In the 1980s and ’90s, America’s largest Marxist organization, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), played a role in bringing a Marxist government to power in Brazil. Well into the 2000s, the DSA worked to build ties between the United States and Brazilian socialist and labor movements.
Now that Brazil’s new anti-communist President Jair Bolsonaro is removing Marxist government contractors and cracking down on leftist and communist elements, the DSA has joined the anti-Bolsonaro “resistance.”
The DSA and their allies perceive President Donald Trump and Bolsonaro as enemies in their quest for global socialism. This unifying cause has propelled the United States and Brazilian “resistance” movements to strengthen ties.
On Jan. 4, the Miami branch of the DSA rallied with the Black Rose Anarchist Federation (“Rosa Negra”) and the “combative anti-capitalist/imperialist” group One Struggle at downtown Miami’s “Torch of Friendship” to protest the Bolsonaro inauguration.
The Facebook invitation stated explicitly that the groups hope to “signal closer cooperation between social movements in Miami and social movements in Brazil.”
According to the event’s Facebook page:
“Internationalism is not an abstract question for us. It’s not a matter of choice. It’s an urgent necessity, especially when you consider that Trump is simply one of many fascists currently exercising power in the Americas.
“For this reason, we call on all comrades to mobilize on Friday, January 4th against the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro.
“Bolsonaro has come to prominence in recent years as the voice and face of the far-right in Brazilian politics. … A Bolsonaro presidency signals a return to the horrors of Brazil’s military dictatorship.”
The anti-Bolsonaro rhetoric is extreme and reminiscent of the hard-left’s cringe-worthy and often violent response to Trump.
In a blog post posted on the Black Rose website about their anti-Bolsonaro event with the Miami DSA, the author claimed that Bolsonaro “came to power by embracing overt misogyny, racism, homophobia, and transphobia.” Supporters of the new president, the article continues, “have harassed or attacked organizers and journalists, and Bolsonaro has expressed fascist values.”
In one particularly disturbing post on the anarchist website Enough is Enough, video footage shows masked anarchists shouting in Portuguese: “Fascism is not be discussed, it is to be destroyed!” and “No Bolsonaro, No Bolsonaro, No Bolsonaro!”
The video was shared by the “New York City Antifa” Twitter page, which boasts over 33,000 followers at the time of this report. The blog post also featured a disturbing image of Bolsonaro with arrows protruding from his face, neck, and chest.
The irony is that a month before the election in Brazil, candidate Bolsonaro was allegedly stabbed by Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, a longtime affiliate of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL).
It should be noted that at its biennial national convention in Chicago in August 2017, the DSA “cheered wildly the spokespersons from the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) of Brazil,” in a “symbolic” effort to “identify itself with the broad left parties of the left in Europe and Latin America,” according to New Politics.
While the DSA clearly isn’t alone in its anger over the Bolsonaro presidency in Brazil, the organization played a role in imposing a Marxist government on Brazil and, therefore, has an interest in seeing its investment endure.
Former iron-worker and labor activist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (popularly known as “Lula”), helped found the Brazilian Partido dos Trabalhadores or Workers’ Party in 1980. Openly a party of the left, it wasn’t doctrinaire or overtly communist.
The Workers’ Party was a coalition of multiple strands of the Brazilian left—about a dozen major currents, ranging from Trotskyist and Marxist–Leninist to leftist social democratic. While the Workers’ Party has run in several elections as a partner of the Communist Party of Brazil, Lula’s non-denominational leftist coalition proved effective, winning over many millions of Brazilian voters.
Lula ran unsuccessfully for president three times before achieving victory in the 2002 election. He was re-elected in the 2006 election, then was succeeded by his former chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, in 2011. Rousseff, the daughter of a Bulgarian communist—who herself took up arms against the government in several Marxist guerrilla groups in the 1960s—was impeached and removed from office in 2016.
Lula was jailed for corruption in 2018, paving the way for Bolsonaro’s openly anti-communist campaign and eventual electoral victory.
In the United States, the DSA took a strong interest in Lula and his innovative political strategy. DSA member Stanley Gacek was a labor attorney and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) international affairs assistant director, responsible for the federation’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.
