February 2012  

All Honor to Our Comrade Marília,
A Communist and Poet of Struggle

Comrade Marília in 2005.
(Photo: Vanguarda Operária)

Sadly, our comrade Marília Costa Machado died today, February 15, 2012 around 6 p.m. She had suffered a diabetic crisis and was hospitalized since December 26, 2011. Today she succumbed during an initial session of hemodialysis.

This is an irreparable loss of a communist comrade who during her career of more than 30 years as a teacher in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was in the vanguard of the Rio teachers union, SEPE-RJ, from its founding. She participated in every strike, even during the most difficult struggles against the military dictatorship [1964 to 1985].

This courageous black woman was involved in every achievement of the union. A prestigious educator, she was honored by her colleagues, who named the library of the CIEP Vital Brasil (where she taught in the city of São Gonçalo) after her. Marília had been a member of the executive board of the SEPE, and as a writer she published two books, which are now out of print.

In 1997, Marília was named Muse of Poetry of the city of Rio de Janeiro, mainly in recognition for her poems against the military dictatorship.

To read a collection of some of Marília’s poems (in Portuguese), along with photos, click here.

In 2003, Marília joined the Liga Quarta-Internacionalista do Brasil (LQB – Fourth-Internationalist League of Brazil) and the Comitê de Luta Classista (CSC – Class Struggle Committee). Her exemplary political activity made a qualitative leap, and she became an ardent fighter against the bourgeois politics of class collaboration of the popular front led by [Lula’s] Workers Party (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores).

She condemned the imperialist massacre perpetrated against Iraq and Afghanistan. Her internationalism placed her in the forefront of the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The SEPE undertook a historic step in calling the first anti-racist strike for Mumia’s freedom [in April 1999].

She was active in fighting oppression, raising the banner of struggle against the exploitation of women and defending the right to abortion. Moreover, her strong commitment to oppose class and ethnic oppression led her to fight in important meetings of the SEPE for motions against Brazil’s send of troops to Haiti, in which Brazil played a leading role in the invasion under the MINUSTAH. With her great artistic talent as a poet, she wrote unforgettable verses, which were published on the SEPE web site.

Her long and exemplary membership brings to our minds the verses of the communist poet Bertolt Brecht:

“There are those who fight for a day, and they are good
There are those who fight for a year, and they are better;
There are those who fight for many years, and they are better still;
But there are those who fight all their lives,
These are the indispensable ones.”

Liga Quarta-Internacionalista do Brasil and Comitê de Luta Classista

Marília (center) in a march of the SEPE-RJ in April 2008. Banner reads: Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal,
Down with the Racist Death Penalty.
(Foto: Vanguarda Operária)

Prelude for Jamal
By Marilia Machado

You are the struggle of all of us:
Of those who have gone before
and those yet to come.

The essence of freedom,
reaching for liberation.
You are those who live in Brazil
or in any other nation.

The pain of whoever is a slave
in a world of so many masters,
of the victims of so many horrors
in the countryside, city and slums.

You are one of those who write history
with strength and conviction
A hero without fantasy
who doesn’t serve to alienate,
the voice which refuses to be silent
in the face of so much oppression,
a desire for justice,
a cry from the heart.

You are a scream in the throat
of every black person who cries,
of every human marked
by cruel tortures.

You are peace, and sometimes war.

(Poem published in a special issue of the Boletim do Sepe-RJ, April 2008)

Haiti: 200 Years of Pain
By Marilia Machado

More than two hundred years
of pain, of protest and disappointment.
More than two hundred years of
struggle, of horror and torment.

But they were also two centuries
of victorious resistance,
of overcoming existence,
of strength and sovereignty.

The most implacable war,
so difficult to win,
is against prejudice
and the cruel bourgeoisie,

which arrives from the world over,
exercising tyranny, massacring,
injuring and oppressing,
disguising it as a “mission.”

Pretending to desire peace,
it punishes the people
for having the “impudence”
to carry out a revolution.

In Haiti, peace is painted black,
for the heart of a beautiful people,
which struggles and will succeed.

And then it will free
the beautiful black smile
of our beloved black children
who live in Haiti;

the great black joy
of the black youth
who live in Haiti;

the black happiness of
the black women and men of courage
who live in Haiti.

I would like for there to be
a new revolution
that will build Haiti anew,
for a piece of me
also lives on there.

(This poem was published on the blog of the SEPE-RJ, February 2010.)

To contact the League for the Fourth International or its sections, send an e-mail to: internationalistgroup@msn.com