Civil participation: for the first time, popular movements meet the government transition team

The intention is to strengthen links with the next government; Lula’s inauguration ceremony was also discussed

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | Brasília (Brazil) |
Among the participants of the meeting, there were many popular leaders, including people linked to Frente Brasil Popular (Popular Brazil Front, in English) and Povo sem Medo (People without Fear, in English), Brazil’s two biggest popular movements - Magno Romero/Divulgação

This Thursday (17) and for the first time, representatives of popular movements met, in Brasilia, with interlocutors linked to President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party). Gleisi Hoffmann, who coordinates the political articulation of the transition process, welcomed them.

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Leaders from different sectors attended the meeting. Among them, there were names linked to the Frente Brazil Popular (Popular Brazil Front, in English) and Povo sem Medo (People without Fear, in English), the two biggest of this kind in the country, which bring together dozens of entities each, including movements, unions, collectives, and other civil actors.

Guilherme Boulos, one of the main names of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST, in Portuguese) and a leading figure in the sector, was among the participants at the meeting. Aristides Santos, president of the National Confederation of Rural Workers and Family Farmers (Contag, in Portuguese), also attended the meeting.

“For the movements that have worked in the electoral campaign since the ‘Free Lula!’ acts and the pre-campaign period, it’s a moment to celebrate. To have the opportunity to talk with the government, something we hadn't done for years, is a source of great joy for all [the popular] movements”, said Marcelo Fragozo, secretary of FPB and People Without Fear, to Brasil de Fato. 

He highlighted that “it is not the moment to make demands”. “We aren’t interested in closing the meeting as if it was a moment to complain because [our] demands are being met by the transition commission," Fragozo added.  

Guilherme Boulos (left), one of the main names of the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST, in Portuguese) and a leading figure in the sector, was among the participants at the meeting / Photo: Magno Romero

The civil sector is represented in the team that manages the transition process in different thematic areas, such as the technical groups for Agrarian Development, Education, and Racial Equality.

In addition to the MTST and Contag, there are also the National Confederation of Workers and Family Farmers (Contraf, in Portuguese), the Bahia’s Forum for Family Farming, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB, in Portuguese), the National Confederation of Workers in Education (CNTE, in Portuguese), Uneafro Brasil, the Black Coalition, and the Unified Black Movement (MNU, in Portuguese).

Among the subjects discussed, the newly elected government representatives that joined the meeting with Gleisi Hoffmann are responsible for listing all the civil entities that will be part of the transition process. Civil society leaders requested the meeting. They intend to solidify the historic relationship maintained by this kind of movement with Lula and Workers’ Party actors, the party that held Brazil’s presidency between 2003 and 2016.

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According to Fragozo, the Thursday meeting has a symbolic role, intended to demarcate the presence of the progressive part of civil society on the transition agendas. He adds that the meeting did not focus on specific topics. This is because the different subthemes of interest to the segment are already represented in the technical groups created by the transition coordination, which has 31 thematic areas.

“[The meeting was requested so we could] Talk a bit about what is the perspective of the government transition team on the participation of civil society and its relations with social movements. We will talk more about this point. We also talked about popular mobilization at the inauguration ceremony. That was the main subject discussed. The idea is to make a massive celebration of popular manifestation in Brasilia,” said Fragozo, without giving details. 

A new meeting is scheduled to take place this Friday afternoon (18), but for now, there is no further information. The organizations are preparing for a national plenary session of the popular sector on December 7, when details about the operation to be adopted during Lula's inauguration ceremony will be agreed upon.

Edited by: Thalita Pires e Flávia Chacon