PhD Candidate, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University
Cinco Dias, Cinco Noites:
A Reflection of Álvaro Cunhal’s Experiences and Ideologies
Álvaro Cunhal, the general-secretary and de facto leader of the Portuguese Communist Party, a prominent figure in the opposition to the Salazar regime, also dedicated his time to writing fiction. All of his literary works were written under the pseudonym of Manuel Tiago—Cunhal would only come to reveal the true identity of the author decades after the revolution, in 1994. Under this pseudonym, various works were written and published, including A casa da Eulália, Até Amanhã Camaradas and Cinco dias, cinco noites, the novella that will be analyzed in this paper.
The majority of his literary works, including those already referenced, were written while Cunhal was in prison, where he was very artistically active (Silva, 74). Urbano Tavares Rodrigues, the literary scholar who has dedicated many studies to the works of Tiago/Cunhal, specifies that Cunhal actually became a fiction writer while in prison (Silva, 191). Further, Francisco Melo, the editor that published Tiago/Cunhal’s works in Avante!, Communist Party newspaper, states that Cunhal would write fiction when he removed himself from political activity, as a means of seclusion and reflection (Silva, 184).
Though the works circulated in very limited numbers before publication, they were only officially published starting in late 1974, the first being Até amanhã camaradas. Cunhal’s writings, all with a strong political charge, were found together in his assets (Silva, 184).
Cinco dias, cinco noites was only published a year after the revolution, in 1975, in Avante!. The narrative provides the reader access to the journey of the young André, who sees himself “forced to emigrate” (Tiago, 9) to Spain accompanied by the older smuggler Lambaça. Along the way, various other characters of humble backgrounds are introduced, but many times remain unnamed. It is André’s coming to know this reality, as well as the relationships he forms with the members of the povo (the people), especially Lambaça, the contrabandist who guides him, and Zulmira, the prostitute who provides him with food and shelter one night, that are central in this narrative of Communist solidarity.
The undertones of this novella point clearly to the political interests of the author. Urbano Tavares Rodrigues points out that Cicnco Dias, Cinco Noites belongs to a literary genre that assumed a common “código de alusões / code of allusions” (Rodrigues, 9). Such omissions and allusions occur as early as the first sentences, when the reader learns that André must emigrate—the reason for such need is not stated, but one can deduce by the nature of the journey that it is for political reasons. This is not only due to the highly secretive and clandestine manner in which the trip to Spain is made or the clear anxiety experienced by André throughout the narrative, but also the fact that the eighteen year-old is able to pay Lambaça two thousand escudos, with extra money to spare, suggesting that economic need is not a motive.
Along with the political undertones, the existence of semi-autobiographical elements in the novella is undeniable. The young André, from a clearly privileged background, who must escape to Spain for unknown reasons and begins to encounter the reality of the proletariat for which he fights, draws clear parallels with the leader of the Portuguese Communist Party.
Despite the fact that the exact motive of André’s emigration is not explicitly stated, as previously mentioned, the political element is obvious. André’s network leads him to Lambaça, who will help him cross the border—the first meeting, in accordance with the clandestine nature of the rest of the journey, is carried out late at night, when there are no possible observers present. Beyond this, André must avoid officers at all costs, as seen when he leaves the bus before it passes by an inspection post. When coupled with Communist language present as early as the first chapter—André refers to the young man who leads him to Lambaça as “camarada / comrade,” and vice-versa—the eighteen year-old’s involvement in the Communist Party, and therefore his need to travel to Spain in order to escape the authorities, is clear.
Further, it is evident that André is from a privileged socio-economic background. His ability to travel easily from Lisbon to Porto before even meeting Lambaça suggests this; that he is capable of paying the smuggler’s asking price confirms it—originally he agrees to one thousand escudos, but does not argue when Lambaça raises the price to two thousand shortly into the trip, and is willing to contribute more funds for additional expenses once he has entered into Spain.
