From USW International Officers Archive

In Brazil, Do Black Lives Matter?

Fred Redmond USW International Vice President (Human Affairs)

In Brazil, Do Black Lives Matter?

A Woody Guthrie song says, "sometimes they rob you with a six-gun, sometimes with a fountain pen." 

That's a good description of the legislative coup that is going on right now against the elected government of President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, where I visited last month to participate in a trade union seminar on racial equality.

A majority of Brazil's 200 million people are of African descent.  For decades, Afro-Brazilians have faced discrimination in one of the world's most unequal economies.  But under the government of President Dilma and former President Lula da Silva, things began to change.  Massive social investment, legal reforms and strong labor unions helped bring 40 million Brazilians out of poverty.  Government ministries were established to protect the rights of women and Afro-Brazilians.

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Hate Costs Workers Dearly

Leo W. Gerard USW President Emeriti

By Fred Redmond, International Vice President for Human Affairs 

The GOP debate last week featured more immigrant bashing with the party’s front-runner, Donald Trump, reasserting his plan to construct a wall – this one a religious barrier preventing Muslims from getting into the country.

Trump has mocked a disabled journalist and Asian speech patterns, demonized undocumented immigrants as rapists and approved violence against a Black Lives Matter protester.  And he’s no outlier in the GOP. Chris Christie said he’d block even five-year-old orphaned Muslims from entering the United States. Ted Cruz denigrated gay people, urging states to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.

Since Nixon, this hate mongering has been GOP strategy to secure the vote of white workers. It’s a scam to get workers to fight among themselves. Republicans persuade white workers that blacks are taking their jobs through affirmative action. The GOP tells black workers that undocumented immigrants are taking their jobs. And now, the GOP warns, everyone should be afraid, be very, very afraid of Muslims. 

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