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Social Networks and Urban Space: Worker Mobilization in the First Years of “New” Unionism in Brazil*

  • Francisco Barbosa de Macedo (a1)
Abstract

In 1980, thousands of metalworkers from the region of greater São Paulo known as the “ABC” region carried out one of the most intense and lasting strikes in the history of the Brazilian working class. For forty-one days, striking workers resisted the repression that bosses and the nation's military regime mounted against them, which contributed to the collective worker mobilization that spread throughout the spaces of the city – especially the streets of the São Bernardo do Campo neighborhood. Expelled from factories and major public spaces, workers were able to maintain the strike mainly in the neighborhoods where they lived, thus politicizing the spaces and relationships of their daily lives and redefining the geography of collective mobilization. This article analyzes aspects of this process, highlighting the importance of workers’ social networks to the notable (re)appropriation of urban space that characterized the strike movement.

En 1980, des milliers d'ouvriers métallurgistes de la région métropolitaine de São Paulo, désignée par “Région du Grand ABC”, conduisirent l'une des grèves les plus longues et intenses dans l'histoire de la classe ouvrière brésilienne. Pendant quarante-et-un jours, les ouvriers grévistes résistèrent à la répression que les patrons et le régime militaire national fomentèrent contre eux. Cela contribua à la mobilisation collective des travailleurs ensuite propagée à tous les espaces de la ville – et particulièrement aux rues du quartier de São Bernardo do Campo. Expulsés des usines et des principaux espaces publics, les travailleurs parvinrent à continuer la grève dans leur quartier de vie. Ils politisèrent ainsi les espaces et les relations de leur vie quotidienne et redéfinirent la géographie de la mobilisation collective. Cet article analyse certains aspects de ce processus, en soulignant l'importance des réseaux sociaux des travailleurs pour la (ré)appropriation remarquable de l'espace urbain, caractéristique de ce mouvement de grève.

Traduction: Christine Plard

Im Jahr 1980 streikten tausende von Metallarbeiter aus der als “ABC” bekannten Region des Großraums São Paulo; es war einer der heftigsten und längsten Streiks in der Geschichte der brasilianischen Arbeiterklasse. Einundvierzig Tage lang trotzten die streikenden Arbeiter der Repression, mit der die Unternehmer und das Militärregime des Landes gegen sie vorgingen. Das trug zu einer kollektiven Arbeitermobilisierung bei, die sich im städtischen Raum ausbreitete – insbesondere in den Straßen des Viertels São Bernardo do Campo. Die aus den Fabriken und von den zentralen Orten des öffentlichen Raums ausgeschlossenen Arbeiter erhielten den Streik vor allem in ihren Wohnvierteln aufrecht, wodurch sie die Räume und Beziehungen ihres Alltagslebens politisierten und die Geografie kollektiver Mobilisierung neu definierten. Der Beitrag untersucht einige Aspekte dieses Prozesses und streicht insbesondere die Bedeutung heraus, die die sozialen Netzwerke der Arbeiter bei der bemerkenswerten, für den Streik kennzeichnenden (Wieder)Aneignung des städtischen Raums spielten.

übersetzung: Max Henninger

En 1980, miles de trabajadores de la metalurgia de la región del gran São Paulo conocida como región “ABC” llevaron a cabo una de las huelgas más intensas y duraderas en la historia del movimiento obrero en Brasil. Durante cuarenta y un días, los trabajadores en huelga resistieron la represión que los empresarios y el régimen militar nacional dirigieron contra ellos, lo que contribuyó a que la movilización obrera colectiva se fuera difundiendo por todos los espacios de la ciudad – especialmente en las calles del vecindario de São Bernardo do Campo. Expulsados de las fábricas y de los principales espacios públicos, los trabajadores pudieron mantener la huelga principalmente en los barrios donde vivían, politizando los espacios y las relaciones de su vida cotidiana y redefiniendo la geografía de la movilización colectiva. En este artículo se analiza algunos de los aspectos de este proceso, prestando una atención destacada a la importancia jugada por las redes sociales de los trabajadores en la notable (re)apropiación del espacio urbano que caracterizó el movimiento huelguístico.

