Comments, In Focus, Latin America

An anti-Bolsonaro youth

For young people Brazil’s current government represents a present and a future without prospects. They are aware of their power in October’s elections since, as well as electoral weight, they have the capacity to influence other generations politically.

 

Fora Bolsonaro. Photo by União Colegial de Minas Gerais /Flickr.  Creative Commons License.

Osvaldo Cardosa

 

It is estimated that young people could have a significant weight in the election debate currently underway as well as in the vote and its results as they try to make their presence felt on social networks and in their circles of friends and relations.

To the previous comment can be added the fact that, by different sections of society, the adolescent public is being encouraged to register to vote. This is important, taking into account that young people can exercise their right in the national elections from the age of 16 years, a provision foreseen in the 1988 constitution which introduced compulsory voting from the age of 18. Dissatisfied with the government of the ultraright-leaning leader Jair Bolsonaro, the young are very likely to attend the polls in October as never before in the history of Brazil, to be protagonists of the elections.

“The role of that segment in the electoral contest will be crucial. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, we represent 23% of the population. There are 47 million of us,” explains the lawyer Allanis Dimitria de Oliveira, member of the state coordination of the social movement People’s Youth Uprising in Rio de Janeiro.

Dimitria de Oliveira highlights that, as well as electoral weight, “we have the capacity to influence other generations politically.”

And although some analysts try to minimise the voting hierarchy and incline it towards the conservative wave dominant since January 2019, it is beyond doubt that the youth vote is commonly associated with the left.

Jair Bolsonaro. Photo by Jeso Carneiro / Flickr. Creative Commons License.

“Many people say politics doesn’t interest us and we ourselves believe that we do not understand enough about politics to take positions. But it is not true, historically Brazilian youth has taken a leading role in fights for democracy and rights, we are still doing it in the student movement, in local quarters and in the backstreets,” says Allanis.

“Young people,” she says, “are increasingly dissatisfied because the country is not going well.” Even “with the anti-politics narrative that we hear: all politicians are corrupt, all politicians are thieves, we have seen that voting is a way of transforming our reality, even more so for the young with the historic task of defeating a neofascist project like bolsonarism (support for Bolsonaro).” Young people are suffering unemployment, an ever-more precariousness in education, a lack of opportunities, indifference to their lives, all at the same time.

“We don’t just want the right to a tomorrow, a future, we want a decent life today, we want effective public policies today, and we are going to fight for them,” emphasises Dimitria de Oliveira.

Despite attempts to put a so-called third way of candidates on the electoral map, the election is polarised.

The polls corroborate more and more the coalescing around two political attitudes of ideological extremes, with little space for a third proposal.

In this divergent scenario, according to the latest studies, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is showing a near 50% preference, followed by Bolsonaro with over 30%.

Ato Fora Bolsonaro. Photo by Mídia Ninja Flickr. Creative Commons License.

Both aspirants to power remain in the spotlight of the surveys and are strongest at capturing the attention of the media and of opinion formers.

In this polarised panorama, Brazil’s young people want to position themselves and participate even more in the electoral process.

Political parties, artists, influencers (creators of content on the internet) and popular movements have acted to spur young people to register to vote and to vote for the first time, through campaigns like ‘my first vote’ and ‘register to vote, register to remove Bolsonaro’.

With respect to the two favourites and the possible vote, the lawyer points out that “Brazilian youth is feeling the effects of the economic, social, political, environmental and health crises, made even worse by Bolsonaro’s government.” They are all conscious that in the last four years there has been a deterioration in living conditions due to the application of “an ultra-neoliberal, conservative and neofascist political agenda that pervades our lives. Surviving is more and more difficult! We are a generation without prospects.”

The young suffer from educational exclusion, unemployment, the increase of the culture of violence, from seeing “how they are trying to etch fascism into Brazilian society and the extermination of black and peripheral youth.”

Surveys show that six out of ten voters between 16 and 24 years old will vote for Lula for president, against Bolsonaro. “At least 67% of young people disapprove of the current administration,” she added. In the coming election, the youth vote could be decisive.

(Translated by Philip Walker – Email: philipwalkertranslation@gmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay

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