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Resist the fare rise!
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana | community struggles | press release Friday June 21, 2013 19:35 by Coletivo Anarquista Bandeira Negra - CABN-CAB
The country is being taken over by demonstrations in the struggle for public transport. Earlier this week, there were massive demonstrations in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and dozens of other cities. The Congress in Brasilia was occupied by protesters, as was the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro. Until now, Porto Alegre, Goiânia, Natal, Recife and other cities have already managed to obtain a reduction of the fare, but the prospect of victory is alive in several other cities. [Português]
Resist the fare rise!
The country is being taken over by demonstrations in the struggle for public transport. Earlier this week, there were massive demonstrations in Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and dozens of other cities. The Congress in Brasilia was occupied by protesters, as was the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro. Until now, Porto Alegre, Goiânia, Natal, Recife and other cities have already managed to obtain a reduction of the fare, but the prospect of victory is alive in several other cities.
One of the factors that gave great strength to the demonstrations was the criminalization of protest and the brutal response of the police. Hundreds of comrades were arrested and released after paying exorbitant bail, in an attempt to silence and intimidate the people's demands. The violent police repression was the spark for the people, who are like a powder keg, and the demonstrations are becoming bigger.
Reactionary sectors and the mainstream media, which have harshly criticized and criminalized the demonstrations, are now retreating as a result of the sheer strength of the people in the streets. Their strategy has been very clear: they are trying to "tame" the demonstrations by preaching inert pacifism and generic agendas that do not allow for concrete achievements.
The people had not been asleep until last week. None of our rights were given to us as a gift - they were conquered. Capitalists profit from the commodification of social rights (health, education, transportation, etc.), and the State and its governments are the driving force behind this state of affairs. Talk of "a better country", "better use of taxes" or "being against corruption" miss the point, because they ignore the nature of the capitalist State. Corruption is an integral part of this system, which has created laws to maintain the dominance of the ruling classes. Those who complain of breaches of the rules of the game are, basically, legitimizing the way the game works: it is not only corruption that is unfair, but the entire capitalist system based on the exploitation of the working class and on oppression.
We need to think about our agendas and struggle objectively against the problems that people experience the most. Our solidarity is among those below. Thus, we understand that we are not here to sing anthems and raise the flag of the country: nationalism is an instrument of reconciliation between the classes, which unites us with our enemies under the same banner (the transport bosses and the mayor are also Brazilian and "against corruption").
Florianópolis has a long history of struggle for transport, such as in the "Ratchet Riots" of 2004 and 2005, when popular struggle also won the reversal of fare increases through direct action thanks to the people coming out onto the streets. The city created a culture of demands regarding this, culminating in the defence of Zero Fare - a model where public transport is free, funded by the wealthiest sectors of society and under popular control. The strength of the demonstrations around the country and the extent to which the subject is being discussed in the city means that the Zero Fare is our strategic objective, and there is a real possibility of winning it.
We are on the streets not only in the struggle for the Zero Fare, but also against the criminalization of popular demands, in solidarity with the struggles in other cities! Day by day, we will be building our organizational tools and accumulating social strength, given the violence of the system that excludes most of the population from the wealth produced; violent too is a system that even all to often today reserves misery, hunger and scarcity for the poor; violent are the evictions and the police repression that arise from the works of mega events like the World Cup and the Olympics. Violent is the reality that the people live with!
It is time to strengthen the organization of the oppressed through our social movements, through organizations of workers and students, community and cultural spaces. Only our work together, based on class independence, is able to create a force sufficient to influence the direction of society. This is essential in order to have the ability to withstand the attacks of the ruling classes and accumulate forces to turn the scales in our favour, to progress in our achievements towards a classless society, freedom and justice. The possibilities and limits of demonstrations in the country are in dispute: now is the time to go onto the streets!
Coletivo Anarquista Bandeira NegraMember of the Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB)
Translated by FdCA - International Relations Office