Jan. 8th, 2012

the_future_modernes: (sunrisetrees)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Occupy, Resist and Grow

One outcome of Occupy can be foretold by the example of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement or Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). Today, 350,000 families occupy 20 million acres of land, a challenge to global capital, which has setup white picket fences around the world, cordoning off what was once the commons. MST’s flag celebrates the industry of the landless worker, represented by a couple holding aloft a machete, and their willingness to fight for land reform, with blood if necessary. This flag accompanied MST leader Janaina Stronzake, when she visited the Occupy Wall Street encampment, before it was evicted from Zuccotti Park. “Occupation was a time to grow,” she told the assembly, “To grow education, empowerment, and food community.” The crowd echoed after her, amplifying Janaina’s words using the human microphone, “Occupy, Resist, and Grow!”

Janaina grew up in a MST occupation. Her family lost their land to banks in the late 1970s because, like many family farmers in the global south at the time, they borrowed money in order to adopt industrial agricultural techniques. Indebted and unable to pay back what they owed, the bank seized their land, displacing newborn Janaina, her eight older brothers, and parents to the city, where they survived precariously as field laborers. But, in 1985, her family joined the MST and they moved into a camp, with 225 other families, for two years, where they studied and prepared to occupy land in the western part of the Parana state.

MORe

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