the abolitionist struggle

Winslow Homer (1836–1910), Dressing for Mardi Gras, 1877 (The Met collection)
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By MÁRIO MAESTRI*

With the Abolition, in 1888, racism became an important element in the maintenance of social discipline and for the super-exploitation of work

In general, until beyond 1850, there was no free social faction in Brazil that mobilized for the end or essential reform of slavery. Throughout this period, enslaved workers struggled pathetically alone against the captivity imposed on them. The first big blow to slavery was dealt from the outside. By the early 19th century, the slave trade had become an impediment to British needs for raw materials born out of the manufacturing boom in England. So, the British government mobilized to put an end to the slave trade, to disorganize the African slave states on the coast, to boost the production and sale of raw materials on the Black Continent, to facilitate the territorial occupation of Africa that was emerging on the historical horizon.

Since 1810, the English government had negotiated with Portugal the restriction of the international traffic of enslaved workers. In 1815, he obtained from the Portuguese Crown a ban on trade north of the Equator, the region where his new intervention in Africa was concentrated. After 1822, the total prohibition of trafficking in Brazil was wrested from Pedro I, on March 13, 1830. In 1831, the regency government confirmed the treaty and declared free all Africans who entered Brazil from then on. The Emperor had tried and the liberals confirmed the end of the slave trade at a time when slavery was lagging in Brazil, due to the mining crisis in the 1790s.

However, in the 1830s, coffee production advanced in the province of Rio de Janeiro, requiring more and more enslaved workers. For two decades, the anti-trafficking law [said “for the English to see”] would be disrespected by incessant semi-clandestine landings destined mainly to the coffee-growing provinces. In 1849-50, the English government began hunting tumbeiros in the territorial waters of the Empire of Brazil and threatened to blockade the country's ports. In July 1850, cornered, the imperial government ended the long centuries of landings of African workers, starting to persecute them in the facts.

 

Production relations stalled production

The abolition of transatlantic traffic determined preventive imports of thousands of captives. In the years immediately preceding 1850, landowners in the northern and southern provinces in particular were already selling captives to the Southeast, due to the rise in worker prices due to coffee expansion. In the Northeast, the droughts in the sertões expelled the free population to the coast, forced to work for a few daily gourds of flour, freeing up the sale of captives. In Rio Grande do Sul, the perimeter fencing of pastoral farms with wire fences, initially made of smooth wires, later barbed, would have allowed the sale of campeiro captives to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Very soon, the needs of coffee growing motivated an accelerated transfer of captives from the other provinces to the Southeast and, within that region, from the cities to the countryside. Slave traders roamed the provinces, knocking on the doors of urban and rural landowners, offering prices they couldn't refuse for young enslaved workers, in large numbers used in unprofitable activities. Prose fictional literature itself mobilized in the same direction. The captives left by sea or through the rustic roads inland. This terrible forced uprooting of a community of workers already born in Brazil is a little-studied phenomenon.

For three decades, especially after 1850, inter-provincial trade supplied, albeit insufficiently, the needs of coffee growing, determining a strong concentration of the servile population in the Southeast, with social and political transformations that were decisive for the Empire of Brazil. In the 1870s, out of just over one and a half million captives in the country, some three hundred thousand lived in Rio de Janeiro. Minas Gerais and São Paulo also concentrated crowds of workers. At that time, while the slave population of the Southeast was made up of young workers, mostly men, that of the rest of Brazil was mostly made up of children, with emphasis on old captives of both sexes rejected by the inter-provincial slave trade, since they were incapable of endure the hard work in the coffee plantations.

The servile concentration in coffee farming generated revolutionary phenomena in relation to the slave-owning social formation. In many regions, slavery became a subordinate form of production, strengthening free labor. In some, at a certain point, it almost disappeared, at least as an economic phenomenon. For the first time, social factions lived on the sidelines or in contradiction with slavery. Then, voices began to be heard demanding reforms in slavery, born of the new situation in the country and arrivals from countries with an advanced economy. Europe, in 1848, was swept by democratic and workers' struggles. In that year, Marx and Engels published the Communist manifesto. Only two years later, the disembarkation of African captives in the ports of Brazil was interrupted.

