We need to step up international solidarity campaigning for Lula’s freedom, and democracy and social progress in Brazil, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE
At their national conference in Brighton, Unite the Union joined the ITUC and other trade unions around the globe in supporting persecuted politician Lula and the fight for democracy in Brazil.
An emergency motion was put forward against the jailing and ongoing political persecution of former President Lula in attempts to keep him off the ballot for elections taking place later this year.
The moving speaker told the conference that evidence of the presidential frontrunner’s innocence had been ignored and that his human rights have been infringed, explaining that trust in the rule of law is breaking down in Brazil because of the highly-political case.
Quoting International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharron Barrow, the Unite speaker resolved to campaign for Lula’s freedom and for his participation in the 2018 elections: “democracy must be restored urgently and the only way to achieve that is through fair and democratic elections in which Lula has the right to be a candidate.”
The conference also noted that since the elected president was removed through a parliamentary coup in 2016, the imposed right-wing government has implemented hard-line measures including a 20-year freeze on public health and education spending as well as wide spread plans for privatisation.
The seconding speaker spoke of the ‘democratic outrage’ in Brazil as the votes of 50 million Brazilians were ignored when President Dilma Rousseff was removed, an right-wing president Temer’s programmes were implemented without a mandate or the support of the public.
They also noted that the implementation of this hard-line agenda has seen a dismantling of trade union and worker’s rights, with the coup government officially relaxing the definition of slavery. The measure has been criticised internationally, with the UN special rapporteur on modern-slavery quoted saying it would “weaken the protection of the poor and excluded populations that are vulnerable to slavery.”
The seconding speakers explained that these harsh austerity measures have never been accepted at the ballot box. Temer and the coup government are extremely unpopular but without Lula on the ballot the country faces a stark choice between centrist and hard-right candidates.
The conference further noted that the coup government in Brazil has been supported by Donald Trump and the US, and that the 2016 coup forms part of a worrying trend of countries shifting towards regressive neo-liberal policies in the region.
Conclusively, Unite pledged to support to the No coup in Brazil initiative, noting their work in bringing together trade unions, parliamentarians, Latin American solidarity groups and others in support of democracy and social progress in Brazil.
Since a parliamentary coup took place in 2016 against elected president Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian democracy has been under threat, writes Patrick Foley. (28/05/18)
October’s presidential election offers a way out of the political crisis, but the country’s most popular candidate has been arrested without material evidence against him. Brazilian democracy is still at stake. Continue reading “With Lula behind bars, Brazilian democracy is still at stake”
Former President, and leading 2018 Candidate, Lula da Silva wrote to France’s Le Monde about his politically motivated imprisonment, his determination to run for President and the worrying dismantling of democracy in Brazil. (17/5/18)
For those who have been following Brazil closely in recent years, the case against former President Lula da Silva is clear-cut. And no, it’s not about tackling corruption, it’s about subverting Brazilian democracy for the second time in two years, writes Patrick Foley (10/05/18) Continue reading “The Persecution of Brazil’s Lula is a Danger to Democracy”
On March 14th, one of Brazil’s most courageous social leaders was brutally assassinated on the streets of Rio de Janeiro (26/04/18)
Marielle Franco, from the left wing PSOL party, a city councilwoman and human rights defender, was shot four times in the head by unknown assailants in a passing vehicle shortly after leaving a gathering of young black activists. Her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, was also killed. Continue reading “Justice for Marielle!”
Unite is calling on all trade unionists to ‘Stand With Lula’ – join the protest against Lula’s imprisonment
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the father of modern Brazil. A trade unionist who was imprisoned by the Brazilian military dictatorship, he later became the most successful President in Brazil’s history, lifting millions out of Poverty and making Brazil’s economy work for ordinary people during eight years at the helm up to 2011.
Now powerful forces, having used a corrupt Congress to depose his successor Dilma Rousseff, are trying to destroy Lula;s reputation by imprisoning him on politically motivated and false charges in an effort to stop him standing for election again.
His imprisonment is part of a coup designed to keep a corrupt government in place.