Photo: The Committee to Support the People’s Struggle in Brazil holds an event to commemorate Comrade Remis Carla Costa and the revolutionary movement in Brazil
By Felipe Vera
On December 28, the Committee to Support the Peoples Struggle in Brazil (CSPSB) in Los Angeles held an event in commemoration of Comrade Remis Carla Costa, a Brazilian revolutionary who was murdered in 2017.
Comrade Remis was a revolutionary woman from Brazil who joined the Popular Women’s Movement (MFP) and the Popular Revolutionary Student Movement (MEPR) in 2012, leading one of MEPR’s largest graffiti campaigns.
While she was a student at the Federal University of Pernambuco and close to receiving her degree, her work was not limited to the university, and she was a prominent supporter of the peasants’ struggle in the countryside led by the League of Poor Peasants (LCP). She contributed to the building of People’s Schools in the areas organized by the LCP.
In late December of 2017, Comrade Remis had been missing and her fellow comrades and other students had carried out a campaign to find her, putting pressure on the state government and exposing how the reactionary old state disregards the lives of missing and brutalized women.
Comrade Remis’ body was found on December 23; she had been murdered by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Although she was only 24, the impact of her death was felt throughout Brazil and internationally.
At the event, a table was set up with images of Comrade Remis along with English articles from revolutionary newspaper A Nova Democracia. The event began with speeches by representatives from CSPSB. One passionately stated, “She was loved by the masses and by her comrades, described as fiercely dedicated to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement… a movement which has always taken the streets in unison with the masses, fighting hand in hand alongside the Brazilian people.”
“We look to her as an example of what serving the people means. To be wholly and fully dedicated to the working people and to, even in the face of death, still be recognized for the leader she was and still is,” said the representative. “When we say she is present in the struggle it means that her actions will never be forgotten and that collectively her work has only helped and furthered the movement.”
Towards the end of the event, speakers opened up a discussion with those in attendance. When talking about the connection between the struggles in the US and Brazil, attendees identified the police as enemies of the people around the world, specifically mentioning how the state fails to protect the interests and livelihood of women such as Comrade Remis.
One of the speakers, Mari Guerrero, spoke with tears in her eyes on how prior to organizing, she had previously called the police to file a report against an abuser, resulting in the police calling her a liar. Another attendee named Darla spoke about how the police failed to take her seriously when he tried to report her daughter missing, instead fishing for information on local gangs.
Attendees also discussed how women can get justice without relying on the police. Darla spoke firmly, stating that women “should put them [abusers] on blast and posterboard where they live,” suggesting that publicly outing abusers within the community is a good way of raising awareness and mobilizing women to fight back.
Another organizer named Faye spoke on how the US Popular Women’s Movement and student organization Fire the Abusers in Austin, Texas have led combative actions against abusers and predators. The function of the police was highlighted further, mentioning how the university used the police to crack down on women organizers rather than the abusers themselves. Mari concluded by stating that we have to go to the homes and workspaces of abusers, affirming “If we don’t come at them, they are going to continue with their lives doing they’re doing.”
Another woman in attendance reaffirmed this by stating, “Women can’t get caught up in healing circles and have no follow up plan. We need to take it to the next level and start confronting these fools!”
Following the discussion, speakers invited attendees to write on two posters, one with inspiring quotes and the second with messages in solidarity to the revolutionaries in Brazil. Attendees wrote messages such as “We are so deeply inspired by the work you all do, long live the people’s struggle in Brazil!” and “Comrade Remis will forever be remembered by the people!”
At this time, people began mingling as a video played in the background from Colombian revolutionary organization Student Movement in Service of the People (MESP), in which they send a message of solidarity to Brazil, chanting, “Companera Remis, presente en la lucha! (Comrade Remis, present in the struggle!)” and attendees began to chant along.
To close out the event, activists led a self-defense seminar for women. They taught basics such as a fighting stance, wrist breaks, getting out of a choke hold, and escaping from an abuser or attacker when pinned to the ground.
Today, the revolutionary women throughout Latin America serve as an inspiration for women in the US. The valuable lessons from the women’s struggle in Brazil as well as the those involved in the People’s War in Peru show women a clear path forward, breaking from bourgeois feminism and pacifism and fighting for true liberation through the class struggle.