In the midst of the largest street demonstrations Brazil has seen in decades, some of the country’s most important social movements – including the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), the Unified Workers’ Central (CUT) and the National Union of Students (UNE) – sent the following open letter to Brazi’s president Dilma Rousseff on June 20, 2013.
This week, Brazil has witnessed mobilisations across 15 capital cities and hundreds of other cities. We are in agreement with the statements coming out of these
protests, which affirm the importance of these mobilisations for Brazilian democracy, because we are conscious of the fact that the changes we need in this country will come through popular mobilisation.
More than a conjectural phenomenon, the recent mobilisations are a sign of the gradual renewal of the capacity for popular struggle. It was this popular resistance that paved the way for the electoral results [with the victory of Workers Party (PT)] in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Our people, not satisfied by neoliberal measures, voted for a different project. In order to implement this project, it was necessary to confront great resistance, primarily from rentist capital and neoliberal sectors that continue to have a lot of weight in society.
But it was also necessary to confront the limits imposed by last-minute allies, an internal bourgeoisie who in challenging government policies impeded the realisation of structural reforms, as is the case in the areas of urban reform and public transport
The international crisis has blocked growth, and with it the continuity of the project pushed by this broad front that, until now, has sustained the [PT] government.
The recent mobilisations are being carried out by a diverse cross-section of youth who, for the first time, are participating in mobilisations. This process educates its participants, allowing them to understand the necessity of confronting those who are holding back Brazil from moving forward in this process of democratisation of wealth, of access to health, education, land, culture, political participation,and the media.
Conservative sectors within society are trying to dispute the significance of these mobilisations. The media is trying to portray the movement as anti-Dilma, as against corrupt politicians, against the wasting of public money and making other demands that would lead to the return of neoliberalism. We believe that there are many demands, just as there are many opinions and visions of the world present in society. We are dealing with a cry of indignation from a people historically excluded from national political life and accustomed to seeing politics as something that is damaging to society.
Given all this, President, we write to you to express our position in support of policies that guarantee the reduction of public transport fares by reducing the profits of the big companies. We are against the policies of tax exemptions for these companies.
Now is the time for the government to implement these democratic and popular demands and stimulate the participation and politicisation of society. We commit to promoting all types of debates around these issues and we place ourselves at your disposition to also debate them with the government and its institutions.
We propose the urgent convening of a national meeting, involving the participation of state governments, mayoral offices of the main capital cities and representatives of all the social movements. For our part, we are open to dialogue, and believe that this meeting is the only manner of finding a way to confront the grave urban crisis that is affecting our big cities.
The time is right. These are the largest mobilisations that the current generation has seen and other major ones will follow. We hope that the current government decides to govern with the people and not against the people.
Movimentos da Via Campesina Brasil, ADERE-MG, AP, Barão de Itararé, CIMI, CMP-MMC/SP, CMS, Coletivo Intervozes, CONEN, Consulta Popular, CTB, CUT, Fetraf, FNDC, FUP, Juventude Koinonia, Levante Popular da Juventude, MAB, MAM, MCP, MMM, MPA, MST, SENGE/PR, Sindipetro – SP, SINPAF, UBES, UBM, UJS, UNE, UNEGRO