O Capitão: True Fascism Enters the World Stage
Forget all the hyberbole about Donald Trump being a threat to democracy... Brazil's New President, Jair Bolsonaro, is the real deal
We say it all the time – radical change has swept into power, change is afoot, the old government is no more...
But there can be no arguments over the level of change here. Jair Bolsonaro is a far-right, once fringe politician with the an agenda worthy of categorisation far exceeding the term 'radical'.
It's easy to over-react to a strongman leader and to jump to the conclusive definition of a fascist. Many in the West would class Vladimir Putin as a fascist, but is he? No, he is simply an autocratic strongman of a very traditional country. Autocratic as opposed to the style of another controversial leader, one Donald Trump, who is opposed heavily by the ironically-named 'Anti-Fascist Brigade', who themselves wear masks and use “any means necessary” to achieve their political goals.
But to compare Donald Trump to the likes of Mussolini, Hitler and Pinochet is laughable. The true standard of a rabid sexist, racist and homophobe is flying high with the former army captain. We now have a true fascist in power, one who has said that “The congress...is useless...lets do the coup already. Let's go straight to the dictatorship”. He is, after all, an open admirer of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship of the Brazilian Military Junta.
The style of the charismatic 63 year-old is clear to see – he quite simply plans to bully and intimidate those who stand in his way. He has vowed to “not let conservation programmes interfere with agro-industry” in the Amazon rainforest, effectively green-lighting a future set of programmes to allow big business to steamroller the world's greatest natural wonder at will.
No wonder the environmental group 'Amazon Watch' has warned that his election “spells disaster”. He's already started – executive orders are being signed faster than ever before.
But why did Brazilians turn to someone like Bolsonaro?
Born out of the embers of most fascist regimes, desperation is key to the formerly fringe lawmaker's rise. A multi-billion dollar corruption scandal, indictment of leader after leader on charges of corruption, graft and bribery, a plunging economy following a failed left-wing political project and skyrocketing crime levels have sadly seen Brazilians do what is in the instinctive nature of many people in times of despair – to turn to the most radical alternative.
The radical alternative here, alarmingly, is an outspoken, extremist one.
Rather thankfully in the US, Donald Trump has to remain within the limits of a split congress in an traditional, democratic, Western state.
But the new Brazilian president, who has a character which is very similar to the Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte, he is not afraid to speak what has been shown to be his very twisted mind. Quotes in Duterte's hall of fame include calling Obama a “son of a w****” and decrying the Catholic church as “full of s***”, whilst the worst Donald Trump has said can be summed up in his now famous quote of the Access Hollywood tape, which is awful, but surrounded by still-controversial but less offensive quotes.
Bolsonaro is another level.
This is a man who has demeaned women by declaring himself weak for having a daughter, and telling Maria do Rosario, an opposition lawmaker, that she “wasn't worth raping” as she was “ugly”; he continues to set new standards for inciting outrage.
He has also said that he would rather his sons die than come out to him as gay. It seems that even his own children would be worthless to him if it ends up being the case that one or more of them is homosexual. It is rather telling of his influence though, his son Eduardo has been photographed with Steve Bannon, claiming to “share the same world view”.
No prizes for guessing where his political views came from!
As if that wasn't bad enough, he has also reportedly referred to black activists as “animals” who should “go back to the zoo” - somewhat astonishingly he enjoys the support of an estimated 47% of black voters.
Worryingly for his enemies, his sole criticism of the former military dictatorship is that they didn't kill all of those who they tortured. Worryingly for Brazil, they have a new golden generation of young people who are too young to remember the days of authoritarian dictatorship from a similar style of macro-fascist, denominational leaders, under whom thousands were massacred, murdered or taken prisoner.
We can only hope that the checks are in place to keep a handle on a brand new character of old-fashioned, revisionist non-conformism.
Jack Rydeheard is the Greater Manchester Coordinator of the Taxpayers’ Alliance and sits on the Executive of Bury Conservative Association
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