Challenges to Brazilian Democracy Conference – Panel V: Environmental Justice and the Right to Land

Challenges to Brazilian Democracy Conference – Panel V: Environmental Justice and the Right to Land

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to our fifth
panel of the conference. [INAUDIBLE] Again thank
people who haven’t been here throughout, among them
[? Leah Van Way ?] for helping us think about this
conference and organizing it. [? Leah Van Way, ?] who will
be chairing this session, is a professor of environment
and society and sociology at Brown University. She has worked many
years in Brazil. And she is a social demographer
and environmental social scientist who studies
population change, socioeconomic development, and
environmental change in Brazil. And I want to thank her
for something that she did. I went on sabbatical in
2010, 2011, and came back. And [? Leah ?] came up to me
in a meeting of the faculty and said, you know, we have
this amazing department of Portuguese and
Brazilian studies, but we need to build Brazil
across the disciplines. Would you help me do that? And so we came up with the
idea of a Brazil Initiative. And for two years, we just
had a program and a manifesto. And we would take it to every
single event and talk about it. And then a series
of wonderful things happened that
resources came our way and we were able to build the
Brazil Initiative and do it. So it really– she
was the one who kind of pushed me to kind of
take the lead in doing this. And I want to thank
her for doing that. It was really effective. All I had to do was say let’s
do it, and you did all the work. [LAUGHTER] That’s my kind of
neurosis, I guess. So she’ll be inviting
the panelists. This is, again, a
two-hour session. We want to kind of
keep to the session today, because people have
other plans afterwards. So [? Leah Van Way. ?]
And then people who have just arrived who
need translations, we have machines or [PORTUGUESE]
to do the translations. [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] All right, thank you very much. I am going to take
the prerogative to say two minutes
about why we have to have a session
about environment in a conference that’s about
the future of human rights and autonomy and
democracy in Brazil. So as we heard this
morning, nature is not simply a set
of resources that we are using to
further our economy, to further social development. Nature has to be deeply
integrated into social life. So throughout the
world, and in Brazil especially, people
are deeply connected to their environments in a way
that environmental protection is not simply about
environmental protection, it is about the protection
of human autonomy and human dignity and linked
socioecological systems. And so this is,
to me, the reason why we can’t have a conference
about the future of Brazil without having a piece
about environment. And then I wanted
to frame why I think this is about more
than just Brazil, and why the message that’s
coming out of Brazil is important for the
rest of the world and needs to be amplified. And so the first reason
is really the reason that’s coming from the ground. So the struggle that we see
for environmental protection and for the lives of the people
that we have in rural areas, in environmentally
dependent areas in Brazil is about the future of social
systems and ecological systems, and the dramatic
social diversity and biological diversity
that are inextricably linked in Brazil. So for basic human
rights reasons, this is an important
message that has to be amplified
throughout the world. The second reason
is really coming from a global perspective. The carbon stocks that are
embodied in Brazil’s forests and savannahs are so large
that, if we do not protect them, if that carbon is released
into the atmosphere, we will see dramatic
and catastrophic environmental change that will
affect communities from Brazil to Bangladesh to Boston. So from even a purely
self-interested perspective, what happens in Brazil matters
for all of us around the world. And then the third
reason is a reason from the ground,
again, but not a reason from the ground in Brazil,
a reason from the ground all around the world. So Brazil is an incredible
model of how social movements incorporate environment
and incorporate ecological realities and are
able to imagine futures that link environmental protection
and environmental amelioration with social protection
and social betterment. And this is a lesson that all
of us from around the world need to hear. And so that’s the
reason why I think we need to amplify all of the
messages that we hear today. So that’s my quick
framing of why we have to have this session here. And then I want to turn over
as quickly as possible, then, to the people who
actually are going to bring those
messages that we’re going to be able to amplify. So the first speaker on
our panel is [? Ayala ?] [INAUDIBLE] [? Ferrera, ?] who
holds a degree in pedagogy from the Federal University
of [INAUDIBLE] and a specialization
in agrarian residence. And she’s been an MST militant
for more than 15 years, where she’s been responsible
for many political and organizational tasks,
including coordinating the MST internationalist brigade
in Cuba in 2008 and 2009. And she’s currently a member
of the Amnesty National Board and coordinates the
human right sector. Do you want to speak
from here, or there? [APPLAUSE] [INAUDIBLE] [APPLAUSE] Our development as human
beings in profound dialogue with the space, with
agricultural space and with all other human
beings in a general way. I have to confess that I did
not organize any material, even when I came here and even
when I stayed a few days here already. Because we are coming from
a very intense movement of struggle, especially
peasant struggles and movements of indigenous people. The Red April, which we
started, which is something that we started 23 years ago,
we call it a week of struggle, or a month of struggle. And we’re coming from out
of that warmth, that heat. And so we’re recognizing
our brave comrades, those who are fighting
for agrarian reform, those who are fighting in
defense of the territory. Those are the people who
inspire the reflections that I want to share with you today. I also wanted to say thank you. I also wanted to say that
it’s not an individual reading or interpretation. It’s not personal. What we’ve asked for in the
MST and the landless peasants movement is a kind of a
collective intellectual effort, a process of reflection
and self-reflection on what we’ve been doing
as a social movement. And so to a certain
extent, those are also reflections which I
have heard on the other panels before we started
with our panel. So I wanted, in that sense,
to bring three things in my 10 or 15 minutes that I could
bring so that I could put it before us for debate. The first idea is
the effort that MST has done to explain to our
allies and to Brazilian society why MST is considered the
enemy on the political scene and the institutional scene. It’s considered an
enemy in our country. For us, it makes us
very uncomfortable that sometimes,
when we’re listening to some of our comrades,
they seem to be saying, oh, you are a target. So we stop to think, when in
life have we not been a target? Ever since we’ve been fighting
for agrarian reform in Brazil, it’s a kind of a
concern that we have. We’ve been trying to
say it’s not just MST, but all the movements
that are struggling for land, for defense of their
territory, the territory that comprises the biodiversity
of our region, all of us are enemies not of a
government, but of a regime that’s organized on
the logic of capital. So when we talk about that
logic in Brazilian society, we’re talking about a
construction, something that has been lasting or going
on for hundreds of years, a society that was constructed
profoundly unequal. Profoundly based on a class
structure, a class structure of inequality, which is based
on three fundamental pillars. And that’s why we’re
considered to be enemies. First one is to affirm
the fact that ownership of large pieces of land has
been the way that one class has been posted or made
hegemonic over the other. And that one is a class
