Brazilian Communist Party

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brazilian Communist Party


(Partido Comunista Brasileiro), founded at the First Congress of the Party, which took place on Mar. 25–27, 1922, in the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói. The Brazilian Communist Party (BCP) arose on the basis of the communist groups, circles, and leagues that were founded in the chief industrial centers of Brazil after the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, under the direct influence of its ideas.

The union of the BCP with the Communist International (1924), initiation of contacts with other fraternal parties, and study of their experiences contributed to the further development of the BCP as a Leninist party. By the time of its Second Congress (May 1925, Rio de Janeiro), the BCP had noticeably strengthened and broadened its ranks. The main problem at the congress was the further broadening of the Party’s ranks and the creation of a broad network of Party organizations with the goal of strengthening Party work in the workers’ trade unions and among the peasants. By the time the Third Congress was held (from Dec. 28,1928 to Jan. 3, 1929), the influence of the BCP had already appeared in several municipal government bodies. However, reluctance to give leadership overcame the Third Congress; this reflected the strengthening of petit-bourgeois influence in the ranks of the BCP.

In the mid-1930’s the BCP emerged as the initiator of the movement against attempts to make Brazil turn fascist and in favor of the defense of democratic liberties. The Party led the National Liberation Alliance (NLA); the uprisings that broke out under its leadership (1935) clearly reflected the antifascist mood of the Brazilian people. The defeat of the NLA, mass arrests of Communists, and police reprisals against the Party leadership in 1940 weakened the Party’s strength. However, forced to operate almost exclusively as an underground organization, the Party continued to carry on the struggle against the country’s turn to fascism and foreign enslavement, and for agrarian revolution and the progress of the Brazilian people.

In August 1943 the National Conference of the BCP was held in the small town of Mantiqueira (near Rio de Janeiro). It played an important role in the organizational strengthening of the Party and prepared the conditions for its emergence from the underground. Between 1945 and 1947, when it was a legal party, the BCP became a mass party with more than 100,000 members. In 1945, 73 Communists were elected to the Federal Constituent Assembly and the constituent assemblies of the states. Secretary-general of the BCP L. C. Prestes was elected a senator. The cold war, which had been created by imperialism in 1947, hindered democratic development in Brazil.

In 1948 the Communist deputies lost their mandates. For a number of years after this, subjectivism in the evaluation of the internal situation in Brazil and elements of dogmatism and sectarianism appeared in the Party. This was reflected in the Party program adopted at the Fourth Congress of the BCP (Nov. 7–11, 1954, in Sāo Paulo). An intense ideological struggle eliminated revisionist tendencies in the Party. In 1958 the BCP, which was still officially illegal, entered the arena of legal activity and began an energetic development of the struggle in all the major districts.

The Fifth Congress was held on Sept. 2–6, 1960, in Rio de Janeiro. It adopted the “Political Resolution,” which oriented the Party to the fulfillment of the principal goal of the moment—the strengthening of the struggle against imperialism and the reaction of the bourgeoisie and the landlords, the broadening of democratic rights and liberties, and the achievement of the urgent demands of the workers. The Fifth Congress gave a great deal of attention to the Party’s work in the trade unions and among peasants, women, and young people. It was also concerned with the struggle for peace and the defense of the Cuban Revolution; it affirmed the new rules of the BCP.

Until 1964 the political life of the country was characterized by the development of the democratic process. There were many local and national congresses of trade unions, peasants, and intelligentsia and students. During these congresses the unity of action of the broad mass of the people in their struggle to achieve vital goals in Brazil’s democratic development was forged.

The reactionary coup of April 1964, which was inspired by the imperialism of the USA and carried out by a group of ultrarightist military and civilian figures, prevented the further development of the democratic process in Brazil. The BCP was again forced to operate almost exclusively as an underground organization and reorganize its work at a time of repression of all democratic forces. During preparations for the Sixth Party Congress the BCP was faced with the necessity of overcoming ultraleftist tendencies that were expressed in the efforts of certain members of the Party leadership to revise the principal positions of Party activity and push the Party into a policy of immediate development of an armed struggle in the country without considering concrete conditions and possibilities.

In December 1967 the Sixth Congress of the BCP was held in deep secrecy. The most important document of the congress was the “Political Resolution,” in which an analysis of the country’s political situation was given and the strategic and tactical problems of the Party in the near future were outlined. The Party’s tactical line proposed the use of all forms of struggle including armed struggle, depending on the development of a concrete situation. One of the most important problems recognized by the resolution was the need to reinforce work to broaden the Party’s influence on the masses. The congress unanimously affirmed a decision of the plenum of the Central Committee of the BCP, which had met in September 1967. This decision was about the exclusion from the Party of leftist schismatic elements that had previously been part of the BCP leadership. Despite all obstacles, the BCP fulfilled its goals, even though it acknowledged that after the banning of political parties in 1965, it was the only organized political force in the country.

Delegations of the BCP participated in the international conferences of representatives of Communist and labor parties (Moscow, 1957, 1960, and 1969). The BCP is organized on the principles of democratic centralism. Its highest organ is the congress. The secretary-general of the Central Committee of the BCP is L. C. Prestes. The central organ of the BCP is the monthly newspaper Voz operaria .


Pereira, A. Formaçāo do PCB. [Rio de Janeiro,] 1962.
Prestes, L. C. Em marcha para um Partido Comunista de masas. Rio de Janeiro, 1947.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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A member of the Brazilian Communist party, the artist was imprisoned twice for his political convictions, once during the Constitutionalist Revolution in 1932, and then again between 1935 and 1936, during the dictatorship of Getulio Dornelles Vargas.
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Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Green Party (PV), Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), the National Mobilization Party (PMN), Humanistic Solidarity Party (PHS), the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), Christian Social Party (PSC), Christian Labor Party (PTC), and the Labor Party of Brazil (PT do B), Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), and Brazilian Labor Renewal Party (PRTB).
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French's discussion of the Brazilian Communist Party's active role among workers during this period is especially valuable.

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