Traducción: Vicent Sanz Rozalén

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This article is a revised and adapted version of: “A Greve de 1980: redes sociais e espaço urbano na mobilização coletiva dos metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo”, in Revista Mundos do Trabalho, 3:5 (2011), pp. 136–165. Translation: Amy Chazkel.

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References
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1. In the late 1970s, the ABC region of São Paulo was composed of seven cities, the most important of which were Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, São Caetano do Sul, and Diadema.

2. The list of claims was composed of twenty-seven items However, salary and job stability were the main topics. Folha de São Paulo (FSP), 26 March 1980. FSP, founded in 1921, is one of the major dailies of Brazil. Despite its initial support for the military coup of 1964, by the early 1980s it had adopted a clear stance against the military regime.

3. Antunes, Ricardo, “As formas da greve: o confronto operário no ABC paulista (1978–1980)” (Ph.D., São Paulo University, 1986), pp. 60124; Alves, Maria Helena M., State and Opposition in Military Brazil (Austin, TX, 1985), pp. 7683.

4. In 1980, for example, the richest 10 per cent of Brazilian society claimed up to 50.9 per cent of total national income; Mello, João M.C. and Novais, Fernando, “Late Capitalism and Modern Sociability”, in Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, History of Private Life, 5 vols (São Paulo, 1998), IV, p. 633.

5. Humphrey, John, Capitalist Control and Workers’ Struggle in the Brazilian Auto Industry (Princeton, NJ, 1982), pp. 87103; Maroni, Amnéris, A estratégia da recusa: análise das greves de maio/78 (São Paulo, 1982), pp. 2852.

6. See the following report by FUNDACENTRO, a governmental think tank focused on health and workplace security; FUNDACENTRO, “Conceito de acidentes, suas causas segundo o ponto de vista prevencionista”, 1973.

7. Skidmore, Thomas, The Politics of Military Rule in Brazil, 1964–1985 (New York, 1988), ch. 6. The holding of some direct elections (basically, for all levels of the legislature) and a political rhetoric of the rule of law were important features of the Brazilian military regime which sought to uphold a certain degree of constitutionalism. Such elements have been often skillfully exploited by the parliamentary opposition, leading to, for example, important electoral victories.

8. Idem, “Brazil's Slow Road to Democratization”, in Alfred Stepan (ed.), Democratizing Brazil: Problems of Transition and Consolidation (New York, 1989), pp. 5–42; José Álvaro Moisés, Lições de liberdade e de opressão: os trabalhadores e a luta pela democracia (Rio de Janeiro, 1982), pp. 174–190.

9. Some of the most well known are: Laís W. Abramo, O resgate da dignidade: greve metalúrgica e subjetividade operária (Campinas, 1999); Antunes, “As formas da greve”; Maroni, A estratégia da recusa; Oliva, Aloizio M., “Estado autoritário e desobediência operária: os trabalhadores metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo e Diadema” (M.A., DEPE-Unicamp Campinas, 1988); Rainho, Luiz F., Os peões do grande ABC: estudos sobre as condições de vida e consciência de classe do operário metalúrgico (sem especialização e semi-especializado) ligado à indústria automobilística (Petrópolis, 1980); Antonio L. Negro, Linhas de montagem: o industrialismo nacional-desenvolvimentista e a sindicalização dos trabalhadores (1945–1978) (São Paulo, 2004); and Almeida, Maria H.T., “O sindicalismo brasileiro entre a conservação e a mudança”, in Bernardo Sorj and Maria H. T. Almeida (eds.), Sociedade e política no Brasil pós-64 (São Paulo, 1984), pp. 279312.

10. Indispensible studies emphasizing this connection are: Rodrigues, Leôncio M., Conflito industrial e sindicalismo no Brasil (São Paulo, 1966), and Lopes, Juarez R.B., Sociedade Industrial no Brasil (São Paulo, 1971). See also the special volume on Latin America of Sociologie du Travail, 4 (1961).

11. Peleguismo refers to the actions guided by a group of unionists known in Brazil as “pelegos” (conservatives who acted under the instigation of the Labor Ministry or pro-labor politicians). It is a term highly associated with the corporatist system of labor relations which had its origins in the Estado Novo dictatorship of Getulio Vargas (1937–1945).

