Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brazil’s Monied Oligarchs Are Exploiting Unrest in Attempt to Reclaim Power

The impeachment movement and street uprising against the Brazilian government are far more complicated and ethically ambiguous than the major media have portrayed, as scandal and corruption touch almost every corner of the country’s political system.

The Intercept reports:

    ... one significant difference with the U.S. is that Brazil’s turmoil is not confined to one politician. The opposite is true, as Romero notes: “almost every corner of the political system under the cloud of scandal.” That includes not only Rousseff’s moderately left-wing Workers Party, or PT — which is rife with serious corruption — but also the vast majority of the centrist and right-wing political and economic factions working to destroy PT, which are drowning in at least an equal amount of criminality. In other words, PT is indeed deeply corrupt and awash in criminal scandal, but so is virtually every political faction working to undermine it and vying to seize that party’s democratically obtained power. …

    Brazil’s corporate media outlets are acting as de facto protest organizers and PR arms of opposition parties. The Twitter feeds of some of Globo’s most influential (and very rich) on-air reporters contain non-stop anti-PT agitation. When a recording of a telephone conversation between Dilma and [Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva] was leaked this week, Globo’s highly influential nightly news program, Jornal Nacional, had its anchors flamboyantly re-enact the dialogue in such a melodramatic and provocatively gossipy fashion that it literally resembled a soap opera far more than a news report, prompting widespread ridicule. For months, Brazil’s top four newsmagazines have devoted cover after cover to inflammatory attacks on Dilma and Lula, usually featuring ominous photos of one or the other and always with a strikingly unified narrative.

    To provide some perspective for how central the large corporate media has been in inciting these protests: Recall the key role Fox News played in promoting and encouraging attendance at the early Tea Party protests. Now imagine what those protests would have been if it had not been just Fox, but also ABC, NBC, CBS, Time magazine, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post also supporting and inciting the Tea Party rallies. That is what has been happening in Brazil: The largest outlets are owned and controlled by a tiny number of plutocratic families, virtually all of whom are vehement, class-based opponents of PT and whose media outlets have unified to fuel these protests. …

    Put simply, this is a campaign to subvert Brazil’s democratic outcomes by monied factions that have long hated the results of democratic elections, deceitfully marching under an anti-corruption banner: quite similar to the 1964 coup. Indeed, much of the Brazilian right longs for restoration of the military dictatorship, and factions at these “anti-corruption” protests have been openly calling for the end of democracy.

    None of this is a defense of PT. Both because of genuine widespread corruption in that party and national economic woes, Dilma and PT are intensely unpopular among all classes and groups, even including the party’s working-class base. But the street protests — as undeniably large and energized as they have been — are driven by those who are traditionally hostile to PT. The number of people participating in these protests — while in the millions — is dwarfed by the number (54 million) who voted to re-elect Dilma less than two years ago. In a democracy, governments are chosen by voting, not by displays of street opposition — particularly where, as in Brazil, the protests are drawn from a relatively narrow societal segment.

To believe that the influential people agitating for the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff “are motivated by an authentic anti-corruption crusade requires extreme naïveté or willful ignorance,” The Intercept continues. “To begin with, the factions that would be empowered by Dilma’s impeachment are at least as implicated by corruption scandals as she is: in most cases, more so.”

    Five of the members of the impeachment commission are themselves being criminally investigated as part of the corruption scandal. That includes Paulo Maluf, who faces an Interpol warrant for his arrest and has not been able to leave the country for years; he has been sentenced in France to three years in prison for money laundering. Of the 65 members of House impeachment committee, 36 currently face pending legal proceedings.

Continue reading here.

Original Article
Author: Alexander Reed Kelly

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