The Rothschild’s Zionist World Order*
The Rothschild’s Zionist World Order*
Islamic Culture before Western Meddling*
By Ian Greenhalgh
When the great capitals of Europe – London, Paris Berlin etc were little more than small towns with open sewers, strewn with filth and ordure and riddled with disease the Islamic world was home to a flowering of culture that created spectacular planned cities with great irrigation and sewerage systems, miles of street lighting and all the amenities of a flourishing urban society.
Decades of demonisation of Arabs and Islamic people in general has meant that the Western world has remained largely ignorant of the achievements of Islamic culture – how many realise that the system of numbers we use today is Arabic or that the foundation of many modern sciences such as astronomy is to be found not in the West, but in the Islamic world.
When we invaded the Middle East in the Crusades, we were the savage barbarians attacking a more highly cultured and civilised people; the Islamic peoples rightfully saw we Europeans as dirty, smelly unwashed killers who had little regard for culture and a disregard for any civilisation other than their own bordering on the genocidal. We were the barbarians at the gates, the horde of hairy thugs come to rape, steal and pillage.
The following article by Justin Marozzi is a good starting point for developing a greater understanding and appreciation of the Islamic world and it’s achievements.
The birth of Baghdad was a landmark for world civilisation
The foundation of al-Mansur’s ‘Round City’ in 762 was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. It developed into the cultural centre of the world.
If Baghdad today is a byword for inner-city decay and violence on an unspeakable scale, its foundation 1,250 years ago was a glorious milestone in the history of urban design. More than that, it was a landmark for civilisation, the birth of a city that would quickly become the cultural lodestar of the world.
Contrary to popular belief, Baghdad is old but not ancient. Founded in AD762 by the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur “The Victorious” as the new seat of his Islamic empire, in Mesopotamian terms it is more arriviste than grande dame – an upstart compared to Nineveh, Ur and Babylon (seventh, fourth and third millennium BC respectively).
Baghdad is a mere baby, too, when compared with Uruk, another ancient Mesopotamian urban settlement, which lays claim to being one of the world’s earliest cities and which was, sometime around 3,200BC, the largest urban centre on earth with a population estimated at up to 80,000. Some think the Arabic title for Babylonia, al-Iraq, is derived from its name.
We know a huge amount about the city’s meticulous and inspired planning thanks to detailed records of its construction. We are told, for instance, that when Mansur was hunting for his new capital, sailing up and down the Tigris to find a suitable site, he was initially advised of the favourable location and climate by a community of Nestorian monks who long predated Muslims in the area.
According to the ninth-century Arab geographer and historian Yaqubi, author of The Book of Countries, its trade-friendly position on the Tigris close to the Euphrates gave it the potential to be “the crossroads of the universe”.
This was a retrospective endorsement. By the time Yaqubi was writing, Baghdad, City of Peace, had already become the centre of the world, capital of the pre-eminent Dar al-Islam, home to pioneering scientists, astronomers, poets, mathematicians, musicians, historians, legalists and philosophers.
This was by far the greatest construction project in the Islamic world
Once Mansur had agreed the site, it was time to embark on the design. Again we are told that this was entirely the caliph’s work. Under strict supervision he had workers trace the plans of his round city on the ground in lines of cinders. The perfect circle was a tribute to the geometric teachings of Euclid, whom he had studied and admired. He then walked through this ground-level plan, indicated his approval and ordered cotton balls soaked in naphtha (liquid petroleum) to be placed along the outlines and set alight to mark the position of the massively fortified double outer walls.
On 30 July 762, after the royal astrologers had declared this the most auspicious date for building work to begin, Mansur offered up a prayer to Allah, laid the ceremonial first brick and ordered the assembled workers to get cracking.
The scale of this great urban project is one of the most distinctive aspects of the story of Baghdad. With a circumference of four miles, the massive brick walls rising up from the banks of the Tigris were the defining signature of Mansur’s Round City. According to 11th-century scholar Al Khatib al Baghdadi – whose History of Baghdad is a mine of information on the construction of the city – each course consisted of 162,000 bricks for the first third of the wall’s height, 150,000 for the second third and 140,000 for the final section, bonded together with bundles of reeds. The outer wall was 80ft high, crowned with battlements and flanked by bastions. A deep moat ringed the outer wall perimeter.
