Bolsonaro’s Brazil: The Next Stepping Stone for the Neo-Fascist International

By Zachary Medeiros

Brazil
Students at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro demonstrate against police raids carried out ahead of the election (Courtesy Crimethinc)

Originally published in The Socialist with a new post-electoral update:

Since Bolsonaro’s victory, which was quickly greeted with warm wishes from Washington to Beijing, the forces of reaction in Brazil have wasted no time in pushing their offensive forward. Sergio Moro, the US-backed judge who put former president Lula in prison, is now the new Justice Minister, a cushy reward for his blatant corruption and defiance of Brazilian and international law. Confident in his impunity, the Army Chief of Staff recently admitted threatening Brazil’s Supreme Court so they would keep Lula behind bars. The fascist government is promoting a project called School Without Political Parties, which would ban “leftist” material, language, or debates in the name of combating “communist indoctrination” in education. Most recently, Bolsonaro sabotaged a Cuban medical program that provided essential care to poor, underserved parts of Brazil, threatening the lives of countless people.

Only a few decades removed from military dictatorship, Brazil is on the verge of becoming a fascist state once again. On October 7, Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain under the old US-backed military regime, won 47% of the vote in the presidential election’s first round. Bolsonaro’s triumph, which was almost enough to win him the presidency outright, was the result of a number of factors.

First, Brazilian democracy is on life support, and arguably nonexistent. Since the parliamentary putsch of 2016, which removed president Dilma Rousseff from office on a budget technicality, the Right has only escalated its multitiered attacks on democratic society. As in Venezuela, their inability to implement their Wall Street-approved policies through electoral means has led it to abandon even the pretense of democracy. Nostalgia for the “law and order” of the dictatorship are common, as are calls for military intervention. Long afflicted with pervasive racism, sexism, and class inequality, Brazilian society itself has lurched further into a fascist fervor, bolstered by dismal economic conditions. This madness is exemplified by the brazen assassinations of people like Marielle Franco, the army occupation of Rio, and the bloody attacks of Bolsonaro’s supporters on women, leftists, journalists, and black and LGBTQ+ people. Lynching is becoming the order of the day.

Second, the Brazilian left is in a crisis of its own. The Brazilian situation has demonstrated the enduring truth of George Jackson’s observation that fascism “emerged out of weakness in the preexisting economic arrangement and in the old left.” The dominant party, the Worker’s Party (or PT), is hobbled by a lack of leadership, an exaggerated reputation for corruption, and its inability to break with the prevailing logic of Brazilian capital. Its most prominent figure, two-term president Lula, was convicted and imprisoned on a ridiculous and evidence-free charge, most likely in coordination with the US government, and prevented from running for president in direct defiance of international and Brazilian law. While Lula posed no revolutionary threat to Brazilian or international capitalism, he was insufficiently committed to the hard-right, neoliberal agenda that the Brazilian ruling class and its foreign allies desire, and far too popular among the masses. His designated replacement, Fernando Haddad, is ill-equipped to combat, let alone defeat, this fascist resurgence, and trailing in the polls. The PT still enjoys a notable mass base, but the tide is against them, and the PT seems unwilling to move beyond the confines of electoral politics.

Lastly, we have the foreign element. The rapid rise of Bolsonaro and his party to the cusp of power would not have been possible without the aid of the United States. Steve Bannon, who has become something of a global fascist whisperer since leaving the Trump administration, appears to be a key figure in Bolsonaro’s campaign, offering him advice on social media and data manipulation. His influence, and perhaps the influence of organizations like the CIA, has helped Bolsonaro rise from a minor candidate to one who commands a decisive majority. To the shock of no one who’s ever read the Wall Street Journal, the Wall Street Journal has given its blessing to Bolsonaro, continuing its longstanding tradition of backing dictators to keep the Third World rabble in check. Even the less brazen organs of the US ruling class, like the New York Times, have enabled Bolsonaro’s campaign by framing him as little more than a crude populist, instead of calling a fascist spade a spade.

