by Sandro Mezzadra Liberté, liberté! This chant – belted out by 49 refugees and migrants in the moment...
On the day of the second round of Brazil’s general election, we repost the statement by the Brazilian Women United Against Fascism UK, who will be protesting today outside of the Brazilian embassy in London. As the fascistoid candidate Jair Bolsonaro could be elected as president, efforts to resist and counterattack the global rise of the far right are more necessary than ever.
In the most turbulent elections since re-democratization in 1985, army reserve captain Jair Bolsonaro is running for president of Brazil and is leading the polls with a campaign based on hate speech. This candidate has made many misogynistic statements, as well as offensive comments against the black, indigenous and LGBTQ people. He is also a fervent advocate of the period in which Brazil was under a military dictatorship, openly defends torture and promises to liberalise arms control. He recently vowed to “put an end to all activism in Brazil” and declared he won’t accept the election results if he loses.
Women are leading the resistance against Bolsonaro with the #EleNao (#NotHim in Portuguese) campaign. Ahead of the first round of elections, on September 29, they organised to protest and took the streets in their hundreds of thousands in over 200 cities in Brazil and 70 cities abroad, in the largest women-led protests in Brazilian history. The protest organised by Brazilian Women Against Fascism in London brought over 1,000 women to the streets, in the largest demonstration of Brazilian women in London.
His candidacy today represents a great threat not only to women but to most minorities of the Brazilian population. He has won the first round of the elections on 7th October with 46% of the votes and continues to lead in the polls for the second round on October 28th. For us immigrant women living in the UK, this has a double meaning, as the hate speech defended by Bolsonaro represents in Brazil the same xenophobia that Trump, Le Pen and Theresa May repeat in the USA, Europe and here.
This year’s campaign is the most turbulent Brazil has seen in over 30 years and this election has seen an unprecedented level of participation worldwide. The UK has the third largest Brazilian community, and over 25,000 Brazilians living across the UK registered to vote – around one third turned up on the day – and Bolsonaro received 52% of the UK vote. Our group is hoping to change this in the second round – we organized protests and we are doing grassroots work within the Brazilian community in the UK.
In this electoral dispute, we have seen the increase of violent acts and displays of intolerance in Brazil with great apprehension. In this hate wave, since Bolsonaro’s influence has grown, more than 50 hate crimes were reported – among those the case of a woman who was protesting for her rights and got a swastika cut in her skin by his supporters. In another attack, a famous capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art) master ‘Moa do Katendê’ was stabbed to death for taking a stance against the candidate.
About Brazilian Women United Against Fascism UK
We are a group of immigrant Latina women from Brazil living in the UK. Being from different left-leaning political standings (anarchists, socialists, communists), our group is therefore non-partisan. The group was created to fight the rise of fascism in Brazil, which has recently become prominent due to the popularity of presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro. We also aim to raise awareness of our cause internationally.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BrazilianWomenAgainstFascismUK 1