The workforce itself was of a stupendous size. Thousands of architects and engineers, legal experts, surveyors and carpenters, blacksmiths, diggers and ordinary labourers were recruited from across the Abbasid empire.
First they surveyed, measured and excavated the foundations. Then, using the sun-baked and kiln-fired bricks that had always been the main building material on the river-flooded Mesopotamian plains in the absence of stone quarries, they raised the fortress-like city walls brick by brick. This was by far the greatest construction project in the Islamic world: Yaqubi reckoned there were 100,000 workers involved.
The circular design was breathtakingly innovative. “They say that no other round city is known in all the regions of the world,” Khatib noted approvingly. Four equidistant gates pierced the outer walls where straight roads led to the centre of the city.
The Kufa Gate to the south-west and the Basra Gate to the south-east both opened on to the Sarat canal – a key part of the network of waterways that drained the waters of the Euphrates into the Tigris and made this site so attractive. The Sham (Syrian) Gate to the north-west led to the main road on to Anbar, and across the desert wastes to Syria. To the north-east the Khorasan Gate lay close to the Tigris, leading to the bridge of boats across it.
For the great majority of the city’s life, a fluctuating number of these bridges, consisting of skiffs roped together and fastened to each bank, were one of the most picturesque signatures of Baghdad; no more permanent structure would be seen until the British arrived in the 20th century and laid an iron bridge across the Tigris.
A gatehouse rose above each of the four outer gates. Those above the entrances in the higher main wall offered commanding views over the city and the many miles of lush palm groves and emerald fields that fringed the waters of the Tigris. The large audience chamber at the top of the gatehouse above the Khorasan Gate was a particular favourite of Mansur as an afternoon retreat from the stultifying heat.
“I have never seen a city of greater height, more perfect circularity, more endowed with superior merits” – al-Jahiz
The four straight roads that ran towards the centre of the city from the outer gates were lined with vaulted arcades containing merchants’ shops and bazaars. Smaller streets ran off these four main arteries, giving access to a series of squares and houses; the limited space between the main wall and the inner wall answered to Mansur’s desire to maintain the heart of the city as a royal preserve.
The centre of Baghdad consisted of an immense central enclosure – perhaps 6,500 feet in diameter – with the royal precinct at its heart. The outer margins were reserved for the palaces of the caliph’s children, homes for the royal staff and servants, the caliph’s kitchens, barracks for the horse guard and other state offices.
The very centre was empty except for the two finest buildings in the city: the Great Mosque and the caliph’s Golden Gate Palace, a classically Islamic expression of the union between temporal and spiritual authority. No one except Mansur, not even a gout-ridden uncle of the caliph who requested the privilege on grounds of ill-health, was permitted to ride in this central precinct.
One sympathises with this elderly uncle of the caliph. Unmoved by his protestations of decrepit limbs, Mansur said he could be carried into the central precinct on a litter, a mode of transport generally reserved for women. “I will be embarrassed by the people,” his uncle Isa said. “Is there anyone left you could be embarrassed by?” the caliph replied caustically.
Mansur’s palace was a remarkable building of 360,000 sq ft. Its most striking feature was the 130ft-high green dome above the main audience chamber, visible for miles around and surmounted by the figure of a horseman with a lance in his hand. Khatib claimed that the figure swivelled like a weathervane, thrusting his lance in the direction from which the caliph’s enemies would next appear.
Mansur’s great mosque was Baghdad’s first. Encompassing a prodigious 90,000 sq ft, it paid dutiful respect to Allah while emphatically conveying the message that the Abbasids were his most powerful and illustrious servants on earth.
By 766 Mansur’s Round City was complete. The general verdict was that it was a triumph. The ninth-century essayist, polymath and polemicist al-Jahiz was unstinting in his praise.
“I have seen the great cities, including those noted for their durable construction. I have seen such cities in the districts of Syria, in Byzantine territory, and in other provinces, but I have never seen a city of greater height, more perfect circularity, more endowed with superior merits or possessing more spacious gates or more perfect defences than Al Zawra, that is to say the city of Abu Jafar al-Mansur.” What he particularly admired was the roundness of the city: “It is as though it is poured into a mould and cast.”
