Search in
ADD SEARCH FILTER CANCEL SEARCH FILTER

Digital Archive International History Declassified

1964

MATERIAL FOR THE VISIT OF PRESTES WITH ULBRICHT ON 14 FEBRUARY 1964

CITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD
  • Citation

    get citation

    A dossier of materials on the Brazilian Communist Party prepared in anticipation of a visit by Luis Carlos Prestes. It gives an overview of East German relations with the Brazilian Communist Party as well as current domestic politics in Brazil.
    "Material for the Visit of Prestes with Ulbricht on 14 February 1964," 1964, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO-BArch, NY 4182/1290. Obtained for CWIHP by Jim Hershberg and translated by Sean O'Grady. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121225
  • share document

    https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121225

VIEW DOCUMENT IN

English HTML

Materials for the visit of Comrade Prestes to Comrade Ulbricht on 14.2.64

Contents

1. The Brazilian Communist Party

2. Relationship of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany to the Brazilian Communist Party

3. Contemporary tendencies of the internal political development of Brazil

4. Brief overview of the country

5. The history of the Brazilian Communist Party

6. Text of the interview of Comrade L.C. Prestes from Brazilian television on 3.1.1964

7. Regarding Lubke’s Travel

Brazilian Communist Party

Founded: 25.3.1922 (illegal since 1947, now semi-legal)

General Secretary: Luis Carlos P R E S T E S

Membership: 1945  3,000

1946 100,000

1961 ca 15,000

Last Party Congress: 5th Party Congress September 1960

Central Organ: “Novos Rumos” [New Directions] (legal)

In Brazil, since the beginning of 1965, there has existed a splinter group known as the “Communist Party of Brazil.”This group, that is under strong Chinese influence, consists of people who were expelled from the Brazilian Communist Party in 1961 for anti-party and splintering activities. The group has no mass influence. They distribute a newspaper titled “Clase Operaria” (Working Class).

Berlin, 12.2.1964

Relationship of the SED to the Brazilian Communist Party in the last year.

In the last year, connections to the Brazilian Communist Party became closer and warmer. A Brazilian delegation, under the direction of the members of the Politburo and the Chief Editor of the Party Organ “Novos Rumos,” participated at the 6th Party Congress.

In the time between 11 to 25 November [1963], a five member delegation of the Brazilian Communist Party stayed in the GDR under the direction of a member of the Central Committee, Comrade Malina.

We learned very quickly that these comrades had very little understanding of the GDR and our problems. There was a certain bias against the GDR that was mixed with arguments from western propaganda.

While traveling through the GDR they were given the possibility to study the development of our Republic. They were in Eisenhüttenstadt, Rostock (Warnow-Werft, LPG Trinwillershagen), Leipzig (Issues of the National Front), Weimar (National Mannstätte, Goethe and Schillfer Memorials), Magdeburg (Ernst-Thälmann-Works, Institute of Technology). Everywhere they took the opportunity to speak with workers, farmers, and the intelligentsia. 

There were the following questions:

- How is the political-ideological work lead and carried out by the party organizations.

- How does the Party organize the masses for the implementation of economic tasks?

- What was the opinion of the population of the GDR to the measures of the government on 13 August 1961?

- Is there still anti-communism in the GDR?

- How is the West German influence fought?

- Development and tasks of the National Front.

As a result of the travel, the Brazilian comrades stated at the final face-to-face criticism session with Comrade Axen and Comrade Florin that their opinion from the perspective of the Brazilian Communist Party had underestimated the German question and that they were themselves poorly informed.

The leader of the delegation, Comrade [Salomão] Malina, explained that the propaganda of the reactionaries is very powerful and that he had convinced himself while in the GDR that this propaganda must be fought. He emphasized that he will work in the Central Committee to ensure that the party newspaper “Novos Rumos” deals with these problems more directly.

After a detailed discussion regarding questions of ideological work of the party with regards to scientists and artists, the economic development of the GDR, and problems of forming a multilateral nuclear force, the comrades proposed the following possibilities for strengthening the relationship between the two parties:

1. To send an accredited journalist from the “Novos Rumos” to the capital of the GDR.

2. To send a delegation to the GDR with the very concrete task of strengthening the mutual relationship as well as discussing the propaganda activities.

We must realize that problems of the GDR have recently been brought into the party press in a prominent location. Unfortunately there are still very great confusions in the expositions.

