the brazilian revolution



Commentary on the book by Caio Prado Júnior

When Caio Prado Júnior (1907-1990) published the brazilian revolution, he was already one of the most important historians in Brazil. However, his ideas became classic without being predominant. At that time, the dualistic explanations that opposed a feudal country and landlordism to a capitalist country and the national bourgeoisie were still flourishing.

By reaffirming Brazilian history in the context of the international capitalist system and defining the internal logic of the economy according to external factors, he did not present anything new. The issue was already widely known from other books by the author. What had changed then?

The most important thing was the situation. The hit of 1o of April 1964, which implemented the military dictatorship in the country, removed Caio Prado Júnior from political marginality within the left, thus giving more support to his theses.[I] With the publication of the brazilian revolution, he was chosen the 1966 Intellectual of the Year by the Brazilian Union of Writers and awarded the Juca Pato Prize. In addition, the style of the book is controversial, and in many paragraphs the writing resembles a manifesto with direct criticism of its real recipient: the forces of the left that should lead the Brazilian revolution.

The work has few footnotes and cites few authors. The sources are government reports, decrees, laws, academic research, reports from business meetings, magazine and newspaper reports, resolutions from workers' congresses, and documents from the Communist International and the Communist Party. These materials had been published in official communist magazines and newspapers such as Working Voice, Problems e New directions. The articles by Caio Prado Júnior himself, cited in the text, had been published in the Brasiliense Magazine, edited by himself.

With the exception of his participation with articles in a period further back in time (1930s and 1940s) or, later, in the space open to any militant in the Tribuna de Debates of the V Congress of the PCB (1960), Caio Prado Júnior was absent from official party publications. The fact that he now cites more of his own articles from the Brasiliense Magazine it shows the character he wanted to give to the book: that of reaffirming ideas that he had already launched for several years on the deaf ears of his opponents in the party.

The only major theorist cited in the brazilian revolution is Karl Marx. In this case, it should be remembered that Caio Prado Júnior did not refer to the works of classic Marxists in his historical studies. An exception in this regard is Political evolution of Brazil: Essay of materialist interpretation, his 1933 debut book, in which the “influence” of his first readings of Marx can be seen in the subtitle of the work, as well as in the form of the narrative, in the emphasis on popular sectors and in several other aspects. In any case, the classics of Marxism do not appear as authoritative bibliographic sources. A special case in his trajectory was the translation, also in 1933, of The theory of historical materialism, by Nikolai Bukharin.

In his philosophical and economic texts, such references occasionally appear, but even so he continued to be questioned for the lack of precise definitions regarding the dominant mode of production in colonial Brazil, for example. Many years later, Carlos Nelson Coutinho said that “the stock of Marxist categories used by Caio Prado Júnior is not very rich”![ii] It is therefore symptomatic that he cites the Soviet English-language edition of The capital in a direct polemic with the PCB, whose theorists reveled in long transcriptions of Marx, Engels and Lenin. There was not a complete Brazilian edition of the work until then, which signaled yet another difficulty in the diffusion of Marxism in Brazil.

The allusions to the country's recent political evolution made the book a document of reckoning with the PCB. The author harshly attacked the party's adherence to dominant groups (from the Juscelino Kubitschek government to João Goulart's) and spared no criticism of the PCB's predominant conception of History. He also remained critical of the João Goulart government, especially in relation to its “demagogic” attitudes, such as the expropriation of land along roadsides, carried out, according to him, without any purpose.

Communist deputy Geraldo Rodrigues dos Santos later recalled that, in the brazilian revolution, Caio Prado Júnior had publicly displayed his criticisms bearing in mind the preparatory documents of the VI Congress of the PCB.[iii] The fact that he did so publicly displeased the party, and, as the author was not “very fond of militancy”, no one noticed when he left the PCB.[iv] In fact, Caio Prado Júnior did not abandon the party…

The work had two editions in the same year it came out and others in 1968, 1972, 1977 and 1978. It was immediately translated into Spanish and released in Argentina with a translation and preface by Rodolfo Puiggrós (under the pseudonym “Céspede”), who wrote to the author recognizing in the book a creative position within Marxism.[v] In 1968, editor Peña Lillo asked for newspaper news about the Juca Pato Prize to be published in the gacetillas (newspaper short stories) and on the cover of the Argentine edition,[vi] advancing him one hundred dollars in royalties.[vii] Then the brazilian revolution began to be translated into Japanese.[viii] In 1987 the work was in its seventh Brazilian edition.