12. See Santana, Marco A., “O ‘novo’ e o ‘velho’ sindicalismo: análise de um debate”, Revista de Sociologia e Política, 10/11 (1998), pp. 1935; Fontes, Paulo and Macedo, Francisco B., “Strikes and Pickets in Brazil: Worker Mobilization in the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Unionism, the Strikes of 1957 and 1980”, International Labor and Working Class History, 83 (2013), pp. 86111.

13. Savage, Mike, “Space, Networks and Class Formation”, in Neville Kirk (ed.), Social Class and Marxism: Defences and Challenges (Aldershot, 1996), pp. 5886, 68.

14. For an introduction to this debate, see Kitts, James, “Mobilizing in Black Boxes: Social Networks and Participation in Social Movements Organizations”, Mobilization: An International Journal, 5 (2000), pp. 241257. Two seminal studies of this issue are: McAdam, Doug, “Recruitment to High-Risk Activism: The Case of Freedom Summer”, American Journal of Sociology, 92 (1986), pp. 6490, and Gould, Roger.V., Insurgent Identities: Class, Community and Protest in Paris from 1848 to the Commune (Chicago, IL, 1995).

15. Sader, Eder, Quando novos personagens entraram em cena: experiências, falas e lutas dos trabalhadores da Grande São Paulo (1970–80) (Rio de Janeiro, 1988), pp. 1819.

16. Lopes, José S.L., “A formação de uma cultura operária”, Tempo & Presença, 220 (1987), pp. 615, 7.

17. For examples see Baptista, Dulce T., “Nas Terras do ‘Deus-Dará’: nordestinos e suas redes sociais em São Paulo” (Ph.D., São Paulo, PUC-SP, 1998), and eduardo C.L. Marques, “Redes sociais, segregação e pobreza em São Paulo” (Professorship thesis, São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2007).

18. Fontes, Paulo, Um Nordeste em São Paulo: trabalhadores migrantes em São Miguel Paulista (1945–1966) (Rio de Janeiro, 2008).

19. Ibid., p. 18.

20. Souza, Luiz E.S., “Políticas públicas em São Bernardo do Campo no pós-guerra: 1945–1964” (M.A., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2002).

21. For a discussion of the general constitutive processes of the conversion of the base of the Brazilian economy from agricultural exports to urban-industrial, a phenomenon that gained some pace in the 1930s and accelerated in the 1950s and 1970s, see Oliveira, Francisco, Crítica à razão dualista: o ornitorrinco (São Paulo, 2003), and Paiva, Odair, “Caminhos cruzados: a migração para São Paulo e os dilemas da construção do Brasil moderno nos anos 1930/1950” (Ph.D., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2000).

22. Souza, , “Políticas públicas em São Bernardo do Campo no pós-guerra”, p. 170.

23. Corrêa, Marcelo L., “São Bernardo do Campo: descaracterização da paisagem urbano-industrial e a ‘nova pobreza urbana’” (M.A., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2000), p. 57.

24. Blum, Pedro R.C., “São Bernardo do Campo: um exemplo de desenvolvimento urbano condicionado por variáveis externas” (M.A., São Paulo, EAESP-FGV, 1985), p. 156.

25. Shapiro, Helen, “A primeira migração das montadoras: 1956–1968”, in Glauco Arbix and Mauro Zilbovicius (eds), De JK a FHC: a reinvenção dos carros (São Paulo, 1997), pp. 2374.

26. Antunes, , As formas da greve, pp. 81124.

27. Blum, , São Bernardo do Campo, p. 114.

28. See Caldeira, Tereza P., A Política dos Outros: o cotidiano dos moradores da periferia e o que pensam do poder e dos poderosos (São Paulo, 1984), p. 19; and Compêndio Estatístico 2005, Seção de Pesquisa e Banco de Dados, Prefeitura Municipal de São Bernardo do Campo [hereafter, PMSBC], p. 25.

29. See Pimentel, Maria I.S., “O migrante em São Bernardo do Campo: experiências e expectativas de migrantes ingressos entre 1950 e 1980 em São Bernardo do Campo e sua integração à cidade” (M.A., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 1997).

30. See Rodrigues, Leôncio M., Industrialização e Atitudes Operárias (São Paulo, 1970), pp. 321; Gonçalves, José S.R.C., Mão-de-obra e condições de trabalho na indústria automobilística do Brasil (São Paulo, 1985), pp. 1723. Rainho, , Os peões do grande, p. 249, points out that in the mid-1970s, 85 per cent of workers in the “modern” automobile industry were semiskilled or unskilled.