The last traces of Mansur’s Round City were demolished in the early 1870s when Midhat Pasha, the reformist Ottoman governor, tore down the venerable city walls in a fit of modernising zeal. Baghdadis have since grown used to being excluded from the centre of their resilient capital.
Just as they had been barred from the inner sanctum of the city under Mansur, so were their 20th-century counterparts excluded from the heart of Baghdad on pain of death 12 centuries later under Saddam Hussein.
The heavily guarded district of Karadat Maryam, slightly south of the original Round City on the west bank, became the regime headquarters, the engine room of a giant machine carefully calibrated to cow, control and kill using the multiple security organisations that enabled a country to devour itself. Under the American occupation of 2003 it became the even more intensely fortified Green Zone, a surreal dystopia of six square miles in which Iraqis were largely unwelcome in their own capital.
Today, after a 12-year interlude, the Green Zone is open to Baghdadis again. But as so often in their extraordinarily bloody history, Iraqis find they have very little to cheer about as the country tears itself apart. The great city of Baghdad survives, but its people are once again engulfed in terrible violence.
Soros-Obama-Merkel-Erdogan get Control of Europe!?*
By Eric Zuesse
On Friday, March 18th, a combined effort by George Soros, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Tayyip Erdogan, arranged to get the E.U. to abandon previously sacrosanct fundamental human rights of refugees, and to transfer $6B+ to Turkey, in return for placing the refugee burden onto Turkey and getting Turkey to cooperate so as to assist the breakup of Syria, which will enable a gas-pipeline and an oil-pipeline to be built through Syria to enable Qatar’s gas and Saudi Arabia’s oil to be pipelined through Syria into the E.U., so as to replace Russian oil and gas, which now fuel the E.U.
Here, in my rush translations from the original German-language reports at German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten) are the key reports and headlines:
Turkey deal: Germany could take majority of refugees
The most important consequence of the E.U. summit is not in the official statement. A plan long discussed, now finalizing: Germany takes the majority of refugees from Turkey, and oil and gas pipelines will replace Russian oil and gas to Europe by Saudi oil and Qatari gas.
Europe’s energy supply should result in future Syria. (Graphic: oilprice.net)
According to Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, the leaders of the European Union mutually agreed with Turkey to cut Russia out of the EU gas market, cut Qatar [a U.S. ally] in. They agreed in the early hours of Friday on a refugee-&-gas-pipeline package to be approved by the Turkish government.
This agreement will substantially correspond to the Pact of Angela Merkel with Turkish President Erdogan. But it apparently comprises only a small portion of the prepared between Germany, Turkey and the USA.
Gerald Knaus, director of the Soros-funded think tank “European Stability Initiative” (ESI), for many months now has been advising Chancellor Angela Merkel on the refugee crisis. His ESI submitted the plan in October.
The original plan consists of two parts: On the one hand, Germany should, during the coming year, “grant 500,000 Syrian refugees asylum, who are now in Turkey.” Other European countries may participate, but on a voluntary basis. At the same time Turkey will take from Greece “all new migrants.”
Knaus, himself Austrian, told the Viennese daily the press, that “in the background, a more radical idea has already been largely negotiated” which will “probably very soon be announced“: Knaus said that a “coalition of the willing” will take 900 Syrians per day — “no matter how many Syrians come to Greece.” This would be about 300,000 people per year — slightly less than in the original Soros plan.
The reason for Europe’s acquisition of hundreds of thousands of refugees is obvious: The proposed E.U. summit one-to-one solution would not be enough to relieve Turkey significantly. Moreover, it’s not lawful from the perspective of the Geneva Convention, as human rights organizations have complained since the start of the Soros proposal. The coalition of the willing currently consists of Germany, Portugal and Sweden. Austria has not yet agreed. Presumably Merkel will move some other countries also to participate. Thus, the plan could be presented as a European solution.
From an organizational standpoint, Knaus thinks that consideration in Turkey of the plan will succeed in an agreement being reached. Knaus holds this to be essential. He told the newspaper Die Welt:
“The acceptance, by the public, of receiving the refugees is essential. Had we in Europe started earlier with a quota solution, we’d be farther along today. I think that also Sweden and Austria would have been on our side. Unfortunately, the process in the past year fell out of control. We had no idea who is coming into our country. This fuelled fears.”
