José Fontana

Fontana, José


(also Giuseppe Fontana). Born Oct. 26, 1841, in Cabbio, Ticino Canton, Switzerland; died Sept. 2, 1876, in Lisbon. Figure in the Portuguese working-class movement. Publicist.

First a blue-collar worker, Fontana later worked in a library. He helped found a section of the First International in Portugal and was a member of the Portuguese Federal Council of the International in 1872 and 1873. An organizer and secretary of the Workers’ Brotherhood, which was the first mass organization of Portuguese workers, he was also editor of the newspaper O Pensamento social in 1872 and 1873. Although Fontana was at first under the influence of petit bourgeois socialism, his correspondence with K. Marx, F. Engels, and P. Lafargue helped him overcome that influence. Fontana propagandized certain tenets of scientific communism and advocated the creation of an independent proletarian party in Portugal.