase.

The right, however, is a minority in the movement and its action has come more from outside than from inside, through its supposed “support” to meet the truckers or through “protests” that copies the reactionary marches of 2015-16. The municipal councilors and other state politicians also try to take advantage of the strike and express their support… in reality to themselves!

* The “leftist” sabotage: organized with the “right” and in alliance with the media, the “left” of capitalism has been devoted from the beginning to three actions:

a) defame the movement, saying that it is a “strike of employers” (lock out) or a strike of fascists in support of a military coup, which would result from the chaos intentionally provoked by the strike – for this they count on the media coverage, which intentionally only show the banners and flags in favor of Bolsonaro and a military coup (in addition to showing all the time images of shortage), thus reducing the strike to these elements;

b) through their union centrals (CUT, UGT, etc.), they try to isolate the strike, forcing other professional categories to not adhere, trying to impose a quarantine line against it… However, the strategy is failing: the metallurgists of Ford went on strike, also the dock workers in Santos and some sectors of the civil service (Unesp, prefectures, etc.). On the other hand, in the peripheries of the Nordeste and São Paulo, expropriations/looting take place in supermarkets: it is the overcoming of the bourgeois order;

c) withdraw on May 27th the slogan of “general strike” (which had been sketched on the 25th opportunistically), in the name of the “stability” of the regime, which shows how the electoral “left” is the biggest pillar in the defense of the government of Temer, revealing its submission to the putschist government and concealing that the real one to be struck down [in 1964] was the working class (this maneuver was even advised by Lula, who from his prison has been conversing with the trading sector – with representatives of the unions and the government – without a doubt, in exchange for his release and the possibility of being a candidate for the elections, since he remains at the head of the polls). To break the connection between oil workers and truckers, the “strike” of the oil workers was called for the 30th (holiday eve, that is: a strike without any effect), in the hope that the strike on the roads would die earlier, and it was for a defined duration: only three days, to avoid further results. Meanwhile, Temer sends the armed forces to the refineries and the port of Santos; he decrees military intervention throughout the country and orders the roads to be unblocked, as wanted by the false “defenders” of the strike, Bolsonaro and Sérgio Moro, who oppose any economic damage because of the strike. The “right” directly defends the employers, the “left” defends Temer, whom it accused to be a putschist, and rises against a military coup that could interrupt the election process of 2018, the same process that was said to be illegitimate if Lula could not be a candidate.

The initiative of the class will determine the situation: the illusions that a military coup is a solution, with the hope even that the strike will be defeated by the troops that would attack the pickets and barricades, these illusions, public security and the flag of the fascists became obsolete after three days of the truckers’ strike and the supply of drugs was interrupted (as well as the action of cargo robbers), getting in practice rid of the power of drug traffickers in several cities! The self-organized action of the working class without other characters on the scene should be the insurrectional general strike, for its own defense and to attack the State. Let’s set up independent struggle committees, uniting the different categories in one single struggle!



Iniciativa Revolução Universal, May 2018
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[1] [Translator’s note] PT = acronym in Portuguese for the Workers’ Party, the party of Lula and Dilma Roussef.

[2] [Translator’s note] Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian politician close to conservative and military circles.

Source in Spanish:

Original source in Portuguese: