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From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests-

ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

June demonstrations in Brazil: repertoires of contention and governments response to

protest

Angela Alonso

University of So Paulo

and

Ann Mische

University of Notre Dame

Abstract: This article analyzes the recent wave of political protests in Brazil,

highlighting student movement participation. We will raise four points. First all, this was not a

single student movement, but a cycle of protest, consisting of many different actors, issues, and

forms of demonstration. Second, protesters built what we call "hybrid performances", drawing

on three repertoires of contention: socialist, autonomist and patriotic. Third, the protests

presented a strong rejection of political parties and problematized the relationship between

social movements, political parties, and institutional politics. Finally, we discuss the outcomes

and consequences of these mobilization, especially the state responses to them.

THE JUNE PROTESTS IN BRAZIL

In June 2013, Brazil experienced its biggest national protest wave in two decades. Coming on the

heels of the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, and beginning to ebb as Egyptians were returning to

the street, the Brazilian protests were, in equal measures, exhilarating, perplexing, and troubling.

While many of the participants were young, these protests were not youth or student based per

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From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests-
ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

se. The immediate trigger was an increase in public transportation fares, although the list of

grievances quickly expanded to the precarious state of public infrastructure and services, public

spending on mega-events (including the World Cup and Olympics), corruption, urban violence,

and a fed-up-ness with the state of the country. As with the Turkish protests, the Brazilian ones

expressed a fierce rejection of political parties and institutional politics. Strangely enough,

protest took place in the midst of an economic expansion, a recent increase in the ranks of the

middle class, and a left-of-center government until them enjoying high levels of popular support.

The Brazilian protest also incorporated tools from the repertoire of contention that has

circulating in the recent wave of global protest. Demonstrators faced extensive repression - as in

Turkey - which made the protests more confrontational , although still marked by irreverent

symbolism.

This article aims to understand what happened in Brazil in 2013, with an eye to historical

patterns as well as broader trends in global protest that were unfolding at the same time. We are

not explaining the process of mobilization as a whole, but rather focusing on the upsurge of

massive street protests during June (leaving to the side subsequent developments). We will argue

that the protests in Brazil did not constitute a single social movement, but a cycle of protest,

consisting of many different actors, issues, processes and outcomes that changed quickly over

time, unfolding in divergent ways. While focusing on this broader protest field, we take an in-

depth look at one of the multiple actors protesting, the student movement.

We will focus on understanding two features of this cycle. First, we analyze the repertoire

of contention mobilized through the demonstrations, comparing it to previous Brazilian protest

waves (a diachronic angle) and to other protests in the contemporary global cycle (a synchronic

angle). We argue that protesters performances can be analytically split into two "strategic action

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From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests-
ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

fields" (Fligstein & Mc Adam, 2011), one on the left and the other on the right of the federal

government. Within those fields, many small and independent configurations of actors, with

different goals and backgrounds, performed their own protest at the same time. We will highlight

the tension and competition between socialist, patriotic and autonomist repertoires, from

which actors borrowed forms of expression and action during the events. Second, we examine

the strong rejection of partisanship during the protests, a hallmark also of many other recent

protests around the world. This raises broader questions about the relationship between social

movements, political parties, and institutional politics in the recent wave of global protest.

This is still very preliminary research. Our analysis is based on three types of research.

First, we examined social media discussions, following the protest through Facebook status

updates, links, commentary, and online chats with participants, including those who had taken

part in Brazils previous protest surges (e.g., the urban popular movements, student movement,

labor movement, feminist movement and partisan activism). Additionally, we interviewed

members of groups active during the So Paulo protests (e.g., Movimento Passe Livre -

MPL/Free Fare Movement), local Occupy groups, the urban land occupation movement,

anarchist groups, and adepts of the black blocs tactic, in the immediate aftermath of the protests,

asking them to draw cognitive maps situating the groups they were able to identify in the protests

along a line expressing proximity to and distance from their own positions. We also compiled

data on protest events from the national newspaper Folha de So Paulo. We used these materials

to identify the groups organizing the protests, to map the networks of relations among them, and

the repertoire of contention they relied on.

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

CONTENDING FIELDS IN A CYCLE OF PROTEST

To understand the June 2014 protests, we draw upon recent reconceptualizations of the

contentious politics approach, which has moved toward a dynamic, relational, and culturally

embedded understanding of social movement processes and mechanisms (McAdam et al, 2001;

Tilly, 2008; Tarrow, 2011). We also build upon classical conceptions of cycles of collective

action and repertoires of contention, putting these in dialogue with the concept of strategic

action fields (Fligstein and McAdam, 2012). We argue that as the protest cycle developed, the

protest arena increasingly split into two (partially overlapping) strategic actions fields,

distinguished by different sets of grievances, targets, repertoires, and aesthetic styles. As they

composed these fields, participants generated "hybrid performances" that drew upon elements of

autonomist, socialist and nationalist repertoires, although with different combinations and

emphases across the two fields.

According to Tarrow (1995), a protest cycle consists of a sequence of escalating

collective public demonstrations, with greater than usual frequency and intensity, that spread

through several sectors of society and involve new forms of protesting and organizing. At the

peak of mobilization, social routines are suspended and social creativity brews: innovations in

collective action that they produce are diffused, tested, and refined (Tarrow, 1995:92).

However, innovation and reproduction intermingle and challenge each other. Actors invent, but

they rely on a protest tradition. Tilly describes this interaction between scriptedness and

improvisation:

"Once we look closely at collective claim-making, we can see that particular instances

improvise on shared scripts. []. The theatrical metaphor calls attention to the clustered,

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

learned, yet improvisational character of peoples interactions as they make and receive

each others claims. [...] Like a jazz trio or an improvisatory theater group, people who

participate in contentious politics normally can play several pieces, but not an infinity

[]. " (Tilly, 2006, p. 35).

The finite forms of contention used in a certain society in a given time compose its

repertoire. While acting contentiously, actors build up their performances by borrowing from

modular strategies of political action and expression tested by former movements elsewhere.

Within that limited array [the repertoire], the players choose which pieces they will perform

here and now, in what order (Tilly, 2008, p. 14). Actors deal with repertoires as if they were

"tools kits" (Swidler, 2001), without concern about coherence, rather they adapt them to their

local context and political tradition. In the June protests, participants acted in this fashion,

picking tools from contemporary global repertoires and from local traditions; they adapted and

mixed them, while building up their own, hybrid and original political performances.

