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Brazil | Occupied Stories

Tag Archive | "brazil"

Report from Brasil: a Wild Swing to the Right


Sao Paulo, Brazil–Went out to the supermarket to buy some groceries. Decided to go through Avenida Paulista to check what was happening in the streets. If anything was going on, sure as hell it was happening in Avenida Paulista. Lucky we live so close. After all, Paulista has been the battleground where our collective will manifests, for about three weeks now. Indeed, people were occupying it, each person holding a homemade sign, some giving passionate public speeches, while others (usually from the lower classes) were selling popcorn or boiled corn to increase the family income for the month. The middle class was proud and parading, and yes, also 1%ers parading their Gucci + Louis Vuitton fashion for a change.

Like the sordid Che Guevara T-shirt, protesting became an experience for mass consumption.

This tendency became evident on Thursday, 06/20. Paulista Avenue was flooded with moderate and conservative messages that were far from the original keynote of social justice. The discourse now seemed to align with values and causes that the rightwing media and military support. The message that started to emerge is an abstract opposition against “corruption and violence”, many of them blaming PT, Lula or Dilma. After the 0.20 cents one demand victory, the box of Pandora was open and everybody decided to go out and broadcast their opinion, with no regard to consistency, dialogue or strategical analysis.

It began to stink.

Yesterday, each bloc showed more yellow and green popping up, national anthems, and abstract calls for an end to “corruption”, as if corruption weren’t part of Brasilian politics since its beginning. Voices defending the restoration of fundamental values such as family, property, morals and nation. Tradition. Values. I started to feel a bit dizzy. Was this really happening? The tide was rapidly changing in Brasil. The conservative media – actually the only one we have – operated swiftly, maneuvering to push the issue of corruption and violence up on the priorities through their unrestricted control of television networks and big circulation print magazines. The fact that we spent decades in political submission and consumerist alienation in the wake of our military dicatorship helped: people were embracing any cause, even the ones pushed by rightwing nuts.

I had to talk to a real person. Panic attack was coming. That’s when a corner for a deep breath and a homeless man preparing his sleep grounds changed everything for me. His name was Chico and he had a productive cough and one eye taken by massive cataracts. We talked a lot, about politics, food and our healthcare system, and of course about the crazy past weeks… He told me some mean people “threw five bombs” at him just for shits and giggles.

He was an alcoholic that never robbed or stole from anybody, “why would they do that?”

Went home and tried to sleep. Woke up this Sunday to a chilly morning and an internet meme invoking soldiers, police, and firefighters to side “with the people” against the corrupt government of PT and Dilma (?!). Similar rhetoric as in 1992, when Collor was impeached; I freaked out a little bit, because we do have a recent history of coup-d’etats and manufactured consent orchestrated by MSM. Did more research, and finally ended up ruining my day: found an open letter dated 06/22/13 published in the Military Society Magazine {source: http://www.sociedademilitar.com.br/} co-signed by 300,000 active and reformed members of the Armed Forces suggesting they would “side with the people” to fight “vandals”, “corruption” and the deterioration of moral values in our society. A subtle warning that if the crooks that always existed in Congress continued their ways, the military might be forced to “legally intervene”. Their rethoric is supported by polls from respected institutes whose numbers show that a significant number of people [19%] want the armed forces to come back, 20% don’t care, and 8 % don’t know {source: Datafolha}. The letter is transcribed below.

What is clear now is that the next few weeks are uncertain. The narrative has taken a wild swing to the right and co-optation is a reality. The struggle for social and economic justice needs to think and act strategically or suffer the consequences.

MILITARES em CAMPANHA NACIONAL ANTI-PT e Pró-Brasil.

Rumo a 2014. Precisamos impedir a destruição de valores fundamentais como família, honestidade e honra.

Militares entrevistados pela Revista Sociedade Militar em Copacabana, na passeata pelo reajuste de salários, manifestaram enorme decepção com administração do Partido dos Trabalhadores, marcada por escândalos como Mensalão e Cachoeira. “Pensávamos que seria um governo de um homem do povo para o povo, mas tudo indica que se transformou no governo dos escândalos e favorecimentos ilícitos”, disse um dos militares.

“No Brasil a família esta ruindo, no Rio a criminalidade só está sendo transferida para a Baixada e Niterói e a política de pão e circo só aumenta a cada dia… nos próximos anos vai ser só festa, e a roubalheira continua”. Diz outro militar, reformado.

Os militares das Forças Armadas somam mais de 600.000 entre os que estão em atividade e os da reserva. Somados com seus dependentes e círculos de influência esse quantitativo pode passar de 5 milhões de pessoas. Um número que definitivamente pode mudar os rumos de qualquer eleição.

