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I Want My Country Back...and Also My Crown: Monarchists as a Yardstick for the Contemporary Right in Brazil

  • Cowan, Benjamin
Publication Date
Jul 04, 2023
eScholarship - University of California
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The terrorist attack on Brazil’s capitol on January 8, 2023, showcased the country’s empowered, embittered extreme right, whose hallmarks will be familiar to students of conservatism further afield: anachronistic anticommunism; hostility to liberal democracy; a sense of embattlement, despite controlling key institutions and platforms; a tapestry of disinformation and conspiracy theory; vaguely Christian cultural sensibilities and militantly Christian chauvinisms; and increasing adherence across national and denominational frontiers to an amorphous, antiglobalist brand of antidemocratic and patriarchal autocracy. This article argues that this right represents the migration of formerly extreme iterations of conservatism—including, remarkably, monarchism—from the fringe to the center of reactionary and even national politics. Monarchism, while by no means controlling Brazil’s fractious and unruly right (or series of rights), shows us what conservativism in Brazil looks like in the present moment—firstly, because it has gained acceptability and even celebration in Brazil’s government and among its most exalted right-wing leaders; and secondly, because its historic and more recent tenets are now virtually indistinguishable from those of the broader right in Brazil. Monarchists, I contend, provide a prism, even a roadmap, for understanding the defiantly retrograde yearnings and (necessarily) vague and contradictory proposals of the current right.

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