Into the streets for Marielle Franco

March 16, 2018

A well-known socialist in Brazil was assassinated Wednesday night in Rio de Janeiro. Marielle Franco, a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberty (PSOL) and a Rio city council member representing the poor community of Favela da Maré, was shot dead along with her driver--an adviser was also injured. Thousands of people came out into the streets of Rio for a vigil for Franco, who has a long history of human rights advocacy--most recently, she has protested police violence and military intervention in the favelas of Rio.

Below is an editorial from Esquerda Online, published by the Movement for an Independent and Socialist Alternative, that pays tribute to Franco. Translation by Todd Chretien.

IT WAS a political execution. Four bullets killed Marielle Franco. The same thugs killed her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes. Marielle died because of her struggle, because she was Black, because she was a woman, because she came from the Rio favela called Maré, because she dared to confront the system that oppresses and kills her people.

The exact circumstances of the crime and the identity of those who ordered her assassination are not yet clear. But the objective of her murder is certain. The shots were fired to silence the voice of a warrior.

In recent weeks, Marielle had been denouncing--and demonstrating incredible courage in doing so--the military's intervention in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and an extermination campaign conducted by the police against the city's communities.

A "daughter of Maré," as she described herself, she died because she stood up against barbarism. Marielle represented--by her ideas, her race and her class--everything the system cannot tolerate.

First, we must demand a full and rigorous investigation of her assassination. Those responsible for this crime must be identified and arrested as soon as possible. But we must go deeper. For those political leaders who ordered the military's intervention are also responsible for pulling the trigger. Brazilian President Michel Temer, Rio de Janeiro state Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão, President of the Chamber of Deputies Rodrigo Maia and Gen. Braga Neto all have blood on their hands.

Marielle Franco
Marielle Franco

The assassination of the PSOL's city councilor constitutes a bloody action in an ongoing war against the working and oppressed people of Brazil. A war that exterminates our liberties and our jobs, it strangles our democratic freedoms, and it intensifies the genocide of Black people and the poor.

The time has come to say: No More! They have taken so much from us that they have even taken away our fear, transforming mourning into struggle, pain into revolt. They have united workers, Afro-Brazilians, women, LGBTQ people, homeless, landless. We must strengthen our resistance against the coup and shake this country.

Every left-wing political organization, social movement and collective must close ranks at this critical moment. There is a dangerous wave of repression rising, and our most basic democratic conquests are under threat. We are facing a regime that is growing more authoritarian by the day. For example, yesterday, on the very day of Marielle's execution, striking teachers were beaten in São Paulo.

Marielle and Anderson's deaths must not be in vain. They killed Marielle, but they have not buried her struggle. Today, all across the country, tens of thousands will stand up. They will stand up for Marielle. And they will stand up for their own ideas and their own dreams. We will be a vast multitude of Marielles, from the north to the south. And we will win.

To the streets! They shall not pass! Black Lives Matter! Vive Marielle, vive!

Translation by Todd Chretien

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