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11 May 2016 | | | | |

"Occupy Everything"

Assessment of a day of struggle: The voices of the social movements at the verge of a possible institutional breakdown in Brazil

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This Wednesday, May 11, the Brazilian Senate will finally decide whether or not to start an impeachment against President Dilma Rousseff. If confirmed, Dilma would be removed from office for 180 days at the most while an investigation is carried out, which shall be the basis of the decision to remove her permanently. Meanwhile, the Brazilian social movements have been carrying out marches, mobilizations, they are occupying public institutions demanding improvements in public policies, to investigate the cases of corruption involving members of the political right-wing and mainly against the ongoing coup.

On the day before the definitive step towards a coup against Dilma´s administration, the popular movements are mobilized in several States throughout the country with the slogan "Occupy everything against the Coup". Since early morning, national routes from several cities of 17 Brazilian states are being blocked by the movements member of Popular Brazil Front and People Without Fear Front. Meanwhile, teachers, banking workers and civil police unions, among others, adhered to the strike called by the Workers Central Union (CUT) for today.

The focus of direct actions today (which were severely repressed in some cases) was on the blockade of routes. Tatiane Paulino of the coordination of the Movement of People Affected by Dams talked about the rationale of these actions: "we are denouncing the coup that is taking place in the country; we are speaking with the workers on the roads; and we are also raising political awareness in the country to prove that we will not stay silent, we will not stay in our homes, we will mobilize in response to what is happening".

Image: MAB

Against a Patriarchal Coup

Amidst this tumultuous atmosphere, the 4th National Conference on Women Policies started today in Brazil, a space organized by the federal government where civil society women from all States will participate. This Conference aims at generating proposals for a National Policy Plan for Women. In addition to being present there, feminist movements, especially the World March of Women (WMW)participated in the actions and blockades in all States.

Image: Jornalistas Livres

About the main reasons that made the WMW women take the streets to fight against the Coup, activist Regina Brunet of Rio Grande do Sul said: "We defend democracy and we know that only through it and by deepening it we will be able to ensure the rights of women".

Secondly, Brunet denounced the patriarchal nature of the coup against democracy: "we understand that this process is being extremely misogynist with our President. It is hurting her dignity as a person and also it is motivated by the fact that Dilma is a woman that defends our agenda. As feminists we have the obligation to defend her and be by her side".

From Bad to Worse

Tatiane said that the agenda of the movements is not only "to defend the government" but "the rights historically achieved by workers".

About this, she said that in this past administration "we didn´t have any specific victories". "Human rights violations were tremendous". We can make reference to the violations in the Amazon with the building of the Belo Monte Dam, in Rondonia, with the Santo Antonio and Jirau Dams on the Madeira River and so many other hydroelectric projects built without even consulting the population, violating basic rights and not even ensuring the minimum conditions for the survival of these families".

However, the MAB leader recognized that "it will be worse without this government". As an example, she made reference to the recent passing by Senate (against the opinion of the Executive Branch) of a bill to flexibilize environmental licenses. This is the Constitutional Modification Proposal 65/2012, which would permit to build a project only with an Environmental Impact Assessment carried out by the company involved.

About the actions to be held by the movements in case the coup becomes a reality, Tatiane said: "The streets were already ours. If the Coup takes place, they will be even more ours".

Imagen: Daniel Arroyo/ jornalistaslivres.org

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