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Lula, on the rise of barbarism

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the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, described the extreme right as a new monster who needs to be faced and defeated both at home and on a global scale. In a ceremony held at the Planalto Palace, the headquarters of the Executive branch assaulted and vandalized on Sunday the 8th by supporters of her predecessor, the fascist Jair Bolsonaro, Lula called to confront the rise of a fanatical, rabid extreme right that hates anything that doesn’t match what it thinks.

The historic leader of the Brazilian electoral left stressed that it is not enough to defeat the radicals at the polls, since they must also triumph over the hatred, lies and misinformation that the figures of the new ultra-right have sown in broad sectors of society .

The challenge is supreme, since in their ascent the reactionary forces have swept away the foundations of democracy and even a minimum level of civility. It is noteworthy that Lula locates the origin of the hatred that eats away at his country in the policy denial: Indeed, demonizing political parties and any organization that raises collective demands (in particular, unions and communities) is a central part of the neoconservative discourse, which aims at atomization, self-destructive individualism, and the blurring or cancellation of the spaces in which the debate of ideas, the contrast of points of view and the construction of consensus are possible.

Thus, the new movements and groups of reaction contribute to a polarization based not on real antagonisms, but on phobias and prejudices in the face of everything that is perceived as a threat to interests that, to top it off, are distorted by the manipulation of demagogues, such as Bolsonaro himself, Donald Trump, the Spanish Santiago Abascal, Le Pen (father and daughter) in France, the Colombian Álvaro Uribe, the Bolivians Jeanine Áñez and Luis Fernando Camacho (both imprisoned for their role in the 2019 coup), the Guatemalan Alejandro Giammattei, the Chilean José Antonio Kast and the political class of that nation addicted to Pinochetism, among other figures, who are not lacking in Mexico either.

To explain the proliferation of this type of characters in Latin America, the complicity of US and European rulers cannot be overlooked. Although many times they do not agree with the cavernous positions of the Latin American right-wing on issues such as the rights of minorities, gender issues, environmental protection or even labor overexploitation, Western leaders elevate them to power or offer them support invaluable, either because of his pathological phobia of anything that in his narrow understanding looks like socialism or for propping up his own geopolitical interests and the profits of his transnational corporations. The same can be said of the media that officially repudiate the attacks on democratic structures and human rights, but are ready to support whoever favors the profits of their parent companies the most.

The risk that these ultra-rights pose to both sides of the Atlantic should not be underestimated. In the United States, they have kept the institutions in check since 2008, when they found their flag in the systematic sabotage of the presidency of Barack Obama; in Italy they already govern with a xenophobic and sexist agenda (despite the fact that their current leader is a woman, Giorgia Meloni); in Spain they have come to regional power at the hands of the supposedly moderate right of the Popular Party, and could be close to entering La Moncloa thanks to their pacts with this formation; in Latin America they have deposed democratic governments, in Honduras (2009), Paraguay (2012), Brazil (2016), Bolivia (2019), Peru (2022); in addition to failed attempts in Ecuador and Venezuela (in this one, repeatedly). These coups d’état in the subcontinent have replaced the tanks of yesteryear with a combination of judicial-legislative conspiracies with authentic Goebbelsian campaigns of media manipulation that stir up the hatred of sectors of the population prone to classism and racism, in a manner not unlike the permanent defamation, spread of hate and induction of panic by an oligarchy that does not resign itself to having lost control of the Presidency in Mexico.

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