MST as the mouth of the people: amidst the CPI, civil society demonstrates support for the movement and agrarian reform

Tuesday, August 15, 2023
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By Mariana Lemos and Iolanda Depizzo | From Brasil den Fato | Edititor: Thalita Pires | Translation FMST (US) Original URL:

Brasil de Fato took to the streets to find out why people support the largest popular movement in Latin America

The target of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) that aims to “investigate” its activities, the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) has been receiving popular support throughout the country. The report from Brasil de Fato went to the streets to find out the reasons that lead people living in cities to support the largest popular movement in Latin America.

The defense of agrarian reform is one of the main reasons mentioned. The MST has been fighting for this agenda for almost 40 years. For communication specialist Isabella Scarpelini, “the MST has historically played an important role in agrarian reform and it is part of our role as citizens, in the choices we have, to strengthen the movement to be able to see the transformations taking place.”

Isabella gave her testimony while walking with her son Caetano, three years old, in the elevated Presidente João Goulart, in the central region of São Paulo. She made a point of stressing the importance of a healthy and organic diet, especially in childhood.

The growing awareness of the importance of eating healthy food, mostly produced by family farming, also plays a role in demonstrating support for the MST, as this is one of the movement's agendas that has the most connection with urban populations.

Since its last National Congress, held in 2014, the movement has focused on strengthening agroecological processes and the production of healthy food, with the aim of bringing the countryside and the city closer together, promoting health to the population and protecting nature.

Professor Samuel Sasso, who works as a handicraft exhibitor, argues that it is not just consumers who benefit from the production of healthy foods, but also rural workers, who can have a more dignified life.

Sasso, with an MST cap on his head, also stated that conquering unproductive land is a guaranteed right in Brazil. “If the land is unproductive it has to be used and that is in the Constitution. You will have a greater variety of foods, not just using the land for a single thing,” he says.

Regarding the CPI, lawyer Bolívar Kokkonen defends that the commission's only objective is to disrupt the movement that fights for agrarian reform. “There is no legal justification that can justify the continuation of the CPI. Therefore, we hope that it does not renew itself, failing to attack a movement that has a constitutional and fair agenda in defense of democracy, which is agrarian reform,” he said.

Artist and teacher Alexia Salles, on the other hand, believes that the movement has no negative activity. “The truth is that they try to find problems where there are none. Because, really, where there is a problem, they try to cover it up and try to change the enemy. They try to invert the villain so that the real villain remains there well off and getting along with his shenanigans," she said.