31. As John D. French has observed in The Brazilian Workers' ABC: Class Conflict and Alliances in Modern Brazil (Chapel Hill, NC, 1992), the organization and struggles of the workers of the ABC region date back to the first half of the twentieth century. The steelworkers’ union in Santo André, for example, which was the origin of the Sindicato dos Metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo e Diadema (SMSBCD) in 1959, was founded in 1933. Taking into account such continuities, as well as the impacts and characteristics of the processes that intensified from the 1950s onwards, perhaps the more appropriate term would be “the (re)formation of the working class”.

32. For further details on this process, see Macedo, Francisco B., “A Greve de 1980: redes sociais e mobilização coletiva dos metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo” (M.A., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2010), ch. 3.

33. Souza, , “Políticas públicas”, pp. 143145, and Pimentel, , “O migrante em São Bernardo do Campo”, p. 47.

34. Bava, Sílvio C., “As lutas nos bairros e a luta sindical”, in Lúcio Kowarick (ed.). As lutas sociais e a cidade (Rio de Janeiro, 1994), p. 255.

35. Roughly speaking, in the 1970s, somewhere around 95 per cent of the population of São Bernardo do Campo lived in an area of approximately 53.47 sq. km; Subsídios Estatísticos, SPE, PMSBC, 1976, p. 10.

36. Savage, , “Space, Networks”, p. 59.

37. See, especially: Bava, “As lutas”, and Negro, Linhas de montagem.

38. It has been estimated that before the start of the 1978–1980 cycle of strikes the membership of the SMSBCD was around 40,000, which corresponds to approximately one-third of the area's metalworkers; see A Vanguarda, 17 September 1977. This periodical was a local newspaper of liberal orientation.

39. Minutes of the regular meeting of the board of the SMSBCD, 26 December 1979; SMSBCD archive. The SMSBCD disposes of a well-organized archive with newspapers, photographs, reports etc., which offers valuable documentation for historians researching this important Brazilian trade union.

40. Kátia R. Paranhos, Era uma vez em São Bernardo: o discurso sindical dos metalúrgicos – 1971/1982 (Campinas, 1999), p. 193.

41. FIESP document directing their members about the procedure to be adopted in the event of the occurrence of new strikes (1979); quoted from: Rainho, Luis F. and Bargas, Osvaldo M., As lutas operárias e sindicais dos metalúrgicos em São Bernardo (1977–1979), 2 vols (São Bernardo do Campo, 1983), I, p. 213.

42. Quoted from: Rainho and Bargas, As lutas operárias, p. 141.

43. Ibid.

44. Ibid, p. 142.

45. On the character of the Salaries Commission see e.g. the following statement from June 1980 by Frei Betto, responsible for organizing pastoral care among workers (pastoral operária) in São Bernardo: “The Salaries Commission is the deliberative organ of the metalworkers in São Bernardo and Diadema. Nothing is done here without discussion, and the decision of the Salaries Commission, which is comprised of 425 employees who represent the major industries in the region”; interviews with Frei Betto given to Heloísa H.T. S. Martins, Henrique Pereira, and Carlos A. Ricardo on 26 and 28 June 1980; “A Igreja na greve dos metalúrgicos – São Bernardo, 1980”, Religião e Sociedade, 6 November 1980, p. 18.

46. Quoted from Oliva, Aloizio M. (ed.), Imagens da Luta: 1905–1985 (São Bernardo do Campo, 1987), p. 175.

47. Sampaio, Antonio P., Lula e a greve dos peões (romance-reportagem) (São Paulo, 1982), p. 103.

48. Quoted from: Rainho, and Bargas, . As lutas operárias, p. 234.

49. The published guidelines of the union leaders also served for metalworkers in other cities of the ABC region and even for those living in districts of the city of São Paulo (the south and east areas, basically). However, this article focuses primarily on the metalworkers living in São Bernardo, a municipality of high polarization and strong collective mobilization, and where the vast majority of the leaders of the SMSBCD lived.

