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Saad Filho, Alfredo and Morais, Lecio (2013) 'Mass Protests: Brazilian Spring or Brazilian Malaise?' Socialist Register, 50. pp. 227-246.

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Vast demonstrations erupted in Brazil in early June 2013, seemingly from nowhere, demanding free transport, improvements in public services, the reform of a dysfunctional and corrupt political system, and much more. The federal government, led since 2003 by the left-wing Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT), was stunned. The right-wing opposition vanished in the mêlée, while the TV showed, night after night, masses of young people pouring into the streets, most of them marching for the first time. For a few days, it seemed that a revolutionary situation might emerge, leaderless, perhaps, but fully formed in the womb of the masses. Then strange things began to happen. The movement took a slightly sinister turn. At the margins of large concentrations, small groups of people regularly went on the rampage. The police sometimes attacked the demonstrations, and sometimes disappeared from view. Bands of muscular men with cropped hair, wrapped in the national flag, beat up people with a red T-shirt or waving a red flag. There were calls for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousssef, and for a military coup. Finally, unknown persons launched, on Facebook and Youtube, a call for a general strike on 1 July, but they did not think it useful to issue specific demands. This essay offers a political economy interpretation of the context, origins, implications and challenges posed by the ‘Events of June’ to the Brazilian left, in the light of the achievements and limitations of the federal administrations led by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-10) and Dilma Rousseff (2011-present). The argument is developed in six substantive sections. The first three review the Lula and Dilma administrations. The fourth describes the Events of June, and the fifth examines the lessons for the left. The sixth section draws the relevant conclusions.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 00810606
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2015 08:25

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