OPEN LETTER ON THE MST'S COMMITMENT TO THE STRUGGLE AND TO THE BRAZILIAN PEOPLE
Forty years after women and men, rural workers, had the boldness and courage to challenge the large estates and create the Landless Rural Workers Movement, we, members of the MST National Coordination, gathered at our Florestan Fernandes National School, in Guararema (SP).
We gathered to celebrate our indigenous, African and peasant ancestry from so many historical struggles of the Brazilian people and to celebrate the longevity of our organization.
We gather to celebrate the conquest of the land. We are 450 thousand families settled and more than 65 thousand families in encampments. In territories freed from the barriers of ignorance and poverty, we organized hundreds of cooperatives, agro-industries and rural schools. We celebrate the dignity of those who now produce food and protect the common home, our mother Earth.
It is this dignity and pride that inspire the struggle for People’s Agrarian Reform to confront the violence of rural militias and the slowness of the State, without retreating from the firm decision to enforce the Brazilian Constitution: land must be democratized to fulfill its social function of producing dignified life for the peasant population, healthy food and preserving nature.
We celebrate the organization of workers who faced with courage and determination the 2016 coup, the setbacks of rights and the Bolsonaro government's disregard for humanity during the Covid-19 pandemic. With active resistance in encampments and settlements, building People’s Agrarian Reform, we prioritize life, strengthen solidarity actions and popular mobilizations across the country.
This organization was decisive in electing President Lula and his electoral victory was an important milestone in the international fight against the far-right offensive. We built and participated in this achievement. And we support all government initiatives to tackle hunger, poverty, unemployment and to reindustrialize the country on new sustainable bases. President Lula faces many challenges and obstacles and knows that only mobilization and popular participation are capable of carrying out the structural transformations that our society so desperately needs.
In these four decades, we have faced countless attempts to criminalize social struggle. No organization has suffered so many threats from Parliamentary Committees by conservative forces. We celebrate and are grateful for the solidarity we received in the face of the failed attempt by the ruralist caucus and the extreme right to criminalize us by opening a Parliamentary Commission of Investigation (CPI) against the MST, which also sought to intimidate the Lula government.
We are concerned about the intensification of conflicts in the countryside, marked by the criminalization and murders of quilombola leaders, indigenous people and landless peasants throughout the country.
Initiatives such as “Zero Invasion” encourage the escalation of violence by landowner militias and agribusiness sectors in defense of backwardness and one of the highest rates of land concentration in the world. We sympathize with the families of those who fell in the struggle for land, in the defense of natural resources and recognition of their territories.
Promoter of death, the Ruralist Caucus approved the unbridled use of pesticides, attacked indigenous lands, poured money into false solutions to the climate crisis and financed the attempted coup on January 8, 2023.
We are concerned that the first year of Lula's government ended with the same number of families in encampments as at the beginning of his term. There are many possibilities for resolving this liability, as long as the government is determined to confront the land grabbing and agrarian concentration that has historically marked the Brazilian land structure.
This also requires a budget for the Ministry of Agrarian Development and INCRA that is capable of resuming public policies for agrarian reform in 2024, and that has real conditions to structure and strengthen the organization of those who produce healthy food, care for nature and promote social justice.
Agrarian Reform is a structuring and strategic action to combat various economic and social problems in our country, such as the destruction of nature, deforestation and illegal mining, the hunger that devastates the lives of millions of people, the concentration of income and power.
Therefore, we are committed to continuing to fight for the democratization of access to land, safeguarding the assets of nature and guaranteeing the rights of people and communities in the countryside, waters, and forests to exercise autonomy in their territories.
We reaffirm our commitment to the Brazilian people and to building a more just and egalitarian nation through the struggle and construction of People’s Agrarian Reform. More than the democratization of land, agrarian reform, for us, must produce healthy food to feed the entire Brazilian people, protect natural resources and build a dignified life in the countryside.
We are committed to fighting the climate crisis created by countries in the Global North, the world's richest, polluting transnational corporations and agribusiness. We are committed to preserving natural resources and maintaining our goal of planting 100 million trees and demanding that governments make a commitment to Zero Deforestation and a massive reforestation policy.
We commit to fighting against all forms of oppression and injustice, to tirelessly confronting all forms of racism, discrimination and LGBTphobia. We are in solidarity and will not remain silent in the face of the genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza, carried out by the State of Israel and the United States, nor in the face of the illegal arrest of Julian Assange, activist for the democratization of information and whistleblower of United States war crimes.
Finally, we reaffirm the commitment we made forty years ago: we will fight until the evils of large estates are extinguished from our society and with it all oppression, misery, environmental destruction and hunger.
We want to reaffirm these commitments in the daily struggle, but especially in our VII National Congress, to be held in July this year in Brasília (DF).
And we invite the Brazilian people to celebrate our culture and our production and to learn about the update of our People’s Agrarian Reform Program and what we propose to build: a countryside and a country with a dignified and healthy life!
Long live the Brazilian people! Long live the people’s struggle!
Struggle, build People’s Agrarian Reform!
Towards the VII National Congress of the MST!
Florestan Fernandes National School, Guararema, January 27, 2024.
Landless Rural Workers Movement – MST