History teaches us that those who chose and/or were compelled to fight the fight against capitalism, from its genesis, between the 16th/18th centuries, until today, never had and will not have an easy life while this social order persists.
Therefore, the ruling class (owners of the material and immaterial means of production and reproduction of life in society) does not think twice about resorting to all possible and imaginable means to prevent any initiative, on the part of their class opponents, that jeopardizes the interests of the status quo.
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Hence, throughout that time, to a greater or lesser degree, multiple forms of repression were reserved for opponents, such as death, imprisonment, torture, persecution, exile, underground, hunger, pain, suffering , humiliation, slander and other inequities typical of everyday bourgeois life.
On the other hand, even though all these struggles and these fighters have their importance, which we can never ignore, these initiatives to resist the system do not always have the same weight and political significance.
In other words, there is a clear hierarchy here. In these terms, we understand that there are clashes and fighters that are more consequential than others, in objective and subjective terms, although this statement does not sound good to a certain relativist sensibility in vogue in the field of the left itself.
In order to better understand this complex issue, it is imperative to interpret it in a historical key, in the characterization of the material and ideological way of life of the bourgeois world and the dynamics of the class struggle that ensues.
In this sense, we understand that it is the communists, especially when they manage to root their ideas and thus potentiate the immediate and historical aspirations of the working class and its allies, who can take the rhetorical and practical questioning of the capitalist edifice to its ultimate consequences.
In this regard, it is not by chance that, especially in moments of deep crisis, the bourgeoisie and its State identify in the communists (based on real or imagined facts, it matters little, at least for the reasoning developed so far), the main enemies to be fought and, if possible, simply eliminated from the map.
Examples of yesterday and today are not lacking, it’s just a matter of trying to remember. In turn, the history of communism, as a political and ideal project, cannot be explained outside of time and space.
In different countries, the communists and their organizations have not ceased to suffer the vicissitudes of the local and international situations in which they have been involved in these last centuries, something that applies perfectly to our country.
When the communists appeared as an organized political and ideological form, in the first decades of the 20th century, they had to deal with the legacy of a historical formation that was born under the sign of the expropriation of a European colonial base, from the 16th century onwards, which after destroying the pillars of the traditional indigenous communities, which they encountered in that historical square, on their rubble they built a slave society, based on exploitation, oppression and violence against workers, indigenous people and, above all, Africans. [Continua após o vídeo.]
As this model wore out, due to the combination of internal and external factors, it was gradually replaced by a type of capitalism, which not only kept many traces of the previous system, but also added new problems, now in a context of imperialist expansion.
This entire complex environment would contribute to the formation of structures increasingly concentrating property and income in the hands of a few, in the autocratic way of organizing a police state, in the relations between classes and their fractions, in the authoritarian ideological system, in ways of repression/cooptation of subaltern segments, all of this with clear consequences for the constitution of the Brazilian working class (in its potential and limits), preferential target of the communists’ actions.
None of this, however, prevented them from overcoming some of these obstacles and, in this way, from having played a prominent role in the great clashes of Brazilian history. It is not by chance that it was during this period that what may have been, at least until now, the most capable and known generation of communists in our country was forged, in which militants as diverse as Astrogildo Pereira, Gregório Bezerra, Luiz Carlos Prestes took part. , Mário Pedrosa, Pedro Pomar, David Capistrano, Apolônio de Carvalho, Joaquim Câmara Ferreira, Pagu, Mário Alves, Jacob Gorender, Caio Padro Júnior and many other men and women [email protected]
However, in our modest understanding, the most emblematic figure of Brazilian communism was, without a shadow of a doubt, Carlos Mariguella, born in the city of Salvador-BA, on December 5, 1911, the result of the marriage of Maria Rita, a black woman of descent of African Hausas, and the Italian immigrant, Augusto Marighella. From his mother, he inherited the best that African tradition produced, in terms of popular and collective struggles, and from his father, socialist internationalism.
From the articulation of family environment, social context and political environment, Mariguella forged her personality, initially in Bahia, then Brazil and, finally, around the world. Since then and until the last days of his rich and troubled life, especially from 1933 onwards, the year he joined the Brazilian Communist Party, he was an actor and witness of the first magnitude of our left: he felt the rawness of two open dictatorships ( the Estado Novo Varguista, of November 10, 1937, and the military, of April 1, 1964) and an intermission, 1945/1964, of mitigated populist bourgeois autocracy.
