In 2014, Dilma Rousseff emerged victorious from what was, until that point, the nastiest presidential campaign ever seen in Brazil — filled with lies, personal attacks, and blows below the waistline. (Little did we know that, four years later, things would have gotten so much worse.) From the getgo, Ms. Rousseff’s second term was marked by crisis — politically and economically — and soon she had to deal with massive protests across the country demanding her removal. In March 2015, over 1 million people took to the streets against her, in what was Brazil’s largest street demonstrations since the 1980s.
From that period, two groups emerged as political forces. One was the Free Brazil Movement (MBL), which propelled to stardom Brazil’s “hipster” alt-right — a group of young people “defending public spending policies as tight as their jeans,” as The Brazilian Report‘s Euan Marshall described. The other was the Vem pra Rua (Come to the streets — VPR) movement, also a defender of a minimal state, but formed by older people, with fancy jobs at some of Brazil’s largest corporations.