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The experiences of industrial workers under the repression: Vale do Paraíba, Brazil, 1979-1994

Grant number: 16/05888-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2016
Effective date (End): May 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - History of Brazil
Principal Investigator:Claudio Henrique de Moraes Batalha
Grantee:Richard de Oliveira Martins
Home Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/21979-5 - Between slavery and the burden of freedom: workers and forms of labor exploitation in historical perspective, AP.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/17988-2 - Workers and Repression in Transitional Contexts (Es: Trabajadores y Represión en Contextos Transicionales), BE.EP.DR


This research project focuses on the experiences of work, trade union organization and political struggle of the industrial workers in Vale do Paraíba (SP) during the first half of the 1980's, with special attention to the various forms of repression they faced. We argue that, in that context, a repressive model was developed, one that sought to coordinate the actions of the state apparatus and the private security services, maximizing surveillance and control over workers' political activities. The implementation of this repressive model, in a context that was also marked by mobilization of the civil society, in the midst of a "democratic opening" process, makes the case of Vale do Paraíba especially interesting for the study of the contradictions that permeate this kind of transition. We discuss the experiences and the impressions of the workers that took part in union struggles, from the cycle of metalworkers strikes that begun in 1979 until the privatization of important state companies in the 90s, comparing forms of organization and resistance, as well as repressive models. Finally, we discuss the historical senses built around the last Brazilian "redemocratization" process and participation of Brazilian trade unions in the battles for this memory.