Socialist Opposition Movement during Brazil’s Military Dictatorship and Rise of the Worker’s Party

Paper Update Draft 2: socialist-opposition-movement (37) (April 22, 2017)

Paper Rough Draft 1: socialist-revolution-brazils (74 (April 3, 2017)

J. Means, “Latin American Report: Political Kidnappings and Terrorism.” The North American Review, Vol.255, No. 4, pp. 16-19, 1970.

Guerrilla groups (Means, 1970)

  • Small, independent groups
  • Recruit from universities, religious groups, trade unions including the banned National Student’s Union (UNE), banned political parties, and even among professionals
  • In Rio and Sao Paulo, guerrilla groups operated like an army, trained cadres (fighters) totaling 800 people
  • organized strikes in factories or universities and passed out propaganda material depicting the assassination of police or military officials

T. Skidmore. Brazil: Five Centuries of Change. Oxford University Press, 1988.

  • The guerilla movement was run by disaffected youth from the elite not workers
  • Many came from leftist Catholic youth organizations and university political groups.

[5]     Skidmore, 1988.

[2]     Fausto, 1999.

  • The Worker’s Party was founded by Lula (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva) in 1979.  In 1978, after Lula was a known leader of the labor movement, Lula decided the political activism was not enough and perhaps a working class party should be formed. [5]
  • Lula had carried out successful strikes in Brazil, especially in the Sao Paulo area. [5]
  • All but two parties were illegal in Brazil, the National Renewel Alliance, the party of the military, and the moderate party, the Democratic Socialist Movement. [2]
  • The Worker’s Party was formed as an opposition party against the military regime campaigning on socialist political and economic principles.
  • The Worker’s Party gained popularity and spread to urban areas such as Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul. [5]
  • The Worker’s Party organized massive strikes in several regions in Brazil and planned to run in the 1982 parliamentary elections. [5]


M. E. Keck, The Worker’s Party and Democratization in Brazil. Yale University Press, 1992.

  • Strikes in 1979 involved 3 million workers.