In Brazil a tiny oligarchy still owns most of the land. The Landless Movement , MST occupied an abandoned estate and made it into a communal paradise for 20 years, with 450 families. But now the MST is under total attack from the neo fascist right under Bolsonaro and a part has been flattened and burned. The occupation continues and the MST vow to rebuild and fight on
By Carlos Aznárez, via Latin American Summary Resumen Latinoamericano on 22 August, 2020
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Recently the Brazilian regime, through the actions of its repressive forces, invaded and destroyed a part of the camp that the Movement of the Landless of Brazil has been maintaining for 20 years in Quilombo Grande do Campo, in Mina Gerais.
It is not strange that this happens since the MST is in the sights of the bourgeoisie, the landowners and of course the genocidal government of Jair Bolsonaro, are an example of another different world and with their resistance they illuminate many and many in the continent and the world. To talk about what happened there, we contacted Daniel Pereira, a leader in the Movement’s production area, and one of the members of the attacked camp.
- –Tell us how the events of the Quilombo Campo Grande camp occurred. How the police attack took place and what did the camp that Brazil’s Landless Movement has built for so many years represent
-Quilombo Campo Grande is a popular camp, located in Campo do Meio and has 450 families. It is a camp that has resisted for more than 20 years, in an area that was dedicated to the plantation of sugar cane for the production of alcohol. In this process of struggle there are two legal processes of land expropriation. One of them is the one that makes the headquarters of the old hacienda. And the rest is 3900 hectares.
The process of attack and “reintegration” that we suffered refers to a smaller but important area, which is where the headquarters of the old hacienda is located. That area is 26 hectares. Due to judicial manipulation in the process, it was expanded to 52 hectares and when the delimitation was made to carry out the “reintegration” that reached 100 hectares.
In that area there was a training school, which had been created more than 60 years ago (renamed Eduardo Galeano). When the camp emerged, the children and adults studied there, became literate, grew up participating in school activities.
In addition, there were old buildings that were used to house some families. There were areas, or lots, where families lived. Then, on that area, the brutal police attack was carried out that began on August 12 and ended on August 14 in the afternoon. It was 56 hours of tough resistance.
The police carrying out a judicial act, evicted the 14 families that lived in that territory. Not only that, the school was destroyed and torn down. The houses of the families were demolished. everything the families had planted was destroyed. Fundamentally, in the middle of this process, the police made use of a very large repressive apparatus, vehicles, machines, drones, helicopters, many police officers. Tear gas bombs were fired at people both on the ground and from helicopters.
Some people were injured by the impacts of the tear gas bombs, all suffered the difficulties generated by these gases, even one person who had heart problems, required special treatment and had to be assisted by the families, because there was no medical assistance by the police authorities.
Solidarity with the families of Camp Quilombo Campo Grande
MST Oficial@MST_Oficial· Alimentos foram destinados a cozinhas comunitárias e famílias carentes da Lomba do Pinheiro, em Porto Alegre (RS). #AlimentoSaudávelÉumDireito#TodosPelaReformaAgrária#FiqueEmCasaNãoEmSilêncio#ForaBolsonaro
- Did you know that this was going to happen, or was the police suddenly appearing? You said there was a judicial complaint, did you imagine that there was going to be an eviction with such violent characteristics?
-At the first moment we realized that the eviction was going to come, the families here organized themselves and the vast majority got involved. In this process of resistance, some made blockades on the roads, where the police troops were. Many others gave support with food, took care of the children, prepared health care.
Sem-terra resistiram ao despejo por 50 h / Foto: MST MG
Regarding the process itself, it is a process that takes, in judicial terms, several years. The verdict was triggered late last year and early this year. In March of this year it was decreed that this “reintegration” (attack and dispossession) should occur. What’s going on? The coronavirus pandemic emerged and “reintegration” was suspended until the pandemic passed.
What outrages us is that in the midst of the global health crisis, the government of Minas Gerais and the judge who conducted the process, all determined that this attack be reactivated.
Quilombo Campo Grande eviction: a crime against humanity
Health risks and other elements of family rights were not taken into account. Knowing that there was a judicial decision, it was a surprise in the sense that we did not imagine the scale of cruelty in taking an action like that during the pandemic.
