Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism, writes Pepe Escobar.

By Pepe Escobar
in Paris
Special to Consortium News

Nothing less than the future of politics across the West – and across the Global South – is being played out in Brazil.

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century, neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.

Geopolitical and global economic reverberations will be immense. The Brazilian dilemma illuminates all the contradictions surrounding the Right populist offensive across the West, juxtaposed to the inexorable collapse of the Left. The stakes could not be higher.

Jair Bolsonaro, an outright supporter of Brazilian military dictatorships of last century, who has been normalized as the “extreme-right candidate,” won the first round of the presidential elections on Sunday with more than 49 million votes. That was 46 percent of the total, just shy of a majority needed for an outright win. This in itself is a jaw-dropping development.

His opponent, Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party (PT), got only 31 million votes, or 29 percent of the total. He will now face Bolsonaro in a runoff on October 28. A Sisyphean task awaits Haddad: just to reach parity with Bolsonaro, he needs every single vote from those who supported the third and fourth-placed candidates, plus a substantial share of the almost 20 percent of votes considered null and void.

Meanwhile, no less than 69 percent of Brazilians, according to the latest polls, profess their support for democracy. That means 31 percent do not.

No Tropical Trump

Dystopia Central does not even begin to qualify it. Progressive Brazilians are terrified of facing a mutant “Brazil” (the movie) cum Mad Max wasteland ravaged by evangelical fanatics, rapacious neoliberal casino capitalists and a rabid military bent on recreating a Dictatorship 2.0.

Bolsonaro: Danger for Brazil.

Bolsonaro, a former paratrooper, is being depicted by Western mainstream media essentially as the Tropical Trump. The facts are way more complex.

Bolsonaro, a mediocre member of Congress for 27 years with no highlights on his C.V., indiscriminately demonizes blacks, the LGBT community, the Left as a whole, the environment “scam” and most of all, the poor. He’s avowedly pro-torture. He markets himself as a Messiah – a fatalistic avatar coming to “save” Brazil from all those “sins” above.

The Goddess of the Market, predictably, embraces him. “Investors” – those semi-divine entities – deem him good for “the market”, with his last-minute offensive in the polls mirroring a rally in the Brazilian real and the Sao Paulo stock exchange.

Bolsonaro may be your classic extreme-right “savior” in the Nazi mould. He may embody Right populism to the core. But he’s definitely not a “sovereignist” – the motto of choice in political debate across the West. His “sovereign” Brazil would be run more like a retro-military dictatorship totally subordinated to Washington’s whims.

Bolsonaro’s ticket is compounded by a barely literate, retired general as his running mate, a man who is ashamed of his mixed race background and is frankly pro-eugenics. General Antonio Hamilton Mourão has even revived the idea of a military coup.

Manipulating the ticket, we find massive economic interests, tied to mineral wealth, agro-business and most of all the Brazilian Bible Belt. It is complete with death squads against Native Brazilians, landless peasants and African-American communities. It is a haven for the weapons industry. Call it the apotheosis of tropical neo-pentecostal, Christian-Zionism.

Praise the Lord

Brazil has 42 million evangelicals – and over 200 representatives in both branches of Parliament. Don’t mess with their jihad. They know how to exercise massive appeal among the beggars at the neoliberal banquet. The Lula Left simply didn’t know how to seduce them.

So even with echoes of Mike Pence, Bolsonaro is the Brazilian Trump only to a certain extent: his communication skills – talking tough, simplistically, is language understandable to a seven-year old. Educated Italians compare him to Matteo Salvini, the Lega leader, now Minister of Interior. But that’s also not exactly the case.

Bolsonaro is a symptom of a much larger disease. He has only reached this level, a head-to-head in the second round against Lula’s candidate Haddad, because of a sophisticated, rolling, multi-stage, judicial/congressional/business/media Hybrid War unleashed on Brazil.

Way more complex than any color revolution, Hybrid War in Brazil featured a law-fare coup under cover of the Car Wash anti-corruption investigation. That led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and Lula being thrown in jail on corruption charges with no hard evidence or smoking gun.

In every poll Lula would win these elections hand down. The coup plotters managed to imprison him and prevent him from running. Lula’s right to run was highlighted by everyone from Pope Francis to the UN’s Human Rights Council, as well as Noam Chomsky. Yet in a delightful historical twist, the coup plotters’ scenario blew up in their faces as the front-runner to lead the country is not one of them, but a neofascist.

One of them” would ideally be a faceless bureaucrat affiliated with the former social democrats, the PSDB, turned hardcore neoliberals addicted to posing as Center Left when they are the “acceptable” face of the neoliberal Right. Call them Brazilian Tony Blairs. Specific Brazilian contradictions, plus the advance of Right populism across the West, led to their downfall.

Even Wall Street and the City of London (which endorsed Hybrid War on Brazil after it was unleashed by NSA spying of oil giant Petrobras) have started entertaining second thoughts on supporting Bolsonaro for president of a BRICS nation, which is a leader of the Global South, and until a few years ago, was on its way to becoming the fifth largest economy in the world.

It all hangs on the “vote transfer” mechanism from Lula to Haddad and the creation of a serious, multi-party Progressive Democratic Front on the second round to defeat the rising neofascism. They have less than three weeks to pull it off.

The Bannon Effect

Bannon: Danger for Europe.

It’s no secret that Steve Bannon is advising the Bolsonaro campaign in Brazil. One of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, met with Bannon in New York two months ago after which the Bolsonaro camp decided to profit from Bannon’s supposed “peerless” social engineering insights.

Bolsonaro’s son tweeted at the time, “We’re certainly in touch to join forces, especially against Cultural Marxism.” That was followed by an army of bots disgorging an avalanche of fake news up to Election Day.

A specter haunts Europe. Its name is Steve Bannon. The specter has moved on to the tropics.

In Europe, Bannon is now poised to intervene like an angel of doom in a Tintoretto painting heralding the creation of a EU-wide Right Populist coalition.

Bannon is notoriously praised to high heavens by Italian Interior Minister Salvini; Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders; and scourge of the Paris establishment, Marine Le Pen.

Last month, Bannon set up The Movement; at first sight just a political start-up in Brussels with a very small staff. But talk about Boundless Ambition: their aim is no less than turning the European parliamentary elections in May 2019 upside down.

The European parliament in Strasbourg – a bastion of bureaucratic inefficiency – is not exactly a household name across the EU. The parliament is barred from proposing legislation. Laws and budgets can only be blocked via a majority vote.

Bannon aims at capturing at least one-third of the seats in Strasbourg. He’s bound to apply tested American-style methods such as intensive polling, data analysis, and intensive social media campaigns – much the same as in Bolsonaro’s case. But there’s no guarantee it will work, of course.

The foundation stone of The Movement was arguably laid in two key meetings in early September set up by Bannon and his right-hand man, Mischael Modrikamen, chairman of the quite small Belgian Parti Populaire (PP). The first meeting was in Rome with Salvini and the second in Belgrade with Orban.

Modrikamen defines the concept as a “club” which will “collect funds from donors, in America and Europe, to make sure ‘populist’ ideas can be heard by the citizens of Europe who perceive more and more that Europe is not a democracy anymore.”

Modrikamen insists, “We are all sovereignists.” The Movement will hammer four themes that seem to form a consensus among disparate, EU-wide political parties: against “uncontrolled immigration”; against “Islamism”; favoring “security” across the EU; and supporting “a Europe of sovereign nations, proud of their identity.”

