Brazil’s Shout of the Excluded Celebrates 10 Years of Protest

    The demonstrations at the 11th Shout of the Excluded March, with this year’s  theme of  Brazil, Change is in our Hands, convoked society to organize,  denounce and pressure the government to change the political, economic and  social system of the country, which throughout history, has produced  inequality and exclusion.

    The march was held on September 7, commemorated  as Independence Day in Brazil. Thousands of people including the  unemployed, youth, children who live on the street, migrants, farm workers,  indigenous peoples, senior citizens, and workers in the informal economy  occupied the streets and plazas in many cities in the country.


    The Shout was  for a new economic model that creates jobs, distributes income, and  increases public investments in social areas; a profound political reform  that returns the right to decide to the people; and national policies that  guarantee the interests of the Brazilian people regarding the economy,  territory, resources and biodiversity.


    The participants of the 11th Shout of the Excluded March and the 18th  Pilgrimage of Workers included more than 60.000 pilgrims in the interior of  São Paulo, Thousands of people with slogans written on enormous hands in a  symbolic gesture, cried out: Stop the Corruption; Punish Those Responsible;  We Want Ethics and Transparency; Enough of Indifference and Competition; We  Want Agrarian Reform and Social Policies.


    The creativity of the demonstrators was also present in other parts of  Brazil. At the Monument to Independence in the city of São Paulo, more than  8,000 people participated in the Shout of the Excluded; in Salvador, Bahia  more than 30,000; Manaus, Amazonas, 10,000; Aracaju, Sergipe, 6,000 and  over 15,000 in Fortaleza, Ceará.


    This year, the Brazilian people are experiencing a mixture of desperation  and sadness, mainly because of disappointment that their dreams and hopes  for changes in society have not occurred. Brazil is still hostage to high  interest rates and an absurd external debt.


    The government has doubled its  international demands in face of neo-liberal reforms, becoming incapable to  implement public policies like agrarian reform, and investments in health,  education, transportation, housing, human rights, and environment.


    Brazilian society is torn apart by unemployment, poverty, hunger, violence,  corruption and impunity. This has generated the revolt and disbelief of the  people regarding politicians. The message of the 11th Shout of the Excluded  strives to renew the hope of people to organize and demand profound changes  in the structures.


    The Shout of the Excluded began in 1995 in 170 Brazilian cities and  immediately after became an important annual event for pastoral and social  movements. In the last years, it has taken place in more than 1,500  locations in Brazil.


    Beginning in 1999, it spread to other countries in  Central and Latin America and the Caribbean. On October 12, the date that  commemorates the resistance and struggle of the Latin American people to  the Spanish colonization, more than 23 countries will demonstrate in their  Shout of the Excluded with the theme, For Work, Justice and Life.


    In Aparecida, São Paulo the Continental Declaration of the Shout of the  Excluded was launched. The declaration documents the reality of exclusion,  but also shows how the resistance of peoples is growing.


    The many faces of  exclusion include the millions of small farmers in the world without access  to productive land, millions of women and men without jobs or in precarious  work, women who suffer profound inequalities and injustices around the  world, the more than 200 million migrants who are denied their fundamental  rights, indigenous people plundered and massacred throughout history;  ethnic, sexual and religious minorities whose rights are violated, the  youth who do not find work, do not have access to education, and are  exposed to violence and drugs. These people are the faces of struggle and  social resistance.


    The Shout of the Excluded presented concrete proposals for change: pressure  that the government sponsor a public audience regarding the external debt  and an official plebiscite regarding the Free Trade Act of the America;  replace compensatory policies with effective public policies; support the  Referendum on Disarmament on October 23; struggle against war and the  advance of imperial power; work for the removal of Brazilian troops from  Haiti; and stimulate environmental polices that work for the health of our  planet so that in its soil and waters, new forms of life can thrive based  on the just and correct use of natural resources.


    The reality of the current political crisis in the country involving  corruption and lack of trust in the government was very evident in the Shout  of the Excluded.


    The call was to construct new forms of direct democracy,  where people can not only choose their representatives, but be guaranteed  the right to implement, influence, and control public policies.


    MST – www.mst.org.br
    Adital – www.adital.org.br

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