Housing Movements and Participation in Institutional Spaces

Housing Movements and Participation in Institutional Spaces

By Valesca Lima

This article sets out to examine the inclusion of social movements in the designing of public policy in Brazil. I situate the Brazilian political and social context in terms of its persistent social inequalities and the inclusion of social movements in policy-making during the course of 2003–2010 (Lula da Silva’s first and second terms as president) and 2011–2014 (Dilma Rousseff’s first term as president). I discuss and explore mechanisms of participatory democracy, and more specifically, I look at the process of integration of civil society in spaces of decision-making related to housing issues. This paper found that, despite some concrete results of implementing greater popular participation, the inclusion of social movements still faces challenges to be effectively included in spaces of decision-making, especially under the current conservative administration.

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Taking Matters into Their Own Hands: The MST and the Workers’ Party in Brazil

Taking Matters into Their Own Hands: The MST and the Workers’ Party in Brazil

By Bruce Gilbert

Brazil’s Movement of Landless Rural Workers (Movimento de Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra do Brasil—MST) has long engaged in a subtle form of brinkmanship with the Brazilian state and with the rule of law. The strange combination of audacity and vulnerability that characterizes this strategy is even more delicate in the context of the fourth straight mandate of the MST’s erstwhile political ally, the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores—PT). The great hope born in the MST that a PT administration would wholeheartedly support agrarian reform and thus make the MST strategy of land occupation and civil disobedience mostly unnecessary was to be utterly disappointed. As a result the MST must both challenge and yet tacitly support the PT for fear of the alternatives, all of which are worse. In this article the author concludes that the MST effectively implements a strategy that all at once creates authentically socialist agricultural settlements while simultaneously using the state to forward its goals.

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The Brazilian City and the Negation of the Other

The Brazilian City and the Negation of the Other

By Lucas Melgaço

Historically, cities have not been equally friendly and accommodating to everybody. Indeed, they were born from the identification and consolidation of a group of “equals” who shared the aim of protecting their own interests and defending themselves from the encroachments of the “other”. In the classical Greek city examples of this were strangers and prisoners of war. In the medieval European city the sick, such as lepers, and the jobless were those branded “undesirable” (Le Goff 1997). Presently, Arabs and black Africans, in Western Europe, and Latino immigrants, in the United States, are some examples of those who are frequently considered the others. Despite the extensive contributions of the English-speaking scientific community to the understanding of these classification and differentiation processes (e.g. Jenkins 2000), scholars have overlooked the reproduction of this discrimination in the so-called “global south”. In this short article I will cover particular aspects of the Brazilian case and show how the negation of the other, here, is not limited to actions and discourse, but also materializes in urban forms dedicated to separating and rejecting undesirable persons.

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