50. Communication from Roberto Quass (Director of the Information Division of DEOPS) to Edsel Magnotti (Director of DEOPS) 11 May 1978, Doc. 4. OS – 0288, Archive of the State of São Paulo (Arquivo do Estado de São Paulo – AESP), State Department of Social and Political Order (Departamento Estadual de Ordem Política e Social – DEOPS).

51. Subsídios Estatísticos, SPE, PMSBC, 1976, p. 15.

52. See http://goo.gl/liJCVp (accessed 9 November 2009).

53. Wagner Lino Alves, interviewed by Maria Dolores Prades and Maria Aparecida de Paul Rago on 19 and 26 July 1979, in “O arrocho treme nas bases do ABC: debate com os trabalhadores das bases do Sindicato de São Bernardo”, Escrita. Ensaio, 4:7 (April 1980), p. 68.

54. Rainho, and Bargas, , As lutas operárias, p. 127.

55. Interview by the author with Gilberto de Souza Cunha, former director of the SMSBCD, 9 October 2008.

56. Ibid.

57. A study conducted in 1984 by Leôncio M. Rodrigues, at the Ford plant in São Bernardo indicated that 79 per cent of “hourly workers” of the company were “married” or “lived maritally”. See Rodrigues, Leôncio M., Partidos e Sindicatos: escritos de sociologia política (São Paulo, 1990), pp. 105148, 110. According to Elisabeth Souza-Lobo, in 1976, in the metalworking sector in São Bernardo, women made up 9 per cent of the workforce; Souza-Lobo, , A classe operária tem dois sexos: trabalho, dominação e resistência (São Paulo, 1991), p. 33.

58. Sampaio, , Lula e a greve, p. 54.

59. Folha de São Paulo, 27 and 28 March 1980.

60. Tribuna Metalúrgica, April 1980. The preparation for the wage campaign included “slow-downs” and reducing the amount of overtime performed by workers; Folha de São Paulo, 30 March 1980.

61. On the organizational structure of the strike see: Folha de São Paulo, 3 May 1980; Antunes, , “As formas da greve”, pp. 207208; Anon, , 41 Dias de Resistência e Luta: uma análise da greve feita por quem dela participou (São Bernardo, 1980).

62. The directors of SMSBCD anticipated their own imprisonment and chose sixteen people to replace them in this eventuality. Most of these “substitutes” served in the Salaries Commission, and some were militant leftists from political organizations that had acted clandestinely in factories.

63. It is worth noting that the Salaries Commission had the substantial and active participation of workers with a background in leftist political organizations; author interview with Enilson Simões de Moura, 2 September 2009.

64. Considering the workers who attended the union meetings immediately prior to the beginning of the 1980 strike (4,000 approx.) and those who were present at the meeting that ended the strike (also approx. 4,000), we can estimate a group with a relatively high commitment in relation to the SMSBCD. The intensity and mode of participation in collective mobilization of this group of so-called “metalworker activists” were extremely variable. For insights into this group of “metalworker activists” see, for instance, the following sources from the spheres of both the union and the states’ security apparatus: “Estatística do número de trabalhadores, por empresa, na assembléia geral extraordinária, do dia 29 [de fevereiro] e 1° [de março], às 3 seções, em convocação, referente à Campanha Salarial”, SMSBCD archive; and “Rel. no. 75/80 de Fox 06 para Del. Tit. da Del. de Sind. e Assoc. de Classe do DEOPS. Ref. Ass. dos Metalúrgicos do ABC”, 12 May 1980, OS – 1147, AESP, DEOPS sector.

65. Anon, , 41 Dias de Resistência e Luta, pp. 2728.

66. Diário do Grande ABC (DGBAC), 2 April 1980. The SMSBCD newspaper confirmed the instructions given to workers: “Overall, 70% of workers ceased working in the early hours of the 1st April. […] As of today, it is necessary that the strike reaches 100%, members must engage with the ‘strike-breakers’ where they live, so that they are convinced not to go to work”; Tribuna Metalúrgica, April 1980.

67. Folha de São Paulo, 4 April 1980.

68. Telex from DEOPS (SP) to SNI, DRT, CIOP, IV Comar, II Army and Naval Commission about a “public act by striking metalworkers in the Vila Euclides Stadium, São Bernardo do Campo”, 3 April 1980; OS – 0099, AESP, DEOPS sector.

