Peasant Women in Protest at Braskem [3-1-11]

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Women workers from the countryside and the city this year again are carrying out national days of struggle around the 8th of March – International Women’s Day.

Earlier on Tuesday (March 1), about 800 women occupied the courtyard of Braskem, Odebrecht Group1 in the metropolitan region of Porto Alegre.

The action is organized by the women of Via Campesina, Movement of Unemployed Workers (MTD), the Youth and Inter-Union Mobilization and integrates the national day of women's struggles.

The demonstration in Braskem aims to denounce the green plastic produced from cane sugar which is as harmful and polluting as plastic made from crude oil.

The product is touted by the company and governments as a solution to environmental problems. However, the women warn that the green plastic will increase the spread of monoculture, intensify the use of GMOs, the use of pesticides and the concentration of land ownership.

To enable the production of green plastic on a large scale, the company aims to plant almost two million hectares of sugar cane in Brazil. This prevents further peasant agriculture and generates the expulsion of thousands of peasant families from the land.

For the population of the city, the growth of more of this monoculture means rising food prices and more people competing for jobs and housing.

The national days of women's struggles began on Monday (February 28) with the occupation of Veracel2 by 1,500 women in Bahia.


Editor’s Notes:

 1Braskem a Brazilian petrochemical company headquartered in Sao Paulo. The company is the largest petrochemical in the Americas by production capacity and the seventh largest in the world. By revenue it is the fourth largest in the Americas and the seventeenth in the world. Braskem is owned by Odebrecht S.A., a Brazilian conglomerate in the fields of engineering, construction, chemicals and petrochemicals. The company was founded in 1944 in Salvador da Bahia by Norberto Odebrecht, and is now present in South, Central and North America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

 2 Veracel is the result of a partnership between two leaders in the pulp and paper industry, Brazilian Fibria and Swedish-Finnish Stora Enso. The company is an integrated agro-industrial undertaking, operated by nearly 700 own employees and about 2,400 workers from specialized companies, ranging from eucalyptus planting to pulp final shipment.