Written by PSTU – Brasil
Thursday, 02 January 2014 16:16
The PSTU announces the candidacy of the metal worker Zé Maria for President to present a working class and socialist alternative in the 2014 elections.
At a time when the government and the conservative opposition are unable to meet the demands from the streets while persecuting and criminalizing the social movements, it is necessary to build a working class and socialist alternative. The pre-candidacy of Zé Maria, who has always been part of the workers and the youth struggles, is an expression of the struggles and demands from the streets.
Zé Maria began his activism in the midst of industrial strikes of the late 70s in the ABC region (São Paulo state), along with Lula, with whom he was arrested in 1980. However, while the option of most unionists of that period was going to the palaces and state positions, Ze Maria is still part of the working class struggle. José Maria de Almeida is currently part of the leadership of the CSP/Conlutas – Trade Unions and People Federation.
In June, the youth and the people took to the streets, cornered governments and managed to reduce the public transport fares. Since then, the workers stroke many times, winning some of them, and housing movements made several occupations in the cities. But, unfortunately, little has changed in the country because the governments have not heard the streets, did not meet the people’s demands and the dissatisfaction is huge.
The people want changes but don’t want the return of the old right. The voices from the streets must be heard and it’s necessary to fight back. A candidate who is at the service of the struggles of workers and youth around a working class, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist program that advocates a radical transformation of the society towards socialism is necessary. Therefore, the PSTU presents the candidacy of Zé Maria for president.
Despite we are many months from the elections (in October 2014), the electoral debate is already open. The elites, the government and the conservative opposition seek to restrict the debate to their candidates. With few differences, all advocate the same economic model that favors banks, large corporations and agribusiness at the expense of the needs and demands of workers, poor people and the youth.
The PSDB of the candidate Aecio Neves is the same old right that will bring more misery to the working people. The PSB of Eduardo Campos and Marina Silva is unwilling to change the country, being only another promise that will bring more disappointment to the people. Unfortunately, the Workers Party’s (PT) government headed by Dilma Rousseff did not meet the high expectations of workers because she governs for the rich and powerful.
Her government spends money with the FIFA World Cup while there are missing schools and hospitals across the country. Chaos reigns in public education because the government refuses to invest 10% of the GDP in public education, the minimum needed to improve schools and give teachers a decent wage. The public health situation is not different. More money, more equipment, more hospitals are needed. At the same time, inflation is worrying again, as the government prepares new measures that attack workers rights and achievements.
Dilma’s administration is privatizing our oil . The Libra oil field’s auction gave away a public asset that is worth a trillion dollars for a measly US$ 15 billion. Moreover, the pre-salt revenue, which could be used to actually change public health and education goes into the pockets of multinationals and bankers. Only the small part paid as royalties by the companies stays in the country. It is the largest privatization sponsored by a PT government, similar to the privatizations of Vale and Telebras made by the rightist PSDB in the past. Stop giving away our natural wealth! We demand the re-nationalization of the privatized companies and a 100% state-owned Petrobras!
As if that were not enough, we witness the disaster of corruption plaguing the Congress, state legislatures and governments across the country. In this sense, there are no differences between the PT government and the right; PSDB’s corruption in the scandal of the São Paulo subway is as big as PT’s “mensalão” . We demand, among other measures, the arrest of all corrupt politicians and corrupting contractors, the cancellation of the pension reform, whose votes to approve it were bought by the “mensalão” scheme, the revocability of the mandates of parliamentarians and that their wages equal a teacher or a skilled worker’s.
Women who were in the front line of the June demonstrations do not see the government response to their problems. There is a huge lack of nurseries and shelter homes. And, to make things worse, the violence against women, as well as against blacks and homosexuals, has increased to epidemic levels. Even after the Maria da Penha Law  the number of murders of women has not decreased. To “crown” the string of attacks, the PT backed the Christian fundamentalist José Feliciano as Chair of the Human Rights Commission of the House of Representatives.
The governments try to regain control of the streets and triggered a violent repression and criminalization of social movements. The government of Sergio Cabral (PMDB) in Rio de Janeiro, supported by Dilma Rousseff and the PT, harshly repressed the teachers’ strike that lasted 77 days till October 25. The same Military Police that represses the struggles tortured and murdered Amarildo. We, from PSTU, demand the end of the genocide against black people in the poor neighborhoods everywhere. We demand the demilitarization of the police and end the Military Police! And we chant, along with most of the Rio’s people: Out with Cabral! Dictatorship never again!
In 2014 we must return to the streets. We know that the real change will not come from elections. Only by the organization and mobilization of workers and youth we will achieve an alternative economic plan that guarantees workers a general pay increase, pay rise according to inflation, freezing of prices and fares, public and quality health, education, housing and transportation for all, funded by the non-payment of internal and external public debt, the end of privatization and re-nationalization of privatized companies, among others.
But not only that, it is very important that an alternative left candidate in the next election be at the service of workers and youth struggles. Therefore we call the constitution of a Left Front joining the PSTU, PSOL and PCB around a working class and socialist program and to head it we present the candidacy of Zé Maria for the presidency.
To truly be a Left Front as an alternative is necessary to establish a program stemming from the struggles and demands of the working class without stopping there. It’s necessary, as well, to aim at a radical change in society, breaking with the current system at all, towards socialism. Nor it might repeat PT’s mistakes, as the deals and alliances with the bourgeois parties and the bourgeoisie in exchange for receiving funds for campaign financing. In this sense, the nomination of the Senator Randolfe Rodrigues as the PSOL’s pre-candidate for president in their congress is disturbing. He has been acting differently and taking political positions sometimes opposite to most of the postulates above. Finally, we must ensure the respect and representation of the parties in the Left Front, beginning with the programmatic discussion, the composition of the executive and legislative candidates lists, campaign plan, TV and other aspects.
Let’s go back to the streets! Let’s unify the youth, people movements and trade unions to make a huge unified struggle during the FIFA World Cup and demand that the government stop giving money to bankers and contractors. We are not alone. The workers and youth of Europe, North of Africa and the Middle East, Argentina and Chile show that it is possible to confront and defeat the government and its austerity plans. We need to fight, it’s possible to win!
2013 was only the beginning, tomorrow will be bigger!
Support the candidacy of Zé Maria for president!
_______________________________ – To learn more read: Dilma Roussef Government Privatizes Pre-Salt Oil Field  – Mensalão: A huge vote-buying case of corruption involving high governmental echelons in 2005, during the first Lula government (PT).  – Maria da Penha Law: a law designed to protect women against violence.