| Elon Musk is facing an investigation in Brazil over Fake news on X | Fast Company | MR Online Elon Musk is facing an investigation in Brazil over Fake news on X. (Photo: Fast Company)

Brazil warns of neo-fascism upsurge and holds Elon Musk responsible

Originally published: Resumen: Latinoamericano and the Third World on April 10, 2024 by Alejandra Garcia (more by Resumen: Latinoamericano and the Third World) (Posted Apr 13, 2024)

Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula Da Silva on Wednesday warned about a reality that is no longer a secret: neoliberalism is aggravating the inequality that plagues democracies and among the rubble extreme right-wing adventurers are arising who deny politics. Brazil is no stranger to this phenomenon, encouraged especially during the government of the nefarious Jair Bolsonaro, and it is “urgent to break the dissonance between the voice of the markets and the voice of the streets”.

Disinformation on social networks takes advantage of the vulnerable, while extremists advocate a “neo-fascism, a primitive, conservative, and authoritarian nationalism”. To what extent does fake news, hatred, and conspiracy theories damage democracy? “A reflection cannot be delayed amid the technology boom,” said the president while pointing the finger at tycoon Elon Musk, the current owner of the X platform, formerly Twitter.

Lula made these statements during the announcement of the construction of 112,000 houses under the My House, My Life program created for farmers, Afro-descendants, and indigenous Brazilians. “We have a very serious issue in the country, which is to see if we want to live in a democratic regime or not,” he warned, a few days after Musk issued offensive criteria on his official X account against one of the members of Brazil’s highest court of justice.

“We have to decide if we are going to allow the world to live under xenophobia and extremism. We are witnessing the growth of neo-fascism, which allows a businessman who has never produced a blade of grass in this country to have the audacity to speak out against the Brazilian Supreme Court, Brazilian ministers, and the Brazilian people. It is not possible,” said Lula during the event in which he repudiated Musk’s remarks against Judge Alexandre de Moraes.

Currently, De Moraes is leading the thorniest ongoing investigations in the country, that includes the coup attempt of January 8, 2023, or the dissemination of fake news and hate messages on social networks, especially those launched against the electoral process of 2022, the year Jair Bolsonaro lost the election to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

“This judge has repeatedly betrayed the Constitution and the people of Brazil. He should resign or be impeached,” Musk charged after De Moraes ordered blocking of certain X accounts in Brazil. The billionaire also promised to publish soon “all of Alexandre de Moraes’ judicial requests and how these requests violate the law,” while accusing the judge of “censorship.”

In response to the offenses, Moraes opened an investigation on Musk’s conduct and ordered the X Corporation not to disobey court decisions and to pay a fine of US$20,000 for each reactivated blocked profile. The magistrate stated that he saw signs of obstruction of justice and incitement to commit crimes in Musk’s actions. In addition, he understood that the billionaire used social networks to spread misinformation and destabilize the institutions of the Democratic Rule of Law.

According to political analysts, this is another destabilizing attempt. Musk is using the unchecked power he has by owning X to destabilize Brazil and boost his own business. “It’s no secret that Musk is close to Bolsonaro and Donald Trump. But the effort could go beyond that bond. This is a political rapprochement with the Brazilian extreme right, a coup plot, or a business strategy involving the interests of other companies in his conglomerate, such as SpaceX, Starlink, and Tesla,” expert Valeria Saccone published in France 24.

“We will not be with our heads down. We learned that we are no better than anyone else, but we know how to defend our principles and our democracy. Meanwhile, there are billionaires interceding in the internal affairs of other countries. They are trying to build rockets to travel up to space, to see what they can find out there. You are going to have to learn to live here and use much of the money you have to help preserve this planet, and most importantly to improve people’s lives in peace,” Lula concluded.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano—English

Monthly Review does not necessarily adhere to all of the views conveyed in articles republished at MR Online. Our goal is to share a variety of left perspectives that we think our readers will find interesting or useful. —Eds.