The first edition sold well, although in Recife, for example, the book had to be ordered with a wait of fifteen to thirty days.[ix] In that commercial square, the copy cost 7 thousand cruzeiros, a bit expensive for students.[X] The work aroused passionate polemics. A reader wrote to Caio Prado Júnior calling him a coward, frail and a defender of “revolutionary practicalism”, a far cry from the “heroic analysis” that Mário Pedrosa had done that same year in his book The Brazilian option.[xi] Another reader, a journalist from the Academia de Letras de Santos, wrote a long article describing the work, but apparently had difficulty getting it published.[xii]

The main criticism that the book suffered was based on the inadequacy between economic and historical analysis and the absence of a political program. There was certainly a questioning of the pcb's alliances with the so-called national bourgeoisie, but the “correct” elaboration of the historical discourse did not correspond to an adherence to any political tendency to the left of the party. For Ruy Fausto, the socialist objective was left to an indefinite horizon, as if the movement were everything and the purpose, nothing (to recall the expression of the German socialist Eduard Bernstein).[xiii]

This was the diagnosis of other readers of the work. André Gunder Frank said that Caio Prado Júnior's analysis was correct, but the political expression was “reformist and revisionist”.[xiv] The old Trotskyist activist and journalist Victor Azevedo questioned the lack of a “policy” in the book, attributing this to the fact that the work was “legal, to be sold in the market”. He also noted that Caio Prado Júnior described the Cuban insurrection path, but was silent about the strategy and tactics of the revolution in Brazil. It was an unfinished thought.[xv]

Interestingly, the demand for a political program came both from the extreme left and from communists in the party. Former deputy Marco Antônio Tavares Coelho (under the pseudonym “Assis Tavares”) also made criticisms, which were later answered by the author. Decades later, Tavares Coelho revisited the controversy he had had with Caio Prado Júnior and reaffirmed that the brazilian revolution had “as a guideline a mistaken political analysis of the Brazilian situation in the phase that goes, roughly speaking, from 1930 to 1964”.[xvi]

Caio Prado Júnior did not pretend to dictate a tactic for the moment, and for that reason he did not define himself either by his party's reformism or by armed struggle. Where did the vagueness come from? From censorship? It is unlikely, as the author did not fail to describe the coup as reactionary and cite the true date (1o of April), which always bothered the coup generals. Furthermore, the book was by a recognized communist intellectual. The word “revolution” in the title, a constant concern of other thinkers at the time, was also presented as a criticism of the classification of the military coup as “revolution of March 31st”.


Caio Prado Júnior's conception of revolution remained consistent throughout his life. It was rooted in the reading of Brazilian historical circumstances in the first place. In 1932, he wrote “that under the conditions of Brazil there is no place for a bourgeois revolution, because our regime is already bourgeois here”,[xvii] in clear disagreement with the communist leaders of São Paulo.

He also differed from the party regarding the tactic of political isolation and proletarianization known at the time as “workerism”. His conception was that the PCB should become a “true mass party” and not a “narrow circle of completely isolated conspirators in a proletarian, or rather, so-called proletarian, Olympus”, as demonstrated by the “current attitude of the leaders” .[xviii]

When he directed the São Paulo section of the National Liberation Alliance (ANL), he spoke at rallies to large audiences in numerous cities and had more direct contact with the masses. He would do so again in 1945, until his PCB registration was revoked in 1947, when he participated in two electoral campaigns and was elected constituent state deputy in São Paulo.

In 1946, one of the PCB newspapers announced the “brilliant speech by Deputy Caio Prado Júnior” against the sales and consignment tax and in favor of increasing the land tax.[xx] Supported by the knowledge he had of commercial practices, the administration of his family's coffee farms and the many trips he made through the interior of São Paulo, all his activity as a parliamentarian was aimed at concrete and well-defined problems, without grandiloquent speeches in defense of socialism.

