With the presence of former president and PT candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the open class Universidade Pública e Democracia, held this Monday (15), brought together for the second time in less than a week a large audience in defense of democracy.
In the opening of the building at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) of the University of São Paulo (USP), thousands of people gathered to follow the event, which was attended by the candidate for the government of São Paulo Fernando Haddad and the teachers Marilena Chauí, Ermínia Maricato and Adriana Alves.
The first demonstration for democracy was the launch of the “Letter to Brazilians and Brazilians in Defense of the Democratic State of Law”, which took place at the USP Law School, in Largo São Francisco last Thursday (11).
Despite having taken place at the same institution, the events showed marked differences. The São Francisco act brought together a wide diversity of participants and served for a considerable part of the Brazilian elite to take a stand against attacks on democracy and institutions in the country. The class at the FFLCH brought together students, professors and left-wing parties in a discussion about proposals for public universities and for the country.
In his speech, Lula highlighted that the participation of the population in the political process is fundamental. “It is our responsibility to say which country we want,” Lula said. “We don’t have the right to be quiet with the destruction that is going on in this country. We have to scream, protest, and on October 2nd we have to vote. And the vote means: take out whoever is there.”
He also highlighted that after years of real salary increases for most workers – especially those who earn the minimum – the country is going through an economic crisis that affects even those who are employed. “Jobs are getting unskilled, the wage bill is falling,” he said. “Everything has gotten worse, even for those who are working.”
university in focus
In front of an audience made up mostly of students, Lula highlighted the policies for higher education built during his terms as president. At various times, the candidate recalled that he was the president who most created universities and technical schools. In addition, he highlighted the actions of students’ permanence at the university and the quota policy. “We realize that the color of universities has changed and we need to change more, because this is the real country,” he said.
Bruna Brelaz, president of the National Student Union, recalled the importance of repealing the Spending Ceiling, approved in 2016, which froze investments in social areas for 20 years and remains in effect. “We think that this has harmed the university. Budget replacement is also a very important issue for us,” she said. She also demanded that a possible Lula government be committed to the Quota Law and to policies for students to remain at the university.
Guilherme Boulos, candidate for federal deputy for Psol, highlighted the importance of the event. “This is an act to discuss the university, to discuss education. The university was dismantled during the Bolsonaro government, with a cut in investment, there was no expansion or creation of a single campus, student permanence policies [foram] unstructured.”
Federal deputy Alexandre Padilha, who was Lula’s Minister of Health, also highlighted the need to support students. “One of the most serious issues that we have today is Bolsonaro’s destruction of the policy of maintaining student maintenance policies in universities. I have a student who is in the Medicine course, in the fifth year, wanting to give up the course because he cannot stay here and say the family is starving here,” he lamented.
For Padilha, Lula’s presence at USP is still a counterpoint to Bolsonaro. “I want to see Bolsonaro enter a university, I want to see which university Bolsonaro will be invited to, which university Bolsonaro enters after he turned the Ministry of Education into a corruption desk with false pastors.”
Editing: Glauco Faria