Written by Clara Saraiva, PSTU’s Youth
Thursday, 26 June 2014 19:40
After sixty-four years, Brazil, the “country of football”, receives the World Cup again. The President Dilma Rousseff hoped the sport festival was a time to win popular support for her government, preparing her re-election in October. However, the federal government plans did not materialize.
Even with a huge official and mainstream media propaganda, the Brazilian people do not believe that hosting the World Cup will leave any social legacy in the country. The World Cup hasn’t brought more investment, permanent jobs and development to the country. Rather, its achievement is deepening social inequalities and increasing attacks on our national sovereignty.
Since the days of June 2013, Brazil is on the route of major international mobilizations, bobbing around the world since 2011. On every continent, there is a new generation of young people who star revolutions and popular uprisings. The vanguard of this process are the Egyptian youth without future, the Spanish “indignados” (outraged), the Portuguese “geração à rasca” (generation at despair) and now also the Brazilian working class youth.
The younger, particularly women and blacks, are those who suffer most from unemployment, low wages and precarious jobs. Brazil is no different. There are millions who have recently entered the formal job market, occupying the worst positions, often in outsourced and casual jobs. It’s this youth, the new generation of workers in struggle, which represents the future of the world proletariat. In Brazil, it is it who is transforming the FIFA World Cup in the nightmare of not only the national teams from Spain, Italy and England , but also Dilma’s government and the proprietary elites.
Brazil is already the champion of injustice!
The World Cup is a private event, controlled by FIFA and its sponsors. The majority of the Brazilian black and poor population is far from the new and luxurious stadiums. And the injustices do not stop there.
The preparation for the mega event triggered the advancement of real estate speculation, forced removals of traditional communities and the criminalization of poverty. Moreover, also the growing sex tourism and the privatization of public spaces.
The World Cup Act legalizes all interference by FIFA in determining which products should be sold and which shops can open close to the stadiums. The FIFA’s deals are exempt from all taxes and payroll taxes that should be collected by their economic activities in the country.
Thus, it is clear, once again, the willingness of President Dilma to be an indispensable ally of imperialism. After securing the occupation of Haiti, with the Brazilian troops in command of the MINUSTAH, and the various tax exemptions granted to multinationals, mainly American and Japanese automakers, the federal government was put on its knees before the excesses of FIFA.
There was an expenditure of almost US$ 15 billion from public funds in the construction or revamp of the stadiums, renovation of airports and infrastructure works. It’s a state funding of a private event, which will bring profit only to big companies, contractors and monopolies of communication. FIFA itself may profit more than US$ 4 billion in Brazil.
The Youth is the sector of society most affected by the injustices of the World Cup, especially the working youth. The militarization and privatization of public spaces increased territorial and cultural segregation, which prevent the poor youth from their right to live the city. The criminalization of poverty increased the genocide of black youth from the suburbs. Sex tourism turns the young women, including children and adolescents, its main victims.
A new generation of workers in the offensive
The contrast between the privileges of FIFA on the one hand, and the poor condition of public services and low wages, on the other, increased social unrest. The new political situation in Brazil, opened by the famous days of June 2013, is deepening. The street demonstrations and rallies against the injustices of the FIFA World Cup paved the way and now a working class youth take to the field, continuing the offensive of mass movement.
Numerous workers branches are struggling, forming the biggest wave of strikes in the country since 1989. The street sweepers, construction workers, civil servants, teachers and transport workers, in particular the sectors most oppressed and exploited, are mobilized.
At the vanguard of these struggles there is a new generation of workers, who reached political maturity when the old opportunistic leadership of the mass movement had already been ruling the country . A new generation who don’t carry the burden of the defeats of the past on their backs and can make a faster experience with the PT’s policy of class collaboration.
The strike by the subway workers in São Paulo was the biggest symbol of this new moment. Five days of strike, in which workers faced the press, the intransigence of the state government, the Metro company and police repression, which invaded the subway stations to break picket lines.
The strike, which was outlawed by the courts, ended with the dismissal of forty-two employees, including unionists with job stability. However, the branch has not lowered his head and goes on fighting, organizing a campaign for the reinstatement of the sacked workers.
International Campaign “Fighting is not a crime!”
The Brazilian bourgeoisie took advantage of the World Cup to justify the repression and the criminalization of social movements and popular struggles. With the excuse of ensuring the safety of the mega event, they passed a special Act in the Congress, legalizing arbitrary arrests and police investigations against activists.
The Brazilian state created new kinds of crimes, allowing even the arrest of street vendors who sell products with images linked to the World Cup. The offenders will be tried by special courts installed near the stadiums without providing the right to a full defense of the accused.
On the eve of the opening of the World Cup, this process reached its highest point. On 12 June, the social manifestation against the injustices of the Cup was brutally repressed. A few days earlier, on June 9, the student and PSTU militant Murilo Magellan was arrested and tortured by the Military Police of São Paulo, while participating in a meeting of solidarity with the dismissed subway workers.
The Youth is the main target of governments and Brazilian authorities. The hundreds of activists dismissed, arrested and, now, investigated are between twenty and thirty years old. Workers and students, especially leaders of movements, are the victims of Police and Justice.
A major example of this repressive escalation is the indictment of the leaders of the Bloc of Fights in Porto Alegre city, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Four youngmen are being unfairly charged of training private militia and ofdamage to public property, among other crimes. Matheus Gomes, PSTU militant and from the Free National Assembly of Students, is one of the indicted leaders.
The Brazilian PSTU and the IWL-FI call the mass movement from Latin America and the world, especially the youth and their organizations, to build with us an international campaign against the criminalization of social movements in our country. We will organize solidarity actions for the end of investigations, arrests and dismissals. Fighting is not a crime!
 – Reference to their not expected early elimination from the tournament.
 – Reference to PT’s leadership, who were at the head of the huge working class’ uprising against the military dictatorship in the early 80’s.