- From what I understood, what was ”reintegrated” or what the police forces occupied was one part. Do you still have the other part as peasants or is that also disabled for now?
-It has been a part. In the other sector of the camp, the families remain resisting, producing, generating education, building values, developing a dignified life and new forms of sociability. Especially, production with a focus on agroecology in the sense of showing that we farmers are the ones who place healthy, quality food on the family table. It is precisely this production that strengthens us and allows us to resist in that space. We show that we enter the earth to produce, to generate life.
- What are they producing there and to whom are those products going?
In the Quilombo Grande camp a large amount of food is produced: vegetables, fruits, vegetables, and also coffee. There are families that raise cattle, cattle and pigs, chickens, and sell eggs. It is a very great diversity that of production. In terms of coffee, for example, in recent years, more or less 900 thousand kilos of coffee beans have been produced.
That is what families produce, coffee to set an example. But we have to add the number of animals they have in their production, the number of fruit trees, vegetables and so on.
This production, especially what refers to vegetables, is marketed in various places. We sell it at fairs, here in the municipality, in another nearby city. Outside of that, we deliver weekly in this special period of the pandemic, what we call agroecological baskets in other cities for more than 50 families.
MST land occupiers in the Canguçu region deliver food baskets from Agrarian Reform to 50 families in vulnerable situations.
We are going to take various foods to a fixed location every week. Coffee is part of all production, it is industrialized, we have different varieties of coffee that are marketed both locally and in other cities, even in São Paulo. We do this especially through the network of field warehouses, created by the Landless Movement.
- -Finally, what is the power that you are facing at the local level? Who governs Minas Gerais? I suppose that for all that Brazil is going through with this Bolsonaro dictatorship, the Landless Movement is always in the sights of these people.
Observing the political context, in the region, in the State of Minas Gerais, we have a right-wing governor who clearly opposes the MST and any popular movement.
It has been carrying out a whole policy that we can compare with the national policy, which is genocidal, which is not having consideration of what happens with the pandemic and allowing interventions like this one that we have suffered to be carried out. It is both at the field level and at the urban level.
Along with him there are deputies and officials who are from the right, with a conservative or ultra-conservative position. Therefore, they are totally averse to movement. In the municipality, at the local level, the municipal mayor also has a position contrary to the MST and if it were his will, we would no longer be here. .
So, we face a very adverse political context, but we remain firm and resisting. But the main thing is that despite the adversities we have had the support of the people, the people who live in the city, the small producers, the students of the universities, the teachers, the unions and so on. That solidarity helps us and gives us strength in our struggle.
We achieve this solidarity because we have shown that we have come to work the land, to produce food, to transform this reality, to transform a land that was previously unproductive and now manages to generate life and dignity for the people who live on it, but also a life better with more quality and more health to those who live in the city.
- -Thank you very much for this interview, our solidarity from Argentina and also from our colleagues who are part of ALBA Movimientos and we have tried to spread it to try to show that the MST is not alone.
-Thank you Carlos, thanks to the colleagues who have shown their solidarity and support in these days either by messages, phone calls and who are very attentive to what is happening here. This internationalist solidarity is fundamental in our struggle.
We are convinced that if necessary, we will also be in solidarity with you and your struggles, and we will be together to build a different society and project of society, where people live with dignity and where exploitation and oppression are overcome.
Transcription: Julia Mottura
Another Saturday of sharing, resistance and hope, in Paraná! Today (22) 8 tons of food planted and harvested in Paraná were donated. FOR FOOD AT ALL TABLES, AGRARIAN REFORM NOW! #QuarentenaSemTerra#TodosPelaReformaAgrária#AlimentoSaudávelÉumDireito
Landless Workers’ Movement – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landless_Workers’_MovementLandless Workers’ Movement (Portuguese: Movimento dos Trabalhadores SemTerra, MST) is a social movement in Brazil, inspired by Marxism, generally regarded as one of the largest in Latin America with an estimated informal membership of 1.5 million across 23 of Brazil’s 26 states. MST defines its goals as access to the land for poor workers through land reform in Brazil and activism around …
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