Twenty-First Century Monarchists

While the protesters demanding the military intervene and overthrow Dilma Rousseff amidst corruption scandals that seem to have infected all of political life (even if they in fact have not), they are not in fact the most out-of-touch pro-impeachment protesters in Brazil. Who could be more out of touch than those 14% “totally favorable” to the return of military rule, you might ask?

Monarchists.

“We join together to say enough to this Republic and to declare that the solution is Royal,” said an invitation sent across social networks for the Imperial House – which represents the Brazilian royal family […]

“Right? Left? Follow the best road: monarchy” said a little magazine of 30 pages in [Hayley Rocco’s] hand, which included a prayer to Our Lady of Aparecida (“restore a monarchical Brazil”) and listed “the benefits brought by the empire to the country” (such as the Casa da Moeda [Brazilian Mint] and the Banco do Brasil.)

Rocco explained her participation in the protest: “The monarchy was the only period of political, institutional, and economic stability in Brazil,” she said, while distributing pamphlets.

“Never did an emperor, for example, increase his salary,” she affirmed. “Already these politicians…”

Setting aside the grotesquely-selective cheerful revision of an imperial regime that was subject to global boom-and-bust markets, presided over the institution of slavery until 1888, and had an emperor who regularly disbanded a parliament that represented only the interests of the economic elites of the country – setting aside all of that – this is still such an absurd proposal as to almost make a mockery of legitimate issues confronting Brazil. But then again, when your family still receives a percentage of all real-estate transactions in Rio de Janeiro just 126 years after your monarchy was overthrown, it’s hard to imagine why you might pine for the “good old days.” After all, if you can still bilk the public out of money 126 years into a non-monarchical government, just think how much you could acquire with a family member on a throne again!

It’s not to say the monarchy might be a better or worse option than military rule, but of all the proposed alternatives to Brazil’s current political system that people are raising in the streets, this has to be among the least probable and most unusual of them all.

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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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