The article considers the history of more than two decades of a collective action for defense of social and civil rights in the eastern São Paulo. This trajectory gives empirical ground for a reflection on the relationship between contemporary politics and poor neighborhoods in Brazil. I argue that this relationship has always been marked by conflict. The course of this conflict has had three forms that coexist, which have succeeded each other in dominance: 1) political struggle for rights, central to the actions of “social movements” of the 1980s and 1990s; 2) social management, conducted by the State and by local organizations, present in the internal logic of “social programs” from the years 1990; and 3) violence, present or latent in the police repression in urban outskirts and today mainly regulated by the “criminal world”.
Urban outskirts; Politics; Violence; Collective action; Social movement