Elzita Rodrigues Silva: A Life as an Example of Struggle

We publish an unofficial tranlation of the article of Movimiento Femenino Popular found here.

On August 14, 1949, in the rural district of Santa Rosa de Lima, then village of Montes Claros, Minas Gerais, comrade Elzita Rodrigues Silva was born, coming to find herself through the zigzags of life and the struggle of the people of northern Minas Gerais for land, with the revolutionary movement exactly in the first occupation of land, organized by the then LOC – Liga Operário e Camponesa [translators note: Workers and Peasants League], in the years 1994/1995.

This woman of peasant origin made great contributions to the people’s struggle during her lifetime. Already as a leader of the struggle of the poor peasants in the north of Minas Gerais, she actively participated in the formation of the MFP – Popular Women’s Movement, organizing movement centers together with peasant women who participated in the struggle for the land.

Comrade Elzita was the eldest daughter of a peasant family of twelve siblings and since childhood she went through various types of deprivation. She was married twice and had five children. She worked for many years as a “laic” nurse, working in the main hospitals in the city. Much admired for her frankness and dedication, she never accepted surrender to any illness and supported several sick people to deal with their difficulties.

She met and approached the socialist cause through Porfírio, a historic militant of the popular cause in the north of the State. Accustomed to the hard struggle with the difficulties that life presented to her from an early age, she forged herself as an independent and very strong woman who transmitted firmness and courage to everyone who lived with her.

Seeking to contribute to the mobilization of the people, she began to participate in the Federation of Associations of Janaúba and in the resumption of the historical struggle of the illegal squatters of Cachoeirinha, who had bravely resisted the expulsion from their lands by the infamous Colonel Georgino, commander of the 10th Battalion of the MP [translator’s note: Military Police], during the coup d’état of `64 and the military regime. Elzita was one of the companions who joined the then Liga Operária e Camponesa, without waiting for more promises, invading the lands of the Agrivale farm and occupying the district’s office for irrigation of the Jaíba Project. At the end of 1994, the 212 families, revolted because of the bullshit and deceit of the opportunists leadership that used and manipulated them by their interests, camped on the banks of the River São Francisco and conquered their lands.

Her commitment and interest in the peasants’ struggle, her political perspicacity and leadership capacity, drew the attention of her comrades. With her simple words, but expressing a lot of firmness and decision, she quickly managed to gather the most serious people and committed to the fight around her. She was always concerned about how to grow and strengthen the struggle, with its class and political character and not merely revindications. She always sought to show that only through a broader struggle that unites the people of the city and the countryside for the conquest of a new society it would be possible to realize, from the smallest, the greatest aspirations of peasants and all workers. She worked resolutely for the Founding Congress of the Liga dos Camponeses Pobres do Norte de Minas [translators note: Poor Peasants League of Northern Minas], in 2000, in the city of Janaúba, where almost one thousand peasants gathered, who marched through the second largest city in the North of Minas, raising the sacred flag of the struggle for land. In her trajectory, she never missed an opportunity to raise and unfurl the banner of the revolution and was responsible for vigorous interventions in which she called on the peasant masses and especially women to raise their heads and face the big-landlord-ism and its semi-feudal oppression, face the old State and struggle to destroy the 3 mountains of exploitation and oppression that weigh on the shoulders of the Brazilian people: semifeudality, bureaucratic capitalism and imperialism!

Outstanding leader and convinced communist

As one of the founders of LCP and MFP, Elzita has always acted as an outstanding leader. She participated in the formulation of Nosso Caminho [translators note: Our Path], a reference book for peasants who undertake the path of the Agrarian Revolution in conquering land, distributing it to those who work there and in implementing the Agrarian Program for the Defense of People’s Rights! There are countless meetings, production seminars, assemblies and activities where the comrade attended and participated defending and applying the classist, combative and independent line. She fought corporatism in the popular and trade union movement and dealt very forcefully blows against petty bourgeois feminism, defending that women shall struggle alongside with their comrades, shoulder to shoulder and that the emancipation of women will be the work of the Proletarian Revolution and will come with the liberation of the whole class.

With her very sharp criticism, she ridiculed the reactionary and false bourgeois moralism of the misogynistic “for life” movements against the right of legal abortion. Comrade Elzita defended women’s rights and the struggle against the criminalization of abortion, defended the active participation of women and youth in the struggle for better living conditions, with her example she led several comrades to revolutionary activism. Not even the appearance of serious health problems removed her for her comrades, her decision and commitment to the popular struggle and the cause of the revolution. She went into a second trench [translators note: her next repsonsibility] with the same conviction, firmness and serenity.

During this period, so intense of struggles and so rich in experiences, comrade Elzita knew how to enhance it, studying Marxism in its new phase of development: Maoism. She spread and propagated this ideology and the defense of building a new society of justice and equality. She declared herself a convinced communist with the same simplicity that she always faced the biggest and most important decisions in her life. Her advice and her examples of decisiveness and comradeship are countless. Her proofs of love for the people and the cause are countless. Her revolutionary conscience and her lucidity regarding all the implications that derived from this are irrefutable: the slander, the attacks, the arrests and even death! For this cause she gave her life! For this life we salute her cause and declare her contributions and her unforgettable value to be indelible.

On October 21, 2011, our unforgettable comrade Elzita Rodrigues’ heart stopped beating, as a result of serious health complications, having diabetes, she couldn’t resist surgery on her intestines and died, causing us an enormous void and calling us to take on new responsibilities. But comrade Elzita is immortal, as all the heroes and heroines of our class are immortal!

Comrade Elzita, Present in the struggle!

Eternal honor and glory to Elzita Rodrigues!

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