Racionais MC’s – Escolha O Seu Caminho (1992 RDS 4005)

Racionais MC’s
Escolha O Seu Caminho
Released 1992 – RDS Fonográfica 4005

1. Voz Ativa (Versão Rádio) 5:09
2. Voz Atica (Versão Baile) 5:09
3. Voz Ativa (Capela) 5:09
4. Negro Limitado 6:28

“Precisamos de um líder de crédito popular”

Thursday morning, I had a whole other blog post of laid-back, groovy post-bossa nova, feel-good music all ready to post.  But the news of the day about the brazen assassination of the Brazilian activist Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday evening, suddenly made me a lot less enthusiastic about sharing happy music.  Marielle, who was young, gifted, black and gay, was giving a voice to the “marginalized” citizens of Rio who in fact make up the majority of the populace.  For those who don’t know,  Rio was recently placed under a kind of martial law due to a combination of rising rates of violent crime and the notorious police corruption there.  It’s worth pointing out that Rio isn’t even in the top ten most violent cities in the country – the Northeast region takes the lead in that statistic – but because of Rio’s international profile and its pearl-clutching upper-middle class, it received the “gift” of a military intervention to handle ‘security’ issues.  Marielle, who was recently elected to the city council, had the audacity to openly question the aggressive policing practices in the favelas that criminalize the poor just for existing, and to insist on the basic universal rights of dignity and respect.  Mere days later, she is murdered in a car, execution style, along with her friend and driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes.  This has really shaken people up in Brazil in a way that is unprecedented in recent history.  Although the targeting and killing of activists (and the impunity of those who ordered their murders) did not cease after Brazil’s tentative restoration of democracy in the late 80s, the killing of Marielle is especially painful because it highlights how Black Lives Don’t Matter in Brazil.  If this statement seems contentious to you, try reading the comments section on any Brazilian news story about this (if you can’t stomach it), and you’ll find “regular Brazilians” saying she deserved her fate because she was defending the human rights of “criminals”, and much worse sentiments.  Or better yet, don’t waste your time, and just listen to this EP/extended single by Racionais MC’s, one of the pioneers of Brazilian rap, which followed the release of their first full-length album.  Racionais MC’s are from São Paulo, where a teachers’ strike earlier this week was met with riot police, tear gas, and beatings.  Beatings of teachers.  For anyone with friends and family in Brazil, the last few years have been especially hard, watching the country unravel, with large chunks of the population embracing a reactionary politics that is fundamentally undemocratic in ways that can’t avoid evoking comparisons to the twenty-plus years when the country was ruled by an authoritarian military regime.  There is a new generation that is too young to remember those days, and sometimes it seems like a collective amnesia haunts the country and prevents it from really grappling with its troubled past in the way that other nations have done when emerging from similar national nightmares.  As difficult as it is to watch from afar, it is much harder to be there living through it, and the killing of Marielle is being interpreted by many as an unsubtle warning to dissenters from the current (undemocratically installed) kleptocracy in power.  But so far, the tragedy seems to be galvanizing the resistance and I hope that momentum continues.   The whole world over, it really seems as if bourgeois democracy is coming apart at the seams.  But oppressors always sow the seeds of their own undoing.  As one North American hypocrite once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible…”   Well you probably know the rest.


 

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3 Comments

  1. From https://www.theroot.com/say-her-name-marielle-franco-a-brazilian-politician-w-1823812564:
    “She died because she was a combative black woman,” said Lua Nascimento, an Afro-Brazilian college classmate of Franco’s who attended a protest on her behalf in Salvador, Brazil. “She was executed because she was a black favela dweller who fought against the murder of black favela dwellers. The genocide of the black population continues in this country.”

    • Just saw this Root article a few hours before seeing your comment here. People need to share this piece and any other good English-language material on her, far and wide.

  2. Muchas gracias doctor por Racionaes, no les conocía pero siempre hay mucho que aprender en este blog. Que viva la música de Latinoamérica, aunque cada día nos maten más. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Two-Thirds-of-Human-Rights-Defenders-Killed-in-2017-Were-From-Latin-America-Report–20180122-0010.html

    Fernando C.

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