69. Suplemento Informativo da Tribuna Metalúrgica, official publication of the SMSBCD, 8 and 10 April 1980.

70. DGABC, 13 April 1980.

71. Resumo sobre a Missa Pascal dos Metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo e Diadema (Summary of the Easter Mass of the metalworkers of São Bernardo do Campo and Diadema), 6 April 1980, Doc. 02. OS – 1148, AESP, DEOPS sector.

72. According to Brazilian law at the time, a strike could be judged by the Labor Court, a specific branch of the national judicial system. If it were understood to be “illegal”, the Ministry of Labor could intervene in a union and remove its board.

73. Bulletin entitled “Nossa luta continua até a vitória final, haja o que houver”, printed on paper with the SMSBCD stamp, circulated on 14 April 1980, Dossier 50-Z-341 (File 22), AESP, DEOPS sector.

74. Report by informant (from security at Mercedes-Benz) to the Department of Analysis Operations and Information of DEOPS, referring to meeting held at São Bernardo do Campo main square, 29 April 1980 at 10.30; undated, OS – 1148, AESP, DEOPS sector.

75. Report by informant (from security at Mercedes-Benz) to the Department of Analysis Operations and Information of DEOPS, referring to summary of speeches held by the board of SMSBCD in front of the gates of Mercedes-Benz, 19 March 1980; undated, OS – 1148, AESP, DEOPS sector.

76. Telex from DEOPS (SP) to SNI, DRT, CIOP, IV Comar, II Army and Naval Commission about a “public act by striking metalworkers in the Vila Euclides Stadium, São Bernardo do Campo”, 3 April 1980; OS – 0099, AESP, DEOPS sector.

77. Transcript of a speech given by Lula at a rally of the SMSBCD board in front of the gates (P-II) of Volkswagen do Brasil, 11 March 1980 at 14.30, Dossier 50-Z-341 (File 22). AESP, DEOPS sector.

78. Bulletin entitled “Companheiros e companheiras! A luta continua []”, signed by “The Board/Salaries Commission”, printed on paper with the SMSBCD stamp, distributed a few days before 8 May 1980; Dossier 50-Z-341 (File 23), AESP, DEOPS sector.

79. Folha de São Paulo, 25 April 1980.

80. For some key points on the debate concerning languages as revealers/instigators of identity, see Fontes, Paulo, “Classe e linguagem: notas sobre o debate em torno de Languages of Class de Stedman Jones”, Locus: Revista de História, 4:2 (1998), pp. 7791.

81. During the first days of the strike, the President of the Union of Metalworkers of Santo André “criticized the campaign that entrepreneurs had been running, through newspapers, radio, and television, calling on the women of the striking metalworkers to convince them to return to work” ; Folha de São Paulo, 4 April 1980.

82. Camargo, Nádia A.L., “A geografia das lutas metalúrgicas no ABC paulista na virada dos anos 70 do século XX” (M.A., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2003), pp. 6985.

83. Souza-Lobo, E., A classe operária, pp. 1740. While acknowledging that, on occasion, “the percentage of women metalworkers is relatively small in São Bernardo” (9 per cent in the sector and approximately 4 per cent in the automobile industry), Souza-Lobo, E., A classe operária, p. 38, does not hesitate to state that: “The idea of unity, in the concept of the ‘unity of the working class’, was confused [in the union discourse] with the idea of identity, which excluded the notion of difference”(italics in original).

84. Untitled bulletin signed by Luiz Inácio da Silva, printed on paper with the SMSBCD stamp and circulated between 1 and 19 April 1980; Doc. 1, handbook 149.689 (v. 2), AESP, DEOPS sector.

85. Two events appear as key moments regarding the involvement of women: the retaking on 1 May of the Vila Euclides Stadium, and the “walk of the metalworkers towards the resumption of negotiations” on 8 May; for coverage of these events see Vanguarda, 3 May 1980, and Folha de São Paulo, 9 May 1980.

86. Author interview with Maria da Conceição de Freitas Cunha, 21 October 2008.

87. Interviews with Daniel, by Heloísa H.T.S. Martins, Henrique Pereira, and Carlos A. Ricardo on 26 and 28 June1980; “A Igreja na greve”, p. 43.