The beginning of the Civil War, in 1861; the rapid blockade of the port of Rio de Janeiro by the British, due to disputes over the “emancipated”, etc., reinforced the belief in the imperial government that something had to be done to relieve abolitionist pressure. This opinion was not shared by the large slaveholders of the Southeast, who mobilized in defense of the slave order. The Empire had become the only independent nation substantially dominated by colonial slavery. In the USA, before the civil war, slavery had long since become a regional phenomenon, with emphasis on the southern states.

 

The Abolitionist Revolution

The abolitionist movement was growing and organizing mainly in the cities, when the dreadful institution received a very violent blow, with the defeat of the South American slaveholders, in July 1865. Now, the Empire was the only independent nation to enslave workers. Next to it were only two islands where owners accepted the Spanish colonial yoke to better defend slavery – Cuba and Puerto Rico. By the end of 1865, anti-slavery pressure was very strong. Its main cultural expression was Castro Alves, who shamelessly celebrated, in his poetry, the direct struggle of the captive, pointing to the necessary destruction of captivity by the enslaved worker. For his radicalism, the young poet would be cursed ad aeternum, with the consecration of Joaquim Nabuco and his conservative proposal of the end of slavery on the sidelines of the struggle of the captives.

At the end of 1865, Pedro II supported the proposal of a timid reform, emancipating the enslaved womb. He would be no compensation to the owners. The project did not pass the Council of State, which recorded that the great slaveholders, the basis of the Bragantina monarchy, did not even accept adjustments to the institution. Historians and enthusiasts who propose conspiracies and movements by slaveholders to hasten the end of the institution are delighted. An international event helped to postpone any substantial initiative in this field for a long five years: the military intervention of the imperial government in the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. It was demanded by the ranchers from Rio Grande do Sul, owners of huge slaveholding properties in the north of the neighboring nation, which had already abolished slavery. That intervention, without a declaration of war, led to the War of the Triple Alliance against the Republic of Paraguay.

War against the Republic of Paraguay is proposed as a cause of accelerating the end of slavery. On the contrary, it is also necessary to analyze it as an eventual imperial strategy to prolong the institution. Started in 1864, that conflict would justify the imperial inactivity regarding slavery. It would be dangerous to stir up the internal enemy, the captive, when the external enemy, the Paraguayan, threatened the nation. Count de Gobineau, representative of France in Brazil in 1869-70, wrote to his government: “[…] since the Brazilian military forces were dedicated to ongoing operations in Paraguay, it would be imprudent to free the slaves without having the means to contain them. them if their new status disposed them to abuse their liberty.” Captives were mobilized by the thousands to fight in Paraguay. Caxias and other high officials complained about miserable blacks who did not die as heroes for a flag that had served and served them as a shroud. No influence had the terrible war on Abolition — the officers were and remained slaveholders and, not infrequently, owners of captives. After the conflict, the frontline army returned to its Lilliputian dimension. The Crown was strengthened, not weakened, with the imperial victory in the conflict. At the end of the war, Pedro II appointed his obtuse daughter as regent and went abroad for tourism.

 

Pushing with the belly

The war against the Republic of Paraguay, in 1864-70, the biggest military conflict known to Brazil, with perhaps up to fifty thousand dead imperial soldiers, wanted and extended by Pedro II, without any need, until its tragic conclusion, was also used to delay the emancipationist and abolitionist movement, already strong in the early 1860s. The temporizing actions of the imperial state, after the end of the Triple Alliance War, managed to delay effective anti-slavery measures and the metamorphosis of the emancipationist movement into an abolitionist one, which resurfaced strongly in Brazil from the beginning of 1880.

With the end of the War against the Republic of Paraguay, the imperial government approved the so-called Free Womb Law, on September 28, 1871. Slaveholders mobilized against the legislative initiative and, afterwards, in defense that, with its approval , nothing else needed to be done, as time would put an end to slavery, without trauma. The Law determined that, from the date of its approval, the children of captives would be born free. However, she forced them to work until the age of 21 for their mothers' owners, to compensate for the costs of raising them. The first free-wombs would have been released in 1892! The last ones, at the beginning of the Second World War! Even though they were born free, they were treated like captives: sold; leased; shabby. The law demobilized the anti-slavery movement and gave rise to enormous dissatisfaction among the captives.

The anti-slavery movement was reborn in the early 1880s, now with a clearly abolitionist bias. The struggle for abolition registered a historic leap in relation to the battle that the captives had, since the organization of slave production, in the 1530s. From the struggle of enslaved workers against their enslavement, through escape, revolt, insurrection and even manumission, there was now a struggle for the end of slavery, as an institution. This jump took place with the formation of new objective and subjective alliances between enslaved workers, directly interested in abolition, and growing segments of the free population – free poor; middle segments; some proprietary segments, etc.

