Note from BW of Brazil: Neo-Nazi groups in Brazil have been on my radar for a number of years. My interest in keeping up with these groups is simply to point out the absurd belief that many continue to subscribe to when the issue is racism and hate. In my first decade studying the issue of race in Brazil, I was quite often amazed at how often Brazilians would deny the existence of racial hatred and intolerance because, in their view, that was “a thing of the United States.” But if that were the case, how does one explain the allegiance of some Brazilians to such radical groups?
To be sure, those who proclaim themselves to be followers of neo-Nazi ideologies is extremely small when we consider that the country has around 210 million citizens. But the key for me is that, these are the most extreme of the racists, which the average Brazilian will not openly proclaim being. These are the boldest of Brazilians that openly declare their beliefs in racial superiority, which is the opposite of the average Brazilian citizen, who also believes in racial superiority as well as racial hierarchies, they are simply not bold enough to openly declare such ideals.
With the rise of the current far right president, I wondered what effect this would have on Brazil’s neo-Nazi cells. As can be expected, considering the violence of many supporters of Jair Bolsonaro during the last election cycle, we would expect a rise in supporters of far right-wing ideologies. We know about the existence of such groups and ideals in the United States, but again, Brazil has been able to slide under the radar of a country in which its citizens harbor racially extremist views. I don’t know why. This element has always existed.
Brazil has over 300 Nazi cells in operation
Researcher points out that most groups are concentrated in the South and Southeast; in her expert research on the rise of the far right, Adriana Abreu Magalhães Dias has also identified over 6,500 e-mail addresses of Nazi-only organizations in Portuguese
Brazil contains 334 Nazi cells active in the country, according to research by Adriana Abreu Magalhães Dias, an anthropologist at Unicamp. Most groups are concentrated in the South and Southeast and are divided into up to 17 distinct movements, including Hitlerist, Supremacist/ Separatist, Holocaust Denial, or local Ku Klux Klan sections.
Research shows that there are records of groups located in cities such as Fortaleza, João Pessoa, Feira de Santana (BA) and Rondonópolis (MT). However, the state with the most cells is São Paulo, with 99 groups, 28 in the capital alone. The state of Santa Catarina comes close behind with 69 cells, followed by Paraná (66) and Rio Grande do Sul (47). There are also examples of states that had no record of activity until recently, but are starting to take shape, such as Goiás, which already has six Nazi groups. The cells are made up of three to 40 people.
The data regarding the extent of groups spread throughout Brazil are part of an unpublished study by the anthropologist at Unicamp, a pioneer in research on the rise of the extreme right in the 2000s. The complete survey numbers will be published in a book shortly.
In her specialized research on the rise of the far right, Adriana has also identified over 6,500 e-mail addresses of Nazi-only organizations in Portuguese and tens of thousands of Brazilian neo-Nazis in international forums.
In an interview, the researcher states that, normally, in Brazil, the cells don’t connect, except the large ones. “These are groups of people who talk, who come together, and I located these meetings through websites, blogs or forums. None of them have a single chain. They read authors around the world who fight with each other,” she explained.
The neo-Nazis, according to Safernet, a private-law civil association focused on human rights advocacy on the web, are groups that promote intolerance based on the Nazi ideology of racial superiority and purity with resources of aggression, humiliation and discrimination. These are people who manufacture, market, distribute, or convey emblems, ornaments, badges, or propaganda with symbols (such as the swastika cross) and the defense of Nazi thought.
“The very reading of Nazi texts is a violence. But there are also cells that advocate beating homosexuals,” Dias reports.
The anthropologist says that the purpose of these meetings ranges from reading Nazi texts themselves to inciting physical aggression against homosexuals. The anthropologist says the groups are on Twitter and promote an anti-Semitic post every four seconds. She has also calculated that there is a post in Portuguese against blacks, people with disabilities and LGBTs every eight seconds.
The construction of hate
In September, the researcher’s studies were cited by activist Sharon Nazarian, vice president of the Liga Anti-Difamação (Anti-Defamation League), in a presentation at the White House, home of the United States government. However, Adriana explains that US President Donald Trump is aware of the problem in his country, but shows no interest in addressing the issue.
The construction of this hatred, according to her, is structured in the cult of masculinity that despises minorities. “Hate is not from now. There has always been racial, class, gender hate. At this moment you have an articulation and a systematization of this hate. A capillarization as a political project in many places. And it’s impossible to remove this hatred until you civilize people. It’s a very complex process because hate gives them comfort,” she told UOL.
Adriana Dias looks at a new concept of empathy developed by the Australian philosopher Roman Krznaric, who works with the concept of ‘shared humanity’. “This is the opposite of hate. The 20th century was the century of internalization. She advocates a process of ‘outreaching’, in which our humanity needs to be shared in other possible humanities,” she explained.
With info courtesy of RBA