Neno Vasco ((1878-05-09)May 9, 1878 – (1920-09-15)September 15, 1920) was a poet, lawyer, journalist, anarchist, writer, and ardent revolutionary syndicalist activist born in Penafiel, Portugal. He emigrated to Brazil where he established a series of projects with the anarchists of that country. He was the author of the Portuguese translation of The Internationale, which is more widespread in Portuguese-speaking countries, and was said to have been one of the most important figures of Anarchism in Portugal.

Neno Vasco
Gregório Nazianzeno Moreira de Queiroz e Vasconcelos

(1878-05-09)May 9, 1878
DiedSeptember 15, 1920(1920-09-15) (aged 42)
OccupationWriter, journalist, translator
Spouse(s)Mercedes Moscoso


First yearsEdit

Gregório Nazianzeno Moreira de Queiroz e Vasconcelos, better known as Neno Vasco, was born in Penafiel on May 9, 1878. At the age of 8 or 9 he emigrated with his father and stepmother to the city of São Paulo, Brazil. A few years later, he returned to Portugal to complete his studies and live in his paternal grandparents' house in Amarante.[1] It was in Amarante that he met the poet Teixeira de Pascoaes, who would later convince him to choose a law course instead of medicine.

Academic trainingEdit

He enrolled at the Faculty of Law of the University of Coimbra on October 13, 1896, where he began to take classes. He had illustrious future colleagues and friends of Portuguese intellectuals such as the poet Teixeira de Pascoaes, Faria de Vasconcelos and António Resende. In 1900, during his visits to Porto, he met a group of libertarian propagandists in which Cristiano de Carvalho and Serafim Cardoso Lucena participated. In 1901 he completed his bachelor's degree.[1] At the same time, he began to undertake militant activities, on March 2, 1901, he published the pamphlet – The Academy of Coimbra to the Portuguese People – in which he made a fierce criticism of the arbitrariness of the police. That same year he began writing articles for the republican newspaper O Mundo, at the time published in Lisbon under the direction of Mayer Garção.

Return to Brazil and contact with AnarchismEdit

At the end of 1901 he returned to Brazil[2] where he quickly established contact with Italian anarchists through which he learned of the work of Errico Malatesta, who from that moment on exerted a profound influence on his thought.[1] In a few months he began to correspond with Malatesta and in this contact his ideas and conceptions were changed. From Brazil he wrote and sent texts on literature and revolution to be published in Portugal in the magazine A Sementeira, in which he also wrote a memorable article on the work, life and death of Octave Mirbeau.

Friend of the People, Aurora and Voice of the WorkerEdit

In the city of São Paulo, in 1902, he began to edit the Amigo do Povo newspaper[3] together with Benjamim Mota, Oreste Ristori, Giulio Sorelli, Tobia Boni, Ângelo Bandoni, Gigi Damiani and Ricardo Gonçalves. The journal's influence was immediate, being appropriated not only as one of the main spaces for dialogue on the Brazilian anarchist movement,[1] but also as a locus for reflection on issues related to "women's emancipation" by a considerable number of notable women who started to contribute to this Publication. Based on these discussions, Neno Vasco published an article in this periodical refuting naturalist Émile Zola's thesis about fertility. Some time later he launched Aurora magazine.

In the pages of the newspaper A Voz do Trabalhador, Neno Vasco responded to the criticisms of some anarchists (among them Luigi Galleani) who accused the anarcho-syndicalist organizations of being just a new form of government. The controversy over the relationship between anarchism and syndicalism gave the fundamental time to a broad debate, important for understanding the different currents within the libertarian movement in relation to the labor movement and its organizations.

Marriage, translations and militancyEdit

Photograph of Neno Vasco's family.

