By Ed Dalton
Liga Operaria (LO), in English, Workers’ League, a revolutionary and democratic workers organization in Brazil, has issued solidarity with Austin’s Targeted Three. In their statement they affirm, “The Liga Operária is in solidarity with the three Austin prisoners and we condemn the criminalization of them, who are persecuted for participating in a fair fight in defense of Black people and the poor in the United States.”
Such statements are deeply appreciated by all revolutionaries in the US who fight against exploitation and oppression alongside their class siblings in the third world. Class struggle organizations in Latin America are part of the storm centers of world proletarian revolution, and their firm internationalism is felt by those in the US who share the same enemy, US imperialism.
LO explains the link between the struggles of the working class in the US and Brazil, “Brazilian workers, who live under the crossfire of the old bourgeois landowning state – which follows the primer of Yankee imperialism, also live under the laws of criminalization of poverty and continued murders of blacks and poor in towns and slums, add to this important fighting in defense of the three prisoners in Austin, who are being defamed and slandered, to increase their sentences and influence public opinion.” They continue, “The persecution is clearly political, they just accuse them of participating in the massive protests, we understand that this subterfuge is widely used to criminalize everyone who fights against exploitation and oppression around the world.”
The case of Austin’s Targeted Three has gained attention throughout the world, due in part to the fact that in all of the May Uprisings, the Three are the only ones who have been labeled in police reports and in the ruling-class owned media as “Antifa,” as part of Donald Trump’s fascistic campaign against activists for Black lives.
The significance of the repression of the Three has caused LO to call upon the Brazilian people, “we call on all class and democratic movements to take part in this important struggle in defense of the Austin three.”
On Liga Operaria
The organization emerged from a split in the state workers’ unions in 1995. In their own words this was due to, “defending the path of class and combative struggle and by the relentless fight against opportunism, corporatism, class collaboration, legalism and pacifism, so characteristic of this old and bankrupt Brazilian unionism, represented by the current union centrals,” making them the most class combative organization among the Brazilian proletariat.
In the coming years, the LO would cut its teeth in major struggles. They actively participated in land grabs in the cities, and in battles against the state forces and its murderous policies. In March of 1996, they participated in the victorious takeover of a plot of land, and the formation of popular assemblies.
LO held its first Congress in 1997, in which it was proclaimed that, “It has to be understood that we are all one and only class of exploited and that the exploiting classes exercise state power through law, parliament, justice, police/military repression and government policy to impose and maintain their domination.” It made its position clear against common errors facing the workers’ movement such as narrow economism (only focusing on wages at the expense of politics). They expressed their purpose to increase mass work in all political, ideological, cultural and organizational fields. They explained that “We assume unionism as an organization of the character of economic resistance of the working masses and as schools of class struggle.”
To develop class consciousness among the Brazilian proletariat, the LO organizes urban and rural workers, combating the employers and the state that is in their service, with the principle that, “it is right to rebel.”
The LO stands against the traditional bureaucracy of the old unions by breaking with dependency on the state. LO express their 5 principles as follows: 1) The masses make history. 2) The struggle for wages is important but the main one is the struggle for power. 3) Combat opportunism as the main danger. 4) It is right to rebel. 5) Rely on your own strengths.
In May of 1997, LO led thousands in the streets of Belo Horizonte against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. The demonstration was combative and militant, with hundreds of red flags aloft, the burning of a US imperialist flag, and intense confrontations with the police.
LO participated in land seizure in the city of Betim, when 200 poor working class families took over a long abandoned plot of land and declared it the “Villa Red Flag.” On April 26, 1999, the military police entered the encampment and assassinated two workers, Gonçalves de Souza and Erionídes Anastácio dos Santo. What followed was mass resistance, and the LO was there shoulder to shoulder supporting the people.
According to LO’s website, “LIGA OPERÁRIA has put its proclaimed objectives into practice. Opposing a firm and active resistance to the increased exploitation and oppression of the State and the bourgeoisie, which falls on the class as a result of the deepening of the crisis of capitalism, the League has rejected traditional wage campaigns and organized days of struggles with strikes and mobilizations, with combative demonstrations and supported all class struggles.”
Importantly, and as a testament to their revolutionary character, LO does not participate in elections, and takes the consistent position to expose the rotten ruling class through election boycotts, they state that, “Politically, LIGA has been fighting against opportunism on the part of the electoral ‘left’ and against the farce of the elections, the way used by imperialism to maintain its domination.”
Tribune of the People extends firm internationalist greetings to the LO, and encourages all militants in the US to draw inspiration from their decades of class struggle and serving the people.
Defend Austin’s Targeted Three!
Long live international solidarity!
Long live LIGA OPERÁRIA and the fight of the Brazilian people!
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