“May 1st is patrimony of the working class,” affirms João Paulo Rodrigues

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Unified act in Curitiba in defense of rights in the post-coup era and campaign for the liberty of ex-president Lula

May 1 in 1980. Photo Credit: Memorial da Democracia

Source: Brasil de Fato / The Dawn News / May 1, 2018

The Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), along with the People’s Brazil and People Without Fear Fronts, join the mobilizations of May 1, International Workers Day, celebrated this Tuesday.

For the first time since the redemocratization of the country, the seven central Brazilian trade unions (CUT, Força Sindical, CTB, NCST, UGT, CSB and Intersindical) will participate in a unified act on this day, under the slogan ‘In the defense of rights and to Free Lula’.

João Paulo Rodrigues, from the national board of the MST, reaffirms the importance of this day of struggle and remembers the other issues that are part of the national debate. “This coup government still continues to try and pass the pension reform, it is important that we stop this as well as the attempt to privatize Brazilian state owned companies, especially Electrobras, that will be a significant loss for the state and the workers. We cannot accept the denationalization of an area like this,” he stated.

Adding to the national act that will occur in Curitiba, João Paulo highlighted the need for other acts to take place in Brazil today. “It is important that we have other May 1sts in other capital cities, smaller cities. May 1st is patrimony of the working class, and it has to be transformed into a May 1st of struggle,” he stated.

Click here to see the programming of acts in the whole country

Nalu Farias, from the World March of Women, believes that Lula’s imprisonment marks a deepening of the coup and the beginning of the creation of a state of exception. “May 1st is a very important day of struggle, from the women’s movement we always participate and this year our central banner of struggle is the demand of ‘Free Lula’ because we know that Lula is imprisoned without evidence, a political prisoner, he represents emblematic aspects of this moment, of what is the coup in Brazil,” explained the activist.

The imprisonment of Lula, is related to the growing criminalization of people’s movements, and it is a point of unity that should be explored in this act in Curitiba, according to João Paulo. “Reaffirm the necessity of unity of the central trade unions with the people’s movements and progressive parties and the possibility of this May 1st being unified in a city as symbolic as Curitiba is very important not only for the central trade unions, but for all of the people’s movements that have been struggling against the coup government for more than two years,” he states.

In Curitiba, the mobilization will have the presence of artists at 14h in the Plaza of the Democracy (Plaza Santos Andrade). At 16h there will be a political act with the presence of the central trade union presidents, representatives of the people’s movements and parliamentarians. The venue is approximately nine kilometers from the Federal Police station, where Lula is being held as a political prisoner, since April 7.

In the capital São Paulo, the protest will be in the Plaza of the Republic, after midday.

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