On June 14, the first general strike against social security reforms by the current government was called in Brazil1. The strike, which took place 5 and a half months after the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro’s government2, was convened by two major trade union centers in Brazil (Central Única de Trabalhadores (CUT) y la Força Sindical), which announced it on May 1st.
The social security reform that the government intends to approve, which does not yet have the necessary support, seeks to put an end to the solidarity social security system, affecting the economically most vulnerable population3,4. The draft text stipulates for the first time a minimum retirement age (62 years for women and 65 for men) and increases the number of years of contributions to receive full pension5.
Jair Bolsonaro took office as president of Brazil on January 1, 2019 with the right-wing Social Liberal Party, after winning the elections in October 2018 with 55.13% of the vote6. Previously, on April 8, 2018, his greatest political rival to get the presidency and favorite in the polls, the progressive Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was imprisoned under controversial accusations of corruption that after the Lava-Jato operation it seems that he was a victim of a complex political-judicial plot in which members of the current Brazilian government are implicated7. Their positions were cataloged in diverse occasions like of extreme right and antidemocratic8. On repeated occasions he expressed his opposition to women, LGTBI groups and indigenous peoples9. Likewise, he is a confessed neoliberal10.
However, Bolsonaro begins to have a serious problem because, apart from being the least valued president by the Brazilian people since 199011, his government begins to be completely surrounded by scandals of various kinds12, among which the Lava-Jato operation stands out. To this situation we must add the massive demonstrations during the month of May that the country has just experienced due to the educational cuts13 and the aforementioned general strike of 14 June, which are the two most outstanding dates of the ongoing mobilization that is taking place in Brazil and outside its territory14.
Throughout the world, right-wing populisms are gaining ground, supported at all times by the fears of the most impoverished classes towards their democratic options15. Transnationals thus impose their neoliberal rules of the game, expropriating little by little the quality of life of those classes, as well as limiting their rights and freedoms. However, a general strike like Brazil’s16, although it is not a definitive measure to reverse the attacks of the elites17, it is an important step in this direction. The struggles of the popular classes, organized and conscious —such as Extinction Rebellion or the mobilizations of 8M—, are a fundamental way to return this quality of life to all the inhabitants of the planet.