Brian Holmes on Tue, 9 Oct 2018 22:49:23 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> elections in Brazil / media

On Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 2:21 PM Andre Mesquita <> wrote:
This is terrible, friends, unfortunately

How Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro used Trump tactics to move to 2nd round of presidential race

It's devastating. The upsurge of the extreme right is global in scope.

Andre, what are the causes are in your view? Yes, Bolsonaro used Trump's rhetorical tactics - but those have ever been available. In the totally incomplete picture I have, two additional factors stand out:

First, the legal and legislative coup by Brazilian capital (which fractions beyond agriculture, I don't know) that removed Dilma from office and then imprisoned Lula to prevent him from from running again.
Second, the perception by large sectors of the middle class of extreme personal insecurity, motivating their vote for an otherwise despicable law-and-order candidate.

When capital allies with the military and security forces, it's fascism in the classic sense of the word. We are headed there in the US too. It's not something I say lightly.

I have never been clear on how much corruption can really be ascribed to the Workers' Party. Nor is the security issue really possible to grasp from a distance. You know, even from up close it is hard to gauge. In Chicago I am anti-cop because of real, proven institutional racism. But meanwhile three people have been killed just a block from me in the past three years and about fifteen shots were fired a couple weeks ago into a house three doors down the street. Why do I think this level of violence is OK? Has there been any change in the levels of street violence in Brazil?

Chicago where I live is continually used by Trump as a scarecrow for security panic. If the cop who killed a black teenager named Laquan McDonald had not been rightfully convicted for murder just days ago we most likely would have had a giant riot in this city, which could have set the national stage for previously unthinkable things. Elements on the right are waiting for exactly such an event. We are walking a tightrope in this country, like everywhere.

The left should never abandon its minority focused social-justice agenda, but it needs to couple that with universal welfare and security policies as well as climate-change mitigation strategies that can achieve corporate buy-in. Of course those things are contradictory, but the job of politics is resolving contradictions. Those who think that fascism is finally a chance to fight the real system, unmasked, have not taken a very good look at what happened in the 1930s and 40s. Militarized regimes can be instituted under whatever ideology. That's exactly what killed the progressive/socialist movement in the US, from Roosevelt's third term onward.

We need a workable vision. It has to be both idealistic and calculable, buildable, institutional, productive and enforceable. These things don't just spring full-blown from charismatic leaders, nor are they spontaneously generated at the grassroots. Progressivism was an urban, middle-class movement that grew out of the ruins of late-nineteenth century agrarian populism. Socialism of the kind that inspired the welfare state grew out of a mix of communist idealism and unionist pragmatism. All that stuff had to be created. Even at its most idealistic, it was always coupled with real universalist plans developed to solve complex problems. We are so far from that right now, it's tragic.

I am devastated by this news from Brazil. Courage and fortitude to all.

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