By Sílvia Leindecker and Michael Fox
The day before the first round of the 2010 elections, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took his likely successor, Dilma Rousseff, home to where it all started—the ABC Metalworkers’ Union building in São Bernardo do Campo, an industrial city to the south of São Paulo. Rousseff followed Lula out the doors of the building and into a packed crowd that roared with excitement. Climbing into a nearby car, they slowly caravanned through the streets, flanked on all sides by supporters who sang and danced to the campaign songs, and cheered for the homecoming and the future.
It was here that Lula got his start as a labor leader more than three decades ago, and where he led hundreds of thousands in the first major strikes against the Brazilian dictatorship. At the time, this São Paulo suburb was the hub of Brazilian industry, and the ABC Metalworkers’ Union was the heart of the labor movement, which by 1980 had founded a radical new movement that would give power to the people—the Workers’ Party (PT).