Since actors mix symbols and expressive forms, using available political tools to express

their grievances in a particular conflict, there was not a perfect match between specific actors and

specific repertoire. Repertoires work as loose orientation to action. The multiplicity of possible

combinations of elements made feasible many ways to perform non-satisfaction in the June

protest in Brazil. Actors created manifold hybrid political performances to expressed claims,

which were not just hybrid but also competitive among themselves.

The notion of "strategic action fields" helps to understand this heterogeneity. Fligstein &

McAdam (2001:7) define these as "socially constructed arenas within which actors with varying

resource endowments vie for advantage" . Strategic action would be "the attempt by social actors

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

to create and maintain stable social worlds by securing the cooperation of others. (...). The

creation of identities, political coalitions, and interests serves to promote the control of actors

vis-a-vis other actors". In the Brazilian protests, we distinguish between two oppositional

strategic action fields, composed of diverse but mutually-oriented sets of challengers to state

authority who constructed loosely convergent understandings of what the protests were about,

even if they did not all converge to same claims, targets, and practices. Although all of the

protesters made claims on and against the government, they drew boundaries among themselves,

creating two separate fields, in terms of the symbols, images and slogans that they presented.

ATTRIBUTIONS OF OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS

Protest cycles are fueled by changing attributions of political opportunities and threats on the part

of protestors; actors shifting interpretations of and responses to the evolving political

conjuncture can both intensify and dampen protest (McAdam et al, 2001). These shifts are both

political and cultural they include political events, institutions, and policies at the local,

national, and international levels, as well as the public images, discourse, and debate that inform

interpretations and responses to this conjuncture on the part of the population.

The attributions of political opportunities and threats feeding the emerging protest cycle

in Brazil had five main factors. The first opportunity was generated externally, consisting of the

two recent global cycles of protest, in 2011 and 2013, in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America

and the United States. These protests had given global salience to the autonomist repertoire of

contention, which had emerged in the 1999 Seattle protest, but assumed visibility in recent

protests, e.g., the Spanish Indignados, anti-austerity protests in Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and

elsewhere, the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, student protests in Chile, Argentina, and in the

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From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests-
ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Occupy movement. Together they diffused the image of a return to the streets, highlighting

protest as an efficient way to make claims visible, especially to media-savvy young people, who

usually rely on internet to express themselves.

Although connected to the international scene, another factor was internal: the placement

of global mega-events, the 2013 Confederation Cup and the 2014 World Cup, in Brazil. Those

events, and the construction related to them (stadiums, airports, roads, etc), brought to the public

sphere a discussion of state priorities, while pointing out FIFAs stadiums both as a model to

follow in terms of public policy efficiency, and as something to be avoided in terms of process

(accusations of corruption, over-spending, and worker endangerment). This discussion appeared

in newspapers, the internet and television broadcasts, generating a "discursive opportunity" to

frame grievances in terms of a "FIFA standard" in public services.

A third factor changing assessments of political opportunities was the weakening of the

public appeal of the Workers Party (PT) government among some social sectors. After a long

stretch at the federal government (since 2000) and the success of its policies for inequality

reduction, the government started to face the limits of its politics. In the last decade, Brazil

experienced a rapid social change, including a redistribution of income that affected the social

structure. As a result, there were social groups who won and who lost prestige, power and

resources. While this transformation may have been the result of a long-term process, it has

largely been identified with the PT government. The effects of redistributive policies were

accentuated by the expansion of higher education, thanks to focal policies bringing members of

lower social strata into the university. As a result, there is a new and larger segment of educated

youth, coming from mixed social origins, and that grew up in the context of a stable economy

and democratic regime. Unlike their parents generation, they do not view Brazil through the

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

prism of dictatorship and inflation, rather, they see the PT government as the status quo, an

unable to respond to their expectations in terms of quality of public policies and services,

especially related to education, urban mobility and access to consumption.

A fourth factor is the style of interaction between the state and social movements that

President Dilma Roussefs government put in motion. During Fernando Henrique Cardosos

term (1995-2002), the government incorporated agendas from some social movements (such as

the environmental movement), and restricted the power of unions, while implementing popular

councils and public hearings as a space to voice social grievances without mobilization. These,

plus a stable economic and institutional landscape, contributed to the decline of mobilizations,

with some protests, but not huge demonstrations (Alonso et al, 2005. Hochstetler and

Keck, 2007; Guimares, 2013). The pattern continued into the Lula government (2003-2011),

which pursued a systematic policy of incorporation of social agendas and activists in the

formulation of policies (the black and feminist movements are examples). At the same time,

economic prosperity and the effectiveness of public policies deflated many of the material

demands and created a new, huge, urban middle social strata, which entered the market by way

of consumption. Although the Lula government suffered corruption accusations (the "monthly

allowance scandal"/mensalo), those charges were mostly prosecuted within political and

juridical institutions, without provoking a cycle of protest.

Roussef started her presidency (2011-2014) in a less favorable economic environment,

but still anchored in high approval rates and following Lulas path of poverty reduction policies,

which benefited mostly the Northeast and small municipalities. However, urban services and

infrastructure, on the agenda since the 1970s, were not addressed by policies of the same scope.

And while her antecessors incorporated social movement agendas and activists, the Roussef

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

government largely closed its doors to them. She conveyed her government as more technical

than political, showing little flexibility and openness to negotiate. This combination of unsolved

urban problems, public concern with corruption and absence of dialogue between the

government and social movements provided the conditions for the emergence of protests in June

2013, while signalizing to the new malcontents that protest would be a more viable strategy to

express grievances.

The final important component of the political conjuncture was the backfiring of police

repression in the early days of the protests. All of the preceding factors describe reasons to

criticize the government, and many social movements had been voicing these criticisms for a

long time. However, the immediate trigger that brought a multitude to the streets seems to have

been the violent police response to the early protests against transportation fare increases

(initiated by the PSDB-controlled state government of So Paulo, but spread to Rio de Janeiro

and cities run by other political parties). This in turn generated a cascade of "indignados", who

came to the streets in response to police violence.

