Note from BW of Brazil: Featured in a previous post, the protests throughout Brazil calling for the end of the Dilma Rousseff presidency captured international headlines last week but several facets of the demonstrations revealed several things about Brazil. They showed that 1) Brazilians are fed up with political corruption, 2) The protests were mostly led by the middle to upper classes and 3) These classes are still mostly white. “Where are the black protesters?” was a question that arose from similar protests against Rousseff in protests of March 2015.
Well, the fact is that it is the mostly poor, black classes that have benefited most from policies initiated by the PT (Rousseff’s Workers’ Party that has ruled the country since 2003) over the past 13 years (a voting block that carried Dilma to a second term in the 2014 election) And as outrage threatens to end Rousseff’s presidency, we saw more of these faces come out in support of the president during pro-Dilma rally days later.
Blacks in democratic protests
“The hill descended and it was not Carnival. It was a dress rehearsal for democracy,” said writer Cidinha da Silva on the wide presence of blacks in demonstrations on March 18th, marked by diversity.
By Cidinha da Silva
A fairly large group of blacks was oblivious to the pro-democratic state of rights demonstrations. They are coherent and politicized people who made themselves noted for their absence.
For them, the motto “não vai ter golpe” (there will not be a coup) doesn’t echo, it makes no sense. After all, on the outskirts, in the favela (slum/’hood), “there’s a coup every day.”
There’s even indirect awards to police for the number of young black men slaughtered in the name of combating violence, prevention of organized crime, drug trafficking and in “legitimate defense” of the MP (Military Police).
These black people, in turn, in self-defense, in fact, report that the caveirão (bullet-proof Military Police tank) doesn’t pose for selfies where the bulk of the black population lives, as it does with the persons on Avenida Paulista in the day of micareta (out of season Carnval). In the favela the caveirão shivers!
The motto of Rondesp, the police that executed 13 black guys in the massacre of Cabula, Bahia, in 2015, is jocular and objective: “a knife in the skull, Rondesp (1) brings the noise.”
Besides Cláudia Ferreira, dragged by the MP in Rio two years ago, the lethal violence against black women increases every year, as shown by the “Map of Violence” report. Impunity has eliminated any hope of transformation.
In legitimate defense, this group of black people doesn’t go to demonstrations in favor of democracy and screams against the widespread silence about the daily massacres that reduce the army of peripheral black youth. Also opening wide the Holocaust of the Brazilian prison system.
It shoots an unerring arrow at the imperialist policy of Brazil on Angola and Mozambique and in the multinational exploitation of the African continent’s riches.
It questions the support of the military occupation in Haiti and the complicity of the federal government with the Navy of Brazil in the occupation of quilombo land, especially the Quilombo Rio dos Macacos in Bahia.
However, in contrast to the blacks that in a critical manner don’t participate in the democratic protests, there is a larger group of black people that have a strong presence in the convening and execution of demonstrations in favor of the guarantee and expansion of the democratic rule of law.
They aren’t better nor worse than the previous group. They just make a different reading from them as to possible strategies to tackling racism and genocide of the black population.
A group that, like (late singer/musician) Gonzaguinha believes in the guys, in the moçada (group of young people), “who go to the front and holds the firecracker”. That puts faith in the faith of the moçada that does not flee from the edge and faces the lion.That goes to the struggle with this youth (the kids of the occupation of the public schools in São Paulo and Goiânia) don’t shy away from the boundary for nothing. That fight like a girl. That fight this time to transform it.
In São Paulo, this group of blacks set the tone of diversity sung by Chico César. In black cities such as Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, Rio Branco, João Pessoa in Paraíba, the state that kills proportionally more young blacks in Brazil, besides Sampa (São Paulo), the city of largest absolute number of blacks in the country, this group blackened the democratic protests.
In Brasília, Fortaleza, Maceió, Curitiba, Vitória, Porto Alegre, Belém, blacks also left their homes to scream for democracy, respect of human rights, freedoms won in the battle against the dictatorship. Racism, sexism, gender violence, classism.
These black people believe they have in front of them the challenge of constructing an idea of development capable of contemplating the various racial and ethnic identities as part of the solutions that the country needs. They seek the institutionalization of a policy of promoting racial equality rooted in arrangements involving the three branches of government and various social agents.
The group of blacks that was in the demonstrations for ensuring democracy believes in these possibilities for dialogue with the state. It believes in the policy that is done by negotiation.
In Salvador, for example, the manifestation of Campo Grande, in the city’s downtown, mobilized thousands of black people, those that are only seen as the “pipoca” (popcorn) of Carnival blocos of popular appeal.
The favela came down (from the morro/hill). The people of the terreiro (Afro-Brazilian religious temple), capoeiristas (capoeira artists), black quota students. Those with cabelo crespo (kinky/curly hair) and wearing turbans. The classic black organizations, the militants of the old guard and the collectives of art and culture.
The black arms of the leftist political parties raised their flags and brought their rare parliamentarians. Women and the black LGBT community marked their presence.
The Recôncavo (region) of Bahia came and even Ilê Ayê without a known leftist tradition, played their drums. The Avenida Sete de Setembro and Praça Castro Alves (Square) resembled the “pipoca” of Igor Kanário (2). Compact. Stiffer. Survivor. Black and suburban.
The hill descended and it was not Carnival (3). It was a dress rehearsal for democracy.
Dressed in the white of Oxalá, the owner of the day, hope showed its black face.
Source: Revista Fórum
- Special battalion of police in the state of Bahia
- Stage name of Anderson Machado de Jesus, a popular pagode singer from Salvador, Bahia who is known as the “Príncipe do Gueto” or ‘prince of ghetto’.
- Reference to the fact that Carnaval is usually the only time of year that black Brazilians are prominently featured in the media.