that has a certain color, and it does come
from colonization. With that structure,
which reaffirms this kind of feeling of hatred,
and that kind of orientation that says we need to destroy
the movements who are fighting for land and for
their own territory, that’s an imposition. It’s an imposition of
one class over another based on color of skin. So that is to substitute a
slave society from the past to be translated into a society
today in a very brilliant form. Secondly, we are a society
and a structure which, every time people who are
disinherited from their land or from other means that are
necessary for them to survive, every time they
dare to struggle, every time they struggle,
they are harshly repressed. So we have a society
that is anti-popular, against the people. And that’s happened
along the hundreds of years of our existence. So that imposition is what
justifies the hate, which is not expressed just in the
way the government behaves, but also in a hegemonic
system in our society, and also is taking place
at a worldwide scale, as people have
said before today. So that order is
expressed by these terms. So we are a popular
force, that we have a consciousness of
ourselves as a class, and we faced up to this
structure of inequality and the production
of a class society. And we’ve been trying for
I don’t know how many years to build the basis for a model. The model that we’re
trying to bring now, that’s counterhegemonic. At a time, at a moment when
these other forms are not accepted. So that’s the first idea that
I wanted to put out there. I don’t feel myself to
be a member or a part of an organization like MST. I don’t feel like I’m alone for
the emancipation of the working class and for subjects
who live and struggle in the Brazilian countryside. So that’s why we’re very much in
agreement with the black cause, with the cause of indigenous
people, all the other subjects who have to fight against those
three pillars which sustain inequality in our country. The second idea that I wanted
to bring, and for my conclusion, I’m not speaking
in a positive way, but I’m talking about
the Bolsonaro phenomena in our society. What I wanted to say to you
is the way we interpret it or the way we read it. We’re not talking
about something that happened in an election,
you know, right away over the last year,
and we’re not just talking about the
coup that took place. We’re talking about a cycle
that has lasted about 10 years, from 2008 to 2018, which has
three characteristics, which is the limit or the extent
to which we can translate this short, but also
long, 10-year cycle. It’s been long because we’ve
had very difficult consequences for us. It’s been short, but it’s
been hard, these 10 years. The first one is that
we’ve had difficulties interpreting the real nature
of the crisis of capital that we’ve been facing, that
our society has been facing this crisis in a very calm way,
as if it were a crisis that wouldn’t affect
many people, that it would be just a small thing
that wouldn’t profoundly affect our society. And that’s because
the option that was taken to confront
this structural problem was to increase the
consumption of mass goods, to get more credit to
people in a general form so that you could have the
refrigerator of the year, the car of the year. The state itself
incentivized this by means of providing credit. And that was also
linked to what we thought would be a
wave of criticism of the structure of capital. So an economy based on
profoundly increasing the access to cars
and meat, commodities for the whole world. And that affected directly
the social movements who were fighting for
the cause of territories, the traditional territories,
the maroon territories. Country, rural territories. So what happened was land
acquired a very high value for the interests of capital. And then there was no room
left for agrarian reform. So that’s an equivocal thing
that we need to organize, we need to analyze in a very
comradely, brother and sisterly way between us. The second thing is the cycle
that was lasting over 10 years, or was constructed
over 10 years, has something to do with
the process of our capacity to underestimate how
the dominant class could pull itself back together. I’ve spent a lot of
months reflecting, we’re asking, how is it that
agro business has gained so much, and that has become
allied with the courts, and that has been allied
with industry in Brazil. How can that become an
ally of the military? How could that become an
ally of the parliament, of the mass media
that they’re all benefiting from in this cycle? This neoliberal
development cycle. So that’s the development
that the Bolsonaro effect or phenomena is a result
of those class interests that came together, and that
this is reproduced cyclically in our society and in our midst. And it has resulted in a
kind of a fragilization, making more fragile the
democracy that we have. And the third point, my third
and last point of the ideas that we wanted to
share with you has to do with our difficulty
in accomplishing– I’m sorry about the microphone. We have a habit of
standing up and speaking. If we sit, we feel tied down. So I’m used to standing
up and talking, but it’s difficult for me
to talk with that microphone while I’m standing up. So I have to speak with
this other microphone. So the third was our difficulty
during these 10 year, last 10 years was a difficulty
of us understanding that there were certain concerns
that were in the street, and that those could be
concerns that were popular. Those popular concerns ended up
being captured by others that were not in their interest. Those people who
went to the street to question the difficulties
that they had in living in the city, the
poorly planned cities, the cities that were planned
not for poor people to live in. Everything is difficult.
Transport is difficult. Security is difficult.
Housing is difficult. So this means that those
people who took to the streets were not well understood by us. And then they were
captured by other forces, and they became part of what
was captured by the Bolsonaro phenomenon. Therefore, my dear comrades,
I’m speaking with assurance when I say that, because
I’ve figured that out over the last two days that we
are companions and comrades, I wanted to affirm that we
have to be very careful. We have to not to
think that Bolsonaro is an individual who is weak. We have to contest his
ideas because even a person, he wasn’t exactly
the ideal person to express what has been
happening for the past 10 years, but the groups that
comprise his government, maybe they don’t understand
and maybe they sometimes fight. We shouldn’t underestimate that. Despite this, these
are elements which characterize this government
over the last 100 years. The project that
they bring is one that has been being
constructed for a long time. It’s a rearticulation of
capital at the global level, to fight against us and to
continue this hegemonic model of a small group of people
who have extraordinary profit and wealth. So we should not
underestimate and think that this is just an
individual project. This is a project about a
model that has some problems. And they’re continuing
those problems so that they can continue
to reproduce the model. They’re correcting
those problems. They can reproduce the model. So it’s in that
sense that I want to enter into the
question or the platform of the environment. That project, those subjects
coordinated by one individual, but it could be another
person who coordinated it because it’s a logic. I’m not going to repeat. People have already said that. They said that the state
has to diminish its role, you have to take back
the rights of workers. That’s what’s in fashion
now, and those things that have to do with our role
in the countryside, which means turning the
goods of nature into commodities more and
more, to turning the goods that come from nature into
commodities for sale. So in only 100
days, those measures that have been taken
by this government go directly in that
direction of turning in a kind of irrational
way, as we see it, from our perspective, but
they have caused serious risks to be placed before humanity. So for example, in [? Minus ?]
