Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Pepe Escobar — Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil

Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21stCentury neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism, writes Pepe Escobar.
I would say that the future of Western democracy is being played out in the US and UK, and it doens't look like a bright one.

On the other hand, the West has never been democratic in the sense of rule of, by and for the people. All Western nations have been either monarchical or oligarchic. Democracy has yet to be tried.

Western nations are constitutional republics that are only "democratic" in the sense that peridoically the people get to elect which faction of the elite they prefer to be ruled by, with no guarantee that the ruling party will follow its electoral platform or representations and there is no redress other than coming elections, which are simply a repeat of the process. Calling this "democracy" is a sham.

Interesting tidbit: "It’s no secret that Steve Bannon is advising the Bolsonaro campaign in Brazil. One of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, met with Bannon in New York two months ago after which the Bolsonaro camp decided to profit from Bannon’s supposed “peerless” social engineering insights."
Consortium News
Future of Western Democracy Being Played Out in Brazil
Pepe Escobar

(Pepe Escobar is Brazilian.) 


Konrad said...



“Bolsonaro, a former paratrooper, is being depicted by Western mainstream media essentially as the Tropical Trump. The facts are way more complex.” ~ Pepe Escobar

No they are not more complex. Bolsonaro quite simply is Trump. (Incidentally, Hugo Chavez was a former paratrooper.) 49 million Brazilians see Bolsonaro as an “outsider” to politics-as-usual, the same way that many Americans see Trump.

Of course, Bolsonaro is not really an outsider, but I am talking about public perceptions.

The Brazilian Left and the Workers’ Party did fabulous things during the commodities boom in the early 2000s. In those days, Lula de Silva became Brazil’s most popular president ever.

However when the boom ended, the Worker’s Party became increasingly neoliberal, while they camouflaged their neoliberalism with increasingly strident identity politics. In other words they became U.S.-style Democrats. Finally Dilma Rousseff was deposed in a coup, whereon pure neoliberals (i.e. Brazilian “social democrats”) took over as Brazil’s economy plunged into the abyss.

Today 49 million Brazilians see Bolsonaro as an alternative to identity politics and neoliberalism. Bolsonaro is not really an alternative. He is Trump. And like Trump, he is called Hitler who will “end democracy as we know it.” He will cause the “end of the world.”

The corporate media outlets (all neoliberal) call Bolsonaro a “far right” candidate. This is a neoliberal code word for a populist who might not be neoliberal enough to suit the financiers.

In 2016 Trump correctly said the U.S. government never needs to default, since the government can “just print more money.” This made Trump a “far right” candidate. For neoliberals, truth is blasphemy.

Trump, like Bolsonaro, is actually a neoliberal himself. Both men are “evil dictators” because they don’t use identity politics to camouflage their neoliberalism. When Bolsonaro is elected on October 28, Brazilian social justice warriors will howl at the sky, just like in the USA. And the Russia-gate hoax will spread to Brazil.

“Stripped to its essence, the Brazilian presidential elections represent a direct clash between democracy and an early 21st Century, neofascism, indeed between civilization and barbarism.” ~ Pepe Escobar

Nonsense. Brazil is a plutocracy, not a democracy.

Continued below…

Konrad said...



“Brazil has 42 million evangelicals – and over 200 representatives in both branches of Parliament. Don’t mess with their jihad. They know how to exercise massive appeal among the beggars at the neoliberal banquet. The Lula Left simply didn’t know how to seduce them.”

Likewise, U.S. evangelicals support Trump, since leading Democrats have nothing to offer except identity politics. Meanwhile genuinely progressive Democrats are marginalized by their own party.

“In every poll Lula would win these elections hand down.” ~ Pepe Escobar

Yes, because of popular nostalgia for the commodities boom, which is long over. During the commodities boom, Brazil became so rich that the government actually lent to foreign nations in Brazilian rials. Now Brazil has a foreign debt crisis. If Lula became president again, there would be little he could do, and his popularity would instantly plunge.

“Lula’s right to run was highlighted by everyone from Pope Francis to the UN’s Human Rights Council, as well as Noam Chomsky. Yet in a delightful historical twist, the coup plotters’ scenario blew up in their faces as the front-runner to lead the country is not one of them, but a neofascist.” ~ Pepe Escobar

Trump is likewise called a “neofascist” by the lunatic Left. If only this was true! Trump and Bolsonaro would genuinely “drain the swamp.” In reality, both are oligarchic fascists -- i.e. neoliberals.

“Even Wall Street and the City of London have started entertaining second thoughts on supporting Bolsonaro for president.” ~ Pepe Escobar

Wall Street and the City of London worry about Bolsonaro because he has not been clear rhgarding his economic platform. Will he be pure neoliberal, or just partially neoliberal? Will he screw the masses savagely, or gently? Will he widen the gap between the rich and the rest exponentially, or just arithmetically? It was the same with candidate Trump.

“I’ve just been to northern Italy checking out how popular Salvini really is. Salvini defines the May 2019 European Parliament elections as ‘the last chance for Europe’.” ~ Pepe Escobar

Nonsense. The European parliament has no power. All power in the EU rests with the unelected Troika (i.e. the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank).

Nothing in Europe will change until the Troika is destroyed.

André said...

"Likewise, U.S. evangelicals support Trump, since leading Democrats have nothing to offer except identity politics. Meanwhile genuinely progressive Democrats are marginalized by their own party."

I laughed. Funny but true, in my opinion. Unfortunately, in many left-wing parties, identity politics has somehow gained more priority than ending unemployment, for example.

"Now Brazil has a foreign debt crisis."

Couldn't understand that part... Brazil is not under a foreign debt crisis. Foreign debt is about 5% or less of total public debt and foreign assets are more than enough to cover all debt... But I think I got what you said wrong...

Konrad said...

André, Brazil's foreign debt is unavoidable, since the Brazilian rial is not spendable outside Brazil, and since Brazil has a trade deficit. See this web site and check the 10-year figures from the Bank of Brazil...


When you first started commenting here, I flamed you and insulted you, but you seem like a
sensitive and intelligent person with charitable intentions. Walk with me through this. Ask me questions. Challenge me.

Both of us might learn something.

André said...

It's Brazilian Real (BRL). Brazil has a floating currency, and a managed float to some extent, which means that Banco Central do Brasil (BCB) tries to reduce the volatility of the exchange rate to some extent, but doesn't attempt to peg the fx rate at some level (as it did in the past). BCB manages the float usually with non-deliverable fx swap, so there is no foreign currency involved.

The only reason for Brazil holding some foreign currency is for managing the floating fx rate if they decide to avoid using fx swaps.

Brazil could have abolished the external debt without problems.

Brazilian government holds USD 380 billions in international reserves, while the total outstanding foreign debt is less than USD 40 billions.

The current account may affect the exchange rate, the behavior of importing and exporting companies and individuals, and the holding of US dollars by private actors, but it doesn't change the amount of USD that the government holds or needs to hold...

Brazil is going through a lot, including some bizarre elections between a corrupt left-wing party (with relevant leadership members currently in jail, something unprecedented in the country) and a military conservative guy that decided to go neoliberal. But a foreign currency crises is not a problem today...