MST - Riberao Preto - Brasil, 2009
Globalization, climate crisis, financial crisis, food crisis ... for the landless workers'movement (MST), these crises are one and only crisis. A crisis that reflects the lack of respect for man and nature. A crisis that expresses the lack of courage of men and women who prefer not to disturb the powerful people.
With their black plastic hut, warm during the day and cold at night, people primarily fight for a piece of land before thinking of finding food, sowing and waiting for the harvest, subsidies, promises, bureaucracy. Waiting for the subsidy to farm and hoping it to arrive before the rain, negotiating for transportation in rural settlements, so that children can go to school, negotiating for the teachers coming to teach in rural settlements, claiming the subsidy for housing, demanding land policies that take into account the peasantry and not only the agro-business. Fighting for a decent and dignified life.
But their struggle is not easy. While Lula’s government has decided not to criminalize social movements, unlike its predecessor, the private militias substitute for the police. Not far from São Paulo, Paraná, "security guards" shot in the legs young landless people while these young people had already negociated with the police they would leave the occupied land as soon as the sun would rise up, in order not to wake up the children.
Brazilian justice works at different paces. The analysis of a case of expropriation for agrarian reform of an unproductive property can last several years. A claim for restitution of a property occupied by the landless may have a decision of a judge even during the weekend. The police will be quick to ensure judicial order. But it is the militia that fired on the youth. The society reacts, some say that we must enforce the property, others need to respect the right to demonstrate, the controversy settled. The Minister of Agriculture takes a drastic action: "who does not defend his land does not deserve to have it." The message is clear: strength.
The press only talks about the landless movement when there are conflicts, blood, wounded people. The fazendeiros walk on horse on their property in programs such as "rural areas". They convey their message: farming is a lucrative business, if you're smart, if you have money, if you love the land, if you know the market, if you sell to foreigners, Europeans, Americans, Japanese ... you will be a real farmer, a fazendeiro!