The Movement should really pick up speed after next month’s midterms in the U.S. In theory, it could congregate different parties from the same nation under its umbrella. That could be a very tall order, even taller than the fact key political actors already have divergent agendas.

Wilders wants to blow up the EU. Salvini and Orban want a weak EU but they don’t want to get rid of its institutions. Le Pen wants a EU reform followed by a “Frexit” referendum.

The only themes that unite this mixed Right Populism bag are nationalism, a fuzzy anti-establishment drive and a – quite popular – disgust with the EU’s overwhelming bureaucratic machine.

Here we find some common ground with Bolsonaro, who poses as a nationalist and as against the Brazilian political system – even though he’s been in Parliament for ages.

There’s no rational explanation for Bolsonaro’s last-minute surge among two sections of the Brazilian electorate that deeply despise him: women and the Northeast region, which has always been discriminated against by the wealthier South and Southeast.

Much like Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 U.S. election, Bolsonaro’s campaign targeted undecided voters in Northeastern states, as well as women voters, with a barrage of fake news demonizing Haddad and the Workers’ Party. It worked like a charm.

The Italian Job

I’ve just been to northern Italy checking out how popular Salvini really is. Salvini defines the May 2019 European Parliament elections as “the last chance for Europe.” Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero sees them as the first “real election for the future of Europe.” Bannon also sees the future of Europe being played in Italy.

It’s quite something to seize the conflicting energy in the air in Milan, where Salvini’s Lega is quite popular while at the same time Milan is a globalized city crammed with ultra-progressive pockets.

At a political debate about a book published by the Bruno Leoni Institute regarding exiting the euro, Roberto Maroni, a former governor of the powerful Lombardia region, remarked: “Italexit is outside of the formal agenda of the government, of the Lega and of the center-right.” Maroni should know, after all he was one of the Lega’s founders.

He hinted however that major changes are on the horizon. “To form a group in the European parliament, the numbers are important. This is the moment to show up with a unique symbol among parties of many nations.”

It’s not only Bannon and The Movement’s Modrikamen. Salvini, Le Pen and Orban are convinced they can win the 2019 elections – with the EU transformed into a “Union of European Nations.” This would include not just a couple of big cities where all the action is, with the rest reduced to fly over status. Right Populism argues that France, Italy, Spain, and Greece are no longer nations – only mere provinces.

Macron: Perfect “progressive” wolf to be released among the sheep.

Right Populism derives immense satisfaction that its main enemy is the self-described “Jupiter” Macron – mocked across France by some as the “Little Sun King.” President Emmanuel Macron must be terrified that Salvini is emerging as the “leading light” of European nationalists.

This is what Europe seems to be coming to: a trashy, Salvini vs. Macron cage match.

Arguably the Salvini vs. Macron fight in Europe might be replicated as Bolsonaro vs. Haddad in Brazil. Some sharp Brazilian minds are convinced Haddad is the Brazilian Macron.

In my view he is not. His has a background in philosophy and he’s a former, competent mayor of Sao Paulo, one of the most complex megalopolises on the planet. Macron is a Rothschild mergers and acquisitions banker. Unlike Macron, who was engineered by the French establishment as the perfect “progressive” wolf to be released among the sheep, Haddad embodies what’s left of really progressive Left.

On top of that – unlike virtually the whole Brazilian political spectrum – Haddad is not corrupt. He’d have to offer the requisite pound of flesh to the usual suspects if he wins of course. But he’s not out to be their puppet.

Compare Bolsonaro’s Trumpism, apparent in his last-minute message before Election Day: “Make Brazil Great Again,” with Trump’s Trumpism.

Bolsonaro’s tools are unmitigated praise of the Motherland; the Armed Forces; and the flag.

But Bolsonaro is not interested in defending Brazilian industry, jobs and culture. On the contrary. A graphic example is what happened in a Brazilian restaurant in Deerfield Beach, Florida, a year ago: Bolsonaro saluted the American flag and chanted “USA! USA!”

That’s undiluted MAGA – without a “B”.

      During our Fall Fund Drive please consider making a donation.

Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale and author of How Fascism Works, takes us further. Stanley stresses how “the idea in fascism is to destroy economic politics… The corporatists side with politicians who use fascist tactics because they are trying to divert people’s attention from the real forces that cause the genuine anxiety they feel.”

Bolsonaro has mastered these diversionist tactics. And he excels in demonizing so-called Cultural Marxism. Bolsonaro fits Stanley’s description as applied to the U.S.:

Liberalism and Cultural Marxism destroyed our supremacy and destroyed this wonderful past where we ruled and our cultural traditions were the ones that dominated. And then it militarizes the feeling of nostalgia. All the anxiety and loss that people feel in their lives, say from the loss of their healthcare, the loss of their pensions, the loss of their stability, then gets rerouted into a sense that the real enemy is liberalism, which led to the loss of this mythic past.”

In the Brazilian case, the enemy is not liberalism but the Workers’ Party, derided by Bolsonaro as “a bunch of communists.” Celebrating his astonishing first round victory, he said Brazil was on the edge of a corrupt, communist “abyss” and could either choose a path of “prosperity, freedom, family” or “the path of Venezuela”.

The Car Wash investigation enshrined the myth that the Workers’ Party and the whole Left is corrupt (but not the Right). Bolsonaro overextended the myth:  every minority and social class is a target – in his mind they are “communists” and “terrorists.”

Goebbels comes to mind – via his crucial text The Radicalization of Socialism, where he emphasized the necessity of portraying the center-left as Marxists and socialists because, as Stanley notes, the middle class sees in Marxism not so much the subverter of national will, but mainly the thief of its property.”

That’s at the center of Bolsonaro’s strategy of demonizing the Workers Party – and the Left in general. The strategy of course is drenched in fake news – once again mirroring what Stanley writes about U.S. history: “The whole concept of empire is based on fake news. All of colonization is based on fake news.”

Right Against Left Populism?

Haddad: Three weeks to head off Bolsonaro

As I wrote in a previous column, the Left in the West is like a deer caught in the headlights when it comes to fighting Right populism.

Sharp minds from Slavoj Zizek to Chantal Mouffe are trying to conceptualize an alternative – without being able to coin the definitive neologism. Left populism? Popularism? Ideally, that should be “democratic socialism” – but no one, in a post-ideology, post-truth environment, would dare utter the dreaded word.

The ascent of Right populism is a direct consequence of the emergence of a profound crisis of political representation all over the West; the politics of identity erected as a new mantra; and the overwhelming power of social media, which allows – in Umberto Eco’s peerless definition – the ascent of “the idiot of the village to the condition of Oracle.”

As we saw earlier, the central motto of Right populism in Europe is anti-immigration – a barely disguised variation of hate towards The Other. In Brazil the main theme, emphasized by Bolsonaro, is urban insecurity. He could be the Brazilian Rodrigo Duterte – or Duterte Harry: “Make my day, punk.”

He portrays himself as the Righteous Defender against a corrupt elite (even though he’s part of the elite); and his hatred of all things politically correct, feminism, homosexuality, multiculturalism – are all unpardonable offenses to his “family values.”

A Brazilian historian says the only way to oppose him is to “translate” to each sector of Brazilian society how Bolsonaro’s positions affect them: on “widespread weaponizing, discrimination, jobs, (and) taxes.” And it has to be done in less than three weeks.

Arguably the best book explaining the failure of the Left everywhere to deal with this toxic situation is Jean-Claude Michea’s Le Loup dans la Bergerie – The Wolf Among the Sheep – published in France a few days ago.

