Genocide and self-colonialization

Image: Luiz Armando Bagolin
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By JORGE WHITE*

The crimes of Ford and Manaus

Terrified, following the information about the hecatomb in the face of the pandemic in Manaus, the practices of European colonialism came to mind. Cruel practices, methodically and inhumanely, applied for centuries to people they needed to consider inferior in order to justify their policy.

Colonialism consists of a process of territorial invasion, military occupation, objectification and commodification of the original population, predatory exploitation of economic resources and, ultimately, the material obstacle and challenge of any capacity for sovereign and autonomous development of populations and nations under domination.

Italian fascism began its mad illusion of restoring a global empire in a war of genocide in Libya, starting in the 1920s, expelling the population from its centuries-old lands and implementing a forced colonization program with Italians victims of hunger and poverty. that his government and policy could not resolve. The result was thousands of Libyans of all ethnicities starved to death and tortured in slave labor concentration camps, which would become a model for Nazism a decade later.

The colonialism of the Belgian parliamentary monarchy, in the current territory of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is one of the greatest barbarities of modern times. Between 1885 and 1924, it is estimated that at least ten million Congolese were killed in the name of the expropriation of natural resources. Mutilation, starvation, mass infanticide, rape: there is no doubt about the genocidal character of the Belgian colonial occupation.

The British occupation of India led to extended famines that led to the death of over 18 million people. From the beginning of the occupation, Hindus and Muslims in India were treated by the colonizers as inferior beings not worth the humanitarian effort.

Classical colonialism, including Portuguese, Spanish, German, French colonialism, both in Africa and Asia, was determined by the foreign power occupying the territory of these peoples and expropriating their heritage. In today's Brazil, however, we are experiencing backward colonialism, a true self-colonialism. The colonialist agent, executor of the policies of control and domination, is not the force of occupation and foreign invasion but the national government itself. It is a process whose dynamics and rationality is not to prevent the birth of a development process, but to obstruct the development that already exists. Making the existing process of development and autonomy go back to the XNUMXth century and incapacitating the country to achieve technological, economic and social sovereignty, maintaining absolute dependence on the new capitalist empires.

The “car wash operation”, the austerity policy, the dilapidation of national science and technology has – is having – as a consequence, 'breaking' all autonomy and development strategies, not without mishaps and contradictions, developed since the bourgeois revolution of 1930. A phenomenon that, as a tribute, was systematized as “dependency theory” by André Gunder Frank, Ruy Mauro Marini, Theotônio dos Santos and Vânia Bambirra.

The announcement by Ford and other automakers, such as Mercedes-Benz, of closing their factories in Brazil for more than 100 years and 70 billion reais in tax exemptions after their arrival in the tropics is part of this scenario.

But to resemble colonialism it lacked something, something “hard power”, that distanced itself from the sophistication of the soft dependency on globalization of the progressive neoliberalism of the 1990s. It lacked the anti-humanitarian atrocities. Well, they were missing, not missing anymore.

What is happening in Brazil today, concentrated in Manaus, needs to be characterized as the intentional, planned and organized extermination of the Brazilian population. These are months of denialism, subtraction of public resources and systematic disorganization of the Unified Health System, rejection of universal vaccination, deconstruction of social and labor protection instruments, diversionism and subservience to the very rich.

What is dramatic about the events in Manaus is that they reveal, condensed into a single capital and in one week, the ongoing genocide carried out by the applicators of the strategy to destroy the country, the reactionaries and neo-fascists led by Bolsonaro. There was no need to invade the territory, occupy the streets with foreign troops, overthrow the government. Half a dozen FBI agents were enough to give guidance to judges, prosecutors, journalists and companies interested in crumbs, four years ago, to set up the impeachment coup and, today, a coup-mongering militia and a reactionary and deprived president national project with enough hatred to implement a policy of annihilation.

Once a convincing version of the detraction of democracy, the left and fundamental rights had been constructed, it was enough for the reactionary and subordinate government of Bolsonaro to stop doing, to let it collapse, to stop planning, to stop investing, to stop encouraging, in short, to let it die and let to kill. All it took was a non-government put in the place where a government should be.

Lessons learned about the unfinished transition from dictatorship to democracy must be put into practice now. Bolsonaro and his ministers must be judged, politically and legally, on this ongoing and progressive crime against society and against life. Every genocide is a tragedy and Bolsonaro is a genocidal government. The fight for the constitutional removal of the genocidal Bolsonaro is, therefore, a true fight for liberation and humanitarian salvation.

*Jorge Branco is a doctoral student in Political Science at UFRGS.

 

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