These political conjuncture were common to all actors in June. However, actors act

according the interpretations they build of it (Kurzman, 1997). Actors located in different

regions of the political field perceived the situation quite differently, and thus protested for

different reasons, with different motivations, grievances, and repertoires of protest.

AN EMERGING CYCLE OF PROTEST

When demonstrations began in Brazil, many commentators described them as a single social

movement with a clear target the public transportation fare increases comparable to the 1984

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Diretas J [Direct Elections Now] and 1992 Fora Collor [Out with Collor] campaigns.

However, the following days revealed a more heterogeneous scene.

According to Tilly (2004:308), a social movement consists of repeated public

demonstrations in the public space by a large number of people in defiance of the state and in the

name of securing more rights for a given population. This definition would apply to the Free

Fare Movement (Movimento Passe Livre MPL), which organized the first protests against the

transportation fare hikes. However, afterwards, many other actors, including different social

movements, came to the street and many protests emerged, one after the other, without a clear

coordination, forming a cycle of collective action (Tarrow, 1995). During the peak month of the

cycle (June 2013), at least 178 events took place, with the highest concentration on June 20.

The Free Fare Movement (MPL) consists of a small, flexible direct action style group

that had been staging innovative protests in several cities over the past decade, calling for free

access to public transportation. While it had developed out of former student groups, it adopted

a more autonomist direct action approach that distinguished it from the traditional student

movement. The MPL is officially apartisan, although it had formed alliances with some left-

wing opposition parties. MPL protests just entered the national stage after June 11, came to

public attention after violent repression was captured on social and mainstream media, creating

a media boom." As the mobilization expanded over the next week in protest over police

violence (along with solidarity protests by the Brazilian diaspora worldwide). Figure 1 consists

of an online graphic (posted on June 18) that describes this evolution through the explosion of

nationwide protests on June 17, and the peak, huge nationwide protests on June 20, with

millions of people in the streets in over 100 cities. The term "revolution" is exaggerated, but it

gives an idea of the intensity that the actors attributed to their experience.

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Figure 1: "The Evolution of the Brazilian Revolution"

Source: http://kajuink.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/understand-the-evolution-of-the-brazilian-

revolution/

This mechanism of rapid movement expansion is familiar to social movement analysts:

disproportionate police response to a small, radical flank movement, captured on media sources,

provokes a backlash of indignation and anger among a broader swath of the population, bringing

more people to the streets. This generates a scale shift (McAdam et al 2001) as the movement

bursts the borders of the original claims and becomes home to a somewhat unruly intermingling

of actors and projects, including many people who had never protested before. This is the

exhilarating part of the recent wave of worldwide protests with similar patterns in Tahrir

Square, Zuccotti Park, Gezi Park.

After the episodes of police repression by state and municipal governments (most of

which were not run by the PT), the diversity of social groups engaged in protest multiplied. As

common in cycles of protest, there was an escalating sequence of collective public

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

demonstrations, with higher frequency and intensity, that spread across sectors of society and

turned to new forms of protest and organization. Several consecutive demonstrations planned on

Facebook materialized in the streets, as well as several micro-movements, many of them

relatively new, such as MAL (Autonomous Libertarian movement), MAU (Unified Autonomous

Movement), Milharal, Acampa/Ocupa (Camp/Occupy), CMI (Independent Media Center), DAR

(De-stupefying Reason). Added to these were the new independent media (Ninja Media, Black

Media, Vrzea Radio, Brasil de Fato, etc.) and some of the more established social movements,

such as the black, LGBT, and housing movements. The traditional student organizations (UNE,

UBES, etc.) were also present in most of the major protests, but they played a different role than

in Brazils previous protest cycles, raising the question of to what degree the June protests can be

considered a student movement.

WAS THIS A STUDENT MOVEMENT?

The cycle of protest brought many people to the streets, on a broad geographical scale. Most

demonstrations occurred in the major metropolises; however the mobilization reached even the

small towns. Demonstrators were also diverse among themselves. Broad, mass-based social

mobilizations are usually cross-class. The broader the platform, the more varied its support. In

So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two largest cities in the country, a diversity of actors came to

the streets: the professional middle class; the new and precarious working middle class; an

expanded sector of higher education students; and even lower social strata from the marginalized

urban peripheries. Hence, demonstrations were not class-based; rather they expressed older

social strata as well as newer ones, produced by the demographics changes and social

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

distribution of income policies. All this complexity appeared in the demonstrations; however we

will focus just on one specific participant, the students, the theme of this special issue.

Students and student-based organizations participated in many of the protests. The MPL

grew out of student-initiated protests in Salvador and Florianopolis against fare increases in

2003-05 (the movement of the turnstyles). MPL organized at least seven protests in So Paulo

in June. Their tactics involved semi-anarchistic direct action techniques such street occupations

and turnstyle jumping. The movements statement of principles (approved by consensus at

several national encounters) describes itself as autonomous, apartisan, independent and

horizontal, with a focus on changing the logic of urban mobility and fighting inequalities,

broadly defined. While not specifically socialist (and rejecting formal associations with

political parties, NGOs, religious organizations and financial institutions), the MPL fights for

for a free public transportation for all and allied with an anti-capitalist, collectivist social

movement sector:

The perspective of the MPL must be to mobilize young people and workers towards the

expropriation of public transportation, removing it from the private sector, without

compensation, and placing it under the control of workers and the population. Thus, the

MPL should be built based on demands that exceed the limits of capitalism, therefore

joining other revolutionary movements that challenge the existing order. (Charter of

Principles, MPL website, http://saopaulo.mpl.org.br/apresentacao/carta-de-principios)

In addition to the MPLs leadership of the early rallies, the press pointed out the presence

of "student movements" in a generic fashion. There were many different registers of "students"

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

participating in demonstrations, coming to the streets via diverse pathways, however, the

traditional student organizations, that were coordinating the campaign for President Collors

impeachment in 1992, did not have the same protagonism in the initial stages of 2013

mobilization. Historical centralized student associations (UNE, UBES, UEE, etc.) and the

DCEs (Diretrios Centrais dos Estudantes/university-based student directorates) joined the

protests more as "latecomers" than as "early risers" (McAdam, 1995). In fact, UNE held its

national congress in early June, just as the transportation rallies organized by MPL were starting

up, and there is barely any foreshadowing on its Facebook page of the coming protest wave or

against the transportation fare hikes. The first mention of the transportation protests on UNEs

Facebook page is in reference to the June 11 rally organized by the MPL in So Paulo (in which

UNE and UBES participated, but not as organizers). The webpage also posted a notice that

UNE had signed a letter repudiating the police violence after the June 13 protests. During the

major national protests on June 17-20 they posted pictures of the rallies and sent out team to do

reporting, but did not play a coordinating role. In the weeks that followed, UNE tried to focus

its mobilizing efforts on its own ongoing campaign for Brazil to dedicate new state oil profits

for education.