[? Gerais, ?] it made it possible for an
enterprise to be set up. But after this tragedy
that took place there, they still continue
to make profit. It’s because anything
is profit for them, whether it’s human
lives or anything else. So in that sense, OK, I
have five more minutes. Wonderful. Perfect. So I want to insert this so that
I could say that the measures that the government is
taking, in fact, to push even further this logic of turning
things into commodities, and they’re not doing it by
accident that these measures are being taken. These measures are to
deal with two things, so that the space
for farming in Brazil is turned into something that
does not have space for us, that we’re just a small
part of the diversity and we’re just taking up or
we are owed just a small part. And something worse. Those who still stay
on the land have to be standardized according
to a kind of a capital logic. The way that they live
has to be standardized. So I have to dispute this
thing about people who live in the country are not modern. And if not, they don’t know
what to do with the land, it will turn into favelas or
ghettos in the countryside. So people say that
we in the countryside are favelas or ghettos. So they want to
standardize how we live. So this existence of
diversity in our country, which has been
something beautiful, is something they’re
trying to repress. So these two kinds
of ways of thinking are justifying what they
say are the measures that the government should take. That’s militarization
of agriculture. And that’s not to speak of the
organs and the councils that were constructed just so that
our people and our movements could have a space
for their voice. Those places or
those institutions have disappeared overnight. [INAUDIBLE],, which had to
do with indigenous people, is now the one
that’s going to be in charge also of agrarian
reform or agrarian measures. And it doesn’t matter what kind
of environmental consciousness we’ve had, and it will no
longer be connected to that. All of those aspects
of the environment are now being
coordinated by people who represent military
interests or who have big businesses,
agro businesses, or some of the big landowners
who had been put aside. They’re now coming back. This is one of the
things that we’re facing. How do we deal with military? How do we deal with people who
are against agrarian reform? How do we deal
with our own people who want to live outside of
this logic of capitalism? So that’s one thing,
changing our way of life so that agro business
can become stronger. And that would mean also that
agro chemicals, poisonous agro chemicals, can come back
in an uncontrolled way. Every two or three days,
some other poisons, agro toxins that have been
prohibited in other countries are being brought back for
legal use in our country. And all of this is following
a logic of capital. So this other element about
flexibility of the workforce to make it possible to have
private activities in reserves, in forests, partnerships with
American government to take care of the Amazon. And I am especially
offended by the suggestion that we can’t take of
our own Amazon forest, and that we can’t deal with
agriculture in our country. That’s not ideal. We’re going to now
have partnerships with those who know how to
think better about the Amazon than we do. We actually think
this is a process to intensify the use of
the land in the Amazon, and also to put up
a total impediment, an obstacle to agrarian reform. So if before we had a kind
of a paralysis of what to do for this
under [INAUDIBLE],, now we are totally blocked. Sorry, I can’t hear when
she moves away from the mic. So to justify a
culture of violence and to justify the
people who were killed in the countryside, of
the minute or two that are left over for
me, I want to share what we’ve called the
challenges that we have for the populous sectors. In this scene,
especially from 2016, the things that were
configured by the coup and then the elections. For us, for all
of us, in Brazil, we traced out a perspective that
brought us together to figure out what should we do. It’s not a time of reflection,
it’s a time to do things. So first we had a
discussion about what would be an active– would
we have an active resistance or would we do a
strategic retreat. We took a lot of time
doing this debate. For me, it seemed to
be kind of fruitless. What are you thinking, I was
saying, about resistance. What are you thinking about
when you say strategic retreat? We’re thinking about what
Douglas brought this morning. We’re thinking about
the same kind of thing, but in a different way. We talk about the need
to do grassroots work. We’re also talking about
that kind of resistance. We never stopped doing it. Grassroots work, political and
ideological education, and also processes to move forward. These two perspectives
are actually saying the same thing, the
education and the action. So this process has
helped us to recognize whether it was the movement
of popular movements or the movement of parties. It doesn’t mean that we’re lost. It’s just that we know
we have concrete limits. It’s been a long time that we’ve
been talking about the fact that we have a
programmatic crisis among the popular sectors. They don’t understand
necessarily what we’re trying to say when
we say we want to destroy the logic of capital. So we have a programmatic
crisis about how to bring together all
these different groups, these identity groups. One element that is
part of our program is that we have a
crisis about organizing. We need to go more deeply
into the dimensions of what is concerning the popular sectors. And we also have a
theoretical crisis for us to try to define the meaning
of the different words so that they can
represent concretely what the struggle is about. So our challenge is
not, first, to resolve theoretical challenges. Our first responsibility is to
find a practical daily response to correspond to the
practical dynamic, as the way the popular
sectors are placing before us their own problems. And to close, I want to say that
this is an internal struggle that we’re trying
to do to reform the struggle for
agrarian reform. And what does that mean? But we’re also trying to do
an external effort so that we can articulate, we can
link up with other forces that are out there. So we’re talking about
identity, but we’re also talking about diversity. That’s what I think about the
historic processes of others, because we’re a crazy mixture. If I’m talking about
agrarian reform, it doesn’t mean that I’m not
thinking about black people or black movements. Yes, I’m part of the
peasants movement, but I’m also part of
the black movement. I know that I’m black. The same thing with the
question of women’s or a gender movement. Of course, I have to see myself. It’s a concrete
construction of the fact that all these different
platforms are actually one platform, if we look at
it at a total or holistic way. So we need to seek out or
search for unity with others. And in that concrete
construction, we need to be able to have a
clear declaration about what we’re doing. And not just a
theoretical declaration, but a practical declaration. The struggle for rights
brings us all together. The struggle for democracy
brings us all together. The struggle for
[? Lula ?] to be free, the struggle for human rights. Let’s go to that. All of these things
are on the table, and we need to act on
that in this conjuncture. [APPLAUSE] [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] And you’re putting it up. And so [? Leah ?]
is at the forefront of campaigns at the
intersection of democratization, environmental protection,
gender rights, anti-racism, and human rights
in the modern era. [INAUDIBLE] [APPLAUSE] [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] Since I’ve already
been introduced, first I wanted to pay homage
to the original people, the indigenous
people of this land, and also the peoples
of our own land. I want to ask permission
from my ancestors and I want to have the
blessing of [PORTUGUESE] I want to thank
Ramon and Jim Green. Especially, I want to thank
Professor Geri Augusto and Professor Tony Boggs
who have received me, because my stay here, I needed
affection and human warmth, so I’m staying with them. Having said that, I am Elionise
Sacramento as has been said. I used to say I am a black woman
with a first name and a last name, because I was taught
that by [? Lila ?] Gonzalez and Vilma [? Rey. ?] She
said black women have to have a first name and a last
name, because usually by old prejudices, we were called
by just a first name. So I bring here
in my presentation as my comrade at the table
said, I’m very happy. It gives me joy to divide
the panel with you. This is a meeting
between the saltwater of Bahia with the
waters of Para, so a union of waters of the
northeast and the north. This says a lot,
whenever you have a union of the northeast and the north. So I’m bringing here two
images for the beginning to help us dialogue. One is an image of
the national campaign for regulating or
putting regulations for national
fishing territories, This is something that we
think that national fishing communities need to have. We need life. We need the mangrove. We need food. We need housing. We need to have children. We need to have adequate
conditions for living and for sustaining ourselves. But I’m also bringing
here another image. This is of a tragedy, a tragedy
that was caused by capital. And what I’m doing here
is bringing the contrast of what is a life
in traditional modes or traditional modalities. I don’t mean the old
fashioned, traditional way. And what is a life that is
characterized or put forward by capital? So I’m going to speak
about fishing women, Maroon fisherwomen,
[PORTUGUESE],, maroon fisherwomen, justice,
territorial justice, and the impact of capital
on the lives of black women. To contextualize,
I want to present [INAUDIBLE],, which is the
community where I come from. It’s a community,
Salinas Da Margarida is in the Reconcavo region, the
south part of the Reconcavo. It’s very near an island
called [INAUDIBLE].. It’s a community that’s
been there about 300 years. 80% of the population
lives by fishing, and also by a kind of
subsistence agriculture. The municipality also provides
jobs for less than 10% of the population. It’s a community that has
received its certificate by the Palmeiras
Cultural Foundation. We also have the authorization
for sustainable use of the territory coming
