New Repression Against
Brazilian Trotskyists

The following is a translation of Bulletin No. 3 (September 1997) of the Comitê de Luta Classista (CLC--Class Struggle Caucus, initiated by the Liga Quarta-Internacionalista do Brasil), calling for solidarity with the Brazilian comrades in the face of the latest repression against them. On September 5, a Volta Redonda court ordered the seizure of the CLC's previous bulletin, exposing the attempt to loot workers' pension funds and the role of the pro-police group of Artur Fernandes, who was the instrument of a judicial coup last year against the elected leadership of the Volta Redonda Municipal Workers Union. The court order against the CLC was issued at the request of a lawyer employed by the Fernandes clique. This is the eighth legal action against LQB supporters in the last two years.

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To the workers
To the unions
To all opponents of repression

The Bourgeois Courts of Volta Redonda
Attack the Workers' Democratic Rights

Down with the witchhunt against the Comitê de Luta Classista
for denouncing the theft of public workers' pension funds
by the federal government, the popular front and the judicial mafia
instigated by Artur's pro-police clique

Yet another attack against the class-struggle unionists who fight for the class independence of the unions from the bourgeois government and the bosses! On Friday, September 5, the Fifth Civil Court (Volta Redonda district) of the Rio de Janeiro state judiciary issued a court order for the "seizure" of bulletin No. 2 of the Comitê de Luta Classista (CLC), by means of "police force" if necessary. It personally names Geraldo Ribeiro Neves, the legitimate president of the Volta Redonda Municipal Workers Union (SFPMVR). It threatens to seize the belongings of the CLC and comrade Geraldo. The original call for the injunction (which the judge has not yet fully approved) also demands the names of the CLC's members.

This witchhunt attempts to shut the workers' mouths using laws from the Getúlio Vargas "New State" dictatorship (Civil Code 1940) and the era of the military dictatorship! They want to suppress militant workers' right of expression, demanding the "search and apprehension" of leaflets as if these were "public enemies." Will the pro-police gang also ask the courts to use police force to go to every city worker's house to carry out the "search and apprehension" of CLC bulletin No. 2, which each city worker received and which simply tells the truth?

The clique of pro-police intriguers around Artur Fernandes uses the hand of the bourgeois state to grab the workers' money. This is trampling on the principles of the working class. Artur, as a union "leader" for the Liga Bolchevique Internacionalista, even signed the "theses" the LBI presented at the Sixth Congress of the CUT (labor federation), as a "socialist alternative" for the workers movement. This is the height of cynicism! The LBI thus stands behind a figure who constantly deals with differences in the workers movement by using gangsterism and treating them as "police cases." Defending the rights of the CLC means defending the rights of all the workers and oppressed!

They want to attack the right of assembly by demanding that the CLC name names and finger people by providing a list of the members of the CLC. We are not traitors! We will not provide a single name! The bosses, their judicial and police apparatus and their agents imposed on the unions want to silence those who have denounced the monstrous theft being carried out against Volta Redonda city workers' pension funds. For several years the Popular Front city government refused to deposit money in the pension funds. When even the courts ruled that now the city has to pay, a ridiculous maneuver is arranged so that the lawyers will rake off 15 percent of the total.

The national CUT told the workers: "you do not need to pay" for this rip-off. But when the CLC warns the workers in Volta Redonda that their pension funds are being robbed, fierce repression is unleashed against us. Why is this?

This is not the first time the comrades of the Comitê de Luta Classista have been the targets of judicial/police repression. This is the eighth judicial action against us since Geraldo Ribeiro took office as the legitimately elected president of the SFPMVR.

They attack the CLC because we defend the independence of the unions from control by the capitalist state, whether by the courts, government or police, and we oppose the unions' bureaucratization by sell-out leaders. Last year the commander of the Municipal Guard sued comrade Geraldo when, as class-struggle leader of the SFPMVR, Geraldo carried out a campaign to separate the guardas (municipal cops) from the union.

For the same reason, they repeatedly sent police to intimidate the workers who were holding union meetings where the disaffiliation of the guardas was discussed. On 19 June 1996, the courts issued an injunction, requested by the pro-police clique, to shut down the union meeting where the disaffiliation of the guardas from the SFPMVR was going to be voted. The injunction also called for the judicial ouster of Geraldo Ribeiro, the union's legitimate president, under the pretext of an investigation into misuse of union funds by Geraldo. Without a shred of evidence, this inquiry has gone nowhere, while under the Fernandes clique 8,032 reals [one real is roughly equivalent to a U.S. dollar] disappeared from the SFPMVR's savings and the union's van and telephone were lost.

They use the bosses' courts against the CLC because we fight racism. Another court suit was launched against comrade Geraldo on the charge that he "defamed" the city by defending Regina Célia, a black woman who was the victim of a racist firing.

With the union under judicial intervention, they imposed the pro-cop front man Artur Fernandes, who is going to court once again, this time using the lawyer Vanise Alves de Carvalho, employed by the SFPMVR, to try to suppress the protest against the theft of the pension funds.

But this could backfire, because it will not be enough to try--unsuccessfully--to silence the CLC. They will have to attempt to shut the mouths of all the members of the SFPMVR who want to defend themselves and are fighting against this attack. And they will fail in their attempt, just as they failed when they tried to stop the ranks of the SFPMVR from voting on 25 July 1996 to reaffirm Geraldo as president and disaffiliate the municipal guardas from the union. Courts and cops hands off the union!

Make no mistake: this attack is directed against all those who fight to defend the workers' interests. This time they want to "search for and apprehend" CLC bulletin No. 2 against the theft of the pension funds. Next time, will they want to "apprehend" Geraldo's declarations No. 1 and 2, which talked about the need for a massive struggle against the layoffs of city workers, CSN (National Steel Company) workers and others?

Remember: an attack against one is an attack against all. If they succeed in outlawing protests by Volta Redonda city workers, tomorrow they will launch new attacks against the oil workers, the dockers, the landless peasants, the homeless and others. Everyone must join the struggle to demand that all charges be dropped against Geraldo Ribeiro and the Comitê de Luta Classista.

The Comitê de Luta Classista fights for the complete and unconditional independence of the unions from the capitalist state, against any kind of "union tax" [government-administered financing of unions], for union democracy, against dangerous and unhealthy work conditions, against starvation wages, against unemployment, layoffs and privatizations. We fight against racist oppression and the oppression of women. We fight against the Popular Front, the bourgeois coalition which is the boss of Volta Redonda city workers. We fight for the construction of a revolutionary workers party. Our fight is internationalist: Workers of the world, unite! Join us!

The bosses' courts want to silence the voice that tells the truth. But the Comitê de Luta Classista will not let itself be intimidated. Neither should you!

In your union, student, neighborhood, black or women's organization, etc.: make an urgent solidarity statement with the CLC and Geraldo Ribeiro, demanding: No to anti-union repression! Throw out the 15 percent charge and return the money to those who were forced to pay it! Unconditionally drop all charges against the CLC and Geraldo Ribeiro! Courts hands off our rights!

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Solidarity statements can be sent care of:

Internationalist Group Box 3321,
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008, U.S.A.

and in Brazil to:

Caixa Postal No. 84027
CEP 27260-740
Volta Redonda, RJ, Brazil

Fax: (+1-212) 614-8711
E-mail: internationalistgroup@msn.com