Bay Area Delegation to Brazilian MST Congress Reports Back

From DaveID with IndyBay [Including all photos and sound clip]

The presentation was opened with a mistica.

The presentation was opened with a mistica.

On April 17, International Day of Peasant Resistance, and to mark the 30th anniversary Movimento Sem Terra (or Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil, Bay Area delegates from the 6th MST Congress presented a thorough report back on what they had experienced and learned during their trip.

The presentation at La Peña in Berkeley took an honest look at many aspects of the MST and the difficult and sometimes deadly struggle for poverty reduction and agrarian reform in Brazil — from the history, people, programs, and structures of the movement to its internal contradictions and philosophical differences with anti-state activists. (Audio, PDF, and photos from presentation below.)

Thousands of Brazilians attended the 6th Movimento Sem Terra Congress, as well as a couple of hundreds internationals, including delegates from the San Francisco Bay Area. While the primary events were held at a large stadium in Brasília, actions during the Congress included a huge march, a student occupation of the Ministry of Education building, and tear gas attacks by greatly outnumbered police at the Presidential Palace.

Ohlone elder, Hank Herrera opened the space before the report back.

Ohlone elder, Hank Herrera opened the space before the report back.

Speaking at the La Peña report back were Shango Abiola, Hank Herrera, Eric Leenson, Rebecca Tarlau, Effie Rawlings, Krystof Lopaur, and others. Speakers noted that it was the MST who inspired the local food sovereignty activists of Occupy the Farm to reclaim at least a portion of the Albany Gill Tract for farming on Earth Day 2012, before the University of California completely paved over or sold off the what remained. For years, the university had spurned all attempts to make use of at least some of the land for community farming and continued with its master plan to commercially develop every last acre. lavivacampesinaflagAfter over a decade of struggle by a number of different groups fighting for community involvement in one of the last plots of Class 1 agricultural land in the East Bay, the Gill Tract Farm Coalition will be celebrated the first Community Farm Day with a spring planting on Saturday, April 26

Listen here for the full audio of the report back, given April 17, 2014.

You can also look here [PDF] to see the slideshow presented by the delegation.

And here is a video clip from the Bay Area delegation from the 6th MST Congress in Brazil, February 2014. 

For English language information on Friends of the MST, see http://www.mstbrazil.org/content/bay-area-chapter

For information on the International Peasant’s Movement/La Via Campesina, see http://viacampesina.org

Para obtener información sobre el Movimento Sem Terra en español, consulte http://www.mst.org.br

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