from the government. We have a process,
an open process still, at INCRA,
which is the National Institute for Settlement
and Agrarian Reform, to study our territory. This is a territory that
is profoundly disputed, as the music says. Before, rich people wanted
to live on the beach, and they worked where they live. Today, the rich people don’t
just want to live on the beach, but they want to take their
enterprises and businesses to the beach. And because of that,
we and our people are systematically
threatened all the time. At the municipal level,
for almost a decade, more than a decade, we
have an administration which is very
similar to that which has recently come
into power in Brazil and in the United States. When the management or
administrative threat of Bolsonaro arose, we think
that Salinas Da Margarida or [PORTUGUESE],, has a lot to
say to the rest of the country about how you survive
a regime like this. So I’m going to
bring a little bit about the context, the general
context for the movement. I am a militant in a national
movement of fishermen and fisherwomen,
and I’m also part of a group called the National
Group of Fishing Women. I’m a coordinator
of that movement. This is a movement
that’s been in existence for about 10 years,
linking together fishermen and fisherwomen in 18 states. It’s a movement to empower
us to defend our territory, and our way of living. It’s important to
always say, who are the fishermen and the
fisherwomen in Brazil, to say that principally
or especially, because those north of
Brazil, in the north and in the northeast
of Brazil, we are majority black and
indigenous population. Having said that,
I want to point out that the Brazilian state has
an historic debt with us. Many of us are commemorating
yesterday, the Holy Week, and for us, this Holy
Week has an importance that goes beyond its
religious importance. For us, the Holy Week
has an importance for us, an economic importance. And it’s also something
important for our identity. I think it’s important for
me to say that many of us think that somehow,
the fish comes out of the heavens from the north. So it’s important to think
about who are these subjects who are carrying out this activity
so that high quality food comes to the table of the
Brazilian people. In this regard, even studies
from hospitals and clinics say that the
fisherwomen, for example, that we work from 12
to 16 hours a day, and so things like
repetitive movements and other kinds of
health problems, Brazilian society
doesn’t know about that. So we have to
systematically keep repeating that we’re
doing that work. And in juridical norms,
or in norms of the law, the presence of fishing
women doesn’t even exist. Before the law, fishing
women don’t exist. You have to look at the
documents about fishing, they don’t even speak of gender. So what they’ll have is
the traditional fisherman, and then they’ll have
Dona Ms. Maria, Ms. Joann. The documents always
think of us as those who are helping a
companion or husband. And that’s why we have
to have a husband, or live with
another man in order to have a guarantee of any
kind of social benefits. It can be the father,
the husband, the brother, but it has to be a
masculine figure. And on the other hand,
in practice, women, whereas men work four
to six hours a day, we work 12 to 16
hours a day, and we work in all the
activities that have to do with the whole
chain of doing fishing, from fishing itself to
beneficiating the fishing, to preparing it to
packaging it to selling it. We do everything. So it’s important to say that
we are occupying or living in territories that people
are very envious of. We live along rivers. We live at the seashore. And the disputes have
generated conflicts in the different traditional
fishing territories in all of the Brazilian states. There’s not a city, there’s
not a fishing community, there’s not a Maroon
fishing community where there isn’t some kind
of conflict with capital. For us also, we need
to say, and we’ve had to say it many times, that
the political coup against us came before the
political coup that now the whole nation,
Brazilian nation, is facing, because the
so-called Left government that we elected, and that
we helped them to construct their project, they also decreed
against us certain decrees. Certain measures
were enacted by them which attacked our identity. For example, during
President Dilma’s government, she’s a woman that
we elected, we were obliged to present some
kind of documentation that says whether we were fishing
every day and all day. So looking at it
in that way, this is the experience
that we’re basing what we’re saying today on. Also, in the last decades,
we’ve been facing the biggest territorial conflicts. When in Brazil we created
a ministry for fishing, we celebrated that under
the [? Lula’s ?] government. But also, that was the
same government that decreed privatization of water. So we have to ask
what good is it to have a Ministry of Fishing
if we don’t have the water where we’re supposed to carry
out our fishing activities? You can’t have fishermen and
fisherwomen without waters. I’m bringing here an example– some examples– of
conflicts, local conflicts. But I’m going to do a summary– I’m doing a summary
of some conflicts, but I’m also bringing
here later on that, if you wanted to talk about
that, many other conflicts. But right now, just thinking
about this particular fishing quilombolo, which is Salinas
da Margaridas [INAUDIBLE] [? Santa ?] Salinas,
here’s what we have. We’ve had enterprises,
big businesses such as Salinas agrobusiness. We’ve had shrimp farming– or we call it
shrimp in captivity. We’ve had a selling of
lots on the Golden Coast. We’ve had a shipyard,
a [PORTUGUESE],, which was one of the
things that helped explode a very strong attack
against traditional people in the [INAUDIBLE] region. And this was one which the
Brazilian state cheated or managed to get by– sneak
by a lot of environmental laws in order to establish
that shipyard. That’s why I say that Brazilian
democracy has been being threatened and is threatened. We’ve, for a long
time, not been living under a democratic process. When systematically,
in Brazil, the things– we haven’t had the kind of
process where we are consulted. We haven’t had a process where
the norms have been oriented or guided by something. We’ve had these kinds of
laws and measures established by the Brazilian state
without consulting with us. We’ve been reflecting
for 10 years– more than 10 years. The fishermen and
fisherwomen’s movement has understood that the
Brazilian state was actually one of its main enemies. So then we’ve also had this
question of selling out lots or plots in the middle
of a marooned community– in the middle of a
fishing community– which is taking up 60% of the
land that– or the territory that was for collective use. This is an enterprise
or a business which– whose characteristics are
corruption, are violence, racial and gender violence
for certain kinds of militias characterized it. There have been crimes committed
against the Atlantic forests and against the wetlands. There has been
environmental, structural, and institutional racism. And there has been
territorial injustice. This is a business
or an enterprise which came in– sneaked
in– the middle of the night into a traditional community. The municipality
usurped the competence or the rights of a higher
organ because the municipality had private interest
in constructing a private business. And that business was
implemented using public means. That means that environmental
regulations have been relaxed or made more
fragile, and that has made it possible to do
this kind of action. What you’re seeing
here are some images of that business
that I was talking about on the first photograph. You see how the community
looked before that? And you see the Atlantic
forest, you see the wetlands. One month later,
after the enterprise was announced with a– that there would be plots
sold for less than 1,000 [INAUDIBLE]. So everything that’s opened
up an intense process of criminalization, making
the leaders of the community into criminals. And also policing the terrain
so that we couldn’t even get into the territories
where we were born and where we grew up. Parallel to this, there
was a plotting together of the official
environmental organs, which guaranteed
that businessmen would get ownership. People who came just
less than a year ago could get the
right to buy plots, and we were prohibited
from entering the spaces where we produce
our lives and where we produce. But this isn’t
something that’s just happening to [INAUDIBLE]
de [? Salinas, ?] or Salinas de Margarita, or
in the [INAUDIBLE] region. It’s something that’s happening
all over [? Bahia ?] and all over Brazil. To conclude, what are the– some solutions and
what is the resistance that we’ve been doing? We’ve instituted a process
of auto-delineation, or we ourselves are
rezoning the land. We are redelineating the
land that belongs to us without waiting for the state
to fulfill its own role, because we’ve understood we
can’t count with the state. We’ve learned that. So we have to take
care of ourselves. We also have instituted
training processes. Educational processes like
the School of the Waters, which is an initiative
that we thought of, and that we’ve been
implementing as the fishermen and fisherwomen’s movement. What we’re trying to do is
to build in capabilities and competencies, so that we
can be our own consultants and advisors and take
care of our own problems. We’ve also been using campaigns
of information and denouncing. What we’ve understood
is when we denounce these systematic threats
that we’ve been facing, we become, in a certain
way, more protected. Because if it just stays
inside our community, what we call the
[? kernelism– ?] which is the old military
style of slave owners– then they can act much more
strongly and with a much stronger military force. So we denounce publicly. The national campaign
to institute regulation of fishing territories. We’ve been trying to dialogue
with the Brazilian society so that they understand
the importance of fishing territory. So they understand the
importance of the production that we do, our role
as producers of food. And we want the society
to take unto itself also, or to participate
in this campaign. We’ve also been trying to
identify strategic partners. We’ve been trying to
strengthen our alliances with other movements. We’ve been intensifying
our own grassroots work, and we’ve been trying to broaden