Especially coffee growers who owned tired lands in Rio de Janeiro began to accept the abolition, as long as they were compensated, as their capital was tied up mainly in captives. Discussions and specific initiatives related to the transfer of European free workers to Brazil were resumed. They would arrive attracted by the possibility of owning the land, but they would have to work in the coffee plantation to obtain the capital to buy it. From 1850-54, the Land Law required the state to sell and no longer give away land, preparing for an abolition of slavery that was then feared was at hand. However, that law opened the doors to landowners to increase properties free of charge through the recognition of possessions of public lands.

The abolitionist movement pursued a general modernization of the country. Its most advanced sectors fought for abolition without compensation, with legal unification of the world of work. The abolitionist program proposed the distribution of land to former captives, the expansion of the peasant community; reform of electoral law and political institutions; the separation of religion and the state, the democratization of society; the development of public education, etc. Abolitionism aimed at the general modernization of the country. Abolitionists were divided on the means of obtaining abolition: the most conservative, represented by Joaquim Nabuco, saw in Parliament and the Imperial Family the path to abolition without involving the captives. In 1883, Joaquim Nabuco wrote in abolitionism: “Abolitionist propaganda […] is not directed at slaves. It would be cowardly, inept and criminal, and, moreover, political suicide for the abolitionist party, to incite insurrection, or crime [...].” The failure of this enlightened abolitionist strand was resounding.

 

radical abolitionism

The radicalized abolitionist wing opted for direct action, through open propaganda and the facilitation of captive escapes, being harshly retaliated by the imperial police and the henchmen of slave traders. There were not few abolitionists who lost their lives in the fight against slavery. Paradoxically, we still don't have a general history, national, qualified, of this militancy and this movement, mostly clandestine. It was an action that took place mainly in the provincial sphere, with a fragile supra-provincial articulation-expression, due to the enormous socio-economic autonomy of the provinces of the Empire. The radicalized abolitionist movement contributed powerfully to the final destruction of captivity, which was concluded due to the exclusive action and will of the enslaved workers, the great interested-propellers of that historic leap.

In 1885, the imperial government tried again to disarm the abolitionist movement, with the Sexagenarian Law, which freed the old captives, forcing them to work for a few years, to indemnify the owners. This so-called emancipationist law criminalized the actions of those who fought for the end of slavery. It was a written diploma in defense of maintenance for a few years of servitude. The struggle for liberation became radicalized, transforming itself into the first great democratic-revolutionary movement of the Empire. For the first time in the history of Brazil, free men and enslaved workers joined forces in a completely revolutionary political and social proposal.

Em The last years of slavery in Brazil: Brazilianist Robert Conrad systematically presented Abolition for the first time as the result of the insurrection, not always bloodless, of the coffee workers − with emphasis on the captives of São Paulo. In the last months of captivity, enslaved workers began to leave the plantations in increasing numbers, claiming full civil freedom and, often, contractual labor relations. Abolition took place against the will of coffee growers, especially in Rio de Janeiro, interested in expanding the exploitation of enslaved workers as long as possible.

At Christmas 1886, an abolitionist plan to massively abandon farms in São Paulo failed. A project that, possibly, if materialized in a multitudinous way, would lead to an enormous repression of the captives by the police and military forces. However, in early 1887, enslaved workers began to flee, individually and in small groups, especially to cities where they were commonly welcomed by segments of the free population and by organized abolitionists. With a lack of hands to treat the crop, coffee growers sent messengers to recruit captives from neighboring farms, encouraging escapes by promising wages. Soon, the movement assumed a massive character and the captives armed themselves, as they could, to defend themselves when they left towards freedom. Only after the blood of the repressors ran for the first time did the army command no longer provide the service of bush men. The high command of the armed forces asked that their troops be reserved in case of a general insurrection of the captives.

With the coffee farms deserted, the foundations of the social edifice of slavery collapsing, seeing the inevitable end of the institution, the coffee growers were divided, putting an end to the cohesive social block of the dominant classes that resisted the institutional end of captivity. Owners of depleted lands and many captives, the Rio de Janeiro coffee growers, the “tattered crops”, clung to the demand for abolition with compensation, which was never obtained. On the contrary, coffee growers from São Paulo joined the immigrationism e in extremis to the abolition of slavery, which already received extreme unction, without claiming compensation. They preferred that public resources be used to finance the importation of immigrants, which helped to relaunch coffee production in Brazil.