Michea shows concisely how the deep contradictions of liberalism since the 18th century – political, economic and cultural – led it to TURN AGAINST ITSELF and be cut off from the initial spirit of tolerance (Adam Smith, David Hume, Montesquieu). That’s why we are deep inside post-democratic capitalism.

Euphemistically called “the international community” by Western mainstream media, the elites, who have been confronted since 2008 with “the growing difficulties faced by the process of globalized accumulation of capital,” now seem ready to do anything to keep its privileges.

Michea is right that the most dangerous enemy of civilization – and even Life on Earth – is the blind dynamics of endless accumulation of capital. We know where this neoliberal Brave New World is taking us.

The only counterpunch is an autonomous, popular movement “that would not be submitted to the ideological and cultural hegemony of ‘progressive’ movements that for over three decades defend only the cultural interests of the new middle classes around the world,” Michae says.

For now, such a movement rests in the realm of Utopia. What’s left is to try to remedy a coming dystopia – such as backing a real Progressive Democratic Front to block a Bolsonaro Brazil.

One of the highlights of my Italian sojourn was a meeting with Rolf Petri, Professor of Contemporary History at the Ca Foscari University in Venice, and author of the absolutely essential A Short History of Western Ideology: A Critical Account.

Ranging from religion, race and colonialism, to the Enlightenment project of “civilization”, Petri weaves a devastating tapestry of how “the imagined geography of a ‘continent’ that was not even a continent offered a platform for the affirmation of European superiority and the civilizing mission of Europe.”

During a long dinner in a small Venetian trattoria away from the galloping selfie hordes, Petri observed how Salvini – a middle-class small entrepreneur – craftily found out how to channel a deep unconscious longing for a mythical harmonious Europe that won’t be coming back, much as petty bourgeois Bolsonaro evokes a mythical return to the “Brazilian miracle” during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Every sentient being knows that the U.S. has been plunged into extreme inequality “supervised” by a ruthless plutocracy. U.S. workers will continue to be royally screwed as are French workers under “liberal” Macron. So would Brazilian workers under Bolsonaro. To borrow then from Yeats, what rough beast, in this darkest hour, slouches towards freedom to be born?

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030. Follow him on Facebook.

If you enjoyed this original article please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.


66 comments for “Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

  1. Zé Pequeno
    October 21, 2018 at 14:05

    For those who don’t know about Brazil, this article is just rewritten partisan bullshit.

    In the same paragraph of name calling one candidate “neo-fascist” the other is fine. Lula, who was running against all advice because he wrote the law that forbid candidates with criminal record to run, was convicted for corruption. He’s defense for one house and other property that he lived… it was his friend, not his.

    Must of Brazilian politicians in power are corrupt, but to pretend that the election of Bolsonaro is not a reaction to “PT” party being caught in such big corruption scandal and the current economic situation is just poor garbage. Plus PT has been in power for 14 years but according to the author, democracy, is the same party staying in power.

  2. Sandy Sikacek
    October 18, 2018 at 05:43

    The issue at stake all over the world is the same. The left the right the centre are different points on the same prism as it bends the light that passes through . The elephant in the room is right in front of our eyes everyday.
    The equal access to the land including all gifts of providence that this includes.

    The discussion should be started with 1 question – who owns these gifts of providence and why? This question is at the heart of the issue and once this question is asked by journalists of the current power structures we will quickly see where the devil is in the detail.

    There is no shortage of anything we only need to understand why it seems like there is.

  3. Carey
    October 16, 2018 at 20:01

    Agree about Escobar. Something is off- way off- with that guy. Hard to read, too, with his hep-cat™ tone and

  4. Will
    October 16, 2018 at 09:20

    being played out inHungary, the Philippines,Turkey Italy and a bunch of other places…but also in the United states/Russia via Trumputin. Amazing that the author has just noticed.

  5. R Davis
    October 16, 2018 at 04:06

    Interesting video’s = p1&p2 – it is all one talke Eric Kaufmann gave a the Sydney Opera House several years ago & is still most relevant even today.

    Why the religious will inherit the earth – Eric Kaufmann.- youtube.

    October 15, 2018 at 23:32

    “U.S. workers will continue to be royally screwed”

    ARE YOU FREAKING STUPID OR SOMETHING? Even the American workers who work at the local retail job can afford luxuries and amenities that are out of reach of even the “middle class” of several Western European countries, or the “middle/high class” of elsewhere in the world, like a f*king big house, a nice middle sized car or small truck, tons of imported food from elsewhere, and so on

    Get yer head of your ass, and go talk with real people, outside of your bubble

  7. nazcalito
    October 15, 2018 at 15:16

    not even Hitler can be both dregs and scum

  8. Mony Vibescu
    October 13, 2018 at 12:35

    Bannon is a national zionist a term invented by Soral of Egalité & Reconciliation which describes accuretly how the neo cons Anglos-Zionists are trying to recuperate and instrumentalize the populists nationalists against the EU

  9. FB
    October 13, 2018 at 11:47

    This is a painfully bad article…comparing the anti-EU ‘populists’ in Europe to a crazed fascist like Brazil’s Bolsonaro is quite ludicrous…

    Orban, Salvini, Le Pen and others in the Euro-populist camp are on solid ground by trying to dilute the imperialist monster that the EU has become…why would any progressive on the true left have a problem with dismantling, or at least diminishing, the EU…?

    They would not…as Diana Johnstone has made crystal clear…progressives and populists share a lot of the same agenda…some very fundamental principles…like a fair deal for the ‘little guy’…and end to disastrous neo-imperialist foreign policy…etc…

    Escobar just doesn’t get it… this silly article tells me he is a featherweight, as I have long suspected…

  10. bardamu
    October 11, 2018 at 17:06

    It’s good to see Escobar here and good to get his reflections on events in Brazil.

    It seems we have immediate reason to work out what constitutes the “neo” or “21st Century” in 21st Century neofascism. So often discussion and analysis the references go to the 1930s. But for decades now, authoritarian coups have involved less nationalism than (mostly) foreign black ops and international business and finance.

    The techniques of these operators have matured considerably with use in countries outside of the centers of empire, where mistakes were less costly to their central directors. These directors are active in their domestic spheres as well, and we have to expect that as confidence in techniques and control increases, their activities will become more aggressive.

    To understand the dangers of authoritarian control within the centers of power, we ought to look closely at how these centers subvert and overthrow local centers of sovereignty elsewhere. The last steps are apt to look similar anywhere.

    • Greg Schofield
      October 11, 2018 at 20:32

      bardamu an excellent contribution.

      1930s fascism was nationalistic because it festered within powers who missed out in being parts of the imperial network that emerged from WWI.

      Our fascism cannot be nationalistic in that sense, no matter the rhetoric as the corporate powers are wholly part of the a single imperialist network. However, as the nation state is the existing commonwealth of working people, they are naturally yearn for national liberation which always has a nationalistic flavor and there is nothing inherently wrong in that logic.

      I am not speaking about Brazil but more generally. The collapse of the old left has been long in the making, its progressive ideologies leaned towards liberalism, lived in the past nationalism=fascism=right=bad. Its policies on welfare benefited working people to a degree but benefited, a new petty bourgeoisie of ‘educated’ managers, the most.

      Social fascism (left) and rightest fascism emerged from WWII being the chief characteristic of US imperial network and finally emerging with globalism in its not misnamed neoliberal form (the dictatorship of managers).

