It has been exactly one week since nationwide demonstrations emerged in Brazil. Tonight marked the third set of demonstrations in Porto Alegre. It has been an interesting last few days. Confirmation of fascist elements within the crowds last Thursday both here and in Sao Paolo had people concerned about potential violence tonight. In fact, we witnessed some of this at last Thursday’s march, from an overpass, two groups of youths tearing into each other, punching, kicking, running and chasing. I turned to a fellow demonstrator and instinctively asked whether he thought they could be anarchists or fascists. He said he couldn’t tell, and suggested they may have been rival gangs. It’s now certain the small group of hoodlums we saw were fascists fighting youth members of the PSTU (Socialist Workers Party).
On top of this, tonight’s demonstrations had been heavily promoted by the almost unanimously rightwing media. We didn’t know what to expect. The demonstrations were called for 6pm; we arrived an hour early.
It was an absolute delight to see the crowds form tonight. The first organized groups on the scene were the anarcho-syndicalists, drumming and chanting clever slogans such as “this is our education” and “schools over stadiums”. Over the course of the hour at least 5 unions and 2 student organizations joined as well.
The presence of labour and the student movement is coupled with a distinct absence of political parties. It is a clear indication that the movement in Porto Alegre has staying power and will not be co-opted by the Right. A student assembly has been called for this Thursday, we’re expecting upwards of 10,000 to attend and begin the process of crystallizing demands. More history has yet to be written on the life of class struggle here.
Videos from last night: