[Marxism] Fwd: H-Net Review [H-LatAm]: Pires on Green, 'Exile within Exiles: Herbert Daniel, Gay Brazilian Revolutionary'

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Thu Aug 29 10:02:43 MDT 2019



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Andrew Stewart 
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Begin forwarded message:

> From: H-Net Staff via H-REVIEW <h-review at lists.h-net.org>
> Date: August 29, 2019 at 10:28:25 AM EDT
> To: h-review at lists.h-net.org
> Cc: H-Net Staff <revhelp at mail.h-net.org>
> Subject: H-Net Review [H-LatAm]:  Pires on Green, 'Exile within Exiles: Herbert Daniel, Gay Brazilian Revolutionary'
> Reply-To: h-review at lists.h-net.org
> 
> James Naylor Green.  Exile within Exiles: Herbert Daniel, Gay 
> Brazilian Revolutionary.  Durham  Duke University Press, 2018.  334 
> pp.  $27.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-4780-0086-0.
> 
> Reviewed by Larissa Pires (Iowa State)
> Published on H-LatAm (August, 2019)
> Commissioned by Casey M. Lurtz
> 
> James N. Green's _Exile within Exiles _is a recuperative biography, 
> an effort to shed light not only on an often forgotten figure in 
> Brazilian history, but also on the contradictions within the 
> country's revolutionary Left, specifically during Brazil's military 
> dictatorship (1964-85). The book centers on the life of Herbert 
> Eustaquio de Carvalho, later known as Herbert Daniel, a Marxist 
> revolutionary, guerrilla fighter, environmental activist, political 
> candidate, and human rights advocate. Green's access to copious 
> documentation on Daniel's life, such as memoirs, letters, and 
> interviews with his family, friends, and revolutionary colleagues, 
> aided in the construction of a narrative that intersects the public 
> and private spheres as well as the political and the personal. 
> 
> Herbert Daniel, born in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, was 
> influenced by Marxist theorists when he started medical school in 
> 1965. The then young, vibrant student environment of most federal 
> universities pulsated with political opposition to Brazil's military 
> dictatorship and to the violent censorship it enforced. The pull 
> toward political activism was such that Daniel abandoned his medical 
> studies and joined, instead, the resistance movement in 1967. 
> Meanwhile, he struggled with conflicts of his own, attempting to 
> explore his homosexuality while actively participating in 
> revolutionary organizations. It is this narrative that Green 
> extrapolates on in one of his most interesting analyses: the 
> contradictions within Brazil's revolutionary, yet morally 
> conservative, Left. Within this dichotomy, Herbert Daniel hid his 
> sexual desires, relying on furtive and secretive encounters in public 
> spaces. 
> 
> In 1970, two years after the government issued the Institutional Act 
> No. 5 increasing censorship and presidential powers and decreasing 
> individual freedoms, Daniel joined a guerrilla group that trained in 
> the Brazilian countryside. Green astutely comments on how 
> developments linked to the Cuban Revolution deeply changed Brazil's 
> Left, leading many within the movement to invest in rural guerrilla 
> fighting and tactics. As with many of his colleagues, Daniel believed 
> that Brazil was ready for the revolution to ignite rural social 
> segments. Hiding in the countryside with other guerrilla fighters, 
> Daniel wholeheartedly committed to the movement and felt the need to 
> suppress his sexuality by masquerading as a standard heterosexual man 
> and practicing abstention. This signaled, for Daniel, the epitome of 
> his self-exile, in which he was compelled to hide his identity within 
> the conservative boundaries of what he saw as a liberating, just, and 
> necessary revolutionary movement. 
> 
> Returning to urban fighting, Daniel participated in armed efforts to 
> raise money for the revolution and to release key political figures 
> who were held, and tortured, in Brazil's many military jails. Those 
> were difficult years, with Daniel constantly on the move and in 
> hiding, especially after participating in bank robberies, thefts, and 
> kidnappings of diplomatic authorities. Green does an excellent job in 
> narrating these events, their consequences and rationale, while 
> remembering to comment on Daniel's personal journey with his 
> sexuality. 
> 
> A crucial turning point in the narrative occurred in 1974, when 
> Daniel and his long-time friend Claudio Mesquita fled to Portugal in 
> an act of self-exile. Green points out that moving to Europe opened 
> the possibility of better exploring his sexuality and his identity 
> within a broader society. It was there that Daniel began a 
> long-lasting relationship with Mesquita, as well as embraced other 
> activist movements such as feminism. Always the prolific writer and 
> communicator, Daniel, increasingly aware of the conservative 
> subjugation of women within the Left, wrote pieces on the female 
> quest for equality and reproductive rights. 
> 
> In 1976, political changes in Portugal pushed Daniel and Mesquita to 
> move to Paris, where they experienced a more open gay culture. This 
> immersion into a world that was previously forbidden helped shape 
> Daniel's activism and deepened his resolve. He also wrote his first 
> autobiography, the major themes being guerrilla fighting, revolution, 
> and homosexuality. However, in spite of his new experiences, he still 
> resented exile and longed to return to Brazil. Finally, in 1981, 
> following changes within the Brazilian military body, Daniel was 
> granted political amnesty and allowed to return to his home country. 
> This initiated a new era in his political work. 
> 
> Back in Brazil, Daniel embraced his sexuality and transformed it into 
> a political platform for equality, human rights, and respect. He 
> continued to defy stereotypes and actively fought to change how the 
> media, and the public, portrayed the homosexual community. Daniel 
> also engaged in environmental activism and electoral politics, 
> consolidating his political agenda as ecologically responsible and 
> socially antidiscriminatory. Politically and personally, he distanced 
> himself from the traditional Marxist focus on class and embraced 
> greater political and social intersectionality. 
> 
> Herbert Daniel's activism soon included an issue that shook Brazilian 
> society and popular belief: the AIDS epidemic. In 1989, Daniel was 
> diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Initially devastated by the diagnosis, he 
> soon moved on to politicize his condition and fought to change the 
> general perception of HIV as merely a death sentence. Through 
> writings and political projects, he challenged discrimination not 
> only against homosexuals but also against those affected by AIDS and 
> proposed a policy of solidarity and acceptance instead. His activism 
> gained him international recognition, and he spent the rest of his 
> life fighting for better treatment of the previously marginalized 
> before succumbing, in 1992, to AIDS-related complications. 
> 
> Green's book captivates the reader with a style that flows, informs, 
> and connects subject and audience. It is clearly a positive portrayal 
> of a forgotten character and is undeniably one-sided in its critique 
> of Brazil's resistance movements during the years of dictatorship. 
> However, as a self-defined recuperative biography, this trait is 
> understandable. The narrative's focal point is Herbert Daniel and the 
> intersection of personal struggles and sociopolitical conservatism. 
> In this sense, Green's work is highly successful, especially when 
> highlighting how, in many ways, the Left failed some of its members. 
> The book's layout was also well planned, and by including a 
> chronological list of events, a list of acronyms, and a thorough 
> index, Green guarantees that readers, especially those not 
> specialized in Brazilian history, will smoothly navigate the details 
> of his narrative. _Exile within Exiles _is a refreshing addition to a 
> growing genre that explores the intersection of public and private 
> spheres, both in the lives of historical figures as well as in the 
> creation of political movements. 
> 
> Citation: Larissa Pires. Review of Green, James Naylor, _Exile within 
> Exiles: Herbert Daniel, Gay Brazilian Revolutionary_. H-LatAm, H-Net 
> Reviews. August, 2019.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=53820
> 
> This work is licensed under a Creative Commons 
> Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States 
> License.
> 
> 



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