The politics of the new president of the South American country transcend borders. That’s why Lewisham Workers’ Liberty has organised an event in London to explain the threat the new president poses to freedoms, and the movement slowly building against the far-right. This will take place on January 22.
The victory at the elections of the Social Liberal Party (PSL) entails a return to the extreme right for the Brazilian seat of power, since its political project threatens indigenous people, LGBT groups, women and the environment.
With that in mind, the left in Brazil (and in other countries) is slowly building a movement to combat policies opposing rights and freedoms. Therefore, protestors did not dawdle in organising a response upon news of the result. Protests did not just take place in Brazil but were matched by demonstrations in solidarity in London, New York and Sydney. The protestors, as reported in The Guardian, say they respect the election result but they will not tolerate the erosion of rights and freedoms.
For his part, the leader of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MTS), Alexandre Conceição, explains in an interview with Green Left that to take on Jair Bolsonaro it is essential for the working class and the left to unite. Conceição points out that the economic crisis, triggered in 2008, is one of the principle causes of the far-right’s resurgence in Brazil. Besides, he claims that the new Brazilian president is at the service of the capital, which serves to harm the rural working class. These are some of the reasons Conceição gives for proposing a movement against the new president.
Another side of the coin is that, despite forty years of governance by the Workers’ Party (PT), Brazil is a very conservative country. These were the words of Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, professor of anthropology at the Universidad Federal de Santa María, in an interview with The Intercept, where she claimed that the state of democracy in Brazil is very fragile.
Pinheiro-Machado disagrees with the talk of “a new wave of conservatism” or “the new Brazilian fascism” because that would be “to ignore history”. She points out, besides, that Brazil has always been very conservative.
Rooted in concern for this troubling reality, Lewisham Workers’ Liberty will, in England, host the event “Brazil: building a countermovement to Bolsonaro and the far-right”. The main aim is to explain how the Brazilian left can regroup in order to take on the new politics the country now confronts.
The Brazilian socialist and activist Raquel Palmeira will treat the subject with a discussion of why the beneficiaries of the latest economic crisis have been nationalism and the far-right. She will also respond to two questions: what are the lessons needed on the Brazilian left and what can the people do as a society to change the direction of their politics.
The event comes at a time of shifts in the political panorama in Latin America and when, collectively, in the case of Brazil, the conservative leanings of its citizens, social discontent, the corruption cases swirling around the PT, and Bolsonaro’s nationalism and far-right stance, have wrangled control of government.
(Translated by Elizabeth Dann – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)