32: Right turn in U.S. politics; Aldo Cordeiro Sauda on Bolsonaro’s Brazil

October 29, 2018

In this week’s episode, we discuss Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro with Brazilian socialist Aldo Cordeiro Sauda and U.S.-based socialist Todd Chretien. This weekend, in a terrifying development in international politics, Brazil’s neo-fascist Bolsonaro won the presidential elections. Since that time, the military has paraded openly through the streets, raided universities and raised the prospect of attacks on Brazil’s social movements and oppressed populations.

Recorded just days before the October 28 election, we talk to Aldo and Todd about the background to Bolsonaro’s rise after 14 years of rule by the Workers Party (PT). Aldo identifies the constitutional coup against former President Dilma Rousseff as a turning point in the advance of the far right. We talk about why the ruling class has swung behind Bolsonaro and what the rise to power of a neo-fascist means for the left specifically. We end by talking about the labor and social movements, which still have real organization and power in Brazil, and how to build international solidarity with their struggles.

Aldo Cordeiro Sauda is a journalist and activist in Brazil’s Party of Socialism and Liberation (PSOL). He also covered the Arab Spring for Estado de São Paulo and Folha de São Paulo, and is currently a master’s candidate in political science at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

In our opener, we talk about the hard right turn in U.S. politics since the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This episode was recorded before the horrific massacre of at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, but the trends we identify make clear why such attacks are an inevitable product of this moment. We review the right-wing offensive — from Trump’s transphobic memo to the racist hysteria about the migrant caravan — and discuss how this can co-exist with a potential advance of the Democrats in the midterm elections, but also why that advance will not eliminate the basis for Trumpism.

Links for this episode’s interview on Brazil:

Valério Arcary, a leading member of Resistência, a revolutionary socialist current inside the Party for Socialism and Freedom (PSOL), discusses the factors underlying an assessment of Bolsonaro as a neo-fascist in an article republished at Socialist Worker (http://bit.ly/ArcarySW)

Aldo, along with Benjamin Fogel, discusses the role of the military in providing a base of support for Bolsonaro in an article for Jacobin (http://bit.ly/AldoJacobin)

Socialist Worker reprinted a statement of Resistência following the first round of Brazilian elections that analyzes the threats posed by Bolsonaro and charts a way forward for the left, labor and social movements (http://bit.ly/ResistenciaSW)

The Intercept has written on the reasons Wall Street is happy about a Bolsonaro victory (http://bit.ly/BrazilWallStreet) and has put together a piece explaining who Bolsonaro is, using his own words (http://bit.ly/InterceptBolsonaro)

Links for this episode’s opener on the right turn in U.S. politics:

Nicole Colson discusses how Trump’s hate has unleashed the violence that has targeted Jews, Blacks and migrants in the last week and points to lessons of the anti-fascist movements of the past in an article for Socialist Worker (http://bit.ly/ColsonTrumpHateSW)

Our co-host Danny wrote a piece for Socialist Worker that assesses the phases of the Trump regime and what the sharpening backlash means for socialists (http://bit.ly/DannyTrumpEra)

Lance Selfa talks about the Trumpification of American politics and why a blue wave won’t erase the Trump stain in this article for Socialist Worker (http://bit.ly/TrumpificationSW)


The Boy & Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)
Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
Chico Buarque, “Apesar de Você”
Caetano Veloso, “Um Comunista”
Elis Regina, “O Bêbado e a Equilibrista”
Jorge Ben Jor, “Zumbi”