The Soros plan is apparently agreed with the U.S. government. Angela Merkel supported in this way the geopolitical plans of the Americans, who have a special interest in developing their energy policies in the region. They are planning the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP)[Rothschild]. Construction of TAP is pushed by the United States. This will run from the Turkish border via Greece, Albania and the Strait of Otranto to Italy. Thus, one of the main refugee routes to Europe, which is particularly overloaded after the closure of the Balkan route, will be cleared for pipelining gas into Europe.
Further destabilization of the TAP region is therefore not in the interests of the United States. They also want to ensure that Europe is supplied via a pipeline that’s under U.S. control, not under Russian control. The U.S. and Russia are fighting for the European energy market.
It is interesting in this context that a competing Russian pipeline through Syrian territory could also result. The surprising retreat of the Russians from Syria might suggest that there could be an agreement between Russia and the U.S: In this way, the geopolitical interests of both Great Powers could be safeguarded. The relationship between the pipeline projects and the war in Syria has the raw material site Oilprice.net analyzed in order that all parties want to solve the dependence of Saudi oil.
In this connection the role of the Americans is also in the media largely ignored regarding the visiting U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland in Idomeni. Nuland’s pithy sayings (such as “fuck the E.U.”) and her role in Ukraine, made her try to become known as a Goodwill Ambassador for Europe; she Thursday visited the refugee camps in the northern Greek Idomeni, reports Kathimerini .
The Turkish news portal Haberler reports what Nuland said in Idomeni:
“It needs to be done for these people more. Athens has made a direct request to Washington. In this difficult situation, I’m here, for American-Greek solidarity. We will work together to solve the problem of distribution of refugees within the E.U. In addition, we want to help ensure that the deal between the E.U. and Turkey is fair and transparent. It’s time to better accommodate the migrants.”
On 11 March, Nuland met with representatives of the Greek government in Athens to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues, including the request for assistance of Greece to the United States, in solving the migration problem, reported the U.S. State Department .
This context could explain also why Angela Merkel has waited so long to go to the German public with a real plan for the refugee crisis — even though they have long been familiar with the Soros plan and he apparently also laid the basis with the Chancellor for Turkey jointly to launch the proposal at the E.U. summit: this was to help Merkel not to inflame sentiment in Germany before the state elections. Because the message that Germany could possibly be the only country to take a large number of refugees, would have a serious impact that has led even without this perspective to tectonic shifts in favour of the AFD [anti-immigrant party].
Knaus sees the axis Ankara-Berlin as crucial for geopolitical orientation against Russia. He said in an international interview that Germany made the mistake not to place undue reliance on the E.U. Commission:
“Germany has early understood much. But it made the mistake of relying too much on the implementation by the Commission. Germany would have taken matters into its own hands earlier.”
Knaus sees the role of Germany as partners with Turkey and the USA. Here lies the common interest to host the refugees:
“Germany does not expire like other states in an anti-Islam rhetoric. At the same time it sees Ankara, in a delicate geostrategic position between anti-Muslim governments in Europe and a strong Putin. A successful and connected in partnership by Berlin may be worth a lot for Turkey and its approach to Europe.”
This closes the circle for the TAP pipeline: The Americans want to snatch the European energy market away from Russia. In the absence of our own energy policy, Europeans are currently completely dependent on Russia. If both pipelines – quasi in a duopoly of the Americans and the Russians – are built, the energy policy space for the E.U. would increase significantly.
That led to the present situation, a murderous war that’s driven hundreds of thousands from Syria and Iraq. It had to be, from a geopolitical point of view of the parties — Russia, the U.S. and the E.U. — regarded as collateral damage.
After all, the Soros plan would in fact lead to the result that the right of asylum would be respected so that immigration to Europe is not completely disordered. What guarantees that the E.U. gets Turkey to treat the refugees humanely, is completely unclear. It also is unclear whether the acceptance of refugees in Germany can be satisfactorily prepared. It also remains open whether the E.U. will have, as a result of the apparent cleavage of the project, neither the power to play as a political union, nor a role that goes beyond that of simply a large, attractive market.
EU and Turkey Reach Agreement on Refugees
The E.U. and Turkey have agreed on a deal. The deal enters into force on March 20. From then on, refugees who arrive irregularly in Greece will be returned to Turkey.
