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A critical balance of their 30 years of existence, the participation of women, the role of peasant movements at world and Latin American level, and the limitations of progressive governments to carry out an integral agrarian reform process and reduce rural poverty are some of the issues to be discussed at the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) of Brazil.
An editorial article published by the movement´s journal (Terra) includes some of the steps taken to reach their 6th Congress, which also coincides with an electoral year in Brazil, with a dramatic increase in social mobilizations and the World Cup 2014, which has affected the main cities of the country through infrastructure works and an increased police presence, among other things.
The article states the following:
“We reach our 6th National Congress as a Landless Workers’ Movement. There has been more than two years of research, debates, meetings, assemblies and discussions by the constituents and sectors of all Brazilian States. 2014 is also our 30th anniversary, we are the longest standing peasant social movement in the history of Brazil.
We reach these two important moments of our history with a clear challenge, which is expressed in the slogan of our Congress and which will guide is in the coming years: Struggle and Build a Popular Agrarian Reform!
The process of developing our Congress has proven that there is no space for a traditional agrarian reform that only distributes lands. Agribusiness has not only advanced over productive and unproductive lands, destroying the environment, producing crops for export, but it has also received the support of governments to make its projects possible.
Ensuring that the people have the right to decide what to produce and what to eat, that our lands are meant for food production and not cellulose or ethanol production, that the countryside is a dignified place to live, where the youth have dignified living conditions, that we have the right to education, health and to be able to build our own agroindustries and add more value to our production: all this is only possible with a Popular Agrarian Reform.
And this Popular Agrarian Reform can only be the result of struggle, not just of the landless workers. As the agribusiness model is threatening peasants, it is necessary to build alliances and mobilizations with those who want to get involved in the struggle: family farmers, quilombolas, forestry engineering and agronomy students, agricultural technicians and all people who are willing to build this alternative project.
The Popular Agrarian Reform also needs the support of the workers in the cities. We need to denounce agribusiness, as it poisons food, using lands to produce crops for export, promoting slave work and a lack of respect for environmental and labor laws, among other evils.
Our enemies are strong and powerful. Agribusiness has many allies in the media and the judicial system. But one thing we´ve learned in our 30 years is not to be afraid and not to give up. This is how we obtained lands for thousands of families and how we are now feeding hundreds of municipalities. This way, with struggles and determination, encouraged by our Congress, we will build a Popular Agrarian Reform”.
Real World Radio will cover the congress of the Brazilian peasant movement, member of Via Campesina International and the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC).
Imagen: MST´s website
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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