In 1904 he translated into Portuguese from French the work Evolution, Revolution and the Anarchist Ideal by Élisée Reclus. In 1905 he married Mercedes Moscoso,[1] an anarcha-feminist daughter of a Spanish family and an anarchist for generations. At this time he developed an intense activity to propagate libertarian thought, becoming a reference among the Brazilian libertarians with whom he collaborated. Also this year he began editing the periodical A Terra Livre with his wife, Edgard Leuenroth and others. At the same time, he maintained a dialogue with other anarchists of Portuguese origin who worked in Brazil, including Adelino Tavares de Pinho – a merchant from Porto who had been a professor at the Modern School -, Marques da Costa – editor of the newspaper O TrabalhoManuel Cunha, Diamantino Augusto, Amílcar dos Santos, Raul Pereira dos Santos, José Romero, etc.

In 1909 he translated the progressive internationalist anthem The Internationale from Eugène Pottier's French into Portuguese. His version quickly spread in the anarcho-syndicalist milieu, both in Brazil and in Portugal, starting to be heard in workers' demonstrations such as strikes and rallies in these two countries since then.

Return to PortugalEdit

When the First Portuguese Republic was proclaimed in 1910, Neno Vasco returned to Portugal where he continued to develop his anarchist militancy, collaborating with the Brazilian anarchist press as a correspondent. He became a constant contributor to the libertarian magazine A Sementeira in which he wrote about the social situation in Brazil.[1] As well as in the newspaper A Aurora (1910–1919), and in the magazines Renovação (1925–1926)[4] and A Comuna (1920–1927) in Porto, up to the date of his death.

Flag of the "Neno Vasco Study Circle".

The following year, on the 11th, 12th and 13 November he participated in the 1st Portuguese Anarchist Congress. In 1912 he launched the collection A Brochura Social with Lima da Costa editing two works, took part in several anarchist meetings such as the (Anarchist Conference of Lisbon in 1914), published the pamphlet Georgias: ao Trabalhador Rural in Pinto Quartin's weekly newspaper Terra Livre, offered training courses to the Syndicalist Youth in O Germinal. In 1910 he had a disagreement with Emídio Costa about strategies in the face of World War I, he was a friend of many militants of the Portuguese anarchist movement.


On September 15, 1920, Neno Vasco died of tuberculosis, a few months after his wife's passing,[1] in the parish of São Romão do Coronado in the municipality of Trofa, in northern Portugal.

"The Anarchist Conception of Syndicalism"Edit

Throughout the 1910s, as an anarchist propagandist, Neno developed the anarchist conception of the trade union by addressing the ideas of Malatesta, among other authors, about revolutionary syndicalism. At the end of his life, he began to work on a work, which would remain unfinished, on the role that anarchists should play in mass organizations, more specifically in unions, as well as addressing doctrine and disputes with Marxists in the International Workingmen's Association (IWA). In this work Neno defended that "the workers union is the essential group, the specific organ of class struggle and the reorganizing nucleus of the future society"[5] which must participate in the "solidarity struggle of the workers against the bosses" through direct action.[5] The role of anarchists in these unions must be propaganda, spreading anarchist ideas and warding off the reformist, parliamentary tendency of political parties that only defended full participation in the bourgeois social system, a harmony between capital and labor. Therefore, the workers' organization must "live independently of any political party or doctrinal grouping" in order to emphasize the revolutionary character, "resistance must be the only union function".[5]

Cooperatives and MutualismEdit

In some paragraphs of this book, the author addresses mutualism and cooperatives, stating that "they serve and facilitate capitalist exploitation, becoming factors of resignation and passivity".[5] For Neno, these organizations can be even more harmful than corporatism, because "it naturally tends towards the adaptation of the wage earner to the bourgeois regime, even favoring submission to the conditions imposed by the employers".[5] In addition to promoting the creation of a "parasitic permanent bureaucracy", which, sooner or later, will "develop the commercial spirit and corrupt the best intentions".[5]

Social Democracy and ParliamentarianismEdit

Criticism of workers' reforms are constant throughout the book, stating that "the "workers' law" only serves to deceive the unconscious masses by giving a false prestige to governments and parliamentary institutions and tending to divert the people from direct organization and action."[5] For Neno, the law is only applied when the proletariat wants this reform to be approved, when workers have the strength to impose their will on the rulers.

