Read the Fortaleza Manifesto by the Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement

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Source: Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) / The Dawn News / January 31, 2017

Photo credit: MST Brazil


Inspired by the peasant struggles of Ceará, Brazil, we, the national coordinators of the Landless Workers’ Movement met in Fortaleza to revindicate the memory and the example of Fidel Castro, the centenary of the Russian Revolution and the 50th anniversary of the murder of Che Guevara, to study the political and agrarian situation of our country and to lay out the challenges and tasks of the upcoming period.

There’s a structural crisis of capitalism that has become more pronounced since 2008. It affects the spheres of economy, politics, society and environment. It’s represented by authoritarian and fascist measures that threaten human and labor rights and natural goods around the world. In this context, for capital to continue appropriating the economic resources of society, it needs to eliminate the hard-earned rights of the working class in order to make those resources available for the financial market. Examples of this change are the right-wing coup and the measures taken by this illegitimate government, such as the social security reform, the labor reform, the 20-year public spending ceiling and the elimination of control over the Pré-Sal oil field.

In view of this situation, we:

  1. Reaffirm the need for structural reforms, and specifically for a Popular Agrarian Reform to guarantee food sovereignty. We need to strengthen the national sovereignty to resist the selling of lands to foreign capital and defend nature’s goods, namely water—especially the endangered Guaraní aquifer—, land, minerals, oil and biodiversity. We oppose and resist the Provisional Measure No. 759, which is a setback for our plan for an Agrarian Reform, because it privatizes lands that had been allocated to the Agrarian Reform, legalizes the formerly illegal private appropriation of public lands and excludes workers that had formed settlement camps to access lands.
  2. Fight against the privatization of lands, which is disguised as titling, which is intended to get rid of settlements and prevent the agrarian reform. We demand a registration of the plots of land and settlements in the form of a Concession for Land Use and preventing the selling of lands that are currently being occupied by settlements.
  3. Fight together with workers against the social security reform, the labor reform and any other measure that violates our rights. We commit to building the Popular Brazil Front and its roots in the municipalities.
  4. Be solidarious with all forms of resistance and struggle against the coup, and with every sectors of our people that has mobilized in struggle, from indigenous peoples and quilombolas [descendants of escaped African slaves] to public education students. Therefore, we’ll join the day of struggle from March 8 to 15, convened by the National Confederation of Education Workers (CNTE).
  5. Denounce the criminalization of social struggle through the use of juridical maneuvers that persecute and condemn social fighters without proof and at the service of the interests of capital. This is the fruit of the authoritarianism and arrogance of a Judicial Power that is loaded with privileges and has no social commitment. We demand freedom for persecuted and imprisoned workers.
  6. Convene all women, from the country and the city, to a great day of struggle on March 8. Female workers are the most oppressed by the reform of the social security system, which deepens gender inequality in this machista and patriarchal society.
  7. Combat the selling of lands to foreign capital, the setback of the agrarian reform and the agribusiness model through days of struggle and occupations in the month of April. We also propose to make a big March on Brasilia in the second half of the year to denounce the measures of the putschist government.
  8. Defend the convening to general elections for Congress and for President of the Republic, in order to guarantee the right of the people to elect its representatives.
  9. Join the Popular Brazil front and other workers’ organizations to build an Emergency Program to combat unemployment, income inequality and loss of rights. We convene workers to build with us great class mobilizations for the right to Land, Housing and Work.
  10. Commit to solidarity with the struggle of all the peoples of the world against the offensive of capital, authoritarian governments, U.S. imperialism and insane wars, and for the rights of all peoples to justice and equality.

We commit as militants, women, men and youth to take on these tasks in defense of the Brazilian people.

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