By Antonio Proenca
Trump X Bolsonaro
The votes for Bolsonaro were motivated by a similar revolt that elected Trump, the mostly white people, disillusioned and revolted middle class, and of course, the fascist and neo-Nazi groups who openly supported both candidates. Even so, comparing Bolsonaro to Trump is a waste of time. The whole scenario in Brazil is more serious to make such a comparison and we can state categorically that the Government of Bolsonaro is much worse than that of Trump. Worse in the sense that Trump just had to avoid any action towards an economy that was already recovering, with employment on the rise. In Brazil, we have a generalised crisis too big to be reversed in a short time.
Nevertheless, the campaign that elected Bolsonaro was much uglier, filthier, more corrupt, and filled with more scandals than Trump’s one, with coercion of employees by their bosses, money laundering and fake news with one story even accusing Haddad of being a paedophile. And the self-righteousness of those who raised their voices to defend their candidate by saying they followed no corrupt politicians contradict themselves when we see, for example, their leaders in Congress are corrupt; Fraga, Onyx, and Pauderney.
The only coherent comparison now between Bolsonaro and Trump is their incoherence. Extremely vain, arrogant and acting on impulse, as well as two demagogues, we never know if whatever they say can be taken seriously and put into practice. They are controversial figures and because they like flash (Trump much more than Bolsonaro) it works as a distraction for the cameras while serious measures happen behind the scenes. And this is what I think is going to happen, the corporate media fed by distraction through shallow speeches, hot arguments, discussions with journalists, boycotts, retaliations and much gossip (Brazilians are particularly into gossip), while the austerity neoliberal agenda imposes its will against the majority of the population.
Brazilians are the ones who spend most time per day connected to the internet in the whole world. With a high rate of functional illiteracy, it makes them become an easy target for propaganda and defamation that goes around in phenomenal speed and quantity in social media. A recent study says that 90% of Bolsonaro voters believe in fake news. We have conspiracy amplifiers and fake news that have a reach and audience larger than several TV channels at the same time. Public figures such as Nando Moura or Olavo de Carvalho, and many others who will continue to do the dirty work of keeping followers blind in their speeches with conspiratorial rhetoric. Like fallacious cults, they would leave Alex Jones full of envy. Unfortunately, the damage done by these guys is huge and it will take a long time to reverse it.
Bolsonaro is the continuation of the agenda imposed through force by Temer’s unpopular and disastrous austerity government, with an avalanche of reforms and cuts being passed, including cabinet ministries, budgets and labour reform that would never be passed if there was a referendum. The pension reform and precariousness of our already precarious workforce and job insecurity, in addition to more repression and violence.
In 2013, the former NSA spy Edward Snowden reported that Brazil was the main target of US espionage. Wikileaks reported that Temer was a CIA informant. The neoliberal agenda pushed by force in Brazil with clear US support is that once again Brazil will become the strategic tentacle of the United States in the Americas. Brazil was bold when it released itself a bit from US control, by aligning itself with the BRICS and consolidating the Mercosur bloc. Mostly because of its partnership with China, the US could not allow this to last long. Trump will see in Bolsonaro an island in the middle of enormous international rejection that both face and this love is reciprocal. This probable alliance is also threatening considering the current geopolitical climate of the world we live in.
Neoliberalism 2.0 (friendly fascism)
Bolsonaro has no interest in governing for the middle class, let alone the poor. His financial advisor, Paulo Guedes, makes it clear that, aligned with the aforementioned neoliberal agenda in its fascist form, Bolsonaro is another government of “Them” (of the elite, the masters), to rule for “Them”. If there are still doubts about this, take a look at how the stock market reacted in both elections (Trump and Bolsonaro). The nomination and acceptance of a position in the Ministry of Justice by Moro also makes clear the very solid corporatism of the Brazilian Government and justice. Moro jailed Lula, Bolsonaro’s main rival, and 7 times denied that he would take any political job. Well, he took up Bolsonaro’s invitation without thinking twice and in his own words, “he felt honoured.” Hypocrisy at its best.
Paulo Guedes also defends more privatisations and his tax reform does not let allow us to know who will benefit, but we can guess that it is going to be the elite. Unfortunately, contrary to what motivated many innocent people to vote for Bolsonaro, there is absolutely nothing more status quo, more establishment than what this government proposes.
Obviously, it will be the flagship of Bolsonaro politics. Brazil lists as one of the most violent countries in the Americas and respect for human rights is very low. Bolsonaro’s election is already blood-stained with reports throughout the country of people being killed or attacked by Bolsonaro voters. The polarisation remains very strong and toxic. What is even more surprising is that Bolsonaro’s campaign focus is the intensification of police repression with the use of unlimited violence against social movements and the increase of arms sold to the population with the idea that this will reduce violence. More use of violence tools to reduce violence? It sounds like lobbyists and gun manufactures type of talk.
Defective Congress and Conservative
It will not be easy for anyone to deal with a country with a fracture exposed by the generalised crisis, the Government will also find difficulties in the Congress, we do not know how the de-characterised Congress will behave without the hegemony of the MDB that suffered a predictable loss of seats (they lost half of their seats) and rising of Bolsanaro’s PSL, a “mysterious” party probably representing the more conservative and retrograde sectors of the country. The bullet, the rural, and especially the evangelical representatives in Congress have grown significantly and are so retrograde that they should not even have half the power they already have. Ironically, the PT, the Workers Party, despite uncountable media attacks, remains the party with the highest number of seats in the Congress. It will also require an effort to make alliances, even more with a possible departure from the PDT and a new alliance on the Left.
As if all the threats against the fragile Brazilian democracy were not enough, we have the presence of an obscure and authoritarian figure like General Mourão, Vice-President who without saying much can show how bad he is. If something happens to Bolsonaro, his Vice takes over and anything but progress will happen.
Brazilian Corporate Media
It has always been aligned with the interests of the elite, owned by 6 rich families, there were light arguments between journalists of the mass media, trying to put a brake on the increase of hate. It was a bit late. This is also confirmed in the threats, boycotts and retaliations that journalists who go against the Bolsonaro wave are often suffering. Our ranking of freedom of the press is disastrous, but nothing that cannot get even worse. Bolsonaro’s strategy of keeping isolation from the media worked during his campaign for the presidency. He will maintain his isolation from the corporate media, putting it into quarantine and will speak only to those who support him, such as Record TV, a kind of Fox News with the Bible and SBT.
As long as there is resistance, yes. 42 million Brazilian voters (more than 2 states of São Paulo) did not vote for anyone. 47 million voted for the other candidate. In total, there are 90 million who did not vote for Bolsonaro. The class of the artists also stands against the fascism of Bolsonaro. The Government will have to take this noise. Even with so much resistance, we are astonished to see this dark patch that takes over some parts of the planet with the most loaded agenda of everything the system has to offer, destruction of social policies, destruction and attacks on the environment and concentration of power, in addition to the increase of violence and misery.
It’s still early winter, which began a few years back. The beginning of winter can be bearable when we have an idea of when it will end. In Brazil, we do not have this.
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