The Fascist International

Image: Ashlyn Miller
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By CHRISTIAN EDWARD CYRIL LYNCH

An international association of reactionary-leaning politicians united against the democratic rule of law

1.

Lula's election in 2022 took place at a critical moment in Brazilian democracy, which would have disappeared under the eventual second term of Jair Bolsonaro's reactionary populism. For this reason, he resorted to the formation of a broad front that had the support of former adversaries, formed from the left to segments of the center-right, united by the recognition of the common threat.

Even so, his victory was contested by the defeated, who attempted two coups d'état – first, still an egg, to stay in power; the second, tempted, to return to it. But the defeat of Jair Bolsonaro, followed by the loss of his political rights, did not put an end to an extremist populism, which fights to politically obstruct the action of the Justice that could sentence him to prison and keep him politically alive. Double-sided threat, internal and external.

On the external plane, its work of democratic subversion is actively supported by a true fascist International. It is an international association of politicians with a reactionary inclination and united against the democratic rule of law, such as former American president Donald Trump; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the Prime Minister of Hungary and its current dictator, Viktor Orbán; the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin; the current president of Argentina, Javier Milei; entrepreneurs like Elon Musk; intellectuals such as Steve Bannon, Alexander Dugin and the now deceased Alain Finkelstein and Olavo de Carvalho.

They are politicians, businesspeople and activists of great political and economic power, with branches in almost all countries in Europe and America, who act in a closely supportive way, like a global populist party, which we see every day visiting, supporting and fraternizing.

The fascist International acts in a decentralized, but concerted way, to take power and the greater or lesser dismantling of representative liberal democracies, supporting extremist candidates such as Jair Bolsonaro (Brazil), Marine Le Pen (France), José Antonio Kast (Chile) , Giorgia Meloni (Italy), Santiago Abascal (Spain), André Ventura (Portugal).

It propagates extremist ideologies of a reactionary nature, which subject the secular State to religion, and/or libertarian, which dismantle the social benefits that allow citizens to survive without submitting to the protection networks of the patriarchal family and the church. They exchange communication, doctrinal, electoral technologies, and probably financing. They subvert democratic regimes by promoting the so-called “cultural war” (in fact, a “holy war”), to criminally spread moral panic through disinformation, fraud, and constant encouragement of disrespect for laws and established authorities.

2.

Domestically, one of the main challenges for the broad front to preserve democracy is dealing with manipulation that occurs mainly through social networks, where anonymity facilitates the dissemination of extremist speeches. The extreme right cannot live without the mobilization and radicalization of the conservative electorate by creating non-existent threats, lifting the informational and legal prohibitions imposed by the legal system to ensure that the bulk of the public debate takes place within the limits of rationality and moderation.

This is work that has the manipulation of public perception as its main tool. This method is characterized by the fabrication of crises and the propagation of conspiracy theories through social networks, aiming to radicalize the conservative electorate against the democratic order, by spreading widespread distrust that they actually live under a communist dictatorship.

Radicalization is carried by denialism into all aspects of social life: food, shoe brand, holiday destination, nail polish color. The electoral system is fraudulent, the food may be poisoned, the vaccine has a chip that changes sexual orientation. Such an environment of fear and uncertainty is fertile for fabricated truths that become instruments of political mobilization.

The work of democratic subversion continues through historical denialism, aimed at attributing the crimes of Nazism and fascism to the left (which does not prevent extremists from supporting their revival today in Germany and Italy) and rehabilitating the authoritarian regimes of the past as a model of alternative “democracy”. The military dictatorships of Brazil, Argentina and Chile; Salazarism in Portugal and Francoism in Spain; the oligarchic slave-owning and racist regime in the United States; Christian feudalism in Eastern Europe began to be presented as models of good government, and its excesses, justified by the need to combat communism which, today, would once again threaten “the people”.

Historical interdicts are lifted so that similar regimes can be reestablished, adapted to the contingencies of the present.

The cornerstone of subversion work lies, as we know, in social networks. Therefore, it is essential that its operation remains unregulated, outside the law. Only under the criminal and civil irresponsibility of anonymity, prohibited by the Constitution of the Republic, is it possible to carry out through social media the acts that, prohibited in physical media, protect the public debate as much as possible from the falsehoods and denials essential to the radicalization of the right-wing electorate. Coordinated attacks and defamatory campaigns against public figures and institutions, almost always originating from fake accounts, distort reality to represent it as unfair, inflate the perception of a popular consensus and lead to the support of candidates who present themselves as defenders of the people and present the fight against the democratic regime and its overthrow as actions of self-defense.

3.

Resistance to the regulation of social networks by the Legislature and the condemnation of the substitutive action of the Judiciary, as “judicial activism”, as well as the continued disobedience to laws and judicial decisions, are justified by right-wing extremists as a defense of “freedom” understood in the libertarian or anarchic fashion of absolute freedom. The defense of unrestricted freedom of opinion guarantees impunity for criminals so that they can continue their work of subversion and overthrow of the Republic without repression.

It is about maximizing freedom of expression as a license to commit crimes of slander, defamation, insult, threat, fraud, incitement to crime, incitement to a coup d'état, false testimony, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia/transphobia, publicity with impunity. actually untrue, etc. This is an unknown concept in the legal system, because it violates the principle of the effectiveness of jurisdiction and, by extension, the sovereignty of the State.

All heavy, what can be seen is that the work of defending democracy requires much more than just an electoral front aimed at defeating the fascist candidate for president, and which supports the current government of the Republic. The preservation of Brazilian democracy, in the face of the advance of authoritarian movements, transcends electoral issues and becomes a continuous ideological and legal confrontation.

Hence the broad front needs to become a permanent democratic front organized as a political and social movement, in the manner of the old MDB during the military regime.

The democratic front is built around the basic minimum consensus in defense of liberal democracy identified with the 1988 Constitution. The fight against rhetoric that abuses the concept of freedom of expression to cover up illicit activities is essential. Arguments that propose unrestricted freedom of opinion, allowing speech that incites hatred and violence, represent a dangerous distortion of fundamental freedoms and are designed to sabotage the essence of the democratic legal order.

In this scenario of continuous subversion, the creation of a “Democratic International” becomes an urgent need. This global alliance between democratic governments aims to strengthen bonds of solidarity, exchange experiences and technologies to combat disinformation, and jointly press for the regulation of social networks, ensuring their submission to the legal system of each nation-state.

This collective effort is essential to reestablish the primacy of legal sovereignty, crucial for the maintenance of the democratic order and to effectively combat the advances of the Fascist International, organized today in a much more efficient way. To do this, however, it is necessary to tear down the walls that separate us from other moderates, right and left, often separated by the narcissism of differences that, however large they may have been in the past, have become small today.

*Christian Edward Cyril Lynch He is a professor of political science at the Institute of Social and Political Studies (IESP) at UERJ. Author, among other books, of Brazilian political thought: themes, problems and perspectives (Appris). [https://amzn.to/3UGipo9]


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