Fabricio completed his PhD in Social Sciences at the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ), Brazil. He studies social movements, agrarian question, and transitional justice, focusing on peasants and Indigenous peoples. As a scholar-activist, Fabricio has been involved in Brazil’s Peasant Truth Commission, raising public awareness on the history of the Brazilian military dictatorship of 1964-1985 and in struggles for agrarian reform and reparation to victims of violence in rural Brazil. Fabricio currently serves as a consultant for the Inter-American Institute on Cooperation for Agriculture in a research on illiteracy within peasants of Northeastern Brazil.
Revolutionary Organizations and Peasants: Communication and Political Engagement during the Brazilian Military Dictatorship
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Brazilian revolutionary organizations – inspired by the Chinese and Cuban Revolutions – attempted to advance an opposition to the military dictatorship of the time by mobilizing peasants to engage in rural guerrilla groups. My work analy zes the relationship between the militants of these organizations and the peasants they attempted to mobilize.
The questions that guided the research were the following: How did militants present their proposals for armed revolution? How did peasants respond to these proposals? How did militant clandestinity impact their interaction with local populations?
Based on three study-cases of different organizations in Rio de Janeiro, Tocantins and Bahia, the research used oral history, bibliographic, and documentary analysis as a methodological approach to compare the selected cases.
Despite the effort of the militants to become close to the peasants, generally the cultural differences led the latter to distrust the former. On the other hand, in most cases, peasants saw militants as authorities, someone deserving of respect. In some cases this authority was based in the religious capital that some militants had, but in most cases, militants reached respect from peasants by providing them with different forms of social assistance.
While the relationship between militants and peasants presented some characteristics compatible with what Eric Wolf calls it patronage and what Paulo Freire calls it an anti-dialogical relationship, my fieldwork provided me with several examples of the effort of the militants to establish a dialogical communication, although, not always successful.
Affiliation: Inter-American Institute on Cooperation for Agriculture