“On March 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm, we decided to drive down Avenida da Liberdade. There would be 500 people behind us, and I remember saying to a policeman, “Maybe we’ll move from the side so I don’t close the whole avenue.” He replied, “No, no. The subway is full and we’ve already cut the city off. They will fill the entire Avenida da Liberdade so please do so. “
The event that saw hundreds of thousands of people thrown on the streets at the Geração À Rasca demonstration across the country. DR
At 3:20 p.m., because the crowd is always a bit late, he has just finished speaking and I see people appear in front of us and arrive from all sides. Then I shuddered. I was a little scared but was very happy to realize that there was a sea of people, something indescribable that I didn’t think could happen. It was maybe the most memorable moment of my life.
The feeling we have, and the motto of the Geração à Rasca 10th anniversary celebrations, is that the precariousness obviously remains. The law made small strides but stayed in the law. There are still many “precariates”, only now has it added another level, namely the rise of the extreme right in Portugal. Not only are labor, economic and social rights, which we considered ten years ago, at risk; Now we add civil and political rights to that.
Then there is now the difficulty of not being able to take to the streets. You can do a lot online, but Geração À Rasca’s protest was probably proof that it’s not the same. We seized a dynamic of the Arab Spring and used Facebook tools not only to express our protest, but also to mobilize for the streets. We saw this dynamic from North Africa and brought it to Europe at a time when it was possible and it was discovered that there were few results in a struggle that began on social networks – as mobilization of tools and even agglutination of people that they were living far away and have the same political interests and concerns – but that doesn’t stop there. What then made the difference was that we took to the streets, me and my friends had that perception, and from that moment we started moving and making it happen.
And the effects have been seen. Regarding inorganic manifestations, Portugal has a before and after the Geração à Rasca. Just as the social movement gave a very visible answer to the question of precariousness in 2011, today it needs to mobilize to address other problems.
It is normal to have the crises of capitalism. What is not normal is that crises are so deep and so close together. I am concerned about the openness that it allows more people to follow ideologies that are not even very rational. When we talk about impulses as basic as survival, the rationality afterwards is very subjective. How do we communicate to respond to fear but with a positive message? For me as an activist and professional in the field of communication, this is a challenge.
We are the generation that experiences two deep crises, perhaps the biggest of the century, in two decisive moments in a row: exactly at the moment when we would enter the labor market and now, if we were minimally established in our professional careers – if there is a career for a precarious to green income.
Not only did we not receive this entry in the normal, agile way, but now that the moment we could advance our careers we could aim to have children, to have a home. We’re talking about the right to have a family and the right to housing, constitutional rights which, when we later see that the economy works without what I think should be more regulation, rights that are required by law, do not do more than that.
In my case, I’ve decided to devote the next ten years to two goals in my activism. The fight for human rights, that is, to ensure that the future of my friends and family lies in a place where rights exist and the rights of all people are guaranteed because this is at risk, and to fight to prevent us can only live in freedom, but literally live. Because there is no point in having rights if we cannot breathe, if we cannot drink water. We need all of this and all of this is interrelated, including people in social movements. And today I see these intersections mostly in my fight. “