our national and international alliances. These are the strategies
we’ve been trying to do. So I’d like to put
on the table for us some reflections
for the conference. And one is how can
this important proposal to constitute an observatory– how can it contribute
to the protection of the lives of marooned or
peasant [? quilomba ?] fishing women in Brazil? We think that if it’s going
to just be an observatory– we’re wondering just to observe,
or is it an observatory? That’s going to help us think
about concrete measures. What are the linkages
that will be done? What are the linkages that will
be built by the observatory? And finally, how does this
Institute, or this event– what does this event think? What does this Institute, the– think? This institution. Watson Institute think
about the passing over to– the giving away to other
people, the natural resources of Brazilian people? Someone asked me to bring some
symbols and some reflections, especially about– [? Marcia ?] spoke
about the tides. And I thought, maybe I’d
bring some reflections about the tides. Ways that I’ve been
thinking systematically and theoretically
through the tides– through the metaphor
of the tides. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [SPEAKING PORTUGUESE] Paul Little. So Paul has a PhD
in anthropology from the University of Brasilia. He’s a specialist
in Amazonian studies with a focus on the ecological
relations of forest peoples and rapid land use change. He’s the author of numerous
books and articles on Amazonia, and currently is an
international consultant on policy analysis and
program and evaluation for socio-environmental issues. Welcome, Paul. [APPLAUSE] [SPEAKING PORTUGUESE] –the event. I really feel
honored to be in such a privileged and distinct–
distinguished group and be able to work with you. So my purpose today is to
elaborate what we can– what we could maybe
call an agenda. A Brazilian agenda for
socio-environmental rights. So I’d like to kind of start
with a brief history of Brazil after the Constitution
of 1988, speaking about the the rise of
socio-environmentalism in Brazil and the new
attacks on ruralists since 2005 on the international,
transnational scene and also on the Brazilian scene. And I’d like to end on– with a few reflections on
what an alternative model might look like for
socio-environmental governance. So socio-environmentalism in
Brazil in the 80s begins with the resurgence of
social movements, as it is part of the
redemocratization of Brazil– the international clamor
against the deforestation of the Amazon. Two important moments were
the meeting in Altamira in ’79, in which the 600 Kayapó
warriors were allied with the environmentalists to kind
of impede the construction of a dam in on the
Xingu River– a big dam. And you can see the warrior
threatening this man here, and also the rubber tappers
who got international support in their fight to
protect their forests with the tragic murder of Chico
Mendes, who became a martyr– a symbol for this movement. I’d like to highlight, as well,
the advertising of the new Federal Constitution of
1988, which recognized– for the first time– the rights of
indigenous peoples. For the first time they were
being given legal rights to their lands and to
their cultural practices. The maroon communities
also gained the right to ownership of their lands and
official recognition of that, and also the
establishment of the right to an ecologically balanced
environment for everyone. So combining
marooned communities, indigenous communities with
movements for biodiversity, and conservation, and
an innovative movement. One of the important movements
in terms of understanding of the direct connection
between social diversity– in other words, various
ways of living in an area– with the high rates
of biodiversity. So thinking of indigenous
lands, and in conjunction with conservation
efforts in the Amazon, these two types of
territorial entities have control of 45% of
the Amazonian territory. In other words, 3.5
million square kilometers. And they have a lot of
biodiversity in connection with these lands,
and the formalization of traditional people in terms
of their use of these protected areas in a sustainable way. So here’s a map of
the Amazon area. In orange, you see
the indigenous lands. In green, the protected
lands or the preserves, which make up this 45%
that I talked about. And then this is a great
victory for this movement. And it’s also important to
say that many of these lands are precariously established–
that they’re also being invaded, encroached upon. But formally they have the
right to the protection of these territories. And this is a great victory. So deforestation in
the Brazilian Amazon is a huge issue, and that’s
the area that I work on mostly. You can see that
from 2004 forward, there’s is a distinct
decrease for the next 10 years in terms of the rate of
deforestation in the Amazon that in recent days– months– years–
since 2015, really– has started to increase again. And this is not just a
victory for biodiversity, but for everyone who
lives there and who’s not having to see
their forests cut down, and their rivers
polluted And that’s all another great
moment in terms of this movement’s history. So right now, the
socio-environmentalism is being harassed, is being– suffering aggressions from
the last 30 years of advances in terms of the environment. The reduction in the
deforestation rates, the protection of
indigenous lands, and the expansion of
environmental protection, and the role of this movement
in the global environmentalist movement is now under attack. The paralysis of– in
terms of continuing– to grant recognition to these
communities and their lands, and the rights that they already
have are being eroded, as well, and murdering local indigenous
leaders and rural workers. So these are two
questions that have gone through this
whole– have been present in this whole event, right? How did we get to this
point, and what can we do? So what I’d like to do is,
from the environmentalist perspective, to understand
a little bit how– where do these
attacks come from? So obviously the ruralists
occupy a place of privilege in this wave of attacks. And so I’m talking
I’m setting 2005 as the beginning of a new wave
in which ruralists were always there. The big [? landowners ?]
were there. And that’s been
something that’s clearly recognized and acknowledged. But from 2000– the beginning
of the 21st century, there’s been this new
offensive of the ruralists– the big landowners. And so in 2005, there’s this
law made that Monsato really developed, and it was
one of the great defeats of Marina Silva when
she was in the Ministry of the Environment,
followed by reductions in the protection of
conservation groups. The great defeat
in the forest code. I just got word from
James that this code– which was, in effect,
granted amnesty to these big landowners– wasn’t enough, that they want
to totally eliminate reserves. In other words, they want
to get rid of this forest law and then the law of
biodiversity that gives preference to commercial uses. President Dilma’s impeachment,
and then of course the inauguration of Jair
Bolsonaro as president. So I also think it’s important
to focus on the tactics that are being used that– they’ve already been discussed
here at this conference, but I think it’s important for
us to understand the tactics so that we can learn how
to combat these things. So first the
constitutional attacks. So one of the first things that
Bolsonaro’s government wants is mining in
indigenous lands, which is vetoed in the Constitution. So it’s obviously an
attack on the Constitution, the way that they
want to mine in these indigenous territories. The PEC 215 is
another threat that wants to remove or get rid
of the process of granting recognition of indigenous
ownership of lands. And the second tactic is
just not following the law. In other words, the government
has a responsibility to enforce the law, but
one thing they’re doing is the just kind of
look the other way and not fulfill and not
enforce the regulations that have been put forth. And this is happening
in [? Roraima– ?] the state of [? Roraima– ?]
with construction of railroads and roads to
connect through the forest. They’re not auditing. They’re not checking
up on deforestation and enforcing that. So that’s another tactic
that they’re using. In other words, not
investigating, not checking up on things to make
sure that the deforestation is not happening. So they’re simply doing
nothing and letting people do whatever they want. Another thing is trying
to dissolve public policy. So in terms of
environmentalism, this has been a really big
issue in the first 100 days of Bolsonaro– this
MP age 70, which is another way of creating a
superministry of agriculture, which puts in their hands
the power to grant approval or to deny recognition for
lands to indigenous and maroon groups. The Brazilian Forest Service and
the environmental registration process. And so those are all in the
hands of the agriculture– agrobusiness heads. And they also want
to cut the funding for groups like the FUNAI. Authoritarian practices has
already been mentioned here. Sonia talked about
this yesterday of the militarization
of national forces for the Acampamento Livre
that’s going to happen next week in Brasilia. Eliminating these
councils, preventing citizens– regular
citizens– from participating in these councils. Feeding and increasing ethnic
and racial discrimination, characterizing indigenous
people as backward– as obstacles to development– and trying to resurrect the
assimilationist policies that were already discarded, and
that were articulated in 1910. So we’re going back to the
policies and ideas that were put forth in the
beginning of 20th century and have already been debunked. And it’s hard to
believe that today. And sponsoring invasions
of lands and violence, we have encroachment and
invasions to indigenous lands and also murdering
indigenous leadership and rural leadership. So this is the
background, the setting in which we find ourselves. And so now I’d like to
articulate an agenda for human rights and
environmental justice. And I think one of
the first things we need to do to understand
this set of circumstances is understand the situation
of the planet in this moment. Global warming. We have the oceans
becoming more acidic. We have the sixth wave
of biological extinction. The natural resources
are running out, and so this [? has ?]
