Brazil’s Vinegar Revolution: Left in Form, Right in Content

Part 3 of 6: Washington’s Response - Protests

These are some of the reasons why Washington and its allies are attempting to carry out a vast, coordinated and covert regime change strategy in Brazil, in cahoots with Brazil’s ultra-reactionary comprador elites who detest the centre-left orientation of the Brazilian government and long for a return to the good old days of fascist dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.

The class of people who will lose most in this game are the very people protesting, the new petite-bourgeoisie, a credit-bubble class who will default on their debts, thus falling back into proletarian and lumpen-proletarian classes.

As already stated, there are very real economic and social problems in Brazil. The country has some of the highest inequalities in the world. But these are the consequences of capitalism. Why, then, are the protestors not marching for socialism or better collective bargaining rights for workers? Why is the focus of the rage against corrupt politicians and not corrupt multinational corporations? Why have the mass media given the protests such coverage and support? New stations such as Globo are owned by mega-rich dynasties who have always demonized popular movements. Globo was a staunch supporter of the fascist regime that ruled until 1985. Why has the right wing establishment press which promotes neoliberal economics, privatization and the Washington Consensus, suddenly become a sympathizer with people protesting for ‘public services’?

Why have film stars and new age pop idols, who have no history of sympathy for the cause of labour, pledged their support for the protestors? As governor of California, Arnold Schwartznegger launched a massive privatization programme that included highways, public pensions and water, resulting in the impoverishment of hundreds of thousands of citizens — and this is the man supporting popular protests for public services in Brazil?

The bulk of the protest movement is made up of the emerging petite-bourgeoisie; this is a university educated class who are using social media to organize and protest issues that are said to transcend the political spectrum of right and left, such as an end to corruption, more public spending etc.

The petite-bourgeoisie is composed of about 40 million people, who were lifted out of poverty thanks to the economic boom that enabled a rise in the domestic consumer market through state-sponsored low interest rates. However, the credit boom has resulted in a looming household debt crisis as many of the lower middle class families struggle to repay their loans while inflation, due to a global currency war, has put further pressure on the economy.

The Brazilian protests were sparked in Sao Paulo when Workers Party major Fernando Haddad and right-wing governor Geraldo Alcmin decided to raise bus and metro fares by 10 percent. The protests were organized by a movement called Movimento Passe-Livre- Movement for free passes, an anarchist collective agitating for free transport. The movement’s support base tends to come from the petite-bourgeoisie of the universities. In spite of its very noble desire for free transport, the movement has little support among the working class.

Brazil has a long and proud history of anarcho-syndicalist activism, having organized some of the country’s biggest social revolts such as the 1917 Libertarian Insurrectionary Strike in Sao Paolo. The anarchist tradition in Brazil grew out of the country’s history of slavery. Runway slaves formed ‘quilimbos’, anarchist communities such as at Palmares where 20,000 runaway slaves formed an egalitarian community which lasted from 1602 to 1695.

Universities in Sao Paulo and Brasilia have regularly run courses on the history of Brazilian anarchism.  In his essay “The history of the anarchist movement in Brazil”, Edgar Rodrigues notes that courses in Anarchist theory are regularly taught at Sao Paulo’s  ELSP, Escola Livre de Sociologia e Politica,  Sao Paulo’s Free School of Sociology and Politics. The school was set up in 1934 by a group of rich businessmen with the aim of training new, competent ruling elite.

It is hardly surprising that a university department set up by rich business men would promote anarchism.  As Rodrigues  admits:

In 1964 the military dictatorship took power and with it came a fruitful period of great activity in the publication of libertarian works. In the midst of repression, writers and publishers stood up to the dictatorship in the decade of greatest repression (1970-1980) and amid the flood of authoritarian trash the researching and publication of anarchist books continued.

Anarchist literature was flourishing in a period when those who were suspected of being communists were arrested, tortured and killed. This is not to say that anarchists were colluding with the fascist regime. Rather, it is simply to point out that anarchism has never been seen as a threat to the capitalist system. Anarchists have never overthrown the capitalist mode of production, nor have they been able to convert enough people to their cause. Communists, on the other hand, did have a political programme with the example of the Soviet Union and Cuba proving that they were capable of social revolution; that is why they and not the anarchists were the object of CIA-trained death squads during the fascist dictatorship.