Let us note that, in the first generation of communist intellectuals, Caio Prado Júnior was the only one who remained faithful to the party producing an original work. Many of those who broke away continued to think in the same way as the leadership of the PCB, while our author, even though he never broke away, diverged a lot from party guidelines. The Communist Party was never interested in expelling him, even though this hypothesis was sometimes considered. Whenever his political practices came close to breaking down, he took refuge in party discipline.[xx]

Caio Prado Júnior was not separated from the communist culture of his time, and in that sense he shared with his generation the secular faith in the Soviet model. Therefore, what explained his originality was his status as a “disqualified” intellectual. Because he was a communist, he had no space at the university, having been defeated or impeded in some competitions. He did not have a full place in the party. He was admired as an intellectual by many communists, but not to the extent that his ideas were embraced by the leadership. In 1945, when someone asked Luís Carlos Prestes if he considered Caio Prado Júnior a good Marxist, the leader replied: “The good Brazilian Marxists are in our Central Committee”.[xxx]

What matters is that he could not or did not want to become a professional leader or militant. Certainly, such a position would have given him greater power of influence, but it would also mean the inevitable loss of intellectual independence. Deprived of a place and counting on a very high intellectual formation (due to his class origin), he was able to go beyond his peers (both those in the party and those in the university). Therefore, it is not only individual talent that explains it, but the combination of this factor with his involuntary and permanent displacement from institutions.

His loyalty to Brazil came before theoretical commitments. He never left the PCB because he believed that, after all, it was a party dedicated to national interests. The reforms that interested the party should be exactly those that would constitute a revolutionary program. Although Caio Prado Júnior did not defend a bourgeois revolution, but a “Brazilian capitalism” under the direction of leftist forces, the period from 1954 to 1964 sharpened his criticism.[xxiii]

The PCB's rapprochement with governments after Getúlio Vargas made Caio Prado Júnior more critical. On the one hand, he questioned the position of the communists to support a national revolution whose social base would be the bourgeoisie: “It does not have its own specific interests, as a class, that lead it to oppose imperialism. […] In short, one cannot count on the Brazilian bourgeoisie as the driving force of the agrarian and national revolution”.[xxiii]

On the other hand, he did not propose the immediate socialization of the means of production: “I completely agree [...] that it is not possible, under current conditions in Brazil, to socialize the means of production [...]. I therefore accept the possibility of the evolution and development of the economy on a capitalist basis […]. Between the agreement that consists in recognizing the immediate impracticability of the socialist revolution in Brazil and the affirmation that this impracticability has something to do with the progressive character of capitalist development among us […] there is an abyss of misunderstanding”.[xxv]

For our author, therefore, the Brazilian bourgeoisie was not a revolutionary force as the party theses claimed and, therefore, economic development should be directed by a policy emanating from other social strata.[xxiv]

As can be seen in the light of the brazilian revolution, this position of Caio Prado Júnior regarding the revolution was still original in the country, and it would be what would take him out of political marginality and launch him to the center of the intellectual debate. However, this did not change his isolated condition, as he did not adhere to the PCB nor to the extreme left, which was starting to break away from the party.

Em the brazilian revolution, the first thing the author does is differentiate between insurrection and revolution, making it clear that the latter can be unleashed without the former. The revolution has to be sought dialectically through an operation that does not separate subject and object, subjective solutions and objective conditions. Thus, the answers to the problems of the Brazilian revolution are sought in the circumstances in which such problems arise.

Thus, the author finds the dichotomy false: will our revolution be socialist or bourgeois democratic? And he answers: the simple concept of our revolution can only be extracted from the facts that constitute it, once “the appropriate reforms and transformations have been fixed and will be verified in the course of the same revolution”.

He did not make categorical definitions. He preferred to expose movements, processes and relationships.[xxv] Astrojildo Pereira, in an extensive and violent critique (never published) of the philosophical work of Caio Prado Júnior, said, basing himself on Andrei Jdanov, that he, “wanting to appear more Marxist than Engels (and even than Marx…), what it actually accomplishes is an attempt at anti-Marxist revisionism”.[xxviii] “Revisionism” was the common label assigned to him in the 1950s, as demonstrated by a review written by the communist editor Calvino Filho.[xxviii] Let us remember that Caio Prado Júnior was also a communist and editor.


