Ahead of its 40th anniversary, MST releases Letter to Brazilian people

Following its national coordination meeting, the MST reaffirms its commitment against oppression and in defense of food security

January 30, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
National Coordination meeting of the MST. Photo: Matheus Alves

The Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) released, on Friday January 27, the Letter to the Brazilian People, a document with political messages and guidelines to activists for the year 2023.

The text is the synthesis of the debates held throughout the week in Luiziânia, Goiás during the national coordination meeting of the movement, which turns 40 in 2024. Delegations from 22 states, MST brigade members who work in other countries, and parliamentarians participated in the debates.

After defeating fascism at the polls, the MST states that the popular forces defend a project for the country that overcomes the aggression seen in recent years. “We need to defeat the practices of hate speech, fake news, fundamentalism, religious intolerance and mind manipulation.”

The MST reaffirms its commitments to mobilize against fascism, in defense of agrarian reform, for the production of healthy food, and to fight predatory agribusiness, among other points.

Read the full Letter to Brazilians:

We achieved in the streets and at the polls an important victory for the Brazilian people by electing Lula as president. We defeated the coup plotters of 2016, the advance of the extreme right, the military tutelage and the fascist project, which dominated the Brazilian State in recent years. We won an important battle, but we know that the struggle continues.

The challenges are great, as we are experiencing a serious crisis of capitalism, with economic, political, social, and ecological dimensions, which puts all of humanity at risk. We are facing a highly destructive scenario, derived from a system of multiple domination and oppression: patriarchal, racist, capitalist, and colonial, which increasingly concentrates wealth and deepens social inequality.

In Brazil, the crisis has deepened in recent years, assuming an even more violent character, fascist in nature and with an ultraliberal economic orientation. The consequences are tragic and have a decisive impact on society as a whole, widening inequalities, due to withdrawal of social rights and environmental destruction.

The popular forces that gave Lula the victory –women, black people, youth, LGBTQI+ community, indigenous peoples, workers in the countryside and the city– defend a people’s project for the country that faces exploitation, oppression, exclusion, hunger, denial of rights, land concentration, environmental destruction, and the poisoning of nature, food, water, and people.

Overcoming this violence among the working class as a whole will be the starting point for building a Brazil [that is] the size of our dreams, as stated by President Lula in his inauguration speech. We need to defeat the practices of hate speech, fake news, fundamentalism, religious intolerance, and mind manipulation.

Faced with these challenges, the National Coordination of the MST, gathered in Luziânia – GO, with its more than 450 male and female delegates, from all the states of Brazil, reaffirms its commitments:

– To boost popular participation in guiding the direction of the country, through permanent mobilization and the continuity of the struggle against fascism in Brazil and in the world;

– To defend the People’s Agrarian Reform as indispensable for the production of healthy food and overcoming hunger;

– To confront the agribusiness model, which concentrates land, destroys nature, promotes deforestation, and poisons us with pesticides. This model does not pay taxes, it only produces commodities, and does not feed the people;

– To combat the climate crisis, guaranteeing the rights of people and nature, with real measures against deforestation, degradation, and increased emissions. No to the green economy and its false promises!

– To denounce and mobilize permanently against all forms of violence, discrimination, racism, misogyny, LGBTQIphobia, and religious intolerance, fomented by sectors that support the coup like agro and fascist Bolsonarism;

– To accumulate forces in the next period, through organization between people’s organizations of the countryside and the city, exercising class solidarity and unity in the struggle, understanding that without organization, training, and popular mobilization there will be no real change in the country.

We commit to cultivating solidarity and building the necessary organization of our people.

We will continue with our Plan to Plant Trees, Produce Healthy Food.

We will prioritize the fight for the education of the people, in literacy campaigns and in the processes of political formation and battles of ideas.

We will defend the sovereignty of all peoples and condemn the economic blockades, the military bases, the wars and imperialist aggression around the world, which only guarantee a market for the arms industry and cause deaths.

We will join all those who defend the indigenous peoples and demand the demarcation of the quilombola (Afro-Brazilian) and indigenous lands, so that the tragedy faced by the Yanomami people is not repeated.

The struggle is our strength! The organization is our ground and a just, socialist society based in solidarity is our path.

Long live the struggle for People’s Agrarian Reform! Long live the legitimate right of the people to occupy the lands and break the fences of destruction. We will continue treading lightly, towards the 40 years of the MST!

Fight, Build People’s Agrarian Reform!

January 23 to 27, 2023

Landless Rural Workers’ Movement – MST