      The workers movement, generally speaking, has been smashed for a long time now, it is just embarrassingly apparent in is absence. Sponsored stooges, variation of the colour revolutions, are sign of political decay. Trumplism hastens decline, people support it because they cannot support more of the same, but it is all money dependent. The imperial network is a financial creation, facade of robbery its days are number it is in a moment of historical suicide.

      What is to be done?

  11. hjs
    October 11, 2018 at 15:08

    It does not take a genius to know that the CIA, once more, plays a huge role in the development of the political situation in Brazil. It must be considered a given, that the US has taken it on themselves, to control and dominate the American continent from the Bering Straits to Cape Hoorn and their main objective is the exploitation of its riches for their own personal use. The CIA and the US military operate directly and exclusively at the behest of the country’s plutocratic elites, working relentlessly for the Nr.1 goal, the privatisation of profit and the socialisation of cost.
    In regarding Brazil there is of course the prospect of exploiting the country’s huge, still untouched natural resources, many of them situated in the Amazon basin. The speculators and bankers of Wallstreet in alliance with their colleagues in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Bruxelles, Zurich, Rome and Madrid, see in a man like Bolsonaro and his extreme right-wing/fascist ideology the ideal partner for the process of turning every marketable item into cash money in the shortest amount of time, in particular the part that is at the moment off limits, due to efforts in environmental protection, respecting the rights of indigenous tribes and other communist shenanigans. The merciless juggernaut of US and international large corporations, backed up by corrupt locals and supported by the CIA and its partners will follow through, without any concerns whatsoever on what becomes of the lands, the ordinary folks or their future once their through with plundering every corner of South America.
    US capitalism spells death for human and most other life on this planet.

    In regards to the article, I’d like to ask the author, why he believes that opposition against the EU and efforts to resign membership via a general vote is by default some kind of right-wing, extremist position. I am Swiss, to me there is no political instrument more legitimate than a general vote among all the citizens of a sovereign nation. I strongly object the idea that I am in any sense a “rightwinger”, “xenophobe” or fascist sympathiser due to the fact that I oppose and criticize large scale immigration, especially when it is without or against popular consent.

    PS: Intentionally lying and systematically misleading the electorate à la Steve Bannon has nothing to do with “populism”, it is just that, cheating the people and abusing their trust by lying and misleading them. There is no new -ism needed to describe this.

    PPS: Long live consortiumnews, its writers and its readers! Much, much love and respect!

  12. October 11, 2018 at 08:51

    Please try to write shorter pieces. Many of us have limited time!

  13. Michael
    October 11, 2018 at 06:48

    And who finances those dudes? Who EXACTLY and what is their global agenda?


  14. October 10, 2018 at 21:39

    My partner who lives in Brazil 6 months of the yesr, informs me the left is believed to be so corrupt Lulu, Dilma have robbed the country out of billions. That is what the people believe and why they refuse to sign on to the PT…Bannon is spreading fascism all over the world…look were the US is under Trumpolini.

  15. October 10, 2018 at 20:20

    One wonders with the trashing of the opposition on both sides whether there is really any hope for accommodation; people growing further apart. Excoriating people with labels, no matter howl sophisticated the writer seems to be just makes things worse. People opposed to unchecked immigration are unlikely to be fascists, people who want universal health care are not likely to be communists, evangelicals are not all likely to be bigots, and on and on. There is abroad the broad-minded who narrowly define what it is to be one, all others something else.

  16. karlof1
    October 10, 2018 at 16:31

    Much to think about in this long, untruncated essay by Pepe lacking his usual jovial optimism of the sort that exists within all dark clouds. I’ve been advocating the rebirth of the 19th Century People’s Party through the utilization of their painstaking and thorough method of promoting solidarity and organization, which admittedly is methodically time consuming–a trait that quickly turns off the immediate gratification herd. Unfortunately, there are a great many uninformed and downright ignorant people having no clue as to why things are the way they are or how to go about altering the situation. Bernays and his successors would be very proud of their condition. The great majority of people I interact with don’t even know there was once a People’s Party that almost gained control of the federal government, and that it predated Russia’s Revolution. In 4 weeks, I’ll know if it’s worthwhile to continue my efforts; but now the cynic inside me is saying it’s not worth my time.

  17. Jeff Harrison
    October 10, 2018 at 10:44

    As good as Pepe is, I struggled to work my way through this one. Maybe I’ve become completely lost in what appears to be a whole new set of labels. Liberal, neo-liberal, conservative, neo-conservative, fascist, antifa, plutocratic, libertarian, and many others seem to have popped up in recent years. Some of these terms are old familiar friends, others are new and relatively undefined. It seems to me that as democracy has spread around the world, it has been adopted by distinctly anti-democratic groups who undermine democracy either directly such as the vote suppression tactics of the Republican party or through the chicanery of misinformation either partisan style or in service of the state’s agenda when as in the US, the state controls the MSM. A little clarity would be helpful.

    As best as I can understand, Pepe is saying that Brazil is going to become a fascist state .

    • Kevin Bradley
      October 10, 2018 at 12:17

      Rather than state control of the MSM, it’s more accurate to say that an oligarchy controls both the MSM and the state in the US. These wealthy and powerful individuals exercise their dominance through major think tanks, foundations, and the mass media.

  18. dean 1000
    October 10, 2018 at 09:13

    A very timely article Pepe. The stakes could not be higher, as you say. It is a contest between civilization and barbaric government as you also say.

    It is NOT a contest between democracy and fascism. Brazil is a republic as Mr. Escobar knows very well. It is a more democratic republic than the U.S. but it is still a republic. Brazil’s presidents take office only after getting a majority of votes. In the U.S. presidents can take office after only a plurality of votes or an electoral college win. Brazil has 513 members in its Chamber of Deputies and 81 elected senators. Apparently 594 politicians does not create a congress too big to bribe.

    Anyone who believes that the supreme court of Brazil is an institution of democracy or even democracy in action needs professional help. In a democracy the courts would not decide political questions. The fate of Dilma and Lula would be decided by the voters at a special election or the next scheduled election. What qualifies a handful of judges to overturn an election? The undemocratic procedures of undemocratic republics that give rise to usurpation. Of course a republic can adopt measures that remove its courts from politics.

    The pilgrim colony in Massachusetts demoted its governor (John Winthrop) because he suffered financial losses. The pilgrims believed that a person who was doing well was living right and god was helping him. A person who was poor or suffering losses was living an unchristian life and god was punishing him. The pilgrims did return Winthrop to governor. Both the demotion and promotion were democracy in action. Poor example of democracy you may say.
    My point is even the utter foolishness and gross irrationality of democracy is better than a corruptible republic.The pilgrims corrected their democratic mistake quicker than any branch of a republic corrects its republican mistakes.

    ?Pepe is also right about the left. The ideological straight-jacket it wears reduces it to the vehement protest of personalities rather than the long hard work of democratizing a republic. Like the right, the left wants more influence on government than its numbers warrant.

    Most republics are aristocratic rather than democratic. The people’s Republic of China, for example, is an aristocratic republic. The few who rule the many are the members of the communist party. Switzerland is the most democratic republic in my opinion. They can amend their constitution by initiative or referendum. If the U.S. had legislative representation proportional to Switzerland it would have 7,931 House members and 100 senators.

  19. HopeLB
    October 10, 2018 at 08:25

    William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  20. Cristine Drago Costa
    October 10, 2018 at 08:10

    Você tem todo o meu respeito.

