With the help of social media, Brazilian millennials have formed their own political parties to resist government corruption.
Moving beyond online debates and street protests, young adults took initiative to equip political candidates with platforms matching crucial values they believe are not represented by the current administration.
These political ‘start-ups’ have entered 500 candidates in the running for “municipal, state and presidential levels in elections” this October, according to The Washington Post. Many of these political parties began as “rage-filled Facebook pages and a growing distrust of the political establishment,” following the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff in 2016.
Sisters Jess Jansma, junior family and human major, and freshman Karina Jansma, photography and communication major, are Brazilian American dual-citizens who have experienced the country’s political turmoil. “Because of the corruption, Brazil’s economy suffered, which has inevitably forced many families into material poverty,” Jess Jansma said. “Many families have no alternate ways to survive, and violent thefts and robberies have increased. My family has been on the receiving end of many of these robberies, being injured often.”
One millennial party, Bancada Ativista, aims to “oxygenate institutional politics…through collaborative and pedagogical campaigns and mandates that escape the vices of traditional politics” with a previous success in electing Samaia Bomfim to the San Paulo City Council in 2016, according the party’s website. They are currently working towards the State Deputy elections.
To ensure offline momentum, millennial parties are forced to partner with existing marginalized parties to comply with Brazilian law requiring candidates to have an established party affiliation, according to The Washington Post.
“All of the candidates have to be in one of the main parties and then you have to vote. Everyone has to. That was my experience because we would go in to the city to vote,” Karina Jansma said.
Karina Jansma views the Brazilian millennial movement as a way to inspire true change for future generations. “Eventually the older generations will die, so they’re going to be the older generations. If they get involved then change will happen. Being interested in politics and actively striving for change is important for millennials because often times, at least for me, it’s easy to get like ‘Oh, that’s an adult thing,’ like something for the older generation,” Karina Jansma said.
Saray Ruiz, freshman political science major, believes the parties have made good traction in raising up their own leaders. “Hopefully those leaders can somehow find a way to implement themselves into the system without giving into all the corruption and all the scandals that have to do with that and hopefully become voices for be it the most liberal groups to the most conservative groups and accurately represent what the people want. That would be the end goal,” Ruiz said.
As millennials enter into the political sphere, Ruiz believes their personal responsibilities are major motivations. “They’re starting to build families, starting to find careers and be some sort of input into the economy. They want to make sure that they’re getting something out of what they’re putting into society,” Ruiz said. “As humans, we want to feel safe and secure and feel like the government cares. It’s a model to other countries, not specifically maybe the United States or already developed countries, but countries that are seeking ways to form more stable governments.”
Looking to other movements started by younger generations, Karina Jansma said, “Similar to how the voices of a younger generation are attempting to be heard in the United States, with the Walk Out March, Brazilian millennials are realizing that their perspective is unheard in the policies being made. Not only is it important that law and policy makers listen to all voices represented in a country, but I also believe that Christ commands His followers to value the voices of the young, and to not look down on others’ perspectives because of their youth.”