Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is facing widespread condemnation after using his U.N. address to defend the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, attack indigenous leaders and accuse the international media of lying about the recent devastating fires in the Amazon.
President Jair Bolsonaro: “It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception, as confirmed by scientists, to say, that our Amazonian forests are the lungs of the world. The Amazon is not being devastated, nor is it being consumed by fire, as the media misleadlingly says.”
Amazon Watch decried Bolsonaro’s address, stating, “Today the Amazon continues to burn and may soon reach an unrecoverable tipping point due to Bolsonaro’s complicity with environmental crime.” The president of Brazil also used his address at the United Nations to personally attack the Brazilian indigenous leader Chief Raoni.
As predicted, Bolsanaro, the neo-fascist has been elected as Brazil’s president. It is likely to have global ramifications with an end to the dominance of left governments in Latin America. It represents the tipping point of a generalised global trend of a shift in capitalist establishment politics to the far right since the 2008 economic crisis that has continued unabated.
The markets and monopoly capital have shown their approval, with the American and Brazilian stock exchanges showing steep increases in prices and activity.
Just as economics has long been globalised more rampantly under neo-liberal capitalism, so too has politics. Notwithstanding South Africa’s historical and political peculiarities, we are not immune to the global shift to the right since our conditions are similar – economic recession, high unemployment, extreme poverty and inequality, a high number of desperate immigrants and most crucially, very weak organisations of the left with the majority of trade unions having been usurped into the neo-liberal cudgels of the ruling class and doing its bidding, undermining resistance and policing workers.
The Zuma presidency showed sharp signs that the ANC government was prepared to adopt brutal measures to defend SA capitalism, including the murder of striking workers, repressive measures against community protests and curbing freedom of expression.
It is imperative that we study and learn the lessons of the Brazilian experience and this week’s newsletter leads with an article by Alex Hochuli who traces and analyses the country’s evolution from mildly left to the far right. We call on our supporters and readers to read, study and share this and other articles on Brazil. Forewarned is forearmed.