Ainda que alguns pensem em criar um novo partido, para as próximas eleições a maioria parece ja estar se articulando para se candidatar dentro de legendas ja existentes, quase todos optam por partidos de direita.

Militares estaduais também estão muito insatisfeitos com o governo federal, que até hoje não facilitou para que as negociações sobre a PEC 300 prosseguissem. Na passeata em Copacabana verificou-se a presença de lideranças dos policiais e bombeiros do Rio de Janeiro, e isso acena para uma possível união de militares federais e estaduais. Se isso se concretizar e chegar às urnas certamente será um problema a mais para os políticos vermelhos.

Militares das Forças Armadas e auxiliares, comumente, são homens de conduta ilibada e bem relacionados, é freqüente assumirem cargos populares, como síndicos em seus edifícios, diáconos em igrejas católicas e evangélicas, pastores e líderes comunitários. Mencionamos ainda os milhares de militares reformados que atuam como professores em escolas particulares e cursos pré-concursos. Homens acostumados a liderar e aptos para discursar diante de pequenos e médios grupos, eles representam realmente um perigo em potencial para o partido da situação, principalmente se, unidos, resolverem usar sua influência para um objetivo comum.

Pesquisas demonstram que as Forças Armadas são as instituições com maior credibilidade no Brasil, o que confirma que os militares brasileiros gozam de boa reputação junto à sociedade.

Nos últimos meses há freqüente divergência entre militares das Forças Armadas e o governo. Manifesto Interclubes, abaixo-assinado dos oficias e marcha virtual, são exemplos de grandes questões surgidas redentemente, sem contar o reajuste de salários que não cobriu sequer a inflação.
Essa queda de braço com os militares pode causar bastante prejuízo político, já a curtíssimo prazo. A conquista de mais de 300 mil adesões em um abaixo assinado no Senado mostra que os militares de hoje já aprenderam a se mobilizar politicamente, e podem utilizar eu status moral para conquistar a população, em sites e revistas militares abundam as solicitações para que as forças armadas assumam uma postura diante do mar de corrupção que assola o país.

Temos certeza que nas proximas eleições, junto com os Militares federais e estaduais, os cidadãos honestos e conscientes expressarão sua insatisfação com a falta de perspectivas e a corrupção generalizada que assola o Brasil. A esmagadora maioria não acredita que qualquer tipo de autoritarismo seja a solução para o Brasil, mas se parcela significativa da sociedade tem falado nisso, é um indício de que ha muitos cidadãos insatisfeitos com a forma que tem sido conduzido o nosso país, e pode haver uma guinada à direita por parte do eleitorado, portanto, uma grande oportunidade para oferecer a opção de mudança. O momento é bastante oportuno.

Algumas pessoas parecem estar assustadas porque uma parcela da população resolveu se mobilizar legalmente contra o partido que quer se eternizar no poder, veja abaixo. Foram centenas de twitters e postagens desse tipo em blogs. Eles forçam a barra na interpretação e dizem que os militares pretendem dar dar um golpe!

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The People Woke Up


São Paulo, Brazil–A year ago I left everything that I loved, built and cherished when I left New York City. My US visa was expired and had to forcibly go back to Brasil to nothing waiting for me.

The Arab Spring, the Spanish and Greek revolutionaries taking squares and talking about direct democracy, and Occupy Wall Street of course: the world lit on fire.

This was back in 2011, when Brasil [including] was swept by OWS.

Then in late 2012, months after the Occupies of Brasil and USA were ejected from their communal squares, my shoes brought me back to São Paulo, a city of concrete, disparity, rain and gray. The speed and violence/the uncertainty of going and coming back/the neoliberal shrine…

Rio was still on my mind. And New York. But now all I had was São Paulo, working on the frontlines of our precarious public hospitals. Working as a physician with homeless populations and the poor city elderly gave me a clear view how much the city was in severe pain. Nobody on top or on the mainstream media seemed aware or to care; then, in early 2013 a streak of violent

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assassinations took the city by assault amidst the climate of municipal elections; everybody in São Paulo terrorized. If we kept quiet or fragmented, we would be fucked.

The 20-cent fare raise attempted by the elected Workers Party (our Democrats) on the price of public transportation was the last drop.

The spark ignited this huge powder keg to its ultimate becoming, a popular revolt. Now, though, an interesting phenomenon happens, and the radical left-wing messages of the beginning are small among the many-fold messages, some of them racist or pushed by right wing media, taking the stage. All flags are out now and the multitude parade avenues like Carnival samba schools. Every bloc in the march is a different political inclination, and the way we chant feels like how we do in soccer stadiums.

