Brazil: Black lives matter!

By Miguel Lamas

Anti-racist groups show their outrage in protests throughout the country. “Racism kills and it has to end! Justice for João Alberto!”, declares Workers’ Socialist Current (CST-PSOL) a member of the IWU-FI, part of which is in the statement below:

In the Black Conscience Week (anniversary of the assassination of the great black antislavery leader Zumbi dos Palmares in 1695) […] Once again racism showed all its cruelty on the night of 19 November […] A man called João Alberto Silveira de Freitas, 40, was beaten to death by Carrefour supermarket security personnel in the north area of Porto Alegre.

This murder is part of many committed daily by repressive forces, either public or private. Carrefour already carries in its history other cases of racism […] the entrepreneurs, managers and security officers of the capitalist company committed a racist crime and must be punished […]. We mustn’t accept that black people are always treated as criminals who can be killed. We must fight on the streets against the naturalisation of these killings.

A racist government!

Unfortunately, our president is an overt racist […] The Bolsonaro’s far-right in the government backs these racists actions, as the one in Carrefour. Bolsonaro and his vice president Mourão says “there is no racism in Brazil”, that we are “all the same colour”. Racism is an “imported conflict”. They maintain the myth of the “racial democracy” that has always helped to cover all the racist violence of the Brazilian state along with history. The fight against racism is directly connected with the fight against Bolsonaro and his peers’ government. During the pandemic, the number of deaths by Covid-19 occurred mainly among black people, as part of the structural racism (the afro descendent population in Brazil is 56 per cent, and they are who most suffered unemployment, poverty, poor health care and police violence, according to official data).

Taking to the streets is the way!

[…] It is crucial to extend to the whole country protest actions against this terrible reality that every 23 minutes a black person is murdered in the country, connecting them with the other ongoing struggles, like the 25 November of the feminist movement, and the public servant struggles against administrative reforms that affect their rights.

The anti-racist and anti-fascist uprising that took to the streets in the US this year is an example for us to resume the anti-racist movements, like the ones that took place in several cities in Brazil last May, together with anti-fascist movements.

We have to unite the struggles against the attacks perpetrated by Bolsonaro, the governors and the mayors, against the racist entrepreneurs and everyone who attacks and murders us, either by genocidal policies on “security” or by the absence of social care policies to fight the pandemic and the hunger.

Black conscience and Zumbi do Palmares

The National Day for Black Conscience takes place in Brazil on 20 November. It was created by decree in 2003. This date coincides with Zumbi dos Palmares murder in 1695. Zumbi was a great leader of the Quilombo dos Palmares, an independent black republic formed by slaves that had escaped from a sugar mill after a bloody rebellion. The Day of the Black Conscience remembers that great fight against slavery and the greatest hero of the Brazilian working people.

Originally published in El Socialista N°487 (November 25, 2020, Argentina)