The first round of the Brazilian presidential elections will take place on October 7. From the start, these elections have been characterized by illegality and exclusion, as the former front runner and ex-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was incarcerated in April and was recently barred by Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal from participating in the elections. This is despite a request from the UN Human Rights Council to guarantee him this right.
The extreme-right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro has been the front runner in the polls since Lula’s exclusion. In the past couple of weeks, women across Brazil have been participating in the #EleNão #EleNunca (#NotHim #NeverHim) campaign to reject Bolsonaro’s fascist proposals for Brazil. On September 29, in more than 25 Brazilian cities and in several cities across the world, Brazilian women and their allies will mobilize to stand up to fascism and the discourses of hate propagated by Bolsonaro.
Kelly Mafort of the National Board of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST), talking about the September 29 #EleNão mobilizations and the participation of the MST in this day of struggle, said, “In these elections, the fascist and conservative forces are openly present in Jair Bolsonaro. To struggle against him is to stand up to machismo, racism and LGBTphobia. To take a stand against him is also to fight for the right to struggle, to struggle for the right to land, work and housing. On the 29, we will be on the streets where we never left. On the 29, it will like the month of March never ended. On the 29 the people will be in the street.”
The social media campaign, #EleNão, has gone viral across Brazil and the world with international celebrities like Anitta, Cher, Ellen Page and Madonna taking to their accounts to voice their solidarity with Brazilian women and their rejection of the fascist Bolsonaro.
A collective of women released a “Manifesto of Women United Against Bolsonaro” in which they discussed the diverse protest actions planned for September 29 the necessary safety measures (one of the organizers of Women Against Bolsonaro was attacked by armed men on Monday in Rio de Janeiro), as well as the reasons why they are against Bolsonaro.
They highlight, to name a few things, his hateful attitude and words towards black people, LGBTQ people, women and poor people. His positions include defending the gender pay gap between men and women and advocating beating up boys to stop them from becoming gay. Bolsonaro has also supported public sector cuts on health, education and social assistance programs. He has said that he will raise the taxes on the poor and cut taxes for the rich, and has proposed to privatize all of Brazil’s national companies. The women also cited his support for the military dctatorship in Brazil. During the impeachment hearings of president Dilma Rouseff, Bolsonaro infamously dedicated his vote in support of Dilma’s impeachment to Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, the man who tortured her during the dictatorship.
The manifesto states: “We do not want a dictatorship or fascist rule, nor do we want more killings by military police officers on the streets, promoting the genocide of black youth. We want liberty, equality, social justice, and rights! Bolsonaro is everything Brazil does not need to overcome the crisis and move forward.”
Several took the #NotHim #NeverHim call even further and pointed out that it was not enough to not vote for a fascist, but the people should vote for a candidate who fights for all of the programs Bolsonaro wants to cut and who truly supports the working class and marginalized in Brazil. The slogan that been raised is also #EleNão, #HaddadSim (#NotHim, #HaddadYes), to support the Workers’ Party candidate and carrier of the legacy of Lula da Silva, Fernando Haddad, who is running with Manuela D’Avila.