Sunday, July 27, 2008


The 'Movimento Sem Terra' (SEM/MST), longer title 'Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra', has recently been "outlawed" in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, the same state that holds the social democratic perversion of "participatory exploitation" in the city of Porto Allegre. One may justly blame a conservative state government for the prosecution that led to this ban, but the federal government of the Partido Dos Trabalhadores (PT- the 'Workers' -Party') did little (nothing ?) to block this move on the part of one Brazilian state. Can one suggest that this inaction is because the direct action tactics of the MST are in direct contrast and often conflict with the goals of the ruling social democratic elite in Brazil ? The government headed by "Lula" was once heralded as a "great hope" by various leftists, including, unfortunately far too many "anarchists", across the world as great and shining hope. Over the past few years this government has had ample time to show its true colours, and indeed it has. What response do the leftists have ? Forgetfulness, as they move on to the latest shining city over the hill. Presently this is Venezuela, where the possession of great amounts of oil gives a latitude to leftism in power that other countries such as Brazil don't have. Despite this advantage the leftists in power in Venezuela piss it all away on grand rhetoric while simultaneously destroying grassroots projects by infiltrating them so as to convert them into organs of the state-and the new bureaucratic ruling class.

The same has has happened in Brazil in the past few years, but without the benefit of the "funny money" accorded by massive petroleum deposits. Brazil is an economic powerhouse, occupying half of South America (the fifth largest country in the world) and more than half of its population. But, despite its many resources, it lacks the oil that allows clowning around on the part of somebody like Chavez in Venezuela. The movements of the lower classes in Brazil, such as the MST, are much more created at the base than the often Potemkin Village efforts in Venezuela, and they are also more powerful because of that very fact. The Brazilian social movements are much more powerful than those in other Latin American countries simply and plainly because they haven't been converted into state organs- despite the influence of statist parties within them.

The following is an article from the A-Infos werbsite, coming originally from the Federaçao Anarquista Gaucha, a Brazilian "especifista"(somewhat but not totally equivalent to platformist groups elsewhere in the world) group . Molly has refrained fom making her usual editing changes in the article below because she cannot refer to the Portuguese original for direction.


Brazil, Federação Anarquista Gaúcha (FAG) - Libertarian Solidarity with the MST:

Below is a statement by the Federação Anarquista Gaúcha in Brazil, in which it says that a ruling was made declaring the MST must be dissolved.

---- The report divulged in the last days, approved by the advice of the State Public Ministry made a sentence of the ruling class: the MST must be dissolved. The Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST - Movement of the Landless Agricultural Workers) was made target of a policy of criminalisation of poverty and of the social movements that is being led in the state of the Rio Grande do Sul. It is a policy of the police State, where executive government, devices of justice, media groups, transnational and latifundium corporations, concur with the police force fulfilling and make the law of the commander of the military brigade.

The association of transnational capital with the latifundia made the aggressive formula of the agro-business that concentrates, in the national scenario, the lands that are expropriated from the agrarian reform. The bio-combustibles, genetically modified soy and cellulose are the shop window of the monoculture that pulls the workers out of the fields and sends them to urban misery. Agro-business is able to be deeply articulated with politics, is a financier of electoral campaigns without partisan discrimination, is mounted in the expedients of the Lula government together with the oligarchies and the financial system, and is the privileged place to which the credits of the Bank of Development (BNDES) go. The neoliberal doctrine of the central administration of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT - Workers' Party) is surely a factor of the “economic growth”. In the state of RS, for the cellulose corporations, this power made donations to the adversary candidates Yeda Crusius of the PSDB and Olívio Dutra of the PT. With the resolved election campaign, it knocked down controls for the culture of exotic plants and finished eliminating, in the course of this year, with the environmental zoning to have pumps and to drink the guarana water.

As an organised expression of the peasants expelled from the land, the MST sought to change the profile of class struggle in the fields. The latifundium strengthened itself with transnational capital, planted eucalyptus, pinus and other species for cellulose production. It took the discourse of development where it only had idle property, masqueraded social function for extensive production that causes environmental damage and does not give anything to the people to eat or to be empowered with the great modes of communication. The resistance to these new formations of the dominant power was stronger, as it could not leave it to be. The tactics of working class struggle had made more of an offensive, leading to scenes where the enemies of agrarian reform play with more force and new techniques.

Elements of politics and ideology for the left also weigh in the arena where the MST acts: the project of reformist intention that polarized the social forces of change for the PT, when taken for the government of the republic revealed itself a tremendous failure. Integrated as the leading elite in the neoliberal guidelines of the power structure, it dragged the syndical movement organized in the CUT and all its social camp to bureaucratization and class collaboration. The MST saw itself isolated as method of direct action of the masses, as a combative proposal for social struggle, and lost to the dominant system its referring of the political project.

The state of Rio Grande Do Sul passed through a special conjuncture. It has a government corrupt until the highest level, directed by a weak party that accommodates the political groups of the oligarchy dividing state agencies as it orders the modus operanti of bourgeois politics in a liberal democratic regime. An economic policy line in the World Bank to make fiscal adjustment with privatizations, dismantling of the public services and to pay the expansion of the transnationals. An ultraconservative discourse circulating in the society by the force of the media groups and the emergence of the police forces in the social-political scene as normative institution. As regional institution of the power it has the character of a police State.

It is a state that diminishes the spaces of public freedom, inside of its crisis of representation and makes more ostensive violence as recourse of politics on the behavior of the poverty excluded from the government agenda. As discourse it has social reproduction for the always eminent figure of delinquency, the disturbance and the violation of property.

The MST, as the social movement most expressive of the struggles of the working class in this state, is the target of a plot of the institutional and economic powers to break the popular resistance to the oppressive model that is imposed by the Gaúcha elites and the transnationals. Police infiltrations, violence on encampments and mobilisations for agrarian reform, judicial actions that criminalise the movement, according to the report published in the press, are the concretions of a confessed proposal to taint it in illegality in order dissolve it. To destroy this that has been a brave organisation in the defense of the interests of the working class, that has made the path of social justice, skinned with their own hands the dignity of the poor expelled from the field.

Our modest militant force is solidary. The MST and the struggle without truces for agrarian reform is a cause of all that fight for a new world without asking for it. To reorganise classist unionism from the base, to give expression to the struggle of the poor people of the city and to empower the voice of the communities without asking for license are the tasks of the hour, of these difficult times, where the best solidarity is made fighting.

And here is the appeal for solidarity from the English language site Friends of the MST. This sort of thing makes Molly regret that her familiarity with "world languages" is restricted to French and Spanish. Portuguese is very much a world language if you look at the population of Brazil.
- Send Letters Decrying Public Ministry Plans to “dissolve” the MST
The MST needs your support to stop a campaign to criminalize all social movement activity in Rio Grande do Sul.
In late June, the MST presented a document to the public that proves a strategy on the part of the Rio Grande do Sul State Public Ministry to “dissolve” the MST. The document outlines a meeting, on December 3, 2007, during which the State Public Ministry decided to outlaw any mobilization of landless workers, including marches and walks, to intervene in settlement schools, to criminalize leaders and members and to “deactivate” all the encampments in Rio Grande do Sul.

Please read below for additional details and instructions for the letter writing campaign to prevent action by the State Public Ministry of Rio Grande do Sul.

The decisions of the State Public Ministry are already being put into practice. Recently two encampments, located in areas that had been ceded, were evicted and the Nueva Santa Rita encampment in a settlement area was surrounded, with the families legally prevented from entering or leaving the encampment. The position of the Public Ministry agrees with increasing the use of violence by the Military Police against mobilizations of any social movement, such as that on June 11, when dozens of people were hit by rubber bullets and clubs. A farmer suffered an internal hemorrhage as a result of the attacks and remained hospitalized for a week.

According to the lawyer Leandro Scalabrin, who made the accusation, the decision of the Public Ministry violates the International Treaty on Civil and Political Rights, in particular article 22, item 1. This treaty was recognized by the Brazilian government through Decree nº 592, on July 6, 1992. It also violates the Federal Constitution, article 5, paragraph XVII, which says “freedom of association for legal purposes is total, that of a paramilitary character is forbidden.”

The report itself contradicts the statements of the Prosecutors: an investigation of the Federal Police, carried out between January and August last year, verified that there is “no connection between the FARC in that location” and concludes that “no crime against state security exists”.

The discovery of the contents of this document verifies that Rio Grande do Sul is today the scene of a strategy by the executive and judicial powers to threaten and eradicate the freedoms that were won when the military dictatorship ended. The content of the documents and the practice of these institutions represents a return to authoritarianism, to disrespect for civil society political and social plurality.