Everybody has an opinion and wants to be heard. The diversity of messages flooding the streets and front pages sends a clear message to politicians that things won’t ever be the same again.

Brasil finally remembered how to riot, and the powers that be are a little afraid. the social contract has been broken.

Communa.

-Alexandre Carvalho-

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Rio+20 (what does #S17 means to you?)


(OccupiedStories) — so what does #S17 means to you?
(Atchu) — great question, my friend! damn, thank you for asking that.
(OS) — you’re welcome! why you say so?
(atchu) — it was almost like you felt what i wanted to share, this amazing story that pretty much explains what #occupy & #S17 means to me.
(OS) — let’s hear it!
(atchu) —  ok. share this at the website.  \\ all i can tell you is that it was the beginning of my life turning into literature. maybe more, it was the discovery of a whole autobiographical book of change whose pages were waiting for my (trembling) handwriting to fill. a discovery that made me live incredible experiences. my life, i found it. for the first time, i felt truly free.

————————
(atchu continues) – fuck, let’s go. the only difference is that it was my life, really. i never thought that doing direct action & good ol’ anarchy could be so fun: infiltrating a high security complex in a metropolis, acquiring permissions, the thrill of getting in, dancing around security personnel until the target was hit: Empire always has security cracks, ready to be explored by the playful revolutionaire.

you could see ’em everywhere. big guns and big radios, choppers in the sky and clean uniforms. Rio de Janeiro during Rio +20  (the United Nations megaconference on Sustainable Development) was looking like a military zone. there were over 190 chiefs of state representing, ambassadors, students, campesinos, some 5,000 indigenous people, press… — damn!, the city was a melting-pot! the extra amount of visitors counted 40,000 people and overloaded the transportation network to the point the city declared official “holiday” among public servants so people would stay in their homes. the city was not able to breathe.

in this mess, one could notice three main axes of discourse — one official, destined to the “leaders” of the planet (ugh), a second parallel event called People’s Summit, which was an unofficial but sanctioned platform for “dissent”, and lastly a rogue encampment that was criminalized. guess which one was #occupy’s? right on.

the official conferences were conveniently located on the outskirts of the city, protected by lines and lines of heavy infantry. the People’s Summit located opposite ways at the downtown parkish-freeways called Aterro do Flamengo. there one could see miles and miles of beautiful tents with biodiesel generators lighting the sponsors of the event; the spectacle of “Green Capitalism” screaming loud: big oil companies, banks, music stages, food courts and cash machines alongside portapotties, everything recyclable, smiling models with the official message “The Future We Want”, whoa. is there anybody listening? who was “We” after all?

#occupy’s base attracted trouble for not asking “permission” from the state to settle a camp at Aterro do Flamengo. but you know what? oops. we don’t need permissions from a power that we don’t recognize as legitimate; a power that repeatedly disregards the Social Contract. the police was called in, and right on the first day we had mounted cavalry paying respects to occupiers. we all thought that we were getting evicted right there, but after they left for the night, all the anxiety of the day left  a occupier was hit by a car in an accident and a lot of attention for some reason; it was enigmatic and rustic. there dozens of occupiers announced the “Rio+99 OccuSummit”, happening in parallel and in dialogue with the other two events. occupiers came from many different regions in Brazil and some even from abroad. mostly young people, but the presence of other age groups could be noticed. middle class people mixed with poor, people sharing space in solidarity.  one occupier started #OccupyFavela in the favela he lived, was greeted by the drug lords of the ´´morro“ with an assault rifle, and after explaining that it was a peaceful protest against the oppressive police state and the ongoing war on the poor in Brazil, he was granted to stay and occupy. Pretty AMAZING feat, not brought to your attention by mainstream media.

the negotiations were completely stalled with the voices of dissent not able to make themselves heard, either because of the security apparatus or the bureaucratic way of the UN to construct “democracy”.  frustrated that the final document was not taking into account these voices, and alarmed by the looming environmental collapse — our #occupy camp decided to act.

so on the last day of the conference, two occupiers decided to infiltrate the Rio+20 official complex: me, atchu — a 29 year old male occupier from #OWS and Maroca — and a woman on her early twenties from #OccupySaoPaulo. \\ with the normality of a thief, we asked with a big smile to the information-booth girl “where is the room of the final press brief conference, please?” {smile lingers} and she replied with a disciplined smile, in a certain cadence of conduct “it’ s right there sir, way down to your right room P3-7”. YES. the infobooth-girl had just given us the map to wonderland.

