“The Black President”: A 1926 Novel “Predicts” the Politics of 2008 with Some Eerily Similar Details

~~By InsightAnaltyical-GRL

On the morning of January 3rd, a Saturday, I lingered in bed listening to the BBC World Service on my shortwave radio.  I had tuned in in time to catch the weekly “roundup” edition of  the BBC World Service’s daily show on arts and entertainment called “The Strand.”

Suddenly, near the end of the program a woman, who was apparently a critic from Brazil, was talking about an author who wrote a book back in the 1920’s about a black man who became President of the United States.  The host commented on all the uncanny similarities between the events in the book and 2008’s Presidential campaign.

I scribbled a few notes, then later that day went back to the BBC World Service site to try to “re-listen” to the broadcast.  Couldn’t find it.  To this day, I still can’t find it. The site hasn’t been updated since January 3 and I’ve looked through all the full daily programs as well as the show I heard that Saturday morning. I’ve listened to the whole thing, but there is NO discussion of the book…and there is nothing mentioned about it in the show descriptions, either.

So, what’s up with the missing program segment on this story?

All this mystery prompted me to go searching. It took me quite awhile, but I came up with a few bits and pieces of information.  (What I’ve cited in this post is basically all I found.) Curiously, the very last thing I dredged up was a story from Slate dating from this past September.

Finally, I had found out more details on this book!  The author is apparently much better known as a children’s writer, but about half of his output was geared toward adult readers.  This book is one of his adult works, which is described as being on of Brazil’s earliest science-fiction novels. According to the critic I heard, the book was never published in the U.S. and only a few chapters have been translated into English.

Take a peek (my highlighting):

The Black President A 1926 Brazilian sci-fi novel predicts a U.S. election determined by race and gender.

O Presidente Negro (The Black President).Monteiro Lobato is a household name in his native Brazil, best-known for “Sítio do Picapau Amarelo” (“Yellow Woodpecker’s Ranch”), a series of children’s books that has been adapted for television on several occasions. He was an active businessman and libertarian and is considered the founder of Brazil’s publishing industry, but his 1926 science-fiction novel, O Presidente Negro (The Black President)—which foresaw technological, geopolitical, and environmental transformations—is attracting the most interest this year, since it anticipated a political landscape in which gender and race would determine the outcome of a U.S. presidential election.

O Presidente Negro envisions the 2228 U.S. presidential election. In that race, the white male incumbent, President Kerlog, finds himself running against Evelyn Astor, a white feminist, and James Roy Wilde, the cultivated and brilliant leader of the Black Association, “a man who is more than just a single man … what we call a leader of the masses.”

You may notice some similarities to the John McCain-Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama face-off; and so did Editora Globo, the publisher of O Presidente Negro, which reissued the novel during the Democratic primaries in a stroke of marketing genius…

Of course, there are several differences between Lobato’s story and the circumstances surrounding the 2008 election.

(MORE)

I’m not going to go into more detail.  The Slate article includes a FULL PLOT SUMMARY. Let’s just say that the critic I heard on that Saturday morning a couple of weeks back said that there were lessons to be learned and that Barack Obama, hopefully, would be attentive to situations that could be full of threatening tensions, some that could have a personal impact on his life.

Here’s some more background on Monteiro Lobato, his writings and his political views:

From the site, Vidas Lusófonas (translated)

In 1918, he successfully published his first volume of short stories, Urupês. He founded the publishing house Editora Monteiro Lobato & Cia., introducing new standards for printing quality, bringing out new authors and, finally, going bankrupt. In 1920, he published A menina do nariz arrebitado (The Little Girl with the Turned Up Nose), with cover design and illustrations by Voltolino, and managed to have it adopted as a school text, with a record first printing of 50,000 copies. He set up the Companhia Editora Nacional, another publishing firm, in Rio de Janeiro. He was invited to be the commercial attaché in New York, where he served for four years (between 1927 and 1931). He was fascinated by Henry Ford, by metallurgy and by the oil industry. He lost all his money in the 1929 stock market crash. He returned to Brazil and threw himself into the Campaign for the Protection of Brazilian Oil, delivering speeches, sending letters and making the whole country aware of the importance of oil to national development. It was then that he realized how popular and well-known he really was. He was arrested! His feelings about Brazil wavered between enthusiasm and depression. – He was active in Editora Brasiliense, a book publisher, lived in Buenos Aires, became a communist sympathizer…

