Economy

MST leader says Brazilians must rise up

Joao Pedro Stedile is a founder and leader of Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement (MST). One of Latin America’s largest social movements, the MST fights for land reform and the rights of poor farmers.

Below, Stedile calls for resistance to the “institutional coup” in Brazil, in which elected Workers’ Party (PT) president Dilma Rousseff was removed by the Senate and Michel Temer installed on August 31.

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Parliament resumed on August 30 and the government's agenda was simple: delay marriage equality; justify the double dissolution; and argue the case for a renewed assault on living standards — I mean: “budget repair”.

The “budget repair” project was contained in a centrepiece “omnibus” bill that combines 24 measures from this year's budget that have not yet passed the Senate. It is an attack on students, welfare recipients, ordinary workers and the environment.


São Paulo, September 7.

Brazil’s unelected president Michel Temer was greeted with shouts of “Temer Out” on his first public appearance in Brazil since being installed in office on August 31.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on September 7 in more than a dozen cities for a national day of action dubbed the “Cry of the Excluded”.

The situation is deteriorating in “the Jungle” — the informal settlement in the northern French port of Calais of refugees trying to reach Britain.

French police demolished the southern half earlier this year, yet the population is steadily rising and has surpassed 10,000. Neglected by governments and NGOs, the volunteers who provide food, clothing and other aid are receiving fewer donations to assist the growing population. Hunger has become prevalent, along with diseases caused by lack of sanitation.

The NSW Greens have slammed reported plans by the state government to build a new privatised western Metro train line from the city centre to Parramatta.

Commenting on a September 1 Sydney Morning Herald report that planning is under way for a new rail line between the CBD, the Bays Precinct around Rozelle and Parramatta, with possible future extensions to Maroubra in the south-east and Badgerys Creek airport in the west, Greens NSW transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi asked, “Will this government ever understand what good integrated transport planning looks like?”

Prison teachers at the Cessnock Correctional Centre stopped work for an hour on September 5. A similar action by staff at Long Bay Prison in Sydney took place on September 2.

They were protesting job cuts and the outsourcing of New South Wales prison education to staff without formal teaching degrees.

From February, prisoners in NSW will have most of their education delivered by staff from an external training organisation. Most of the prison teachers will be made redundant in December.

National Threatened Species Day on September 7 is held each year to commemorate the day the last Tasmanian Tiger died in captivity in a Hobart zoo in 1936.

Environment groups Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), Wildlife of the Central Highlands and Fauna and Flora Research Collective decided to commemorate the day this year by presenting an invoice for $2 million to the state government.

The groups called on the state government to better protect species such as the threatened Greater Glider and Victoria’s animal emblem, the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has scored a victory against the privatisation agenda of the state Coalition government after it abandoned plans to privatise the NSW Public Works Heritage Services, UnionsNSW announced on September 2.

About 40 stonemasons, scaffolders and roofers have been maintaining some of Sydney’s oldest buildings for more than 20 years, but in June last year Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet announced their jobs would be outsourced.

Early one morning last month, the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) Lucy Turnbull — a lifelong resident of the city’s most privileged suburbs along the south-eastern edge of the harbour — quietly slipped across to Sydney’s inner west where she was taken on tour by a WestConnex manager of the M4 East tollway tunnel corridor. There she presumably saw for the first time the gigantic construction sites in Haberfield where scores of heritage homes, businesses, gardens, parks and trees stood until a few weeks ago.

Increased evidence of homelessness in Melbourne’s iconic graffiti laneway, Hosier Lane, has prompted outrage from government and local businesses in recent weeks.

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