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IEA debates the street protests across Brazil

by Richard Meckien - published Jun 20, 2013 03:15 PM - - last modified Aug 26, 2015 01:59 PM

A debate entitled 'What's Happening?' will be held on June 21, at 11 am, with the participation of various of the researchers associated to the IEA as panelists and moderation by Renato Janine Ribeiro.

Manifestação no Largo da Batata, São PauloThe IEA has always dedicated a part of its academic efforts to the analysis of institutions and to debate proposals that are relevant for Brazil’s economic, social and cultural development, in particular regarding public policies. Thus, the institute sees the recent wave of demonstrations that has invaded the streets of the major Brazilian cities and even of abroad as a phenomenon that deserves an interdisciplinary reflection in order to figure out what it means for the present and the future of the country.

In this sense, the IEA proposes a debate entitled 'What's Happening?' to be held on June 21, at 11 am. The panelists will be researchers associated to the institute, including Massimo Canevacci, José Álvaro Moisés, Alfredo Bosi, Sergio Adorno, Bernardo Sorj, José da Rocha Carvalheiro, Dennis de Oliveira, Arlene Clemesha, Nicolas Lechopier, Lucia Maciel Barbosa de Oliveira and Sylvia Dantas. Moderation will be in charge of Renato Janine Ribeiro, with Alexey Dodsworth Magnavita as rapporteur.

The event will be broadcast live from IEA's Event Room at


Initiated in Porto Alegre and then spread to Natal, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the demonstrations against price adjustments of urban transport led to a nationwide mobilization on June 17. People of a dozen state capitals took over the streets engaged with a wider agenda that now includes  demands for improvements in public health and education, protests against media, the questioning of the spending on the building of stadiums for the Soccer World Cup, the desire to putting an end to corruption and the refusal of the recently proposed Constitutional Amendment 37, which reduces the powers of investigation prosecutors, among others.

The protesters are mostly young students, mainly articulated by various branches of the ‘Passe Livre’ Movement (MPL), which advocates the lowering of public transport tariffs or even their elimination. They were joined by members of other social initiatives and ordinary people. It is said that MPL is nonpartisan and governed by a non-hierarchical order and users of new communication technologies, especially social networks as tools of mobilization and dissemination of ideas and events. Many say that Brazil woke up and now they want to change it.

Governments, parliamentarians, political analysts and journalists try to interpret the phenomenon as well as its emergence, goals and perspectives. The reviews speak of a ‘wind of change’ in Brazilian politics, which would be a reflection of a representation crisis, the identification with movements in other countries, the seeking of a leading role beyond the one possible in social networks, and other motivations.

Photo: Eric Hayashi