A History of Organized Labor in Brazil

A History of Organized Labor in Brazil

A History of Organized Labor in Brazil

A History of Organized Labor in Brazil

Excerpt

I first became acquainted with the labor movement of Brazil in 1946, about a year after the fall of the Estado Novo dictatorship of President Getúlio Vargas. I then spent six weeks in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and the three southernmost states of the republic, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul.

This was an exciting moment in the history of Brazil. There was an aura of freedom following Vargas’s long period of dominance. There was a feeling of change, for the better, and of excitement about the country’s future.

This mood was reflected in the labor movement, which I was particularly interested in investigating, as well as in the society at large. I was able to learn much about the kind of organized labor system that had been constructed in the corporativist Estado Novo of the Vargas dictatorship, as well as the strong movement for change in that system that had been under way since that dictatorship had stumbled and then fallen in 1945. I was also lucky enough to encounter a number of people who had been leaders of Brazilian organized labor before the Revolution of 1930, which had brought Vargas to power, and to get some information and feeling for what the labor movement had been like in its earliest decades—as well as being able to acquire some documentary material from those years.

I was able to understand the political divisions within the labor movement that then existed and would continue to exist for several decades thereafter. I talked with labor leaders who were strong supporters of Getúlio Vargas, as well as with those who considered themselves Communists or sympathizers with the Communist Party. I was also able to meet a number of political . . .

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