Thus, for example, in “Novos Rumos” in issue 254 from January 1st 1964 on the first page there is a 30-line announcement in bold over the visa treaty. The first part of the announcement briefly explains the necessity and sources of the erection of the protection wall and includes the earlier offers of the GDR for the “Normalization of Border Traffic”.

At the conclusion it says “However, it must be noted that while the border from the west to the east has opened, the wall remains closed for those who wish to go from the GDR to West Berlin. Where in all of this is the ‘love of Freedom’ of Adenauer and his successors?” In the “Novos Rumos” from the 7th to 13h February 1964 a map was printed, without any annotation, that was distributed by the West German embassies in Latin America. On this map, the former all-german empire was labeled with divisions such as “so-called GDR,” “German territory presently occupied by Poland,” and former East-Prussia was titled “currently soviet-occupied German territory”.

In the conversation with Comrade Prestes, the following  problems should be addressed:

- The economic policies of the Party (Questions of the 5th Plenum)

- The policies of our Party regarding West Germany and West Berlin

- Reinforce the proper treatment of the problems of the GDR in Brazil, especially in preparation for Lübke’s trip in April/May 1964 to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru.

- Problems of the international communist movement.

Berlin, 12.2.1964

Contemporary Tendencies in the domestic political development of Brazil

                        I.

1. The referendum on 6.1.1963 that restored the powers of the president did not lead to the hoped stabilization of the critical economic and political situation. President Goulart pursued his policy of maneuvering between the different power groups, which was reflected by the repeated cabinet reshuffles and changes of ministers. Given his compromised position vis-à-vis the pressures of foreign capital and the domestic reactionary forces, the democratic powers met with growing distrust that was reinforced by the USA – supported through the right-extremist circles in Brazil – which only increased the pressure of the ruling circles on Goulart. They focused on growing their influence while isolating Goulart and his supporters in order to use the domestic political struggles to secure a decision favorable to their interests.

2. The beginning of the 3 Year Plan submitted in 1963 (1963-65), which should have helped to resolve the economic difficulties, was doomed to failure because it was not oriented around the national resources and did not provide for the suppression of imperialist influence on the national economy (over 1/3 of the total capital belonged to foreign owners). The new investments of foreign capital continued to decline. Furthermore, the drain of Brazilian private capital abroad was not halted.

The inflationary devaluation of the Cruzeiro continued further. The price increases reached 75 – 80 % with a significant lag in nominal wages. The growth rate of the economy for 1963 is estimated at only 2.4% (in 1957-61 it amounted to 7%), which means a considerable shortfall when compared to the 3.5% population growth rate. The foreign debt in 1963 reached approximately 3.8 billion dollars. The government deficit has continued to grow.

3. Under these conditions, not only did the main contradiction between foreign imperialism and the national interest become exacerbated, but the social opposition also moved significantly into the forefront to become a decisive factor in domestic political conflict and the quickly advancing process of polarization. The accelerating impoverization of the working population has led to an unceasing wave of strikes that take on a more and more political character.

II.

At present there is a latent danger of a coup by the right-extremist forces led by Governor Lacerda. However, observations so far show that the national and democratic forces are still essentially limited to the defense against the actions of the Ultras and have not yet transformed into a political offensive, although a considerable growth of the fighting power of the working classes and a political activation of the broader circles of the working population has been recorded, especially the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. The main reason for this is they have yet to be overcome the political and organizational fragmentation of the democratic movement, although their main common objective is to achieve “basic structural reforms” for the national-democratic transformation of the political and economic conditions in Brazil.

The “National Liberation Front” (FLN), founded in 1961, in which representatives of the radical petty bourgeoise controlled the leadership, is de facto disintegrated. In May 1963 a new, loose union was established in the form of the “Front of the People’s Mobilization” (FMP). 

This was – in contrast to the FLN – influenced significantly by the trade unions, in which the right and reformist leaders could be substantially isolated. The “General Labor Leadership” (CGT), established at the end of 1962, has developed itself into a center of political leadership of the unions, in whose ranks more than 50% of the industrial workers are currently organized. The influence of the Brazilian Communist Party (BKP) in the trade unions is growing. Also, the organization of the farmers agricultural workers achieved further advances (one can count nearly one million organized today). These forces, together with the other nationalist organizations (including the “Nationalist Parliament Front”) constitute the front of people’s mobilization. The Brazilian Communist Party assesses that the Front of People’s Mobilization is “not yet the political instrument for revolutionary transformation in Brazilian life,” however “it can function as the militant and radical core of a solidarity front.” The Brazilian Communist Party is represented in the leadership of the Front of People’s Mobilization by several members of the Central Committee, which was not the case in the FLN.

