Why Bolsonaro can still grow

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By EUGENIO BUCCI*

With our hesitant and paralyzing laziness, we are paying to see the worst happen.

Until recently, left-wing demonstrations staged a predisposition for physical confrontation. The characteristic was present in the choreography of all anti-capitalist rallies, and not just in Brazil. Raised fists punching the space signaled the will to punch the opponent. The slogans poured out loaded with almost warlike aggressiveness. Often there came the black blocks throwing stones at shop windows and cocktails molotov cocktail in the police. In those bygone times, although so recent, the voice and body of the left opposed the established order, and its language was the theatrical journeys against the establishment, authority, traffic rules and good manners.

Now it's the opposite. The old grammar of protests has been turned upside down. Last year, in the United States, it was the Trumpist extreme right who promoted the riots, which went so far as to promote the invasion of the Capitol. The most iconic symbol of the attack was that guy wrapped in a blanket that looked like a bear's skin and crowned, wearing a helmet with two hideous horns. The guy was nicknamed “Viking” by the media and became famous (in Brazil, an imitator of the “Viking” has animated Bolsonarism coup parties).

The left followed another path. In the United States, for example, it has been more concerned with joining voters in Georgia to ensure the victory of the Democratic Party. While the extreme right took over the gestures, choreography and clumsiness of the vandals, the left regrouped in defense of legality and the rule of law. In Paris, it was the same thing. Right now, as soon as Le Pen's defeat in the second round was announced, his electoral supporters (neo-Nazis and the like) went out into public places kicking down doors and trash cans; the characters on the left, for their part, preferred to ritualize the reconciliation between classes. In a world where no one has a certain and known address anymore, the fight has changed sides, spectacularly.

This inversion gives the President of the Republic, Jair Bolsonaro, an explosive electoral opportunity. Despite being the incumbent at the time, in charge of taking care of the public machine, he bombs the public machine every day, without respite. His motto is to destroy institutionality. His method is to employ the state apparatus to demolish the state apparatus. With the elections approaching, he does not compete with his opponents or the opposition: his preferential war is against the electronic ballot boxes and against the Electoral Justice. He doesn't want to defeat his rivals, he wants to defeat the entire electoral system.

Bolsonaro is on a permanent crusade. In the absence of an external enemy, he elected the Supreme Court, the press and ecologists, as well as artists, scientists and intellectuals, as priority targets. He doesn't just have a “narrative”, a magic word that his supporters are happy to repeat: his communication strategy consists of calling on his fanatics to assume the role of anonymous protagonists in pitched battles against law and order. Bolsonaro delivers to his phalanxes, in addition to certainties made exclusively of lies (certainties that warm their resentful soul), the emotion of acting directly in the discursive, corporal and armed combat against the enemies of the Fatherland and of God. This fight is nothing more than a delirium, but that doesn't matter in the slightest either.

What's coming is a wave, and that wave can grow. With his logic glued to the dynamics of social networks, the president bets his chips on the conflagration and convulsion. The result doesn't matter; What earns you points is movement. He neither has nor needs to be committed to coherence or facts, for his source of political energy is incendiary noise. For the rest, his followers don't care about the facts either.

We are learning, too late, that it is not out of disinformation that many people idolize him, but out of hatred of everything that is information. The President-obsessed crowds abhor factual truth and, even more, they repudiate those who speak in the name of factual truth. For the insane masses thirsting for tyranny, the Bolsonarist wave offers a violent and irresistible passion, which combines passion and irrational certainties, more or less as happened with fascism in the XNUMXth century. The disaster bounces in the area.

“The worker will feel authorized to take out on his wife's body all the oppression experienced in the city”, anticipates the political scientist Miguel Lago, one of the very few who see, hear and feel what is about to collapse over the Nation. The alert is in the essay “How to explain Bolsonaro’s resilience?”, which is part of the book language of destruction (Companhia das Letras), which has Heloisa Starling and Newton Bignotto as co-authors. “The homophobe will feel authorized to beat a person because of their sexual orientation”, continues Miguel Lago, unraveling the long list of “corner guards”. With our hesitant and paralyzing laziness, we are paying to see the worst happen.

* Eugene Bucci He is a professor at the School of Communications and Arts at USP. Author, among other books, of The superindustry of the imaginary (authentic).

 

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