Continue reading “Bolsonaro’s Brazil: The Next Stepping Stone for the Neo-Fascist International”

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On Sunday, August 19th: “Double Crisis Over Iran: Trump’s Warmongering and Anti-Regime Struggles of Working People and Women”

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Ahwazi family (courtesy Wikipedia)

Sunday, August 19
6:30-8:30 PM
Westside Peace Center
3916 Sepulveda Blvd., near Venice Blvd. (free parking in rear)
Suite 101-102, press #22 at door to get into building
Culver City (LA area)

Speaker: Ali Kiani, longtime Iranian Marxist and translator

Trump’s bellicose threats against Iran reached new heights in recent weeks when he tweeted in all caps, “YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” an obvious reference to a US nuclear attack. These are no mere threats, as Trump has been working since his election to build up support for war with Iran, meeting with hostile regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Israel, supporting Saudi war crimes against Yemen, and stirring up a Republican “base” long itching for such a war.

At the same time, working people and women inside Iran have since last winter been engaged sustained unrest, whether the street uprisings of rural working people that chanted “Down with the Dictator,” the young women casting off their headscarves, or the most recent unrest in the South where Arab and Persian-speakers came together to protest economic conditions and dwindling water supplies brought about by regime policies that take no account of climate change.

How can we as progressives and revolutionaries oppose Trump’s imperialist warmongering while not falling into the trap of taking an uncritical stance toward the regime? How can we be antiwar and anti-imperialist while at the same time supporting our Iranian sisters and brothers as workers, women, and oppressed minorities?

We need to fight in the U.S. on immediate social justice issues like Black Lives Matter or immigrant rights at the same time as we oppose the entire system of racial capitalism. Similarly, we support all over the world those who struggle against class, ethnic, national, or gender oppression, even as we oppose global capitalism, war, and imperialism in all of their forms.

Sponsored by the West Coast Chapter, International Marxist-Humanist Organization

Co-sponsored by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice

More information: <arise@internationalmarxisthumanist.org>
https://www.imhojournal.org
https://www.facebook.com/groups/imhorg/
https://www.facebook.com/LAMarxists/

In Defense of Freedom and Humanity in Afrin!

by Ali Kiani

Afrin

Response to Fredo Corvo, “Is the defense of Afrin proletarian internationalism?” (Libcom, 5 March 2018)

Over the past decade, the Kurdish people of Rojava and Afrin under the threat of internal war in Syria have surprised the world in their struggle for freedom by creating a democratic model of self-government that empowered women to rise to the top leadership of every aspect of society, including the Peshmerga militia, to a greater degree than all the authoritarian and reactionary regimes of the Middle East. Women holding key positions in self-government and army, reflecting the belief that women’s rights should be at the center of every important decision-making process in society, is one of the important breakthroughs in the struggle of people in the Middle East for freedom and democracy.

This is one of the important reasons for not only jihadist but also all ideological and religious authoritarian regimes that are united to destroy this liberty phenomena that is growing among the freedom movement in the Middle East, as we have seen in the example of a Yazidi women’s liberation militia that was shaped after this model.

Continue reading “In Defense of Freedom and Humanity in Afrin!”

Sidewalk Rally, March 28th: Protest the Racist Assassination of Socialist Feminist Marielle Franco in Brazil!

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“Survival is our best form of resistance.”

Wednesday, March 28, 5-7PM
outside Brazilian Consulate
8484 Wilshire Blvd (corner La Cienega)
Beverly Hills

Sponsored by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice
https://cprsj.wordpress.com/

Socialist activist and immensely popular Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman Marielle Franco was an unapologetically Black, lesbian, and feminist champion of Brazil’s favelas and oppressed. On March 14, only days after exposing another police atrocity in the favelas, she and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were brutally murdered by gunmen using police-issued ammunition. We call this rally to honor her legacy and to call for justice. We stand with the tens of thousands in Brazil and around the world condemning this latest crime in the long war against Black people, women, LGBTQIA folks, and the working classes.

Suggested slogans:
Stop the Genocide of Black People in Brazil
Who killed Marielle Franco?
Marielle Franco Presente e Marielle Vive! (Marielle Franco is Present and Marielle Lives!)
Black, Queer, Woman, Socialist: Murdered because she was all.
#SayHerName
For Marielle, I say no! I say no to military intervention!
Down with Brazilian fascism! Down with police gangsters!
Justice for Marielle! Justice for the favelas!

