Political Crisis and Class Struggle in Brazil

Written by Alfredo Lima

This article is a short description of what’s going on in Brazil. While I was writing these lines we exceeded 11,000 deaths in Brazil, and I hope that quarantine will soon be imposed, and that those who have to provide for themselves will be financially supported during the lockdown through help from the federal government. For now, unfortunately, that is not what is happening.


On May 2 the ex-Minister of Justice, the judge Sergio Moro, clarified his charges against Bolsonaro. He quit the government in opposition to the president’s attempts to change the director of the Federal Police so he could have more influence over their activities. According to Moro, he wanted to protect himself and his family from investigations involving militias from Rio de Janeiro.

Bolsonaro is creating a narrative of being betrayed by the ex-minister and other far right politicians who are not totally behind him. He also described Moro as a “Judas” who was attempting to gain political benefits from his betrayal. The Bolsonarists are thus now divided into Bolsonaro supporters and Moro supporters.

On May 3 Brazil had 101,147 people infected with coronavirus and 7025 deaths. In Rio de Janeiro alone there were a thousand deaths. It is imagined that this number will grow as soon as there is a movement to boycott the lockdown. It’s a political question that shows that Bolsonaro is not actually isolated, but has a large fascist support base. Last week he joined a protest against the STF (Supreme Federal Court) and Rodrigo Maia who is the president of the Chamber of Deputies. They demanded military intervention and restitution of the AI-5, which was a constitutional act developed by the repressive force of the military dictatorship in 1968. According to Bolsonaro, it was a ‘spontaneous protest’.

On May 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Wilson Witzel and Marcelo Crivella (the mayor) were planning on declaring a lockdown when the situation in Rio got out of hand and there were too many people on the streets.

On May 7, Bolsonaro and some businessmen went to STF to demand the end of social isolation. The building sector and factory work were declared essential to embarrass the court and in order that Bolsonaro no longer had to take responsibility for the economic crisis that a stricter lockdown brings.


In the neighbourhood of Ilha do Governador in Rio de Janeiro, there was a rebellion of teenage detainees inside a prision building. They asked for the liberation of the high-risk detainees and for fewer guards. The guards were not wearing masks. In Manaus there was a rebellion and an attempt to escape. The parents of some detainees said to the press that they were angry due to the precarious health conditions of the prison. Two detainees in prisons from Manaus tested positive for Covid-19.

I heard that couriers stopped work on May 4 in Niterói against the low pay they got per delivery, amongst other demands. They were also being blocked by the apps for no reason.

Economic Perspectives

An article by Henrique Gomes Batista for Globo’s newspaper, said there was consensus about technologies and that other changes in the workplace would become the new normality. In the sectors in which presence at work is required there would be an increase in office partitions; and working at home is starting to become the new normal, so the infrastructure of your home must respond to the demands of the capitalists, and the worker must be responsible for these changes.


The governor of Bahia, Rui Costa (from the Workers’ Party) is studying a way to go back to having lessons in state schools. He supports the use of masks in schools for students and teachers, and a staggering of break times for different classes so that the children are not all in the playground at the same time.

The Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) announced the ENEM exam 1 is going to happen despite the crisis caused by the pandemic. But not all the states schools are having lessons from home. This will increase the elitism of the exams. Some leftists are supporting a delay to exams but the press hasn’t reported this yet. The teacher’s trade unions have also not said anything. There was a marketing video from MEC which asked for the students to work with the tools they had available because “life can’t stop”.

1 ENEM is the exam for high school students which is needed to join a university and for educational credits.

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