So What’s the Ask?

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Tonight the protests will be continue. I’m glad to see the momentum has not slowed and I hope it is peaceful. But the big question is – what exactly are we asking for?

Yes, we want money channeled toward public programs like education and medical centers. Yes, we want the flow of funds into the pockets of politicians to cease.

But somebody better be more specific.

I know from experience that the best way to get what you want it to:

1) know exactly what it is that you want

2) know exactly who it is you want it from

3) know exactly how you want it to get to you

4) ask for something that is actually feasible

Do we really not want anyone to come to the World Cup? Or do we want transparency and a voice in how those revenues are used? (The revenues coming to the actual country might be a much smaller percentage than we think, considering a bunch goes to FIFA and to those who might have made private investments in contracting for the stadiums.) Do we really not want to pay to ride the bus? Or do we just want increases to be reasonable and justified? (Justified meaning that the extra funds actually go to maintaining and improving the system.)

Has anyone put something together?

Asking for change is easy. Drafting a detailed and reasonable proposal that outlines exactly how you want to see that change happen is really hard. Protesting is easy. Negotiating is more difficult. Complaining is easy. Finding actual solutions is a challenge.

So let’s get rolling. Brazilians – what it is you want?

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15 Responses to So What’s the Ask?

  1. Alex says:

    Good points. I think at this point people are just getting themselves together and getting others pumped up, which is really important.

    I for one want this:

    1) No tolerated corruption/everyone who is involved in it is thrown in jail or shown the guillotine.
    2) Better police, which in turn would lower crime rates
    3) Better Education

    ….and in an ideal world, no poverty. But this is a little harder to solve, but is already making itself better without much government help.

    Honestly though, I think that it’s important what’s happening now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen unity like this anywhere before. Everyone I know, literally EVERYONE is so behind this movement. It’s very refreshing, and honestly pretty amazing that this has all bloomed so quickly. The saying ”O gigante acordou” (The giant woke up) is really fitting, because it seems like overnight the people of this country let their festering anger release and are demanding changes.

    I am really excited and happy I am here! It’s definitely a historic point in this country, and I truly believe this is the start of a new era for Brazil. 😀

    • Yes – I think imprisoning those convicted of corruption is a great start. Draining their personal bank accounts to go to public funding might be a stretch, but I’m willing to ask. Getting better police means paying higher salaries to attract better candidates. And I’m a firm believer that Brazil needs a couple television dramas that portrays police as cool heroes (like NYPD Blues, Miami Vice & Law & Order) so that the police can have some pride in what they do. Education is a given. But exactly where does the money come from? What the system needs is transparency to catch the corruption perhaps.

      I agree – I think this is a really exciting time to be in Brazil. If I didn’t have a 5 year old to worry about, I would be out there too.

      Thanks for kicking off the list!!

  2. anna says:
    Brazil Protests Go Viral As Masses Take to Street

    I hope these protests end in sth positive for the country and a disaster for the currently politicians! the last time sth similar happen , president collor was impeached and had to stepped down in 1992.

  3. Erin Halm says:


    I agree with you. There are so many different factions of this protest movement and they all want something different. They have to get organized, define what it is that they really want and then get the message out there. So far, I haven´t heard anyone voice a coherent, unified message. Plus, I think the anarchists and vandals have to be stopped. Looting stores, setting cars and buses on fire and destroying other people´s property, or public property (that will cost more taxpayer money to eventually fix) can´t be part of a legitimate movement.

  4. Marina says:

    An anonymous video manifesto was launched on Facebook!

    • I just saw it! But it is a bit creepy. I feel like I am watching a Saw movie. And why the anonymity? Someone needs to get in front. But it is a start!! Go Brazilians!

      • Marina says:

        Hahah it’s very, very creepy, I think they decided to use it because protestors on the streets have been wearing the V for Vendetta masks as well, since the pop culture symbol represents anti-fascism and an united front, and many have seen reflections in recent happenings of the military dictatorship we suffered from the 60’s through the 80’s.
        And on that note, since the country’s soooo into pop culture, I’m amazed that nobody’s been playing more Chico Buarque and his beautifully layered anti-dictatorship music at this time! Apesar de Voce has been on repeat for me…

  5. nlagoeiro says:

    Moving on from demanding a better everything, brazilians all throughout are definately organizing themselves and sure of what they want, and with whom. In many cities demonstrators are occupying the local council, many meetings are being made to be sure of what they want (in Belo Horizonte they have made somethng called the ‘Horizontal Assembly’ where people come up with what they want and vote on the demands to be sure that is what they want to ask of the mayor – this is open for the public and called ‘horizontal’ because everyone’s opinion is valid, there are no leaders, it is an absolute group effort). And this just goes to show the demands are made by educated, well-informed people who feel the need to get involved in politics because the authorities don’t seem to be working for the people, but more so for the perks of a politician.

    • This is good to know. On our travels, there were some interesting (albeit inconvenient for us on the road) protest that were demanding specific items, just as a better pedestrian bridge for the locals to use to cross the highway. While there are so very many things to fix in the country, as least the people are understanding they have a little power and are, at least initially, making demands that mean something to them.

      • nlagoeiro says:

        Definitely. All the demands people make are because it means something to them. Just two nights ago at the protests Occupy Cabral in Rio, people were demanding different things from them according to how it affects them. There were indians asking to give back Maracanã (after they were thrown out of their place to give way for commercial constructions), as well as teachers asking to not demolish the tenth best school in Rio (which was approved), as well as people protesting against the demolition os a hospital (Iaserj). If the protest seems all over the place its not because the people are all over the place, but because the system and its irregularities and unfairness (as the people see it) are all over the place.

        • That makes sense. While I feel that they could bring change about being more organized with a few key messages, that’s just not Brazil, is it? The beautiful chaos of the country is not going to shift in this scenario.

          • nlagoeiro says:

            No, chaos is part of the beauty. You have to recognise it for what it is – it is a group of individuals. They are all different, come from different social backgrounds, have different understandings. Some are more desperate than others. Others have been fighting for some things for years. Some have political parties, others don’t. Some live in slums, communities, others in guarded buildings. Some are white, others are black (and this sometimes makes a difference to the police). They all have different forms of expression. I dont think it’s fair to expect organisation and a few key messages from the population. (Which in fact, they are in their different regions, but always making it clear they want much more than the few most important demands they have selected). But most of all, the life of this movement is the freedom for people to express themselves, to encourage them to think – they don’t have to think the same things. part of brazilian culture has always been to repress the voices of others. People have always protested, but no one else cared, and a common tactic of the government is to just wait for the people to get tired, and ignore them. So part of this clamour is to say they wont be repressed or ignored. The chaos is very important; it’s individuals representing themselves.

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