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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Brazil change is on the agenda

The mass protests, demonstrations and actions that have shaken and still are shaking the pro-capitalist governments of Turkey, Brazil and Egypt show that the key emerging capitalist economies are not immune from the slump that has engulfed the advanced capitalist economies. The advanced economies still contribute some 55-60% of world GDP (depending on how you measure it). They remain the dominant influence over the world capitalist economy. The Great Recession and the subsequent weak recovery have led to a significant fall in trade and investment flows to the emerging economies, particularly to the largest so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa). Their growth rates have also begun to fall away. In addition, the largest by far of the BRICS, China, is experiencing a 2-3% pt fall in its super-fast growth rate and that has been enough to cause sharp drop in the demand for commodities (agricultural and raw materials), the main exports of other emerging economies. So the crisis is a world-wide one. Take Brazil. The nationwide street demonstrations of the past few weeks have sent shockwaves through Brazil’s political elite. There is widespread discontent with a ruling class that is seen as self-serving and corrupt. More than a million Brazilians have poured on to the streets in recent weeks to protest against a litany of grievances, from corruption and poor public services to outrage at billions of pounds in taxpayers’ money being spent to host the 2014 World Cup. It seems that the carnival for Brazilian capitalism of recent years is now over. As Tim vickery of the BBC sport who is there in house South American football correspondent noted that the government in Brazil may be able to see off the mass protests for this year by making concessions even if not all of what the protesters are demanding but some will be granted no doubt. Tim made a excellent point on the World Football Phone in the other week on BBC 5 live that the Brazilian government will not be able to make concessions over the world cup which all the capital is already tied up in the stadia and other projects to improve the nations image in time for the tournament and for the Olympics that Rio is hosting in 2016. So when the world cup comes around this time next year there will be no concessions that the government can make that could appease angry protesters who will see lovely stadiums but insufficient transport and public services this is sure to set off new waves of protest. If the Brazilian government is still in power by next year it could be a very bumpy period for it with Brazilian workers now taking to the scene in the forms of mass strikes. Although smaller on scale compared to the mass protests seen a few weeks ago it is still a hugely significant mergence of the working class and more importantly the labour movement to the scene of battle. Brazil is waking up after a long period of low class struggle the working class is flexing its muscles once again. Full support to them I say.

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