Although this reading is now outdated and almost no one defends the existence of feudal relations in Brazil anymore, until 1964 it tamed left-wing minds on the agrarian question. In addition to party leaders like Carlos Marighela, Alberto Passos Guimarães and Nelson Werneck Sodré expressed themselves, for example. For them, feudalism would have been inherited from the Iberian peninsula. Not being dominant, the Portuguese mercantile groups would have taken over the sphere of circulation without engendering capitalist production relations in the colony.

Nelson Werneck Sodré said that slavery succeeded primitive communism, but feudalism appeared as a regression in areas where slavery had ceased to be profitable and was expressed in colonato and large estates in the middle of the XNUMXth century. The colonist on the coffee plantation would be both a wage earner and a serf, and the farmer would be both a capitalist and a feudal landlord, as he embodied both the landowner and the capitalist tenant.[xxix]

Caio Prado Júnior had long declared that the bourgeoisie had always commanded the productive system, whether represented by farmers or industrialists.[xxx] The exploitation of the land was and is carried out in clearly mercantile ways. Thus, the landowners would be “typical bourgeois”, and the opposite could only be said if “pre-configured historical categories were introduced in situations different from ours”.[xxxii] In Brazil, production was not aimed at self-sufficiency, but at the market; land ownership, even in the colony, was allodial and not emphyteutic; the ancestor of the rural worker had been the slave, who never owned land; nor did partnerships and small property predominate in the country, except in the South and other small areas. What was imposed was large-scale farming aimed at the foreign market, and this accentuated even more the mercantile character of agrarian production.

As André Gunder Frank said in correspondence with Caio Prado Júnior, rural backwardness worked in Brazil as a insurance scheme against the instability of the commercial situation of agricultural companies.[xxxi] The overexploitation of the workforce, self-consumption, payment in natura, partnership, everything that seems backward to us is the result of what is modern: the full peripheral, subordinated and precarious integration of the agrarian economy into the national and international capitalist market.

In many cases — as in São Paulo — sharecropping came after the large monoculture farm. What looked pre-capitalist was essentially something posited by capital itself; it was the result of a historical process and not a precondition. For Caio Prado Júnior, recognizing the rights of rural workers as wage earners was a form of economic ascent from poverty. This would also cause less efficient agricultural companies to abandon lower-yield regions to smallholding.

For the PCB, everything revolved around the eradication of “feudal remains”. It is true that in previous years there had been fierce fighting in the countryside. In the state of São Paulo alone, we could list: Fernandópolis, Tupã, Santa Fé do Sul (in Alta Araraquarense) and Marília. And also in other Brazilian regions: Porecatu, in Paraná; Planaltina, Formoso and Trombas, in Goiás; Engenho Galileia, in Pernambuco; the Doce river valley in Minas Gerais and certainly its bordering mesoregions, such as the Jequitinhonha valley, in addition to many other areas of Brazil.

The emergence of the Peasant Leagues was a reflection of the rise of the agrarian question in the national debate. But the reasons for the conflicts could not be classified under the single rubric of “struggle for land tenure”. There were fights between squatters and land grabbers, disagreements over the value of the lease, salary issues and many others.

Caio Prado Júnior was not opposed to an agrarian reform that would also lead to the distribution of land. He admitted that in “all the expressive cases in which the claim to land by the workers is proposed” there is a “revolutionary potential”. But that had nothing to do with the “feudal remnants” to be overcome. In the most important agricultural production zones and of greater economic relevance for Brazil — such as the sugarcane plantations in the Northeast, the coffee plantations in São Paulo and Paraná, and the area of ​​cocoa plantations in Bahia — it was necessary to defend the extension of social legislation to rural workers, including rural workers. sharecroppers and partners who, even though they did not earn a salary in cash, needed legal protection.

the national bourgeoisie

Caio Prado Júnior did not oppose foreign capital to the industrialization of Brazil. This would be contrary to his interpretative scheme of the colonial economy, considering that he was the first to observe that the center of the system needed to first develop the colony and then exploit it. Foreign capital (via loans or investments) had positive aspects in our dependent model, such as the circumstantial improvement in external accounts, the development of productive forces and the increase in coffee production and marketing. But its cost was increasing for Brazil.