prompted biologists to talk about a new era
that’s an anthropocene era in which human activity is
the sole focus of humans. And it is the defining
characteristic of the world. And we need to assume
our responsibility as a human species
for the anthropocene and recognize that the
planetary problems require global solutions, that
nationalism and xenophobia impede this process. That the survival
of the earth, of– the very earth is in jeopardy. And that resilience is a
new organizing principle in this struggle. I’d like to talk a little bit
about the transnational arenas for public debate
and political action that a couple of theorists
are talking about. I’m talking about a
post-national political order in which social movements– globalized social movements are
gaining a political voice which includes indigenous people,
and civil society, people in participation
[? of ?] civil society, the United Nations, and also
the expansion of the spheres. In other words, the reach of
justice over human rights. This is being expanded. Rights of indigenous people,
environmental security, and climate justice. This agenda is supported
in international movements and statements. Here’s some examples of these
measures that have been passed. The United Nations passed
a law, or a measure to preserve indigenous
rights and other examples as you could see there. But I’d like to talk about
something else, which it’s at the national level
that the human rights are being violated. And that’s where we need
to inspect and prevent these things from happening. We can’t just wait for the
global movement to save us. We have to organize
at the national level. And so I’d like to identify six
areas of priority for action. First, we need to affirm
constitutional rights. So the 1988 constitution has
to be our foundation stone and has to be– because that’s where all of–
many of the rights that I’ve talked about are articulated. And we have to not let
anyone encroach on that line. Defending territorial rights,
at the very least four, as you can see there. But there are also many more
like the fisherwomen Elionice just spoke about. But indigenous
lands, the quilombos, these marooned communities,
they need to be protected. They need to be officially
recognized, protected areas for sustainable use
as the [INAUDIBLE] and sustainable development, and
units of conservation as well. Third, local control over
the use of natural resources. So we need consent of these
communities that is not being regulated in Brazil. It needs to be. We need to be– we need to have processes
of consent before we go in and use these natural resources. We need to recognize
the laws of– in terms of who’s the
custodian of these lands. We need to have
sustainable use of– sustainable use as the
guiding principle of whatever political action we take. Fourth, we want to guarantee
environmental security. Article 225 of the Constitution
talks about the right to a healthy and safe
environment for everyone. And this also needs to be a
foundation for our struggle for environmental rights. The disasters in
Brumadinho e Rio Doce? The are unacceptable
in today’s age. They’re not natural disasters. They’re disasters that
are caused by negligence– human negligence–
and that threaten the environmental
security, and also the lives of people
in these regions. And we need to have a
strict system in terms of holding people accountable. And we also need to look at the
dangers to urban environments. We’ve been talking about Rio
and other cities in which this is a constant factor. Fifth, the protection of
cultural and ethnic rights. Fighting against hate,
prejudice and racism, documenting and denouncing
violations of human rights, mobilizing public opinion
about cultural rights. And I would like to topple
the cultural heritage and inheritance ideas that– in other words, I want to expose
the cultural richness that exists in Brazil. Sixth, climate justice,
which is a question that’s going to be talked
about more and more. And we need to have more full
implementation of the Paris Accords and have more
Brazilian involvement in this. We need to expand the networks
of information about greenhouse gases and the destruction
of ecosystems, and take more responsibility
in that sense. So what would be the
required elements for an alternative
form of governance– socio-environmental governance? So my departure point is one
of a rights-based approach– as we say in English– which has, as its
base, recognizing the collective rights
to a territory, free consent that’s informed
and done before projects are begun, and participation
of average citizens in the decisions
about development. We need to have a fair
and equal treatment of the negative impacts. We need to have– people need to be
held accountable whether they’re the
World Bank, or in China, or wherever they may be. We need to have
them participate in and take responsibility
for the negative impacts. And to mitigate those
negative impacts we need to have distribution
of the economic benefits that’s done in a way that’s
equitable, and have everyone have access to these resources. And we need to have plans to
preserve the natural resources and environments. We need to have– we need to take the long
view when we make these plans and think about what
will the long term effects of our actions be. And we also need alternatives
to the predatory extractivist approach and perspectives. And we need to recognize
that these resources are not renewable. In other words, it’s
not sustainable. So we need to control our
use of natural resources. And that needs to be
part of our discourse. We have to talk about
lowering our carbon footprint and articulating
community practices that will be successful, and change
the policies of commerce and investment. And coming back to this
idea of the anthropocene– because we are all
on the same planet, and we will all be
affected by these changes. And so we all have
to participate in proposing an alternative
so that we can stay here in a healthy way on this earth. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Does somebody have microphones
to collect questions, by any chance? Yeah, but they weren’t
working originally. Oh, OK. Let’s go ahead and start
with questions of anyone who’s going to speak
in Portuguese so we don’t need any translation. [SPEAKING PORTUGUESE] –one of the good
strategic advantages was facing companies directly. In other words, we have
a strategic challenge. If we’re going to try and
take on the big companies, or if we’re going to try and
do this in an economic way. If we’re going to try and fight. If we’re going to
march on Brasilia, the country’s
capital, or if we’re going to do it against specific
multinational companies. So this is a constant challenge. In the last few
years, the conflicts have been governmental
conflicts. In other words, within the
political and governmental context. I would like to ask
you if you believe that we’ve come to a moment
in which we need to confront companies directly, or
if it’s going to continue to be a political thing only? My question is in
dialogue with that one. Can he get a microphone, please? Microphone, microphone. Hello. Hello. My question is going
to go in this way. The challenges that
you pose, I think that they’re challenges
about the normative marks. About, above all,
the responsibility that enterprises or
businesses have with respect to human rights and also their
socio-environmental dimension. So I think this is one
of the challenges that has been posed when we’re
talking about human rights. So there’s a need to reaffirm. Not necessarily that every
violation is done by the state, but that it may also be
the direct responsibility of the businesses– that the businesses have
been viol– or enterprises have been violating
human rights. And I want to ask how well has
this been being established or discussed in terms of
Brazilian national law in terms of society? I think that that takes
care of, or covers the three different
subjects that were covered by the panelists. I wanted to take advantage
of the presence of Ayala because she might have
spoken about this before. But for me, [? MST ?]
is a maximum– the highest example
of social organizing. For me, it’s an international
paradigm or model that I know in this regard. So because I also go
to demonstrations, I’ve become a bit uncomfortable. I became uncomfortable
in Sao Paolo. Why is it that political
manifestations always take place in the center of the
city and not in the periphery? I think it has a little bit
to do with something that we discussed yesterday. Why do you have to do [? him ?]
