One year after the election, the time has come to name the ox – 12/09/2021 – Mathias Alencastro

Right-wing leaders often challenge such a label at all costs, for fear of being labeled a political pariah. In France, French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen tries to distance herself from the anti-Semitic past of her father Jean-Marie.

A rising star of Portuguese politics, André Ventura, leader of the Chega! party, has publicly challenged his designation as leader of the extreme right. The opposite of Bolsonaro, who has the sinister merit of never having reneged on his radicalism.

Since the beginning of his political career, Bolsonaro has always linked his destiny to that of Carlos Brilhante Ustra, a reference in Brazilian fascism after the 1940s. Despite this, the identity of his government, the product of a chaotic campaign, was considered uncertain.

Out there

The presence of Paulo Guedes, the apostle of markets, left open the possibility of an evolution towards a liberal-conservative project. The unconditional adherence of center-right cadres created the conditions for a reorganization of the conservative camp around the figure of the president.

But none of that happened. Three years have passed, and Bolsonaro has already given numerous proofs of his commitment to the most radical agendas within the far right itself: the incendiary defense of theocracy, the insurrection against the democratic regime, the presence of an authoritarian state and the alignment with regimes dictatorials around the world.

September 7 helped consolidate its political identity in three acts. The first two, the exaltation of the coup d’état and the call for violence against institutions of the Republic, such as the STF, were widely denounced. A third one needs to be further elaborated. Homophobia, omnipresent in the Pocketnarist discourse since its inception, was definitely raised to the government’s flag.

The president has been using rhetorical instruments that resemble those of anti-Semites to assault opponents with innuendos about their sexual orientations. By trying to create a fictitious division of society between “male and gay”, Bolsonaro is putting a target on the back of the entire LGBT community.The line of political violence has definitely been crossed.

And yet, many remain hesitant to use the proper term to designate their head of state’s field. After a broad debate on the exact terminology to characterize the Bolsonaro government at the beginning of the mandate, which also occurred in Folha, almost everyone opted for the comfort of ambiguity.

China, Middle Land

The term populist was used to facilitate false equivalences between Bolsonaro and other left-wing rulers, especially Lula. Jargons like conservative or authoritarian helped to dilute Bolsonaro’s radicalism into cultural convictions and out-of-control behavior.

Terminologies count, and the hesitation to designate Bolsonaro as the leader of the far right may help explain the difficulty of forming a cohesive and irreducible opposition to his government. One year after the election, it was time to name the ox.

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