 

Abolitionist Revolution, Republican Counter-Revolution

The imperial parliament voted and approved the abolition of the institution of slavery and, on May 13, 1888. The imperial heiress did nothing more than, after the abolitionist project was approved in Parliament, sanction the Golden Law, signing the death certificate of dying institution due to the disorganization imposed by the massive escape of captives. With the destruction of the slave order and the transition to different forms of free labor relations, the abolition of slavery materialized as the only social revolution known to date in Brazil.

For a long time, slave production relations had hindered the expansion of the planted area and the productivity of coffee production, hegemonic in the country, under the positive pressure of the expansion of consumer markets. The end of slavery, on May 13, 1888, allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants to enter the country, attracted by the high remuneration that would assure them, they hoped, to realize the dream of land ownership, a mirage that would be partially realized, always through immense effort.

The wages of just-comers fell as soon as the countryside and towns overflowed with free laborers. Thus, an industrial and rural army of miserable people was formed, forced to work for low wages so as not to die of hunger, necessary for the proper functioning of mercantile agriculture. With the lash of the threat of unemployment now in operation, the wheel of contractual conditions and remuneration for work was once again turning as usual, against the interests of the direct producers. It is another ideological nonsense the proposal of privileged immigrants for all forms of facilities and advantages by the State for being … white.

The monarchical, authoritarian and centralizing unit of the Luso-Brazilian colonies was born in defense of the slave order. The Second Reign (1840-1889) was consolidated in the defense of the slave order. The end of slavery had dissolved the conditions that had sustained monarchical centralism since Independence in 1822. The defense of the slave trade and the maintenance of the slave order passed from the concerns of the dominant classes to the pages of History. New and more complex forms of production demanded and gave rise to new and more complex forms of domination.

 

The III Reign

Without the support of landowners, who no longer depended on slave labor, the monarchy tried to rely on new social sectors. Above all, he sought to galvanize the sympathy of the black population, who saw Princess Isabel as the redeemer of slavery in an alienated way, and hoped that the III Reign would guarantee them better conditions of existence. Visions and hopes reinforced by the monarchism of important abolitionist leaders – Joaquim Nabuco, José do Patrocínio, André Rebouças, etc. In order to survive, the Braganças metamorphosed into the defenders of black people's rights that they had spurred on for more than three centuries.

In June 1889, given prestige by Abolition, the liberal-reformist cabinet of Ouro Preto presented a reformist project that would adapt the monarchy to the new post-slavery situation. Proposed secret ballot; expansion of the electoral college; freedom of worship and teaching; some provincial autonomy, etc. Proposals for democratizing access to land and, above all, the little attention given to federalist claims, accelerated the republican conspiracy, after the resounding liberal victory in the elections. The conspiracy was victorious due only to the support of the Conservatives, the party of the hegemonic slaveholders before 1888, who continued to represent big bankers, merchants and, above all, landowners. The military coup of November 15, 1889 ended the reformist impulse of the victorious abolitionist movement, putting an end to the nation's own political centralism.

In his last “Speech from the Throne”, under the inspiration of the Liberal Party, Pedro II had proposed the approval of a law that would regulate “territorial property” and facilitate “the acquisition and cultivation of vacant lands”, granting the government the “right to expropriate ”, with compensation, “in the public interest, the lands that border the railroads, provided that they were not” “cultivated by the owners”. It was the first official proposal for agrarian democratization in Brazil, with compensation! It was thought to accelerate European immigration and offer land to freed captives and poor Brazilians, with a view to forming a strong peasant community, which did not exist in the country. It would produce cheaper foodstuffs needed by the urban population and … by large-scale coffee growing.

The absence of a real political autonomy program for the provincial ruling classes and the proposal for land reform accelerated the anti-monarchical conspiracy, with the massive metamorphosis of the former large conservative landowners into federalist republicans. In Brazil, in general, the republican movement was never abolitionist. The military coup of November 15, 1889, directed by the military high command and halted by the large landowners, overthrew an institutional monarchical edifice that was already without foundations. So, no major faction of the ruling classes supported the monarchy.

