Brazil and the Soviet Challenge, 1917–1947

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While the history of the Brazilian communist movement has been extensively studied, this is the first work to explore how images of the Soviet Union and its policies influenced the Brazilian foreign policy elite. It will be important reading for all students of twentieth-century political history. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. Published July 22nd by University of Texas Press. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Brazil and the Soviet Challenge, — , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Brazil and the Soviet Challenge, — Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing For the next 10 years Nkrumah immersed himself into this ferment of social and intellectual struggles and lent his energies and talents to mobilizing against racism, capitalism and imperialism. Indeed, Kwame Nkrumah had written that the most important influence on his political maturation had come from the Garveyites.

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Though C. R James had introduced Nkrumah to George Padmore, Nkrumah never allowed the ideas that Padmore held about Marcus Garvey to sway his understanding of the importance of the emancipation of Africa.


What were the most important lessons of the Graveyites? These were the elements that guided the program of Kwame Nkrumah and the Pan Africanism of his tenure. Towards the end of his life, Nkrumah insisted that the only way to free Africa was through a Revolutionary Path. It should be noted that the attacks on the socialist experiment in the USSR had begun right after the assumption of power by the Bolsheviks.

Counter-revolution reared its head in a war that diverted resources from the building of a socialist economy. During his life-time, Vladimir Lenin had toyed with the ideas of a New Economic Policy NEP in order to revive the shattered economy that was hemorrhaging because of war and stagnation. Lenin and thinkers such as Nikolai Bukharin and Preobrazhensky had advocated a mixture of socialism and opening up to western capitalism in this period of transition.

The challenges of maintaining power in the midst of war had intensified the debates in the Communist Party about the form of the organization that the party should take.

Brazil–Russia relations

Decisions that were taken in the midst of War Communism were to have a negative impact on the future of building the party. Leon Trotsky had been another casualty of the internecine debates within the Communist Party after the passing of Lenin. Questions of socialist transformation and the future of the peasantry were matters that under any circumstance required clarity of purpose and the complete mobilization of the social forces who would be in the forefront of building socialism.

The conditions of War Communism did not allow for a neat resolution of the challenges thrown up by the need to accumulate the resources in order to industrialize the society. The debates on the NEP and the repercussions are of importance for all countries trying to conceptualize a post-capitalist society. One of the important lessons of this period was the degeneration of the party after the intrigues and inner party struggles after the death of Lenin in January Questions of whether socialism could be built in one country and whether the foreign policies of international socialist parties should be subservient to the needs of the USSR dominated the discussions on socialism.

Between the years this degeneration was compounded by the policies of rapid collectivization. This was a policy to guarantee surpluses from the rural areas to ensure the rapid industrialization of the USSR. Walter Rodney in his lectures on the Russian Revolution spent considerable time on the question of the peasantry and the challenges of socialist transformation because he had become aware of the need for African revolutionaries to have clarity on the methods of transforming African agriculture.

Brazil and the Soviet Challenge, – - eBook -

While being critical of the excesses of Joseph Stalin, Rodney at the same time recognized the tremendous sacrifices made by the workers and peasants to build an industrial economy. This forthright work was to be of importance to entire humanity in the Second Imperialist War. The draconian policies of the leadership and mass killings were influenced by internal political struggles as the leader Joseph Stalin built up a cult of personality.

Walter Rodney made four points about the degeneration under Joseph Stalin,. In the vanguard party, the ideas of the party became obedient to the Central Committee and the Central Committee became obedient to the great leader. Political obedience stifled creativity all around as the purges created a climate of fear. This issue of the cult of personality in the vanguard party was to bedevil socialist parties for many years. It was in the era of Fidel Castro of Cuba where there were explicit instructions that there should be no cult of personality.

Fidel Castro was so clear about this that in his will he declared that he did not want any airport or any monument named after him. The rise of fascism as a component of the crisis of imperialism had made a dramatic impact on humanity. Fascist parties had grown all over Europe in the capitalist depression. The defeat of the German socialists and the killing of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in had been a wakeup call for revolutionaries everywhere as to the true nature of German militarism. After the war Berlin became a cultural space for the anti-colonialists, especially those rallying against British imperialism.

It was the defeat of the German Communists that highlighted the reality that the Bolshevik Revolution had to be self-reliant in building a new society and that the period of revolution in Western Europe was to be long in coming.

