The Chaos Tactics: A Strategy of the Brazilian Far Right

Alexandre L Silva
5 min readAug 3, 2019


Lord Polonius: Though this be madness, yet there is method
in ‘t. (Shakespeare — Hamlet)

Lord Polonius, faced with Hamlet’s apparent insanity, suspects that there is a method to this madness. To anyone who has read or watched Shakespeare’s play it is clear that Polonius was not very shrewd, but in that case he was quite right: there was a method in what at first glance was madness,
The statements, among many other absurdities, by Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil, about the death of the father of the president of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB) on July 29, 2019, are demonstrations of this method in madness.

The president of the Brazilian Bar Association, Felipe Santa Cruz, had his father, Fernando Augusto Santa Cruz de Oliveira, murdered by the Military Regime that ruled Brazil between 1964 and 1985. Official Truth Commission documents claim that he was violently killed by Brazilian state during such a regime. There is also a document from the Brazilian Ministry of Aeronautics, labeled as secret, which proves Fernando's arrest. Nevertheless, Bolsonaro made two statements, speaking of the stabbing case attributed to Adelio Bispo, which, by the way, has nothing to do with the matter, and commenting on his first statement, which provoked a huge reaction from civil society and the worlds. political and legal

The first statement is: “Why did the OAB prevent the Federal Police from entering the phone of one of the most expensive lawyers? What is the intention of the OAB? Who is this OAB? One day, if the president of the OAB wants to know how his father disappeared in the military, I'll tell him. He will not want to hear the truth. I tell him. Not my version. It is because my experience made me reach the conclusions at that moment. His father was part of the Popular Action, the most bloodthirsty and violent group of the guerrillas from Pernambuco and disappeared in Rio de Janeiro. ” Obviously, this hurts the dignity of the human person, one of the fundamental values ​​that guide the Constitution. In addition, he accuses and indirectly calls the president of the OAB president bloodthirsty and violent, as well as raising a number of suspicions about how much Bolsonaro knows about the subject and why he never talked about what he knows.

The second statement, in a live haircut is: “… talked to a lot of people at the border, talked. And the people from AP (Popular Action) in Rio de Janeiro, hey, they were, they were, dumbfounded, right. 'How can this guy come from Recife to meet us here?'… And they settle, yeah, sumi (sic) with Santa Cruz's father… ”I confess, the lack of humanity scares me, to the point of writing in first person and use exclamation! This second statement contradicts all official documentation cited here by the Brazilian State and can thus be considered a lie or, in the preferred terminology of the press, fake news. Of course this line deserves an answer. The president of the OAB has informed that he will file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court (STF) for Bolsonaro to explain what he said, indicating where his father is. Several voices on the Brazilian scene, from political parties to jurists, have already spoken out calling for Bolsonaro's impeachment.

This is not the first time Bolsonaro has spoken about Felipe Santa Cruz's father. In 2011, then-Congressman Jair Bolsonaro stated that Fernando, Felipe's father, should have “died drunk in a carnival accident,” this in a lecture at the Federal University. Fluminense (UFF).

These are not the only false and absurd statements made by Bolsonaro. The G1 portal, a critic of the left and a faithful defender of the Brazilian right, counted 82 false statements by Bolsonaro in just 68 days of rule, more than one a day. Statements such as the above examples or the murder of the 62-year-old Emyra Waiãpi on July 23, 2019, leader of the Waiãpi indigenous people. He said: “There is no indication that the Indian was murdered.” This statement earned him a severe criticism from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who said of the murder, be a “disturbing symptom of the growing problem of invasion of indigenous lands - especially forests - by prospectors, loggers and farmers in Brazil”.

Note that Bolsonaro always seems to be at war; war against the UN, against the indigenous, against the OAB, against political parties, against their own allies, war against all. There is an expression in Hobbes Leviathan: "war of all against all." Bolsonaro subverts this expression and turns it into "his (or his and his family's) war against all." Following Steve Bannon's guidance, Bolsonaro turns politics into war.

As already said, lying is another tool used by the head of the Brazilian executive branch. It's just not a lie, it's a real whirlwind of lies (fake news). Their lies are shocking, shocking. They clash with the absurd, they clash with their distance from the real. This profusion of fake news coupled with war and truculence, as well as the use of traditional media, allied websites and social networks make Bolsonaro and the far right the true spreaders of chaos. Chaos is the lack of order, the mess, the undefined. Such are the actions of the far right, aimed at confusing and causing their opponents to lose themselves in this disorder. Along with this there is a Manichean view of the world and morals, forcing the formation of a huge and sectarian group of followers who accept and defend all the absurdities. That's why you stay in the presidency.

This method eventually created a rigid core of Bolsonaro followers who maintain and support his government. His own far-right allies were already impeached as soon as he was elected. However, they cannot transfer this rigid core of supporters to Mourão, his deputy, and other allies. Starting from a pragmatic thought, they conclude that impeachment would be great, since Mourão would assume, but Bolsonaro's maintenance is not so bad due to the difficulty of manipulating this nucleus. And the left? The left must ally itself with any minimally democratic force and seek impeachment, but rather it must frame Mourão for him to make a transitional government and not destroy it all in the hope of the return of democracy. Therefore, at this time, the left will need new theorists and strategists to point the way.

Alexandre L Silva

Translated by Google Translator



Alexandre L Silva

Ex-professor de diversas universidades públicas e particulares. Lecionou na UFF e na UERJ. Articulista de e escritor da New Order no Medium.