Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From the right to transport to the right to the city

Text written for the website

By Victor "Khaled" Calejon

In this initial post, I want to talk briefly about the connection between the struggle to the right to transport (which is a more specific fight) and the struggle to the right to the city (which is a bigger and generally fight), not only to mobility in cities, but to live and enjoy all what the urban space can offer and how we should be building this space, which only becomes free when it is a space of struggle.

Well, as a militant of Movement for the Free Pass (MPL) since 2005, I know we've come a long way in discussions, activities, discussions, creating materials (visual, textual, printed, video, ...), finally, a number of things were being built and in this long, but we can say fast, process, we grow up and immensely expanded our visions of the world and movement.

But all this was a starting point: the struggle for the Free Pass (student initially). It was from this specific flag that built the first collective in every corner of Brazil that would form the MPL nationally. From this visible concrete demand from the students and the need for immediate victory, with new projects, demonstrations and practical actions, that brought people to the fight, and put each and every one to create solutions we wish, transforming and occupying the spaces of intervention of the movement within an organization and creative collective based in horizontality, direct action and autonomy.

We followed from the student free pass to the right of transport, and from the right to transport to the right to the city, a movement that shifts from the more concrete and tangible to the more general and abstract (but no less necessary and feasible). Is in the warmest and teaching moments of the fight that we see the true face of the problem. Those moments are the moments when our political views are gestated, or put to test and assimilated by the population that follows us (directly or indirectly) in the streets. So, for example, all the demonstrations against tax increases become extremely fertile times and spaces to speak about municipalization, the creation of a Municipal Fund for Transport and the Zero Fare.

The idea here is to say how that we started to talk about the right to the city, beginning actually talking about the right to public transportation - highlighting the importance of the relationship of these two levels that need to be worked simultaneously at each moment of the fight, without forgetting the importance of the immediate needs but also without confine them, building a broader context of conquest and policy formulation from the needs felt by most society.

To close, I share with you a phrase from the great Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin:

"What can the advertisement do? Bring a general fairer expression, a new and happier way to the instincts of the proletariat, can sometimes facilitate and precipitate its development, particularly in terms of a transformation in consciousness and reflected will of the masses. It can give them an awareness of what they have, how they feel, what they want already instinctively, but never could give them what they do not have, nor arouse passions in her breast, that according to its own history, they are strange. "

Victor Calejon "Khaled". Member of Movimento Passe Livre since 2005. Started in São Paulo, now living in Florianópolis.

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