Thus, he did not deny the development of an internal market. He just stated that this did not erase the country's dependency relationship. It made no difference to purchase industrialized goods abroad or through purchases made at branches of companies established in Brazil. In one way or another, we will always be paying off our purchases with foreign payments: in the first case, with the payment of imports made. On the other, with the profits, dividends, royalties and other forms of remuneration of those foreign companies installed here, remuneration that we are obliged to remit abroad and which constitutes commitments that we can only settle with the revenue derived from our exports of primary products.[xxxii]

The multinational companies that decided to produce here part of the manufactures that were previously imported by the Brazilians maintained, in essence, the same colonial transfer of part of the profits abroad.

Even though occasional circumstances could pit Brazilian bourgeoisie against foreigners — such as the case of the Matarazzos in the face of unfair competition from a US company or the complaints of São Paulo businessmen against Instruction 113 of the Superintendence of Currency and Credit (Sumoc) —,[xxxv] the Brazilian bourgeoisie, as a whole, has never been anti-imperialist. The case of refrigerators cited in the brazilian revolution it is exemplary.

Caio Prado Júnior wanted to show that there was not a national bourgeoisie (industrial) and an agrarian bourgeoisie (in favor of imperialism). The latter, by the way, even ignored imperialism. Foreign companies in the meatpacking industry arrived in Brazil during the European war (Anglo and three groups from Chicago: Armour, Swift and Wilson). These groups began to form complete vertical chains in the 1930s, taking over wintering and slaughterhouses and sending most of their meat to the domestic market. “The control of wintering allowed these organizations to acquire cattle from breeders at increasingly lower prices.”[xxxiv]

During winter, the cattle were fattened by the multinationals themselves. This oligopoly alerted the Association of Breeders and the Brazilian government. Getúlio Vargas himself, in 1936, took measures in favor of national slaughterhouses. However, even there, the criticism was never directed at the presence of foreign capital, but at its monopolistic practices.

It should be noted that the focus of Caio Prado's criticism was not on the performance of the “populist leaders”. He didn't promote personal attacks. What mattered to him was the support that the PCB offered them with the sole consideration of partial benefits. It is true that he disdained the political role of General Lott for his openly anti-communist views, ignoring his legalistic role in guaranteeing the presidential inauguration of Juscelino Kubitschek between October 1955 and January 1956.

Caio Prado Júnior harbored reservations even in relation to progressive economists such as Celso Furtado, and criticized the policy of Northeast Development Superintendence (Sudene) related to agrarian reform. Perhaps there were personal disagreements due to the fact that Celso Furtado did not mention Caio Prado Júnior in his Brazil's economic formation (1959), despite the convergence of many ideas. Caio Prado Júnior had published his works on the History of Brazil much earlier, and an omission like that bothered him.[xxxiv]

Celso Furtado was familiar with Caio Prado Júnior’s books, as they appear in the bibliography of his doctoral thesis, “Colonial Economy in Brazil in the 1948th and XNUMXth Centuries”, from XNUMX.[xxxviii] In any case, an understanding could not be expected between them, given Caio Prado Júnior's political opposition to the governments that Celso Furtado served: he was director of the National Bank for Economic Development (bnde) and created Sudene in the jk government, having he was also Minister of Planning in the Jango government.

For our author, what was essential was the surrendering nature of the Juscelino Kubitschek government. Just remember that Roberto Campos was president of the BNDE (from August 1958 to July 1959) and one of the coordinators of jk's Plano de Metas. Later, he would be Minister of Planning in the military dictatorship.

The problem for Caio Prado Júnior resided in another opposition, much more important than the myth of the contradiction between the national bourgeoisie and feudal landlords. The state interventionism that he associates with “bureaucratic capitalism” won the support of popular forces that identified it with a national bourgeoisie. Although there were occasional coincidences of interests between bureaucratic capital and the left, the latter simply ignored the real meaning of the former. Between 1954 (Suicide of Getúlio Vargas) and 1964 (military coup), the positions of bureaucratic capital were threatened by what Caio Prado Júnior called the “orthodox bourgeoisie”.