The participation of traditional student organizations in the mobilizations was met with

skepticism by many of the protestors, including some of the organizers of the early protests. In

an interview, an MPL member complained that the student organizations were taking a (free)

ride on the protests. They denounced the intense use of the media by the traditional student

organizations in trying to present themselves as earlier partners or organizers of the first

protests, which they were not. This sentiment echoed in the many hostile comments posted on

UNEs Facebook page, many of which accused UNE of opportunism and selling out (an

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

accusation repudiated by UNEs defenders on the site). As the rallies became about more than

the 20 cents [of the fare increase], some commenters questioned why UNE was less quick to

embrace the anti-corruption banner and the critique of spending on the World Cup and

Olympics. The answer had to do with UNEs presumed alliance with the governing PT and

with the fact that the Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), the party controlling UNE for the

past three decades, was in charge of the Ministry of Sports.

In this context, many of the traditional leftist student groups feared a loss of control of

student protests, an uneasiness that was often expressed as a critique of the lack of direction

of the mobilizations. These fears have some grounding. Although our dataset is still not

completed, the data we have for June shows that while media reports mention participation of

students or student movement in most of the events, only a few of these mentioned a

specific organizational name. UNE and UBES were not mentioned at all. University-based

student organizations such as the DCEs are mentioned more in regional protests (in Porto

Alegre, Florianoplis, Santa Maria and Recife). Some dissident left-wing student organizations

do show up in the reporting of the protests in early June (as well as one in favor of the

legalization of marijuana on June 8). These include Juntos!, a student faction associated with

left opposition party PSOL, as well as ANEL (Free National Assembly of Students), a smaller

national student organization founded as an alternative to UNE in 2009, with ties to the PSTU.

ANEL advocated political independence in relation to the federal and state governments,

positioning itself against many PT and PC do B student leaders, who were seen as connected to

the Roussef government. While socialist in orientation, ANEL advocated direct action tactics

and internal democracy within the student movement and thus had some affinities (and

possibly collaborations) with the autonomist direct action approach advocated by the MPL.

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

The earliest protests (June 3-10) thus stemmed from a radical autonomist direct-action

style student group (the MPL) with loose ties to dissident opposition wings of the socialist

student movement. During the next phase of movement expansion in response to police

repression (June 11-20), many activists and organizations in Brazils broad progressive sector

turned out to the streets. However, as Brazilians began to appear in the streets at a massive scale

including people who had never before taken part in a political mobilization - it became clear

that the tone, and emerging repertoire of these protests was diversified.

REPERTOIRES OF CONTENTION: CULTURAL SOURCES

During the June cycle of protest, actors borrowed from three broad repertoires of contention

while constructing their political performances. We will call them the socialist, autonomist and

patriotic repertoires, and consider these as "tools kits" (Swidler, 2001) from which actors took

elements to build their hybrid performances. These repertoires are international, in the sense of

having being used by social movements worldwide. The socialist repertoire is well known and

had been highly visible in Brazils earlier protest waves in the 80s and 90s; it consists of highly

committed activist communities, public displays of organizational membership (e.g., via red

banners, T-shirts with partisan or movement symbols, party badges, flags), centralized and

hierarchical organization, and high leadership visibility, both in public forums (assemblies,

councils, coalitions) and in street protest. Their claims center around a critique of capitalist

exploitation, social inequality and exclusion, and political and economic elites. Many of Brazils

previous protest cycles had a strong presence of the socialist repertoire, which was shared to

varying degrees by the student, popular, labor, and land reform movements.

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ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

The autonomist repertoire, which gained global attention during Seattle protests, can be

seen as reframing of the 19th century anarchist forms of organizing that reject centralized

leadership and authority, particularly the state, and the acceptation of confrontational forms of

contestation. Recent elements that have be appearing in youth-based movements worldwide

include conventional non-violent marches, direct action (such as sit-ins and occupations), and

public displays of resistance, including black bloc tactics, the burning of objects and damage of

symbols of state and economic power. This repertoire includes horizontal organizing forms that

generate alternative sources of power outside of the state, and rejects the goal of seizing state

power altogether (Holloway 2003; Sitrin 2006; Zibechi 2010).

The third repertoire, which we call "patriotic," is a form of nationalism that always has

particular historical and situational meaning. In Brazil it received its content from a local

political tradition built up during two previous major waves of nationwide protest, the Diretas-

J, and Fora Collor.

The first cycle, Diretas J, consisted of a campaign for direct elections for president the

1984, with millions of people in the streets, during the transition from authoritarianism to

democracy. The protest cycle was composed of huge demonstrations and strikes, involving

independent trade unions and urban popular social movements originating in the urban

peripheries, often informed by a socialist rhetoric, as well as teachers, public servants, religious

leaders and professional movements (Sader, 1986). This cycle brought together groups of

different social positions rallying for different causes for changes in labor and urban living

conditions (e.g., sanitation, education, health, and transportation services), against inflation and

unemployment, and for political amnesty -, but coalesced into an unifying masterframe of

"Redemocratization." The events consolidated a patriotic repertoire of contestation, with

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preferential actions (marches), symbols (the anthem, the flag, national colors), and organizational

models (the verticalized internal hierarchy). The effects of this cycle have remained visible in

Brazilian politics. Many of its claims came to be codified as political and social rights in the

1988 Constitution, which became an authoritative document supporting the agenda of many

social movements, concerned with health, social services, education, housing, land reform, the

environment, minority rights, and similar issues

Another major cycle of protests arose in Brazil in late 1991, when a number of civic,

religious, labor and student organizations began to articulate their opposition to corruption in the

government of Fernando Collor de Melo, along with criticisms of high inflation and economic

liberalization. As the extent of government corruption was revealed in media and congressional

investigations in 1992, this opposition began to hit the streets. During the Rio-92 (the United

Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in June),

traditional and "new" social movements indigenous, labor, environmental, feminist and other

movements confronted the government and provided some of the organizational basis for an

Impeachment campaign, which erupted into massive demonstrations in August. The Fora Collor

mobilization, like the Diretas J, congregated various social movements, oppositional parties,

trade unions, professional associations, religious leadership and wide swath of Brazils organized

civil society. However, the 1992 protests were largely identified as youth and student

protests, projecting the leadership of the National Union of Students (UNE) - and secondarily

other student organizations - UBES, UEE, DCEs, CAs (Mische, 2008). This cycle congregated

claims around the common masterframe of "ethics in politics," along with a negative agenda, the

critique of corruption in the political system. It also revived the Diretas J campaigns patriotic

repertoire: massive non-violent marches through the countrys major cities and uses of national

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symbols and slogans, with the addition of an aesthetic innovation: the festive pageantry of the

caras pintadas (painted-faces), young protestors who painted their faces the colors of the

Brazilian flag.

The June 2013 cycle of demonstrations inherited from the two previous ones this patriotic

repertoire, with its national symbols and focus on public demonstrations (from the

Redemocratization cycle) and anti-corruption claims (from the Fora Collor). While some sectors

of the 2013 protests explicitly positioned themselves against the organizational legacy of these

previous waves especially the hierarchical structures of traditional parties, unions and social

movement organizations - the continuities are also clear.

HYBRID REPERTOIRES IN STRATEGIC ACTION FIELDS

In the June 2013 protests, actors created hybrid political performances, drawing upon different

combinations, adaptations and uses of the symbols, expressive forms and slogans from global

(autonomist and socialist) and local (patriotic) repertoires in order to express their claims.

Although there is no correspondence between actors and repertoires, two distinct "strategic

action fields" stand clear, when considerating the uses of repertoires and positioning of actors in

the social space. These fields are in tension with each other, and are not internally consistent, but

consist of hybrid repertoires, multiple organizational foci, and smaller independent mobilization

outbreaks. Nevertheless, some dominant trends reflect the main dimensions of differentiation

within the protest cycle.

We call one of the fields patriotic, since it was dominated by the patriotic repertoire;

this field was often antagonistic towards the socialist repertoire, even as it incorporated some of

the calls for expanded social services that had traditionally been associated with the socialist left.

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The other field calls itself autonomist, although it had elements of the socialist orientation

(e.g., in the collectivist demands of MPL), even while rejecting traditional hierarchical forms of

organization. There is also evidence of some fascist and right-wings groups, who gravitate

toward the patriotic register. However these do not seem to be either prevalent or precocious in

the mobilization. The early round of smaller protests were dominated by the autonomist field

(MPL and allied groups), while the patriotic field grew as the protests expanded to the broader

population. While there was overlap and exception, our data suggests that these two repertoires

encompass the two major fields of engagement during the June protests, displacing the earlier

dominance of the socialist repertoire.

The patriotic field consisted mostly of protesters without any previous activism, who

joined the protests individually, summoned to the streets by what they saw in the press and the

internet. Their actions were expressive and playful, without any coordination. Their purpose was

immediate and expressive. They were moved by vague nationalism and a strong anti-PT

sentiment, and stood mostly to the right of the government. Posters, clothing, flags and face

painting revived patriotic symbols from the Diretas J and Fora Collor cycles, echoing the

latters slogans of opposition to corruption and ethics in politics. In terms of symbolism, the

patriotic repertoire was visible in its use of national colors (green/yellow); conventional symbols

such as the flag, the national anthems (you will see that your child does not run from a fight);

slogans (the giant has awakened); and canonical spaces (such as the Avenida Paulista, used in

the former cycles).

The autonomist field has a much clearer delineation, composed of many small but well-

organized movements (such as the MPL), that had previously engaged in sustained, multi-year

campaigns of political activism, with in-person meetings for the planning of events. In this case,

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new technologies and social media (such as text messages) were used less for organizing the

protest than for coordination between the groups during the events. This field was guided by the

autonomist repertoire that emerged in the Seattle protests in 1999 and had been adopted by

global justice activism , with strong expression during the World Social Forums that began in

Porto Alegre in 2001, and not just from Latin America and Western Europe, which has always

served as a model for Brazil, but also to places such as Egypt and Turkey. The Turkish and

Egyptian protests were developing concurrently with the Brazilian mobilizations, with cross-

posting on social media.

From this global repertoire, Brazilian protesters appropriated slogans, images, symbols

and protest techniques. This includes horizontal forms of organization, rejection of gender

hierarchy and formal political leadership, and decision-making by consensus, in contrast with the

hierarchical socialist movements of the 1980s and 1990s (such as the student organizations, the

labor unions, and the landless workers movement). These groups replaced electronically

amplified sound-trucks with playful chants (the jogral), in which the first row of protestors

shouts out short phrases repeated by consecutive rows all the way down to the last row. Global

symbols were incorporated, such as the punk aesthetic (wearing black), the use of arts and music

(such as the fanfare of MAL the Autonomist Libertarian Movement), performatic actions (the

burning of turnstiles and the occupation of symbolic spaces (such as a fancy new bridge in a

neighborhood recently occupied by banks, businesses and major media outlets). Autonomists

favor direct action, often taking disruptive and confrontational forms. Organizational forms are

not a mere means; they express the guiding matrix of the demonstrations, the anarchism, which

sometimes brings along with it forms of violent action, such as the Black Bloc strategy (Dupuis-

Deri, 2010).

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The autonomist repertoire was the novelty of this cycle of protest. The more

decentralized form of organization can be seen as a reaction to the democratic centralism that

long characterized the Brazilian left and is the basis of small leftist parties. It also points to the

exhaustion of the socialist ideal as the only guide to movements and the emergence of a new

normative orientation to public demonstrations. Groups that are explicitly socialist have, for the

most part, become parties (PSTU, PSOL, PCO, etc.), while new movements (environmental,

feminist, anti-discrimination) crystallized as NGOs. Dissatisfaction with both models paved the

way for a reframing of anarchist ideals, in which horizontal form of organization align nicely

with the new technology based in the internet. An old ideology is thus combined with a

contemporary form

The two "strategic action fields" in the June mobilization constituted social spaces in

which hybrid performances were created and disseminated in the public arena. In one field,

patriotic symbols and slogans appeared more consistently, while on the other, the autonomist

repertoires were more widespread. However, these were not pure types; some actors mixed both

repertoires, or combined them with claims and symbols associated with the socialist repertoire.