The human rights organization Pro Asyl has sharply condemned the deal with Turkey. Today is a day of mourning for the right of asylum. The organization announces that it will file lawsuits.
Indigenous Communities in Guatemala Fight against the Privatization of Sacred Sites*
By Jeff Abbott
In recent years, the popular tourist attraction of Semuc Champey in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz has become a point of social conflict for the indigenous Q’eqchi’ Mayan communities surrounding the site. On February 8, tensions erupted and led to the occupation of the municipality building of Lanquín by over 200 members of the communities near the tourist attraction. Community members demanded the recuperation of the site. Since that day, residents have maintained management of the park.
Since February 8, the community has continued to welcome tourists to the Semuc Champey site, as well take entrance fees and maintain the grounds.
As the indigenous-led recuperation of this park continues, the conflict has shed light on a longstanding dilemma in Guatemala around indigenous communities’ access to sacred sites.
“We were here before the state discovered that there was something to exploit and transform into monetary gain,” said Francisco Pop Pop, an elderly resident of one of the communities near the national park.
“My father taught me that we are supposed to protect this land, and to work this land for our children, and future generations. Our Grandfathers and Grandmothers gave us the responsibility of protecting the natural resources; we should not permit the state to profit off what we are supposed to administer.”
Semuc Champey has become a popular eco-tourist attraction because of the unique natural beauty of the pools that sit above a subterranean river deep in the jungle of the department of Alta Verapaz. The area was declared a protected area, and the park was placed under the control and management of National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP).
In 2000, the residents were given the titles to the lands around the site. But in 2005 Congress passed Decree 25-2005 without consulting the residents, which declared the area a protected area, and expanded the protected land beyond the initial protected area. During this time the municipality was administering Semuc Champey, but this was changed in 2013 when CONAP and the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism (Inguat) took over management of the site, and barred the communities from the using the sacred site.
Residents were told that they would receive employment at the site, and that they would be able to enter the site, but CONAP never complied with these promises.
“We have gone to the streets to recuperate our site,” said Crisanto Asig Pop, a 61-year-old member of the Q’eqchi’ indigenous authority.
“This is the land of our ancestors; we are the true owners and caretakers of this land. If we wanted to use the site, we had to pay 30 Quetzales to enter. This is why we began to organize and demand our land back.”
Since 2013, the residents of the Q’eqchi’ Mayan communities of Santa Maria Semuc, Se Mil, Se Subin, Chiqanus, which make up the municipality of Lanquín in the department of Alta Verapaz, have struggled for years to recuperate the sacred turquoise pools that have become a popular tourist attraction.
The recuperation of the Semuc Champey in February follows several months of consistent protest over the site. Thousands mobilized in September 2015 to protest the cost of entrance. Months later in December 2015, residents occupied the municipal building to demand their right to the area. The same day the communities expelled the Guatemalan National Police and representatives from CONAP.
Following the recuperation of the site, residents of the neighbouring villages have distributed the work of maintaining the site, including the cleaning up garbage, collecting tourists’ entrance fees, and guaranteeing the security of tourists to the popular pools.
Support for the residents of the region has come from across Guatemala, and especially other indigenous authorities of Guatemala.
“We are here to strengthen the indigenous authority of this beautiful site, where the authorities have taken the initiative to recuperate the administration of their territory,“ said Diego Coti of the Council of Indigenous Authorities of Maya, Xinca, and Garifunas, who spoke in front of the Cahabón River.
“The communities are supported by municipal laws, as well as Article 3 of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples from the United Nations says that the (indigenous) peoples have the right to the liberty of self-determinations; they are the ones that determine how they will administer and how they will govern the territory Q’eqchi’.”
The recuperation hasn’t come without repression.
On March 4, Asig Pop and Ramiro Asig Choc, another indigenous authority from the community were arrested by the Guatemalan National Police and charged with “usurping” the land.
The two reportedly had received a call early in the morning from someone claiming to be from the Guatemalan National Paper, Prensa Libre. They were picked up by a new grey pick-up and then transferred to a police truck.
Arrests aren’t the only threat the community has faced. The communities have also faced threats of eviction by the Guatemalan National Police, as well as discrediting and misinformation by the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism, and the Guatemalan national media.