 

elitist and federalist republic

The first republican Constitution sanctioned the country's new order. The agro-export-landlord structure supported by free labor allowed the federal reorganization of the federalized nation. Federalism had been the demand of the peripheral provincial classes repressed by the central power, at the time of Independence, in 1822. It was a seventy-year-old demand, the flag of the great regency revolts. Now, however, federalism had become the policy of the dominant classes in the large provinces, who intended to abandon the poor regions of the country to their fate. With the Republic, conservatives donned the republican coat and returned to power, putting an end to the liberal reformist pretensions cradled by the end of captivity.

The reformist wave of the abolitionist movement was shattered by the new federalist order. The radical republican federalist autonomy put an end to the national abolitionist movement for the refoundation of the nation, which dissolved like a house of cards, as it did not have the social support to sustain it, with the rural working classes dispersed in the fields, experiencing multiple forms of exploitation relations . The social bloc that had overthrown slavery and imposed the abolitionist revolution, with its conclusion on May 13, 1888, was irremediably defeated, eighteen months later, when the Republic was established, on November 15, 1889, a movement presented by the American historian Robert C. Conrad as a true political counter-revolution.

The transition dictated from the heights generated a State and institutional organization that was profoundly elitist, conservative, federalist and not at all republican, democratic and popular. The monarchical vocation of many abolitionists, after 1889, can be explained by the conservative and anti-reformist character of the new republican class, apart from the usual exceptions. The strong republican dislike of the great mulatto writer Lima Barreto, sympathetic to the maximalist movement, was mainly due to his awareness of the conservative republican character, and, never, to any sympathy with the monarchy.

When factions of the regional populations of Brazil rose, confusedly, against an order that they understood to be absolutely stepmother to them - as in Canudos, in the Contestado or in the revolt of the Black Sailors - they were accused of savagery and harshly massacred, so that it was clear that the Republic was not something for kids. The republican army in formation was a decisive instrument of anti-popular repression, as had been the frontline forces in the colonial and imperial era. Reality that remains through the years and is radicalized in the present day.

 

Was it revolutionary or not?

It was the structural action of the enslaved classes, during the three centuries of captivity, that built the conditions that contributed and later allowed the destruction of the institution, albeit belatedly. The permanent rejection of the captive to the work done imposed insurmountable limits to the development of slave production, determining high costs of coercion and surveillance that opened spaces for superior forms of production. In 1888, the abolitionist revolution destroyed the colonial slave mode of production that had ordered society in Brazil for many centuries. To deny this reality due to the economic conditions, past or present, of part of the black population, is to understand history from an anti-historical point of view. The limits of Abolition were objective. In the last years of slavery, the captive was a social category in decline that struggled above all for minimal civil rights. It was the demand for civil freedom that united the struggle of rural captives with that of urban slaves, who were not very representative at the time.

The proposal that the Abolition had no content because the captives were not compensated does not apply. Any and all concessions from the oppressing classes must be wrested from the oppressed. The priority demand for freedom, land ownership and the limited dissemination of servile gardens in Brazil already made it difficult for the formation of a massive movement for the concession of land by landowners, which required the union of captives, freedmen, caboclos, squatters, settlers, etc. What was then almost impossible due to the low level of consciousness and organization of the exploited classes; the high heterogeneity and dispersion of the rural working classes; to the semi-autonomous economic character of the provinces. It was a movement that had to be born out of the national struggle of the rural exploited classes, in a pre-national State. However, such a measure was defended by the most consequent abolitionist leaders – Rebouças, Patrocínio, etc. – and contemplated in the liberal program, as proposed. As just mentioned, the literal republican counter-revolution of November 15, 1889, which put an end to the abolitionist movement as a national reformist project, by dissolving the political unitarism of the Empire into the radical federalism of the Republic, weighed in limiting the economic achievements obtained by Abolition. .

The historical limits of Abolition should not minimize the importance of the conquest of minimum political and civil rights by seven hundred thousand “slaves” and “free wombs”. On May 13, 1888, the distinction between free and enslaved workers was overcome, starting the history of the Brazilian working class as we understand it today. alliance with freedmen, free workers, middle segments, etc. Until now, it was the only victorious social revolution in Brazil. The ills of current Brazilian society are not due to the ancestors of the country's population, who did know how to carry out their civil and democratic revolution, albeit in a late, limited and determined way by the objective and subjective determinations of the historical moment.

