Reports from fifth MST Congress in Brazil

Ana Amorim tony at
Thu Jun 14 13:19:54 BST 2007

See google news feed from the conference


We, delegates from 24 states in Brazil and 31 countries, met in Brazilia 
from June 10th to 15th, 2007, for the 5th MST National Congress. More than 
17,000 landless rural workers, 21 peasant organizations, friends` comitees 
and 181 international delegates analised the problems in our society to find 
alternative solutions.

We wish to reafirm that the unfair structures of the international capital, 
are an obstacle for us to build a fair igualitarian and fraternal society 
and for implementing the Agrarian Reform. We have concluded that our country 
needs a popular project to guide the actions of the State and the 
organization of society, in order to solve the problems of the people. Our 
people need work, land, income and decent housing. We need all level free 
and good public schools in rural and urban areas. We need to democratize the 
access to goods and the means for producing culture and media. These are 
essential achievements for a democratic, socially fair and igualitarian  
society, and in order to obtain that we will have to struggle a lot.

We men and women, militants of the MST, commit to go on organising people, 
to be able to fight for their rights and for a socialist Brazil. In order to 
do that, we want to share our call for action “Agrarian Reform: for social 
justice and popular sovereignty” and the commitments we assumed in our 5th 

1.To network with all social sectors in the countryside and in the city 
using the most diverse forms of popular organization, to discuss and build 
unity around a popular project to confront neo-liberal policies and the 
structural causes of the problems that affect Brazilian people.
2.To permanently struggle along with social sectors and the working class 
for better living conditions for our people. To defend our rights against 
any pension, labour, student and trade union reforms, which will remove 
historical rights already gained  in the struggle of the working class.
3.Together struggle with all sectors in society to establish a limit for the 
size of land ownership, for the legal recognition of the historical rights 
of indigenous and afro-descendents to their territories. Land is a common 
good from nature, and according to the Federal Constitution, it must be 
conditioned to the interests of society.
4.To demand the immediate end of slave labour and the super-exploytation of 
labour and to punish the perpetrators of this practice. All latifundios* 
using any form of slave labour must be expropriated, without compensation, 
as stated  by the Bill aproved by the Senate.
5.To fight for all latifundios owned by foreign capital to be placed as 
priority for  expropriation and to be designated for the Agrarian Reform 
6.To fight against all forms of violence in the countryside and the 
criminalization of Social Movements. To demand punishment for the murderers 
– those who hired and the executors – of men and women in their struggle for 
the Agrarian Reform, who remain umpunished and have their law suits 
paralised in the Judiciary System.
7.Struggle against deforestation and fire practices in native forests for 
the expansion of latifundios. Demand from governments to organise 
educational campaigns to eliminate these criminal practices in the 
Environment. To fight against the use of agro-chemicals and the large scale 
monoculture of soy, sugar-cane, eucalyptus or any other large scale 
8.To fight against transnational corporations that want to control seeds,  
Brazilian production and agricultural trade such as Monsanto, Syngenta, 
Cargill, Bungue, ADM, Nestlé, Basf, Bayer, Aracruz, Stora Enso, among 
others. To stop them from further exployting our nature, our labour and our 
9.To defend native and creolle seeds, fight against GMO seeds, promote 
agroecological and agricultural practices that respect the environment . 
Settlements and rural communities must give priority for the production of 
food for the  people without agro-chemicals.
10.To fight for the production chain of agri-fuels to be controlled by 
peasants and rural workers, as part of a policulture and the environmental 
protection and to assure the energetic sovereignty of each region.
11.To defend fresh water springs, fountains and reservoirs. Water is a 
common good from Nature and it belongs to humanity. It cannot be privatized 
by any corporation.
12.To preserve forrests and plant native and fruit trees, in at least 20% of 
all settlement areas and rural communities, contributing to protect the 
environment and as part of the struggle against global warming.
13.To encourage the love of studying and to create the conditions for all 
LANDLESS workers to study. To struggle  for the working class to have access 
to basic, secondary and public higher education, of excellent quality and 
14.To develop diversified ways to organise campaings and programmes to 
erradicate illiteracy in rural areas and in Brazilian society as whole, 
under a critical pedagogical orientation to create conditions for 
transformative actions in reality.
15.Struggle for each settlement or community in the countryside to have 
their own popular media, as for example, free community radio stations. 
Struggle for the democratization of all media in society contributing for 
creating political awareness and the respect of popular culture.
16.To strengthen the network with social and rural movements, organising and 
strengthening Via campesina Brazil, in all states and regions. To build 
along with all other Brazilian Social Movements, Popular Assemblies in 
Counties, Regions and States.
17.To struggle against the privatization of our public patrimony, the 
transposition of Rio são Francisco and the deprivatization of those public 
companies who have been already privatised.
18.Contribute in the construction of all possible mechanisms for the popular 
integration of Latin-American, through ALBA – Bolivarian Alternativa the 
Peoples of the Americas. Exercise INTERNATIONAL solidarity with people who 
suffer the agressions of the empire, specially at the moment, the people in  

We call the Brazilian people to organise and struggle for a fair and 
igualitarian society, which will only be made possible with the mobilization 
of everyone. The great transformations are always the work of people 
organised. And, we from the MST, commit to never give up and always struggle 
for a socialist society.
*Latifundio – large land holding

Peasants join rock 'n roll protest for land reform
Brasília, June 13th, 2007
Peasants join rock 'n roll protest for land reform
Brasilia - More than 10 000 activists from Brazil's biggest landless
peasant group have set up camp in downtown Brasilia to protest against the
president's policies.
During its week-long gathering in the capital, the Landless Rural Workers'
Movement, or MST, will discuss how to pressure President Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva's government to speed up land distribution.
Many think the former union leader has abandoned their cause to back
Brazil's latest export hit - ethanol derived from sugar cane.
"Even in this people's government, the large landowners are gaining power,
displacing peasants and small farmers," said MST member Eliazar da Silva.
"There is discontent at grassroots and talk of stepping up the
confrontation," said Da Silva, who wore a Lenin-style beard and Che Guevara
The MST, probably the world's largest land reform group, says it has
settled more than 350 000 families during its 23-year existence. Currently
150 000 families occupy land they want the government to expropriate and

Brazil's powerful farm lobby says the MST scares off investments by
challenging the right to private property.
At the sprawling sea of tents pitched on the parking lot around the city's
football stadium, the gathering was a cross between a refugee camp and a
rock festival.
Street vendors sold everything from "natural Viagra" to polyester bras and
grilled chicken kebabs.
At a makeshift bar under a tree, cachaca, or sugar-cane schnapps, helped to
wash down the red dust whirled up by buses arriving from all over.
Delegates from some of the poorer regions crowded on small foam mattresses
under circus-like tents. In a corner, huge pots produced vast quantities of
rice and beans.
The MST is looking to step up its protests against foreign investment in
the booming ethanol industry, Vanderlei Martini, an MST national
co-ordinator, said. - Reuters

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