Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro Embodies the Culmination of Global Fascism : How Can We Fight Against it?
2016 was a year of hate.
First came Brexit, fuelled by a campaign with a strong anti-immigrant rhetoric, with posters imitating Nazi-Germany propaganda.
2017 was no better.
Austria was set to elect Europe’s first far-right head of state since Hitler. Although the islamaphobic, anti-immigrant, gun-enthusiast Norbert Hofer wasn’t successful in his campaign, he still gained 46.6% of the vote.
France’s far-right National Front party, historically labelled a fascist party, reached the final stages of the French presidential elections with Marine Le Pen gaining 33% of the French vote in the final poll.
2017 saw the rise of Germany’s first right-wing populist party since the Nazis, with the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) barging into parliament as the third largest force.
In 2018, we’ve witnessed the rise of Far-Right terrorism in the UK, the inhumane separation of children from their parents at the American border and Trump advocating the use of firearms against people seeking asylum at the US border.
The culmination of this growing global far-right sentiment is embodied in the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, a notoriously racist, homophobic misogynist who has “advocated the possibility of unbridled state violence”. Bolsonaro’s election puts women, indigenous populations, the LGBTQ+ community and the efforts against climate change at immense risk.
His campaign targeted the indigenous minority, threatening to take over their territories and hinting at genocide, claiming “it is a shame that the Brazilian cavalry has not been so efficient as the Americans who exterminated the Indians”. He has spread a racist rhetoric about the afro-descendant Brazilian population, claiming “They do nothing! They are not even good for procreation.” He has publicly declared his opinions against gender equality, claiming that women don’t deserve the same salaries as men, and even advocated for rape, telling a congresswoman, “I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it”. He calls the birth of his daughter “a moment of weakness”, and has exclaimed that he would “rather his son die in an accident than be gay”.
We are living in a moment of history where hate is rising, and populations are becoming increasingly divided. It’s as if society has learnt nothing from our past mistakes. Populist rhetoric against migration and encouraging xenophobia has enabled a dangerous rise of the global far right.
But how can we fight back against this rising trend?
1. Fight hate with love
It’s easy to turn anger into negative actions and most of us immediately write people off if they start spouting hatred. We end up staying in our bubbles, bemoaning the state of the world, and essentially preaching to the choir. One way to fight back is by showing love. Showing these people that their hatred will not lead you to stoop to their level. Have conversations with people that show signs of far-right tendencies, and show them your point of view and why you don’t agree with their sentiments. They may never be your friend, but at least they will have heard an alternative opinion from the far-right bubble they encase themselves in. And if they’re attitudes turn into hate speech, report them. Hate-speech is a crime.
2. Start locally to impact globally
Fighting against global issues is a mammoth task. So rather than getting yourself down with the scale of the threat, start off locally. People don’t just wake up one day with far-right beliefs. They’re seduced at a local level by the negative “us vs them” rhetoric constantly spouted by far-right leaders and echoed in the pub, at work or at the football. It’s about starting locally, and finding out how you can impact your community and ensure that your immediate community doesn’t buy into far-right ideals.
3. Transform the Narrative
One of the greatest tools for the far right is online media. This can be your greatest tool too. Make sure you document your ideas and any incidents that you witness. Record videos, take photos, write articles. Ensure that your voice is heard and keep sharing items that denounce far-right ideals. As long as the mainstream narrative refutes the far-right rhetoric, we can be sure that their opinions remain in the minority.
4. Peaceful Protest
Violence leads nowhere. Your greatest weapon can be peaceful protest. Come together in marches and make sure that you are visible. On Saturday 17th November you can join the National Unity Demonstration Against Fascism and Racism in London. Keep informed on marches going on in your area, and show the far-right that the majority is not on their side.
Article by VERVE Operative & Blogger Chanju Mwanza.