MST and Working Class Unity

The City That Ended Hunger

The City that Ended Hunger A city in Brazil recruited local farmers to help do something U.S. cities have yet to do: end hunger. by Frances Moore Lappé Published on Friday, March 13, 2009 by YES! Magazine "To search for solutions to hunger means to act within the principle that the status of a citizen surpasses that of a mere consumer." CITY OF BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does a democracy look like that enables citizens to have a real voice in securing life's essentials? Does it exist anywhere? Is it possible or a pipe dream? With hunger on the rise here in the United States-one in 10 of us is now turning to food stamps-these questions take on new urgency.

[01/17/09] MST Twenty Fifth Anniversary – “25 Years of Obstinacy,” by Joao Pedro Stedile

João Pedro Stedile In January 1984, there was a process of re-ascension of mass movements in Brazil. The working class was reorganizing, accumulating organic forces. Underground parties, such as the Brazilian Communist Party (PCB), the Communist Party of Brazil, etc., were in the streets. We had achieved a partial amnesty, but the majority of the exiles had returned. The Worker's Party (PT), the Central Workers' Union (CUT) were taking shape, as well as the National Congress of the Working Class (CONCLAT) promoted by the communists, which later merged into the CUT. Broad sectors of the Christian churches broadened their beaver-like efforts, to keep building consciousness and nucleos de base (1) in defense of the poor, inspired by liberation theology. There was enthusiasm everywhere, because the dictatorship was being defeated and the Brazilian working class was on the offense; fighting and organizing. The peasants in the countryside lived in that same climate, amidst the same offensive. Between 1979 and 1984 dozens of land occupations were carried out throughout the country. The posseiros (2), the landless, salaried country-dwellers, lost their fear. And they fought. They did not want to migrate to the cities like bullocks to the slaughterhouse (in the words of our dear Uruguayan poet Zitarroza). As the fruit of all that, we met in Cascabel, in January 1984, encouraged by the pastoral work of the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), leaders of the land struggle in 16 Brazilian states. And there, after 5 days of debates, discussions, collective reflections, we founded the MST: the Landless Workers Movement.

[06/10/08] Activists launch protests against corporations in 8 Brazil states

The Associated Press Tuesday, June 10, 2008 SAO PAULO, Brazil: Thousands of landless rural workers invaded dams, railways, plantations and corporate headquarters in a wave of protests across eight Brazilian states on Tuesday. Rogerio Homm, a coordinator with the Via Campesina activist group, said the protests are aimed at large corporations that benefit from Brazilian policies favoring agribusiness over small farmers.

[04/19/08] International Day of Peasant Struggle - Rural Landless Step up Campaign in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) — Rural landless workers in Brazil stepped up their campaign for agricultural reform Thursday by holding several demonstrations and occupying a hydroelectric plant and freeway toll stations, their organization said. The protests were part of the Landless Farmworkers Movement's "Red April" operation to force the government to give them land grants and easier access to public loans for some 150,000 dispossessed families living in shantytowns around the country. Demonstrations took place in the states of Ceara, Pernambuco, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Paraiba and Para.

[01/27/08] Interview with Joao Pedro Stédile: ‘The WSF Has to Agree On Common Actions Against Common Enemies’

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 24 (IPS) - Joao Pedro Stédile thinks that the World Social Forum (WSF) should remain a debating arena for civil society, because with all its breadth and variety, to attempt to agree on resolutions is "an illusion." The Brazilian landless movement activist is also in favour of holding the WSF every three years, instead of annually, he said in an interview with IPS correspondent Mario Osava. A member of the group that founded the WSF in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre in 2001, Stédile is regarded as one of the main theorists of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), and he belongs to the local chapter of Vía Campesina, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO).

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