A Classe Operária — The Working Class
Weekly News from Brazil and the World
Published by the Partido Comunista do Brasil (PCB)
Established May 1 1925
Lenin and Brazil
by Comrade Astrojildo Pereira
I met Comrade Vladimir Lenin in Moscow, many years ago now. Crippled by an increasingly poor physique, this tireless defender of the workers and peasants had begun to relinquished most of his duties, but his spirit was still strong. It was one of the greatest honours of my life, truth to be told, to stand next to such a man and shake his hand. In the days prior to the October Revolution, the Brazilian liberal and conservative newspapers often mentioned Comrade Lenin as a dangerous German spy. This was, perhaps, due to the significant Brazilian sympathies for the Kerensky Provisional Government, which the Republic of the United States of Brazil recognised diplomatically on April 9 1917 via the Brazilian delegation in Petrograd. In February 1918, unfortunately, those negative views caused Brazil to once again break off relations with Moscow. Now, four years after his death, and a decade after the Revolution, we know better. He was not only a true friend of the poor, but also an excellent theoretician and political organiser. But how did he treat South America and Brazil? Is he relevant to us?
Unfortunately, Comrade Lenin never dealt much with the future of the South American proletariat specifically. Despite strange and unfounded rumours in the press during late 1918 that Lenin and other Bolsheviks may flee into Brazilian exile, an absurd thought, our Comrade never came to visit. Nor did he ever have much time to comment on our poor continent's situation directly. Truth to be told, Comrade Lenin was extremely candid during the Second Congress of the Communist International of 1920, telling one of our Mexican comrades there that there were "more urgent revolutionary tasks" than the anti-imperialist campaign in Latin America. And this is of course correct. Beset at every turn by domestic and foreign aggressors and counter-revolutionaries, the nascent Soviet Union has scant little time or resources for supporting comrades abroad.
This is something that the PCB, to some degree, in accordance with the democratic principles of that convention, fought during the 1922 Fourth Congress of the Communist International. To little success. Our fidelity to the Executive Committee is immense, but we must never be afraid to provide constructive criticism when perceived as needed. I myself wrote extensively in the official journal of the Comintern, complaining that South America deserved "more serious attention" and "more assiduous political assistance". Now I know better. I have realised that we cannot and should not depend on the Soviet Union or the Communist International for any type of aid, our strength should come from within, and I wish to assure the Brazilian public that our cause is not a foreign one. We are not agents from abroad seeking to destroy this proud nation. We are an entirely domestic movement, always in solidarity with our brothers and sisters abroad, but fundamentally on our own.
Nonetheless, the Soviet Union is and will remain an inspiration. The writings of Comrade Lenin, along with those of Marx and Engels, stand as some of the most vital literature ever to be written, and are crucial to our own success. Especially his 1917 work Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism is vital. Comrade Brandão of the PCB wrote an excellent book approved by a party congress in 1925, analysing the modern revolts in Brazil using Lenin's essay on imperialism, interpreting them as symptoms of a struggle between British and American imperialism, and between feudal agrarianism and bourgeois industrialism. I recommend it.
For those wondering what Comrade Lenin would say regarding the ongoing socioeconomic situation right now in Brazil, allow me to quote his Imperialism: "Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations — all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism." It is that very oligarchic system of control that now haunts the Brazilian workers and peasants.
Collector-Workers of the World, Unite!
The Brazilian Collector-Workers' Society (est. 1929) invites all members of the Brazilian workers' movement to join our movement and become a philatelist, a collector of postage stamps and related items. In addition to this, the BCWS will host limited courses in the international language, Esperanto. It is important for every worker, regardless of what it is, to have a passatempo. Leisure, free time, is crucial to the well-being of the people in these troubled time, and as a direct act of defiance against the national bourgeoisie.
As a branch of the Philatelic International (Filintern, est. 1924), the international philatelic society of collector-workers, the BCWS has access to a whole world of stamp collecting, arranged on a proletarian basis. The programme of Filintern includes: "propaganda of the international union of philatelist-workers of all nations for the struggle against organised philatelist-dealers", "wide popularisation of ideological philately", and "introducing Esperanto into philately and thus the establishment of lively communication between philatelists around the world". Within the framework of Filintern, collector-workers can cooperate on collecting stamps and paper money and exchange the same internationally, publish philatelic bulletins, journals and catalogues, and develop their knowledge of Esperanto.
During the opening conference of the BCWS, an envelope was officially sent to the Soviet Philatelic Association, containing a set of Brazilian postage stamps as a gift to the Soviet collectors, as well as a request for them to send some Soviet postage stamps in return. Also enclosed was a collectively written article draft, subsequently been published in the Soviet Philatelist journal, critiquing Mr. G. S. F. Napier’s flawed work on Brazilian stamp history, for which he received an English medal in 1924.
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