Beyond this, the original descriptions of the two companions also suggest the class difference:
… De 40 a 50 anos, o Lambaça, baixo e seco, tinha um rosto sombrio, de um moreno forte, realçado pela barba cerrada, a escova negra do bigode e uns olhitos pretos e observadores. Pelo seu trajo, um fato preto enrugado e acanhado e um chapéu igualmente preto enterrado sobre as sobrancelhas, dir-se-ia um pequeno lavrador endomingado…
André era também baixo, magro e moreno. De cabeça descoberta, os cabelos tombavam sobre a testa. A expressão contraída mais destacava a sua juventude
… Between 40 and 50 years old, Lambaça, short and seared, had a shadowy face of a strong tan man, highlighted by his thick beard, the black mustache brush and those little black and observing eyes. From his clothes, a black suit, wrinkled and gauche, and an equally black hat pushed down above his eyebrows, one would say he was a small farmer in his Sunday clothes.
André was also short, skinny, and tan. With an uncovered head, his hairs fell upon his forehead. The relaxed expression accentuated his youth (Tiago, 11).
If age is highlighted as a difference between the two men, the descriptions also lend themselves to a socio-economic reading. While Lambaça clearly comes from a more humble background—the disheveled clothes he is wearing appear to be his Sunday attire and his physical attributes, like his “rosto sombrio,” indicate a life faced with more hardships—André is just the opposite. His youth undoubtedly contributes to his relaxed demeanor; his privileged youth, however, seems a more precise explanation. He has had the opportunity to maintain this casual expression because he has not been faced with the same dire conditions that many of his fellow Portuguese youth have experienced, and that we will witness later on in the novella. Further, his uncovered head also suggests his class, in that it indicates once again that the young man is not a laborer—such as a farmer, for example—who would need to cover his head for protection while working.
In these ways, André resembles a young Cunhal. Born in Coimbra, Álvaro Cunhal had a privileged upbringing as the son of Avelino Cunhal, a lawyer who had studied in Coimbra, and who also actively opposed the regime (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 13). As such, not only was Álvaro Cunhal himself a member of the bourgeoisie, but oppositional and intellectual tendencies were clearly imbued throughout his childhood through his father’s influence.
Eventually, the family will relocate to Lisbon, where Cunhal will spend his adolescent years witnessing the beginning of Salazar’s regime (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 31). His communist tendencies are formed early on, which in itself is linked to his socio-economic reality—both in terms of his literacy and the time he is able to devote to reading, as he immerses himself in various ideologies and philosophies. In 1931, he continues on to the University of Lisbon, where he will study law. It is at this moment that Cunhal’s advocacy of communism is confirmed (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 39).
To draw even more parallels between the lives of the two young activists, it seems important to note that Cunhal himself also spent an extensive amount of time in Spain. While this stay was temporary, therefore different in nature than André’s emigration to the neighbor country, it still constitutes a major similarity between the life of the novella’s protagonist and that of its author.
After returning from Moscow in 1935, Cunhal will continue to Madrid clandestinely a year later, in order to complete a “mission” for the FJCP (Portuguese Communist Youth Federation) after the recent changes they had made to their direction and objectives in April of that year, inspired by Cunhal’s experience in the USSR. Among these modifications was the move away from agitation as a political tactic, most notably shifting from “células da rua / street cells” to “organizações das massas / organization of the masses” in order to transmit their message (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 186). While, officially, Cunhal’s decision to go to Spain is based upon this mission related to the restructuring of the FJCP, Pacheco Pereira clarifies that, though never officially addressed, Cunhal was being sought after by the PVDE at that moment, serving as an undeniable motivating force in his departure (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 190). Official accounts often provide differing explanations for this journey—the Civil War and the formation of an exile community in Spain are both offered and not untrue (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 196-213). Still, trouble with the authorities seems to be the strongest push factor in deciding that Cunhal would be the man to make the journey.
With all this considered, it seems clear that André reflects a young Cunhal in this novella—from a similar background, the two clearly had similar experiences of fighting for a proletariat whose reality they had not themselves experienced, and even clandestinely travelling to Spain in order to escape from authorities. Of course, I am not suggesting that the narrative is strictly autobiographical and that André’s existence is exactly that of Cunhal’s, but rather that it is a semi-autobiographical interpretation of a journey similar to one that Cunhal must have made, as a young, naïve intellectual who will eventually come into contact with and gain a true notion of the conditions in which many of his countrymen find themselves.