These powers are financed by those who constitute real threats to national security: businesses such as Stora Enso (Swedish-Finnish), a donor to the electoral campaign of the governor, which acquires lands illegally in the border area, violating Brazilian law with the consent of the executive and judicial powers.
State Coordination – MST-RS

Please send the following message, with a copy to,, and
Send to:
Señora Yeda Crusius, M.D. Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul
C/C General Solicitor Dr. Mauro Renner
We condemn the initiative of the Superior Council of Public Ministry of the State of Rio Grande do Sul

[Name of organization or Individual Name], asks you to firmly condemn the initiative of the General Staff of the Military Brigade of Rio Grande do Sul and the initiative of the Superior Council of the Public Ministry of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, and the initiative of the Federal Public Ministry.

On September 20, 2007 while acting as General Subcommander of the Military Brigade Cel. . QOEM – Paulo Roberto Mendes Rodrigues, sent report no. 1124-100-PM2-2007 to the General Commander of the Military Brigade suggesting that all possible actions be taken to impede the three columns of the MST that were walking toward Coqueiros do Sul, if they were found.The report contained a secret investigation about the MST, its leaders, the number of members and its activities in Rio Grande do Sul. The report was sent to the Public Ministry of the State of Rio Grande do Sul and to the Federal Public Ministry.

In the report, the military force of Rio Grande do Sul characterizes the MST and La Via Campesina as movements that were no longer carrying out actions to highlight their social demands but were organizing actions that could be characterized as criminal.
The conclusion of the report condemns “the view that holds that actions carried out for social movements should not be condemned as crimes but rather as a legitimate means of protesting.”The report was also directed to the regional deputies, mayors, members of INCRA and certain other agencies.

As a result of this action by the Military Brigade, the State Public Ministry intervened with an action preventing the MST marches from entering the four towns of the district of Carazinho in Rio Grande do Sul and various legal motions were passed to try to remove the children from the families who were demonstrating.

The initiatives of the Military Brigade were unprecedented in Brazil since the end of the military dictatorship because they are contrary to the Federal Constitution of 1988 that forbids the military police from acting in legal investigations of social movements and political parties. Article 144 of the Federal Constitution establishes that military police are responsible for the preservation of public order. The Military Brigade assumed the role of the civil police and the Federal police.On December 3, 2007, the Superior Council of the Public Ministry approved the report that was elaborated by the prosecutor Gilberto Thums (process nº 16315-09-00/07-9) referring to the administrative process applied by Decree 01/2007.

The group of investigators had a goal of seeking information about the MST.

The final report of the group of investigators needs to be rejected by all of society. One of the decisions made by the Public Ministry was along the lines of “(...) designating a team of Prosecutors to promote a public civil action with a view toward the dissolution of the MST and the declaration of its illegality(...)”.

As if the intention of declaring the MST illegal were not enough, the Public Ministry decided “(...) to intervene in the MST schools with a goal of taking measures that will be necessary for retraining in legality, in reference to the pedagogic aspect and the structure of the external influence of the MST”.

The decision of the Public Ministry violates the International Treaty on Civil and Political Rights, especially article 22, nº 1. This treat was recognized by the Brazilian Government through Decree nº 592 of July 6, 1992.

On March 11, 2008, the Federal Public Ministry denounced eight supposed members of the MST for “joining groups that had as an objective the change of the effective order in Brazil”, the practice of crimes by political nonconformity, crimes spelled in the Law of National Security of the former Brazilian dictatorship, in making reference in its accusations of the MST encampments constituting a “parallel state” and that the actions against national security would be receiving support from foreign organizations such as La Via Campesina and the FARC, besides the foreigners would be in charge of military training.

The theses that constantly appear in the accusations were formulated by the owner of the Guerra Ranch, a member of the ranchers’ organization FARSUL in 2005, and ratified by the Colonel of the Military Brigade Valdir Cerutti Reis, a member of the Brazilian military dictatorship who infiltrated the Natalino encampment for a period of two years, using the alias Toninho. His work was to try to convince the families in the encampment to leave the movement and accept parcels of land offered by the military dictatorship in Lucas do Rio Verde, in Mato Grosso.
The action of the Federal Public Ministry is contrary to the conclusions of the legal investigation carried out by the Federal Police, which investigated the MST for the entire year of 2007 and concluded that there are no ties between the MST and the FARC nor are there any foreigners who are carrying out guerilla training in the movement’s encampments, nor have there been any crimes committed that threaten national security.

The MST is one of the most important social movements in our history, exactly because of its policy of non-violent struggle. Please accept our firm condemnation of the decision taken by the Superior Council of the Public Ministry, by the General Staff of the Military Brigade and by the decision of the Federal Public Ministry.

We state our strong support for the struggle of the MST.

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