Brazil: MPA holds a historic peasant congress
More than 4 thousands people, from all Brazilian States, have left their homes and farms to join caravans from different regions of the country towards Sao Paulo, to attend the First National Peasants Congress of MPA, the Small-Farmers Movement of Brazil.
Source: La Via Campesina (14th Oct ’15)
The symbolic Pavilion of Vera Cruz, the same place where the biggest trade union in Brazil, the CUT, and the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) were founded, decades ago.
MPA has mobilised thousands of rural women and men to come together and consolidate all the work the movement has been doing in the last 20 years and reaffirm their class identity as peasants. MPA is re-affirming at this congress the strategic alliance between rural peasants and urban workers.
“This congress has the task to put together what we have built so far in various areas such as health, food production, work on seeds, youth and organisational strengthening. Now, we want to take a great step and consolidate our understanding as a peasant class that we need to articulate with the workers class”, said Isabel Ramalho, from MPA National Board.
Mobilising the peasantry to challenge agribusiness
MPA is mobilising peasants to take the task of building a peasant agricultural project that fights and challenges the agribusiness model that is still powerful in Brazil.
“This same government has also allowed the progress of the capital and of the agribusiness model”, said Isabel Ramalho.
Brazil is one of the top agribusiness drivers in the world. The country has become the world´s top agricultural exporters. In 2012 Brazil surpassed the United State as the largest buyer of pesticides for its agriculture.
Agribusiness, which includes biofuels, is responsible for 27% of the country’s GDP and corresponds to at least 37% of the Brazilian export.
The First National Congress takes place in a context of a political turbulence in Brazil. The gains that former president Lula talked about may risk being eroded Brazilian President, Workers Party Dilma Rousseff, is facing strong criticism from conservative right wing sectors. In the last years, many street protests called even for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
Brazilian social movements, however, have taken the stand to support Dilma Rousseff since, although not always satisfied with the government policies, “we should not allow a step back on what we have achieved in this country”, said Willian Clementino, from National Confederation of Farmworkers.