                    III.

From these conditions, the following current events can be evaluated:

1. In view of the above situation, Goulart is forced to make every effort to prevent a collapse of the powers grouped around him by setting his government on a more stable basis.

2. In this situation, the former Foreign and Finance Minister, Prof. San Tiago Dantas (as it now turns out, on behalf of Goulart) submitted a proposal to the democratic and left forces to form a “People’s Front” or “Progressive Front” of all forces of the left and center, “with the goal of cooperation with President Goulart, to support him, and to bring about ground reforms.” For this purpose, a common political platform will be worked out, to achieve a “public opinion” inside and outside the Parliament, that the reforms can be enforced through legislative and administrative means. A change of government is not foreseen. The political platform should include the following points: agricultural, banking, tax, administrative, press, and political reforms, as well as principles of “general policy of the government” in the areas of finance, foreign trade, culture, supply, and foreign policy.

3. The Brazilian Communist Party, on 24. 1. 1964 openly accepted in the Party Organ “Novos Rumos” the proposals of Professor Dantas. In early February the first official meeting between Comrade Prestes and Prof. Dantas took place.

The most recent documents of the party, which are evidently based on the decisions of the 5th Party Congress general line, shows that the Brazilian Communist Party sees as its present task to “strengthen the national and democratic movement,” thereby “apply the pressure of the workers and the people . . . on the government more effectively and systematically,” around “implementing the realization of structural reforms.” The party considers the structural reforms “as a means, admittedly an aid, but one that has great importance for reaching the ultimate goal of the labor movement. Under the real conditions in Brazil, there continues to be a demand for structural reforms and for structural reforms for the development of the class struggle and the solution of the tasks set out before our revolution.”

Therefore, the Brazilian Communist Party welcomed the draft program of Prof. Dantas and pledged its support. Simultaneously, it developed its perceptions towards these proposals, which have two main features:

a) The Brazilian Communist Party, as a prerequisite, calls for the reorganization of the government in such a way that the it truly includes all forces that are interested in the implementation of the basic reforms, i.e. the formation of a democratic and nationalist government.

b) That its individual program points contain crucial specifications and amendments (in terms of defining objectives and the methods of its implementation), that amount to a real restriction of the economic position and influence of large estate holders and big business.

It appears that the Party, in the interest of creating the broadest possible united front against imperialism and domestic reaction, is currently willing to make further compromises if they serve to “prepare conditions for the fundamental transformations, that ensure the full political and economic liberation of Brazil” as these structural reforms are considered “as a prerequisite and an indispensable stage on the way to socialism.” The [BKP] thereby designates them as pressing tasks as “tasks of the national and democratic revolution.”

I. The Brazilian Communist Party and the domestic political situation

The Brazilian CP was founded in 1922. In 1945 it had the first opportunity to act legally. In 1945 it counted 3,000 members, however in 1945 600,000 votes were cast for CP representatives and senators. In the years 1945/46, the number of members rose to 100,000. It was a rapid growth to record, but no consolidation took place. In 1947, with the beginning of the Cold War, the CP was banned and its seats were confiscated. In this time, the party began to encounter a series of errors – dogmatism, sectarianism.

It suffered great losses, as it abstained from the 1950 elections for Presidential candidate Vargas, who took a anti-US position. The [illegible] broke away from the party and instinctually voted for the nationalist candidate Vargas. Through these and similar errors, the Party weakened itself and moved more and more towards a dogmatic and sectarian position. After the 20th Party Congress of the CPSU, the Brazilian Communist Party had to fight great difficulties. Many intellectuals fell to conservative opportunism and reformism. The Central Committee had to take a self-critical position on the radical leftist errors of the previous era. On this topic, conflicts arose within the Central Committee. In November 1956, a new Central Committee was elected (50% of Intellectuals and officers retired).

In 1960 the Fifth Party Congress was held. Previously elaborated theories had strong revanchist tendencies. At the Party Congress, these were rejected and new ones were developed and adopted on the basis of the decisions of the Moscow Meeting.

Since this time, the Brazilian Communist Party has become stronger. They have reinforced their positions in the mass organizations and have already achieved notable successes. 

