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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/4/21

Zionism, Bolsonarism, & the Global South's intensifying genocide

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20/02/2019 Gravao do Pronunciamento do Presidente da Repblica Jair Bolsonaro
20/02/2019 Gravao do Pronunciamento do Presidente da Repblica Jair Bolsonaro
(Image by Pala'cio do Planalto from flickr)
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In addition to being obsessed with his paranoid anti-communist beliefs, and with privatizing every conceivable facet of Brazilian society, Jair Bolsonaro is obsessed with Israel. He constantly places Israeli flags near him at rallies, he's opened a trade office in Jerusalem while hinting that he'll do the same at the embassy, his sons have been photographed wearing Mossad shirts to the effect that Netanyahu said Israel has "no better friends than the people and government of Brazil," and he's agreed with the new Israeli Prime Minister Bennett to "deepen bilateral ties and cooperation in a range of areas." It's part of how right-wing Latin American leaders have made Israel into a partisan issue, reacting to how the region's Chavista, MAS, and otherwise leftist governments have shunned Israel as a terrorist state.

For Bolsonaro in particular, the motives behind this fanatical devotion to Zionism-which is supposedly centered around concern for the safety of the Jewish people-is contradicted by his simultaneously courting neo-Nazis. Last month, Bolsonaro brazenly welcomed members of Alternative for Deutschland, the German anti-immigration party that's become the ideological successor to the National Socialists.

This came as a shock for the few who still believed Bolsonaro genuinely cares about the fate of the Jews. But it's no isolated incident among global Zionists; Colombia's regime, which has a similarly special relationship with Israel, has at the same time allowed a neo-Nazi counterinsurgency strategist to directly advise the police on how to break the country's national strike. Extremely pro-Zionist President Trump famously engaged in apologeia for the Nazis who openly marched in U.S. borders during his term. Israel is backed by India's BJP, the Hindutva fascist party that's waging genocidal war against the country's Muslims. And Israel itself has supplied arms to the Azov Battalion, the Ukrainian militia that's been ethnically cleansing Jews and Romas.

This all makes perfect sense given the similarities Zionism has with Nazism. Both seek to grab up land for the advancement of the favored nation, whether that nation is "God's chosen ones" or the "master race." Hitler's idea of Lebensraum, which said the Jews and Slavs needed to be wiped out so that the "Aryans" could have sufficient land to cultivate their prosperity, is directly mirrored by Zionism's goal of encroaching into Arab territories by any means necessary. As well as by Hindutva's campaign to murder Muslims so that India can continue colonizing Kashmir.

Zionism and Nazism (to which Hindutva is an ideological cousin) have both been inspired by Americanism, which has achieved far more than Hitler ever did; the U.S. and its partnered settler states successfully reduced the number of Natives to a tenth of what it was, which allowed for the settlers to annex an entire continent while relegating the remaining indigenous people to impoverished separation zones. In the current era, it's telling that what allowed the Americans to achieve this territorially crucial level of Native depopulation was disease; the deliberate disregard that reactionary settlers now have for Covid-19, a virus which statistically impacts colonized peoples far more than whites, is an extension of this attitude that pandemics are the cost of making the "American" nation thrive. This genocidal reasoning is apparent in the belief that pandemic restrictions must be abandoned for the sake of keeping business going. Capital is seen as more important than the lives of the underclass, especially the indigenous and African underclass.

It's this context that explains Bolsonarism, and the death cult that it's proliferating in the Covid-19 era. Even prior to the start of the pandemic, Bolsonaro had destroyed his country in 400 days, gutting Brazil's educational system and social services while engaging in drastic privatization-which enabled the corporate land abuse that created 2019's unprecedented Amazon fires. This destruction made Brazil highly vulnerable to the virus, speedily making it one of the most Covid-impacted countries. Bolsonaro, whose brazen dismissal of the virus made him the de facto leader of the pandemic denial movement, also inflamed it by getting his followers to believe in absurd Covid-19 conspiracy theories.

Now that Brazil has had more than half a million pandemic deaths, Bolsonaro is deepening the degradation of the biosphere and of the country's social support systems, leaving the continent-and the planet-even more imperiled by our environmental crisis. The colonized, being the primary targets of this destruction, are the first to see the scope of the horror that's unfolding in Brazil and elsewhere. Last month, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples sued Bolsonaro for carrying out a consistent policy of anti-indigenous persecution since he took office two years ago, stating: "We believe there are acts in progress in Brazil that constitute crimes against humanity, genocide and ecocide. Given the inability of the justice system in Brazil to investigate, prosecute and judge these, we denounce them to the international community."

