Letter from the 5th MST National Congress

2007-06-17 00:00:00

We, 17,500 Landless rural workers from 24 states of Brazil, 181 international delegates representing 21 farmer organizations from 31 countries, and friends from several movements and organizations, met in Brasilia from June 11th to 15th, 2007, for the 5th MST National Congress to discuss and analyze the problems in our society and to find alternative solutions.

We commit to go on helping in the organization of people, to be able to struggle for their rights and against inequalities and social injustices. And we commit to the following:

1. To network with all social sectors and their forms of organization so as to build a popular project to confront neo-liberalism, imperialism and the structural causes of the problems that affect Brazilian people.

2. To defend our rights against any policy that tries to remove rights already conquered.

3. To struggle against the privatization of the public patrimony, the transposition of Rio São Francisco and for the re-nationalization of public companies that have been privatized.

4. To struggle for all latifundios* to be expropriated with priority to those owned by foreign capital and banks.

5. To fight against the logging and burning of native forests for the expansion of latifundios. To demand strong action from governments to restrict these criminal practices against the environment. To combat the use of agrotoxic substances and large-scale monoculture of soy, sugarcane, eucalyptus , etc.

6. To fight against transnational corporations that want to control Brazilian seeds, production and agricultural trade such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, Bungue, ADM, Nestlé, Basf, Bayer, Aracruz, Stora Enso, among others. To stop them from further exploiting nature, our labour and our country.

7. To demand the end of slave labour and super exploitation of labour, and the punishment of the perpetrators. All latifundios that use any form of slave labour must be expropriated, without any compensation, as stated in the Law Bill which passed in the Senate.

8. To fight against all forms of violence in the countryside, as well as the criminalization of Social Movements. Demand punishment for the murderers – those who gave the order and the executors – of all those fighting for the Agrarian Reform, who remain unpunished or whose law suits are paralyzed in the Legal System.

9. To struggle for establishment of a limit to the maximum size of estates. For the legal recognition of the historical rights of indigenous peoples and afro-descendents to their land. Land is a natural asset that should be devoted to the interests of the people.

10. To fight for the production of agri-fuels to be under control of peasants and rural workers, as part of the polyculture, with environmental protection and seeking the energy sovereignty of each region.

11. To defend native and Creole seeds. To struggle against GMO seeds. Promote the practices of agro-ecology and agricultural techniques that respect the environment. Settlements and rural communities must give priority to producing foods without agro-chemicals, for the internal market.

12. To defend fresh water springs, sources and reservoirs. Water is a common good from Nature and it belongs to humanity. It cannot be privatized by any corporation.

13. To preserve forests and promote the planting of native and fruit trees, in all settlement areas and rural communities, contributing to environmental preservation and the struggle against global warming.

14. To struggle for the working class to have access to basic, secondary and higher public education, of excellent quality and free.

15. To develop different ways of organizing campaigns and programmes to eradicate illiteracy in rural areas and in Brazilian society as whole, using transformative pedagogical guidelines.

16. To struggle for each settlement or community in the countryside to have their own popular media, such as free and community radio stations. Struggle for the democratization of all media in society, contributing to creating political awareness and the respect for popular culture.

17. To strengthen networking with rural social movements in Via Campesina Brazil, in all states and regions. To build alliances with all Social Movements and Popular Assemblies in townships, regions and states.

18. To contribute to building all possible mechanisms for peoples' integration in Latin America, through ALBA – Bolivarian Alternative of the Peoples of the Americas. To exercise INTERNATIONAL solidarity with people who suffer the aggressions of the empire, especially, at the moment, with the people of CUBA, HAITI, IRAQ and PALESTINE.

We call on the Brazilian people to organize and struggle for a fair and egalitarian society, which will only be made possible with the mobilization of everyone. The great transformations are always the work of people organized. And, we from the MST, commit to never give up and to keep up the struggle.

AGRARIAN REFORM: For Social Justice and People's Sovereignty!

*Latifundio – large land holding