Mariguella, with her mistakes and successes, went through almost everything in her life: she lived with great figures in Brazilian politics, but she really felt at ease with her simple, poor and working people
He helped organize strikes and other mass actions of the working class; wrote texts in prose and verse; for a brief period he was Federal Deputy, when in a short period of time, of little more than two years, he sought to articulate parliamentary work with the concrete struggle of workers; he was a disciplined militant, which did not prevent him from breaking with the party to which he dedicated much of his life in 1967, and then founding the National Liberating Action and immersing himself, body and soul, in the uncertain and dangerous guerrilla battle against the military dictatorship.
He also broke up, sometimes painfully and definitively, with old comrades; but with some he had the greatness of reconciling, as happened in a beautiful episode in 1968, involving him and Herminio Sachetta, journalist and dissident communist; he loved, with all possible intensity, life, women, friends and working humanity; paid the high price of the disastrous influence of Stalinism, that accursed page which, instead of being rehabilitated, as some groups dressed up as “revolutionaries” still do today, should have already been buried with all the disastrous “honours”.
From this bundle of multiple influences, we can highlight the strongest traits of the man and the communist Marighella: firmness, integrity, coherence and courage.
Traits that were present in key episodes of her life: in her fidelity to her class roots; in enduring the most atrocious moments of torture; of, on April 1st, due to the negligence of the PCB and the paralysis of the Jango government, to call, in Cinelândia, Rio de Janeiro, for popular resistance to the coup; to face his tormentors face to face, as in the famous episode of his arrest, in a cinema in Tijuca, on 05/09/1964. The same coherence he had in life also manifested itself when death seemed imminent.
Marighella could, for the sake of preserving her life, have left Brazil and gone into exile, as many of her companions did, at a time when the dictatorship was increasingly tightening the grip on its enemies, especially after the decree of the AI-5. Instead, with all the risks that this decision could entail, he chose not to abandon the fight and chose to continue alongside his old and new teammates.
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Like everything else in life, especially in extreme situations like that, it paid its price. The outcome of this story we all know today: when being lured by an ambush, set up by one of the most infamous symbols of the dictatorship in the service of big capital, the deputy Sergio Paranhos Freyre’s criminal, Marighella was slaughtered on the fateful night of November 4, 1969 , in the heart of the city of São Paulo, at Alameda Casa Branca. [Continua após o vídeo.]
Between that tragic episode and today, exactly 52 years have passed. What lessons can we draw from this whole story? One thing is certain: Marighella was bigger than her mistakes. Unlike his tormentors, he survived his own death and his legacy only grew with time. Proof of this is that he continues to annoy the ruling classes and their fascistizing neoliberal lackeys on duty.
Here, for the symbology, one example is enough: the actor, and now filmmaker, Wagner Moura, suffered for two long years to finally be able to show, to the general public, the film he made about our character. A work that, by the way, has problems in terms of content and form, but just because it carried, in its title, the name of the public enemy of all dictatorships, open or hidden, installed fear in the Pocketnarist hordes.
And as for us, who claim Mariguella, what should we do to honor her memory and advance her causes? I think the best tribute we could pay to Mariguella would be to claim that it has never been so urgent and necessary to reaffirm the actuality of the true project of communism, even in this extremely difficult historical moment, in which we have been immersed for some time, whose effects are more ghastly the pandemic only accentuated.
Contrary to what is imagined, even by some who declare themselves “mariguellistas”, the solution to the barbarism underway in Brazil and in the world is not paralyzing skepticism. Nor is it the downgrading of the class struggle, in the name of political-institutional pragmatism and its petty electoral calculations.
On the contrary, moments of crisis, like the current one, can be the ideal occasion, to remember, as Marx and Engels did in 1848: the strength of communism, as the only radical alternative, to overcome capitalism, thus conjuring up legend and replacing it with the fact. In other words: if enemies say that communism is dead, we have to cry out loudly, long live communism. Also, if he were alive, for what he did and what he said, Marighella would certainly be in that last trench.
*Luciano Mendonça de Lima is a professor at the Department of History at UFCG
**This is an opinion piece. The author’s vision does not necessarily express the editorial line of Brasil de Fato.
Source: BoF Paraíba
Edition: Heloisa de Sousa