South Africa’s immense poverty and inequality have been weaponized by former president Jacob Zuma and his supporters through a massive economic sabotage campaign. Any response must address the miseries saturating the country as well as the chaos now unleashed.
Benjamin Fogel is a historian and contributing editor at Africa is a Country and Jacobin.
In Brazil, an absurd and deeply politicized “anti-corruption” campaign was carried out to block Lula da Silva from the presidency — delivering it instead to far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, who oversaw the world’s worst COVID-19 response. We have ex-judge Sergio Moro to thank for it.
After yesterday’s ruling declaring former Brazilian president Lula da Silva eligible to run in next year’s election, Brazil’s ruling class is panicking. But for Brazilian workers struggling with economic hardship and the COVID-19 pandemic, Lula’s return means there is finally some hope for change.
Nobody likes corruption. But the modern politics of “anti-corruption” is built on both domestic and international double standards. Corruption is not some alien virus that enters and disrupts a system, it is a symptom of all that is wrong with the world that liberals are vainly striving to restore.
Brazil’s Lava Jato investigation in corruption jailed former president Lula da Silva and was lauded by anticorruption campaigners in the West. But its legacy is the most corrupt president in the country’s history: Jair Bolsonaro.
South Africa has imposed one of the world’s most draconian COVID-19 lockdowns, slapping hundreds of thousands of mostly black and working-class people with criminal charges. The authoritarian response highlights again the lost promise of the post-apartheid government and the deep disparities that still plague the country.
The mass slaughter of leftists in Indonesia was more than just another Washington-backed atrocity. It was the prototype for smashing the hopes and dreams of the Left in the developing world — for good.
After more than a year of Jair Bolsonaro’s rule in Brazil, the country is hurtling toward authoritarianism. Now the president is calling on his supporters to take to the streets in a “Fuck You March” against the democratic institutions that are standing in the way of his far-right agenda.
Since Labour’s election defeat, pundits have accused the party of being out of step with working people’s social conservatism. But the “Blue Labour” obsession with Christian morality and national pride offers a caricature of the working class — and ignores the ability of socialist politics to unite people across cultural divides.
Bolsonaro doesn’t need an open military dictatorship to crush his opponents. As the “Colombian model” demonstrates, he can lean on violent paramilitaries to do the dirty work for him.
South African politics urgently needs an injection of electoral energy from the Left, that speaks in a language that resonates with voters, rejects chauvinism, and embraces democracy.
Establishment outlets like the Economist insist the Brazilian military is a moderating influence on the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro. But precisely the opposite is true.
The core of Bolsonarism is hatred of Brazil’s organized working class, which today — despite no threat of socialist revolution — is incarnated in the PT and the image of Lula.
If the Left is serious about wielding and transforming state power, it needs to go beyond a moralistic understanding of corruption.
Brazilian vice-presidential candidate Manuela D’Ávila on misogyny in politics, the ruling class’s motivations for keeping Lula jailed, and what’s driving the far right’s resurgence.
Jacob Zuma won’t be remembered as a liberation hero, but as a corrupt leader who broke the South African left.
South Africa needs more than a new leader: it needs a new vision, one that levels economic inequality and dismantles patronage systems.
Apologetics for a kleptocratic tyrant have nothing to do with anti-imperialism.
What have we learned from the Pink Tide’s years in power?
From Donald Trump to Jacob Zuma, we can’t reduce politics to “getting rid of the bad guys” and expect to win.