Gacek has spoken and written extensively on Brazilian labor and politics, and has been a friend and “special adviser” to Lula and the Workers’ Party since 1981, according to the winter 2005 issue of the DSA publication Democratic Left.
In 1990, in collaboration with Cuban President Fidel Castro, Lula and his Marxist adviser, Marco Aurelio Garcia, called a meeting of all significant left-wing groups from Latin America and the Caribbean in Sao Paulo “to save what had been lost of communism in Eastern Europe and the old USSR.”
Representatives from 48 communist parties and terrorist groups attended. This gathering, which became known as the “Sao Paulo Forum,” became a near-annual event and was the chief coordinating body for the “Red Tide” that swept socialists and leftist parties to power all over South and Central America through the 1990s and early 2000s, and in Mexico in 2018.
This made Lula a hero of the international left, including within the U.S. socialist and communist movements.
On April 17, 1993, the DSA hosted a reception for an “extremely distinguished delegation of democratic socialist leaders from Latin America” in the Upper West Side of New York City, home of prominent DSA comrade Gene Eisner, according to the May–June 1993 edition of Democratic Left. The guests, “all of whom would be running for president of their respective countries within the next year, included Ruben Zamora of El Salvador, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas of Mexico, Antonio Navarro Wolff of Colombia, and Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) of Brazil.”
DSA leaders attending this august event included then Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union President Jack Sheinkman and DSA National Political Committee member and Latino Commission Co-Chairman Jose La Luz.
Incidentally, in 2008, La Luz was the chairman of Latinos for Obama, where he worked to mobilize Latino voters for the former president.
On Sept. 23, 2003, the extreme-left Washington non-profit Institute for Policy Studies held its 27th annual Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Human Rights Awards.
The International Award recipient was Colombian “peace’ activist Nancy Sanchez Mendez, and was presented by U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a longtime DSA member and supporter.
The Special Recognition Award went to Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil (in absentia). It was presented by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, a DSA member and Gacek’s boss.
In December 2006, Lula visited the United States, where he paid a visit to his socialist and labor friends.
Gacek covered the meetings for the pro-Cuba North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA):
“With Lula as President of Brazil, U.S. labor and the AFL-CIO have a very direct and promising opportunity to implement our vision of global justice and workers’ rights. Lula is an ally and friend for a number of historical, personal and ideological reasons. …
“President Lula is also well aware of the importance of international labor solidarity to his success. He made the following remarks to several hundred friends and admirers in the lobby of the AFL-CIO building on December 10, an audience that included President John Sweeney and other members of the Federation’s Executive Council: ‘If I succeed, all of you will succeed; and if I fail, all of you will fail. But I can’t fail, and do you know why? It might take a hundred years for another trade union leader to be elected the president of Brazil, so we can’t afford to squander this opportunity.’ ”
In a “Resolution on Democracy in Brazil” posted on the Miami DSA website in October 2018, the radical group reaffirmed their commitment to align with socialists in Brazil and to “defeat capitalism” globally:
“RESOLVED, that The Democratic Socialists of America of Miami-Dade County will work to answer the call made by the National Political Committee to seek out Brazilian allies in the Miami area and work with them to organize actions in solidarity with the Brazilian people.
“RESOLVED, that we have a special obligation to deepen bonds of solidarity with socialist political movements, workers’ movements, and social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean and that we will actively work to foster these relationships both as a local chapter level and at the national level of the Democratic Socialists of America.
“RESOLVED, that we believe borders are violent and drawn by the ruling class and that our only hope of defeating capitalism lies in building a socialist movement based on global proletarian cooperation to redistribute wealth and dismantle empire.”
With Brazil moving away from socialism with the election of Bolsonaro, the DSA is watching its work in Brazil crumble. Moreover, if socialism is overturned in Brazil, that could lead to a cascading effect that could overturn Marxist governments in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and eventually even Cuba.
The DSA is dedicated to preserving socialism in Brazil and imposing socialism in the United States, their ultimate prize. Americans must pay attention to freedom lovers in Brazil. Patriots should likewise offer support to Brazilian patriots to build an anti-Marxist front.
America is fighting the same enemy of liberty.
Trevor Loudon is an author, filmmaker, and public speaker from New Zealand. For more than 30 years, he has researched radical left, Marxist, and terrorist movements and their covert influence on mainstream politics.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.