More information:
https://www.blackrosefed.org/marielle-franco-presente/
https://www.blackrosefed.org/brazil-farj-interview-marielle/
https://www.imhojournal.org/articles/black-feminist-marielle-francos-assassination-reveals-the-banality-of-death-in-brazil/

Year 2 of Trump: L.A. Rise Up! Friday, January 26, 2018

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Courtesy Roger Peet, Justseeds

Year 2 of Trump: L.A. Rise Up!

Call for Demonstration and Banner Drop by the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ)

Friday, January 26, 6PM, Wilshire overpass over I-110, downtown Los Angeles (2 blocks west of Wilshire and Figueroa)

No War! No Trump!

Defend the J20! Drop the Charges!

Defend Mother Earth: End Capitalism!

#FreeAhed! Free Palestine! Stop Yemen War!

Stop LAPD + ICE!

This demonstration will mark one year of the Trump Regime, focusing on rising up against it and the stagnant, moribund U.S. capitalist system of which it is the latest manifestation. We will defend the J20 demonstrators, who stood up against Trump’s inauguration a year ago and who are facing decades in prison. We will defend our environment, wracked by fire stemming from climate change stemming from unbridled capital accumulation. We will defend our communities against new and old forms of police surveillance and repression. We will defend the rights of women, people of color, the LGBTQIA community, and the working people as a whole in the face of a tax “reform” that enriches plutocrats and impoverishes the working class. We will oppose Trump’s war threats against North Korea and Iran and his moves against Palestine, while refusing to defend regimes that, while adversaries of the U.S., nonetheless repress their own people. We will advocate rising up against the whole system represented by Trump. We will rally in the spirit of the old IWW slogan, as powerful today as when it was coined a century ago: “Don’t Mourn! Organize!”

Sponsors of the CPRSJ:

Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation-Los Angeles

Campus Marxist-Humanists, UCSB

International Marxist-Humanist Organization, West Coast Chapter

Socialist Party, Los Angeles Local

Members of Solidarity: A Socialist, Feminist, Anti-Racist Organization, Los Angeles Branch

Co-sponsors of this event (list in formation):

CodePink

Health Care for All – Los Angeles

Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/CPRSJ/

https://cprsj.wordpress.com/

https://www.twitter.com/PaxRevSocJust

cprsj@protonmail.com

Report-back from CPRSJ Launch in Los Angeles, July 14

On July 14, Bastille Day, nearly fifty people came to the Westside Peace Center for the first public meeting of the Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ). There was a healthy mix of younger and older activists with representation of much of LA’s ethnic diversity as well.

Four speeches were given by representatives of groups that convened the Coalition: Frieda Afary from the Alliance of Syrian and Iranian Socialists, Zach Medeiros from Socialist Party USA, Javier Sethness from Black Rose/Rosa Negra Anarchist Federation, and Kevin B. Anderson from the International Marxist-Humanist Organization. The speeches have been posted at the Coalition website here.

A lively debate followed about the Coalition’s published Principles of Unity, its membership, actions for the future, and strategies for moving forward. Representatives of several other organizations participated in the discussion, which centered on issues like our position of targeting all imperialist powers, including but not limited to the U.S., and the relationship of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity to building a solid movement in LA. Other discussion points included incorporating opposition to ableism into our work, especially in light of the leading role played by persons with disabilities in confronting the Republican assault on healthcare. Overall, support was high and most people in attendance felt that there was a need for a new revolutionary, anti-capitalist, and humanist anti-war coalition that opposes all forms of war and militarism, whether from the greatest global hegemon, the USA, or from other powers, great or small. At the same time, those in attendance who supported our work also wanted to keep the focus not only on war and imperialism abroad, but also on the fascist threat at home and the struggles against it on the part of working people, immigrants, people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and people with disabilities.

In the coming weeks, the Coalition will broaden its work, reaching out to the individuals and organizations that have expressed interest in working with us, and also to the broader LA community.

In the meantime, we encourage all of our supporters to subscribe via the Contact page on our website, and to download and distribute our Principles of Unity.