88. Within a few hours, the Salaries Commission and board members of the SMSBCD were able to distribute 100,000 newsletters stating, for example, times and locations of public meetings; see, for instance, Folha de São Paulo, 22 April 1980.

89. “As far as São Bernardo was concerned, [affirmed Mário Alonso, President of Federação das Sociedades de Amigos de Bairro de São Bernardo (SABs) (Federation of Neighborhoods Associations of São Bernardo)] the support was almost total. In addition to the collection for the strike fund, which the SABs organised themselves, many leaders , who are also metalworkers, participated actively supporting the strike”; Folha de São Bernardo, 17 May 1980.

90. Camargo, Nádia A.L., “A geografia das lutas metalúrgicas no ABC paulista na virada dos anos 70 do século XX” (M.A., São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, 2003), p. 170.

91. Suplemento Informativo da Tribuna Metalúrgica, official publication of the SMSBCD, 8 April 1980.

92. Report from F. Ervício to Edsel Magnotti, Division of Social Order, DOPS, São Paulo, 15 May 1980; Handbook 149.689 (v. 2), AESP, DEOPS sector.

93. Interviews with José by H.H.T.S. Martins, H. Pereira and C.A. Ricardo on 26 and 28 June 1980; “A Igreja na greve”, p. 38.

94. Author interview with Dorgival Ferreira da Silva, 29 May 2009.

95. Interviews with Isaías by Heloísa H.T.S. Martins, Henrique Pereira, and Carlos A. Ricardo on 26 and 28 June 1980; “A Igreja na greve ”, p. 41, and Folha de São Paulo, 4 April 1980.

96. Author interview with Dorgival Ferreira da Silva, 29 May 2009.

97. Diário do Grande ABC, 4 April 1980.

98. Rainho, and Bargas, , As lutas operárias, p. 149; Folha de São Bernardo, 19 May 1979.

99. Folha de São Bernardo, 19 May 1979.

100. Author interview with Manoel Anísio Gomes, 21 October 2008.

101. Among the newly arrived migrants to São Bernardo, especially the younger and non-married, guesthouses (pensões) were a fairly common type of housing. In addition to rented rooms, often shared, pensões could also offer other services such as food and laundry.

102. On the role of guesthouses see e.g. Folha de São Bernardo, 31 May 1980.

103. Folha de São Paulo, 11 May 1980.

104. Grupo de Teatro Forja do SMSBCD, Pensão Liberdade (São Paulo, 1981), pp. 47–48.

105. To avoid being labelled as “strikers” by supervisors, it was common for “factory-gate pickets” to picket places of work other than their own; author interviews with Odilon Dias de Souza, 3 July 2008 and 15 September 2008.

106. The role of leftist activists is, for instance, highlighted in: A Vanguarda, 5 April 1980.

107. See DGABC, 19 April 1980. The state security forces directly involved in repressing the strike were the following: Military Police, DEOPS, Federal Police, Civil Police, Fire Fighters, and the Army (only helicopters); see Folha de São Paulo, 27 April 1980 and 2 May 1980.

108. See DGABC, 19 April 1980.

109. Interviews with José, by Heloísa H.T.S. Martins, Henrique Pereira, and Carlos A. Ricardo on 26 and 28 June 1980; “A Igreja na greve”, p. 38. For similar accounts see author interviews with José Euzébio (16 October 2008) and José Ferreira de Souza (23 June 2009), among others.

110. Folha de São Paulo, 23 April 1980.

111. 41 Dias de Resistência e Luta, p. 27. This work, which attempts to summarize assessments of the collective mobilization that ended on 11 May 1980, was published after a series of debates, in July 1980, and included the comments and testimonies of fifty activists “who had a prominent role during the strike”.

112. BO no. 2607/80, São Bernardo do Campo Police Station, 30 April 1980, OS – 0099. All the police documentation that follows can be found at the DEOPS sector of the Archive of the State of São Paulo (AESP). References to follow will indicate only the boxes and file records.

113. BO no. 2607/80, Police Station, São Bernardo do Campo, 30 April 1980, OS – 0099.

114. BO no. 1721/80, Police Station, São Caetano do Sul, 30 April 1980, OS – 0099. At the same picket another four strikers were detained, all of them from Bom Jesus da Lapa in the state of Bahia; see Message 2110/80, telex from Police Station in São Bernardo do Campo to DEOPS, São Paulo, 16 April 1980; Dossier 50-Z-341 (File 22).