From Brazzil magazine, March 2001 (translated from the Portuguese)

Lobato thought about development as translated into the image of the machine. In order to build those machines, you needed iron. To move the machinery, you needed oil. For him, the two fundamental pillars are these two things, and the third was bread, that is, food. These are the three elements of modern economic infrastructure.

Let’s talk now about Lobato the children’s author. How did he revolutionize the universe of children universe through literature?

If Monteiro Lobato had written in English, there’s no doubt that today he would be one of the great universal fabulists. First because he gathered all world fables together in his stories. Second, his stories include the fantastic element but it was not the oppressive fantastic, as in most imported fables, but the delirious fantastic. Lobato’s formula has one foot in reality but also has an opening for fiction and dreams. Observe that Lobato, when he produces his fables, he also subverts the relations between children and adults. Suddenly children are interlocutors capable of talking with adults and the adults have to be available and to look at the child as a little human being who is intelligent and thinks. He used to say that he was a children’s writer, not a writer of childish things. There is, in fact, a project behind all his children’s literature. At the end of his life, when he was tired, the oil didn’t work, the iron didn’t work, Getúlio Vargas’s dictatorship censured him, he said he was tired of writing for grown-ups. “What boring people!”, he used to say, “let’s see if I can help train better adults by writing for children”.

More details on his political views from Wikipedia:

Politically, Lobato was strongly in favor of a state monopoly for iron and oil exploration in Brazil and battled publicly for it between 1931 and 1939. For his libertarian views, he was arrested by the then dictatorial government of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas in 1941. This movement, called O Petróleo é Nosso (Oil Belongs to Us) was highly successful, and the same Getúlio Vargas, after being democratically elected president, created Petrobras in 1952.

He died in São Paulo in 1948.

Political ideas

Lobato was really a man ahead of his time, and paid dearly for this, being ridiculed by part of the public and even arrested by the government. His ideas included:

  • English should be taught at schools because it was more important[citation needed] than French or Latin (So he had the children characters learn English in one of its books)
  • Ores and Oil should be managed by the state to prevent their control by international corporations not interested in developing Brazil but in keeping it as consumer market (Viscount’s Oil)
  • The Brazilian folk traditions were the cornerstone of national identity, they should be preserved and more cherished
  • The world was changing fast and those who could not adapt to its pace would end up being “eaten” (The Size Switch)
  • That scientific research could eventually enable man to make deeper changes to nature, and that such changes, if not wisely directed, could result in disasters
  • That war exists only because of corporate greed, political alienation of the masses and racial prejudice (The Size Switch)

All these ideas were published between 1923 and 1944, which makes them even more notable.

Read the full,  detailed description of the book from the article in Slate. And wonder why the BBC seems to have “lost” the interview I heard two weeks ago.

***

Additional Information:

Encyclopedia Brittanica, José Bento Monteiro Lobato (very brief bio)


A SPECIAL POST: As the Violence of Obama’s Followers Escalates, A Former Resident of Communist Romania Expresses Her Fears about Obama and What is Happening to Our Country

At the beginning of this month, IA posted a piece entitled “Obama’s Very Own Cultural Revolution (Update 3X–Another Video Surfaces…This Time, Military Fatigues??).” In response to this post, a reader of this blog who escaped from Communist Romania wrote several long comments expressing her fears about what an Obama presidency might mean for the country.  She agreed to have her comments collected and featured in special post and also wrote a short biography detailing her struggles before and after her escape to America from Romania. I have done minimal editing-[ ]-in a few places for clarification only. Her biography is appended at the end of her comments.

