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E. IV.4. Brazil, Resisting Military Rule, 1964-85

Volume One -> E. Resisting Oppressive, Dictatorial, Military or Authoritarian Rule -> E. IV. Latin America -> E. IV.4. Brazil, Resisting Military Rule, 1964-85

The military, who had been exerting increasing pressure on the government of Brazil, demanded in 1954 the resignation of the popular President Getulo Vargas, who committed suicide. By the early 1960s there was growing popular unrest, which President Joao Goulart tried to mobilize against the military. The armed forces responded with a coup in 1964, and military rule continued until 1985.

Comparative politics and democratization theorists have often classified Brazil’s path back to electoral democracy as a ‘negotiated transition’, but despite often brutal repression, including torture, there was a good deal of resistance to military rule in which students, workers and Catholic Church groups all played a significant role. The workers’ struggle for basic economic rights often became intertwined with the struggle against dictatorship (since the military backed the employers by targeting labour leaders), and the strength of Brazil’s labour unions has been an important factor in politics.

For Brazil’s impressive movement of land occupations, Movimento Sem Terra see F.I. of the original bibliography, People Power and Protest since 1945, and Volume II of this Guide.

Antoine, Charles, Church and Power in Brazil, London, Sheed and Ward, 1975, pp. 275

Camara, Helder, Spiral of Violence, London, Sheed and Ward, 1971, pp. 83

Statement of case for nonviolent, as opposed to violent, resistance by Archbishop known for his support for the poor and opposition to racism and militarism.

de Carvalho, Jesus Mario, Firmeza Permanente: Labor holds the line Brazil, In McManus; Schlabach, Relentless Persistence: Nonviolent Action in Latin America (E. IV.1. General and Comparative Studies), Philadelphia PA, New Society Publishers, pp. 33-47

Account by labour activist of protracted struggle from 1962 in PETRUS cement factory in Sao Paolo against strikebreaking, police repression and an employer-created ‘union’.

Erikson, Kenneth P., The Brazilian Corrporate State and Working Class Politics, Berkeley CA, University of California Press, 1977, pp. 225

Moreira Alvez, Maria Helena, State and Opposition in Military Brazil, Austin TX, University of Texas Press, 1985, pp. 352

Stepan, Alfred, Democratizing Brazil, New York, Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 404

Includes chapters on local social movements, and on the role of strikes in promoting popular unrest and encouraging move to elections.

See also:

Juan E. Corradi; Patricia Weiss Fagen; Manuel Antonio Garreton, Fear at the Edge: State Terror and Resistance in Latin America, (E. IV.1. General and Comparative Studies)