The Mask of Education “Reform” slips in Brazil
attacks on teachers in Parana, Brazil, are just the latest revelation
of the true face of neoliberalism, as it lays in to public services and
in particular education.
As we reported on Friday, teachers in
the state were protesting about a major attack on their already small
pension entitlements. 20,000 of them marched to the legislature in
Curitiba, where the vote was taking place, which would mean that they
had to contribute to the pension pot. In February when deep cuts to the
education budget had been proposed, teachers and other civil servants
occupied the parliament building and the cuts were reversed.
governor of the province, Beto Richa, had learned his lesson and
deployed hundreds of military police to stop the teachers from entering
the building. As a result the vote went through by 31 votes to 20,
untroubled by the voices of teachers raised in protest. Meanwhile
outside the building teachers were being violently attacked with rubber
bullets, dogs, pepper spray and tear gas, leaving up to 300 people
injured, 15 of them seriously. The video above, Never Forget! which
has been put together by teacher activists, shows graphically the level
of violence meted out to teachers and their supporters and the outrage
felt at the naked aggression of Beto Richa and his allies.
magazine, the US journal of big business, described the scenes in its
headline as: ‘Teachers get a lesson in police brutality.’ The report
goes on to point out that Parana is one of the richest states in Brazil,
while the teachers are 'woefully underpaid’. The pension attacks will
save the state $500 million and will affect retired teachers as well as
those having to pay contributions.
In the video one teacher shouts
to the police: 'The governor and the deputies studied in private
schools, your children study in public schools they are my students. I
do not teach your children to steal like the deputies do.’ This attack
on teachers in Brazil sees the mask slipping from neoliberal education
reform. In pursuing their goal of destroying public education, turning
it into a source of profit and a quiescent workforce, they are
determined to deal with what they see as the main 'block’ to their
project - teachers and their unions.