So we are talking here about repertorial dominance, not exclusivity or purity.

CONTENDING CLAIMS IN A DIVIDED FIELD

A parallel cleavage between strategic action fields can be detected in the criticisms and demands

voiced by different groups of protestors. As it expanded, the June cycle of protest attracted a

broader array of adherents who brought their own agendas, often leading the early risers to

modify their grievances. Through the cycle three broad areas of claims coalesced:

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Table 1. Protest Themes

Category Protest theme Examples of slogans

Incitement to protest Call to mobilization Come to the streets, the giant has

and reaction to awakened, wake up, Brazil

violence

Against violence and Without Violence, Enough of war: for

defense of peaceful another police

protests

Better state services Improvement in public If the fare does not go down So Paulo will

and policies and policies and services stop, Schools and Hospitals at Fifa Standards

guarantee of rights (transportation, education,

health)

For justice, freedom of For the Liberty to Proclaim ones own Beliefs

expression, against Against the Gay Cure

homophobia

A smaller state and Against corruption, Passive people, active corruption, Either the

anticorruption political institutions, robbery stops or we stop Brazil

legislative, executive,

political parties and

politicians

One of the thematic axes is the inciting of the protest itself (Come to the streets), i.e.,

the call for more people to take to the streets. This theme emerged after the police repression,

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often accompanied by a plea against violence (sem violncia!/ no violence), police violence in

particular.

The two other axes point to major themes, both of them related to the former cycles. On

one side, there was a positive agenda, for the expansion of public services and social rights. The

original public transportation claims expanded to include a plethora of grievances: complaints

about precarious urban infrastructure and urban violence. The agendas of consolidated social

movements appeared a bit later: issues related to sexuality and gender (LGBT rights, slut

walks, etc), race equity, and labor rights (teachers, doctors, truck drivers). As a whole, those

actors presented a plea for more efficient state administration and the improvement of social

policies and services such as transportation, health care, and education, as well as guarantees of

human and social rights (and an end to police violence). This was a demand for a stronger and

better state (as in the common trope during the protests: to live up to Fifa Standards).

On the other side, there was a negative agenda, against the expansion of the state, which

was depicted as inefficient, dysfunctional and corrupt. Grievances included calls for less

taxation, less corruption and a reduction in swollen government spending. This conservative

sector saw the state as obstacle to their business, careers and even values; they criticized political

institutions and politicians and demanded the elimination of malfunctioning state agencies. They

wanted a reduced state, and they tended to be virulently opposed to President Roussef and the PT

government.

Hence, varied social segments shared some of the same frustrations as dissatisfaction

with state inefficiency but not all of the same demands. The same can be said about the

normative orientation of the protests. Some protestors questioned capitalism as a way of

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organizing society and the economy, whether from a socialist or autonomist perspective.

However, others protested in favor of market freedom, and in favor of a neoliberal state.

This differentiation in claims separates the two strategic action fields. All of the

protesters were making claims on and against the government: for state efficiency (including

pleas for a better and/or a smaller state), against partisanship (opposition to political

representation by parties, to the PT government or for self-government), and against police

repression. However they did not make these claims in a homogeneous fashion. Instead, they

constituted two oppositional fields, one situated to the left and the other to the right of the

national government, which is occupied by a center-left coalition.

PARTISAN HOSTILITY ON THE LEFT AND RIGHT

Protesters and analysts have classified these events as non-partisan. However, protesters

referred to political parties the entire time, provoking a de facto national debate about the role of

partisanship in Brazilian politics. Interviews with demonstrators suggest that they were

distributed across a spectrum of political positioning. When asked to map the field, interviewees

split the spectrum of protestors into two halves; they identified one half as being to the left of

center and the other to the right, with the center occupied by the state. Since the government had

been led by the PT since 2003, it is therefore appropriate to ask whether the protesters genuinely

had no party, or were anti-PT. In this sense, participants were still guided by the party system,

either in their quest for alliances or as an object of contestation. There was no general entity that

we can characterize as the streets"; rather there was a major divide within the demonstrations,

which mirrored the divide within the political system itself. This point is worth highlighting.

Since the Redemocratization period, Brazil's demonstrations had been mostly leftist in

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orientation. After a decade of center-left governments, a more eclectic mix has taken to the

streets.

The traditional left was taken aback by the ferocity of opposition to political parties,

expressed at many of the protests with chants such as The people, united, dont need parties

and We dont have a party. We are Brazil. This aggressive response was exacerbated by the

fact that the night before the massive June 20 protests, the national president of the PT urged its

militants to proudly reassert their right to the streets by wearing red (a symbol of the socialist

repertoire). To many first time protestors, this display signaled the same old, same old." In So

Paulo, Rio, and other cities, identifiable partisan activists (i.e., those carrying flags or banners, or

wearing party T-shirts) were harassed, shouted down, and in some cases beaten or chased off the

streets. In So Paulo, partisan activists had to form a human chain to protect themselves from

attack, as party flags were seized and burned by hostile protestors.

This is not to say, however, that most of the protestors were physically attacking party

activists; the vast majority of participants were non-violent. Calls for the rallies to be without

violence" were as strong as the call for them to be without party". Just who was responsible for

the violence was not clear. In any case, these actions were denounced by many on the left as

fascist and right-wing, drawing analogies to the suppression of political parties by Mussolini

and the Brazilian dictatorship. Many long-time progressive activists were deeply unsettled by the

virulence of the anti-partisan hostility, and began to withdraw from the rallies after June 20. The

MPL denounced the anti-partisan aggression and declared that, having won a fare reduction, it

would stop organizing protests (only to reappear a few days later calling for protests focusing on

health and housing alongside popular movements in So Paulos poor periphery). Other groups

of varying political persuasions vowed to continue the mobilizations, but after that point the

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mobilization began to split and fragment into a number of smaller, more thematic protests. Some

of these focused on corruption and taxes, some on improving social services (transportation,

health care, education, housing), and others on LGBTQ rights and gender equity.

