Luiz Carlos Prestes and the Brazilian communist movement

Bridget Riley, Colored Ashes I, 1972
Whatsapp
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Telegram

By LINCOLN SECCO*

Commentary on the document book of the final phase of Luiz Carlos Prestes' political struggle

Few personalities in Brazil have the political and moral greatness of Luiz Carlos Prestes. In it, different historical layers converge in a unique synthesis. Like the Cuban Julio Mella, he was a young nonconformist of the 1920s. Like the Italian Palmiro Togliatti and the Bulgarian Georg Dimitrov, he was one of the symbols of the World Revolution and the Communist International in the 1930s. Like the Spaniard Dolores Ibárruri, who after becoming the passionflower survived long years of his own time, Prestes went far beyond the Knight of Hope.

From the Paulista Revolution of 1924, the “first” Prestes raised the gaucho garrison in Santo Ângelo and led the largest military march in Brazilian history. The tenentes' moral radicalism erupted throughout Brazil with revolutions in Amazonas, Sergipe, Mato Grosso, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul; but it was only Prestes who accepted all the consequences of his actions and carried his rebellion to the end and to the bottom. He traveled the country and it was this practical reading of the territory and the poor population of Brazil that instilled in him the need to seek new theoretical explanations; to link the successful tactics of the war of movement to a political strategy for the Brazilian Revolution.

Undefeated “general”, the captain of the Coluna Prestes – Miguel Costa aroused the admiration and envy of his peers in uniform and received denials from the dissident oligarchies of the old Republic. By refusing to contain the Revolution within the limits of the oligarchic-bourgeois compromise, the leader of the National Liberation Alliance (ANL) and, later, of the 1935 communist uprising became unforgivable for the ruling classes and their armed forces.

From the 1930s on, Prestes incorporated a new historical time and a new spatial dimension. He became a “party man”, the uncontested leader of the Brazilian communists and with enormous influence in all Latin American Communist Parties.

The “first” and the “second” Prestes suffer a new defeat in 1964. The strategy of the people's national and democratic revolution in alliance with the national bourgeoisie foundered in the uncontested support of the dominant classes to the dictatorship of 1964. After that, he was already a survivor from another time. Prestes continued nominally at the head of the PCB, but the third and “last Prestes” was in gestation in a silent struggle within the party leadership and, in a way, in settling scores with his own conscience.

He studied the history of Brazil again, approached the ideas of Florestan Fernandes and criticized the transformation of the PCB into the political tail of bourgeois parties. Around the age of seventeen I saw Prestes twice at the University of São Paulo. And it was impossible not to become “prestista” whatever his party.

Prestes reviewed at that time the nature of the Brazilian revolution and emerged again with the youth, seeking to understand their new demands, supporting the most radical fractions of the middle classes and reaffirming the hegemony of the proletariat in the process of democratization that the country demanded.

He rejected the myth that reduced him to a figure without a party and without an ideology and reinvented himself along with the radicalism of the new working class. He thus operated an unusual political rotation in a man of his age and welded his destiny once more to uncertain but fair fights. Because what always mattered in his trajectory is that, between mistakes and successes, it subordinated itself to the moral duty of the revolution.

That's the inheritance; this is the hope he left us. This is what the beautiful book organized by Gustavo Rolim reveals to us. The book collects precious documents of Prestes' internal and public struggle for his party to resume the revolutionary path, such as the pamphlet letter to the communists (1980), several newspaper articles and recent speeches. A statement from its supporters and articles by Anita Leocádia Prestes and Florestan Fernandes complement this indispensable set of documents.

* Lincoln Secco He is a professor at the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of History of the PT (Studio).

 

Reference


Gustavo Koszeniewski Rolim. Heritage, hope and communism – Luiz Carlos Prestes and the Brazilian communist movement – ​​documents (1980-1995). Marília, Anticapital Fights, 2020.

 

See this link for all articles

10 MOST READ IN THE LAST 7 DAYS

______________
  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • Chico Buarque, 80 years oldchico 19/06/2024 By ROGÉRIO RUFINO DE OLIVEIRA: The class struggle, universal, is particularized in the refinement of constructive intention, in the tone of proletarian proparoxytones
  • Why are we on strike?statue 50g 20/06/2024 By SERGIO STOCO: We have reached a situation of shortage of federal educational institutions
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives

AUTHORS

TOPICS

NEW PUBLICATIONS