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Participatory Politics and the Itararé Manifesto

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Source: UJS/PCdoB

Reinaldo Azevedo of Veja magazine comments on the fine points of the recent wave of protest movements in Brazil.

I analyze Dilma’s speech – As I foresaw, the president is using the protests to announce a leftward turn to her government; if all goes well for the PT and badly for Brazil, we will have a government influenced by “popular councils” made up of people who have never been elected.

Public consultations have been a watchword for the ruling party since the inauguration of the participatory budget process in Rio Grande do Sul at the outset of the last decade.

It is no accident that the Free Pass Movement (MPL) — at first glance an ephemeral mobilization over the trivial matter of a R$ 0.20 fare hike– has deep roots in the long-term agenda of the PT.

As mayor, for instance Luiza Erundina submitted a bill greatly expanding the public subsidy for public transport — a measly 12% — and taking aim at the corruption in the current system of concessions.

In her speech last evening, Dilma Rousseff used the apparent urgency of the moment — ironically, a media-driven moment in itself — to push for three major reforms on a national level: urban transport, visa reform for foreign doctors to work in the health care system, and the use of  100% of oil revenues for education.   Continue reading

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News From The Sambodian Street

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Source: Barão de Itararé

By: Luiz Carlos Azenha

Translation: C. Brayton

We were invited to a meeting with militants and supporters of the Free Pass Movement — MPL — which over the past two weeks accomplished a historic feat: It brought the people back into the streets to demand their rights, where they were victims of a violent repression comparable only to the violence used by the military police in the evacuation of Pinheirinho, in São José dos Campos.

In the middle of our conversation, the news came in: Governor Alckmin and Mayor Haddad had announced a reduction in public transport fares, as the movement had demanded.

There was general celebration.

My wife, who attended the march at the Largo de Batata, was giddy with excitement.  Continue reading