Peasants Launch Manifesto for Agrarian Reform after Historic Meeting
The rural social movements, which held a meeting earlier this week in Brasilia, launched a manifesto in defense of agrarian reform, rural development with the end of inequality, production and access to healthy foods, for agro-ecology and ensuring expansion of social rights for rural workers.
The most representative organizations of the rural areas in Brazil considered the gathering "a historic moment, a space qualified, with leaders of major organizations in the countryside awaiting the membership and commitment to this process."
In the manifesto, the model of agricultural commodity production based on large land holdings, the expulsion of families from the countryside and use of pesticides was also criticized.
"Agribusiness is a covenant of power of the hegemonic social classes, with strong support from the Brazilian State, based on finance capital and capital accumulation, commercialization of the goods of nature, generating land concentration and foreign ownership, food contamination by pesticides, environmental destruction, exclusion and violence in the countryside, and the criminalization of movements, leadership and social struggles," said the manifesto.
The document is signed by the MST, Via Campesina, the National Confederation of Agricultural Workers (Contag) and the Federation of Family Agriculture Workers (Fetraf), among others (see list at end).
The social movements promised "a process of unified struggle in defense of agrarian reform, land rights and the production of healthy food."
On the afternoon of Tuesday (2/28/12), the movements presented the manifest to society in a political act in the 15th floor of the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasilia.
Below, read the full text of the manifesto.
MANIFESTO OF RURAL SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS
The entities APIB, Caritas, CIMI, CPT, CONTAG, FETRAF, MAB, MCP, MMC, MPA and MST, present in the National Meeting of Rural Social Organizations, held in Brasilia on 27 and 28 February 2012, resolved by construction and operation of a process of unified struggle in defense of agrarian reform, land rights and production of healthy foods.
1) The deepening of dependent capitalism in rural areas, based on the expansion of agribusiness, produces negative impacts on the lives of people of the countryside, on the forest and on the water, preventing the fulfillment of social and environmental function of land and agrarian reform, promoting exclusion and violence, impacting negatively in the cities, exacerbating the external dependence and degradation of natural resources.
2) Brazil is going through a process of reprimarization [Ed. Note: from the Portuguese “reprimarização” which in general implies a return to an original economy where Brazil has an absolute advantage – i.e. exploitation and exportation of natural resources] of the economy based on production and export of agricultural and nonagricultural commodities (mining), which is unable to fund and promote sustainable and united development and meet the needs of the Brazilian people.
3) Agribusiness represents a covenant of power of the hegemonic social classes, with strong support from the Brazilian State, based on finance capital and capital accumulation, commercialization of the goods of nature, generating land concentration and foreign ownership, food contamination by pesticides, environmental destruction, exclusion and violence in the countryside, and the criminalization of movements, leadership and social struggles.
4) The current crisis is global and systemic and, in times of crisis, capital seeks traditional exits even more affecting workers with the increased exploitation of labor (including slave labor), overexploitation and concentration of goods and natural resources (reprimarization [see above]), flexible rights and investment in exclusionary and predatory technology.
5) In the current crisis, Brazil as a country rich in soil, water, natural resources and biodiversity, attracts speculative capital and agro-exporters, thus exacerbating the negative impacts on indigenous peoples and territories, quilombolas, traditional communities and family farmers. Externally, Brazil could become the lever of the neo-colonizer project, expanding this model to other countries, especially in Latin America and Africa.
6) The neo-developmental thinking focuses on production and profit, defended by the right and sectors of the left, excludes and comes as a hindrance to indigenous peoples, quilombolistas and peasants. The preference of the Brazilian government for the neo-developmental project, centered on large projects and export of commodities, aggravates the situation of exclusion and violence.
Therefore it does not meet the structural agenda and does not place agrarian reform in the center of the political agenda, generating strong dissatisfaction of the rural social organizations, despite small advances in peripheral issues.
These are the central reasons that led the rural social organizations to join in a national process to articulate the struggle. While recognizing the political diversity, the organizations understand the importance of building unity, made on the basis of knowledge, maturity and respect for differences, seeking concrete achievements for the people of the countryside, forests and waters.
In this sense we, rural organizations, fight for development with a focus on sustainability and food and territorial sovereignty, based on four central themes:
a) Comprehensive and qualitative Agrarian Reform assures the territorial rights of indigenous peoples, quilombistas and traditional communities; the land and livelihoods and affirmation of the socio-cultural identity of peoples fighting foreign control of land; and the establishment of limits of land ownership in Brazil.
b) Rural development with the distribution of income and wealth and an end to inequality;
c) Production and access to healthy food and environmental conservation, establishing processes to ensure the transition to agro-ecology.
d) Guaranty and expansion of social and cultural rights that allow the quality of life, including rural succession and retention of youth in the countryside.
This is an historic moment, a qualified space, with leaders of major rural organizations awaiting the adherence and commitment to this process by other organizations and social movements, government departments, congresspeople, personalities and society in general, since the agenda that unites us is an agenda of interest to everyone.
Brasilia, February 28, 2012.
APIB - Associação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil)
CIMI - Conselho Indigenista Missionário (Indigenous Missionary Council)
CPT - Comissão Pastoral da Terra (Pastoral Land Commission)
CONTAG - Confederação Nacional de Trabalhadores na Agricultura (National Confederation of Agricultural Workers)
FETRAF - Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura Familiar (National Confederation of Workers Family Agriculture)
MAB - Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (Movement of People Affected by Dams)
MCP - Movimento Camponês Popular (Popular Peasant Movement)
MMC - Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas (Movement of Peasant Women)
MPA - Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (Movement of Small Farmers)
MST - Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (Movement of Landless Rural Workers)
Via Campesina Brazil