Cold War historiography at the crossroads

Karl Liebknecht had written on the dangers of German militarism in the period of the First Imperialist War stating that,. The history of militarism is at the same time the history of the political, social, economic and, in general, the cultural relations of tension between states and nations, as well as the history of the class struggles within individual and national units. Communists from Italy such as Antonio Gramsci had been warning of the dangers of fascism, but the flawed theory was to be found in the analysis of the leaders of the USSR that the social democratic parties were a greater danger to humanity than the fascist parties.

German militarism had consumed the society and had exploded into full blown fascism after the capitalist depression of In societies where there were colonies, the British and the French practiced fascism in their colonies. In countries such as Spain and Portugal, the fascist parties took power and maintained power for over forty years.

This was a racist and anticommunist organization who wanted to restore the power of the German bourgeoisie by crushing the German working classes. Today imperialists seek to obfuscate the real meaning of fascism by blaming the atrocities of the Nazis on the idiosyncrasies of Adolph Hitler. Africans need to study the racism and chauvinism among the European working classes that were developed in this period. A similar brand of chauvinism and racism is now emerging, hence it is necessary to grasp the ways in which a precious generation fought against this militarism.

After the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the fascists seized power in Spain and fought a war to crush revolutionaries. The Japanese fascists invaded China in and carried out genocide. The German fascists invaded Czechoslovakia in and the rest of the fascist rampage left over 20 million noncombatants dead in Europe, with the famous Holocaust coming from this period of fascism. The attack on the USSR by the fascist armies and with collaboration from the ruling classes of Eastern Europe was one of the deadliest aspects of the Second Imperialist War.

The defense of Russia by the socialist workers was one of the most important contributions to humanity in the 20th century. In the United States it was the collective leadership of the black progressives from the twenties that provided the leadership to fight full blown fascism in the USA. This victory over fascism emboldened the anti-colonial forces from China to Guatemala and from Indonesia to South Africa. These uprisings marked a new stage in human history with the independence of Vietnam in and India in Out of these anti-colonial forces emerged the spirit of Bandung Indonesia where the freedom fighters from all over the world committed themselves to bread, peace and justice.

It was the moment that influenced the rise of the African revolution in the independence phase The execution of Patrice Lumumba in January was a deliberate effort on the part of imperialism to thwart the revolutionary possibilities of Africa.

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In this Bandung process, there was new sense of solidarity among oppressed peoples and it was in this period when Marshall Tito and Nehru along with Nasser and Nkrumah created the Nonaligned Movement. Two of the most energetic forces of this movement came from the freedom fighters who were battling white racism in Southern Africa and the embryonic Cuban Revolution.

Che Guevara emerged out of the internationalism of the Latin American revolutionary process and threw himself into support for African liberation by joining the struggles for self-rule in the Congo. Guevara was killed by forces of US imperialism in Bolivia in October After the defeat of the USA in Vietnam in , imperialism had decided to take a stand for the regeneration of capitalism in Africa. This stand took the form of complete support for the minority white racist regimes in Southern Africa.

By , the Portuguese fascists had collapsed and the West decided to support the apartheid regime to fill the vacuum. The alliance between the Cuban Revolutionaries and the Angolan freedom fighters in had shifted the balance of forces in favor of African revolution. After the first defeat of apartheid in in Angola, the racists embarked on a Total Strategy against freedom fighters in Africa.

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  • Brazil and the Soviet Challenge, 1917–1947.

Meanwhile the legacies of degeneration from the era of the purges of the thirties still affected the intellectual and ideological developments of the USSR. The intellectual deficiencies were to be seen in the official publications coming out of the USSR from a publishing house called Progress Publishers. This was a publishing house that was supposed to produce English language texts on Marxism, but it became a mouthpiece for the incorrect analysis of the international situation that came out of Moscow.

It must be stated, however, that on balance, the existence of the USSR was a positive influence for the African liberation forces. That there was another force to counter the weight of the imperialist countries provided room for diplomatic, military and political alternatives. In the same measure where the existence of the socialist camp was a boost for freedom fighters, the split between the Chinese and the USSR in the sixties negatively affected African freedom struggles. The other important development was that African Revolutionaries understood that they had to develop their own theory of revolution. Frantz Fanon, A. Babu, A. Amilcar Cabral had been clear on the ideological deficiencies of the established communist parties when he delivered the lecture on The Weapon of Theory in Havana in January at the first Tricontinental Conference of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.