The arrival of 2021 did not represent any expectation of renewal in the lives of the vast majority of Alagoas and Alagoas, who are going through the resumption of the growth of the pandemic amid increasingly deep insecurities regarding living conditions.
The basic basket goes up in all capitals, according to Dieese, suffocating families that are unable to access the most essential foods. Meat, oil, milk, beans. The minimum is becoming unattainable in a state where more than 47% of people live in poverty and live with an average of up to R $ 437 per month. In the same survey presented by IBGE in November 2020, with data from even before the pandemic , it was registered that white people receive 37.4% more than black people.
Following the survey, the unemployment rate in Alagoas is about 20%, the third highest in the country. There are more than 890 thousand people without any occupation, 34% of them for more than two years. The rise in unemployment across the country also reflects the consequences of three years of labor reform that further dismantled workers’ rights and conditions of rights. We are running out of rights and jobs.
Throughout this equation, data in Brazil indicate that women are the most overburdened and unemployed during the pandemic. The Women in Pandemic report, by the feminist organization Sempreviva, reveals that 58% of women who became unemployed are black, against 39% white and 2.5% indigenous. The burden was due to the increased demand for care, since more than 50% of women also started to care for someone at home.
The Public Security yearbook noted that the number of femicides increased in the country during the pandemic. There was also an increase in the underreporting of cases of domestic violence. Whether due to remote work or also being unemployed, confinement for women also represented an overload of work and greater contact with their aggressors. This has been the picture of most women, not diverging much from the reality in Alagoas, where the increase in unemployment affects even more women, Northeasterners, blacks and young people.
Work, income and precariousness
If bread is expensive and freedom is small, it is because on the other side there are those who identify that this is the only way to keep the plate full of national and international capital that, in its financialization, turns food into commodities, and regularizes interests from trade to agribusiness, while closing in on family farmers, farm workers and landless rural workers, and the indigenous population. Indigenous peoples in Alagoas suffer from the lack of demarcation of their lands and the lack of access to basic conditions, technical advice for planting and, in the midst of a pandemic confinement, they feel the pressure of hunger.
Agribusiness and agriculture have taken over land and resources in the countryside, despoiling several rural families in the municipalities of Alagoas. In the countryside, in the villages, we see peasants without land to produce, without resources that allow a subsidiary economy, without study for scientific and technical knowledge that allows better development, in short, without employment and without fixed income to guarantee a less painful life . Only the political abandonment of the State and the presence of farmers who flog the poor population.
For quilombola peoples, who in Alagoas have been recognized in 180 territories (IBGE), the violence of the federal government ranges from legitimation itself – only 70 communities are certified – to the absolute absence of public policies leading them to a life of misery and lack of access to the minimum, in terms of sanitation, health and infrastructure, which only accentuated the severity in the middle of the pandemic period.
This is how the federal government’s death policy is maintained in state and municipal governments, on top of the cut in minimum public policies or lack of enforcement.
The employment and income scenario are not good. The various types of contract and labor relations, such as intermittent and application workers, endorse a context of poverty that also manifests itself in deep ethnic-racial and gender inequalities. The historical-structural condition of work in Alagoas produced a reality of insecurity and precariousness, fueled by the strong presence of seasonal activities in the countryside and occupations with high turnover in trade and services. The informality rate, which has fluctuated around 40%, does not even give us the full dimension of the problem.
The deterioration of public services, in addition to harming those who need the service, lowers the living conditions of effective civil servants and creates a range of workers on temporary contracts or on contracts that serve as the currency of election in municipalities . In addition, in the private sector, telemarketing companies accumulate complaints of payment below the minimum wage, which adds to the moral harassment and vigilance that suffocates workers in the capital and in the countryside of Alagoas. While doing so, they accumulate revenue of R $ 1 billion, like the Italian Almaviva that operates in Maceió, in addition to all the subsidy and infrastructure contribution by the government to its facilities.
The people would not be suffering so many problems, caused by the grabbing of profits from large companies and financial capital itself, were it not for a State that operationalizes this transformation of wealth – produced collectively – as negotiated to accumulate the economic segments of which these subjects in power are inserted. Permanence in state control, appropriation of wealth and concentration of privileges are just some of the motivations for sinking entire peoples to the lack of hope about tomorrow.
In Brazil, nothing is as clear as the way that Paulo Guedes destroys, dismantles and steals people’s resources: be it in the insistence with the “Teto de Gastos”, the Teto da Morte, which froze the health budget in 20 years; whether it is sticking to the extent that Emergency Aid was possible, until it was able to end it, leaving the people with a lack of options for subsistence. The promised privatization agenda for 2021, depending on Guedes, will masterfully and at any cost fulfill what the Brazilian government has signed with the IMF since 1989, in the Washington Consensus – one of the country’s major milestones as officially signatory to neoliberal policies . “Delivering madly” – as he himself reported in an interview with the Infomoney vehicle – Guedes guarantees another 11 privatizations, with a focus on Correios and Eletrobras.