Why this intense hostility towards parties? The answers are complex, and cannot be fully

elaborated here; suffice it to say that there many good reasons to be frustrated with political

parties, in Brazil and elsewhere. Brazil has a long history of ambivalence toward parties and

partisanship, given the history of corporatism and cooptation. On the left, parties have played

crucial roles in movements for democracy, workers rights, public services, education and land

reform since the 1980s (Mische, 2008). But they have also struggled with a tendency toward

sectarianism, opportunism, and bureaucratism. Recently, there has been widespread

disappointment with the corruption that some PT leaders have engaged in, as well as with many

government projects (such as the costly of the World Cup and Olympics). In the progressive

sector, there was also anger at the fact that the government had appointed a racist, gay-bashing

pastor to head the congressional human rights commission. A general apoliticism on the part of

much of the population intensifies this hostility toward parties.

The opposition to political parties taps into both the patriotic and autonomist fields. To

the patriotic sector, the anti-partisan sentiment signaled a craving for unity as a nation above

partisan divisions, and a sense that they did not feel represented by any of the existing parties.

These assertions of national unity were often associated with varying degrees of criticism of the

PT regime. Some of these sectors focused most often on government corruption and the need for

tax reforms; others focused on precarious social services and general frustration with urban life.

Another important source of partisan pushback came from the autonomist sector. For

example, the Occupy Brazil Facebook site aligned with the autonomist wing posted a series

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of images challenging the left-wing equation of anti-partisanship with fascism. Rather, they

argued for direct democracy as an alternative horizontalist model, not based on partisan

representation. Working on this model, participatory assemblies sprang up in a number of cities,

including Belo Horizonte, Rio and So Paulo, combining traditional movement actors (e.g.,

student, labor and community-based organizations) with newer arrivals. For example, in Belo

Horizonte, the Assembleia Popular Horizontal [Horizontal Popular Assembly] spun off

multiple thematic working groups, carried out an extended occupation of the Municipal Council

building, and campaigned for an investigation of the public transportation sector (among other

issues).

In short, the opposition to partisanship in the June protests was multi-faceted. Among

some protesters, it reflected a craving for national unity, as well as a frustration with the

manipulation, corruption and ineffectiveness of the political class as a whole. For others, it

represented an opportunity to push forward their opposition to the PT regime from the right.

And for still others, it involved a rejection of hierarchical political forms and an affirmation of

the decentralized, horizontal organizing strategy that characterizes emergent sectors of the global

left.

OUTCOMES AND CONSEQUENCES

By definition, a protest cycle has a short life span. As quickly as it grows, it dies.

The June protests in Brazil worked in this fashion. However, this does not mean that everything

that happened in June vanished along with the huge mobilizations. This protest cycle occurred

very recently, so it is not yet possible to identify its legacy. Certain effects may only appear in

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the long run. Nevertheless, some impacts and outcomes have already been quite visible in the

short run.

Four types of consequences can be distinguished: innovations to the repertoires of

contention guiding protests; an innovation to the strategies of repression; changes to public

policies in areas targeted by the protests, and a shift in the style of interaction between state and

social movements.

The first outcome concerns the main topic addressed in this article, the innovations to the

repertoires of contention. The June protest cycle inaugurated in Brazil the extensive use of the

autonomist repertoire, with the proliferation of its symbols, forms of organizing and strategies.

The most astonishing innovation for Brazilian standards was the black bloc tactic. There is no

record of usage of this protest technique in the country - at least not in massive scale - before the

June protests. In this sense, one of the consequences of this protest cycle was the renovation and

expansion of the repertoire of contention, opening new possibilities of political performances and

ways of displaying grievances for social movements. This new repertoire has been in use since

June 2014, and the black bloc tactic, especially, has been extensively adopted by claim-makers at

the end of demonstrations. Once a novelty, this new tactic was quickly incorporated as a routine

practice in the field of protests and has been used continuously since then. Hence, one of the

consequences of this specific social mobilization was a change in the local political tradition,

expanding the available ways of expressing grievances in the public arena.

The second feature this cycle of protests makes clear is that the outcomes of a protest

depend very much on the kind of interaction that state and movements establish through the

conflict, in particular how authorities react to mobilizations. As students of social movements

know, the state can tolerate, try to co-opt or repress claim-makers. Different reactions from the

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state produce different outcomes in the political process. So Paulo is a good case for observing

state responses. As the biggest city in Brazil, with the largest constituency in the country and the

most dynamic in economic matters, So Paulo is a relevant zone for municipal, state and federal

levels of government. The city is also a symbol - nicknamed the "countrys locomotive" -,

disputed by politicians. Hence, So Paulo is a good case for bringing to light how different levels

of authority can respond very differently and even in a conflicting manner to the same political

protest. In the case we are analyzing, there was no such a thing as a unified state response; rather

there was a plurality of governmental responses, and they were quite distinctive, depending on

the party in charge at each level of government.

At the national level, the federal government, occupied by PT, had a hard time and found

great difficulty in dealing with the protests during the cycle, with many contradictory moves -

among them a proposal to hold a plebiscite. However, after the protest cycle started to die down,

the PT government gradually began to approach the social movements, calling meetings,

becoming more open to suggestions, advertising public policies around the key protest themes,

and especially showing no tolerance for any corruption charges, which they had been accused of

by the protesters. The federal government thus responded in two directions: by incorporating

grievances of the movements into the government agenda, and by opening a dialogue with social

movement representatives during Roussefs second term.

At the state level, the response was quite different. The So Paulo state government is run

by PSDB, the main opposition party to the federal government. The governor himself has a

center-right orientation, with a strong focus on security. Accordingly, since the very start of the

protests, the state governments response to the demonstrations was marked by an ostensive

show of police force and massive repression, including momentary brutal violence plus the

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coercion and arrest of protesters. This choice to repress, however, should not be seen simply as

the use of force. Throughout the process, the state government had been learning how to repress.

