Sunday, July 10, 2005

MOMA's Brazil Film Fest Coincides with G8 Conference

This week I've been thinking a lot about Brazil, where agri-business concentrations os wealth drive peasants into cities without services or jobs. Why? MOMA's annual film series got me to "Almost Brothers" (Quase Dois Irmaos) a film about two men from different social classes in prison in the 1970s. This afternoon, I may go to another one, perhaps "Estamura" directed by Marcus Prado, one of the producers of the phenomnal "Bus 174," which I finally saw on video this weekend.
After "Almost Brothers," I was walking with my film-going companions - all of whom had seen "Bus 174" the year before, and one, a corporate lawyer, asked his high-school friend, the human-rights lawyer, "why is Brazil like that?" We got to talking about the extremes of wealth and poverty in Brazil, and talked about how long it had been this way.
I realized during the conversation, that I wasn't able to get too specific, and I found this sort of peculiar, since my family has always maintained close friendships with several Brazilians, many of whom are quite interested in politics. Despite this, I was primarily interested in samba and carneval when I was around those folks most, so I never really learned much about Brazilian history and economics, except the vague understanding that there was a military dictatorship in the 1970s, and that the cities were actually very dangerous places. Last year, in fact, I wound up asking for book recommendations from a longtime family friend who's in Latin American studies. Before going to that set of books, I found today a succinct and thorough discussion of all the Latin American social movements in the context of the ongoing G8 conference in "Brazzil Magazine." If you read to the bottom of the page, you will see among the comments some I especially liked. At the end of the article, one of those crazed right-wingers argued that the problems in Brazil and Latin-America in general could be traced to "left wing governments" (the article clearly suggests that the problems can be traced to the power of the United States and the IMF). In response, several people replied with varying degrees of sophistication.
Written by Guest on 2005-06-18 17:17:28I hate stupid right-wing fuckers, who dont know shit! These left-wing governments are not radical at all, in fact they are modeled around the 3rd way (Blair and Clinton) which is suppose to be alternative to free-markets and socialism but it is still very difficult to accomplish.....many things hold back regimes who want education for all, to end illiteracy, want to develop programs to combat poverty and at the same time grow the economy!

Right wing bastards and racist putas
Written by Guest on 2005-06-19 13:45:02Fuck you right wing land-owning, genocide causing (against indigenous and black people), oligarchic, pro-republican party (in USA), and slave promoting white bastards!!!!

swim back to europe you racist putas!
Fadados a repetir a historia?
Written by Guest on 2005-06-20 10:10:26Como disse Brecht "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral."
Seria melhor entender como funciona a economia antes de querer salvar um pais mediante uma revolucao.

If I were to add my own comment here, I'd point out how "theoretical," how "abstract" oh, maybe the word's "ideological" the right-wing commenter was. No matter what the context, it's as if know-nothing Bush supporters look for any site on the web where they can start spouting the "tax and spend" soundbite. Of course in Brazil, social programs are pretty limted, because so much of their spending is dedicated to debt payments, and so much of the aid they receive from foreign banks is contingent on privatization and austerity. If the US treasury bonds start looking less attractive, and if the Grover Norquists get their way when it comes to US social programs, I wonder how long it would be before South Central Los Angeles became as impenetrable as some of the favelas in Rio.

1 comment:

George Entenman said...

Reb wonders "how long it would be before South Central Los Angeles became as impenetrable as some of the favelas in Rio."

My theory is that the US is about a decade behind Brasil. We got gated communities about 10 years after Brasil did. Carjackings and home invasions followed.

So I was extremely happy when Lula was elected president of Brasil: maybe we won't have long to wait.

Of course, we might actually be 20 or 30 years behind Brasil and have to go through a military dictatorship first. That would make Norquist happy.

That's why I'm working as hard as I can to get some poor imitation of Lula: that's my only hope.