Lambaça himself, André’s first contact with and reference of the proletariat on this journey, represents a key figure of the povo. While the relationship between the two men was initially tense and hostile, it eventually evolves into one of mutual respect, which is demonstrated by André’s desire to compensate Lambaça’s deed the best he can, and Lambaça’s own refusal of the payment. In this way, perhaps this relationship symbolizes, to a certain extent, the negotiations made and solidarity formed between the proletariat and those bourgeois intellectuals that aim to represent them.
Similarly, Cunhal’s experience travelling to Spain offered him the opportunity to develop this same respect and admiration for the contrabandists that accompanied him (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 194). As such, in Cunhal’s own experience, the contrabandists also served as the first connection with the povo, with whom the intellectual felt a strong sense of solidarity.
The contact with the povo and the unknown rural reality is, without a doubt, a key element of the novella, both in regards to its own plot as well as in relation to Cunhal’s own experience. For André, this journey through the north of Portugal is his first outside of Lisbon—everything is unfamiliar and astonishing. According to Tavares Rodrigues, this is a “viagem iniciática / initiatory journey,” in that it is an “aquisição de um saber, que respeita… ao conhecimento dos outros e do herói através dos outros… / acquisition of a wisdom, in regards to the knowledge of others and of the hero through others” (Rodrigues, 20). While staying at the houses of Lambaca’s contacts for the five nights of the journey, he is confronted with the conditions that he fights to improve, but which he had never before truly experienced. The members of the povo are important in conveying these hardships that result from poverty and isolation—whether it is the father who accidently shot his own daughter, that same daughter, idealized in André’s imagination, who is now old and worn, and who André sees as a “bruxa / witch,” or, most notably, the young Zulmira, who will become a central preoccupation for the young man. These characters provide the young intellectual with a more nuanced notion of the conditions that the proletariat face, and oftentimes, we will see the shock that he experiences upon observing such plight. For the remainder of this paper, I will focus on the case of Zulmira, the prostitute that provides shelter for Lambaça and André on the last night of their journey—not only for her greater importance to André’s own personal journey, being the character who undoubtedly inspires the most sympathy in the young protagonist, but also for how she relates to Cunhal’s own position on body politics and questions of domestic structures.
André’s perception of Zulmira is particularly important when considered in light of Cunhal’s own ideological position regarding the question of abortion and other body politics. Cunhal’s law school thesis was centered on this topic and he will continue to reflect upon it in much of his work. Cunhal’s view of these controversial topics is in itself quite contradictory. Although he values the human body, health, vitality, and virility, the influence of a traditional moralism rooted in the working classes is undeniable; there is a clear condemnation of the “libertinismo dos ricos e poderosos / libertinism of the rich and powerful” (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 447). Perhaps one can look to the Soviet Union as a guide in understanding the two perspectives held by Cunhal: while initially there was a large social liberalization in the country—with de facto marriages, legalized abortions, and some gay rights—social conservatism dominated in Stalin’s regime. In 1934, homosexuality was criminalized, and, two years later, abortion was prohibited (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 447). Together, these two views form Cunhal’s position in regards to these questions, most specifically, his defense of the importance of a traditional domestic structure, the creation of a “home.” While sexual vitality—the valorization of the human body and, therefore, more liberal sexual relationships—remains key, Cunhal does not promote it in a more promiscuous sense, but it is in fact important to him in the formation of this ideal home with two married parents raising children.
Although this point-of-view and valorization of a defined, traditional domestic structure may seem eerily and ironically reminiscent of Salazar’s own values, the difference between the two ideologies seems to lie precisely in this sexual vitality, as well as a different view of the woman’s role in the family. While Salazar’s view of the traditional home is based upon Catholic values, for Cunhal, it is sexual vitality that leads to marriage and the creation of a home. As such, Cunhal advocates much more sexual freedom than does Salazar. Furthermore, the role of the woman herself is a key difference. In Cunhal’s writings, women frequently are portrayed as victims of the social structure in place, as we will see in the case of Zulmira of Cinco dias, cinco noites—as Pacheco Pereira writes, the men are the actors in these destructive relationships, while the women become the silent victims who “wither away” (Pacheco Pereira here quotes Cunhal himself) waiting for marriage (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 449). Since we know that Cunhal is opposed to such un-traditional relationships that often lead to destruction and domestic violence, we can take it to mean that he is also opposed to these accepted gender roles. As such, by considering both this critical portrayal, as well as his views on sexual vitality, one may conclude that his view of the role of women differs significantly from that of Salazar.
