A Monster is Born

By Atilio A. Boron on October 7, 2018

In a smelly tavern in the slums of Munich after the first world war, a demobilized corporal of the Austrian imperial army, who had failed as a painter and portraitist, tried to make a living by betting with the local drunks that they could not hit him with their spittle from a distance of three meters. If he dodged them, he won; when he didn’t, he had to pay. Between attempts he shouted tremendous anti-Semitic insults, cursed Bolsheviks and Spartacists, and promised to eradicate gypsies, homosexuals, and Jews from the face of the earth. All in the midst of the uncontrolled shouting of the clientele gathered there, passing around alcohol, and repeating with mockery their sayings while they threw the remains of their beer from glasses and tossed coins between insults and laughter. Years later, Adolf Hitler, because we were talking about him, would become, with the same harangues, the leader of “the most cultured people in Europe”, as Friedrich Engels described the Germans more than once. Who in those moments of cruel sarcasm in the that tavern could imagine – 1920, 21, 22 – that he would be resurrected by the same people into a kind of demigod for the great masses of his country and the very embodiment of the German national spirit

Overcoming the distances something similar is happening with Jair Bolsonaro, who comfortably leads the polls in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. His reactionary, sexist, homophobic, fascist outbursts and his apology of the gloomy Brazilian military dictatorship of 1964 provoked widespread repulsion in society. In the best of cases they considered him only a buffoon, a nostalgic laughingstock of the times of the regime that fell on Brazil between 1964 and 1985. For that reason, for two years his voting intention never exceeded 15 or 18 percent. The polls of the last two weeks, however, show a spectacular growth in his candidacy. The most recent one gives him a 39% voting intention rating. We know that today’s public opinion polls have enormous margins of error; they can also be media driven operations of the Brazilian bourgeoisie willing to install in Brasilia anyone who prevents the “PT( Workers Party) populism” to power. But we also know, as a recent note by Marcelo Zero in Brazil states, that the CIA and its local allies have unleashed an overwhelming avalanche of “fake news” and defamatory news from the candidates of the PT alliance that has found fertile ground in the favelas and popular neighborhoods of Brazil’s big cities. “(“Tem dedo da CIA nas eleicoes do Brasil”, in www.brasil247.com)

These sectors were lifted out of extreme poverty and empowered by the governments’ of Lula and Dilma. But they were not politically educated and their territorial or class organization was not encouraged. They remained as masses in availability, as the sociologists of the sixties would say. Those who are organizing and raising awareness are the evangelical churches with whom Bolsonaro has allied himself, promoting a harsh, hyper-critical conservative discourse of the “disorder” caused by the left in Brazil with its policies of social inclusion, gender, respect for diversity, LGBTI and its “soft hand” with delinquency, its obsession with human rights “only for criminals. One of their means of attracting favelados to the cause of the radical right is to send so-called pollsters to ask them if they would like their son José to be renamed and called María, in an attempt to exacerbate homophobia. The answer is unanimously negative, and indignant. The former captain’s preaching is clearly in tune with that popular conservatism skillfully stimulated by reaction. In this ideological climate, his scandalous and violent nonsense, such as Hitler’s, rewinds as reasonable popular common sense and could catapult a monster like Bolsonaro to the Palace of Planalto. It should also be remembered that if elected he promised Donald Trump to authorize the installation of a US military base in Alcántara, on the strategic promontory of the Brazilian Northeast, which is the closest point between the Americas and Africa, something to which the previous governments refused. If it were to succeed, it would be the beginning of a horrible nightmare, not only for Brazil but for all of Latin America.


Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translated by North America bureau