When your hope is waning, think of…..Brazil.
There are some days that I look at where the world is at right now and think…there is no hope. The thought generally brings me down…way down and you wonder if everything that you do and say will really not matter a bit. There are other days, however, that I feel that I need to be the change I want to see in the world, and while it may sound idealistic, it is true. As I am presently living in Canada, I had the opportunity to help organize and participate in a protest to Bill C-38 – an abomination passed on Friday by the horrific, greedy, money-loving, environment-hating Harper government. It was a great experience and while not a large protest, it brought people together and also brought forth a great collection of ideas. It was all of us coming together as a united voice that was the most encouraging part of it all.
So what does all of this have to do with Brazil? I was reading an article from alternet.org about how the Brazilian citizens are taking a stand against those that oppress them. The article discusses five lessons that the Brazilians have learned…
1. Workers don’t have to adopt a submissive position.
The combination of a growing labor movement and the increasing power of the Workers Party has led to 40 million Brazilians moving out of extreme poverty. Workers don’t feel they have to submit to unfair treatment and employer demands to keep their jobs.
Nothing illustrates this better than the story of Foxconn, the company that makes iPads and iPhones for Apple. While mistreatment in China has led to workers committing suicide, Foxconn’s unionized workers in Brazil make twice as much as those doing the same work in China, all while working shorter hours. A combination of a vibrant labor movement, supported by labor laws far more supportive of unions, demonstrate that workers don’t have to adopt a submissive position in the face of giant global corporations.
Workers organizing powerful unions are an essential ingredient of any movement committed to winning economic justice and democracy.
2. Bank and financial workers can do it too.
The union has a long and proud history of leading national strikes to win political and economic gains–taking on both global banks and government-owned Brazilian banks. Most recently, in 2011, bank workers won major economic gains through a national strike, despite attempts of employers to resist wage increases in the name of fighting inflation.
3. It is good to have your own party–when you are on top you can help take care of other people’s needs.
Since the Workers Party came to power, they have increased government spending on social programs and lifted 40 million people out of extreme poverty. Brazil’s response to the economic crisis of 2008 was to increase government spending instead of adopting self-defeating austerity programs.
Brazil demonstrates that having a political party committed to workers’ rights and economic justice and equality matters.
4. You need global protection to stop low wage infection.
Brazilian workers know they can’t maintain strong unions and an improving standard of living if they have to compete with countries like the United States where corporations routinely violate the rule of law and basic human and worker rights.
The article is well worth the read and does offer some hope. The author concludes the article with this…
While we face many obstacles here in the U.S., we don’t live in a dictatorship. In understanding what Brazilians have accomplished under far harsher conditions then we face, we can identify the ingredients needed to build a social movement and real change here. It may be that we already have the seeds and beginning of the kind of social movement that has transformed Brazil, here in the United States. When you combine the work of Occupy, Occupy our Homes, the newly formed Home Defenders League, the growing work challenging the trillion of dollars in student debt and a hoped for rebirth of union organizing, you can start to see the ingredients needed to win real change.
We really do need to be the change we want to see. Instead of investing our resources into the top 1%, we should be recognizing the strength of unionization. We should understand that while one single voice may never be heard, a thousand will…a hundred thousand even more, a million…well that is sending a message. Don’t despair, there is hope and we should never give up. I believe that people are good by nature and I also believe that justice will ultimately prevail.
Wake up…..stand up for what you believe in….read between the lines…
And more than anything…..Do not let fear dictate your belief system!
A great visual…