Mass Protests under 'Left Neoliberalism': Brazil, June-July 2013

Alfredo Saad-Filho

The mass movements in June and July 2013 were the largest and most significant protests in Brazil for a generation, and they have shaken up the country’s political system. They expressed a wide range of demands about public service provision and governance, and concerns with corruption. Their social base was broad, starting with students and left-wing activists and including, later, many middle-class protesters and specific categories of workers. The deep and contradictory frustrations expressed by those protests were symptomatic of a social malaise associated with neoliberalism, the power of the right-wing media, the limitations of the federal administrations led by the Workers’ Party (PT), the rapid growth of expectations in a dynamic country, and the atrophy of traditional forms of social representation. This article examines the political dilemmas posed by those movements, and suggests constructive alternatives for the left.

Critical Sociology
Publication/Event Date: 
September, 2013