Basic Income in Recife (PE): project debates the

To foment the debate around Basic Income in Recife and its Metropolitan Region, the Brazilian Reality and Regional Question project is taking to five communities a training course for community educators, researchers and articulators for around 200 people. In virtual and face-to-face meetings, participants will discuss the situation in the country and its repercussions in the local context.

The initiative is an extension and research project of the Social Service department of the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) and is carried out with social organizations and popular movements such as the Popular Consultation, Movement of Workers and Workers for Rights (MTD), World March das Mulheres and Popular Levante for Youth, as well as with the support of the mandate of the federal deputy Carlos Veras (PT).

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The movements will take place in three districts of Recife – Várzea, in the West Zone, Brasilia Teimosa, in the South Zone, and Morro da Conceição, in the North Zone -; in Peixinhos, Olinda; Vila Claudete, in Cabo de Santo Agostinho. The first training activity will take place tomorrow (28) to debate the Brazilian and regional reality with professors Itamar Lages and Hosana Celi. The schedule of activities extends until January, divided into four modules.

Coordinator of the project at UFPE, teacher and social worker Evelyne Medeiros explains that the activities were designed based on the pedagogy of alternation. “This is a legacy of popular movements, especially the MST, which is working with moments that we call ‘school time’ and ‘community time’ – different ways of developing the same content”, he says.

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With a food basket costing R$475 and cooking gas R$95, the income transfer program can guarantee dignity for thousands of families / Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil

In addition to presenting themes related to Brazilian social formation, the project will collect data on the reality of life in the communities to support the struggle around Basic Income in Recife. This is because the action is one of the arms of the campaign for the institution of law in the capital.

“We want to strengthen the idea that it is possible and necessary to guarantee this Basic Income. It is a right that has already been conquered but has not been regulated”, says Medeiros. In fact, the policy was already instituted in 2005 in Brazilian territory with the approval of federal law 10.835/2004, but it never got off the ground.

Since the beginning of the year, social movements in Pernambuco have been organized to demand the application of legislation in the capital. “This articulation is made up of a parliamentary front in the Chamber of Aldermen, but we think that the parliament itself will not advance in guaranteeing rights if there is no popular campaign. We need the people to incorporate it into their struggle agenda”, he defends.

In this context, the Brazilian Reality and Regional Question project enters. “One of its consequences is to strengthen the campaign. We want to build a more permanent political agenda, and create popular points of work”, he comments.

The five territories have organized to receive the project. Elisa Maria Lucena, coordinator in Peixinhos, says that the neighborhood will have 60 students in classes distributed in three points: at the Marco Axé Education Center, at Nascedouro de Peixinhos and at the Neighborhood Residents Association.

Places are places where there is political resistance and militancy. Workers from the cultural sector and other community struggle groups are getting involved in the project. “We always say: ‘the course will count on you’. We have people enrolled, fighters who live in the neighborhood, who have a lot to help with the construction of the classes. The exchange with other clays has also been very well received by the public of Peixinhos”, says Lucena.

universal basic income

The covid-19 pandemic rekindled the agenda of the need to implement income and permanent aid, not only in Brazil, but also in the world. “The need for emergency aid as one of the measures to prevent the spread of the virus made the debate enter the political scene. It is a debate that is in dispute; for example, Bolsonaro has his proposal for Auxílio Brasil, but that is not our proposal as a working class. We identify that, if on the one hand it provides income, on the other hand it takes rights”, points out Lucena.

Auxílio Brasil was a program created by President Jair Bolsonaro in August, placed as a substitute for Bolsa Família. “Within this platform, women would receive income to put their children in private day care centers. This is not our fight. Amidst the increase in poverty, hunger and unemployment, we need a policy that, in our view, is transitional and linked to other rights. A universal basic income not conditioned to anything, which comes together with the strengthening of public policies”, he defends.

Evelyne Medeiros states that the universal basic income campaign is a strategy against welfare. “Universal basic income, in this perspective that we defend, has to be linked to the Unified Social Assistance System and not be a government policy, but a state policy.”

“I think that Basic Income is very important today and putting it as a right is even facing up to the idea that aid in an emergency condition can solve the people’s problem. At a time when a large part of the public budget is increasingly for those who have more, this is a way of questioning the use of public money. To reinforce this agenda is to reinforce the historic right that the State has to guarantee decent living, housing and work conditions for the people, who pay their taxes much more than the big businessmen”, he adds.

Source: BoF Pernambuco

Edition: Vanessa Gonzaga

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