Question: In Brazil, we are currently witnessing widespread protests against government corruption, with millions of Brazilians taking to the streets. As Vaishnavas, should we support the protests or keep away?
I have been following reports of the Brazil protests. Clearly many people are frustrated by endemic political corruption and lack of progress in education, economy, etc. Even the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff admitted that people have legitimate grievances.
Devotees certainly support good, honest government. That is dharma. At the same time, history shows clearly that political action alone is not enough to create a just society. There must also be Krishna consciousness. Otherwise, today’s revolutionaries become tomorrow’s new corrupt government. In many countries, devotees chant and distribute prasadam and books at protest rallies. Often people who are committed to change will listen to good ideas about the kind of change we need. We must convince people that change should be holistic and must include the recognition that a society based on narcissism and consumerism, rather than spiritual values, will always produce corrupt leaders.
As they say in Brazil, “Every society has the government it deserves.”