Posts Tagged ‘Rio de Janeiro’

Maria the Witch on the Rise of Bolsonaro, Brazil’s Fascist Candidate

October 25, 2018

This is a mirror on Kevin Logan’s channel of a piece by Maria the Witch warning and explaining about the rise of Jair Bolsonaro, the Far-Right, Fascist candidate in the Brazilian elections. From what she says about herself at the beginning of the video, Maria is a Brazilian who studied in the US. However, Bolsonaro’s dangerous ascent to power has pushed her into making this video so that when the time came, she ‘wouldn’t be laughing like an Anglo’.

At the moment, Bolsonaro is only a few votes away from the Brazilian presidency, at 46 per cent he’s just shy of the 50% + 1 required for him to take power. At a 49 per cent approval rating, he’s way ahead in the polls.

As for who he is, the video has a clip of Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman explaining that he’s a former army officer, who has openly praised the country’s military dictatorship, which last from 1964 to ’85. He has a long history of making racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments, and encouraging police to kill suspected drug dealers.

Glenn Greenwalt of the Intercept explains that he’s been called Brazil’s Donald Trump, which radically understates the case. He’s much closer to Duterte in the Philippines or General Sisi in Egypt. He is far more dangerous than Trump, as democracy in Brazil is far more fragile. It lacks the political infrastructure that America and the UK have to limit the power of the president. He is likely to win against Lula’s successor – Lula da Silva was Brazil’s previous, left-wing president – because of the animus built up by the media and the business class against PT, the Workers’ Party.

As for his bigoted comments, he once said in an interview that he’d rather hear that his son died in a car accident than was gay. He defended torture and rape during the dictatorship, and when a member of Brazil’s lower house confronted him about it he told her she needn’t worry, because she didn’t deserve to be raped by him – meaning that she was too ugly for him to rape her. He’s made a whole slew of similar comments about Blacks and the indigenous peoples. More worrying are his models for dealing with crime. They’re taken from the world’s worst dictators like Pinochet. As in the Philippines, he wants to send in the army and police to slaughter indiscriminately anyone they consider to be a drug dealer or criminal without trial. He believes in military rule. He does not regard the military coup of 1964 as a coup, and wishes to replicate it. And he has the entire top level of the military supporting him.

The institutions that would constrain Bolsonaro or somebody like him in the US – a strong supreme court, the CIA or the FBI, and other political parties, don’t exist. Due to his popularity, there is a sizable part of the Brazilian population that fears he will bring back the worse elements of dictatorships, such as the summary execution of dissidents, shut down media outlets, and closed congresses.

Maria then asks how this is possible in a country that has been ruled for 14 years by the centre left PT. Back to Greenwald.

Greenwald explains that it’s similar to what is happening in America, the UK and Europe where this kind of extremism is spreading, and the media outlets that have aided its rise refuse to take any responsibility for it. The media is very oligarchical, and in the hands of a small number of very rich families. The journalists themselves are afraid of Bolsonaro and don’t support him, but continue to create the narrative that supports him: that Bolsonaro and PT are simply two sides of the same coin. PT are a left-wing dictatorship, like Bolsonaro represents a rightwing dictatorship, and both are equally bad. Greenwald makes the point that during the 14 years PT governed the country, there was a very free and open press that constantly attacked them. they impeached one of their presidents and put the other in prison, so the idea that it’s a dictatorship like that to which Bolsonaro aspires is grotesque. But this is what is normalizing Bolsonaro.

As for Lula da Silva, he was thrown in prison just as he was leading in the polls and banned all of the media from interviewing him. The Intercept/em> has tried, as have others, but there are prevented by a prior restraint order issued by the Supreme Court. He states that Brazilian institutions carry much of the blame for the rise of Bolsonaro, just as American institutions do for Trump and British for Brexit, and European globalization policies for the rise of the extreme Right on the continent.

Maria also explains that there have also been a series of events that have weakened Brazilian democracy, aimed not just at PT but also at other left-wing parties. Earlier this year councilwoman Marielly Franco was murdered, PT president Dilma Rousseff was impeached and then Lula was arrested.