  21. Mark Thomason
    October 10, 2018 at 06:37

    Utter and complete failure of the status quo is the sole reason this crazy right wing movement can start.

    Something must be done. Voters see that, but they see nothing else on offer but more of the failed.

    I don’t say this to justify the right, but to explain its appeal to voters.

    The remedy is to provide an alternative option that is not a hopelessly corrupt self-serving failure as government.

    • Greg Schofield
      October 11, 2018 at 20:40

      Perhaps not an alternative, but a program of national reconstruction (I am not referring to Brazil I am to ignorant to have an opinion). Things are so bad that simple straightforward reforms argue themselves today. However this cannot be done in association with liberals and ‘progressives’ it has to be from the immediate needs of ordinary people regardless of their momentary disposition left & right.

      Distill the practical problem, drop the clarion calls, the liberal recipes and abstract rights, and be anti-managerial in every breath, they are not our allies no matter how much they pretend.

  22. Tom Kath
    October 10, 2018 at 00:09

    I find definitive labelling rather repulsive. It implies that EVERYTHING about a certain person is either right/good or wrong/bad. As we should know, there are good and even brilliant aspects to Hitler, fascism, communism, democracy etc.
    This black/white, one track, one way, thinking dates back to the ONE God ideologies where there is only one “right”, and all other perspectives must be converted or dismissed.
    The next step in this way of thinking is to assume that ONE sex must be right and the other therefore wrong!

    • Ernesto Che
      October 10, 2018 at 07:25

      @Tom Kath: what labelling are you referring to? What alternative do you propose?

    • Kevin Bradley
      October 10, 2018 at 12:01

      There are no good or brilliant aspects to Nazism and fascism. Ideology cannot be compared to one’s sex, and these ideologies are rotten to the core.

      • Tom Kath
        October 10, 2018 at 19:20

        If you give someone a label, say “cat lover”, which you may NOT be, it does not make them “rotten to the core”.
        Each label only describes ONE aspect of a person’s thinking and priorities. “Fascist” or “Nazist” says NOTHING about that person’s views on cats, homosexuality, capitalism, or voluntary euthanasia, for instance.

        • Greg Schofield
          October 11, 2018 at 20:54

          Tom this seems to be liberal response, without labeling you, there is something out there, call it corporatism (the other name for fascism), and people manifest it not just in their expressions, for instance ordinary people may express it but that does make them of it, then there are those that have connections into the actual corporate entity. However, they may sound nice and liberal, not just righting populists dividing people and setting up false problems.

          That is our collective problem it is unclear to most of us what the hell the fight is. It is actually very simple, far simpler than it was in the past the people of the word in their national states are arrayed into two opposed camps, not by ideologies but by circumstance. The corporatist camp camp has been triumphant for decades, had its own way nearly everywhere and has choked on its greed.

          The rest of us are in the other camp, this parasite must be dissolved and it costs lives every minute it lives now especially in its dying, it lashes out brutally, clumsily at every irritation, becomes fixated on plans that have no objective. Know what camp you belong and spare none of the enemy for they made it a fight to the death and there are mountains of corpses already.

          What will shorten this is the coming financial crash, that will not be the time to be kind to them the managerial corporations must go transformed into something esle far more useful to humankind. Lets not worry about words, but about meanings.

  23. Kevin Scott
    October 9, 2018 at 22:00

    I have mixed feelings on Bolsonaro. I support Salvini, LePen, Orban, Alt-Right in U.S but don’t like the Zionism nor the over the top hatred of gays. It drives me & many New Right Populists crazy when we hear there is only the ‘Right’ & ”The Far Right’. As if Universities, Hollywood, Corporations & Media were inherited by The Left & that doesn’t count. You can’t read a Damn sports article on ESPN or elsewhere without noticing a latent anti-White bias who see ‘Nationalism’ as not just a defeated ideology but so far gone that its bad manners to even mention the word. White ppl are tired of having our culture, our language & our history used against us every day, like a bludgeon, trying to heat us into submission. A new movement has been born, one that stands for everything that Cultural Marxism is against. And if one of the consequences of a 3rd position ideology coming to power is a man like Bolsonaro coming to power too.. So be it.

    • Ernesto Che
      October 10, 2018 at 07:34

      @Kevin Scott: nationalism was defeated in WW2, and it will be defeated again & again because it has no legitimacy. Nationalism, as you make clear, is all about supremacy of 1 ethnicity over another, and that simply stinks and has no future.

      As for stating what “white ppl are tired of”, who appointed you to define what white ppl are tired of? There are white ppl who are not just tired, but sick of and disgusted with bigoted nationalists who believe in white supremacy, which has brought only death & destruction to the world. With your ‘passive’ endorsement of Bolsonaro you confirm that your nationalism = racism, misogynicsm, anti-‘the other’, pro exploitation of the poor, extermination of ‘the other’.

      • Greg Schofield
        October 11, 2018 at 21:23

        Nationalism was suppressed by post WWII imperialism, the reason it is popular now is the opposite it is not relaunch of national imperialism fascism’s attempt to revive the dead. National where it is not hollow jingoism is anti imperialism, even American nationalism.

        Nation state are our only commonwealth, we should stand by why it is plundered by corporate interests, we should starve because they want more, that they gamble with it, mobilize it against the people, corrupt our political life, we should not express ourselves as members of our own commonwealths?

        I cannot agree with what you mean.

        Kevin Scott I cannot agree with anything he says, but what informs him is true.

        We need to see past the words, try and understand why someone might believe such things and how he gets so much backward. No doubt large sections of the working class ‘white’ population are feeling persecuted, because they are, not for being ‘white’ but for being working class. Scott may not be one of them, but culturally he identifies them, and this he has lifted beyond reality, beyond the affinity everyone feels for people they know and understand.

        It was predicable from the first the liberal guilt campaign has fostered reaction, it could do nothing else, but push a racist agenda making an ethnic group collective responsible for the policies of the power, who for the most part were of the same ethnic group. Scott is being logical he has reacted as liberals wanted, to disarm the working class by dividing it, and their progressive history gave them leverage to do it.

        Scott protects his gang by observing it of blame by outing another fictive element Zionism, which in this context just means jew, now even the ‘white’ group divides.

        Scott is the product of liberal democracy, but that does not necessarily put him on the other side, though he is begging to be ostracized. Liberalism prides itself on its radicalism, and it has a history that supports this, but radicalism of the the middle class, of the class of managers.

        Our so-called democracies consist of the representatives of the rules (Upper classes), and the loyal opposition the Liberal/radical (Middle class). The rest of us are Lower class, we are not the material selected to be the CEO of pet shop chain, the banks will not be offering us any sweet deals, and very few of us will receive bribes, and then not very much.

        Over the centuries and in more recent decades the Upper and Middle classes have transformed, in fact they have combined into the cooperate state. Scott appears to be reacting to that consequence which like it or lump it puts him on our side (just needs some education which if memory serves correct, as I have not heard one in a long time, ris best down by calm and measured debate, without histrionics, and patience.

        • Ernesto Che
          October 12, 2018 at 04:58

          @Greg Schofield: you try to understand what is behind Scott’s nationalism, which is not the healthy form of it but the unhealthy, bigoted form. You present a detailed analysis of why he does that. There is some truth in it, but in my opinion you do not address the root cause of his and many others’ choice of this form of nationalism.