In Alagoas, however, the wave of privatizations is already happening, endorsed by the state government. After the sale of Eletrobras to Equatorial, more than 700 workers and workers were laid off, and there was an increase in complaints about the increase in the energy bill and the poor quality of service. Recently Renan Filho proceeded with the auction of the most profitable part of Casal to Canadian BRK Ambiental along with the provision of sanitation license in the State for 35 years, in a process that was directly involved in the Privatization Plan brokered by BNDES.
Poverty as a strategy of dependency and power
In Alagoas, it is literally the people’s misery that produces the opportune full plate for the perpetuation of the coronelista policy that keeps the same families in power, rotating municipalities, and exporting pictures directly to Brasília, where they become true articulators in parliament, and distributors of benefits for local allies.
The role has been filled throughout history by politicians such as Fernando Collor and Renan Calheiros. More recently, federal deputy Arthur Lira holds a prominent place, elected right-hand man and rescue board for Jair Bolsonaro within Congress. His alliances in the federal capital are expanded with the evangelical bench, and with ruralists within the so-called Centrão which he leads. Statewide, rooting has been taking place from the distribution of resources from parliamentary funds for paving, delivery of agricultural machinery and other benefits that promote themselves and their allies. Obviously Lira did not invent the wheel of this perverse dynamic and is not even the only one. The poverty of the people and the dependence of the municipalities on federal resources is a political project that places the people of Alagoas in this place where the only solution for a dignified life,
Even so, the “development” announcements remain in the voices of Governor Renan Filho, son of Senator Renan Calheiros, who is already being fanned out as yet another board in the service of exporting to Brasilia in a possible presidential bid by the MDB. It was not for nothing that he declared that “the country is one”, when offering 35 beds in Alagoas to the people of Amazonas in the context of the capacity and lack of oxygen in their units.
Health, by itself, leverages the chaos of the use of vaccines used as political platforms, which adds to the genocidal ability of the Bolsonaro government that has already resulted in 200,000 deaths by Covid-19. While the world prepared for vaccines, whether from China, India or Russia, Basil became an arm wrestling game. Furthermore, it neglected any logistical strategy, deepening insecurity not only about the date of arrival of the vaccine, but also access to it due to the lack of other inputs. Very timidly, but still surrounded by uncertainty, vaccination has started.
Returning to Alagoas, while Renan points out speeches that conflict with Bolsonaro’s speeches in the most performance aspects, in the economic area and in response to businessmen, it was just one more that did not maintain a minimum structure that would provide social isolation. In the countryside, he kept the conflicts legitimized and did not spare his apparatus of “public security” at the service of violence against black people in the peripheries of urban areas, in situations of eviction in the countryside and in the city. Currently, back with Alfredo Gaspar, they are undertaking yet another media attack that he identifies as “Operation Saturation”, whose objective responses are much more restricted to causing panic and violence in the peripheral areas than to an alleged fight against organized crimes.
On the other hand, it was Alfredo Gaspar himself who, when he was then attorney general of the State Public Ministry, had his practices questioned by the Superior Council of the MP for having privileged BRASKEM in an agreement that harmed residents of at least five neighborhoods in the areas affected by mining company still controlled by the Odebrecht Group. The sinking in the neighborhoods due to the geological consequences of the sudden extraction of SALGEMA removed more than 25 thousand people from their homes – a number that continues to grow as the identification of the affected areas grows. Without their homes, a large part of the contingent still needs to travel, depending on insufficient social rent to pay for housing in other locations.
Organizing resistance as power and urgency
Not so long ago we faced yet another election period. Like the others, he did nothing more than modify some chess pieces, maintaining the game and the continuity of this process of undermining the rights of the population, in the countryside and in the city, further aggravated by the reflexes caused by the agglomeration of electoral campaigns.
As especifistas anarchists in quilombola land, we reaffirm the urgency of not allowing the ones above to define the terms for our existence, be they here or outside. For us, the right to land and housing, the organization of our communities and our work, is not only an urgent place for us to regain control over the production and reproduction of our own life, but also the only way to keep alive the power of social transformation built by us and for us.
It does not come only, however, but from the collective organization of this change on the ground of the daily struggle, whether in unions and workplaces, in neighborhoods, in the organization of female and family farmers and farmers, in associations and in the strengthening of links between countryside and city, in occupations and on the streets.
Anarchist Federation of Palmares (FARPA)