André’s relations with and reactions to Zulmira in Cinco dias, cinco noites also demonstrate this profound sympathy and respect for the young mother and prostitute, and is key in communicating Cunhal’s stance on these topics. The first time André encounters the young woman, when the two men stop at her house for food, there is little interaction; instead, André observes her docile and weak personality, her indecisiveness and indifference as well as her pureness, serenity, and frankness. When he senses the power dynamic in the relationship between Lambaça and Zulmira, he becomes uneasy and critical of his comrade. After Zulmira asks if the men plan to stay the night, André observes Lambaça’s reaction: “[a]cenando afirmativamente com a cabeça, os olhitos negros fixavam maliciosamente a rapariga e a boca entreaberta deixava ver os dentes agressivos. Qualquer coisa de grosseiro, abusivo e mal intencionado se lia em toda a expressão / nodding his head affirmatively, the small black eyes were maliciously fixed upon the girl and his half-opened mouth revealed his aggressive teeth. Something vulgar, abusive, and ill-intentioned was evident in all his expression” (Tiago, 59). The scene inspires “indefinível amargura e receios vagos / indefinable bitterness and vague fears” in André. Not only does he question Lambaça on his intentions with the young Zulmira, but he insists that neither he nor his companion will stay the night at her house. When Lambaça lets André leave, but stays in the house for another hour, the young man reflects upon this new reality that he is confronted with, and is unsure of how to handle it. What we do see, however, is his discomfort with the aggressive behavior that Lambaça exhibits and the force he exercises over Zulmira in this apparently sexual relationship.
From the beginning, there seems to be a mutual attraction between André and Zulmira, which will be further elaborated when the two men return to the house to eat and sleep later on in the day. Although there is an undeniable sexual relation between Lambaça and Zulmira—André begins to believe they are lovers while witnessing their interactions upon the men’s return, and only realizes that she is a prostitute at the end of the night—the young woman maintains closer proximity with André than with the older man. André, for his part, is also mesmerized by Zulmira; not only physically attracted, he feels a deep compassion for her. When Lambaça suggests that Zulmira and André sleep together before he himself spends the night with her, however, the façade is broken and André’s naiveté revealed, as he finally learns the true nature of their relationship. He refuses to sleep with her—though the narrator confirms that it was for sentiments of “indignação, simpatia e piedade / indignation, sympathy, and piety” (Tiago, 75), the young girl sees it only as disdain.
Zulmira’s condition, as well as her reaction to André’s refusal to sleep with her, begin to preoccupy and consume the young activist. In this journey in which he, for the first time, truly encounters the reality of those people he fights for, he learns, also for the first time, the true gravity of the situation. For example, he grapples with the fact that prostitution exists in this remote, bucolic region:
Enrolado na manta, a indignação e a tristeza sufocavam-no. Porquê aquilo? Porquê? Que tragédia se ocultava naquela casita de camponeses, a cem metros de um povoado perdido nas serranias? Como era possível aquilo ali? Uma camponesa, tão nova, tão bela, nascida não para vender amor, mas para ser amada? A quem ele seria capaz de amar, estava disso certo?
Rolled up in the blanket, indignation and sadness suffocated him. Why that? Why? What tragedy was hiding in that small house of peasants, one hundred meters from a small village lost in the mountains? How was that possible there? A peasant girl, so young, so beautiful, not born to sell love, but to be loved? Who he was capable of loving, of this he was sure? (Tiago, 76)
André only finds solace in remembering that he is fighting exactly for those in similar conditions: “…o moço serenou e lembrou-se da sua vida e das razões por que se encontrava naquela serrania. Sentiu-se reconfortado. Ele vivia, afinal, juntado a sua fraqueza a milhões de outras fraquezas, para tentar impedir a existência na sua pátria de raparigas com aquela sorte / the boy calmed down and remembered his life and the reasons for which he found himself in the mountains. He felt comforted. He lived, after all, joining his weakness to millions of other weaknesses, to attempt to impede the existence of girls with that luck in his country” (Tiago, 76). This moment is particularly key—it is one of the few in which André’s political activity is more clearly outlined, and in which the communist ideals arise more explicitly. It is implied that the motives for his journey are political—his attempts for social change are what have brought him to this point. These efforts are highlighted in reference to Zulmira—it is for women like her that he wants change, to eliminate the conditions in Portugal that lead Zulmira, as well as other girls, to have to opt for prostitution in order to survive. Upon meeting and interacting with the young woman, therefore, he now sees exactly that which he is fighting for—for what is likely to be the first time—and only finds a sense of comfort in the possibility for transformation. It is fundamental to point out, however, that this fight is not an individual fight—instead, the narrator indicates that André lives “juntando a sua fraqueza a milhões de outras fraquezas / joining his weakness with millions of other weaknesses,” underlining the importance of the collective in this movement. He himself is weak, but when his own weakness is combined with that of others, there is an opportunity for change.
