Activists Occupy (and Re-Occupy) Urban Agricultural Land in San Francisco Bay Area

Occupy the Farm April 22On April 22, 2012, in conjunction with the International Day of Peasant Struggle, Occupy the Farm activists occupied 10 acres of land in the East Bay known as the Gill Tract and planted 15,000 seedlings.  The public land, administered by the University of California, is classified as Class 1 agricultural soil.  The university had plans to sell the land to a private developer.  In May, the University of California Police Department (UCP

MST Leaves Cattle Farm with Promise by INCRA

July 6, 2012Empty Shell Casings

By Bianca Pyl
Agência Repórter Brasil

The Movement of Landless Workers (MST) agreed to withdraw the families camped outside the headquarters of Fazenda Cedro (Cedar Farm) until next Sunday (July 8).

The property located in Eldorado dos Carajás (PA) in the southeast of the Pará state, belongs to the Santa Barbara Xinguara cattle company whose shareholders include the banker Daniel Dantas. At the end of the day June 21, guards the farm in question fired at demonstrators of the MST.

The armed offensive had targeted a group of at least 16 people, including children. The company, in turn, claims that the guards acted only in defense, against an act of occupation.

The decision of the landless to leave the site was taken at a meeting held last Tuesday (July 3), in Marabá (PA) between the MST, Agrarian Ombudsman, the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and the Public Advocate of the State of Pará

The 300 families will be relocated into camps that already exist in other areas, announced Gercino José da Silva Filho, National Agrarian Ombudsman of the Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA).

According to him, the movement agreed to withdraw because the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) has now inspected the property that will hold more than 1,000 families (check relationship below) that are camped out in other major properties under the umbrella of Santa Barbara Xinguara cattle company.

According to Gercino, who also chairs the National Commission for Combating Violence in the Countryside, the Public Security Secretary of Pará said the investigation into the case has already been established. With the departure of families, a public hearing will be scheduled between the peasant social movements and the Santa Barbara Xinguara cattle company. "Either party may convene a hearing by request to the judge of the Court of Marabá," added the ombudsman.

He also confirmed that Santa Barbara should provide to INCRA part of the property known as "Cedar Complex." A lawsuit about this parcel has run in the Marabá Agrarian Court for nearly two years. Information contained in the statement released by the MST gave account that the "Santa Barbara Livestock Company is required, since 2010, to return to the federal government part of the Cedar Farm, more specifically 826 hectares of its area." "In October 2010," continued the statement communicated by the movement, "the Federal Court in Marabá ruled that repossession by INCRA to transform it into Little Cedar Settlement Project."

In the evaluation of the ombudsman, the delay for the effective allocation of land reform area is normal, because the lands involved are very large (the sum, in that case, in the neighborhood of 20,000 hectares [49,420 acres]). "Also, there is the bureaucracy of public service. Now, for example, the INCRA is on strike," it detailed. The notification phase of the owners is also a time-consuming procedure, explained Gercino.

Currently, MST families, the Federation of Agricultural Workers of Pará (Fetagri) and the National Federation of Workers in Family Agriculture (Fetraf) occupy, in addition to Cedar (300 families), Fortaleza Farm (60 families), Porto Rico farm (110 families), Espírito Santo farm (160 families) and Maria Bonita  farm (494 families).

"But these other areas are not intended for agrarian reform because the law [8.629/1993] does not permit or inspect these sites," said the ombudsman. The portion of the "Cedar Complex" designed by the Judiciary to INCRA is not sufficient to accommodate all families camped and land agency should inspect other properties in order to settle all families.

A group of entities issued a manifesto in support of the actions of the MST to demand the return of Cedar Farm. The reporter tried to contact the INCRA to access more details on the procedures and measures underway, but the questions were not served until the close of this matter as a function of the strike by employees of the federal agency. The category asks equalization of salaries with the salaries paid to employees of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA).


Before the conflict ended once again in shots against the landless, the climate in the region was already very tense. The president of the Rural Workers Union (STR) of Eldorado dos Carajás (PA), Regina Maria Gonçalves, suffered intimidation by local land owners a week before the event.

On Friday (June 15, 2012), a committee of ten landowners went to the headquarters of the union to intimidate her. "I was surrounded by landowners, who made me worried and very nervous. They said 150 gunmen were prepared to receive anyone who tried to invade."

The unionist said the group suggested that she sign a document guaranteeing that there would be no occupation of an area in the Sereno Settlement Project. The unionist refused. "I cannot commit to that because I'm not the one who organizes occupations."

