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Essays, Justice, States of Exception

Ten Questions on Brazil’s Protests and President Rousseff’s Responses–Chris Iosso




  1. Is there a broader international crisis of the commons in a range of states, and will more public investment solve or avert this crisis?
  2. If Brazil’s protests were wide-ranging and multi-targeted, does this allow President Rousseff more flexibility to graft responses onto existing Workers Party goals? (Is not this process of challenge and co-optation what is desired as protest claims are validated?)
  3. Is there any commonality between the experience of grievance and operations of public protest in Brazil and Turkey, even if the government responses are very different?
  4. Do we see an upgrading of what constitutes democracy as citizens in Brazil (and elsewhere) push for a more responsive government, less corruption,  more shared public benefit (such as transit, oil revenues), and a broader set of social rights?
  5. Have we in the US settled for an increasingly limited franchise with fewer social rights and legitimated forms of corruption, and if so, is it partly because of a very hard-to-amend constitution and a de facto oligarchy? Does this suggest that our governance is not broken but simply captured by interests for whom it works quite well?
  6. How much is public protest a key form of civic awakening, and how much are such protests claims of public ownership of public spaces, even against de facto institutional religious claims, as in Turkey?
  7. Is Brazil re-negotiating its social contract in public, and if so, does even an accommodating response by a leader strengthen both that leader and the protesting public? (in other words, rather than the zero sum game in Turkey, or worse in Syria, is it a positive sum game in Brazil?
  8. If the law floats on a sea of ethics, does not civic freedom float on a sea of public participation?
  9. Is there not a need for open space in the US in relation to cyber and drone surveillance that also has civic implications?
  10. What if President Obama had responded to Occupy as directly?

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