 

Integration on pós-abolidog

At the time of Abolition, in 1888, the enslaved population constituted only part of the vast Brazilian population with some African ancestry. Not counting the captives freed under the provision of services clause, there were just over 723 thousand men and women, concentrated in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Bahia and Pernambuco, in a general population of more than eleven million inhabitants. With the end of slavery, former captives began to integrate, under disadvantageous conditions, the free exploited segments, largely made up of blacks, browns and mestizos, in an economically and politically regionalized country. The newly freed population had almost no institutional training. She practiced popular standards of the Portuguese language that were considered rustic and disqualifying. There were rare former captives who could read and write, even to a limited extent. The roots that the enslaved population had in the land were tenuous, which until then had meant alienated work and never social redemption. The ex-captives had toiled mainly in the hard manual work of the large plantations, generally having little knowledge of horticulture.

The singular and extremely limited character of the peasant gardens of captives, despite the speculations of many historians, contributed to the captives deserting the coffee plantations, during the final crisis of slavery, in the struggle for civil freedom. They did not claim ownership of the land, in a massive and substantial way, as had occurred in other regions of slave-owning America, especially in parts of the southern United States, where there was a huge effort by the emancipated classes to become peasants, with a violent reaction from the former slaves. slavers.

Despite the historiographic apologies, the family ties of the captive population were few in number, fragile and of limited horizontal and vertical extension, even more so after the enormous displacement caused by the inter-provincial trade towards the coffee growing center-south. The historiographic proposals of most enduring and stable enslaved families are also fantasies. Enormous sectors of formerly enslaved people experienced severe deprivation in the post-Abolition period, with a significant tendency towards the dispersion of family nuclei.

Studying the ddescendants of enslaved workers in the slaveholding region of Pelotas, in Rio Grande do Sul, historian Agostinho MáDalla Vecchia river registered thegeneralized practice of the distribution of children by former captives among the owners, in the décyears after slavery, due to the material difficulty of raising them – The Nights and the Days: Elements for a political economy of the semi-servile form of production. A practice that, for decades, gave rise to the development of semi-servile forms of exploitation, the “children of foster care”, still little studied by our historiography. These practices, according to the evidence we have, were common in other regions of Brazil. The captive population emerged from slavery with meager material, spiritual and symbolic goods and, therefore, devoid of minimum conditions for social inclusion in any other way than the sale of their workforce, in general little or not qualified. Wonderful New World

The population released on May 13 was thrown into the free labor market in precarious conditions – material, cultural and technical poverty; scarce and fragile family ties; disorganized tending towards a mercantile society. Added to all this was the full hegemony in the post-slavery period of racist views and practices engendered by centuries of exploitation of black African workers and their descendants. These visions and practices served, in the new society, as a resource for the economic exploitation and political submission of these black communities, by the owners of the country's wealth and power. This reality still determines the lives of millions of Afro-descendants, 133 years after the Abolition.

In several regions of the three Americas, the colonial slave mode of production gave rise to and consolidated anti-black racism. That form of production was a singular moment, of great importance, in the millenary history of slave exploitation, which had its first consolidation in the Mediterranean basin, in the beginning of Antiquity. In that long period, there was no ethnic group that was monopolized or semi-monopolized as a seedbed for captives. However, racism was not the central mechanism of labor exploitation, even in American colonial slavery, since social cohesion was imposed by the violence exercised over those who owned the work. status slave law. So much so that the existence of Afro-descendant and African slavers was not a rare phenomenon in Brazilian slavery.

With the Abolition, in 1888, on the contrary, racism became an important element in the maintenance of social discipline and for the super-exploitation of work, since all workers became free men, capable of negotiating the sale of their strength of work, under the permanent action of hard and varied constraints, among them, racism. In the new society of free men, racism was constituted as an instrument of the ruling classes to facilitate and perpetuate the economic exploitation and political submission of the Afro-descendant population, in particular, and, indirectly, of all subordinated and exploited segments. The super-exploitation of blacks and women devalues ​​the general average wage, to the detriment of the entire world of work. For almost half a century, the phantasmagoria of “scientific racism” remained the ideology of Brazil's ruling classes, only in a more or less explicit form.

* Mario Maestri is a historian. Author, among other books, of Revolution and counter-revolution in Brazil: 1500-2019 (FCM Publisher).

 

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