As for the parliament, to Neno this was nothing more than a tool of the bourgeoisie to appease the workers' struggles, and corrupt the combative spirit of the social movements:

"Parliament is the work and instrument of political and financial oligarchies – and everything it touches is corrupted and impotent. And what seems to remain intact and incorrupt in it only maintains the disastrous prestige of a fiction. Revolution, robust child of the circumstances and will of men, the revolution that marks the painful birth, but necessary and welcome, of all societies." p.151[5]


Throughout his life, his effort in the publishing movement contributed greatly to the growth of libertarian influence in the working class in Brazil and Portugal. His main book is A Concepción Anarquista do Sindicalismo, published in 1923 by the editorial collective of the anarcho-syndicalist newspaper A Batalha and republished in 1984. A Brazilian version for use in union training courses was published in 2007.

In the city of São Paulo, in the Cidade Tiradentes neighborhood there is a street named after him. In the municipality of Nova Iguaçu, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, there is also a building named Pr. Neno Vasco built in 1976.




Theater playsEdit

  • Anedota em 1 acto, 1911
  • Greve de Inquilinos: farça em 1 acto, Editorial A Batalha, 1923.
  • Pecado de Simonia, 1907.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Samis, Alexandre (2009). Minha Pátria é o Mundo Inteiro (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Letra Livre. ISBN 9789899511484. OCLC 382406472.
  2. ^ Freire, João (1984). "Prefácio". In Vasco, Neno (ed.). Concepção Anarquista do Sindicalismo (in Portuguese). Porto: Afrontamento. p. 12. OCLC 12104655.
  3. ^ Toledo, Edilene T. (1993). O Amigo do Povo: grupos de afinidade e a propaganda anarquista em São Paulo nos primeiros anos deste século (Master's) (in Portuguese). São Paulo: University of Campinas. pp. 50–52. OCLC 55925286.
  4. ^ Mangorrinha, Jorge (1 March 2016). "Ficha histórica:Renovação : revista quinzenal de artes, litertura e atualidades (1925–1926)" (PDF). Hemeroteca Municipal de Lisboa (in Portuguese). Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Vasco, Neno (1984). Concepção Anarquista do Sindicalismo. Porto: Afrontamento. Archived from the original on 3 October 2008.
  6. ^ Black, João (27 April 2018). "Sindicalismo Revolucionário – Neno Vasco". Apoio Mútuo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 3 August 2021.


  • Dulles, John W. F. (1980). Anarquistas e Comunistas no Brasil, 1900–1935 (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira. OCLC 760667226.
  • Oliveira, Tiago Bernardon (2018). ""Anarquismo e Revolução": militância anarquista e a estratégia do sindicalismo revolucionário no Brasil da Primeira República". In Santos, Kauan Willian; Silva, Rafael Viana (eds.). História do anarquismo e do sindicalismo de intenção revolucionária no Brasil: novas perspectivas. Archivos de Historia del Movimiento Obrero y la Izquierda (in Portuguese). Curitiba: Prismas. pp. 207–242. ISSN 2313-9749.
  • Samis, Alexandre (2004). "Pavilhão negro sobre pátria oliva: sindicalismo e anarquismo no Brasil". In Colombo, Eduardo (ed.). História do Movimento Operário Revolucionário (in Portuguese). São Paulo: Imaginário. pp. 125–189. ISBN 8576630052. OCLC 82217392.
  • Samis, Alexandre (2017). "Contra limites e fronteiras: Neno Vasco e o anarquismo em dois continentes" (PDF). Navegar (in Portuguese). 3 (4): 10–38.
  • Samis, Alexandre (2018). Minha pátria é o mundo inteiro: Neno Vasco, o anarquismo e o sindicalismo revolucionário (in Portuguese). São Paulo: Imaginário. ISBN 9789899511484. OCLC 382406472.

External linksEdit