[? no ?] on the central street of the city of Sao Paulo? Why not on a street
in the periphery? It’s something
that I don’t quite understand about the political
strategies of the movement when people speak as we
spoke– as Douglas spoke this morning about how the
politicians need to get closer to the grassroots. So I wanted to ask Ayala what
does she think about that? [SPEAKING PORTUGUESE] Here in the United
States, when black folks are engaged in struggle– I am not speaking in
totality, but generally. Particularly as of late. Struggles are usually against
police aggression, school reform, so on and so forth. Things that we would all be
familiar with in some kind of way. Sometimes when we
talk about struggles that have to do with land, it’s
not directly connected to food. It’s our communities
are being gentrified. These white folks with
powerful, wealthy interests are able to move in,
set up businesses. And because we haven’t been
able to have wealth and access– we don’t have homes and
things, and wealth isn’t transferred generationally. But the question about land, as
I understood your conversation, it seems very much rooted
in like, this is our land. We can track it back to 300
years that we’ve been here. We eat here. We live here. This is– we black,
and this is our land. My question is what does,
or what might a pan-black, pan-African solidarity look
like for other black folk who are also engaged in
this struggle, right? If we think of the
political philosophy, the idea of solidarity. What might that look like,
those solidarity lines? And I’m not saying that
they don’t already exist. If they do I would love to
hear y’all talk about that. But how can black folks here in
South Providence connect across language– across culture– who don’t have a relationship
with the land in the same way, but definitely have a
political connection in terms of resisting 400 or 500 years
of white supremacist oppression? Right? This powerful idea that you said
about these huge land masses– that’s just a legacy, right? The afterlife of colonialism
that we still living with. So I would love to hear y’all
sort of like talk about what that is or could look like. So these are questions which
actually are for all of us. I’ll begin specifically with
MST, the questions for me. I’m going to give the opinion
of someone who actually lives on the periphery of big cities. I think that we live– these are perspectives
and approaches about how we deal with
hegemony as well– the hegemonies that we’re
dealing with right now. I think we’re an organization
which crosses [? ver– ?] it’s cross-disciplinary,
crosses through many things. We were part of the
anti-dictatorship struggle. We also played a particular
role in the reopening of Brazil. It’s the situation
that we lived through in the years of the 1990s. So and we’re also
experienced with this whole developmentalist cycle. We also had limits, as
we had mentioned before, in trying to deal with this. We’ve dealt with
permanent confrontations inside the movement. And these experiences–
which are particular experiences, but they’re
also collective experiences because we’re all part
of this organization. And that ended up reconfirming
certain perspectives. We made an
interpretation that if we wanted to construct a counter
hedge mnemonic struggle, we’d have to also
work in the big cities because Brazil is made
up of multiple realities. Small cities inside
the interior. But we have to be where all
the subjects who are in dispute for public opinion are. But in the classic reading, we
are a very particular group. A particular slice of
the Brazilian population. So many times, the
big demonstrations– and many times for MST– we go to Sao Paolo. So it means that
those of our members who are in the north
or the northeast go take some days
to come by bus, or however they can get
there, to participate in some kind of activity in the
center of the city of Sao Paolo or the city of Brasilia. So when we’re talking about
the inverse process process, we won’t have the
visibility or the effect that we would have if we
were doing it in a place that was outside the main city. But we’re going to do
things in the Amazon, too. These are things that we
have to deal with that are just facts of life. Even though we are
various components, we are a national movement. And our survival– the
theoretical people who inspire us– we ask them, what should we do? What are the lessons that
come from other struggles that came before our
struggle about the land? And one of the things
that they told us was that we have to institute
a national movement. It has to be clearly a national
movement so that we can face up to and deal with this logic. That’s a structural
logic in our country. So that’s sometimes
why we step back a bit to make sure that we have
that national nationwide construction. These are things that
we’re still building. I don’t know if I
explained myself well. These are dimensions that
we’ll have to deal with when– some questions are coming up
now that, a few years back, were not questions that
we dealt with, such as the question of women
and leadership of women. This was something that was
a bit uncomfortable for some of the leaders in our movement. The racial debate appeared
once we understood that the majority of MST is
a population in the north and northeast, and that’s
a black population. Same way the debate about LGBTQ. It came about because people
in the LGBTQ [? community ?] understood how
struggles over land were also something that
they should be interested. I think that’s
the beauty of what we do as a movement– placing
new questions before us at the moment, or in the
moment when they come up. About the transnational
enterprises, I would say that
first, it starts from– our interpretation–
our understanding is that agriculture is being
taken over in a hegemonic way by these enterprises. Do you know who were
the first people who confronted transnational– the question of transnational
invasion of our country was March 8th by
the women of MST. So we went to academic circles,
we went to enterprises. We tried to tell them we’re
acting in an irrational way. And they wanted to camouflage
or to hide what we were doing. We were trying to explain
that there was a logic to what was happening in our territory. So women came up with this
first on March 8th that year. But now we’ve understood,
and we’re raising the point that we don’t just
called for the government to account for what
it’s doing, but also that the enterprises
have to do that. We did something that had a
tremendous impact last year. What happened was a
particular country with [? socio-environmental ?]
activists put it out and said that this company was
doing this in Pará, and it affected so many
thousands of families. So these are things that
we’re experimenting with. These enterprises–
these businesses– also have to be
confronted by us as we deal with
environmental questions and with territorial
land questions, just like we do with
the central government. Can’t hear question. The debate is very
recent with MST. I went into MST as a member
to fight about territory. I didn’t go in as
a racial question. That’s what was
moving me at first. But with the increasing
consciousness about class, then I had to understand
that I, as a black woman, was a black woman in
a peasant movement. So I’m speaking about
a personal experience. But I can be pretty
sure that I’m speaking about the
experience of many comrades who, like me, by the process
of struggle for land, began to recognize themselves. We are actually searching
for many interpretations and understanding
and reflections. How does a peasant movement–
how does a land movement– for example, MST in Bahia had
to ask the people in Bahia, how do we deal with
the race question? Because we thought we were
doing a very superficial reading of the race question,
even though race is a structural
problem in our country. We know that our
ancestors are there. We have to think about
how to place them, how to deal with it. So just like we saw
that headline that said nobody was killed. We had not understood that
that headline from President Bolsonaro no one was killed. We did not understand. At first, I didn’t understand
what Bolsonaro meant, but now I understand
what he was saying is that those who were
killed were nobody. So this is a
condition that’s being expressed further and further. I think that’s the road
that you’re talking about. We are identified by those
things that are inside us, things that identify us by our
very bodies, by our ancestry, and also by the
challenges that are placed on us because of
our physical presence and our historic past. I always hear that
whoever is speaking about lots of different things
has no basis for speaking about something specific. We have a problem with
boxes in our territory. We have a problem with
placing things in boxes. My time ran out,
but I wanted to say that territorial justice is the
same thing as social justice. It has to do with
facing up to capital. It has to do with regulations
about our territory. It has to do with food security. Responding to the questions
that you’ve posed, we have evaluated– or made the evaluation–
that we need to face up to the government. But that we also
need to face up to, or confront the
enterprises and businesses. We think that the enterprises– to have the posture or the
stature that they take– that they have
because the government legitimizes what they do. So when there was a change, for
example, in the forestry code, that the enterprises– the
