Quote of the day: Why Brazilians protest

From an interview of João Pedro Stedile, national coordinator of the Movement of Landless Rural Workers [MST], by Nilton Viana of the Committee for the Cancellation of the Third World Debt:

There have been many opinions as to why these protests occurred. I agree with the analysis of Professor Erminia Maricato, who is one of our best specialists in urban issues and has worked in the Ministry of Cities under Olivio Dutra. She defends the thesis that there is an urban crisis in Brazil’s cities, a result of the current stage of financial capitalism. Due to an enormous amount of housing speculation, rent and land prices have increased 150% in the last three years. Without any government control, financial capital has promoted the sales of cars in order to send profits overseas and transformed our traffic into chaos. And in the last 10 years there has been no investment in public transport. The housing program “My home, my life” has driven the poor out to the periphery of the cities, where there is no infrastructure.

All this has generated a structural crisis where for people, large cities have becoming a living hell where they lose three or four hours a day in transit, which they could instead be using to spend with their family, studying or participating in cultural activities. Added to this is the poor quality of public services, especially health and education, from the primary and secondary level, where children leave without being able to write. And university education has become a business, where of 70% of university students’ diplomas are sold on credit.

Fifteen years of neoliberalism plus the last 10 years of a government of class conciliation has transformed politics into a hostage of capital’s interests. Parties became old in their way of functioning and have been transformed into mere acronyms that mainly bring together opportunists interested in winning public posts or fighting over public resources for their own interests.


2 responses to “Quote of the day: Why Brazilians protest

  1. Bruce E. Woych

    Social Planning is not much different than Public health itself. It takes a tyrant and a callous class system to ignore it, but ultimately everyone will pay dearly for its neglect. Greed is myopic.

  2. A very informative quote. Many thanks. Most US citizens will probably read this as indicating that Brazil is far worse off than the US, but the similarities in causes and trend lines raise concerns for the US as well. US corporate interests protected by the US military have ravaged Latin America for decades. Two trends are new: the willingness of Latin masses to resist and the new focus of US corporate interests on exploiting US society (via efforts to cut wages and benefits, mortgage fraud, Wall St. financial fraud with ‘too big to fail’ bailouts by the taxpayers being impoverished).

    In the end, Brazilian democracy activists are fighting our fight for responsible government.

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