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Monday, March 30, 2015

What can you tell us?

This article about  Brazil appeared online last week:

print version (will load quicker)
Millions of people are out demonstrating, asking for president Dilma Rousseff’s resignation. The endemic corruption of the leftist regime is being denounced by the masses that have taken to the streets, but largely ignored by the media elites, which are connected to those neo-Bolshevik channels financially supported by the Putin autocracy and its friends. The Sao Paulo Forum with its radical exhortations continues its maneuvers of hypnotizing the public opinion. Lies abound, but are starting to not be believed anymore. Protesters are being slandered as “American agents”, “spies”, “fascists” etc. Yet, less people than ever buy into these slanders. 
The protests are being organized by a grassroots initiative with an openly liberal (non-leftist) orientation – the Free Brazil Movement (MBL). Signatures are being gathered for Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal. It turns out that philosopher Olavo de Carvalho’s anti-totalitarian ideas have taken root in Brazil. Olavo, a remarkable social thinker execrated by the Left, knows a great deal about Marxism and revolutionary utopianism in general, at any rate a far greater deal than Dilma and her followers. He is familiar with the famous 11th thesis on Feuerbach: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” The world is changing in Brazil. 
The hyper-corrupt bureaucracy of the Workers’ Party, so outrageously obvious during the World Cup in 2014, is coming face to face with a resurgent civil society. What is being foreshadowed, it seems, is a peaceful, non-violent revolution. Marxist revolutions are explosions of violence. But not the anti-totalitarian ones. It is now clear that millions of Brazilians feel the need to expose twaddle, nonsense, irresponsible foolishness, cynical demagoguery masquerading as a springboard for collective bliss.

Clovis, what is your sense of things?


erp said...

Howard, neither version will load on my brand new very fast computer. This from a google search for Frontpage magazine: Filed Under: FrontPage Tagged ... Cyber Attack on Frontpage.

You don't name the author of the article, but I'm glad he/she uses the word, liberal, correctly as an antonym not a synonym for the left.

It would be nice to hope that ordinary people can take on and beat the world socialist movement funded as it is with major big bucks, but my guess is there will be a massive give-away program to placate the downtrodden and delight them with shiny beads and baubles and this too will pass, probably without much bloodshed, brutality being given such a bad name lately.

Clovis e Adri said...


Well, thanks for the interest. It is true there have been a bit of protesting here lately, even Instapundit noticed.

What is definitely not true is that "The endemic corruption of the leftist regime is being [...] largely ignored by the media elites, which are connected to those neo-Bolshevik channels financially supported by the Putin autocracy and its friends."

I was laughing out loud with that one. It is in par with another one in the Instapundit link above, posing:

"Some media in Brazil have railed against the young libertarians, accusing them of receiving money from right-wing groups in the U.S. — specifically the billionaire energy mogul Koch brothers, strong supporters of American conservative causes."

Really, Putin and the Koch brothers are only cited as jokes down here, it is amusing how it gets lost in translation for observers outside.

Now, for my sense of things... I will need some time to think how can I explain to a bunch of Libertarians that, even though all of their predictions about a heavy state eating the golden goose turn out to be true about Brazil, this is really not what the manifestations are about.

Anonymous said...


Here in the USA references to the Evil Kock Brothers is almost always completely serious.I have friends, well educated and employed, who honestly believe the Koch Brothers are a major evil in the world. They can't tell me what, exactly, that evil is other than the Koch Brothers spend money on promoting their politics. Why that's so different from Soros, or Gore, or Steyer, they can't explain, but that has no effect on their belief.

Clovis e Adri said...

So let me try do some translation here...

First of all, forget Venezuela and Chavez, Russia and Putin, or even Argentina and Peronism. They won't help you much in order to get Brazil.

Instead, take everything bad you guys usually associate here at GG to the US Democratic party (I know some of you do not associate it exclusively to Dems, but let us keep it simple), and make of it a new US Corrupt Party.

Now split that US Corrupt Party into two new ones, one called PT, the other PSDB, following this recipe:

- 80% of the Crony Capitalists go to PSDB, 20% to PT.
- 80% of the Unions go to PT, 20% to PSDB.
- 70% of the Academics go to PT, 30% to PSDB.

Now given these two parties above, take this:

- Assume 30% of the population naturally tends to support PT (and they correlate better with the poorer share of the population); and other 30% naturally tends to support the PSDB (and they correlate better with the richer share of the population). The remaining 40% are swing voters.

- Also assume that whoever among the two above wins elections, they only get 50% of the necessary representation in Congress and the Senate, so they need to form cohalitions with the other 50% of necessary representatives coming from smaller parties that are even more corrupt (and devoid of any real ideology - they only exist for the sole purpose of plundering the country).

Well, you Guys are all smart enough to imagine what the above dynamics can produce. I point out a few direct consequences:

1) Descriptions like the one Howard quoted, stating something like "The endemic corruption of the leftist regime [...]" are redundant. Any regime produced by the rules above will be endemically corrupt.

2) Even though some may be tempted to portray the PT versus PSDB political disputes as something like Left versus Right, or Venezuela-like versus Chile-like, etc, this is quite missing the point. Neither PT is really marxist (yes, it has "marxists" among its rank and file, and they don't really have a say), nor is PSDB really pro-Free Market (yeah, it has free marketeers among its rank and file, and they don't really have a say).

To exemplify, the most "Right wing" we have been, under Fernando Henrique Cardoso (president from 1994-2002), we were basically a deformed mirror of Bill Clinton's govt. The most "Left wing" we have been (with Lula and Dilma, 2002-now) we are basically a mix of deformed mirrors of FDR, LBJ and any French socialist presidency you choose.

So back to the protests: they are composed of nearly 80% of pro-PSDB people, and other 20% of people not easy to classify. Most of them are unhappy with (yet another) news of major corruption, this time related to kickbacks that Construction companies have given to political parties in order to get contracts with Petrobras, our major 51%-state-owned Petroleum company.

As it happens, basically all parties (either from the govt, PT and its cohalition, or the opposition, PSDB) were receiving those kickbacks. Yet, up to now they could not trace that corrupt money being linked directly to Dilma Roussef's (our president, from PT) campaign for reelection last year. But if they can, that can give grounds for an impeachment - and that's the reason you see many manifestators asking for exactly that.

Things are hard to predict right now. I'd give 30% of chances of an impeachment happening, but independent of that, the remaining 3 and a half years of Dilma's presidency will be politically turbulent. The bif IF is the economy: if it keeps getting worse, her term can turn chaotic.

Bottom line, Howard, is: ideology is a very poor guide to understand Brazil. It is all about (corrupt) money and who can bend things to get more of it. Don't expect such a society adopting Libertarianism any time soon, that would lead to... "insufficient opportunities for graft", to take a line you know well.

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

And of course, even in places supposed to be stronger in ideology than us (a little ideology is better than none, right?), things can look like just so familiar ... and don't me get wrong, I do like Chile a lot.

Howard said...


Sorry to hear that a more optimistic view is not warranted.