Repression against the bankworkers’ strike in Brazil

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We are publishing here a leaflet from Brazil, produced jointly by the ICC and the Workers Opposition group (OPOP) and distributed on 20 October in the general assemblies of bank employees.

The Brazilian bourgeoisie, faced with movements escaping its control (in fact, escaping the control of the unions) is using its repressive apparatus, the police, in a grotesque manner in order to intimidate the workers. In Porto Alegre, in the south of Brazil, it violently repressed a demonstration by bank employees on 16 October, using tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring around ten people. As if the repression carried out that morning wasn't enough, on the same day and in the same town, the 13th march of the 'Sem'[1], about 10,000 strong, was also the target of police repression, with a number of resulting injuries.

Before that, the bank bosses and the government itself had already attempted to take measures against the current strike of bank employees by persecuting and dismissing leaders in order to contain the development of the movement.

The necessity for class solidarity

It has to be stressed that the struggle of the bank employees goes beyond classic economic demands because the essential demand is for all employees to be treated equally. The banks, and above all the Federal banks, have created a huge gulf between the situation of long-standing employees and those who were taken on since 1998, when certain 'advantages' won in the struggle were clawed back. Much more than a simple demand for economic recompense, this is an important gesture of solidarity between workers, since it is not possible to accept being treated differently, as though some of us were inferior. We all do the same work, in the same centres and we are all subject to the same pressures.

It also needs to be very clear that all our 'advantages' are the fruit of the struggle: if some of us benefit from them, then we all need to benefit, regardless of when we were taken on. In the same way, this struggle is trying to win back what has been taken away, this time from all of us, such as the monthly bonuses, etc. All these economic gains were the product of our resistance struggles, but they were then annulled by the bosses with the complicity of their 'partners', the trade unions.

We all want better working conditions, an end to moral harassment, the end of targets for sales and services imposed by the banks: all this has led to so much illness among bank workers. We will say it again: we don't want to be treated differently from one another. We cannot accept the amputation of our 'advantages' which are the product of our struggles and not presents from the bosses, whether public or private.

The demand for the same conditions of work and remuneration for all those who are currently employed is an act of solidarity between different generations of workers in this sector. It is this same solidarity which we have to prove in acts with all those who are victims of state repression. We can only join together with all those fighting against being crushed by the needs of capitalism in crisis, with all those that the bourgeoisie has repressed or aims to repress because they are involved in struggles.

These struggles, and the whole problem of state repression, are not questions that concern only the bank employees, but all workers, with or without jobs. 

ICC/OPOP 10/08 

[1]Sem= Portuguese for 'without'. In other words movements which involve different categories excluded from society, The Landless Movement, the Roofless Movement, the Workless Movement. As the name indicates, the latter is made up essentially of unemployed proletarians. The Roofless Movement regroups elements from different non-exploiting strata, who come together to organise squats. The Landless Movement is also made up of different non-exploiting strata, mainly town dwellers organised within this structure to occupy land in the countryside with the idea of putting it under cultivation. This structure is solidly controlled by the state, especially since Lula first became head of state. 


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