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(en) OASL - São Paulo: The Class Struggle in Bauru (ca, de, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Sat, 7 Aug 2021 09:20:35 +0300

On August 1, 1896, the city of Bauru was born, in the center-west of São Paulo. Bourgeois historiography tries to narrate a story of development, growth and expansion, a story that hides conflicts, authoritarianism and genocide. ---- The colonial and racist origins of the city ---- The lands of Bauru were never inhabited, on the contrary, they belonged to the indigenous people of the Kaingang ethnic group. When the first coffee farms were installed in the region, the "bugreiros", professional killers, started to carry out attacks on the native peoples. ---- Coffee exports soon led to the need for a powerful railroad, and three companies set up in the region - Estrada de Ferro Noroeste do Brasil, Companhia Paulista and Estrada de Ferro Sorocabana. The interests of European shareholders, mostly from the English elite, soon led to a war of extermination against the local population, and thousands of Kaingangs were killed.

The owners of farms and railroads in Bauru are praised in history books as the city's founders, innovators and entrepreneurs, having their names attributed to various streets and squares, such as the engineer Machado de Melo or the Leite family.

The labor movement and the railway city
The railroad required manpower, and soon workers from all over the state of São Paulo came to the region, leading to its growth and, also, to the intensification of class conflicts.

The Railway Union was the largest and most notable workers' organization in the city, and the anarchist influence was decisive. Not only were Modern Schools (of rationalist and scientific education aimed at the working class) established, but also radical struggles were carried out, such as the great railroad strike of 1914 against wage arrears. Bauru militants were also involved in the initiative of the Anarchist Alliance, an attempt to build a specific organization in the context of the 1917 general strike.

Since then, the Railway Union has played an important role throughout the 20th century. During the 1930s, it acted as a left-wing opposition against the bourgeois sectors linked to Getúlio Vargas and those aligned with the São Paulo bourgeoisie of 32. On October 3, 1934, in a preview of the subsequent Revoada dos Galinhas Verdes, union members of the railway movement fought in the the integralists during the visit of the fascist Plínio Salgado to the city.

Almost ten years later, in 1949, the railway category organized a new strike, which was harshly repressed in the event known as the "Triage Slaughter", with dead and wounded. When the coup of 1964 was launched, the Union of Railway Workers called a large mass assembly to organize the workers' resistance.

Memories from above and below
In the year 1962, the Anti-Communist Front (FAC), an extreme right-wing grouping, was created with the intention of persecuting people on the left. One of its articulation centers was the Toledo Teaching Institution (ITE), a college founded by supporters of integralism, in which, more recently in 2018, the right-wing candidacies of João Doria (PSDB) and Rogério Checker (NOVO) were launched.

Today, several business families that collaborated with the far-right military and paramilitaries remain strong, organized and have great influence in the city, proof that the regime change has not changed the structure of society. The political support of the Bauru bourgeoisie for the conservative projects of João Doria, Suellen Rosim and Jair Bolsonaro is proof that the values of the capitalist elite have not changed in this period of more than a century.

On our side, the former Noroeste do Brasil Railway Station became home to a number of cultural groups in the city, mostly progressive, and a symbol of historical union resistance. It is for this reason that right-wing politicians and business groups move, year after year, with proposals to dismantle this space, often suggesting privatization. The Bauru bourgeoisie wants to erase the memory of the struggles in the city.

The construction of Popular Power, yesterday and today

We do not intend to exhaust in this text all the struggles of the city, which included other important events, such as the 1987 health workers' congress, which marked the beginning of the Brazilian anti-asylum movement. We seek to shed a little light on the valuable history of Bauru and those from below, from the brave Kaingangs to the brave Ferroviários, and demonstrate that the popular resistance of the people of Bauru is still alive.

Homeless occupations, student mobilizations and union strikes take to the streets alongside the black movement, feminists, the LGBTI+ community and indigenous peoples. And we, from the Libertarian Socialism Anarchist Organization (OASL), are proud to contribute to the maintenance of these rebellions and to walk towards a free and egalitarian society.

On this 1st of August, we commemorate the resistance of the oppressed, the persecuted, those who refused to lower their heads to the colonizers, bosses and dictators!


Libertarian Socialism Anarchist Organization

August 1, 2021

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