Brazil: Comrade Dantas, Present in the Struggle

By Nélida Tello

Brazilian revolutionary José Alves da Silva, known by many as Dantas, died on February 13, after contracting COVID-19 in early January. Dantas was a known Marxist-Leninist-Maoist steeled in class struggled who dedicated his life to fight for a new democratic revolution in Brazil.

Dantas’s partner, Nora, also contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized alongside Dantas in February as their symptoms worsened. Dantas spent his last days fighting for his life at Hospital Santa Izabel. After being hospitalized for a few days he was separated from Nora and transferred to intensive care, where he was intubated before passing away.

Dantas was blinded from a young age, and his personal achievements and political struggle served as inspiration for many.

He was a history professor at the State University of Bahia. As a professor he fought against the privatization of public education, which sought to exclude working-class students from higher education.

In 2020, he initiated the Health Committee for People’s Defense in Camaçari. The committee provided support to people who were thrown into homelessness after being evicted. He also participated in the 2020 election boycott and supported the land seizure of Tiago dos Santos by the League of Poor Peasants. He was a follower and supporter of revolutionary newspaper A Nova Democracia.

Dantas’s comrades told A Nova Democracia, “When we received the news of the death of [Dantas] it left us shaken. However, we soon remember what he represents for us and the revolutionary democratic movement. All his unconditional love for the masses, his strength, combativeness, determination, commitment and conviction working for the revolution will fuel all of us. We’ll take his flag, raise it and move on, because we know that’s what he would want from us. Despite his visual impairment, he saw the revolutionary horizon, like few others, coming and that will bring down that old order of exploitation and oppression.”

Comrade Dantas, Present in the Struggle!

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