For the first time a group candidacy won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of São Paulo state. The so-called Bancada Ativista (“activist coaltion”), formed by nine members from different backgrounds, received some 150 thousand votes and was the 10th most voted-for candidacy in the race for state representative.
This is the first time a collective candidacy wins the election in a big state, after a similar attempt proved successful in 2016, when a five-member candidacy won a seat in the city council in the town of Alto Paraíso, Goiás.
The Bancada Ativista is led by journalist Mônica Seixas, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), and has members from different political lines and parties, and also people not affiliated with any party.
Brazil’s top electoral authorities do not recognize group candidacies, so the groups have to occupy a single seat in Parliament, and chose Seixas to represent them as the official candidate.
“Our office is shared. I’m the one who officially takes the seat as state deputy, but I’m just the group’s spokesperson. All other members will be registered as advisers. There is no hierarchy among us, all decisions are jointly made,” Mônica Seixas made a point of saying.
Not only did the new form of representation draw a significant number of votes, but also brought about the country’s biggest collective funding for a state deputy: R$ 72 thousand, donated by around 700 people.
“The Bancada Ativista is a supra-party movement, made up of men and women with experience in a number of social, economic, political, and environmental causes, and aims to bring a new lease of life to institutional politics through the collective construction of campaigns and mandates, with a focus on transparency, pedagogy, and participation,” an introductory text on their website reads.
Lines of action
The Bancada’s proposals are centered on seven main fronts: redressing inequalities, education and health care for freedom, cities as a space for cultural production, housing and mobility for being and living, fair and humane security, social integration with the environment, and real democracy.
Seixas stood out as a leader in 2014. She has run for mayor in her city, and is a social and environmental activist, as well as a feminist and a black woman.
The other activists are Anne Rammi, cyclist and an advocate of mother-related causes; Chirley Pankará, indigenous pedagogue; Claudia Visoni, a journalist, environmentalist, and urban farmer; Erika Hilton, a black transsexual woman and a human rights advocate; Fernando Ferrari, who fights against the genocide of marginalized youths and for the people’s participation in outlining the public budget.
Other members include Jesus dos Santos, an immigrant from the Northeast and an activist for culture, communication, and the black movement; Paula Aparecida, public school teacher, feminist, and an animal rights advocate; and Raquel Marques, a sanitarian and a supporter of gender equality and humanized childbirth.