Racist Response from Guatemalan Media
The community’s move to recuperate and occupy the tourist destination has further exposed the racism that has gripped Guatemala. Following the move to recuperate the site, Guatemalan tourism board, InGuat, issued a security warning to tourists interested in visiting the site. The Guatemalan media followed, and issued a warning reported not to visit the site, with Guatemalan news magazine Diario Digital, declaring, “Don’t travel to Semuc Champey.”
“(Residents of Rural communities) have taken the steps that can affect the entrance and freedom of movements (of the site),” wrote the Program for the Assistance of Tourists of InGuate in their statement.
But the communities have attempted to counter this miss-information from the State bodies, and have maintained that tourists are still welcome to visit the site.
“Tourists are more than welcome to come and visit Semuc Champey,” said Pop Pop. “Everyone in the world is more than welcome to visit one of the most beautiful sites in all Guatemala that is administered by the community itself, and that is continuing the work that was given to us by our Grandfathers and Grandmothers.”
The indigenous populations of the western hemisphere have faced an assault on their identity for over 500 years. Nowhere is this truer than in Guatemala, where the indigenous Mayan populations have faced an ongoing attack. The expansion of the extractive industries in the years since the end of the internal armed conflict have sparked yet another offensive against indigenous people, and exposed the structural racism that remains in the country.
The indigenous communities that have organized to defend their rights and communities from the encroachment by transnational companies have increasingly come up against renewed hostility by the Guatemalan state. This has led to many human rights organizations claiming that the closure of space prevents indigenous communities from exercising their rights.
But as the communities have organized, the communities have faced the imbedded racism within Guatemala that has historically painted the indigenous communities as backwards, barbaric, and anti-development.
“There have been institutions that have been speaking poorly of us on the radio, on the TV, and the newspaper,” said Asig Pop.
“They are calling us thieves, but we aren’t the thieves. We as indigenous peoples have the right to administer our lands.”
Fighting the Privatization of Sacred Sites
The promotion of tourism across Guatemala facilitates the dispossession of the land of indigenous communities. But movements to recuperate territory such as Semuc Champey have tried to gain back these sacred sites.
“For hundreds of years our ancestors took care of this sacred location,” said Asig Pop. “There our Grandmothers and Grandfathers would hold ceremonies asking the gran Lajpu for good harvests. But we were kept from entering because of the 30 Quetzal fee.”
The community members have since been able to return to the site without having to pay. This has occurred in part thanks to the recuperation of the site on February 8, which shifted the management of the entrance into the hands of the community.
Semuc Champey is an example of the continuation of the privatization of sacred sites by the Guatemalan state and by transnational companies as part of the expansion of tourism across the country. Sites such as Tikal, Iximché in Chimaltenango, and Semuc Champey continue to hold significant spiritual importance within the Mayan cosmovision, where spiritual leaders still hold ceremonies, but are now restricted by fees, which keeps many from visiting the sacred sites due to the entrance cost.
This frustration has driven the movement to recuperate sacred sites, and will likely lead to future conflicts.
“The transnational companies are coming and displacing us from our sacred sites,” said one Ixil spiritual guide in the highland community of Nebaj during a ceremony inaugurating the Mayan New Year on February 21. “But we must and will continue to protect our sacred sites.”
Brazil’s Right Wing Protest Funded by U.S. Billionaire Foundations, Training in U.S.*
By Catherine Osborn
At every turn of Brazil’s political crisis — today it’s ex-president Lula’s struggle to take a spot in President Dilma Rousseff’s cabinet — there is a group of protagonists looking familiar who are neither politicians nor anti-corruption investigators.
They are young, organized right-wing demonstrators, and they may be a scale-tipping force in the question of whether Brazil’s Congress votes to impeach the current president.
Engineering student Pedro Souto, 22, rode atop one of the soundcars with a Brazilian flag draped around his shoulders like a Superman cape during Rio’s Sunday protest. More than 200,000 people turned out. The soundcar had a banner announcing the Free Brazil Movement, or Movimento Brasil Livre, one of the main groups that organized nationwide protests on March 13 and that continues to call members to the streets with each new development in Brazil’s political drama (which now come daily).