There is then a segment from a report by Amy Goodman explaining that Franco was a member of Rio de Janeiro’s council, a human rights activist. She and her driver were assassinated as they returned from an event on empowering Black women. Franco was a Black lesbian, who was fiercely critical of the police’s killing of people in the favela neighbourhoods. The night before her death she had Tweeted ‘How many more must die before this war ends?’ In January alone 154 people were killed by the cops in Rio State. Goodman goes on to say that last month President Temer ordered the military to assume control of police duties in Rio. Dilma Rousseff was impeached three years ago by the Brazilian senate in a move she denounced as a coup. Lula was leading in the polls, but had been convicted of corruption and money-laundering, charges many believe were trumped up. Rousseff stated that this was the second part of the coup, after her impeachment.

The British human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, told The New Internationalist ‘Extraordinarily aggressive measures are being taken to put Lula in jail by the judiciary, by the media, by the great sinews of wealth and power in Brazil’.

Maria then goes to a Brazilian academic at King’s College, London, Anthony Pereira, the professor and director of the Brazil institute there, who explains that this is nothing new but a relapse into Brazil’s ‘fashy disease’ from the 1960s, which was never properly cured.

Pereira explains that the transition from dictatorship to democracy was unique in that it was very slow and gradual, and unlike the Chilean transition, informal. It was managed by the regime itself, which changed the rules when it feared instability, dividing the opposition and making a lot of deals. Tancredo Hernandez was the first civilian candidate to win the presidency indirectly in 1985. After he won the election, Hernandez talked to the military and many other politicians and promised that there would be no revenge, no trials for human rights abuses, and that he would make sure that the political elite could make a smooth transition from the military to the civilian. There was a church report organized by the diocese of Sao Paolo on the human rights abuses, and people knew there had been torture, but these revelations were not state policy. This informal transition kept things very much as they had been. This explains why Bolsonaro’s discourse – his rhetoric – sounds very much like what was said in 1964, talking about the unity of the Brazilian family, how the left cannot divide the country, it cannot allow women to be against men, Afro-Brazilians to be against Whites, for homosexuals to be against heterosexuals. It’s a bit like One Nation Conservatism in Britain where there is a view of an organic, hierarchical society, patriarchal, dominated by the social elite. It has a place for everyone, but it rejects what it calls ‘activism’, associated with subversion and not being really Brazilian. And it rejects the Left, because of its association with Communism, Socialism and Venezuela. It’s a unity which excludes an awful lot of people.

Maria goes on to recommend that people watch the full pieces by Pereira and Greenwald explaining the country’s relationship with the workers’ party, PT. She also recommends that people look at the videos by the Intercept and Democracy Now. She states that people should be interested in this, not just because one of the world’s largest countries is going full Fascist, not just because the US and Britain have both had a hand in Brazil’s dictatorship, but also if they don’t want her to be silence or, worse, hunted down. She also recommends another female left-wing YouTuber from Brazil for those of her viewers who speak Portuguese. The videos and links to them are shown at the end of Maria’s video.

I’ve put this up as it seems that every Fascism in one guise or another is on the rise again. And the Fascist in one part of the world embolden and strengthen the stormtroopers in others. It’s also important to know that Britain also was involved in supporting the Brazilian dictatorship.

And Greenwald is right in that the forces that are enabling the rise of Bolsonaro are the same as those aiding the rise of the extreme right over here: globalism – not just confined to the Continent, but also a part of British economic policy – and an oligarchic media that is heavily biased against the Left.

And I was talking a few weeks ago to a left-wing minister at my local church, who wondered if Corbyn would ever be allowed to take power if he was elected. If his fears are justified, then what has happened to Lula da Silva will be repeated over here to stop Jeremy Corbyn and a genuine reforming, Socialist Labour government.

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Je Suis Charlie

January 8, 2015

The world was stunned and horrified yesterday when three masked gunmen burst into the headquarters of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, and murdered twelve of the staff. The motive for the attack was in retaliation for the edition in 2011 when the magazine published a series of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The attackers shouted ‘Allahu akbar’, (‘God is greatest’ in Arabic), and one of them said ‘Now we have avenged the Prophet.

Tributes have poured in today for the victims from across the world, including places as far from Paris as London, New York and Rio de Janeiro. Vigils have been held in which crowds have held up pens both as a tribute to the cartoonists, and a symbolic defence of the right to free speech. The organisers of these demonstrations made it clear that they were about spreading love, and advised ‘haters stay away’.

