January 8th – the war against modern Brazil

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By JORGE WHITE*

The coup attempt was first and foremost a battle against Brazil that has evolved, an attempt to go back to the past

The beginning of the 21st century is marked by a disconcerting “discovery”. What the average democratic sense, including the majority of the left-wing political camp itself, considered or imagined to be surpassed and that no one would dream or dare to defend or propagate, began to be said, published, defended and, above all, heard in public. With more and more intensity.

The defense of dictatorship, torture, the 1964 coup, the extinction of social rights and the apology for violence, racism, misogyny and sexual violence became emerging manifestations that gave meaning and group sense to a worldview and to an ideology. Reactionism and neo-fascist elements gave meaning to an explanation that was out of touch with the modern world and had a clear destructive and revanchist bias. An explanation that transformed the civilizing process and the tortuous path of building equality into those responsible for the imbalances caused by neoliberalism. Fundamental investor in this fascist rise.

A coup attempt, effective like the one in March 1964 or failed like that of General Frota in 1975, does not occur as an isolated event. The attempted political coup results from a process of ideological and even moral deconstitution of the foundations of a social bloc and a government.

The investigations into the January 08th coup attempt, carried out over these 12 months, whether by the CPI, the PF or accurate journalists, revealed that it was a coordinated action, based on political and social conditions that were being built since the fraudulent impeachment of 2016. However, these conditions were massively expanded during Jair Bolsonaro's government. The January 08th coup attempt was meticulously prepared by Jair Bolsonaro and his closest group during the four years of his government.

This large far-right, reactionary camp, led by the government of Jair Bolsonaro, mobilized around the narrative that progressive achievements would be a project to destroy values ​​and, ultimately, Brazilian society itself, which would be being the victim of a moral ruin. A campaign of true terror articulated by a dense operation on digital networks and by media outlets about what could happen if what they considered as “left” gained power.

January 08, 2023 was an infamous day. There, by a vanguard of individuals who believe in the greatest ideological nonsense and supported by fractions of business classes willing to eliminate all obstacles to their rapacious economy, the symbols of fragile Brazilian democracy were brought to their knees. The target, however, was the progressive advances that were limply achieved throughout democracy.

The targets of depredations and violence were labor rights, women's emancipation, ethnic equality, LGBTQIA+ pride, unions, social organizations for rights, in short, what is modern in a backward society. The coup attempt was first and foremost a battle against Brazil that has evolved, an attempt to return to the past. The reaction to democracy, the left and social movements is, fundamentally, a reaction to the idea of ​​an egalitarian world.

*Jorge Branco is a doctoral candidate in political science at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS).


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