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Copy of the Black Book of the Military Dictatorship (1972)

Copy of the Black Book of the Military Dictatorship (1972)

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A very rare work written and distributed clandestinely during the Military Dictatorship in Brazil, to denounce the atrocities of the regime.

  • Clandestine book written by the "Marxist-Leninist popular action in Brazil".
  • 200 pages.
  • In Portuguese.
  • 13.8cm x 17.4cm.
  • Brazil, July 1972.
  • Good condition, except for the loose cover and torn back cover, both quite damaged.

Reissued in 2014 for the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 coup, the Black Book of the military dictatorship is a pioneering historical document in the allegations of repression and torture promoted by the dictatorship against its opponents, from the coup to July 1972, when the work was published for the first time in the clandestine printing house of the Marxist-Leninist Popular Action (APML) (...). It results from the collective effort of activists who risked their skin by publicizing the regime's atrocities.

The following were directly involved: Carlos Azevedo, Bernardo Joffily and Jô Moraes (main editors), José Ricardo Junqueira, Divo and Raquel Guisoni (printers), Márcio Bueno Ferreira (typing), Renato Rabelo and Duarte Pereira (supervision). The latter coordinated the APML project, which also involved the participation of other activists, such as Aldo Arantes, Narciso Kalili and Elifas Andreato, author of the cover with the image of a skull with an army cap.

The book provides information about the fight against the dictatorship promoted by students, intellectuals, religious people, workers and peasants, covering episodes such as “Bloody Friday”, workers’ strikes and demonstrations in the countryside, highlighting the repression of opponents of the regime and denouncing several cases of torture and murder by State agents, many of them cited by name, with evidence to incriminate them. The work presented a first list, admittedly still incomplete, of the “main murderers and torturers of political prisoners” (p.179-184). Excerpts from scathing testimonies from those punished by the regime were reproduced, as well as other rare documents, such as a poem by a singer from the Pindaré valley, in Maranhão, dedicated to the struggles of the peasant leader Manoel da Conceição.

It is true that the themes treated with pioneering and audacity by the book, in the heat of events, were revealed in more detail later by research that had much better conditions for carrying it out, but this does not take away the interest in the pioneering synthesis, which highlighted, for example , the existence of clandestine torture and repression centers within the precarious legality of the regime, often located in farms, something that today comes to light with increasing detail in the work of the Truth Commission, which discovers new cases of secretly dedicated properties repression and extermination of opponents.

The squished letters that came out of a typewriter, some typographical errors and irregularities, the format of the cover and other details give the reader the feeling of going back in time and sharing with the authors the difficulties and whimsy of their craftsmanship, as well as the atmosphere of indignation against the dictatorship and its repressive apparatus. The decision to attach a booklet that explains how the book was produced in 1972, during the heaviest period of repression, was also a happy one, bringing brief testimonies from the main people involved in this original version.

The descriptive text above is by Marcelo Ridenti, associate professor in Sociology at Unicamp, professor of Sociology at IFCH/Unicamp, Campinas/SP, Brazil.

This historic book was printed in just 500 copies, which were distributed in Brazil and abroad, very few copies have reached us, more than 50 years after the military coup.

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