Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Last week, I think it was, I posted a couple of different pieces which analyzed the street uprisings in Brazil in very positive ways.  Yesterday, I found on a friends facebook page a very different interpretation in the way things are going.  The person who wrote the new piece is from Brazil and according to that person the people now in the streets have   lurched to the right and become basically a right wing populist movement who on top of everything else, including racist and homophobic actions, hope to end the "left leaning" Presidents term in office now.

I admit to not having done enough research to verify this latest conclusion.  I do know that there are many more middle class people in the streets of late than earlier in the uprising, so the possibility certainly does exist.  I am posting this new analysis in the hopes that people will read it and respond somewhere, if not here, and help to inform the rest of us as to what is going on.  My guess is that both are going on.  My guess is there is a right and a left and they are in struggle.  What I don't know is which side is more hegemonic at the moment.  What I obviously do not know is where it will all end up.

I don't know who to credit for this post, so I just will print it all with it's own introduction, which I believe was written by my friend in the first paragraph of the post.  I'll go ahead and give it a title of my own.

PS: take the translation issues in stride...


This is a bit of a long analysis of events in Brazil taken from the Reddit Communism section and posted today to the blog site. It is interesting though.

I'm writing to you because I really can't think of anyone else to write,
and I (and my country) really need help. Right now, on the front page,
there is a post with 3000+ upvotes glorifying the protests occurring in
Brazil today. I need to tell someone, anyone, who's not in this country,
the real story behind what's really happening here. I figured, since you
people are in social justice movement, you'd be in a better position to

I'm not sure if you have been following international news in the last two
weeks, so I'll summarise the facts. About two weeks ago, the major cities
in the country raised the bus and train fares to a value too high for the
average Brazilian (which does not speak English, does not visit Reddit and
in many cases doesn't even have Internet access) to afford. The rate of
this last increase was below inflation, but the accumulated rates of
increases in the last 10 to 15 years easily surpasses it.

MPL (Movimento Passe Livre, Free Fare Movement), an organization which
exists since the mid-2000s, and which is not affiliated to any political
party (although it does maintain communication with minority left-wing
parties), started calling for protests against the fare raise. The first
two protests didn't garner much mainstream media attention, but when the
third protest took over Avenida Paulista (Paulista Avenue), which is to S?o
Paulo what the Times Square is to New York, the newspapers started to
complain, painting protesters and the MPL as vandals and hooligans which
only were interested in destroying the city. They had, in fact, used public
trash bins as barricades against our violent PM (Pol?cia Militar or
Military Police, a direct heritage from our military dictatorship period),
which was using tear gas bombs, pepper spray and rubber ammunition on
protesters indiscriminately.

This third protest occurred on Tuesday the 18th. On Thursday, the day
scheduled for the fourth protest, two of the biggest newspapers in the
country printed heavily opinionated editorials calling for the PM to "take
action" and not be so "soft" on the protesters, and to defend the (mostly
middle-class's) right to cars to run on the city's streets. What happened,
then, was a massacre: the elite squad of the PM, Tropa de Choque,
transformed the fourth protest in a reign of terror. I wasn't there, but I
had close friends who were, and it was scary. The Tropa de Choque officers
managed to split the protest into various small groups, and stablished a
perimeter around the area so that no one could leave. They would surround
any small group they could and relentlessly throw tear gas bombs. A
journalist (and acquaintance of mine) was arrested on charges of carrying
VINEGAR (since it can be used to alleviate the effects of tear gas and
pepper spray). Two journalists were hit with rubber ammunition squarely on
their eyes, and one of them, a photographer, lost his vision (and most
likely his profession). Several journalists were arrested and injured, and
the mainstream media, mostly because some of their own were injured,
changed their discourse.

Since the disastrous procedure of the PM couldn't be buried under the rug
(mostly because the noise on social media was too high), the mainstream
media gave great exposure to this, instead. Throughout the weekend,
anticipation started to mount for the next protest, scheduled for this last
Monday. And that's when things started to get weird.

