[2/10/05] MST Update #83: WSF - Another World Is Possible and MST news briefs...

*The MST distributes biweekly updates that FMST-US volunteers translate and make available. Please read the latest below.*

MST Update #83: Friday, February 10, 2005

1. FEATURE ARTICLE: WSF-Another World Is Possible!


2. MST is against violence
3. Brasil de Fato commemorates two years with celebration and hope
4. Families in Pontal face evacuation after take-over of public land

1. FEATURE ARTICLE: WSF-Another World Is Possible!

Dear friends of MST,

The 5th World Social Forum, which took place between January 26th and 31st in Porto Alegre (RS), gathered once again people from all over the world. There were 155 thousand people from 135 different countries. The Via Campesina participated with nearly a thousand people from 40 countries and four continents. Latin American countries that sent representatives were Bolivia, Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Brazil.

The forum started and finished with two big demonstrations. The opening demonstration’s main subject was the war in Iraq. Banners, flags and signs conveyed the disappointment caused by the Bush government. Support for the Iraqi people and to Palestinians was expressed throughout the week. On the 27th, the Via Campesina donated water pumps to the Palestinian people. On the last day, the criticisms focused on the FTAA. During the meeting –and following the decision to decentralize the Forum– the organization confirmed that the 2006 American Continent Forum will be held in Venezuela. In 2007, the meeting will be again global and will take place in Africa.
We would like to share with you some parts of the final statements made by the social movements gathered in Porto Alegre:

In this same place, four years ago, the collective and global claim that another world is possible breached the lie that neoliberal domination was inevitable, as well as the normality of wars, social inequality, racism, casts, patriarchy, imperialism and the destruction of the environment.

Each year, the massive and plural participation in the World Social Forum gives us the possibility and responsibility to organize more and better campaigns and mobilizations to expand and strengthen our fights. The social movements’ ability to build common global actions already mobilized thousands of men and women for peace and against the invasion of Iraq. Popular fights in defense of Nature, the rights of the peoples and the common properties, against privatization, like those held in Bolivia, Uruguay and other countries had shown the possibility to challenge the neoliberal domination. New spaces for political and social struggles were opened.

Aware that we have a long path ahead, we call all the social movements of the world and each of you to fight for peace, human, social and democracy rights, for the peoples’ right to self determination and for the immediate cancellation of the external debt of countries of the South.

We demand the end of the Iraq occupation. We demand that the United States stop threatening Iran, Venezuela and other countries. We call right now on the movements to join a global action on March 19 to demand the withdraw of troops from Iraq. No more wars!

We fight for the universal right to a healthy and sufficient nourishment. We fight for the right of the peoples, the nations and the peasants to produce their own food. We fight for the rights of the peoples, the nations and the peasants to produce their own food. We reject transgenic products because they put our health and environment at risk, and because they are a tool for domination by five transnational companies. We also reject the patents on any form of life, especially on seeds, since with this they attempt to take over our resources and the associated knowledge.

We demand land reform as a way to guarantee the peasants’ access to land ownership, and that it be a guarantee to a healthy and sufficient nourishment. We support a sustainable way of production based on the conservation of natural resources and the promotion of ecologic and organic production.

We support the Palestinians’ fight for their national and fundamental rights, including the right to return to their land, based on the International Law and UN resolutions. And having their resistance as a model, we continue our fight. We will make our fight global, we will make our hope global.

Porto Alegre, January 31st, 2005.

2. MST is against violence

In an official letter, the MST regretted the death of a military officer in Bananeira settlement, in Quipapá, Pernambuco. The movement, which has always rejected violence, committed to help find those involved in the crime. Those charged with the crime, who were involved in a gangs, were expelled from the MST last year because of ethical, moral and economic deviations. Their practices and behaviors did not match with the values of the Movement and thus, they were not tolerated among MST families. On that occasion, INCRA was notified about the expulsion. Regrettably, the national media did not convey that information with clarity, but attempted once again to mislead the Brazilian society and to criminalize the MST.

3. Brasil de Fato commemorates two years with celebration and hope

A big party, full of joy, emotion and the strong belief that it is necessary to open a path for a more democratic and just Brazil was celebrated. These were the feelings that emerged from the gymnasium Araújo Viana, the night of January 29th, during the celebration for the two year anniversary of the Jornal Brasil de Fato, which took place as part of the 5th World Social Forum (Porto Alegre, RS). Nearly 6 thousand people came to support and celebrate that there is a vehicle, a medium that, as its own name says, attempts to disclose and discuss the Brazilian peoples’ real problems, which do not find a place in the mass media.

4. Families in Pontal face evacuation after take-over of public land

Three farms were taken over in Pontal do Paranapanema at the end of last month. Two of them suffered the restitution of possession on February 2nd. The target of the occupations were state farms, with affirmative inspection by the Instituto Nacional de Colonizacao e Reforma Agrária (Incra) and the Instituto de Terras de Estado de Sao Paulo (Itesp) and cases of expropriation stopped in the Court –in total, there are more than 200 thousand hectares of land with interrupted processes.