PCB's first years were marked by an effort to create a Socialist thinking in Brazil. It must be noted that, unlike other countries, Brazil had not much anti-capitalist political experience, except for the 1917 anarchist actions in São Paulo. On those years it was declared illegal by the government. On May 1st 1925, during the party's second congress, its weekly newspaper A Classe Operária (The Working Class) was announced, with five thousand copies being sold on the factories. This number grew to nine hundred copies by the ninth edition, but the Police shut the newspaper down shortly after number twelve. It would reaper in 1928, after the third congress.
By 1930, being recognized by the Communist International and with its Socialist Youth formed, the PCB had nearly eleven hundred members. This decade also marked two cycles on the party's history: one of incresing influence, until 1935, and one of decreasement, until 1942. Both cycles are comprehensible when seen in the context of the Vargas era.
On 1943, during the so-called Mantiqueira Conference, the party secretly met in the small city of Engenheiro Passos, Rio de Janeiro, and on an open letter to Vargas decided to support a declaration of war on the Axis. Also, Luís Carlos Prestes was elected to the party's presidency. On 1945, after Vargas's dictatorship ended, PCB became legal once again. By 1947, it had nearly two hundred thousand members. However, this legallity period did not last much, as president Dutra denounced PCB as "Internationalist, therefore, not commited to Brazil's own interests" in 1948, an action supported by the American government.
In the 1950ies, as the party was driven in to illegallity, it began supporting major worker strikes arround Brazil. However, this did not impede the beggining of internal clashes between PCB's factions. This became more evident after the Soviet Communist Party's 20th Congress, when Nikita Khrushchev dennounced Stalin's policies. The factionalization of the party really started after a new Manifesto was passed in 1958, proposing new ways for communist actions. This Manifesto links the conquest of Socialism to the broadening of democracy. As the party had gained a clearly reformist agenda, some of its top leaders quited PCB, forming the new Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brazil - PCdoB) in 1962.
Under this new orientation, the PCB grew in size and exerced a much greater role on the Brazilian left. However, the alliance forged with the other parties did not impeded the 1964 coup d'état, throwing PCB once again in a period of illegallity. However, unlike other leftitst groups, PCB did not play an important role agains the dictatorship, refusing, in an exemple, to involve itself on armed struggle. Many important leaders left the party, while many others died in the hands of the military regime.
After the 1979 amnesty, PCB's leaders began to reestructurize the party. The 1982 Congress confirmed the revisionist agenda, declaring the PCB "a party of the masses, linking the Socialist goals to the true Democracy, which is to be constructed based on the values of freedom". Once again, internal clashes marked the party, as the members became divided between Communists and Social-Democrats, mainly after Prestes left the party. This crisis came to and end only in January 1992, during the Tenth Congress, when the majority of the members decided to leave and form another new party, the Socialist People's Party (Partido Popular Socialista - PPS).
The new PCB, taken form after the PPS's foundation, decided to retake the party's original Marxist-Leninist agenda.
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