          The root cause is that he and the others do not bother to get their news analysis from an eclectic range of sources, rather they choose what the MSM (= government) and the right populists present them with. There is no Upper+Middle class for that runs our democracies, there is only that Upper class of “nouveaux riches”, the 1% of society, that calls the shots. And nowhere is that more visible than in Brazil.

          Scott’s version of nationalism targets the immigrants and weak members of society as the culprit for the working class’s woes. No matter how you turn that, it is an unacceptable interpretation that only leads to fascism, as Europe demonstrated amply during the last century.

          • Grreg Schofield
            October 12, 2018 at 20:18

            @ Ernesto Che I do not disagree, but the way to fight this form of fascism is to ‘persuade the blockheads to think’. Most of the ordinary, non-leadership, rightists can be won over, but not by a left that does not understand what they are essentially expressing, which is different from how they express it.

            The fascists with power are liberal and social fascists in the USA (Clintoniquse), which we have tolerated because of their progressive sheen. These demolished the workers movement in my country (Australia) from within for the forty odd years of my political experience. They are the danger because they gag the intellectual voice of the workers experience leaving only the reactive voice which is easily led.

            I had argued back in the seventies that cosmopolitanism and anti-nationalism were serve in the corporate powers, that much of the world needed national liberation as an immediate means to gain some democratic control, over our common commonwealth which then and and now being looted.

            Scott’s carefully composed piece was meant to get a rise, if he was genuine, that is of the people for whom he speaks, he would have come back at what I have said, because he believed everything he said. I now don’t think that is the case. We can always deal with the genuine for they will engage, the ‘managers’ never will.

            However, there are many who would respond to parts of it based on am material reason and it is those reasons we should be attuned. My view is that you can learn a lot from any worker who is thinks clearly no matter how they express themselves, they are easy, they already have class consciousness to one degree or another.

            However, thinking clearly also means pushing some things aside, and these sometimes get forgotten or are categorized as simply bad and don’t get spoken. Intellect8uual development is always one sided. It is the reactionary knee jerk workers who do not think, but feel everything who tell all, once you get under their mode of expression they are important to us directly, they are telling us what us on the agenda and we need to listen.

            The way things have happened is that the world has been divided into two great camps, making the left and right designations useless. Corporatism vs the people, there is no middle ground and no possible compromise that vanished back in the days of Regan and Thatcher.

            Corporatism needs a left and right to function it is the ultimate liberal-democracy, but internal to itself the public face has collapsed. The so called extreme right is at the working class end all feeling having been systematically denied anything approaching a decent primary education they simply do not have the means to think things through abstractly and being at the crappy end of the stick they can be militantly anti-intellectual, but they think, they are not dumb or stupid they are just disarmed.

            @ Ernesto Che thanks, might I add in my country there is simply no place that a conversation like this could occur, where a right wing post allows us to concentrate on strategy — what is to be done? The minute I said anything favorable about Scott’s post I would be shouted down by liberals there would be no debate, no thinking outside their dictates, they would close the forum down rather than it leave their control.

            The ANC did not achieve victory until it Necklaced its own 5th Column in a less dramatic way before we can confront the right fascists we need to purge the social fascists out of the vicinity of the worker’s movement.

  24. October 9, 2018 at 18:58

    He is Zionist and Pro Israel. Haddad is a crypto-Jew (new Christian / Marranos) … Summary of the opera: it is a hybrid war of Zionism and uses Bolsonaro as PEÃO! It is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePf7sOPagEg

    • Ernesto Che
      October 10, 2018 at 07:35

      @0101: Zionist & pro-Israel? What do you base that on, can you be specific?

      • October 10, 2018 at 21:42

        Nazias fled to Brazil…they run the largest businees, own the most property, etc.

  25. October 9, 2018 at 17:49

    Although I appreciate the author’s analysis of the ominous Brazilian political situation, I believe he goes too far in lumping Bolsonaro with European populists. Salvini, Orban and Le Pen each have different motivations which come together in confronting the problems of the neoliberal economic order that has disrupted much of Europe where massive migration has led to very real internal problems. Not every nationalist movement is fascism. There are democratic institutions that are at stake when the migrant floodgates are opened. The fact that Steve Bannon might fan the populist bonfire is irrelevant.

    • Greg Schofield
      October 11, 2018 at 21:26

      Good criticism.

    • Ernesto Che
      October 15, 2018 at 05:58

      @Bob Herrschaft: “Not every nationalist movement is fascism.”
      True, but in the case of Salvini, Orban & Le Pen it IS fascism. They are faring relatively well because of the migrant issue, that has been completely mismanaged, and continues to be, by Brussels AND the national governments. Consequently, that trio, which I insist are fascists, ride that wave of popular discontent by blaming everything on the migrants WITHOUT contributing 1 single iota to a constructive discussion as to how to solve the problem. Their “solution” is to close the border. Well, that just tackles the symptom and not the root cause. And desperate people, which is what most of the migrants are, will find holes in those closed borders, which will always be porous.

      BTW, the root cause of migrants from the Middle East is the illegal, reckless and incessant bombing by the US/ZioNazi tandem and their spineless, gutless lackeys in Europe.
      The root cause of migrants from Africa is continued exploitation, and keeping corrupt governments in power by the West.
      As long as those root problems are not solved, the migrant problem will continue and the fascists will keep gaining.

      There is no true nationalism, as in national identity, in Europe anymore, nor in the US. There is patriotism, which has a very thin borderline with fascism. As a simple example: sports events like the Olympics, football World Cup, and the like, are meant, among other things, to encourage patriotism. In practice it can very easily lead to hooliganism, a form of patriotism out of control, i.e. fascism. People should compete on the basis of individual skills and be proud of those results, rather than be proud to be competing for the US, or South Africa, or whatever country. I know, this will probably never happen, not for quite a few generations to come, if ever.

  26. Maxwell Quest
    October 9, 2018 at 17:32

    The Left, always linked with the communist bogeyman and his atheistic hordes, no longer exists in the West. The Left, which fought for a living wage, child labor laws, five day work week, workplace safety, pensions, health care, etc. was completely dismantled, piece by piece, starting with the Reagan-Thatcher neoliberal revolution. All that remains are the Right and Far-Right, with a middle-class slip-sliding back into wage slavery and poverty.

    And now the bill is coming due for crushing the Left, and the vast fortunes that have amassed (read wealth inequality) as a result of the Right’s sterling leadership, not to mention the decimation of national cultures and sovereignty. I have zero sympathy for the neoliberal establishment. They put this train on these tracks and have continued to vigorously stoke the boilers despite warning after warning of trouble ahead. Good luck in your efforts to steer clear of a collision with fascism.

    • Greg Schofield
      October 11, 2018 at 21:34

      Great points well said. There is one ally no-one counted on neoliberialism it is doing a bang-up job of eating itself to death the financial collapse is not too far off, and empty rhetoric of the right will not feed the baby.

  27. LJ
    October 9, 2018 at 17:23

    Ipso Facto, Pepe. But Yeats? Come on. Why this is not a major story in US Media and International says a whole lot about just about everything, FREE LULA

  28. Lladnar
    October 9, 2018 at 16:40

    I’m not Brazilian, so my points come mostly second hand (from a close friend who is a Brazilian, Entrepreneur and supporter of Bolsonaro).

    According to him, it has become impossible to start, or run, a business in Brazil due to the many corrupt actions taken by the government functionaries. All he wants to be able to do is to be able to run his business, or even HAVE his business, without continuous problems… and a simple business it is too (English language schools).

