Jair Bolsonaro

With the far right victory in Brazil, many analysts are predicting domination of right – wing ideology in the coming years. This may sound true as elections in many countries reflect but deeper analysis might reveal the actual state.

Setback to left

Supporters of right point out at the outset that left ideology is on the decline. When compared to the days after Russian and Chinese revolution after world war II , there is a perceptible setback to leftist rule as many nations which had communist and socialist governments are being headed by right wing fundamentalists now. After Lenin, Stalin, Mao etc, there have been very few leaders who could gain confidence of people and lead them from the front. Noah Milliman ( Why are right wing populists winning everywhere? Octoner 30, 2018, theweek.com) says ‘ …anxiety about order traditionally pushes the public to embrace parties of the right, who most credibly promise to restore order, whether ….fighting crime or preserving a familiar culture. And anger at corruption and elite self dealing quite naturally drive the public to drive to punish established leadership and give new comers a try.and to seek out newcomers who viscerally share their frustration ..’ The setback may prove costly if the problems re main unaddresssd for their future. .

Real statistics

In reality, the right wingers assume office by thin margin and manipulation through divisive tactics. For example in India, the right wing had less than one- third of the peoples support. In US, Trump whose victory was termed landslide, was in fact, very close one. …. The percentage of votes won by Trump 56.9 percent, is hardly a comparison by historical standards. ( Trump Landslide? Nope, Robert Farley, posted on November 29, 2016, www.factcheck.org). John Pitney, a professor of American Politics at Claremont McKenna college put together a chart showing Electoral College Share and showed that Trump ranked 46 out of 58 out of US presidential elections. There were also claims of illegal voters influencing elections which raised controversy.

The myth of ‘ far right’ victory in Brazil can be busted by statistical analysis. The boycott of elections by 42 million registered voters who did not go to polls or voted void or blank, is one of the largest electoral boycott in recent history. The actual number may be even higher as many adults had their titles canceled and young people of 16 to 18 years did not issue the electoral document out of discredit and repudiation of the farcical processes. (October 30, 2018, anovademocracia.com ). According to TSE calculations, about 30% of eligible voters did not choose any of the candidates by abstaining or voting void or blank. Abstentions alone amounted to 20% of the eligible electorate. Even with vast coverage of press and campaign, Bolsonaro could muster 39% which is closer to abstentions and boycott votes.

The campaign by peoples movements made people realize the futility of false democracy and need for a change in the system for a new Democratic Revolution. The historic boycott reflects growing dissatisfaction with the present democratic set up and step towards emergence of popular struggles to protect workers rights as well as focus the crisis in dominant classes.

Mobilization desirable

Discontent with the present system is latent in most countries. Right wingers are taking advantage of the growing unrest and, with the help of modern technology alongwith constant rhetoric of fanaticism, nationalism, false promises of rooting out corruptions, etc are influencing docile masses to garner just enough votes to gain majority. In some cases, the whole electoral machinery is being manipulated in such a way that the results declared show ‘ thumping’ majority which is just ‘ simple’ majority. (Erdogan of Turkey wins narrow referendum victory ( April 17, 2017, washingtonpost.com) or Philippines Duterte wins decisive victory ( May 10, 2016, www.wsj.com) with controversy on counting of votes) . This reflects that ‘ elected’ persons or parties do not enjoy majority support to rule.

The ‘ weak ‘ left is unable to mobilise and channel dissatisfaction into potent force and struggle against bourgeoisie democratic set up. If sincere leadership takes up the total responsibility of directing and monitoring masses towards a new welfare democracy, this is the opportune time for fruitful and successful struggles

Sheshu Babu is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents

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  1. Sally Dugman says:

    Here is part of my “take” on the situation: People become tribally oriented when there is a perceived threat. So they divide up along lines like skin color, religion, caste, monetary wealth and so on. … If resources are running out, they do the same action and elect leaders who will represent their group or whom they perceive will do so. … Moreover, people with power, control, money do not want to lose the advantage.They will fight tooth and claw like the Hindutva to maintain privileges even when the advantage is based on religious beliefs like some people being born out of a god’s head and others born of his feet. … Get use to the conflicts ramping up and right-wing governments becoming into vogue, I suggest. … The masses have very little power unless they revolt en masse.

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