The leadership of the Brazilian Communist Party adopted a political resolution at a conference on December 15th, 1962 in Sao Paolo, which was attended by the leaders of the Party organizations from all of the states. The resolution analyzes the international situation and the Party’s work among Brazilian workers. In the resolution, the prominent role of the Soviet Union in the fight to save the human race from a nuclear war during the crisis in the Caribbean, and the heroic stance of the Cuban people were highlighted.

In the domestic political sphere, the Brazilian Communist Party criticized the government for its support of the “Alliance for Progress,”“an instrument of imperialism, that should be opposed by the growing revolutionary consciousness of the Latin American peoples.” The communists support the positive elements of the foreign policy of the current government, in particular the restrictions it imposes on imperialist capital in Brazil. At the same time, they criticized the compromises the government made with the reactionary forces. “The struggle for agrarian reform and [the struggle] against the taxation of life, the defense of civil and constitutional reform – these are the next tasks that the Brazilian Communist Party has laid out,” is stated in the resolution. In recent years, the social and political contradictions in Brazil have extraordinarily intensified. After the unrest in the country in 1961, a campaign began immediately to preserve and strengthen the forces of the left. It developed into the movement for the legalization of the Brazilian Communist Party. Although the Party had the requisite number of votes necessary to register the party as a legal organization by the end of 1961, it did not have the legal permission to operate officially as a party until today.

Trade Unions

Under the leadership of the Party, a broad trade unionization movement is developing. The new leadership, which came to the forefront of the trade unions in the fall of 1961, plays a major role in the development of the industrial action and the democratic movement. The strike movement, which began in 1960, has grown in the past two years. Of particular importance are the general strikes organized by the Brazilian Communist Party in conjunction with the trade unions in September 1962 for the protection of democratic rights and freedoms against the reactionary military cabals. 

Peasants Movement

A great victory in the organization of the revolutionary forces was the formation of agricultural mass organizations, the so-called Peasants League and the Union of Peasants and Farm Workers. In 1961, the first national congress of farmers and farm workers occurred. The political activity of the Brazilian peasantry is directly influenced by the Cuban Revolution. In recent years, instances are accumulating where peasants and farm workers have taken control of the land from the landlords. The battle for agrarian reform is a matter of the entire nation and is supported not only by the peasants and students, but has also received a warm reception from a part of the national bourgeoisie. In February 1962, Governor Brizola began to distribute land in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, without waiting for the adoption of an overall national agrarian reform. The same governor nationalized the American owned telephone company in March/April 1962.

Liquidation of factional groups in the Brazilian Communist Party

In December 1961 the Party was informed of the activities of a small factional group (revisionist and liberalist) led  by Joao Amazonas, Mauricio Grabois, and Pedro Pomar, who had, in the past, held leading functions at the national level within the Brazilian communist movement. These elements led a systematic attack on the unity and discipline of the Communist Party, violated the adopted resolutions, and performed insidious subversions. These people were ejected from the ranks of the Brazilian Communist Party.

Position of the Brazilian Communist Parry to the Soviet Union and to the communist movement

The delegation of the Brazilian Communist Party at the 22nd Party Congress of the CPSU appeared positive, and informed regarding their battle in Brazil and supported the policies  of the CPSU in the main questions of the Party Congress. In a special resolution of the Central Committee of the Brazilian Communist Party for the evaluation of the 22nd Party Congress, the appearance of the delegation at the Party Congress was praised. In paragraph 2, where the problems of preventability of wars and the preservation of Peace was discussed, it states: “the dogmatists have learned the general forms of imperialism by heart and thus obstinately hold to them with their lives. These dogmatists do not understand the new situation in the world and the new developments which emerge every day.” In paragraph 3, the personality cult of Stalin is rejected and [it is] stressed that the personality cult was a consequence of the socialist system. The position of the Albanian leaders, that violate the unity of the international communist movement, will be rejected. The communist party appealed to the Albanian leaders to see their errors. The declaration continues: “under the present situation in the world and the communist international movement, there exists no guiding center of the international communist movement. However, the CPSU, as the most experienced and proven Party in the entire world, was and is - as stated in the declaration of 1960 - the vanguard of the communist international movement as recognized by all.”The representatives of the Brazilian Communist Party have, at the party congresses in Sofia, Budapest, Prague, Rome, and at the 6th Party Congress, participated in the conflicts with the Chinese delegation and consistently argued on the basis of the declarations of the Moscow Meetings of 1957 and 1960.