This fraction of the bourgeoisie, under the leadership of the National Democratic Union (UDN), launched the attack in the guise of moralism and thus won the support of large sections of the population, rightly indignant against corruption. The fact is that the functioning of bureaucratic capitalism implies not only an economic development guided by the State, but the transfer of favors, privileged information, credit incentives and other less legal forms of diversion of resources. Public and private interests are confused, declared Caio Prado Júnior. Who supported this accumulation was the working class, victimized by inflation and additional income tax.

Instead of adhering to the term bureaucratic capitalism, Caio Prado Júnior could have used the concept of state monopoly capitalism, which basically meant the submission of the capitalist state to private monopolies. Carlos Nelson Coutinho assumed that Caio Prado Júnior was simply unaware of the concept,[xxxviii] which is unlikely, as it is commonplace in postwar Marxist literature. In Brazil, the PCB had already published an article about it,[xxxix] and the work of Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, monopoly capitalism, was published in Brazil in the same year it came out the brazilian revolution.

According to Caio Prado Júnior, what should be criticized is not the existence of foreign investments in Brazil, but a state policy that only favors private groups (national or foreign) to the detriment of an organic integration of the national economy. In 1966, these assertions by Caio Prado Júnior explained the military coup by the left's strategic error. Instead of organizing its social base — the working people — it sacrificed its essential tasks by identifying bureaucratic capitalism with the national bourgeoisie. And she did so because, in fact, there was a partial coincidence between the interests of state interventionism defended by sectors of the public administration and the wishes of the population.

If the industrial bourgeoisie was not anti-imperialist, neither was the agrarian bourgeoisie necessarily associated with foreign interests. This statement earned Caio Prado Júnior sharp criticism. A communist leader attacked him for imagining “that ruralists ignore imperialism”.[xl] For our historian, only the proletariat could be the mainstay of a revolutionary or even reformist policy. But which proletariat?

The historical subject of the Revolution

Our main problem is the inheritance of an extroverted slave economy based on the disarticulation between production and internal consumption. This double condition (slavery and exportation) molds the type of society that was created in Brazil and also creates obstacles to its change, to the point that hunger itself (structure of Long term of our history) and the poverty of social ties shaped a society marked by disintegration. The land was occupied with sugar cane while the population starved to death without the “bread of the land” (cassava).

We were a “factory disguised as a society”, to use one of the expressions of Caio Prado Júnior That is, we were born as a modern globalized company: Mediterranean technology (sugarcane planting) and seedlings from the Portuguese Atlantic islands were associated with the workforce of the dark continent, but our modernity was dependent.

It was necessary to change this reality, but how? The Brazilian revolution had a lack of definition as to the historical subject of social transformation. It is here that the crux of the criticism addressed to Caio Prado Júnior lies at the time of the publication of the brazilian revolution. The absence of a political program was not a weakness of the work, as no one had that answer. The two alternatives proposed in 1966 failed. Just as the PCB's strategy had been defeated in 1964 and would henceforth appear to be just an insistence on error, the armed struggle would later be decimated by repression and torture used indiscriminately by the military.

Caio Prado Júnior avoided making value judgments about those forms of struggle. Despite its mistakes, the PCB had been the great organizer of workers' struggles in Brazil until that moment, and the armed struggle contributed to unmasking the dictatorship and keeping the flame of popular resistance burning. The problem, therefore, was another: it was the definition of the subject of the revolution, and not the tactical forms of struggle, that could or could not include armed insurrection, as is clear in the Cuban case he cited in the brazilian revolution. Caio Prado Júnior had visited Cuba years before and had spoken personally with Fidel Castro.[xi]

There was no working class in Brazil that had evolved from the servitude of the land, nor did capitalism here result from a spontaneous and endogenous development, as it came “from outside” and “from above”.[xliii] Thus, the forces that represent nation building are inorganic to the system. Both agricultural entrepreneurs and slaves constituted “classes” linked to a productive apparatus that was foreign to national needs.

