Tuesday, March 8, 2011

From now on, the offensive for the free fare

March 04, 2011

By: camarada d.

Translated by: Yuri Gama

In the morning of this Friday, one day before carnival holiday, about 2.000 people (according with the police, what give us the freedom to think in more people than that) protested around the regional city hall of MBoi Mirim, São Paulo [Brazil]. The spontaneous demonstration has its origin on the general dissatisfaction with the public transport – high fares, less buses, cut of bus lines and overcrowding buses.
The protest made me remember a part of the book “Transporte urbano nos países em desenvolvimento” [Free translation: “Urban transport in developing countries”] written by Eduardo Vasconcellos. There’s a part in which the transport researcher discusses how the public transport was left behind in the lobbying of public politics at the time of redefinitions that Brazil experienced and culminated in the 1988 Citizen’s Constitution. One of the reasons, suggests the author, it is because the lack of organized struggle and long-term vision by the social movements with respect the public transport.
It says him: [Free translation]: The new democratization of the political system initiated in 1982 wasn’t enough to bring important improvements in transport conditions, due to the decrease in public investments, high inflation, and the possible growth of unemployment. The social movements, around this issue, were limited in react to the dramatic lack of transport in remote areas or the occurrence of fatal pedestrian accidents of children in residential streets. In both cases, all the solutions adopted were so urgent as the social movements in itself, so, there weren’t real transformations on the transport or displacement.
I was thrilled with the news of this spontaneous protest, as well as with all of the other protest all around Brazil, against fare increases, not only for the joy that is to see people organizing themselves, but also due to the clarity that now we have about how transportation is, being a discuss subject in the agenda of the society. But we can’t let one more decade escape from us and only focus in short-term resistances, needed of course, against high fares. One hour the breath of these resistance movements will end. So now it’s the most important time: an offensive towards a complete change of the model of the system. After all, we don’t want to spend all of our lives discussing how much will raise and how many bus lines they will cut, do we? In Florianópolis, the Movimento Passe Livre (MPL) - (Free Fare Movement), with the help of others organizations, will start the struggle against the bus fare raise, launching a discussão in the city about the free fare. In Joinville, the MPL is also starting to build a law project for a free fare system, and it seems that in São Paulo, the MPL will walk in the same direction as both cities. Maybe this is the most important moment in the history of MPL since its foundation. Unlike the important struggles from the 80’s, that were “more urgent than the movements in itself”, we are seeing now a consistent process of struggle that won’t die before the final victory, the right to the public transport assured for everyone.

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