On Sunday 28th October, Brazilians will head to the polls to decide their next president and, barring a catastrophic collapse, nationalist firebrand Jair Bolsonaro will brush aside leftist challenger Fernando Haddad. The campaign has polarised opinion in Brazil, much like the 2016 election did in America, but I get the sense that there’s much more at stake for the South American country. Crime, especially murder, is higher than in nations at war, whilst drug gangs run the vast shanty towns on the edges of major cities. Law and order is on the verge of total collapse. Brazilians are crying out for order in a nation of chaos, which provides us with a partial explanation behind the former Army Captain’s strong polling.
However, there’s another dimension to this election that fewer commentators are discussing; the racial element. Most people who engage in political activism will be aware that identity politics is paramount, whether that identity is defined by class, religion or race/ethnicity (see my article, Identity Politics: The Defining Feature of Politics). Indeed, one’s social identity is a good indicator in itself as to which way an individual intends to vote. Brazil is no different, and for years we’ve seen a stark contrast in the voting patterns of European Brazilians on the one hand, and African/Mixed-Race inhabitants on the other – generally speaking, the latter votes en masse for the liberal/leftist parties, whilst the former tends to vote for more right-leaning candidates.
This election is no different; if a racial map of Brazil is overlaid with a map of regions which favour Bolsonaro over Haddad, the correlation is almost exact. This is no surprise, given his conservative stance on most major issues, including the economy. But could there be more than basic conservatism that’s motivating European Brazilians to vote for Bolsonaro? Most definitely. European Brazilians have never been quite this enthusiastic about a presidential candidate before and, given his comments on a range of identity-related issues, I’m not in the least bit surprised that they are so enthusiastic about him.
Bolsonaro has indicated many times that under his presidency, affirmative action for Africans in the country will be eradicated. He’s also (rightly) mocked this liberal notion of the oppressed coloured person, or the oppressed “indigenous” person, promising that “not an inch of land will be demarked for indigenous reserves”. Furthermore, he’s made a number of public comments against miscegenation, as well as numerous overtly racial overtures that indicate his mind is imbued with a solidly nationalistic, European racial perspective on things. In short, he’s more racially conscious and radically right-wing than any other politician in the Western World today, aside from, perhaps, Viktor Orban.
This matters to European Brazilians, especially for the simple reason that they themselves are clearly racially-minded. The nation is extremely segregated, with the European population living almost exclusively in the South, whilst the Black/mixed populations living primarily in the North-East. Neighbourhoods follow the same pattern; it’s not unusual for European Brazilians to live in gated communities, away from the other groups residing in an area.
But the mere fact that the demographic distribution in Brazil is this way is not enough to promote the fear required to elect an admittedly reactionary candidate. What is, however, is the fact that European Brazilians have recently lost their demographic majority. They now represent just 48% of the population – this is perhaps the first election campaign in which Brazilians make up less than 50% of the electoral register. This is creating some understandable anxieties amongst their communities. It has undoubtedly crossed their minds that, should they lose yet more influence, their position in the nation is likely to go the same way as that of the Afrikaner in South Africa, wherein Europeans are being butchered at an alarming rate. Thus, they can find inspiration and optimism in somebody like Jair Bolsonaro, with this election cycle probably being their last chance to avoid demographic ruin and – as would be inevitable when Africans become the majority – extinction.
This analysis is not limited to Brazil in its scope. We Europeans may also learn a few valuable lessons. Firstly, Brazil is a case study which provides a glimpse into the future; Brazil is what happens when Europeans lose their dominant place within society. The shift is already evident in some microcosms. The cities often reported to be “no-go zones” have murder rates on a par with some Brazilian districts, whilst crimes such as rape and theft are commonplace.
Another lesson and, perhaps, the most important, is that we have a long way to go before things get critical. We’re often inclined to write our respective nations’ obituaries rather prematurely, when we declare the UK to be “finished” or Sweden “beyond repair”. In doing so, we forget that Europeans still constitute around 84% of Britain’s population (79% native), and 85% of the Netherlands’ population, for instance. In the United Kingdom, even if current immigration levels remain unchanged, Europeans aren’t likely to lose their voting majority until the latter part of this century. Without wishing to engender complacency, I’d urge my fellow Europeans to remind themselves that the situation is far from hopeless; just look at Brazil and their ability to elect a “white man’s candidate”, from just 48% of the population!
To reiterate, this is not a call to complacency. It would be entirely more preferable if we could fix our continent before we descend into the mass lawlessness of somewhere like Brazil. But the point remains: if this is not possible, do not despair, for you will have plenty more opportunity and decades, not days, to solve your nations’ problems.
Finally, I must stress that all this remains nominally hypothetical, for Jair Bolsonaro is not yet president of Brazil. However, he maintains a fifteen-point lead over his leftist opponent with only a fortnight to go until election day. We at Defend Europa, of course, wish him the best of luck and the brightest of futures for the Europeans of the Brazilian nation.