On Monday, the biggest (so far) protest occurred. At least 65 thousand
people were on the streets of S?o Paulo alone, although people who were
there were talking about figures of 200, 300 thousand. But it wasn't the
people, it was the middle/upper classes, and right-wing extremists.
Militants for small left-wing parties, who hold no political power
whatsoever, were openly harassed by "protesters". The protest agenda was
shifted right, mostly dropping the bus fare complaint to instead focus on
"corruption" (which, in Brazil, is a right-wing demand, since the party
holding the power is center-leftist), "high taxes", the "exploitation of
the middle-class", the excessive public spending for next year's World Cup
etc. The MPL and its demands were still present, but they were silenced by
the elitists' demands. The newspapers suddenly stared glorifying the
protests, and in the social networks memes like "O gigante acodou (the
giant has awakened)" started popping up, implying there has been no social
justice movement in Brazil before, which is a rampant lie - I can attest to
that, since I am part of left-wing and feminist movements myself.

On Tuesday, there was another protest. This time, people destroyed the
entrance to the City Hall in S?o Paulo. What's weird is that MPL, which
called for the protest, scheduled the date and set the rendezvous point,
did not go the City Hall's way. The rendezvous point was close to the City
Hall, but the route MPL set for the protest was exactly opposite of the
City Hall, and still a rather large group of people with national flags
(which, in Brazil, is usually a sign of far-right fascist movements) and
anti-taxes banners went that way. The PM, which was so ready to intervene
before, stood and watched as the same people who destroyed the City Hall
set a TV station van on fire on the middle of the street, according to
people I know personally and who were there. Less trustworthy, but
trustworthy (to me) nonetheless, rumours circulated on the social networks
implying the state governor (which holds authority over the PM) had
instructed the police -not to act- on any circumstances. The right-wing
agenda instead continued being broadcast by the mainstream media, specially
regarding the "impeachment" (lawful deposition, according to our
Constitution) of the legally elected president - who is herself hated by
the middle and upper classes, and adored by the lower classes. The
nationalism on this protest was so thick you could smell it, as the fascism
of it.

On Wednesday, S?o Paulo's mayor and the state governor (who are from rival
political parties) went on TV together to announce the bus fare increased
had been cancelled. The MPL scheduled another protest today, to celebrate
the decision, but is has been another disaster.

This time, there was confront between the protester themselves. Left-wing
protesters have been harassed. There are reports of anti-racism, feminist
and anti-homophobia activists being beaten by right-wing protesters.
Fascist skinheads have been spotted on the general surroundings of the
protests, looking for victims. And the media is now reporting all the
protests have been PACIFIC, which is an absurd lie. And the social justice
people, on the social networks, have been conjuring a theory that actually
makes sense, regarding our recent history.

In 1964, our country has suffered a coup d'?tat perpetrated by the military
and the establishment forces together. In the days preceding the coup,
there was uprising and political instability on the country, just as today.
There was a big protest, aptly named "Walk of the Family With God For
Liberty", which took place a mere two weeks before the coup, and on which
about half a million middle and upper class people took the streets to
protest against the center-left president Jo?o Goulart. What I mean is, we
have been there, we know the feeling in the air, and the anger of the
middle class against a president who has some pretty left wing policies is
boiling and ready to explode.

>From what I've seen, today's protest was very much akin to this 1964's
Walk. The MPL's protests have been hijacked by the right, and since the
left won't leave the streets to them, conflicts and confrontations are sure
to take place. And, what's more dangerous, the police is now ignoring it,
waiting for the popular clamor to call them back into action, so they can
take over, possibly together with the military. There are rumours of a
state of siege being prepared on the government dark corners.

I'm very worried, because these people who have "awakened" and who are now
on the streets are people who look back to a time when they had unlimited
and unchecked privileged, and who are so upset because that privilege has
been slowly being taken away from them. They are people who hates on
minorities, and who stand for exactly the opposite what I believe [you
stand] for. And, mostly worrying, they have the full cooperation of the
mainstream media, who had already shifted the protests' focus away from the
bus fare and towards their demands since Monday.

Their discourse is becoming hegemonic, and if that happens, it spells a
very dark future for my country. And that is happening on the mainstream
media on Brazil, and now, as I see, on Reddit too. So please, if you can do
anything to help shed a light on the OTHER side of those protests here,
being it a meta post on prime (I mean, you don't have to take my word for
it, Google Translator does an acceptable job on Portuguese to English
texts, and I can link you to non-mainstream media news sources that will
tell you the exact same story I've told), or anything really, I'd be really

I'm sorry for my bad English and for wasting you time with our 3rd world
problems, but again, this is one of the only places I think I could be
heard on Reddit.

Thanks in advance.

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