115. Message 1221/80, telex from Police Station in Mauá to DEOPS in São Paulo, Ref. 6 May 1980, OS – 0099; Message 2497/80, telex from Police Station in São Bernardo do Campo to DEOPS in São Paulo, Ref. BO 2730/80, 6 May 1980, OS – 0096; Message 2223/80, telex from Police Station in São Bernardo do Campo to DEOPS in São Paulo, Ref. BO 2440/80, 22 April 1980, OS – 0096.

116. Arrest warrant regarding F. Ervício, V.S. Clovis, J.R. Alfredo, and F. Sérgio, Police Station, Santo André (Civil Police, São Paulo), 29 April 1980; Doc. 104, OS – 0097, File 19.

117. For another example of neighbors arrested together, see the arrest warrants for C. Rubens, M. Xisto, F.S. Newton, and L.C. Del José, Police Station, São Bernardo do Campo, 8 May 1980; OS – 0096 and BO no. 2333/80, Police Station, São Bernardo do Campo, 18 April 1980, OS – 1149.

118. For documentation of the incident see: Identification form, Secretary of State for Public Security Affairs, Civil Police, São Paulo, 18 April 1980; Handbook 149.689 (v. 1) and BO no. 2330/80, Police Station, São Bernardo do Campo, 18 April 1980, OS – 1149.

119. On the importance of guesthouses and bars as organizational “hot spots”, see also author interview with Raimundo Alexandre Sobrinho, 24 August 2009.

120. See DGABC, 23 April 1980.

121. Author interview with Gilberto de Souza Cunha, 9 October 2008.

122. See for instance: Statement by A.R. Lourival to Doutor Edson Pereira Serpa, Police Station, São Bernardo do Campo, Police Station, São Bernardo do Campo, 30 April 1980, OS – 0097.

123. This may be illustrated by the results of the elections of 15 November 1978 for state and federal legislatures, in which the candidates of the ruling party were defeated in São Bernardo by “a wide margin of votes”; A Vanguarda, 25 November 1978.

124. A Vanguarda, 5 April 1980.

125. Pesquisa Sócio-Econômica, Secretaria de Planejamento e Economia, PMSBC, 1979, p. 20.

126. Author interview with Enílson Simões de Moura, 2 September 2009.

127. The three chosen to speak at general meetings on behalf of the Salaries Commission were militants of leftist political organizations: Alemão (October Eighth Revolutionary Movement), Osmarzinho (Communist Unity) and João Batista (Communist Party of Brazil).

128. “Minutes of meeting of Mobilization Commission”, undated, SMSBCD archive.

129. Undated letter entitled “To the Brazilian People”, printed on paper with the letterhead of the SMSBCD; 1980 Salaries Campaign folder, SMSBCD archive.

130. Linha-dura (hard-line) is the term generally used at the end of the 1970s to describe elements of the military opposed to the process of liberalization known as abertura.

131. See the statements documented in 41 Dias de Resistência e Luta, pp. 29–30.

132. Ibid., p. 30.

133. Folha de São Bernardo, 17 May 1980.

134. ABCD Jornal, 17 August 1980.

135. Tribuna Metalúrgica, December 1980, p. 2.

136. Author interview with Diácono Franco Chippari, 3 July 2009. Ecclesiastical base communities were Catholics groups organized on the basis of sharing both neighborhood vicinity and certain demands. Their goal was to offer Bible reading in conjunction with discussions on the political and social reality in which people lived. This often resulted in the search for collective solutions to a series of pressing problems faced by large sectors of the population (sanitation, housing, public transport etc.). The ecclesiastical base communities were encouraged by sectors of the Catholic Church from the 1960s and spread mainly in the 1970s and 1980s both in Brazil and Latin America in general.

137. Author interview with José Ferreira de Souza, 23 June 2009.

138. Folha de São Bernardo, 22 November 1980.

* This article is a revised and adapted version of: “A Greve de 1980: redes sociais e espaço urbano na mobilização coletiva dos metalúrgicos de São Bernardo do Campo”, in Revista Mundos do Trabalho, 3:5 (2011), pp. 136–165. Translation: Amy Chazkel.

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International Review of Social History
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