The 7th and largest ever CWI Latin American school took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, between 7 and 14 January. Attended by 180 comrades, it was by far the largest of the schools organised by the CWI in Latin America to date. Comrades from Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Sweden, USA, Germany and Tony Saunois from the International Secretariat of the CWI attended this lively and enthusiastic event. Unfortunately, comrades from Chile and Bolivia sent apologies as they were unable to attend due to travel problems. From Brazil, comrades from 10 states participated including comrades from Sao Paulo, Rio, Rio Grande do Norte, Pareba and Serra. During the week, a public rally was organised attended by approximately 200 people and addressed by many of the left currents in P-SOL and comrades from the urban homeless movement, MTST. Present throughout the week were two PSOL councillorsw from Niteroi - Paulo Eduardo Gomes and Renatinho - both of whom addressed the combative public meeting.
Jane Barros, LSR (CWI in Brazil)
The school included debates and discussions on the world situation and the wave of struggle and new phase of the crisis which is opening up in Latin America. Discussion on the building of new left parties and the role of PSOL took place, along with commissions on different aspects of Marxist theory and practice such as the state, the transitional method, reform and revolution and others. The reports from the USA and the recent election victory of Kshama Sawant in Seatttle and Cuba were enthusiastically received by all comrades.
Inevitably, the enthusiasm of the Brazilian comrades following the massive eruption of struggle in June last year and the prospects for further struggle dominated the school. 2014 is set to unleash a new wave of struggle in Brazil and other Latin American countries. In Brazil, the mass protests have totally changed the correlation of forces and workers and the masses have more confidence to fight back against the attacks of the ruling class. This will centre on further protests against the world cup in the coming weeks and months.
Johan Rivas, Venezuela
In Sao Paulo, over 100 occupations have already taken place in recent months by homeless families who are building new housing areas on occupied land. The most recent occupation involves more than 30,000 people. It is called “New Palestine”. A measure of the boiling anger which exists has been the development of large protests by the youth in the last few days. "Rolezinhos" have been organised by thousands of youth in many towns across the country. These involve thousands of young people from the poorest areas entering shopping centres and marching around them. Dozens more are planned. The youth have not looted but draw attention to the fact that they are excluded from being able to buy goods in the shops. These have been declared illegal and youth entering the shopping centre now have to show ID and face a fine of 10 thousand reales if they participate in these protests.
Such repression is not dampening the will to struggle of the youth. Fearing further protest, the summit of the ‘BRIC’ countries which was planned as the opening of the anti-cup protests has been postponed. Fear of what may develop in the run up to the cup is haunting the ruling class and government. They also fear the outbreak of massive prison uprisings in the run up to the world cup. One of these which recently took place involved the decapitation of prisoners, such are the desperate conditions which exist in the prisons. Mass protests are planned beginning on 25 January. This new wave of struggle will then enter the election campaign where PSOL has the prospect of increasing its parliamentary block, emphasising the need for PSOL to adopt a socialist programme to challenge the government and build a real alternative. Members of LSR (CWI in Brazil) are fully involved in this struggle and the protests which are developing in the run up to the world cup.
Cormade Isbel from Observatorio Critico, Cuba
These struggles and the new phase of struggle unfolding in Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and the upheavals in Argentina formed the back drop to the enthusiasm at this CWI school, reflected in the tremendous collection which raised over US$2,000.
Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil)
Renatinho, PSOL councillor for Niteroi