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Who Are Those Free-Market Protestors in Brazil?


In Monday, the Washington Post looked into some of the groups behind the "Less Marx-More Mises" signs found among the anti-Dilma Rousseff protestors in Rio. They found Kim Kataguiri:

“What Lula and Dilma have done shouldn’t just result in their being banned from politics. It should result in them being in jail!” Kim Kataguiri yelled, denouncing Rousseff and her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The March 15 demonstration was the largest Sao Paulo had seen in more than three decades, since 1984 protests demanding democratic elections after a long dictatorship.

But more surprising than the crowd of more than 200,000, according to the Datafolha polling and statistics agency, was the fact it was being led by Kataguiri, a skinny, 19-year-old college dropout, and other young Brazilian activists inspired by libertarianism and conservative free-market ideals.

From a distance, though, it's hard to know if "free market" as used by WaPo is actually "free market." So, we asked Helio Beltrão, founder and president of Instituto Mises Brasil, what the situation is on the ground in Brazil. Helio writes: 

Movimento Brasil Livre is a genuine libertarian group, and influenced by Mises. The second, Vem Pra Rua (Come to the Streets) is a neoliberal group. This is all unprecedented! 

There were more than 1 million people on the Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo, according to both the municipal and the state police (municipality is run by the ruling party, PT, the Worker’s Party).  The story cites only 200,000 estimated by the highly establishment-friendly polling company. Peter Klein was in Copacabana, in Rio that day, when there were about 50,000 in Copacabana.

More are expected on Apr 12.  If this happens, impeachment likelihood increases significantly, as already stated by the government coalition party PMDB.

In the protests one could spot several ‘More Mises, Less Marx’ banners, Mises T-Shirts, and others demanding less government (granted, there were the usual 'better service', 'enough of corruption' banners, as well).

The government is in denial and the left is clueless. They lost the energy, the bottom-up support, the cause.

It's exciting to witness the changing trends in real time. 


Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power and Market, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in public policy and international relations from the University of Colorado. He was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Breaking Away: The Case of Secession, Radical Decentralization, and Smaller Polities and Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.