With the spate of recent violence against Republicans and McCain supporters (Senator Coleman’s house and the homes of 3 other members of Congress vandalized, the young woman attacked and marked, McCain’s Florida campaign manager’s house being shot at, to name a few incidents…and not forgetting the hatred directed at Sarah Palin), the sobering story Lisabona tells seems to be unfolding here, now… (Hat tip to Texas Hill Country for much of the information on the current violence.) ~~InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE: The “attack/marking” on the young female McCain supporter seems to have been a hoax or possibly something done by a disturbed person…or an Obama plant. Who knows??

A Special Guest Post by “Lisabona”

Lisabona, on October 1st, 2008 at 8:04 pm Said: Edit Comment

When I saw the video [linked to in the original post cited above], for a moment I saw myself as a child with a ”red scarf” around my neck, elogiating  our president of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu. I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears, that after 30 years in America, the country I was dreaming to live one day, I will hear the same song what I used to sing, 30 years ago, but in a different language. Believe-me I start to cry. To cry of disappointment, cry for this great Country. People weak up, don’t let that a maniac destroy all your ancestors hard work those who build America to be the greatest in the world. Indoctrination is a very dangerous slope. It will take generations to die off, then the next generation to born with new mentality (example: Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia) The hardest think for anybody is, to fight against mentality (Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, etc).  The American people didn’t live under opression in order to be afraid. The Communism is like a contagious illness, eating you alive. I could write with no end about the disaster and misery of a communist system. Be aware!

***

In response to a comment about the above post, Lisabona wrote:

Lisabona, on October 1st, 2008 at 10:28 pm Said: Edit Comment

Dear ms mississippi, you are right, we have to educate and work with everybody who is willing to fight for the truth. I wrote a letter (I think via E-mail) to JB Williams from – comments@newsmediajournal.us -[The New Media Journal.us] the title was” Guilt by association”. His response was, Cote [quote]  ”Thanks! I wish there was a better way, But I don’t see the MSM touching any of this with a ten foot poll. They have an agenda which is not served telling the American people the truth about anything.” And finally he coted [quoted] for me ”That’s what I love about America. We’ve done so many things that ” can’t be done” – that we have become bored with the possible” sign, JB . Can you tell me when you get this kind of ” encouragement”, you just loose [lose] any HOPE for the truth. I wish to be able to handle the English language better, because I would be ready to turn the whole world up-side down, just for the sake of truth and fairness. How it looks like, the voting fraud already started and for sure will continue anf we find ourselves running against the windfall. Has anyone an other solution?

***

Responding to a commenter who had seen Lisabona post to Texas Darlin’ and wanted to know if she could tell her story:

  1. The memories are so painful, it would be need edpages [?], because its a lifetime story.Thank you from the bottom of my heart, giving me the chance, even just to alloud me to in a few words to make the American people aware of the communism danger.

  2. For those who have no idea how the communist system works, I would like to give you a few hints: At th age of 16, you get one ID card from the city you live. You are not alloud to move in other city or county, because you can’t get a job. In order to get a job you need to have ID card for that place, but you can’t get ID, because you don’t have job. As, you can see, in order to be monitored, they limit your possibility to move around. If you stay more the 30 days, a guest in some other place, where you have no ID, you have to go to the police department, and ask for a temporary residents. The food is portioned. What is not, you have to stay in line hours like for: toilet paper, soap, tooth paste, in other words for everything. They use member of same family to spy one against the other. Children against parents, brothers against brothers, relatives against each other. Feeling the pressure, you are begining to be afraid of your own shadow. You are afraid even to think. In your you star to believe that, even the walls can have ears. Finally they dominate your thought, your mind, and you ending up to behave like a robot. How this is affecting your day by day life if you don’t obey their rules, is an other nightmare. Staying hours in line for food, when you get finally home, if you live inn highr floor,you have no (electricity) elevator.You want to prepare dinner for your family, you have no water. I forget to tell, that the worki n hours are 8 h/day,six day/week. Sunday, finally you are home, but you have to go doing voluntier work for your country. If you won’t go, they have a ” black book”, where your name is in there. If in time, you ask a better job, apartment or any kind of help, you just won’t get it. From the early childhood until you die you have to elogiate [allegiance] your ” choosen” by the party and NOT EVEN THE GOD (is no God in a communist country) IS MORE IMPORTANT” then your sick schizophrenic president. (I ‘m refering to the old country’s president.) So, dear American people, if you want to have this kind of life, fasten your seatbelt, you will need it. If you can’t, you can end up in a “crazy house”, jail, where you have a very good chance to never see again the day lite. Listening the children from Venice, California, America made the first step to the dream world of Obama. If he wins the presidency, he will deliver America in a silver plate to Ayers, the America he always dreamed of, that one day he will be able to “CHANGE” this country in a socialist (communist) one.