We are not claiming here that the Passe Livre Movement is deliberately collaborating with an imperialist agenda to destroy Brazil. But as we will see, anarchy is precisely what global capitalists want, and websites funded by the US state department are openly promoting the Passe Livre Movement. The clenched fist symbol is the logo of the US funded youth groups operating in many countries around the world. This is also a favourite symbol of Trotskyite and some anarchist groups, who are drawn to imperialism’s bait like flies to honey.

Leaderless, delocalized, spontaneous uprisings.

Sociologist Zygmunt Baumann has pointed out that the essential conflict in the world today is between power and politics. Politics, in the old bourgeois order, was confined to nationally democratic parliaments. However, in the age of global oligarchy, this power is being taken away from people by transnational corporations and their international agencies. One of the features of globalization, according to Baumann, is the feeling that ‘no one is in charge’, that power has been concentrated in the hands of an unaccountable, anonymous transnational elite, while the traditional area of democratic decision making, that is to say the area of politics, has been eroded. Thus, unaccountable financial power has destroyed politics.

Power is the ability to have things done. Politics is the power to decide which things are to be done. Both abilities, power and politics were, until recently united in one place, that place was called the nation-state. The state government has both, it has power to do things and the political institutions to decide which things are to be done.

Perhaps more than any other figure in international trade and finance, billionaire George Soros has been identified as a key player in the global takeover of politics by big capital.

The pioneer of the Open Society Institute, which promotes ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom’ according to the dictionary of big business, Soros is considered to be one of US imperialism’s most  valuable assets. The plethora of ‘civil society’ organizations funded by this billionaire with messianic pretentions is staggering.

The Open Society Institute had a hand in the fall of the Soviet Union setting up a branch of his Open Society Institute in Moscow in 1987. After Boris Yeltsin’s seizure of power in a military coup in 1993, free market, neoliberal policies promoted by the OSI plunged the Russian people into levels of poverty comparable to the 19th century. It is estimated that the counter-revolution in Russia and Eastern Europe led to the death of over a million people.

It was the arrival of Putin to power in 1994 which pulled Russia back from the abyss. Putin re-established the authority and autonomy of the state, expelled and imprisoned some of the worst criminals from the country such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a gangster lauded in the West as a ‘hero’ and ‘victim’ of Putin’s ‘totalitarianism’. Putin has described the break up of the Soviet Union as one of the greatest catastrophes of the Twentieth Century. Putin’s bourgeois nationalism has made him an inveterate enemy of Western imperialism and its vast infantry of regime change NGOS.

A virulent anti-communist, the civil society organizations supported by Soros specialize in ostensibly ‘progressive’, liberal, petit-bourgeois causes. Soros’ Open Society Institute played a significant role in the ‘Velvet’ counter-revolutions in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which opened up those state capitalist societies to funder vulture capitalists and speculators.

The geopolitical strategy of colour revolutions was used by Washington to effect regime change in the pro-Russian post-Soviet space which saw regime change in several Eastern European countries such as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine 2006 and the Rose Revolution in Georgia 2004, where nationalist, bourgeois regimes were replaced by agents of Western financial capitalism.

The colour revolution strategy was deployed once more during the infamous ‘Arab Spring’ with the Center For Non Violent Actions and Strategies,(CANVAS), Movements.Org,  the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and many more US NGOs linked to the US government, playing a key role in training and mobilizing internet activists in the overthrow of the Tunisian and Egyptian governments, in order to create the foundations for a New Middle East in accordance with US imperial objectives.

A student of  right-wing philosopher Karl Popper, whose anti-communist ‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ forms the basis of Soros’ philosophy, the billionaire focuses on supporting causes that look ‘left-wing’ on the surface, but which ultimately push a corporate agenda.

Soros has extensive interests in Brazil in energy, agribusiness and communications. The billionaire holds a major stake in Brazil’s oil company Petrobras, who recently discovered one of the world’s biggest oil fields in 2007 in Tupi.  An article published by the right-wing Brazilian newspaper Veja revealed that Petrobras had been one of the financiers of the Movimento Passe Livre movement, the anarchist organization which triggered the protests in June.

• Read Part 1, Part 2

Gearóid Ó Colmáin is a journalist and political analyst based in Paris. His work focuses on globalization, geopolitics and class struggle. He is a regular contributor to Dissident Voice, Global Research, Russia Today International, Press TV, Sputnik Radio France, Sputnik English, Al Etijah TV, Sahar TV, and has also appeared on Al Jazeera and Al Mayadeen. He writes in English, Gaelic, and French. Read other articles by Gearóid, or visit Gearóid's website.