PCB – 100 Years of the Red Phoenix

Fernand Léger, The City, 1919


An indelible presence in the political history of Brazil

The Brazilian Communist Party (PCB) completes one hundred years of an indelible presence in the political history of our country. Of these hundred years, 56 are in the most violent clandestinity. Much of the period of legality is recorded after 1985, when the dictatorship ended.

We emerged as representatives of several collectives that militated referenced in the Russian Revolution of October 1917. We were the revolutionaries who gave meaning to the strikes of the beginning of the XNUMXth century, who marched through the streets with demonstrations in defense of the most emblematic rights of the working class, seeking to organize themselves to build a political operator that would represent the program of our class and act in defense of the Brazilian revolution.

We became, as the twentieth century unfolded, a party that was present in the deepest struggles of that brief century. We participated in organizing working-class instruments in the 1920s and created a combative popular press; during the 1930s we advanced in the proletarian and popular struggles, but we also organized ourselves within the barracks. We carried out the most important “assault on the heavens” movement in Brazilian history: the revolutionary uprising of November 1935, an experience of Popular Power that lasted three days in Natal (RN). This revolutionary experience was defeated by bourgeois State troops, in alliance with local colonels and their jagunços, but, even with errors in the process, it is a brave historic resistance.

After the brutal repression that followed the red uprising, and the persecution of the “Estado Novo”, we organized the struggles of resistance to fascism in Brazil and when the winds were blown from the nazifascist defeat in the second great war, we managed to find the light in the end of the tunnel. We have legally become a mass party; we elected Luiz Carlos Prestes, our general secretary, the highest voted senator in Brazil, as well as electing a vigorous group of 14 federal deputies. In the following elections, for the Legislative Assemblies of the states, we elected more than 40 deputies. However, the mantle of reactionaryism was imposed again and the party was made illegal. Our parliamentarians were impeached. First, the federal bench and then our state congressional benches.

The PCB goes back underground, however now, as a strong political operator of the working class in the late 1940s. revolutionary form in the peasant uprisings of Porecatu, Trombas and Formoso. We organized demonstrations against the presence of Brazilian troops in the Korean imperialist war; we were where the fight was needed throughout Brazil.

With the “August Manifesto” of 1950, we proposed new forms of struggle in deep connection with the Brazilian revolution. Free unions, popular and proletarian organizations without state control, organization of women's struggles and a combative and militant denouncement against racism.

We built in Brazilian history the greatest intellectual presence of all times, a seminal mark in Brazilian culture. After all, in the history of the XNUMXth century, the most important figures in literature, science, art, music, art, theater and cinema fought within our party. Giants like Graciliano Ramos, Jorge Amado, Oswald de Andrade, Cândido Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Pagu, Mário Lago, Francisco Milani, Rui Facó, Monteiro Lobato, Caio Prado Jr., Paulo da Portela, Silas de Oliveira, Alberto Passos Guimarães, Nelson Werneck Sodré, Mário Schemberg, Nise da Silveira, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Gianfrancesco Guarnieri, Oduvaldo Vianna Filho, Adolfo Lutz, Cícero Dias, Aparício Torelly (Barão de Itararé), Dias Gomes, Paulo Leminski, Vladimir Herzog, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Leon Hirszman, Oscar Niemeyer, João Saldanha, César Lattes and thousands of the best children of the working class.

We are the origin of the Brazilian left, however, we have not become the largest party in this ideological field. However, we germinated in the Brazilian historical process the most fertile struggles of our class and illuminated, with safe steps, in darkness or in daylight, the trail of struggles that seek the meaning of the Brazilian revolution, because, we are the PCB, the long-lived operator politician of our class.

As we complete one hundred years, we are proud of our history of mistakes and successes. We were on the side of the revolutionaries who built the anti-capitalist revolutions around the world, such as the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and the people's democracies in Eastern Europe and Africa. We fight alongside the anti-colonial struggle and revolutionary actions around the world. We have always been an internationalist party in defense of the world revolution.

In this long history of struggles, we must never stop honoring our founders, but also the men and women who fought so that we could be here today. Figures such as Minervino de Oliveira, Octávio Brandão, Elisa Branco, Giocondo Dias, Carlos Marighella, Lyndolpho Silva, Maria Aragão, Mário Alves, José Maria Crispim, Yeda Maria Ferreira, Osvaldo Pacheco, Antonieta Campos da Paz, Horácio Macedo, Ana Montenegro, Dinarco Reis, Paulo Cavalcanti, Iraci Picanço, Gregório Bezerra, Maria Brandão, Zuleika D'Alembert, Adalgisa Cavalcanti and the legendary Luiz Carlos Prestes.