  1. Yesterday, I was trying to outline the rules, everybody MUST respect, in a Communist country, Today, I would like you to know, what’s happening with you and your family, if you don’t respect the rules. Let’s go to abortion. In a period of a Romanian dictatorship, the abortion was forbidden. I’m pro and against abortion, this from my own experience. I don’t know, but maybe many of you remember that, after the communist regime failed, the enourmous number of orphan children (sick, handicape,) were livind in orphanages, in the streets, in the most mizerable conditions. I agree with ” no abortion”, in this case you have to have the so called” morning pills,” but in Romania, all this counterreception [contraception] pills, were withdrawn from every farmacy. So, what any other chance the poor women, young, older, married or not, could do? Nothing, because if by any chance, a doctor perform abortion outside of the hospital and the patient needed some medical intervention, going in the hospital they have two chances: tell who performed the abortion, in this case, both would go to jail; the other chance, keep silent, in this case, the doctor will leave you to die, because behind him, the police were watching him. Don’t take me wrong. I love children, and those who wants to have many children, love them and be happy. But, if you are forced to have children and, you just can’t take care of him/her or just, you can’t love him. In this case, abort him/her, because in my believe is a bigger sin to give life, and abandom that life, who first of all never ask to be born. At least, if you will feel any guilt is just yours and not of the child who did nothing, he didn’t ask for what you put in his/hers shoulder. You know, this is for every child in the world. They don’t need nothing, they don’t ask for nothing more, JUST LOVE, and if any mother can’t give this to their child, DON’T HAVE HIM/HER. Any child is happy with the minimum, if he has the love of his/hers mother. I think, when the whole world saw those innocent children, leaving in filt, misery,not enough food and specially love, those, would want to do the impossible, just save those children. Many of them, were marc for ever, no matter the help they get, it was to late for them. I don’t know if some of you ask, what happened with those doctors, those, who felt sorry and gaveup, because the wast majority, could not afford financially, to have an other children  by law 4 children) he performed the abortion, in majority of cases, without any money. Let me tell you from my own experience. My husband (ex) being one of the most kind, human loving physician, after I left( escaped) from the HEAVEN, even I told him to be careful, knowing who he is, they send a women to his doorestep, crying, she can take care of an other child, he perfomed the abortion. Next day, that police picked up my husband. I wasn’t there, but family members, my children told me, how the police beat him, so bad, when my family went to see him, they could not recognize his swallow [swollen] face full of blod and wounds. He get 3 years in jail. When he came out, he never was the man he was before. He refused to be doctor. The man who loved his profession, loved to help, became a wreck for the rest of his life. My 2 daughters age of 10 and 14 in that time. find themselfs, with no mother and no father. I was lucky, through the UNICEF, I was able to bring my children in a very short time, here in America. We are Ok, but my ex-husband became an alcoholic, homeless. In this moment he is living in one of the Project houses. You can see, how a family, once happy, full of dreams became like a wrecking ship. I ask, those, who refuse to open their eyes, do you want this for America? Think about the clear signs of the beginings: Song for our ” choosen”, the intimidation by the officials from Missouri, the fraudulent votes in Chicago? What else you need, before you open your eyes? Don’t throw away the life and security of those who worked so hard to have it.

