What led to the violent protest in Brazil?
In a disturbing resemblance to the American uprising on January 6, hundreds of protestors assaulted government buildings in the Brazilian capital on Sunday.
It is in response to the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro this autumn by the socialist Workers’ Party (often known by the initials PT) and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Even though Lula may be the most accomplished politician in recent memory, PT and he both carry the burden of past regimes in the 2000s and scandals involving corruption.
Americans witnessing the assault on democracy developed felt at home among the sea of enraged right-wing protesters flying the Brazilian flag and inspired by adversarial internet influencers.
Is this a component of the growing, unorganized global authoritarian movement or something else entirely?
I contacted Rodrigo Nunes, a Brazilian philosopher who teaches at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of Essex, to get an answer to that question as well as to gain an understanding of the dynamics of Brazilian politics and the complexity of the coalition that still backs Bolsonaro. In a recent book titled From Trance to Vertigo: Essays on Bolsonarismo and a World in Transition, which was released in Portuguese, he discusses Bolsonarismo, the movement of the previous president, in great detail.
The violent protest in Brazil has received a minor rebuke from Bolsonaro, who is presently in Florida, but his authority remains on the sidelines despite his lack of public interaction with the demonstrators. People like Bolsonaro and Trump can lead even if they don’t speak, write very little, or express themselves only in the most general terms because they are aware that their supporters will interpret anything they say in a variety of ways, Nunes told me.
However, this does not imply that the dangers of Bolsonarismo vanished when he left power. Bolsonaro should always be seen more as a symptom than a root cause, continued Nunes.
The group that overran Brasilia has both international and domestic roots, and one direct reason for Bolsonaro’s popularity is the widespread corruption scandal in 2014 that spread throughout political life and was a reaction to the 2008 financial crisis, which sank the technocratic liberal policymaking of centrist politicians. His particular style of strongman politics and militarism has long been prevalent in Brazilian culture, according to Nunes, but “all of a sudden they had a leader onto whom they could be projected and who could provide them a political outlet.”
In addition to analyzing Lula’s management of the situation thus far, Nunes explored the causes of the violent attack on the Brazilian capital and placed political currents within the context of right-wing and military history in Brazil.
We have minimally modified our talk for length and clarity.
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