India

Vijay Prashad | Go Back Bolsonaro

On 26 January, India’s Republic Day, the chief guest of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is Brazil’s President

The left-wing mass organizations gathered together across the country to say Go Back Bolsonaro
The left-wing mass organizations gathered together across the country to say Go Back Bolsonaro - pictures by Nitheesh Narayanan

Modi said that Bolsonaro’s visit is a sign of increased relations between India and Brazil. Business links have grown over the course of the past decade and a half since India and Brazil helped form IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa, 2003) and later BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa, 2009). But the real linkage that interests Modi is not commerce – it is ideology. Both Modi and Bolsonaro are part of the toxic far-right emergence. They govern on behalf of the international capital, imperialism, and the local bourgeoisie – and create a mass base for themselves through the promotion of toxic ideas against minorities and migrants. Between Bolsonaro and Modi is a match made in hell.

But there is another side to India and Brazil – linkages between farmers and peasants, students and youth. The left-wing mass organizations of the All-India Kisan Sabha (farmers), the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the All-India Democratic Women’s Association, the Students Federation of India, and others gathered together across the country to say Go Back Bolsonaro. At the center has been the All-India Sugarcane Farmers’ Federation – a member of the Kisan Sabha – which has been angered by the Brazilian government’s position against Indian sugarcane farmers in the World Trade Organization.

Mayukh Biswas, who is the general secretary of the SFI, said that the students are worried about the climate catastrophe – and Bolsonaro’s disregard for the Amazon fires against the ‘lungs of the earth’ mirror how Modi has acted regarding India’s water, land, and forests. Additionally, Bolsonaro’s misogyny and homophobia, his war against the indigenous people and his aggressively authoritarian outlook has incensed many in India. India is in the midst of a major nation-wide uprising against Modi’s narrow-minded and anti-Muslim refugee policy. In 2015, Bolsonaro called refugees ‘scums of the earth’. The statement circulated by the organizations that held the protest says, ‘It is a pity that the Chief Guest of India this time will be a president who uses hate speech to promote his out-of-date ideology and encourages the use of violence to resolve differences’.

India’s Constitution was passed in 1950. That was the first time that the Indian government – led by Prime Minister Jawharlal Nehru – held a Republic Day parade. The Chief Guest on that occasion was Indonesia’s president Sukarno. The general mood in 1950 was of anti-colonialism and non-alignment. Five years later, Sukarno would host the countries of the Third World at Bandung for a conference of Asian and African countries. In 1961, Sukarno and Nehru (with Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser and Yugoslavia’s Josef Broz Tito) hosted the Non-Aligned Conference in Belgarde. That was a politics of the Third World.

Now, Modi and Bolsonaro have another alignment. They stand with imperialism and against non-alignment. They stand for social toxicity and against social justice. That is why the cry came – Go Back Bolsonaro. Inside it is also the slogan – Go Back Modi.

Edited by: Douglas Matos