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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(11 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 58, 11 August 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

South American Situation Fraught with Revolutionary Possibilities
(This week’s column by Diego Montanez)

Unrest and turmoil continue in Latin America. Chile and Ecuador have just had a little trouble. Mexico had a minor outbreak last week in the rich mining state of Guanajuato and United States diplomatic sources hint that they expect further developments. Information from Brazil indicates that the constant jockeying for control of the government is fast approaching the point of eruption into open civil war. In Argentina the reactionary, pro-British President Ortia, with the aid of the Stalinists, whips up an anti-German spy hunt. Throughout the Latin part of the continent one finds the same ferment that preceded the sweep of revolts that took place in 1930.

With so many capitalist governments tottering, a splendid opportunity for revolutionary action should exist. But, with the exception of the numerically small sections of the Fourth International, and to a certain extent the Nacionalista Party in Puerto Rico, the clever smile of Roosevelt and the pro-imperialist turn of the Stalinists have wrought havoc among the labor and progressive movements of the continent.

The situation of the capitalists is complicated by several factors. There are the struggles between the “democratic” and “dictatorial” powers for control of the industries and markets and military bases, the struggles between the U.S. and British capitalists, the struggles of the native capitalists for a larger share of the booty, the fusses occasionally raised by sections of the native capitalists who prefer “liberal” means of ruling, the continual battles between sets of job-hungry officials, the maneuvers of the labor bureaucrats and Stalinists, and under them all the restless stirring of the hundred million workers and peasants.

The fresher bureaucratic government cliques that took power in the wave of revolts nine or ten years ago have become worn out. New and still fresher strata are being pushed forward. In Brazil a large section of the ruling class, including many of the army leaders, has grown tired of the inept and unsteady Vargas dictatorship. They are preparing for an attempt to replace it with one more to their own liking. This attempt will be bitterly resisted by the Vargas group, probably to the point of bloody civil war.

In the course of such a war both sides will ferociously turn upon any section of the working class that raises its head. The advanced workers, who supported the large and influential Communist Party in the past, have by now lost all faith in the Stalinist relic that preaches support of the very government that murdered and jailed thousands of its old militants and keeps it illegal even today. Whole masses have voted against the “new line” with their feet. Others, to a surprising and significant extent, have drawn the lessons of the Stalinist degeneration and have come over to the Fourth International.

Though the Stalinist lackeys of the imperialist police “reached the depth of announcing over the Moscow short-wave radio the real names of party members who they knew were opposed to the support of Yankee imperialism” (quoted from the unanimous decision of the Sao Paulo Regional Committee of the C.P.), the Communist organizations in Parana and Sao Paulo (the latter the Brazilian equivalent of New York State), as well as many individual militants, have broken with Stalinism and joined the Leninist Workers Party (Fourth International section to Brazil). Even to the prisons and dungeons of Rio and Fernando Naranho Island where Vargas keeps five to six thousand anti-imperialist fighters, the same process is going on, as new arrivals bring news of Stalinism and the new Fourth International. The Stalinist henchmen now find themselves forced, by the appearance of so many manifestos of disaffiliation by militant C.P. groups, to sign their leaflets: “Communist Party (section of the Third International)”!

The revolutionary, Bolshevik movement to Brazil, inspired by its new gains, has held a congress to consolidate its forces to prepare to move forward to winning the masses of downtrodden, underfed workers and landless peasants for the decisive struggle against the corrupt native and foreign capitalists.

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