News Today – Pro-corporate Workers Party signals sweeping attack on public education in Brazil

by Guwahati_City

News Today | Today Breaking News – By Guwahatyassam.info

In the run-up to Brazil’s October presidential elections, the right-wing, nationalist and pro-corporate character of the program of Workers Party (PT) candidate Luís Inácio Lula da Silva has emerged ever more openly. In recent weeks, Lula and PT officials have met with businessmen and bankers to assure the markets that a PT government will place the full weight of the growing global capitalist crisis upon the backs of the Brazilian working class. They are promising to escalate the attacks carried out under the PT when it governed Brazil between 2003 and 2016 as the party of choice of the national and international ruling elite.

A central figure in these meetings has been Lula’s vice-presidential running mate, the right-wing politician Geraldo Alckmin, now in the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB). Before joining the PSB to run with Lula, Alckmin’s entire political career was in the hated Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), which under former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso pursued a brutal “neoliberal agenda” against the Brazilian working class. During the 14 years that Alckmin was governor of São Paulo, Brazil’s richest and most populous state, he followed the script of Cardoso’s administration, applying pro-corporate programs in public education and harshly repressing social protests.

In pursuit of the PT’s right-wing agenda, Alckmin met in mid-June with representatives of the pro-herd immunity movement, Escolas Abertas (Open Schools). The meeting took place during an offensive by this movement against any measures to close classrooms in the face of the rising fourth wave of the pandemic in Brazil.

Geraldo Alckmin with Open Schools representatives, June 2022 (Instagram)

With the rapid spread of more transmissible and vaccine-resistant Omicron BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants in the schools, where the most basic mitigation measures, such as mask mandates, have been abandoned, Open Schools protested on social media against “schools that are illegally closing entire classrooms! There hasn’t been a [National Public Health Emergency] as a result of coronavirus since May 22, 2022.”

Working closely with the ruling elite, Open Schools met in late June with São Paulo Mayor Ricardo Nunes, who soon after issued a decree abandoning the recommendation to send students with confirmed COVID infections home from class.

The Open Schools movement was created in 2020, ostensibly by a small group of elite private school parents who were protesting against temporary school closures. Behind it, however, were powerful sections of the ruling elite determined to carry out the full reopening of the economy and end all measures to contain the spread of the virus. Before denouncing the suspension of classes in this current wave of the pandemic, Open Schools played a prominent role in making education an “essential service”, enabling schools to reopen even with the pandemic out of control, and in ending the mandatory wearing of masks in the country’s precarious classrooms.

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Like the ruling classes around the world, the Brazilian capitalist elite saw the pandemic as an opportunity to increase corporate profits and personal wealth. The Open Schools’ pro-herd immunity program, aimed at keeping parents in their workplaces, is connected to its broad defense of the privatization of public education and attacks against teachers, whom the movement claims are “left-wing indoctrinators.”



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