    Expanding on his points, when a government stops being about facilitating PRODUCTION of goods and services and becomes all about confiscation and using the confiscated money to reward the followers of that party, then in a short time incentives become perverse and the ‘game’ called the economy is ruined. It’s like the Refs of a football match taking over and trying to score as many goals as possible… sure the Ref’s fans scream with delight, but pretty soon both teams leave the field and there is no more football.

    As for the article, for a person who has been studying fascism (an overly collective, overly organized ‘diseased’ social order primarily marked by the suppression of the individual), I find a great deal of misuse of the term. Commonly it is used as a pejorative by people who do not look to individuals to solve most of their own problems, but depend on government collective (and hence statist but fascistic) solutions. So often something like psychological projection is going on. Yet their articles continue to be published, I assume because their editors don’t know any better.

    Basically it is ludicrous to say that a Right Winger is more fascistic than a Left Winger. They are both fascistic to the extent that they are aiming to substitute the collective for the individual. The middle way is always better… perhaps Bolsonaro represents a movement away from fascistic statism in Brazil. Unless Bolsonaro is pushing private corporate monopolies (also fascistic, but usually more productive than statist fascism), then whatever liberalization he creates will be a good thing.

    But let us not forget that issue that often lies at the heart of the confusion over political structure… the GINI index… when all along this is a question of the tax structure (virtually always absurdly liberal in when one is dead but punishing when one is alive). Over time a good deal can be achieved by means of taxes, yet so many people miss this.

  29. Davy V
    October 9, 2018 at 16:26

    “Every sentient being knows that the U.S. has been plunged into extreme inequality “supervised” by a ruthless plutocracy.”

    If you believe 98% equal somehow means overall inequality.

    • Ernesto Che
      October 10, 2018 at 07:37

      @Davy V: what is your 98% equality based on?

  30. DFC
    October 9, 2018 at 14:30

    /Bolsonaro may be your classic extreme-right “savior” in the Nazi mould./

    Something is really strange here. In 2008 we had Obama, Merkel, Cameron and Lula da Silva a perfect Liberal World Order, producing economic opportunity, diversity and multi-culturalism for everyone.

    There was nothing that the people needed saving from.

    I think this comment from Google’s Sergey Brin needs to be more deeply explored:

    Brin talks about the typical mentality of Trump voters.

    He argues that those with ‘routine jobs’ were more likely to vote for Trump than those with ‘non-routine’ jobs – and said ‘boredom’ might explain the President’s popularity.

    ‘There’s actually a lot of historical precedent for boredom being a huge factor in vote choice,’ Brin told the crowd.

    ‘And actually in building extremism. We’ve done a lot of work on extremism that shows a high correlation with boredom.’

    ‘Data suggests that boredom led to the rise of fascism and communism. It sort of sneaks up sometimes, really bad things.’

    So, if this is right, then we are merely looking at an entertainment problem.

    And this reminds me of why the Roman Emperors made such a big deal about the games in the Colosseum and Circus Maximus.

    • Salim
      October 9, 2018 at 21:21

      Des gars de google nous apprennent beaucoup, hein ? Lisez plutôt Hegel, Marx et surtout Trotsky pour savoir qqc sur l’ humanité, son histoire…

    • October 10, 2018 at 20:32

      “So, if this is right, then we are merely looking at an entertainment problem.”

      The clever are always appreciated. One of them elegant solutions y’all hear about.

  31. October 9, 2018 at 12:56

    The one thing I know that you can bet good money on here is that the CIA is extremely active in the election.

    They are like rats infesting a number of Latin American countries right now.

    The idea is to keep the great American-supported plantation system going in Latin America.

    Related, readers may enjoy:


  32. October 9, 2018 at 12:30

    Welcome Pepe Escobar in our fascist and police state. Pepe, as an acute observer can witness the rise of the 21th century fascism both in Europe and in Latin America. Pepe can see fascist Le Pen and Salvini in permanent show.

    Who studied the rise of fascism and nazism in the previous century has no problem to compare and recognize the similarities between the two epochs. The difference between 20 th century hard fascism and the soft fascism of our time is there no communists in sight to fight and to terminate.

    The pseudo left parties are all parts of fascist police state. they vote laws against the workers and contribute as thinking part to the dismantlement of the social legislations pulled away by the workers blood during the XIX and XX centuries without interruption

    • Susan Sunflower
      October 10, 2018 at 16:29

      yes, any number of Amerca’s industrialists were approving, even in awe of Hitler’s economic miracle (or appearance of same)

  33. October 9, 2018 at 12:14

    Brazil seems ready to topple, at least any aspect of real popular governance. The illusion of democracy is just too easy to manipulate. It’s become a shell game, everywhere (you remember, which shell has the bean, razzle dazzle and apparently none of them do). In this case, it appears the con men have themselves been conned.

    In Brazil, first the parliament, allied with the judiciary, staged a coup and impeached the president on alleged corruption charges, even though all the coup leaders were themselves under investigation for corruption (kind of like the dreams of the current Democratic Party in the United States).

    Then the judiciary eliminated the country’s most popular leader, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was leading all opinion polls, by convicting him of corruption without proof other than allegations (hmmm, wonder what Brett Kavanaugh thinks of that) and further, that not quite being enough, disqualified twenty percent of the votes , in the first round of the presidential election as null and void, disenfranchising one out of every five voters who took the trouble to participate.

    Of all of the right wing movements sweeping the globe, this is the most hypocritical, ludicrous and staged. The original coup plotters have been outmaneuvered from the right by Brazil’s version of the nineteenth contrary United States’ “American Party” (popularly known as the “No Nothings”, and proud of it). It is a political movement whose primary goal is to sell Brazil to neoliberal elites in the name of, … “Brazil First!

    When truth is irrelevant and hypocrisy an art form (think of the US Democratic Party) and people believe anything as long as it rhymes, anything becomes possible, even an Oxymoronocracy.

    The article highlights some of these issues from both a Brazilian and a European perspective but falls for the trap of misunderstanding the difference between real populism, a form of real democracy percolating from below and ignoring elitist institutional barriers to its exercise, from its nemesis, the generation of the verisimilitude of populism by ambitious leaders or institutions using social and other media to thwart elitist institutional barriers to power, the difference being the originating force.

    It’s worth the read though, and serious reflection.

    • October 9, 2018 at 12:16

      Sorry for the typos!!!! I rushed to post.

      • LJ
        October 9, 2018 at 19:37

        Look to the Brazilian flag brother. ORDER is clearly stated there. Three words. Read them. A military dictatorship with the backing of a corrupt judiciary is already in place. Topple? How? Where to? Anarchy from drug gangs in the ghettos and from fascistic rancher’s gangs in rural areas. That is Brazil already. Can’t fall too much farther from Temer , Post Carwash.. Did you ever watch the semi-classic film Bye-Bye Brazil.? Why not?. It’s gone now like so many other places…

    • OlyaPola
      October 9, 2018 at 16:36

      “The illusion of democracy is just too easy to manipulate. It’s become a shell game, everywhere (you remember, which shell has the bean, razzle dazzle and apparently none of them do).”

      “Representative democracy” has always been a shell game from inception, given additional ideological cloaks as necessary from “Nation States”, and “We the people” to “engage” the spectators and contain/frame their “opposition” in linear frames, as observed by Mr. Rove in his rumination that “We are an empire, we create our own reality to which others react” as illustrated by recent “Supreme Court” plays.

