Searching for Hope in Brazil

Ocupa Política, a coalition that brings together politicians and movements from across the country, exemplifies this new generation of progressives. The initiative has already seen success, with the election of 16 legislative candidatures at the federal and state levels in 2018.

Ocupa Política’s members come from multiple parties, and the initiative is managed independently, rather than by partisan structures – allowing it to operate with autonomy, despite its relationship with the party system.

Most of the people involved with Ocupa Política come from social movements, and are brought together by the common goal of occupying institutional politics to fight inequalities, defend human rights, deepen democracy and promote civic engagement.

Áurea Carolina, for example, who was recently elected to Congress by the state of Minas Gerais, emerged from black and feminist grassroots activism to become a political phenomenon.

She is a member of Muitas, a movement bringing together representatives of various causes that range from right to housing, health and education to the promotion of culture and diversity, which has gotten four parliamentarians elected for legislative houses at the city, state and federal levels since 2016. Despite operating at different levels of government, all four unified their staff in a joint team to coordinate action and maximize impact.

Another example is Bancada Ativista, a movement out of São Paulo that has focused on electing activists in recent years. In 2018 they brought nine activists together in a single collective candidature for state deputy which became one of the most voted in the country.

These nine activists will now share a single mandate in São Paulo’s legislative assembly, focused on strengthening progressive agendas and the voice of civil society by building bridges between the streets and the institutions.

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