The emptying of political discourse

Image: Magda Ehlers
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By FLÁVIO GABRIEL CAPINZAIKI OTTONICAR*

The emptiness of the non-Bolsonarist right

The demonstrations on September 12th did not only represent the emptying of the “MBLista” third way, but also made clear the emptying of the political discourse of the non-Bolsonarist right. This emptying, incidentally, has been ongoing at least since the June 2013 demonstrations adopted the cry “the united people do not need a party".

A major example of this was the speech by rocker and youtuber Nando Moura, made in the movement block Come to the street, away from the block Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) where the few representatives of the left who deigned to attend were.

Speaking to a small group thirsty for obvious facts, the repentant youtuber and Bolsonarist interspersed profanity and cursing between phrases that explain why the expression “commonplace” has acquired a pejorative feature today. The scarcity of content was evidenced by the fact that the insults, shouted at the end of each sentence, functioned as a kind of cue for the crowd's ovation: “you think I'm going to take a photo with Ciro Gomes [...] your mother you scoundrel”. Yeah!…that was the level.

The disagreement with the presence of Ciro Gomes and some left-wing militants at the same event, by the way, motivated Nando Moura to appeal to the “I am not part of any group […] I am just a guy who is very pissed off about things”; repeating the catchphrase of the “people without a party” that emerged in 2013 and helped push Brazil into the quagmire in which it finds itself now.

This “lone wolf fighting everything that's wrong” guise serves as a kind of justification in front of the audience. It is as if the fact of not belonging to any group or party legitimizes the individual to protest, and it is as if, by adopting the posture of “exempt”, one receives a privileged “place of speech”, which confers special credibility to those who are involved. pronounces to those who are satisfied with ideological crumbs.

And more than an emptying of meaning, there is, in the rocker's words, a certain lowering of social relations that culminate in demonstrations. Why go to a demonstration to listen to a repentant youtuber and Bolsonarist who has nothing significant to say to the people? Why listen to someone whose speech does not touch on structural issues that led the country to the present chaos, such as the lawfare that took Lula out of the elections and the coup against Dilma that paved the way for the delivery of the country's riches to big international capital and that, ultimately, skinned the people with exponential increases in the price of basic food baskets and fuel? At a certain point in the speech he touches on price increases, but he doesn't come close to attacking their true causes.

I don't demand that Nando Moura defend Lula without being a lulist or the left without being a leftist, but to go up on a platform to say that Brazil is going to become Venezuela…who would even leave home to listen to such nonsense?

There is a moment in his speech when he complains that people go to his channel (YouTube, I suppose) to accuse him of being in a demonstration with Ciro Gomes and some names from the left. It's strange to see people vibrating with the speech of someone who…has a YouTube channel. After all, what is the representation of someone who – just – has a YouTube channel? He does not speak on behalf of any social group, any socially excluded group, any minority group, not even any employers' group, entrepreneurs, nothing. Any discussion with this figure is not done in any committee, commission, assembly, party headquarters, union, federation, association, nothing. This is a youtuber whose main (if not only) means of contact with Brazilian reality is his channel on the platform, which has more than three million subscribers.

The relevance given to his YouTube channel to the detriment of any other point of contact with social reality seems to suggest that his place definitely should not be in a political event in favor of the impeachment of a genocidal and crazy government. It even seems contradictory that someone apolitical (“I'm just a guy”, he said) is precisely at an essentially political event. Luckily for him, most likely the audience that heard him on September 12th will not be able to differentiate a political act from a rock concert, where profanity easily draws applause from the audience (“Ciro fucking Gomes”, said the MBL leader to announce Ciro!).

If, on the one hand, the exemption label gives Nando Moura a kind of special “place of speech” among third way enthusiasts, on the other hand, the insignificance and emptiness of his words degrades political discourse, crucial for the moment in which that the country finds itself, to an adventure full of superficialities. Nando Moura at least managed to show that for the right in sneakers “place of speech” is equivalent to “common place”.

*Flávio Gabriel Capinzaiki Ottonicar is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).

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