Walking down the street in Brazil wearing a badge that expresses your political ideas has never been as dangerous as it is today.
Each day we wake up to new stories and images of victims of violent attacks perpetrated by supporters of the fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who headed polls in the lead up to the second round of Brazil’s presidential elections on October 28.
The simple act of wearing an LGBTI badge today can mean you end up being the victim of aggression and have a swastika cut into your skin with a razor blade.
This occurred in Porto Alegre, the day after the first round of the presidential elections on October 7, in which Bolsonaro polled highest. A young woman was attacked by three men while carrying an LGBTI flag with the phrase “Not Him”, in reference to Bolsonaro.
The police — which is also fascist — has tried to portray this as a “homophobic crime”, but it is obvious it was an act of political intolerance by followers of the proto-Nazi candidate.
Another recent case occurred in Recife. A woman was at a bar when two men and a woman approached her, pushed her over and began to hit her simply for wearing a badge in support of Freedom and Socialism Party (PSOL) candidate for governor Dani Portela, and another with the phrase “Not Him”.
According to witnesses, the attackers sought to kill her and were only stopped because workers at the bar took her into the kitchen. They then called police three times. The police never showed up.
After the results of the first round of the elections were read out on October 7, Bolsonaro said he would “put an end to all activism in Brazil”. That same night, a master of the Afro-Brazilian martial art form of capoeira, Moa do Katendê, was murdered in Bahia, north-eastern Brazil. He was stabbed 12 times by a Bolsonaro supporter.
In the southern city of Curitiba, a driver intentionally ran over filmmaker Guilherme Daldin, who was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the popular ex-president from the left-leaning Workers’ Party (PT) who is in jail on what many believe are politically motivated charges.
On October 9, a college student was brutally assaulted by 15 people, who shouted support for Bolsonaro during the attack. The university was vandalised that same night.
A survey published by Agência Pública, a non-profit investigative journalism agency, showed that at least 50 attacks by Bolsonaro supporters had been recorded in the first 10 days of October.
To not see the similarities between the movement behind Bolsonaro and his followers, and Mussolini’s fascism or Hitler’ Nazism is to close ones’ eyes and open the door to a similarly dark situation emerging in Brazil today.
In Bolsonaro’s hands, Brazil runs the real risk of plunging even further into a phase of complete intolerance and crimes against humanity. All the anger and hatred that we can already see, hand in hand with fascism, stalking the streets of Brazil, are just the tip of the iceberg that could sink a country that only recently emerged out of a fascist military dictatorship.
Hope means never being afraid, and it is time to not be afraid to occupy the streets, all together, women, youth, workers, and build a mass revolutionary organisation to halt any possibility of the proto-Nazi movement advancing.
[Translated from Anticapitalistas en Red by Federico Fuentes, with additional reporting from Brasil de Fato.]