Matthew Aaron Richmond Profile picture
Urban geographer/sociologist, mainly Brazil. Leverhulme Fellow @LSE_LACC. Rooted cosmopolitan, usually found in London or São Paulo. Own views.
Nov 1, 2022 21 tweets 4 min read
In my recent @jacobin article, I suggested some socio-spatial categories that can help us understand Brazil’s political polarisation. These are fundamentally linked to social class, but refracted through varying economic, social & political geographies 🧵… NB. These are broad-brush categories that need further refining. There are certainly more subcategories operating at smaller scales. This is just a first attempt at mapping these categories, which unavoidably rests on a somewhat crude strategic essentialism
Oct 31, 2022 10 tweets 2 min read
Emotionally exhausted after such a tense count & main feeling right now is relief. But also intensely aware of how many factors contributed to this tiny margin & how easily it could gone the other way. Not to minimise Lula's achievement, but there's zero room for complacency.. 🧵 Yes, Bolsonaro is the first Brazilian president not to achieve reelection. Yes, he threw state and private resources at his campaign on an unprecedented scale, in many cases illegally. Yes, he even conspired to suppress the vote on election day. And he still lost!
Oct 3, 2022 15 tweets 4 min read
Some instant takes on the Brazilian election and some emerging geographical patterns…

Well, it’s not what many were expecting. Lula broadly performed as the polls indicated, but Bolsonaro performed far better. This is likely down to a “shy bolsonarista” vote... 🧵 While I’m surprised by the scale of the error, the phenomenon itself doesn’t surprise me. It may be that in the wake of the pandemic and growing anger about his presidency some 2018 Bolsonaro voters were reluctant to openly admit it that they planned to vote for him again
Sep 29, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
Watching Brazil's crisis unfold "on the ground" during fieldwork in the peripheries of Rio & São Paulo, it's always struck me the that the public debate about Bolsonaro is completely detached from the reality of these places. Many myths badly need correcting

Here are a few... 1. Antipetismo is deep and widespread

Antipetismo has had deep roots among the middle classes since at least 2005. Among the poor it is a recent & shallow phenomenon, largely linked to the economic crisis and the electoral cycle (ie. anti-incumbent sentiment during a crisis)
Sep 26, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
Interesting, as always, from @leninology on anticommunism without communism (ACWC). What particularly drew my attention was Jodi Dean's idea that "anticommunism is a pervasive ideology of capitalism, as it serves to demarcate what is acceptable and what is off the table"

THREAD Ie. Anticommunism (AC) is a means of policing the political spectrum in capitalist societies. During the Cold War, in the West, this occurred by both apocalyptic demonisation, but also competition with actually existing communism via managed capitalism with some redistribution
Sep 6, 2020 10 tweets 2 min read
This is an important point. Authoritarian nationalists in different countries are scaling up attacks against the Left & university autonomy (which they see as the same thing), but there are importance differences in the themes & the enemies they identify

THREAD In the US, Trump’s attack on “critical race theory” makes sense in a national context where race is a central/explicit political fault line; & where meaningful anti-racism is mainly coming from the streets & is more plausibly attributed to university depts than to the tepid Dems
Aug 27, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
If your definition of "sabotage" requires that you know with certainty in advance what the outcome of your actions will be, sabotage cannot logically occur under the second law of thermodynamics Channeling funds to political allies without the permission or knowledge of your boss is sabotage, regardless of whether you thought it was the correct thing to do or knew what the result would be
Aug 17, 2020 11 tweets 2 min read
Professor Brian Klug is one of very few people who is worth listening to about antisemitism on the left (and in general). This is well worth your time. Though I do have some reservations in this case...

(THREAD) I happen to disagree with him on this particular incident. If we applied the same scrutiny to "offending sentences" across the board, ungenerous interpretations could almost always be found. It is then *political power* that determines whether these become the dominant readings
Aug 15, 2020 13 tweets 3 min read
Further to debates about the role of the auxílio emergencial in sustaining Bolsonaro's approval, it seems that one main point of divergence is methodological. Essentially, the claim is based on statistical correlation between receipt and improved approval ratings

(THREAD) I don't pretend to have detailed knowledge of the methodology & don't need to state the obvious that correlation ≠ causation. Nonetheless, I believe that to make a claim based on large N survey data you also need to posit mechanisms that ring true to qualitative researchers
Aug 14, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
I've always been uncomfortable with the idea that the emergency income explains the stabilisation of Bolsonaro's approval since May. It applies an instrumental logic to a process that is much more subtle, multi-dimensional, and which has much more disturbing implications... My view is this: a big part of the population has already factored in the huge Covid death toll and the economic hit. It is treated like a natural disaster which no one is to blame for and which everyone just has to deal with individually as best as they can
Aug 13, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
In the last few days there have been reports on two interesting and very different forms of activism emerging from Sapopemba in São Paulo, that capture some of the ways Brazil's social movements are reinventing themselves in today's challenging political context

(/THREAD) Sapopemba is a low-income district in the east zone of São Paulo where I have conducted research over the last 5 years. It has been a hub of grassroots activism since Brazil's redemocratisation in the 1980s and appears to be continuing that tradition today
Aug 7, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
It's important to avoid thinking like "the People's Vote campaign was a front to sabotage Corbyn's leadership". It wasn't. They sincerely wanted to stop Brexit.