This genocide has been facilitated through a constant insistence by Bolsonaro that the forces of capital must concede nothing to the tribes, that the lives and homelands of Natives are dispensable. As Harsha Walia writes in Border & Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism:

[Journalist and writer] Vincent Bevins contends that Bolsonarismo is best understood as "a violent obsession with destroying the left combined with contempt for democratic institutions." Indeed, Bolsonaro espouses authoritarianism and an extirpation of socialism to ensconce a Christian, settler, racial-capitalist order disguised as majoritarianism. In a revanchist move, Bolsonaro has declared, "Not a centimeter will be demarcated either as an Indigenous reserve or as a quilombola" (free Black communities founded by many of the five million Africans who escaped enslavement in the region), subsequently vitalizing the right-wing, Christian-settler coup against President Evo Morales in Bolivia.

Last year's defeat of the Bolivia coup, and the return of the socialist decolonial MAS to power in Bolivia, has intensified the reaction from Latin American rightists like Bolsonaro. As next year's presidential election approaches, and the humanitarian catastrophe of Covid-19 in Brazil pummels Bolsonaro's popularity, he's expanding this uncompromising agenda into the realm of political power grabs. He's claiming that the election is going to be rigged against him, and that malign forces are aiming to persecute him should he leave office. It's obvious that he's preparing for a Capitol Hill riot of his own. Except this coup attempt could have the backing of Washington, with its current drive towards an Operation Condor 2.0. The fact that Biden administration officials have reported personally telling Bolsonaro that they're "worried about a possible growth of the left" in Brazil makes it likelier that the CIA will support Bolsonaro's coming attempt to bring back the days of dictatorship.

As one of my Twitter acquaintances recently informed me: "Brazilian here, everyday this fuckin monster keeps escalating his authoritarianism. Basically he keeps saying the 2018 election (that he won) was fraudulent, and is doing everything to stop the 2022 elections. Fascism."

This is the essence of Bolsonarism: to manufacture economic, health, political, and environmental crises, then use the crises as justification for state terror and deepened exploitation. As sociologist Daniel Cunha has written about how this type of 21st century neo-colonial fascism operates:

Bolsonarism has elements in common with historical fascism, but is something different. The transition from the Nazi slogan "Labor sets you free" to "A dead bandit is a good bandit" and "All this scum" is the ideological mirror of the transition from the rise to the decline of the capitalist world economy. Its strength as ideology seems to rely on the fact that it combines the needs of contemporary crisis capitalism, both in what refers to accumulation itself as well as to ideological processes, with deep-seated, constitutive elements of the social character and the constitution of the subject in Brazilian "frontier capitalism," elements that were never completely superseded in the course of a truncated modernization. Bolsonarism breaks with the "crisis management" of the Worker's Party, thereby assuming a certain air of defiance, but substantially proposes no more than plunder and repression. In this historical configuration-absent an unexpected rapid fall-Bolsonarism as political ideology (transcending the eponymous individual) seems to open a new historical period in Brazil, putting an end to the brief interval of the Nova República (New Republic) that started in 1985.

Like with every other facet of imperialism, the blood from this Global South fascist project is on the hands of the rich countries. By the nature of the imperial hierarchy, even many of the workers in these countries are complicit; Canadian workers are unwittingly providing funds for Bolsonaro's water privatization, with the capital from Canada's pension funds making possible the transfer of Rio de Janeiro's water system to private sector control.

This is just one building block in Western capital's assistance of the genocide and ecocide, with a group of UK MPs having recently assessed that "British banks finance agri-businesses and mining companies are responsible for the Amazon's destruction, while British corporations profit from goods made on deforested lands." Countless other threads of complicity can be traced from the imperialist countries and their proxies, from the CIA's extensive ties with Bolsonaro to Israel's supplying Bolsonaro with military technologies. As residents of the core of imperialism the United States, our job is to overthrow the imperialist beast from the inside so that it can stop supplying this intensifying neo-colonial siege against the Global South.

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Rainer Shea is writing articles that counter the propaganda of the capitalist/imperialist power establishment, and that help move us towards a socialist revolution. Donate to me on Patreon here:

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