IndustriALL joins unions across the world in voicing support for former Brazilian president President Luis Inácio Lula Da Silva.
On Friday 4 March 2016, Lula was forcibly taken from his home after being smeared in the mass media with allegations of corruption, in a right wing campaign to undermine his legacy of social justice.
This is a campaign by his political opponents on the Right to use the legal system, and media outlets controlled by a rich elite, to turn back the clock on Brazil’s progress.
Born into poverty, Lula is a former metalworker who rose to prominence in the Workers’ Party and became president of Brazil. As a trade unionist, he lead a wave of strikes that shook the foundations of the military dictatorship. Lula went on to lead Brazil into an era of democracy. He is a symbol of the struggle of ordinary people for justice, dignity and social inclusion.
Lula is dearly loved by working class people in Brazil. When he left office in 2011, he was the world’s most popular politician, with an approval rating of 80%. This is because of the dramatic and concrete changes he made to the lives of the great majority of people.
During his presidency, Lula’s government brought 30 million people out of poverty, reduced child labour, empowered women, raised the minimum wage, reduced unemployment, and provided social security – the Bolsa Familia. He achieved all of this while growing Brazil’s economy, and ensuring that the proceeds of this new wealth were fairly distributed.
Lula’s leadership has inspired unions across the world, particularly in other developing countries, where his model of state investment to improve the lives of ordinary people has underlined union demands to government.
Reactionary forces in Brazil cannot accept the shift of the country towards democracy, and have intensified their campaigns against him.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:
“Neoliberal attacks have no limits. Conservative forces intensify their attacks against labour everywhere. Their recent target is Comrade Lula, who together with his family, is now victim of an intensified campaign.
“It is obvious to us that Lula is a symbolic target, because he brought huge social and economic progress to Brazil.
“He has shown that another Brazil, and another world, is possible. Conservative forces in Brazil and across the world want to turn the clock back. They want to take revenge for the social and democratic progress which Comrade Lula has made.
We will never allow them to do this”.