  2. Just one more point. You maybe ask? Why Europeans are incline for Obama? The whole Europe is a socialist country, one step to the communism. France, Italy, part of Germany, as many of you know, have a very strong communist party. They have memebers even in their government. The ex-communist countrie, like, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Chechia [Chechyna], Slovacia, part of Germany, all of them were indoctrinated, showing numerous propaganda movies like, I dont know if some of you saw this movies, ‘ ONE POTATE TWO POTATOS”. ” UNCLE TOM ‘S HOWEL” [?], and many others. In this movies they wanted to convinse the people how the communist system is better then the capitalist, where is no Human Rights, The black people can’t get jobs, can’t get housing, no interracial relationships and all the bad treatments the black people were getting. Sure, after i came here in America a saw a totally different thing. I saw the truth, but those who never had a chance to know the reality, are still thinking that what they saw 10 – 20 years ago, is still true. It is not. This remarc is for those, who are not clear, why Europe is for Obama, believe me this is the truth. They are still socialist countries today.

  3. If any of you are thinking that, I’m exagerating, they are dead wrong. Go and visit: texasdarlin.wordpress.com and http://current.com, see the 15′ tall obama’s portret on the wall. You will see, our life our country in a big jeopardy. Stop and think, don’t wait until the candle will burn your hands..

  4. Actually the Obama ‘ mural’ I tried to go direct and it didn’t work. I went back again to noquarterusa.net, on Dr. Lynnet column (al -Jazzera interwiev) I’m not sure the name, and the one of the bloggers comment by OhVoter, you will find the site. Now, I would like to go back and continue my maybe” boring” story. The reason, I decided to write is, I’m really worried about what tomorrow will bring. Like many of you, I have children, grandchildren, I don’t want them to live in a country where the are afraid if they speak freely, a country that will tell them, how much and what to eat, the country, were they feel as prisoners of their own country. To have an idea about what I’m talking about, when I came in this country and saw how the black people are living, compared how the people there were living, you even can’t compare. That bad the life was there. God forbid, say something against the Government, you risked your life and those close to you, too. I forget to mention, when the president were visiting the country, first, even before you can see the motor-cars of the president, you could see the secret police cars, with the Dobermans in front. To continue may story, after my divorce, I remaried. My husband also was a political prisoner. He was just a kid, 19 years old, when a group of other high school boys, protested agains the communist regime. The police get them, they get 5 years in a hard labor prison. I don’t wish to my worst enemy, to live thru, that savage beatings, the dark room punishment (no heat, no light, no bed, just the cold cement). Even today, after so many years, he still has the marks of beating. You say what you want, you can have your opinion, America is still has freedom of speech (for now), but I just can’t stay impassive, without warning those who are believing in the “sunshine” of Obama, which will never shine, which will never warm you up. Obama’s sunshine will freeze every good the God gave you. You will became a robot, why, because you won’t be able to decide what is good for you. The Government, will take over your health care, housing, children, and worst, will take over your mind, judgement. In other words,the government will take over your ” whole” existence. If you want this for you and for your children, go ahead, the sorrow will came after, but will be to late.

    1. If some of you will read what I wrote and also watched Cavuto on Fox channel, maybe you will start to pay attention of what I was writting about. Finally some people start to pay attention and became scared that to much government in any business is the distruction of democracy. With this bailout the government will tell, what to by, who will buy, the government is listening you phone conversations, like in a communist country, the government will decide the type of your medical insurance, what you can say and express your opinion about anybody and anything. Look around and not so far, in Missouri, the trainig of the” youth Obama”s group,the police and judges intervention if anybody say something about Obama. If you never read a book about Marx, Engels, the founders of communist theory and later those who imply [apply] their theory, Lenin, Stalin, and the rest of communist dictators, pleas at least open your eyes and ears and pay attention what is happening around. Listen and think. Obama’s regime would be the end of democracy in America. I love to much this country, in order to keep silent. I’m not an instigator, far, I’m a peace loving, fairness loving ordinary citizen of the USA. I’m retired, I, won’t be reacher and not poorer, I have no any business, just a modest 640 Dollar pension /MO., but I have children and grandchildren and as, I left behind everything and escaped from the” Communist Heaven”, I’m worried about the path toward we are running.