The point is that under a different leader many would have felt splitting Labour's base was too high a price... pay for an improbable outcome. And it wouldn't have reached the scale it did

Under a leadership most didn't support anyway there was nothing to lose, and so they went for their #1 outcome regardless of the consequences. (The Left does this too when it's far from power)
Jul 24, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
I've said it before and I'll say it again, nothing that has happened in the Labour Party in the last five years can be grasped without understanding the resurgence and radicalisation of anticommunism (today, in the absence of communism) Anticommunism in the West didn't disappear with the end of the Cold War. It was just no longer needed, so lay dormant. But in fact it radicalised over the 1990s & 2000s to the degree that political actors broadly consistent with postwar social democracy became the new communists
Jul 8, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
To paraphrase an old Brazilian adage: "Free speech for my friends... for my enemies, cancellation"* *Mainly talking about hypocrites on the centre/right who moan about cancel culture when the topic is eg trans rights, but are happy to suppress any criticism of Israel

...but also applies to some on the left who reach for free speech to defend antisemitic statements
Jun 25, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
I hate having to wade in on this. In fact, I'd love to never have to speak about it again. But here it is...

The Left *does* have real issues with antisemitism. Imo these mainly revolve around a commonsense view of Jews as white & wealthy, & therefore as not a deserving minority More generally, there is a tendency on parts of the Left to seek out the most oppressed groups, often using sweeping categories of "race", class and nationality as shorthands, and then to single out & attack the groups/countries who seem most visibly complicit in their oppression
Jun 22, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
Eu e meu grande colega Moisés Kopper estamos muito felizes em compartilhar o dossiê ‘Subjetividades periféricas’ que organizamos e acaba de ser publicado na @NovosEstudos

Os textos podem ser acessados e baixados aqui: O dossiê junta textos escritos por sociólogos, antropólogos e psicólogos que tomam por desafio pensar a relação entre periferias urbanas e subjetividade – ou, como a denominamos aqui no plural, “subjetividades periféricas”.

Segue um breve resumo das contribuições...
Jun 8, 2020 15 tweets 3 min read
As Oborne and Hearst explain, Jeremy Corbyn faced an unprecedented level of media hostility and dishonesty. Denying this is not a serious position. But more interesting & important is to ask who participated, why, how etc.

[/a thread on anticommunism]… For some Corbyn supporters, the answers are simple: this was a highly coordinated conspiracy by a cabal of Blairites, Tories, “Zionists”, “the MSM” etc, who were in constant communication, coordinated their attacks, drew on the same funding & were all knowingly lying all along
Jun 5, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Important observations here about urban dynamics of spread of COVID-19 in SP. Not just about residential morphology and density, but also about centralities - which locations attract larger agglomerations of people… This is why, according to the data here, the historic centre still has the largest concentration of deaths, despite having better infrastructure and lower levels of residential overcrowding than much of the periphery
May 30, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
The Americas, North & South, are the land of the paramilitary. States can neither alleviate nor suppress (legally) the effects of systemic racial & social inequalities. They need armed groups –unconstrained police, vigilantes or far-right fanatics– to do the dirty work for them Lots of examples this week of how mainstream politicians and state security actors across the Americas are intertwined with and depend upon paramilitary violence

Exhibit A: Lots of sympathy for far-right militias within US police forces, it would seem…
May 28, 2020 5 tweets 2 min read
Concordo com a @tatiroque, e sempre achei duvidoso o argumento de que a maior aprovação para Bolsonaro entre os mais pobres desde a pandemia seria por conta do auxílio emergencial. Pode ter o ajudado nas margens, mais não explica a mudança de perfil da sua base de forma geral... 1) reproduz a ideia simplista de que o apoio dos pobres pode ser comprado por pouco dinheiro. Na realidade, muitos sabem quando é pouco (e, em muitos lugares, o auxílio é pouco)

2) quem está recebendo o auxílio não necessariamente atribui ele a Bolsonaro (no caso, teria razão!)
May 22, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
My initial reaction to seeing clips of ministerial meeting is that it tells us nothing we didn't already know about Bolsonaro (except maybe that there really is nothing more to him than we suspected!) More interesting is what it says about Moro... First, whereas Bolsonaro is the same behind closed doors, Moro is not. If he believed B was threatening to interfere in the PF, why did he say nothing? At the v. least it shows his colleagues assumed he would acquiesce, which hardly shouts brave anti-corruption crusader