By Michelle Amaral
Translated from Portuguese to English by Yuri Gama
The activist of MPL (Free Fare Movement) affirms that the growing situation of the demonstrations shows that it’s a problem of all the brazilians
In a interview conceded by e-mail to the newspaper Brasil de Fato, Daniel Guimarães Tertschitsch, activist of MPL and member of Tarifa Zero (tarifazero.org), makes a positive balance of the demonstrations against the raise of the bus fares that happens since january. About 17 cities have had your bus fares raised and more 6 are about to raise it.
Student movements and social organizations as MPL, are calling protests in many cities of the country. To Tertschitsch this shows that “this problem it’s a class problem, of the workers, of the marginalized, of all the country.
“The exclusion pushes people, makes their lives more difficult, and sooner or later, we are seeing and participating in riots”, ponders the activist. He said, the difference that we see it today is that more and more we can notice a lucidity about how the transport system works.
Check the interview below:
What is the balance that we could make about this movement against the raise in bus fares, that occurs all over the country this month?
Positive in several aspects. First of all, it demonstrates that the public transport it is already on the list of people’s worries and also of the left wing. The need of displacement is not anymore a minor problem, actually, is now in the center of attention. How to go to work, how to go to the places of study and teach, how to go to leisure places, it’s now a fundamental question to solve the gap between rich and poor, the inequality in brazilian cities. All these demonstrations, that grows initially against the raise of the bus fares, opens wide perspectives beyond the percentage of the growth in itself. In the beginning of 2000, the “Revolta do Buzu” (Bus Riot) in Salvador and the Campanha pelo Passe Livre (Campaign for the Free Pass – for students) in Florianópolis, gave to us the outset that we needed to get deep in our comprehension about the true social exclusion that results of the way the mass transport works nowadays.
The spark can grow from the fight for the free pass for students, or against a bus fare raise, or even against the cut of a bus route, but sooner gets to a consensus that public transport is a right that must be offered for all of the people without the charge of the fare. Another positive aspect of these recent demonstrations, is that it shows that this problem is a social class problem, it’s a problem of the workers, of the marginalized, it’s a problem of Brazil. These protests are happening in distant cities from each other, like Porto Alegre and Aracaju, and being organized through several different organizations, nonpartisan and partisan, or social movements that already carry this fight a long time ago, as MPL.
A recent research of IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research) shows that the waste with transport is equal the waste with food, and that the raise of the bus fares makes 30% of brazilian people not use the service. Is there any perspectives of changes in this scenario?
Yes, there is perspective. Because there is political will from sections of the population. But only because of this. Depending on the governments there is no way out. When Lula, the last brazilian president, said that “the people who defends investments in trains and subways want ‘that the poor let the street free to them’, in march of 2010, when he was on the Petrochemical Complex of Rio, I felt that the way to reverse this scenario that IPEA showed to us, will be the pressure of social movements towards governments, we can’t expect nothing for free from the State. Fact it is, that the automobile industry has a strong influence on the economy of the country, and the governments, progressists or not, don’t want to fight this industry. The governments don’t comprehend the public transport as a right, but as a mechanical way of throw people from one side to otherside. Gather this with the strength of the automakers and we have an explosive scenario. But, when the transport is more expensive than eat, the people reacts. The exclusion pushes people, makes life difficult, and sooner of later, we testify and participate in riots. The difference it is that year after year people are getting more conscious about the transport system. The matter of the value of the fare is just a beginning, what we must question it is the existence of the fare in itself
In São Paulo, the demonstration last Thursday (02/27) resulted in a promise by the local government: a public hearing with the city council and the municipal secretary of transports. What does that mean for the movement against the raise of the bus fares?
The way the police acted against demonstrators in the protest, gratuitous violence, rubber bullets, pepper spray and gas bombs, made the next demonstrations grow. From 1.000 of people, now we are counting with 4.000. Maybe we can count with 5 or 10.000 in the next one, who knows? When you are side by side with thousands of people, there’s nothing but optimism. This fact in itself, it is very pedagogic, shows that, collectively, we can conquer things and demands. Going to the city council and win this promise of a public hearing means one step forward for the fight. It’s important to combine the spontaneity of the fight in the streets with the achievement in itself. Not that the public hearing means that the price is going back to his last value, but it’s a sign that the movement want to ensure that his claim will be accepted and not that he only want to protest against something. Imagine the force that the movement will have when in the next demonstration, on the City Council, thousands of people start scream: "Now we want to change the transportation system, we're organized and we want to see these changes happening in practice".
Now it’s happening a national Twitter protest against the raise of the bus fares. In this fight, which is the role of the social networks?
The social networks are really a kind of public space nowadays. Some say that once we lived in the countryside, then cities and now online. This sentence is very excessive, thankfully, but we can’t deny that internet offers us this facility with organization and communication. While the Twitter protest happened, I heard about new cities that were organizing demonstrations just like us. I see those social networks as a complement of the old and good way: posters and pamphlets distributed in the streets. But in this case, from Florianópolis, South of Brazil, I could “distribute pamphlet” to people in Roraima, extreme North.
Original from: http://www.brasildefato.com.br/node/5553