As Zulmira and André bid each other farewell, there is one last moment in which the influence Zulmira has had over André is accentuated. According to the narrator, “[a] moça disse-lhe então adeus com a mão, num gesto tão triste e tão desamparado, que nunca mais deixou de o repassar e de lhe doer / [t]he girl then said goodbye to him with her hand, in a gesture that was so sad and so helpless, that it never again stopped coming back to him and hurting him” (Tiago, 80). This fleeting interaction remains with André for the rest of his life—her sad and helpless gesture stays with him, pains him. Not only do we see here, once again, the sympathy and compassion that André feels for Zulmira’s condition, but further, the lasting impact that their interactions had. Of all the people encountered on this journey, Zulmira is, without a doubt, the character with whom André best connects emotionally—it is she that invites him into her miserable conditions and her seeking eyes that communicate her pain, yet her simultaneous beauty and delicacy. Perhaps because of the physical attraction, it is in Zulmira that André becomes most interested. As a result, Zulmira is the character who best provides the privileged André with an understanding of and emotional connection with this impoverished and unfortunate reality that so many live, and that which he is fighting to improve. This new comprehension contrasts with André’s earlier, minimal understanding of the situation, as seen through his own astonishment and disbelief when, for example, he learns that the attractive, sweet woman, so attentive to her six-month old son, is indeed a prostitute.
Zulmira, a single mother of a baby whose father is unknown, then, is an example of this silent, female victim—a victim of the men around her as well as her socio-economic condition—in a broken home. Lambaça and the other men who take advantage of her position are, therefore, the aggressors, the actors in these destructive sexual relationships. André’s sympathy for Zulmira, and his refusal to take advantage of his own position, despite the apparently mutual physical attraction between the two, communicates the values of the author—Zulmira should not have to sell love, but should be truly loved, and André himself believes that he could be the one to do so. He actively rejects the position of the powerful male, which he witnesses with disdain when Lambaça fills this role. As such, the notion of a traditional home, of the importance of love and marriage, and the aversion to such unbalanced power dynamics, is suggested through the protagonist’s reflections regarding this young woman that he encounters.
Cunhal’s perception of abortion, the focus of his thesis, also seems important to consider. Abortion, like many of the other social problems he reflects upon, is one of the ills of the capitalist society, and a behavior exhibited carelessly by those of his own privileged class. Like most of the other negative effects of the lack of the traditional home, abortion, for Cunhal, is “um <<mal>> / an ‘ill’:” clandestine abortion, then, is a “tragédia social / social tragedy” e a “catástrofe / catastrophe” (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 454). Cunhal differentiates between abortion for women of the working class and abortion for women of the bourgeoisie. Pacheco Pereira summarizes Cunhal’s position, inserting quotes from the author himself:
A <<miséria é a primeira grande causa do aborto nas classes trabalhadoras>>. As causas sociais encontram-se na <<angustiosa situação económica das classes trabalhadoras>>, que faz com que <<um filho para a família de trabalhadores representa mais uma boca para comer>>. As trabalhadoras não podem ter uma <<maternidade saudável>>, a vida e as condições do trabalho fabril impedem-no. Ter um filho é, assim, <<uma doença e o rápido envelhecimento>>.
