Agrarian Reform

[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.

[06/01/08] Informa #151 - Legalization of Land Grabbing

Esteemed friends of the MST, The approval of Provisionary Measure 422, Medida Provisória (MP) 422, by the federal deputies on Tuesday night, May 27, a few hours after the resignation of Marina Silva, the Ministry of the Environment, confirms that the defense of biodiversity is losing the battle against deforestation and development at whatever cost, which are defended by diverse sectors of the government. The recently approved MP 422 can be translated as the “legalization of land grabbing”. It deals with the sale of public lands of up to 1,500 hectares without bidding— broadening the limit by a thousand hectares—under the tutelage of INCRA (National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, or Instituto Nacional de Colonização e Reforma Agrária).

[04/20/08] Activists Call for Urgent Land Reform

Inter-Press Service (IPS) By Walter Sotomayor BRASILIA, Apr 17 (IPS) - An urgent call to speed up the land reform process in Latin America was issued Thursday by rural activists at the 30th FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, who also sharply criticised agribusiness interests and large estates in the region.

"We are carrying out occupations of land, marches and protests to demand the settlement of 150,000 families living in camps and greater investment in rural development," said a communiqué released by Brazil’s Landless Movement (MST).

The MST has held demonstrations this week in memory of the 19 peasant farmers massacred by police 12 years ago in Eldorado dos Carajás, in the northern Brazilian state of Pará.

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