*****

Background Information Lisabona provided to IA:

HI,

As, You ask me about some information about me, I don’t know, if what I would tell it is enough or you think something  different.

In a Communist country, the peoples ” wealth “, (elite) was considered, what is your profession. The intellectual level, first; Doctors, Layers, Teachers, Engineers and so one. As, you can see, I didn’t left Romania for economical reason. For the Communist Government, the Intellectuals (Ceausescu hated them) were the danger of their existents. They were oppressed, specially, doctors, calling them” the white maffia”. After  I escaped,(vacation trip in Austria-Wienna)  I stayed in a refugee camp for  about 5 Months, until I find a sponsor for USA. In August the 23, I arrived in USA.  My sponsor right was withdrawn, and when I arrived inn USA, where, I didn’t know nobody, I didn’t speak English,not a word,no home,no money,.A priest from a Methodist Church, from Oakland, CA.,was waiting for me in San Francisco. Hard thing was, we couldn’t communicate with each other, because of language barrier. I was aloud to stay three days in a Parochial House (it was Friday,when I arrived), period, I didn’t left the room. Finally Monday, other Romania emigrants came and they help me to find a job in a factory (I never work before in a factory) where they work,and help me with transportation also. I felt isolated in Oakland. In Europe, you can see all the time people in the streets walking, children playing, you could see life around you. There, I hardly saw people, just in a Shopping Malls. So, I left Oakland, I found some Romanians from the refugee camp, and move to New York. In a few months as I told you, with the help of the UNICEF, in July of 1980, my daughters arrived in USA. There my crucifying real hard life started. I worked in a factory for  [from] 3:30/H, six days/wk, 10 hours/day. Even with those long hours, I had to work 3 weeks just to pay my rent.  We were really poor. The transition for my children, who had everything they wanted, here, many times I  didn’t had money for food.  Sometimes, I had 50 cents for the subway, but I didn’t have the cents to return home. Luckily, I always find good people who helped me out. After, three years in USA, I learn enough English, and I get a job in a Bank. It wasn’t more money but, it was a beginning to reach at least the professional level I was, before I left the country. My youngest daughter, finished High School and started the College in day time and I started in night time (Junior College) graduating in Bus. Mgmt.  I was lucky, I didn’t have to pay for my daughter tuition, because she was in a Dean list, as a very gifted student. I forget to tell you,  then after my husbands stay in prison, he get out, but he was a total wreck. Lost as a human being, lost professionally too….I told him, the life, in USA is not easy, you can achieve everything you want, if you work hard and willing to pay the price for your dream and freedom. Once you fell down the precipice of life, would take a lot of self discipline and will power to pick yourself up. He lost all of this and I just couldn’t destroy my children’s life after the hardship they went true. He didn’t listen, he came in USA, but after one year we divorced. Now, he is living with all the drug addicts, alcoholics in a Project Home. I still feel sorry for him, because from almost 3000 thousand medical students in the whole country, he finished the 8th on a list. A highly intellectual person, talented, not just in his profession, in Art. Music, History, named. And, now, he is old, almost homeless and lost for all of us. After 2 years, I remarried. A wonderful person who raised my children as like his, because their father never-ever, once ask about the children well being. Today, my two daughters are married, both of them have children (3 each), college graduated, and. staying home mom’s. What I forget to tell you, after I finished the Junior College, I want to make  a difference, to do good for those who helped me, when I badly needed. I enrolled  to became a registered Nurse, working in a same time in a Hospital, where I get the (Above and beyond the duty) [award]. Unfortunately, after the first year, working in a Hospital, in the next two years  I had two surgeries, because of heavy lifting (working in a stroke unit) the Doctor, forbid to lift more than 15 LB. So, I had to give up to became Registered Nurse after 1 1/2 year of Nursing College.

Kind regards,

L/EHI

***

Note:  For more information on the Ceausescu, see http://www.ceausescu.org/