Classical Marxism did not foresee that precisely the inorganic would become the revolutionary subject. Caio Prado Júnior saw in this “socially indecisive” mass, which vegetated in the interstices of large export production, an enigma and at the same time the only social base on which the proletariat should (but could not) count. Oliveira Vianna, although immersed in the prejudices of his class and his time, was one of the first historians that Caio Prado Júnior read in the 1920s, and he already saw in Portuguese America, among the slaves and their masters, a mass of associates, clients and the poor, among whom laziness and instability prevailed.

What to do?

Some of Caio Prado Júnior's proposals remain very current, such as the defense of better living conditions for rural wage earners and the distribution of agrarian property, in its multiple forms (private, collective, state, etc.), with technical, financial and educational assistance. . Since then, Brazil has acquired a much larger industrial park and formed an immense domestic mass market that did not exist. However, the Brazilian rural landscape continues to be marked by the concentration of property.

The difficult coexistence of agribusiness with family farming is now combined with demands in favor of ecology, with the problems of the indiscriminate use of pesticides that poison food, with the pollution of rivers, the destruction of springs, the large-scale production of animals for slaughter, exacerbated dependence on commodity exports, rampant mineral extraction, mass displacement of populations to make way for construction of dams and hydroelectric plants, expansion of agriculture and livestock and the cutting down of forests that guard treasures of biodiversity.

Furthermore, the scandalous problem of social and regional inequality still persists among us. However, the “classic” explanations of two opposing Brazils — or the fallacious speech of the former Minister Delfim Netto on the virtualities of economic growth for later distribution of wealth — were undone in the dust of time. Caio Prado Júnior stated that the country has always been at the same time poor and rich, developed and backward: “Childhood, youth, adolescence, maturity, old age and senility are present in our country and in its economy, today as at any time in the world. past".[xiii]

the brazilian revolution it will always be one of the works of inspiration for the young revolutionaries of today and tomorrow. Thus, what most justifies the re-edition of this classic of our Political History is exactly the set of problems that the author was able to identify without being able to solve them. The history of the future, as someone once said, cannot be written; it is necessary to do it.[xiv]

* Lincoln Secco He is a professor in the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of Caio Prado Junior (Boitempo).



[I] Marco Aurélio Garcia.“A reckoning with tradition”, in Maria Ângela D'Incao, (ed.). History and ideal: essays on Caio Prado Júnior. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1989, p. 273.

[ii] Carlos Nelson Coutinho, “A non-classical path to capitalism”, in Maria Ângela D'Incao (Org.), op. cit., p. 116.

[iii] The Sixth Congress took place in 1967, after the publication of the book, and caused the divisions that led to the formation of groups that supported the armed struggle.

[iv] Lincoln A. Penna. The Path of a Communist. Rio de Janeiro: Revan, 1997, p. 110.

[v] Letter from Rodolfo Puiggrós to Caio Prado Jr, 6 Mar. /968. All correspondence cited here was consulted in the collection of Caio Prado Júnior, which is located at the Institute of Brazilian Studies of the University of São Paulo (ieb-usp))

[vi] Letter from Peña Lillo to Caio Prado Júnior, Buenos Aires, 4 mar. /968.

[vii] Letter from Peña Lillo to Caio Prado Júnior, Buenos Aires, 2 Aug. /968.

[viii] Letter from Maurício Crespo to Caio Prado Júnior Tokyo, 26 jan. /970.

[ix] Letter from Manuel Correia de Andrade to Caio Prado Júnior Recife, January 21, 1967.

[X] Letter from Henrique Levy to Caio Prado Júnior. Recife, September 30, 1966.

[xi] Letter from Henrique Soares to Caio Prado Júnior. Vitória, March 31, 1967.

[xii] Letter from Jaime Franco Rodrigues Junot to Caio Prado Jú., Santos, January 31, 1967.

[xiii] Ruy Fausto, “The Brazilian Revolution of Caio Prado Júnior”, Theory and practice, v. 1I n. 2, 1967.

[xiv] Letter from André Gunder Frank, C Caio Prado Júnior, Montreal, November 24, 1967.

