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From February 19 through March 3 of 2013 the first stage of the third course on “Energy and society in contemporary capitalism” took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Over 80 people from different regions of Brazil participated in the event, as well as delegates from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Spain.
Since 2009, the Movement of People Affected by Dams in Brazil (MAB) has gathered a big group of men and women from different social sectors for political training on
energy issues in the understanding that this is the most important topical subject.
“There is a growing offensive by big economic groups linked with governments in the building of dams, the privatization of water and energy” said Rogerio Hohn, member of MAB’s national board. MAB is a member of Via Campesina Brazil.
In interview with Real World Radio’s correspondent Danilo Urrea Hohn explained that political, ideological, technical and cultural training is very important for MAB. Training is a tool to build knowledge around energy for members of MAB but also of other Brazilian and Latin American organizations.
Towards a MAB National Meeting
As part of the activities that took place during the event “Energy and society in contemporary capitalism” at the Universidad Federal de Rio de Janeiro the MAB launched its National Meeting to be held on June 3-7 of 2013 in Sao Paulo. They expect the participation of nearly 5,000 people.
Hohn said the “meeting is a big challenge because we have been organizing it for over three years. It aims to strengthen the building of our national movement and that people are able to confront the government and its hydroelectric projects, to come up with a space to coordinate with other organizations, especially urban organizations and also with the society as a whole”.
They also expect to come up with a work plan for the next 5-10 years at the meeting and have a better perspective for training, organization and struggles and to encourage the grassroots to identify the most important challenges ahead.
Towards a popular energy project
One of the main slogans of MAB has been the construction of a popular energy Project led by the rural and urban workers.
About the main goals and the process of this project Hohn said that “the coordination between rural and urban areas is becoming more important. We come from a situation where the problem of dams was specific to the families suffering its impact, and we now have the bigger challenge of coordinating the struggle between the urban and rural population, thus our slogan”.
As Hohn expressed, MAB believes energy is becoming more important and the families affected by dams, as well as those who pay high electricity bills are affected by the energy model”.
“We are building a popular energy project, with the view of a new social order based on socialism” said MAB’s leader
Finally, very close to the international meeting against dams to be held on March 14, MAB leader invited the people affected by energy mega-projects to coordinate their struggle and resistance to those projects and to the current model and to continue the joint struggle around the world.
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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