In the same fashion that protesters resorted to a new repertoire - the autonomist one - the

authorities, in the same vein, looked for new strategies to repress the new specific protest

techniques, especially the black bloc tactic. In the weeks that followed the June protests, the state

government invited police specialists from abroad to come to So Paulo and present more

effective ways of repressing the black bloc tactic. As Della Porta and Tarrow (2013) argue,

claim-makers are not the only ones who rely on common repertoires; authorities can also share a

repertoire of repressive tactics. And, as the authors show, the same repressive repertoire has been

spreading practically alongside the protest tactics developed in Seattle: ostensive policing,

enclosures of streets where demonstrators intend to march, enveloping techniques, rubber bullets,

pepper spray, mass arrests. In Brazils case, we can conclude that one of the effects of the protest

cycle - complementary to the expansion of the repertoire of ways to protest - was an innovation

in the ways to repress protests.

As for the municipal level of government, So Paulo is run, as in the federal level, by PT.

Again, the local answer to the protests in the very beginning was quite confusing, with the mayor

giving signs that he would not attend to the grievances and might even support repressive

measures. However, as the protests grew, his response changed to negotiation and, after the

protests, he made an aggressive turn in public policy concerning the main issue in the beginning

of the protests, public transportation. The mayor started an extensive - and ostensive - shift in

public transportation policy, trying to migrate from the city tradition of privileging cars as the

main type of displacement, to a clear preference for public transportation - with the expansion of

bus corridors along main city avenues. This action was coupled with the creation of bike lanes,

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especially downtown. This shift in orientation is already well under way, but it would have been

unimaginable just months before the protest, when all of the residents of So Paulo had resigned

themselves to living in a car-oriented city. Hence, one of the consequences of social movements

that we can see is a dramatic shift in public policy, which never would have occurred in the short

run had it not been for the June protests: in one year the mayor implemented more bus corridor

kilometers than he had promised for his entire four-year term.

The varied reactions at the national, state and city levels of government show that there is

no such a thing as a "state response" as a whole to protests. Reactions from the authorities are as

multiple and complex as actions from protesters. Therefore, to understand the consequences of

social movements means to look at both sides of the conflict and open both black boxes.

CONCLUSION

The mobilizations in Brazil did not end in June, and neither does our research. Many

demonstrations followed over the next year, and the actors and repertoires shifted. Our goal was

to give an organized account of what happened in June (it was a cycle of mobilization, not a

unified social movement), how it happened (it was oriented mainly by two repertoires), and in

which direction it pointed (toward more or less state intervention, against partisanship), with

particular attention to the role of student groups.

We have emphasized here the diversity of claims, actors and forms of action that

converged to constitute the Brazilian cycle of protest. Hybrid performances were constructed by

the combination of elements from three different repertoires, with the patriotic and autonomist

repertoires dominating. Performances divided into two fields of collective action, with some

actors on the right, others on the left, with the national government as the watershed between

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them. This heterogeneity shows that there was not a single social movement, but the mobilization

of diverse and sometimes contending groups: a cycle of protest, in Tarrows terms.

Despite of that, common traits can be found between the autonomist and patriotic

performances. Both position themselves against the state and demand more autonomy for society

vis-a-vis political institutions. And both contain a romantic trace, a sort of desire for

community," a call for a new social foundation and a new form of political belonging.

While the June protests have continuities with previous Brazilian protest cycles, they also

mark notable shifts. Although the socialist repertoire, which have been dominated Brazilian

mobilizations on the left in the last half century appeared in June, it lost its dominant position

and was displaced by autonomist repertoire. Along with the direct action model and the internal

democratization of the movement, there was also a receptivity among some sectors toward the

use of violence as a political weapon (especially via black bloc tactics), which has grounding

in anarchist roots.

These shifts have provoked discussions on the left on the crisis of representativity of

traditional partisan organizations, leading to the formation of some new movement groups (on

the model of the MPL), asserting their autonomy from parties. Where these diverse and

contending groups will take this newly stirred up mobilizing energy is not clear. Nor it is clear

what relationship these challenger movements will develop with institutional politics. Will they

continue to reject them, or will they develop a multi-pronged repertoire capable of working both

inside and outside of the state?

This analysis leads us to consider some of the limits to the anti-institutionalism of recent

transnational movements. After you throw the bums out, what then? The improvements of

urban services and infrastructure and reducing of social inequalities, the cornerstone demand of

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the protests, depend upon effective functioning government and on electing people to govern.

Despite their limitations, political parties are bridging mechanisms, by which social grievances

and aspirations can be carried into the structures of government. In this light, some recent

commentary has questioned the dichotomy between state and counter-state approaches, calling

for hybrid approach that combines electoral and autonomist movement strategies of social

transformation (Artidti 2008; Foran 2014).

In its strong anti-institutionalist stance, the Brazilian cycle of protest is closely linked to

the recent global waves of protests, in 2011 (the Arab uprisings, the Occupy Movement, the

Spanish Indignados and other European anti-austerity protests, the Chilean student protests) and

2013-14 (Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Ukraine). In all of those cases there were mass

mobilizations, intense anti-partisanship, criticism of the state and the plea for new and good ways

of governing, along with actors emphasizing their autonomy and "spontaneity".

Those conclusions are preliminary, since our fieldwork is still in progress. We hope to

have given you a sense of the internally complex and contested nature of the June protests in

Brazil, while raising broader questions about the relationship between social movements,

political parties, and institutional politics. The fierce debates provoked by the chants of sem

partido continue to reverberate, in Brazil and elsewere. As these movements challenge

powerholders in provocative new ways, they also pose challenges to analysts, who need to

understand these protests in their full breadth and complexity.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This is a completely co-authored article, the order of authorship is just alphabetic. We are

grateful to comments received when this paper was presented, through 2014, at the Seminrio

Sociologia, Poltica, Histria, University of So Paulo, Cebraps seminar series, the Studies of

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From Contention to Social Change: Rethinking the Consequences of Social Movements and Cycles of Protests-
ESA Research Network on Social Movements Midterm Conference 19-20 February 2015 Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain

Politics and Movements Workshop at the University of Notre Dame, the Latin American Studies

Association meeting in Chicago, and the Conference on Catching Up to the Future? Advances

and Challenges in the Politics, Society and Social Policies of Contemporary Brazil, Watson

Institute for International Studies, Brown University.

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