Horrors of Bolsofascism

Image: Animesh Srivastava


In Brazil, the portion of the population that chose Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 is the substrate on which a theory of hybrid warfare was put into practice

“Is pure thought possible, without self-awareness, without personality?” (Miguel of Unamuno).
“The top goes up, the bottom goes down” (Chico Science).

In conjunctures of political polarization, voters are willing to annihilate democratic principles in exchange for their own interests. Hybrid wars feed off this manipulation, seeking to encourage polarization within a population with the aim of taking political power by fractions of the ruling class. Executive control has been, since the 1990s, the predominant form of collapse of democracies, being responsible for four out of five democratic collapses since the 2000s (Milan W. Svolik. Polarization versus Democracy. Journal of Democracy, 2019).

In current parliamentary-legal-military-media coups, unlike classic coups, the seizure of power is assumed through an apparently legal format, due to the implementation of procedural methods (impeachment) to destabilize democratically elected presidents, seeking sufficient popular support to capture the Executive, as occurred with the seizure of power by Michel Temer in August 2016. Following the deepening of this type of coup, a situation is set up capable of gathering electoral strength to elect Executive and Legislative representatives by popular vote. aligned with the coup, with the scope of controlling the two political branches of power, as occurred in 2018. The only power that cannot, theoretically, be fully assaulted, in these two stages of the coup, is the Judiciary (STF) because it is made up of members with state careers.

In Brazil, the portion of the population that chose Jair Bolsonaro in 2018 is the substrate on which a theory of hybrid warfare was put into practice. In diametric opposition to the conquests implemented by the Workers' Party governments (Lula, 2003-2010; Dilma, 2011-2015), Bolsofascism acceded to Power, through the ballot box, to authoritatively materialize the neoliberal prescription of concentration and centralization of Capital, generating as on the other hand, a scorched earth for the working population (counter-labor and social security reforms / unemployment / intermittent work), for the impoverished in general (misery and hunger), striking public property, dismantling social and environmentalist policies, humiliating national sovereignty in the face of of the international environment, systematically attacking professionals from the press, the University, culture and leaders of social movements.

Furthermore, as demonstrated in your studies Professor Eduardo Costa Pinto, from the Institute of Economics, of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), in the third year of the Bolsofascist government, in 2021, the 230 largest private, non-financial, publicly traded companies registered with the CMV (Comissão de Securities), obtained a historical record in the net profit rate (an average of around 27%), together with the largest dividend distribution in Brazilian history, allied to the strong reduction in the cost of direct and indirect labor force.

Of these, profits from Capital and Intermediate Goods (41%), Extractive Industries (61%), and Manufacturing Industries (32%) stand out. Therefore, huge profits with immense distribution of dividends, remembering that dividends in Brazil do not pay taxes. Translating: Bolsofascism was the best of all worlds for the capitalists. And in the specific case of Petrobras, which is not included in this list of the 230 largest companies, the largest dividends in the company's history were paid to its foreign and national shareholders: more than R$ 217 billion in the year 2022, adding to that O dismantling in more than R$1 trillion, with laws 13.586/2017 and 14.052/2020, of the Pre-Salt Social Fund, which was designed to fund investments in Education and Health of the Brazilian population.

All these circumstances added up imply an important question: Why do ordinary voters support authoritarian politicians and political proposals that favor violence, the attack of democracy and the concentration and centralization of Capital?

One of the lines of reasoning adopted by political scientists goes along the axis of assuming that these voters, in the face of informational manipulations sponsored by hybrid wars, as occurred in Brazil with structured campaigns to abhor the PT (anti-PT) and Lula (anti-Lulism), have not enough clarity to recognize a subversion of democracy and the horrors that such subversion represents.

An aggravating factor to be highlighted. In 2018, Bolsonaro obtained 57,7 million votes. Now in 2022 he got 58,1 million votes. Brazilian voters had for four years the conditions to prove the evils perpetrated by the president and his group representing the extreme right. Why, given the opportunity to reject him in the recent landslide election, did voters inexplicably increase their vote by 400 votes?