The Free Brazil Movement was founded by members and alums of another group that’s been spreading fast in this country: Estudantes Pela Liberdade, “Students for Liberty.” By liberty, they mean libertarian: they favour cutting government spending, privatizing state companies and reducing regulation.
These policies are far from how Brazil is set up right now. Like many Latin American countries, Brazil is a social welfare state with universal healthcare and many companies that are partly government-owned.
But for the last few decades, pro-market, anti-regulation think tanks have been growing in the region. Economist Bernardo Santoro is part of that movement in Brazil. He recalls attending an event in Rio de Janeiro state in 2012 that was organized in part by a group called Atlas Network.
There, attendees talked about the future of libertarianism in Brazil, brainstorming “ideas for how the movement in Brazil would grow up, and bringing Estudantes Pela Liberdade — Students for Liberty — to Brazil was one of those ideas.”
Both Atlas and Students for Liberty are based in the U.S., and both have received tens of thousands of dollars in funding in the last five years from American sources like the John Templeton Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation, the billionaire-backed group known for supporting far-right causes.
Students for Liberty’s Brazil chapter got its start with grants from American donors, but now the group is mostly funded from inside Brazil, according to director Juliano Torres. And it’s big, with more than a thousand members.
Now, roughly half of all Students for Liberty members worldwide — who get training materials on how to plan events, raise money, and speak in public — are Brazilians. A handful have travelled to the U.S. for trainings, and many discuss economic policy using references such as the Cato Institute and U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
Torres said the student libertarian movement grew so much in Brazil because “we took advantage of the unpopularity of the president and the Worker’s Party.” In 2014, the Brazilian economy slowed and began to contract dramatically, and headlines featured the Worker’s Party’s involvement in the Petrobras bribery scheme.
“Students for Liberty is not a political organization,” says Torres,
“but we encourage that our members are politically active.”
In 2014, members and alums of Students for Liberty founded the Free Brazil Movement and helped found the Vem Pra Rua movement in order to protest against Rousseff. Rousseff has not been charged in the Petrobras anti-corruption probe, but since last March, the Free Brazil Movement has tried to build pressure to get her impeached in favour of a more pro-business president.
In December, Brazil’s house speaker Eduardo Cunha of the PMDB party filed impeachment charges, alleging illegal use of money in her 2014 budget.
Students for Liberty proudly featured Brazil’s antigovernment protests in its fall 2015 quarterly report.
“What’s going on in Brazil right now, we want to learn from and we want to figure out how to take their best practices to implement in other places,” says DC-based Students for Liberty coordinator Sam Teixeira.
Teixeira says in political situations where the government is unpopular, it is easier to advocate for opening markets as a solution.
“At the end of the day,” says Teixeira,
“we want to see people doing well, people happy, people prosperous. Being able to live the life that they choose and have autonomy. Those are things that don’t exist in Brazil or most parts of the world. We really hope and believe that the libertarian philosophy can bring prosperity and happiness to the world.”
Political scientist Celso Barros, who is a columnist for Folha de São Paulo newspaper, says “the majority of Brazilians would never vote for libertarian policies. All you need to do is walk into the nearest favela to have someone explain to you that we’re a long way from meritocracy in Brazil.”
Barros says some economic reforms are necessary in order to make it easier to do business in Brazil. But he adds that the increasing likelihood that President Rousseff won’t finish her term — be it because of impeachment or a ruling about her 2014 campaign finances — means that in the short run, Brazilians are likely to see economic policies that are harsher than voters would accept through the normal election process.
The PMDB party would assume Brazil’s presidency in the case of impeachment, a party which Barros says “is not well-known for having efficient managers. It’s well-known for having corrupt politicians.”
The PMDB has quietly released an economic platform that is farther to the right than their historic party line. About concrete changes we’re likely to see, “the right would like to have less labour regulations,” says Barros. “They would love for unions to be less powerful.”
Bernardo Santoro says regardless of who next assumes the presidency, the Free Brazil Movement will continue to push for reducing the size of government.
For Barros, what’s most concerning is the precedent set for future stability in Brazil if Rousseff is impeached on what he describes as “weak charges.”
He, too, sees an echo of American politics in young groups leading the impeachment charge:
“These guys are clearly inspired by the Tea Party and the recent radicalization of the Republican Party.”
Barros says what’s ahead for Brazil is unknown.