Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
The Catholic Confederation of Labor and proposals for the education of the workers of Belo Horizonte in favor of the “progress” of the working class (1920-1930)
Renata Duarte

Última modificación: 2017-07-17


The paper aims to discuss some of the main ideas and proposals aimed at the education of workers in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais, Brazil), based on the analysis of the Catholic Confederation of Labor and its newspaper “The Worker”, between 1920 and 1930. The labor movement in the capital of Minas Gerais arose almost at the same time that the city was built, because the workers were responsible for the construction of the city, when it was necessary to hire skilled workers and craftsmen who engaged in the various constructions of the new city that He stood up. Later, at the beginning of the 20th century, with the reduction of construction works, workers began to carry out activities in different branches of the economy that were developing in Belo Horizonte (textile, metallurgical, wood, ceramic, food, and service industries). For Dutra (1988), during the First Republic, there was a predominance of moderate labor and reformist sectors in Belo Horizonte, which, contrary to the revolutionary action of the working class, frequently resorted to the state aiming at progressively reforming the social system, with the influence of the Catholic Church in the labor movement, the maximum expression of the phenomenon it calls “workers' clientelism”. One of the most expressive reformist workers' associations in Belo Horizonte was the Catholic Confederation of Labor, created on September 28, 1919, whose main objective was to collaborate in the solution of the labor question, its action being carried out within the principle of harmony with social classes (based on the assumptions of the Papal Encyclical Rerum Novarum). The newspaper “The Worker” was published between 1920 and 1929 with the purpose of propagating the program of the Confederation and to reach those workers who did not attend the meetings of this one. Like the Confederation, the newspaper defended the workers' action in harmony with the social classes, without attacking the established order, without prejudice or hatred for the other social classes. In addition, according to the statutes of 1920, among the aims of this association was the promotion of professional, moral and civic education of the workers. Directed to the workers, education was understood as a means of liberty, of understanding political regimes, and of regulating their aspirations for the measure of the just, starting from the idea that if the political regime had not been adapted to the state of the people, education would be responsible for raising the people to the height of the regime, thus providing instruments for the conquest of their rights for the “progress” of the working class. At this juncture, the Confederation sought to offer night classes to workers and, at the same time, supported the educational policies promoted by the public authorities, aiming to increase the number of schools intended at workers and their children.