Milan W. Slovik argues that the deeper the polarizations fed in a given society, the promoters of hybrid warfare will be able to exploit them to their benefit. Authoritarian leaders – as in the military Bolso-Fascist Brazil – act by manipulating the hearts and minds of their electorate, inducing their supporters to adhere to their authoritarian prescription, amplifying hatred towards political opponents, narrowing the supporters' spectrum of reflection, preventing them from open to analyze democratic programmatic platforms defended by other candidates.

It is, therefore, about inducing them to hate so-and-so, instead of encouraging reflection and action in terms of defending proposals that strengthen democracy and the common good. Polarization presents authoritarian groups and personalities with a structural path – with the proliferation of proposals for military intervention, closing of the STF and Congress, rejection of election results, public attacks on personal biographies, encouragement of generalized social violence, violence against the press , culture, science, etc. – from undermining democracy to guarantee the new form of capitalist exploitation.

Two aspects we would like to highlight for the conclusion. In May of this year, researchers Fernanda Sarkis (master in political communication) and Marcus Nogueira (sociologist) began to map and monitor the digital interaction network of councilor Carlos Bolsonaro (commonly known as Zero Dois) as a way to start confronting Jair's digital militia Bolsonaro, who proved to be quite effective in 2018, constituting a fundamental strategic tool for his election, by building a parallel reality, promoting widespread public ignorance, at various levels, through subjective misinformation manipulated in such a way that it appears objective. , generating a broad ecosystem of disinformation, which in all brought together 81 profiles articulated on social networks, including Carla Zambelli (PL-SP), Bia Kicis (PL-DF), Ricardo Salles (PL-SP).

The study proved that the digital bolsofascist militia did not act spontaneously, but in a coordinated way with the objective of producing and spreading disinformation to influence the result of the 2022 election. It also demonstrated how the digital militia occupied the public space, especially in the political debate electoral process, with a coordinated strategy aimed at validating a set of lies as truth, operating on four thematic axes: “violence and criminality”, “religion and customs”, “demoralization of the electoral system” and “socioeconomic agenda”. All these axes were aimed at organizing lying accusations against Lula and his supporters. Boosting networks with content fake news it could last for weeks or months: lies like that Lula, if elected, would persecute Christians, that Lula and the PT support the invasion of churches, as well as the attempt to link Lula to the PCC, and so on.

The other aspect deals with the situation of the scorched earth left by the government, as the government's Transition Group has been proving day after day since its installation, for whom Bolso-Fascism, in addition to incompetence and total disregard for public policies, clearly acted with malice. faith. Among the signs of abuse of economic power, former senator Aloísio Mercadante (PT-SP) mentioned the inclusion of 2,5 million people in the Auxílio Brasil program shortly before the election. According to former minister Tereza Campello, in December 2018, a month before Jair Bolsonaro took office, there were 1,8 million beneficiaries registered as “unipersonal”, that is, registered individually and by CPF. This data remained constant during the 18-year history of Bolsa Família until the end of last year, when it began to suffer some increases, until the amount jumped sharply to 5,5 million in October of this year, registering an increase of 197% .

Finally, one cannot neglect the critical reflection on the role played by the Military Party as a strategic tool for the arrival of Bolsofascism in the Executive, since the times of the threatening twitters of Villas Boas to the Federal Supreme Court (STF), in April 2018, as well as the support given by the military to the bolsofascist government in these last four years. In a letter dated November 28, 2022, one thousand and ninety-three active-duty Army officers say they are “attentive to everything that has been happening and that has been causing legal uncertainty and political and social instability in the country”, a (parallel?) that only they are seeing.

Could it be that democracy for them is not a safe regime? Would they perhaps be fearing the revelations of the 100-year-old Secrets decreed by Bolsonaro? Or do they fear the inquiries that will be opened to verify the various signs of crimes committed by the Executive in various areas of the Bolso-Fascist federal government?

*Alexandre Aragão de Albuquerque Master in Public Policy and Society from the State University of Ceará (UECE).

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