it was 12:17pm already and the doors would close at 2:00pm; we hasted down the narrow plastic corridors until the entrance to room P3-7 appeared. the security guard was checking people one by one if they had press passes, and of course we didn’t have ’em (duh). we had to improvise  —  i was already wearing an infallible anticorporate disguise, a fine suit, which always helps to camouflage behind enemy lines; waging a class war against Corporatocracy has its secrets.  Maroca put her big camera on front of her body and accelerating our pace, we rushed to the entrance tagging a small entourage of reporters. {guard} “ok, you ok”, “let me see, thank you”, “thank you”, and it was almost our turn; the guard distracted himself for a second on the last group and we quickly showed him our no-good passes  — a green N instead of a yellow P (for press)  — and the dude LET US IN! infiltration can still get you somewhere.

inside the final press conference room there were easily over 300 seats with reporters from all over the world; the panelist table was beautifully decorated on the front with a row of orchids; the speakers had their names on the table with big respectable titles: UN Secretary General for Rio+20, UNDP Hellen Clark, ex-chiefs of state, etc etc etc… big fish. dozens of logos, “the future we want” rhetoric, translation booths on the far East corner, and at least two sets of network TV cameras arranged on the back and on the far West side of the room. the Spectacle was set — and we were not turning back.

despite being nervous as fuck, we kept on the mission: to expose corporate takeover of the UN process and unmask representative democracy and its affair with the 1%. no one else would do it if not us ::”Intergenerational Responsibility”:: and as soon as the panelists arrived, Maroca and i started to draw the position of UN security “cops”, their distance to us and to the panelist table, the best angle to approach, what to do, what to say, how much time would it take, 30s? 15s, 10s?, we only had one shot!

when the second panelist started saying that the 2008 crisis wasn’t caused by banks but by “inability of governments to take action”, we looked at each other and knew it was the right time to strike. we positioned ourselves in the center corridor, Maroca took out her camera to fake out some photos, looked and said “it’s NOW or NEVER, are we going?” no,  “wait!” — hands trembling, the cops are still looking, damn! and right there, we both realized that there was only one thing we could do: make out. so that’s what we’ve done: we started making out in the middle of the press conference room, nice wet good luck kiss, ’cause we are about to pull a Bonnie and Clyde mothafucka’! —

kiss done, looking dead straight into the target, countdown “1,2,3……… NOW!” and we bolted towards the center of the room, positioning our bodies right in front of the panelists, and after taking two orchids from the front, we turned to all those 300+ reporters from all over the world and shouted:

“THEY DON”T REPRESENT US! WE WANT A REAL DEMOCRACY!”

and BAM! done —  a hit with the max poetic payload:: flipping power against itself::  fireflies setting wildfires! all those people just staring at the scene, their BS unmasked, priceless. we were shoved out of the room by UN security staff and had to run through the mazes of the Media wing of the complex to lose the federal police behind us, called to arrest us; we quickly turned a few corners and went civilian until we arrived at the main pavilion from where a bunch of electric carts transported people around the complex. we looked at each other, hopped into one and had our glorious escapade riding a fast and furious vehicle:: A GOLF CART.

we managed to leave the RioCentro complex, and had our entire journey colored with kisses, laughs and a feeling of invincibility:: “YES, we DID IT! can’t believe! OMG that!” it was too much for us to take in. amazing. we had to share it with the group, as soon as we returned to the #occupy camp and announced the action using the people’s mic  — to everyone delight!, — the occupiers laughed, cheered and chanted,

“THEY DON’T REPRESENT US! THEY DON’T REPRESENT US! THEY DON’T REPRESENT US!”

in an orgy of sounds and political lust! a drum circle immediately formed, the celebration running wild — and we had work to do! we rushed to Lapa, the bohemian neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, determined to do “outreach” for the action, and found a shitty internet cafe where cats ruled and the keyboards were pink. We started collaborating smoothly with a solid press release, uploaded photos and provocative tweets.

by night, our action had reached the 4 corners of the world, including Radio France and the national brazilian news network; the buzz we were hearing was exactly what we wanted:: attached to Rio+20 balance sheet was the final message from #occupy:: “They Don’t Represent Us — We Want a Real Democracy”.

our message.

things would never be the same again.

——————————————-

(atchu) — so, yeah. that’s what #S17 means to me. {smiles}
(OS) — whoa… that was fun!
(atchu) — haha, yeah, i think that story sums well all that #S17 means to me: to #occupy is to live life in literature.

– Atchu –

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