      Some are of the view that a return to “virginity” is necessary thereby rendering them spectators as understood by Mr. Rove and others, since it is not possible to stand in the same river twice nor to stand in a river that has never existed.

      “”In this case, it appears the con men have themselves been conned.”

      Some resort to belief to bridge doubt to attain certainty/comfort, whilst some perceive that not all con men have been conned whilst it is often useful to appear to be conned.

      Beliefs can be catalysed/encouraged through processes that facilitate self-conning.

      However rigorous analysis would suggest that the assertion that “In this case, it appears the con men have themselves been conned.” is contextually incorrect and at best premature, illustrating the resort of some to use belief to bridge doubt and/or “evil spirits” thereby limiting opportunity of lateral challenge.

  34. October 9, 2018 at 11:04

    You should have emphasized the situation in Brazil which is, as has been reported to me, dominated with not just corruption real and imagined but street crime and the domination in many areas by organized crime. Society in many areas is falling apart and why is that? The rapid disintegration of traditional morality. For someone like me or you who are part of a sophisticated cosmopolitan culture enriched by a knowledge of history, philosophy, art and so on this disintegration is welcome and not a big problem–we rest on the tradition of Western humanism. But for the vast majority of people in the West this tradition barely exists. Most people are incredibly primitive in their views and know nothing of Zizek or even Aristotle nor would understand a work any of them has written. This is why primitive forms of religion, particularly Christianity with its strange cults, is so appealing. It offers real answers to the confused, the lost, who see their families breaking up, their children unable to find a career, often using addictive drugs or gaming endlessly. Even if they don’t get hung up on religion fascism with its cult of strength is deeply appealing no matter how immoral it appears to us because it opposes precisely who we are. It opposes Western humanism, liberalism, openness, tolerance, peace, compassion for the weak and so on. Fascism is the ideal way to make the powerless feel powerful, to regenerate the prejudices and mythological frameworks of their youth or of their parents and, as we know, provides insurancce of “stability” for the pirate-class of criminals that are our corporate elite.

    The left in the West has no chance just as it did not have in Italy or Germany between the world wars. What we need to do is listen to the people and give them some practical alternatives. Rather than sign up for worshiping and angry and cruel God give them something richer–that means moving into spirituality rather than antifa or some other pointless social movement that just arouses more hate.

    • OlyaPola
      October 10, 2018 at 10:48

      “Fascism is the ideal way to make the powerless feel powerful, to regenerate the prejudices and mythological frameworks of their youth or of their parents and, as we know, provides insurancce of “stability” for the pirate-class of criminals that are our corporate elite.”

      “Fascism” at least in the short-term shares a modicum of power with the formerly powerless in facilitating the acting out of their prejudices whilst building on pre-existing notions of “Nation states/nationality” and “We the peopleness” – rendered under “National Socialism” as Volksgemeinschaft – and ideological objects such as “the flag” and practices such as “taking oaths and pledging alleigence to the wall ( Mr. Simon).”

      “Fascism” also facilitates the transfer of property and opportunities from the “other” to at least some of the formerly “powerless”.

      “Fascism” also facilitates its continuance by securing complicity in formerly perceived “abberant” behaviour – torture for example having many uses including the underpinning of schadenfreude amongst the “spectators”, and at least a facade of change in gender relations.

      The attractions of “Fascism” are real and should never be under-estimated.

      “The left in the West has no chance just as it did not have in Italy or Germany between the world wars.”

      “Left” and “Right” and all points between lie within a linear spectrum facilitating the iteration of present conditions with slight change in assay of amalga, but can never transcend the conditions facilitating the linear spectrum within which the are immersed.

      The “Bolshevik Project” was also emulative of the “opponents”, although not percieved by all, although the increasing awareness of this by many in the former “Soviet Union” facilitated and continues to facilitate the transcendence of the “Soviet Union” and its half-lives by the Russian Federation.

      As can still be illustrated in many societies, the shell game of “Representative democracy” still has some half-life and some may be loathe to dispense with a tool that has proven its worth over many years.

      However in any dynamically interactive system the constant is change, the primary variables tending to be trajectory and velocity of change.

      “that means moving into spirituality”

      In any dynamic interactive system neither certainty nor uni-causality can exist.

      Consequently through various scenarios which can be encouraged and have been encouraged in the past, the wise trajectory appears to lie in the transcendence of socio-economic arrangements based upon equal but different where “but” precludes equal through differential access to social “benefits”, by socio-economic arrangements based upon equal and different where “and” facilitates transcendence.

      “Sstemic Reform” or a return to virginity are illustrations of Mr. Rove’s “We are an Empire” observations wher-in such immersion leads to strategic blindness.

    • LJ
      October 11, 2018 at 13:57

      cstahnke You are so wrong. What you and all the rest need is a smooth talking charismatic and attractive Populist ( We aren’t talking Trump here, he’s a warm up for the real thing). One who seems to make sense and talks to the people in a way they can believe and support. This isn’t extremely difficult since the people want the good life , no problems and most of all of they do not want to think because (quite frankly) they do not know how. Security and Corporations will always fall in line, They need a lead singer , a front(man) because after all they need reasons just like the rest of us to ply their respective trades. Corporations are People too. Politicians? Expendable and that is being generous…they do not matter at all. A few trendy ad feel good slogans would help then wallah, wave the magic wand and it’s here, can’t you feel it already? Unfortunately I only now one guy who could do it and I’m busy doing nothing. . Maybe you have to get a girl this time. Whatever.

  35. October 9, 2018 at 08:28

    As one who has given up on the political system in toto to ‘lead’ us to some imagined social nirvana. Left, right, centre, it doesn’t really matter so long as whoever leads the charge is beholden to the infinite growth culture that is putting all of humanity at risk. Overshoot and collapse seems baked into the cake, and the various political systems and its enablers are just facilitating and exacerbating this impending event.

    • Ernesto Che
      October 15, 2018 at 06:02

      @Steve Bull: OK, so what do you propose, other that observing that the current political system is bankrupt, broke? It is good to criticise, it is easy to whine, it is difficult to come up with a workable alternative.

  36. Mark Thomason
    October 9, 2018 at 07:45

    While true, this is not just the rise of a bad option.

    It is the final rejection of an utterly failed option. Offering such utter failure is a major cause of this.

    The same is true of the status quo DNC offering of Hillary, enabler of Bill, who attacked Trump as her main point, “hold your nose and vote for failure, I’m all you’ve got.”

    • Jeff Harrison
      October 10, 2018 at 10:50

      I read your post yesterday and wished I could have been as succinct as you. I’ve also thought of a lot of things to say about Three Names but none are as good as “hold your nose and vote for failure, I’m all you’ve got.”, although I’d probably amend that to say “…I’m all you’re going to get.”

      • Susan Sunflower
        October 10, 2018 at 16:27

        She made the news by insisting that Juanita Broderick’s rape claims (against her husband) were nothing like Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh …. because getting “standing by her man” is job#1.

        I also read that the democrats apparently blame Avenatti because he diverted attention and momentum when they were so-close to derailing Kavanaugh — My guess is his DNC dues aren’t paid up.

  37. mike k
    October 9, 2018 at 07:39

    Well Pepe, that is a devastating load of bad news! And it’s all too true unfortunately. Your analyses are right on target, as usual. Let us count the ways that we are truly screwed. The dark side of humans is in the saddle, riding mankind – likely to extinction, unless there comes a string of implausible miracles….

Comments are closed.