Trump adopted his formula from what was successfully developing and working in Europe. Xenophobia tempered by racism and fear are powerful mobilizing forces for a world where demographics are rapidly changing. If it can work in America, why not Brazil?
One of my guest bloggers, Leonardo Boff, has been trying to get the word out about the virtual coup d’etat that happened in Brazil and it’s likely continuation with the imprisonment of the frontrunner, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, on trumped-up corruption charges. He will have to leave the race.
With all the thousands of hours to fill on multiple channels, why can’t we have a more broadly informed population given all the choices? It is great that one of our major cable channels, CNN, is giving the tragedy in Brazil some mention.
Democracy in Brazil is literally under assault. Known to many fellow Brazilians as the “Brazilian Trump,” Representative Jair Bolsonaro, one of the frontrunners in October’s presidential election, was stabbed on Thursday while on the campaign trail. This kind of violence could continue ahead of the presidential election in late October, portending a dangerous trend in South America’s largest country.
Unfortunately, Brazil is no stranger to political violence. Earlier this year, a councilwoman in Rio De Janeiro was murdered, and, in May, campaign buses hired by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were shot at in southern Brazil. …
Bolsonaro is a polarizing figure, known for his racist, homophobic and sexist remarks, including saying a female lawmaker was too ugly to be raped. He’s facing charges for speech inciting hatred and rape. Though he denies the charges, and the cases have not yet proceeded to court, it has many voters uneasy.
That said, for other voters, his campaign rhetoric is resonating. He has centered it around draining the Brazilian corruption-laden swamp, which sits well with many Brazilians who have seen massive anti-corruption operations lead to prison sentences for senior public and private sector officials, massive layoffs, strikes and billions of dollars in fines.
Does it sound familiar? These Right Wing politicians, not having anything to run on for the masses, resort to this evil type of campaigning.
My guest blogger Leonardo Boff has been trying to give the Brazilian story some international traction for some time. We should be concerned because Brazil is huge population-wise and economically.
Boff wrote the article titled “Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the charismatic leader, servant of the people” as Brazilian Plutocracy tossed Lula in jail.
Suddenly, Lula emerged on the Brazilian political scene, endowed with an exceptional charisma, and representing the victims of the Brazilian tragedy, characterized by the world’s greatest social inequality-injustice. Even though he was forced to accept the logic of the perverse capitalist economy, exclusive and therefore anti-democratic by nature, Lula managed to open paths that benefited millions of Brazilians, starting with the Programa Hambre Cero (Zero Hunger Program) and followed by several other social policies.
Those who call him a populist and social worker know nothing about hunger, that Gandhi affirmed is “an insult, because hunger humiliates, dehumanizes and destroys body and spirit; hunger is the worst murderer that exists.” Whenever anything is done to benefit the neediest, the wealthy elites and their allies criticize it as populism by do-gooders, if they cannot use the poor for their political ends. They forget what is basic in any society that is minimally civilized: the first task of the Government is to guarantee and protect the life of the people and to not force them into the exclusion and misery that victimizes the children and makes them face an early death. The wave of hatred and slander that arises in the country is born of the spirit of the heirs of La Casa Grande: their former contempt for the slaves is now directed at the poor, the Blacks, especially poor Black and other women.
With his inclusive programs, Lula not only satisfied the hunger and other needs of some 40 million people. He returned to them that which is most important: their dignity, and the awareness that they are citizens, and the sons and daughters of God. …
The viciousness of those who want a Brazil with privileges for the few has managed to throw him in jail. But the dream of a Brazil that is rich because she does not have people living in misery can never be jailed. Lula with his dream is immortal and he is, as the Jewish tradition puts it, “a man of justice among nations”.
Later Boff wrote the article “The Brazilian crisis and the dark dimension” that sounded so much like what Trump brought to America.
A tragedy, as the Greek tragedies show, always ends bad. I do not believe this is the case of Brazil. I believe we are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis of the foundations of our society. The crisis refines, purifies, and allows a qualitative leap towards a higher level of our historic evolution. We will be better and with a more integrated identity when we emerge this crisis.
The current crisis has caused our darkness to explode. We discovered that we are racists, prejudiced, that we are living a social injustice that cries to God, and that we have not yet been able to re-establish a different Brazil on other bases, principles and values. Hence the irruption of rage and violence. It does not come from the majority of the Brazilian poor. It is spread by the dominant elites, supported by the means of mass communication that form the Brazilian imagination with their soap operas and disinformation. To Jung «the totality that we want is not perfection, but a complete human being» (Ab-reação, análise dos sonhos e transferência & 452) that does not repress the darkness, but integrates it into a dimension that is greater than light. That is what we wish for, as a way out of the present crisis: do not repress the darkness, but include it, consciously, in our everyday life, overcoming antagonisms and exclusions, to live together in the same Brazil that Darcy Ribeiro used to say was «the most beautiful and smiling province of the Earth».
Later, on the Brazilian coup where President Dilma Rousseff was removed, he wrote the piece titled “The worst aspect of the Brazilian coup: it prevents the Social State.”
Times change and strategies also change. It would not be a military coup, but a parliamentarian one. In his main declaration, Marcelo Odebrecht, president of one of the largest Brazilian enterprises, confessed that he had paid ten million Brazilian Reales to buy 140 representatives who guaranteed the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and usurpation of the power of the State.
A Congress, one of the most mediocre in the history of the Brazilian republic, with some members who are thieves, others who are accused of corruption or crimes, including murder, with venality, allowed itself to be bought. They accomplished a parliamentary, juridical and mass media coup, unseating legally elected President Dilma Rousseff through a questionable impeachment. The target was not really President Rousseff, but to get at former President Lula and the Labor Party, PT. …
The backward classes opted for the past, accepting that Brazil, be recolonized, in line with the interests of the Capitalist empire of the United States. Not through an election, but with a coup, they dissolved the pact created by the 1988 Constitution. de Souza Lima continues: «we now have a coup against the Government elected by the Brazilian people. We are facing a historic inflection point of immense importance: to constitutionally prohibit social investments, especially in education and health».
In America, we used the Electoral College and extreme gerrymandering to ensure rule by the minority.
This is a unique case in today’s world. How can an ill and ignorant people advance towards a development fit for a population of more than one hundred million people?
These elites, extremely egotistical, never had a plan for Brazil. They only thought of themselves and of their absurd wealth. Presently they have empowered a right wing that is fascist, authoritarian, violent, and racist and that rejects the people, whom they consider vulgar and contemptible. To our shame, they are partly supported by the Judicial body and by the heavy hand of the military police, capable of repressing and killing, especially the Blacks and the poor.
The struggle now is to regain a minimum democracy, and above all, to re-validate the 1988 Constitution, damaged by the coup, but one which would open a space for peaceful coexistence and human development.
Boff also wrote about the Neo-Fascism wave that is circulating around the globe. He aptly points out that organized people will have to be the protagonists of a new society. We must heed that and fight the scourge that is occurring around the world. We must beat it here and continue helping our brothers and sisters around the world.