[xv] Letter from Cristina to Caio Prado Júnior, São Paulo, July 25, 1966.

[xvi] Marco Antônio Tavares Coelho, “The controversy with Caio Prado Júnior forty years ago”, Seminar organized by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Ufrj), 9 out/ 2007.

[xvii] Letter from Caio Prado Júnior to the Cr of the PCB, 30 November 1932.

[xviii] Letter from Caio Prado Júnior to Jaime, São Paulo, 21 November 1932.

[xx] Today, São Paulo, 19 June/946.

[xx] For more details in this regard: Lincoln Secco. Caio Prado Júnior: The Sense of Revolution. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2008.

[xxx] Osvaldo Peralva, the portrait. Porto Alegre: Ed. Globe, 1962, p. 248.

[xxiii] In a book written in 1954, he advocated class alliances that included the “industrial and commercial bourgeoisie free from commitments to imperialism and international finance capital”. Caio Prado Junior, Guidelines for a Brazilian economic policy. São Paulo: Urupês, 1954, p. 236.

[xxiii] That's what he wrote in his critique of the Theses of the V Congress of the PCB, a series of five articles in the Tribuna de Debates opened by the Communist Party in 1960 to redefine its political line. Cf. Caio Prado Júnior “The Theses and the Brazilian Revolution” New directions, Tribuna de Debates, 22/28-1960 Jul./ XNUMX.

[xxv] ID ibid., 8/-4 July/1960.

[xxiv] Id ibid., 15/1 Jul./1960.

[xxv] Caio Prado Junior, dialectic of knowledge. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1969, v. 1T p. 13.

[xxviii] Astrojildo Pereira. Untitled, .fl. 19. And Also typewritten copy with modifications: Astrojildo Pereira, Margin notes of a book by Caio Prado Júnior. Cedem, Unesp, Arch A 2, 6 (1)-13.

[xxviii] Calvino Filho, “Economic revisionism that revives”, New Times, no. 1, Rio de Janeiro, Sep./ 1957.

[xxix] Nelson Werneck Sodre, Historical formation of Brazil. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1962, pp. 355-7.

[xxx] Letter from Caio Prado Júnior to Francisco de Borja (pseudonym), São Paulo, May 26, 1932.

[xxxii] Letter from Caio Prado Júnior to Dr. Alberto Calvo (from Caracas, Venezuela). São Paulo, Dec./1960.

[xxxi] Letter from AG Frank to Caio Prado Júnior, Brasília, June 1963.

[xxxii] Caio Prado Júnior, “Nationalism and development”, Brasiliense Magazine, no. (4,)9/-5, Jul./-Oct. 1959, p. 14,

[xxxv] See Caio Prado Júnior's own explanation at the brazilian revolution.

[xxxiv] Eli Diniz and Renato Boschi. National business community and state in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro: Forense, 1978, p. 80.

[xxxiv] Interview with Paul Singer, in Guido Mantega and José Marcio Rego (Eds.). Conversation with Brazilian economists, v. 2 São Paulo: Editora 34, 1999, p. 62.

[xxxviii] Tamás Szmrecsányi, “Resuming the issue of the beginning of economic historiography in Brazil”, Nnew economics, v. B4, no. 11/371 Jan./Apr./ 2004, pp. 11-37.

[xxxviii] Carlos Nelson.Coutinho, op. cit., p. 117.

[xxxix] I. Kouzminov, “State Monopoly Capitalism”, Problems — Monthly Journal of Political Culture, n.º 12, Jul./ 1948.

[xl] Valter Orchard. The agrarian question in Brazil and the counterrevolution of Mr. Caio Prado. Rio de Janeiro: Alvorada, 1969. It is, in fact, Wladimir Pomar.

[xi] Maria Célia Wider and Luiz Bernardo Pericás, “Caio Prado Júnior”, In Luiz Bernardo Pericás and Lincoln Secco (Orgs), Interpreters from Brazil: Classics, rebels and renegades. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2014.

[xliii] Caio Prado Junior, Guidelines for a Brazilian economic policy, quoted, p. 72.

[xiii] ID ibid., p. 68.


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