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The events of June 2013 in Brazil, when its cities were gripped by protests against bus fare increases and investments in the World Cup, form the starting point for this book. Since then, social mobilization has escalated and diversified, and brought new actors on to the streets. This book provides historical context to the events of 2013–2016 through an examination of the history of the housing movements and their struggle for social justice in São Paulo. It explores their entrenched relationship with the Workers’ Party and their endeavours to establish multiple channels of engagement with the state. The activities of the movements are set against the backdrop of a spatially and socially divided city that prevents the urban poor from realizing their conception of the right to the city.
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Interview with Ernesto, the leader of a housing movement active in the centre of São Paulo, 19.11.14.
Interview with Neves, 26.11.14.
For discussions of the impacts of ‘Olympic urbanism’ on Rio and its poorer urban neighbourhoods, see Carvalho, B., M. Cavalcanti and Venturupalli, V. eds. (2016) Occupy All Streets: Olympic Urbanism and Contested Futures in Rio de Janeiro. New York, Terreform.
It should be noted, however, that no party has been untouched in the evolving investigation. Dilma Rousseff herself has not been implicated in the investigation, and her impeachment and trial hinged on an entirely separate charge—a technical infraction of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (Hagopian 2016).
The use of social media amongst organizers and participants of street protests in Arab countries from 2010 onwards has generated considerable debate. See Sharp and Panetta ( 2016) for a discussion.
A favela is generally defined as an illegally occupied area without paved roads and characterized by poor-quality housing construction. In practice, favelas are often visually indistinguishable from other peripheral areas where families have built their own homes on land they have purchased, which are equally lacking in urban services and adherence to building codes.
Interview with Arturo, 05.12.14, and conversation with Anderson, 17.11.14. Some recent occupations have been organized by individuals with the aim of raising rent payments from occupiers, rather than with a broader project of urban reform or changes to housing policy.
On one occasion, I was also invited to attend a meeting at the state-level public housing company with the FLM.
European culture, academia and government institutions are much admired by the Brazilian elites, and our presence seemed to import a degree of kudos to the UMM.
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- Chapter 1