But we also need to remember those historic militants who had their blood spilled when they fought in defense of the working class, democratic freedoms and against oppression. We will never forget our 43 martyrs murdered by the bourgeois-military dictatorship of 1964: Ivan Rocha Aguiar (student), Antogildo Pascoal Viana (worker), Carlos Schirmer (worker), Pedro Domiense de Oliveira (postman), Manuel Alves de Oliveira (military) , Newton Eduardo de Oliveira (worker), João Alfredo (peasant), Pedro Inácio de Araújo (peasant), Israel Tavares Roque (worker), Divo Fernandes D'oliveira (maritime), Severino Elias de Melo (military), Inocêncio Pereira Alves (Tailor), Lucindo Costa (civil servant), João Roberto Borges de Souza (student), José Dalmo Guimarães Lins (journalist), Francisco da Chagas Pereira (military), Epaminondas Gomes de Oliveira (shoemaker), Ismael Silva de Jesus (student ), Célio Augusto Guedes (dentist), José Mendes de Sá Roriz (military), Davi Capistrano da Costa (military), José Roman (worker), João Massena Melo (worker), Luiz Ignácio Maranhão Filho (journalist), Valter de Souza Ribeiro (military), Afonso Henrique Martins Saldanha (teacher), Elson Costa (truck driver), Hiran de Lima Pereira (administrator), Jayme Amorim de Miranda (journalist), Nestor Veras (peasant), Itair Veloso (worker), Alberto Aleixo ( worker), José Ferreira de Almeida (military), José Maximino de Andrade Neto (military), Pedro Jerônimo de Souza (shopkeeper), José Montenegro de Lima (student), Orlando Bonfim (journalist), Vladimir Herzog (journalist), Neide Alves Santos (propagandist), Manoel Fiel Filho (worker), Feliciano Eugênio Neto (worker), Lourenço Camelo Mesquita (taxi driver) and José Pinheiro Jobim (diplomat). Gifts, always!

Despite the pre-1964 mistakes, the struggle developed by the PCB in the construction of popular and proletarian movements, and in the articulation of the democratic front, were fundamental to defeat the dictatorship and establish a new era of democratic freedoms with the end of the military regime. The 1980s were times of political and ideological confusion, they are the worst historical period of the existence of the PCB. This is the deepest set of mistakes in our history, when political tactics tried to kill the strategic operator. However, the red phoenix knew how to carry out its purification and organize our revolutionary reconstruction from 1992 onwards.

We return to the centrality of proletarian and popular struggles, we place the socialist strategy on the agenda as a central formulation to guide tactical action. We build instruments to combat the sociability of capitalist society, such as Coletivo Feminista Classista Ana Montenegro (CFCAM), Coletivo Negro Minervino de Oliveira (CNMO) and LGBTComunista; we advanced in the organization of our mass fronts, following the example of the Communist Youth Union (UJC) and the Classist Unity (UC). We are not yet the biggest party of the Brazilian left, but we will not have struggles of our class without the convinced presence of the PCB.

We live in a serious historical moment. Capital order and its courier at the Planalto Palace try to move neo-fascist hordes towards the coup break. The fascist and genocidal agitator, Jair Bolsonaro, wants to decimate the population with his total irresponsibility in the face of the extermination caused by Covid-19. We need to defeat the militiaman, organize the fight to stop the far-right government, fight for vaccination now for everyone, demand full emergency aid, fight high prices and defend jobs/work, while we must fight alongside the class worker for its reorganization. We have to create suitable conditions for the struggle.

In these hundred years of struggle, we have been victorious, but also defeated. However, we knew how to make the necessary self-criticism and reorganize our flags and actions, to operate in the class struggle. Our struggle is anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and in defense of humanity. We fight against the exploitation and oppression of bourgeois society, always in the perspective of the Brazilian revolution and the socialist project.

Today, we Brazilian communists are completing one hundred years of struggles that marked the history of Brazil and the world. After all, many of our militants fought in the Spanish civil war, in the French resistance and in the battles of the second world war in Europe. What has always guided us is the search for revolution and the perspective of socialism.

During this long journey, the blood of our comrades was mixed with the red of our flag and fertilized the fertile soil of our fights in the battles that our class developed in Brazil and in the world. With this history and with these convictions, we reaffirm that we are here in defense of humanity, because we were, are and will be communists.

Long live the hundred years of the PCB! Long live People's Power towards Socialism!

*Milton Pinheiro, PCB militant, political scientist and professor of history at the State University of Bahia (UNEB).


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