Ter um filho para quê? Para o condenar a <<uma vida de restrições, de miséria, de falta de instrução>>, para <<o sofrimento e a dor>>? <<Nestas condições como podem desejar ser mães as mulheres trabalhadoras?>> E Cunhal responde num tom que ecoa o seu artigo <<Mar de Sargaços>>, uma longa elegia às dificuldades da maternidade e ao destino das crianças na sociedade capitalista
‘Misery is the first great cause of abortion for working-class women.’ Social causes originate in the ‘anguished economic situation of the working- classes,’ that makes it so that ‘a child for a working class family represents one more mouth to feed.’ Working women cannot have a ‘healthy pregnancy,’ life and the conditions of industrial work impede it. Having a child is, then, ‘an illness and rapid aging.’
Why have a child? To condemn him to ‘a life of restrictions, of misery, of a lack of education,’ for ‘suffering and pain’? ‘In these conditions, how can working women desire to be mothers?’ And Cunhal responds in a tone that echoes his article ‘Mar de Sargaços,’ a long elegy to the difficulties of maternity and the destiny of children in a capitalist society. (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 454).
In contrast to their working-class counterparts, bourgeois women have “luxury abortions:” for questions of inheritance, those of the bourgeoisie tend to limit the number of children they themselves have. On a moral level, Cunhal asserts that bourgeois women do not want to give up their mundane pleasures, or they opt for abortion to hide their sexual activity (Pacheco Pereira 1999, 454). Through these assertions, one can understand various layers to Cunhal’s position regarding abortion. Although abortion is always considered wrong, the responsibility falls in different places when considering the different classes. As such, those women of the working-class who choose to abort a child do not carry the responsibility for their action—instead, it is something forced upon them by the miserable conditions offered to them in a capitalist society. They are not at fault for their reality and the choices they are then obliged to take, considering their economic shortcomings; instead, the fault rests with capitalism. The women of the bourgeoisie, on the other hand, are responsible for their own actions, because they do not face the same limitations and hardships that are confronted by working-class women: they have the economic means to raise a child, and their decision not to is, as Cunhal sees it, based upon individualistic and immoral motives.
Keeping this in consideration, one more motive for André’s sympathy for Zulmira becomes clear—the fact that she chose to keep her baby, even in the unfavorable conditions that she faces. Although Cunhal doesn’t blame abortion on those women of the working-class, he still views the act as a crime, a catastrophe. Therefore, her choice to raise the child, and subject herself to prostitution as a means of economically sustaining him, demonstrates not only greater moral heroism and virtues on her part, but it indicates an even greater suffering at the hands of capitalism. As such, her moral integrity is accentuated as she is portrayed, once again, as the victim. Even more, her devotion to her child does not go unnoticed—not only is her role as a dedicated mother constantly underlined, but the joy and peace she finds in her child is also key. In fact, it is in these moments that those qualities that André most admires often shine brightest: when she is breastfeeding her infant, “a rapariga olhou para dentro do xaile e de novo no seu rosto brilhou o mesmo sorriso sereno e puro / the girl looked into her shawl and, once again, her face shined with the same serene and pure smile” (Tiago, 72). Zulmira epitomizes, therefore, the virtuous, hard-working proletariat that attempts to remedy the misfortunes presented by capitalism in the most honorable fashion possible.
Tiago/Cunhal’s literary works, written while in prison, are without a doubt politically charged—Cinco Dias, Cinco Noites is no exception. Beyond narrating the experience of a young Communist forced to leave his country—drawing many parallels with the author himself—the novella shines light upon several ideological questions important to Cunhal and that are part of André’s acquaintance with the proletariat reality. Among these topics, body politics, specifically abortion, and other domestic dynamics are especially key, namely in regards to the character of Zulmira. The realities faced and struggles presented in regards to these questions not only inspire reflection from the young André, but also provide him with a more accurate view of the proletariat, which had before been much more idealized and unrealistic. Though there are undeniable negative aspects in this portrayal, these elements are frequently blamed on other actors, such as the capitalist society. As such, the final image of the povo is a virtuous group of people that undoubtedly make mistakes or commit questionable actions, but it is as a result of the hardships and ills of society presented to them—these ills must be fought against and corrected. The didactic nature of this novella is undeniable—Cunhal has a clear message that he aims to communicate. Considering the elevated illiteracy rates in Portugal during the period in which he writes this novella, it seems clear that Cunhal is writing this work for the other Communists of his own privileged class—for them, he underlines that Medeiros, knowing the reality of the proletariat, whose interests his comrades strive to defend, is crucial in their fight against the regime for social betterment.
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