Mike over at Vox Political is a long-term member of the comics community and a friend of a number of comic artists. He has published his view of the matter in the article ‘Je Suis Charlie’, the slogan now being adopted across the world to express solidarity with the victims of this massacre. It begins

You won’t see any images purporting to be of the Prophet Muhammad on Vox Political.

This is because this writer has been on good terms with many Muslims and understands that any such depiction is extremely insulting to them and to their faith. Why would anybody want to inflict a bitter insult on someone they consider to be a friend?

By the same token, if an insult of such magnitude was inflicted on Yr Obdt Srvt, the possibility of a machine-gun attack figuring in any retaliatory gesture is, quite simply, unthinkable. Civilised people don’t do that. Psychopaths do that.

Yet this is what we are being told happened at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris today (January 7).

He goes on to say:

Whatever the perpetrators thought they were doing today, they were not exacting vengeance for an insult, or justice for a crime. They were murdering a dozen innocent people because one of them had drawn a picture.

The article can be read at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/01/07/je-suis-charlie/#comments.

Among the comments to this article is this, from a practising Muslim, Nightentity who used to instruct converts and those who had return to Islam:

Those that believe these so called Imams are Ignorant of their faith and will believe anything they hear that makes them seem intelligent and all knowing to the other Ignorant. Terrorism is not Islamic, you don’t cause suffering to the aged the weak and the innocent, you don’t hide behind masks and scarves, you stand like a man and fight a man’s battle. These terrorists are cowards and weaklings for they hide behind a faith that does not condone what they do. Yes there are Hadith out there that say certain things, but these are obscure and are not accepted as true Hadith. These terrorists are only out for power and control, they are not true Muslims in any sense of the word. And yes I can speak with some authority on this as I am a Muslim and used to teach new converts (or reverts) and children the basics of Islam and how to pray etc. I have probably ruffled quite a few feathers if this is read by certain quarters, but when we defend Islam the least we can do is use our words, and so I have. xx

I studied Islam at College as part of the Religious Studies course, and done some reading myself on Islam. The shariah religious law code does forbid attacks on non-combatants in warfare, such as children, the elderly, and women. Adam Curtis covered the rise of radical Islam in his series, The Power of Nightmares. Curtis took the view that the spectre of a world-wide, radical Islamic movement, al-Qaeda, was largely a myth. There was no monolithic, global terrorist organisation but rather a continuum of individual radical Islamist terrorist groups, all with slightly different beliefs and produced by differing circumstances from country to country. Al-Qaeda’s ideology, which justified attacks on civilians, was actually the product of Western total war doctrines, which had been taken over by Sayyid Qutb, one of the founders of modern Islamic radicalism. Curtis himself took the view that the real dangers of Islamic terrorism had been magnified in the West by politicians for their own ends. The parapolitical magazine, Lobster, also considered that the menace of Islamist terrorism was also being used by the West’s intelligence services after the fall of Communism, to find a new enemy, which could be used to continue funding and fight off possible budget cuts.

Curtis’ documentary was made and broadcast before 9/11, and so some – but not all – of his conclusions in the series should be rejected. Nevertheless, other documentaries have made pretty much the same point about terrorism being un-Islamic. A documentary broadcast a few years ago by Channel 4 on radical Islam filmed one radical Muslim actually admitting this. ‘Well, of course terrorism is against Islam’, he said, ‘but what can we do?’

Well, the simple answer is: don’t murder civilians. Even Western military tacticians have abandoned the total war doctrine.

As for the spectre of radical Islamic terrorism being used by Western politicians and industrialists to promote their own interests, that did happen with Bush and Blair’s spurious pretext for the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but he was a secular tyrant. He had absolutely no connection to Osama bin Laden, who cordially hated him and the secular Ba’athist regime. The real reason for the invasion of Iraq were purely economic: the desire of the big oil companies, including the Saudis, to seize the country’s oil industry and its reserves; and by the Neo-Cons and their corporate backers to pillage the country’s industry and create their shoddy free trade utopia. Hussein supported the Palestinians, which is why Likud wanted the invasion of Iraq. But he was not an Islamist, and had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

What the people of the world need to do at this time, is to stand together against the terrorists and the preachers of hate, both Islamist and the nationalist demogogues in the West, who will try to foment hatred against innocent Muslims, and defend peace and free speech.