Note from BW of Brazil: The social situation in modern day Brazil has many wondering how they will survive, particularly under new measures being taken by current President Michel Temer. As scandal after scandal continues to rock the nation seemingly sending more politicians and businessmen to prison every day, the government seems to be on a mission to make the vast majority of its citizens sorry to be Brazilian or at least sorry to live in Brazil. As part of austerity measures supposedly designed to help get the staggering Brazilian economy back on its feet again, Temer has presented immensely unpopular proposals that would freeze public spending for two decades, allow companies to outsource jobs, force workers to contribute to pensions for 49 years in order to enjoy retirement with full salary and raising the age of retirement for both men and women to 65 from the previous ages of 55 and 60 respectively, among other measures.
Needless to say, such policies haven’t sat well with everyday Brazilians, who have taken to the streets to voice their discontent. Ever since Michel Temer officially took over the reigns as president of the Republic back in May after the behind the scenes “soft coup d’etat” that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff, Brazilians have expressed their rejection of the “golpista” (those behind the coup) in a number of ways including the widespread battle cry of “Fora Temer!” (Get out, Temer!) that have been seen everywhere, from online memes and protest banners to comments in interviews.
As Afro-Brazilians have always been those who most suffer socially, black organizations have also been vocal on these issues, taking to the streets by the thousands. These protests led by various social organizations have been gaining momentum across the country. The report below specifically focuses on protests in São Paulo organized by black organizations with later photos showing demonstrations led by various social organizations across the country last month.
“Temer’s reforms are racist and genocidal”, say Movimento Negro in call to protest
By Douglas Belchior
The cowardly attacks of Michel Temer and his rationale for the fundamental rights of the Brazilian people threatens to rip the bread from our tables and put even more guns at our heads. We can’t pretend it’s not with us. The black population will undoubtedly be the most affected by the ending of pensions, the dismantling of labor rights, the freezing of social investments and the increase in repression, a naturalized target that we are, of punitive laws and actions of the police.
We must react! Hence the importance of joining the efforts of the unity in the progressive field, which has promoted increasing manifestations in defense of the rights. This week we will have national stoppage this Friday, March 31st throughout the country. And in São Paulo, mobilizations also take place on Saturday, April 1. The Movimento Negro (Black Movement) is calling for a great march “Against the Racist and Genocidal Reforms of Temer” (Goo.gl/npvSVi), with concentration at 1pm in Largo São Francisco, in the capital city’s downtown. This march will continue until Avenida Paulista, where it meets the already traditional Cordão da Mentira, which is concentrated in front of MASP, starting at 4pm (https://goo.gl/cqjDaa).
Below is the strong manifesto of the Movimento Negro endorsed by dozens of organizations.
BLACK MARCH AGAINST TEMER’S GENOCIDAL REFORMS
The black population, a historic target of inequality and violence, a direct result of the consequences and continuities of the four centuries of slavery, never enjoyed effective citizenship, demarcated in our constitutional advances.
Even the civil, social, and labor rights that have been won to date have always been systematically denied to our people. Genocide, the direct and the symbolic, was always the main characteristic of the relationship between us and the State.
In moments of crisis in the system of capital, as we are now experiencing, the forces of the “market god” and the world’s great entrepreneurs and speculators tighten the siege, and through cowardly and surrendering governments, such as that of Temer, they seek to take away the few rights earned by workers, cost the blow it costs. The greed of maintaining and increasing their profit margins has no end.
On the other hand, to repress the population and maintain the “social order”, they invest heavily in their military apparatus, in punitive and restrictive regulations of freedom. The people, poorer and poorer, are the enemy. And the população negra (black population), the majority follow-up of the working class, is again the priority discard.
The end of the right to retirement, the dismantling of labor rights, the unrestricted terceirização (outsourcing) of work, the freezing of social investments for 20 years and the increase in repression and police violence are explicitly racist and genocidal. Affirmative action policies proven effective for a future balance of opportunities between blacks and non-blacks have been destroyed. This is what we see with the end of the expansion of vacancies in federal universities, with the gradual reduction of Prouni (Programa Universidade para Todos or University for All Program) and Fies (Fundo de Financiamento Estudantil or Student Financing Fund), the changing of the characteristics of Enem (Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio or National High School Exam), with the emptying of the importance of Law 10.639, in other words, the reproduction at the federal level, of what the State government of SP does through USP and UNICAMP (University of Campinas), which are systematically opposed to racial quotas policies in undergraduate and graduate courses. Yes, with Temer’s reforms, the effects of racism and black genocide will deepen.
We, the black people, have a side and we are going to take our place in this struggle, which is not only to raise the volume on demonstrations, but to help direct – like most of us – the revolutionary process and the fight against racist elites who want our death, who kill our children with the bullet, who rape our black women, who kill our elderly in the hospital ranks.
Because of all of this, we are coming together in the demonstrations called by the social movements, parties and unions, but we will also build agendas for the black struggle, for which we expect the same unity.
This Saturday, April 1st, we will be marching, starting at 1:00 p.m., in Largo São Francisco, SP, ‘Negras e Negros (black men and women), against Temer’s racist and genocidal reforms!’.
United black people are strong black people!
NEGRAS AND NEGROS TAKE TO THE STREETS OF SP AGAINST TEMER’S REFORMS
By Douglas Belchior
Marcha Negra (black march) gathered a crowd of negras and negros through the streets of downtown São Paulo in protest against the racist and genocidal reforms of Michel Temer.
By Douglas Belchior, (with photos from Jornalistas Livres, Mídia Ninja, Ponte Jornalismo, Sergio Silva and BDF)
On Saturday, April 1, several groups and organizations of the Movimento Negro of São Paulo called for the Marcha Negra Contra as Reformas Genocidas de Temer (Black March against Temer’s Genocidal Reforms). Uneafro Brasil, a network of community cursinhos (college prep courses) for young blacks and poor people, mobilized its students after a public class at USP’s law school, where the act was concentrated. In partnership with MTST, where it maintains units of courses in camps of the city of São Paulo, they mobilized students and Sem Teto (homeless) residents.
Black activists from various groups participated, among them representations of the Frente Alternativa Preta (Black Alternative Front), Negras e Negros Sem Medo (Fearless Black Women and Men), Núcleo de Consciência Negra na USP (Nucleus of Black Consciousness Core at USP), MNU -Movimento Negro Unificado (Unified Black Movement), APN’s – Agentes de Pastoral Negras e Negros (Black women and men Pastoral Agents), Conen – Coordenação Nacional de Entidades Negras de SP (National Coordination of Black Entities SP), Kilombagem, Associação Amparar, Núcleo Impulsor da Marcha das Mulheres Negras SP (Impulsor Nucleus of the Black Women’s March SP), Cooperifa, Colectivo Rosa Zumbi, as well as activists and autonomous groups.
The main motivation for the March is the possible effects on the already precarious conditions of life of the black population, based on the current policies and reforms implemented by the Temer coup government, with broad support from the national congress and the mainstream media, according to the excerpt from the note published by the group of black movements.
The end of the right to retirement, the dismantling of labor rights, the unrestricted outsourcing of work, the freezing of social investments for 20 years and the increase in repression and police violence are explicitly racist and genocidal (…) Yes, with Temer’s reforms, the effects of racism and black genocide will deepen.
The Marcha concentrated on Largo São Francisco, in front of the University of São Paulo Law School and followed to the MASP, on Avenida Paulista, where it met the traditional block of Cordão da Mentira.
Note from BW of Brazil: Below are photos of various protests against social security reform in other cities across the country last month.