Regina said that a landowner went on to say "who warns a friend is" her sister in a threatening tone. On Monday (June 18, 2012), Regina registered a police report with the Bureau of Land Conflicts of Marabá (PA).

April 17 Demonstration Against Giant Food - Landover, MD

Join FMST, National Family Farm Coalition, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, La Via Campesina for a Demonstration against Giant Foods.

demo against food giant


April 17, 2012 - 4:00pm
Theater, speakers, delegation and picket

Giant Food corporate offices
8301 Professional Place #115
Landover, MD 20785

(Approximately 7-minute walk from the New Carrollton Metro stop on the Orange Line. Shuttles will be provided from Metro to Giant offices as of 3:30pm; contact Joe for more info.

MST Occupies City of Itamaraju for Rural Education

Earlier on Monday (January 16, 2012) the MST occupied another municipality in the state of Bahia. This time it was the city of Itamaraju. This was the 15th municipality occupied in protest and to demand improvements in education and the conditions of schools which are in rural areas.
MST occupies Itamaraju for rural education
Evanildo Costa, the state director of the MST, said that the occupation is the way that the Movement has to force administrators to carry out their duties. "We cannot allow classes to begin in the same conditions as last year, so to the extent we take the month of January for occupations where we have difficulty moving these issues forward in the city halls," says the director.

The day of occupation of municipalities began on January 10 and there have been 15 occupations of city halls so far.

The Movement plans to hold more occupations over the month of January, which may rise to over 25 municipalities occupied with the mobilization of more than 5,000 workers of the MST.

With information from the site

January 16, 2012

MST Occupies INCRA in Maranhão to Demand Expropriation of Illegally Occupied Land

Since Monday (January 30, 2012), about 450 rural workers have occupied the headquarters of the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) in Imperatriz (MA). Workers organized by the MST - representing families of nine camps in the southeastern region of the state - demanding the expropriation of land for the settlement of about 3,000 families camped in Maranhão.

INCRA OccupationAt the moment, they are waiting for the meeting, scheduled for Friday (February 3, 2012), with the superintendent of the state agency, José Ignacio Sodré.

Some of the families that occupy INCRA are from the encampment Roselí Nunes, of Senator La Roque, where about a thousand families could benefit if the plot with 28,000 hectares of illegally titled land were expropriated.  [Ed. The term used in the article is “terras griladas” which refers to land where the title of ownership was falsified by the current “owner.”]

In addition to the settlement of encamped families, the occupiers will discuss with José Inácio improvements to the settlements of the region and benefits [i.e. credits] for production.

This is the third round of negotiations with workers in the region, since José Inácio took control of the state INCRA at the beginning of last year. Disappointed with the delay of INCRA in solving problems, farmers promise stronger actions if they don’t consider the negotiations satisfactory this Friday.

February 2, 2012

MST Occupies Bank of Brazil and Highways in Cities Across the State of Rio Grande do Sul

In protest against the non-release of funds from the federal government and state of Rio Grande do Sul to farmers affected by drought, about 800 farmers from the MST held demonstrations in several regions of Rio Grande do Sul.drought

More than 300 peasants occupied, on Wednesday (February, 1) the building of the Bank of Brazil in the city of Júlio de Castilhos. In other cities in the state, farmers maintained protests, with roadblocks on highways and central avenues.

In São Luiz Gonzaga, the region of the missions, 200 farmers remain camped outside the building of the Companhia Estadual de Silos e Armazéns (CESA) [Ed. The State Company of Silos and Warehouses is a corporation, linked to the Department of Agriculture and Supply, and has the state of Rio Grande do Sul and its majority shareholder.]. In Santana do Livramento, on the southern border, the Rosário-Livramento BR-158 was shut at intervals of 15 minutes at km 536.

In the capital [Porto Alegre], about 300 activists protested in front of the building of the Ministry of Agriculture on Avenida Loureiro da Silva. Farmers call for more flexibility in actions to combat the effects of drought, affecting over 30,000 families across the state. The MST also held demonstrations in  Manoel Viana, Candiota, Hulha Negra and Piratini.

February 3, 2012

Vale Contends for Leadership for Award for Worst Company in the World. VOTE NOW!

One of the largest Brazilian transnational’s, the mining company Vale, present in 38 countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia, is able to vale minereceive, at the end of January, one of the leading international awards of corporate shame. Chosen from among dozens of candidates, Vale is among the six finalists for the 2012 Public Eye Award, which annually bestows the title of world's worst company to a corporation, elected in an international contest by popular vote during the World Economic Forum in the Swiss city of Davos. The fifth vote in the first week of the prize, launched on January 5, Vale took the lead for the first time on the afternoon of Friday (January 20, 2012).