This week, Kumars is joined by Wendi Muse for a primer on Brazilian politics and the lessons from the recent election of fascist president Jair Bolsonaro. Wendi is the host of the Left POCket Project podcast and a PhD Candidate in History at New York University whose dissertation analyzes Portuguese Africa’s impact on the Brazilian left through intellectual and political exchange during the Cold War. Wendi begins by providing necessary historical context, discussing how Brazil remains indelibly shaped by slavery and the military dictatorship that purged leftists and workers’ institutions and kept poor people, most prominently the sizeable Afro-Brazilian population, in fear and misery.
Wendi and Kumars discuss how the wealthy and middle class in Brazil chose the unfettered economic and racial domination of Bolsanaro over the tangible but moderate reforms of imprisoned former President Lula and his successors, including the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Fernando Haddad. Wendi explains how the Brazilian right’s co-optation of protests over increased bus fares led to the impeachment, on trumped-up corruption charges, of PT President Dilma Rousseff, and outlines the US role in legitimizing this 2016 coup. After discussing what Bolsonaro’s open bigotry and nostalgia for the dictatorship represents in Brazilian politics, how he differs from Trump, and why he should be considered a fascist, Wendi shares her thoughts on the outlook for social movements and the Workers’ Party in Brazil, and how concerned people in the US can show solidarity.
A transcript for this episode will be provided upon request. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.
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