shrimp farming people– were allowed to– their
debt was forgiven. That the certain areas
stopped being protected areas. We think that the government
gave that strength to those enterprises. And those enterprises, for
example, about shrimp farming have had a serious bad
impact on our territory. In the northeast,
it’s actually been putting fishermen and
fisherwomen out of business, out of being able to
conduct their lives on the business of producing. Everybody who’s eating captive
shrimp or farmed shrimp is contributing to this. So that’s why yesterday
I didn’t eat the salmon because I don’t know where
that salmon came from. I don’t know if
that was salmon that was coming from Chile,
which is enslaving fishermen and [? fishermen ?] in Chile– that they are taking away
their land and their territory. So if you put yourself
out to do a debate on social and
environmental justice, you have to be
coherent about that. So it’s that coherence– sometimes there’s a cynicism
in the society that doesn’t allow us to be coherent. In our movement of fisherman
and fisherwomen in Bahia, we produce– we are working alongside
enterprises that are also– we have to deal with
enterprises that are against us, that are our enemies. We put in the category of
enemies the government, as well as the enterprises. This was something
that hurt us– well, it really hurt us
and it made us feel bad. Some times the
intellectual acting– a kind of a dominant way that
the intellectuals act makes us feel kind of restricted in
how we can formulate ideas that contribute to the panel. Some people ask things like,
is this a [? subaltern ?] that’s trying to speak? And so that kind of
acting in a dominant way prevents us from reflecting
well on these questions, but we’re doing it anyway. And we will continue to do it. We are doing it. We will continue to do it. We are facing up
to the government. We’re facing up to
the Brazilian state because this policy is not
just a policy of the Bolsonaro government. It is a state decision– the Brazilian state. We need to be clear. It is the state. It is an exterminate– a state
that exterminates people. It’s a state that
doesn’t respect the specificity of the
particularities of each of the parts of the population. We also have to confront
the enterprises. They get their titles. They get their permission
because they’re supposed to take on
certain responsibilities. What we have to say is that
these enterprises are not acting responsibly. And in trying to respond
to the other question, we– there’s an attempt
to convince us that the territories
that we are in are not the ideal territories
where we should live. Since I’ve been a
little child, I’ve been hearing that
traditional fishing is– can in no way be
successful, and that we need to find other ways to live. And with all due respect to
the favela, to the ghetto, to the periphery– in my community I am
Elionice Sacramento. I am the granddaughter of– I am the great-granddaughter– I am the
great-great-granddaughter. People know me. I sleep and eat whether
I have money or not. In the capital city
I’m just a number. I’m just a face. So we need to understand
that when capital tries to convince us that our place
where we live is not viable, it’s because they want
to install themselves in our place. Then contrary to what
capital says, people work. We work, we work because
we want to buy a boat. We don’t– capital wants to
work so they can buy a boat or a beach house. We already have a
house at the beach. So when we have almost
nothing in our house to eat, we have shrimp. We have shellfish. We have fish night and day. On the other hand, our
ancestors were born and became ancestors– grew
up and became ancestors in this territory. That has importance for us. We have a knowledge. This is a knowledge that cannot
be acquired in the academy– in the university. Our life is regulated by
the waves, by the tides, by the moon. We know how to fish based on
the balancing of the waves. Capital will not be able
to take that from us. So if the international
community– the international
partners want to help us, in a certain way they
have to also pressure the Brazilian government
so that our territories are reevaluated. So that we have the
right to live and die in the same territories where
our ancestors lived and died. Also you could amplify
our denunciations about what’s happening
in our territory. This is some very
important support that you could give
because we are not going to leave our territory. We live there every day in fear. People ask me sometimes if
I have– if I am afraid. I have afraid. I am afraid. But it wasn’t– it’s not
a fear that paralyzes me. It’s not a fear that will
make me want to leave home. It’s a fear that will make
me go further in struggle. It’s a fear that pushes
me along for the struggle. That’s the fear that I see
pushing everybody who’s a fisherman, a fisherwomen
woman along every sea shore and on the banks of every river. I’d like to touch on the
question about enterprises. My talk, obviously, I talked
about public policy and rights. But the question is whether
enterprises and companies should enter this debate. And the response is–
the answer is yes. So they have responsibilities. They need to– we need
to hold them accountable. Let me give an example. The Amazon Watch
organization, which is responsible for denouncing
violations in the Amazon, they use this tactic of
putting together and protesting in front of specific companies. So when there’s a
meeting to make decisions about these enterprises,
they’ll go and protest, and they’ll keep people from
going into these meetings and make people uncomfortable in
the face of potential decisions that might harm the Amazon. And that’s one of the
tactics that we have seen. So on the other hand
there’s another– there’s a concept of
social responsibility that supposedly these various
enterprises and companies are fulfilling, but the
fact that they’re not keeping their word
and they’re not fulfilling their part of
the bargain is a problem. And we need to highlight that. We can make– we have to
hold them accountable. And yes, we do have
to try and tackle this from the
political perspective and also directly protesting
against the enterprises. Thank you for your
talks, your great talks. I would like to talk about
and ask about movements that may already be happening
in Brazil with regard to what you’ve already talked about. For example we saw last
week the incredible movement of scientists here
in the US, and people protesting the
planned celebration of Bolsonaro’s presidency. And we’re going to continue to
pressure these organizations to not celebrate Bolsonaro. But a lot of questions work
on environmental questions and they talk about
public policy and things in these structures
that are in place. But we also need to recognize
that the companies that are behind these events,
they should also be the target of these protests. And we can’t allow
them to reward people for exploiting these resources. And so one of the questions
that I have is, with the society here if we have– we have a great opportunity
Sonia [INAUDIBLE] was here yesterday and she– through video, and she– we had this opportunity to
be in New York next week and to pressure, and
to show up and to make these companies
uncomfortable and try and hold them accountable. And so we’re going to
continue that work here. But in Brazil how
do you guys view– or what do you
guys think about– how can this be
done in a way that will create a
greater consciousness in the population’s minds? So not only in the way that
you talked about in terms of boycotting things– the products that are the
result of this environmental degradation and exploitation in terms of these
territories and groups that are exploited to bring
these products to the market, but also in terms
of trying to take this information to a greater
public and a greater audience. So then that would make
the boycotts or anything else more effective. I’d also like to
add a question here. I’d like to know– first of all, thank you
very much all three of you. Your talks were great. I would like to know what you
think about two types of action that we in our New
York collective have been thinking about. And I’m wondering if you
think this would have an impact on local questions. So one is– we’ve seen, for
example, recently persecution of indigenous leaders. We got the name of a
local representative. The representative [? was ?]
actually threatening [? in ?] there, and we called him. And we sent him faxes
to his personal number. And I spoke with him. I spoke to his office
there and I said, look, I’m calling from New York. I live here. I just want you
to know that I saw what’s on the [INAUDIBLE]
Sao Paulo newspaper. I know you’re persecuting
this indigenous chief and I know what’s going on. And so I’m wondering
if you think that kind of personal
involvement is effective? What do you think of
boycotting products from– if there’s a way to
effectively organize boycotts. I want to thank the event
organizers for bringing these three precious jewels. My question is for
Ayala because she mentioned several times the
fact that the racial question– that she only just a
little while ago in MS– she’s just been at
MST for a short while. And the question– the
question of the American who asked this question, he
ask about pan-Africanism. And so I’m asking how do you
analyze the fact that MST has taken so long– and here I’m speaking
about pan-Africanism because in 2007– 17? 2017 there was a big
meeting about pan-Africanism as a form of articulating or
linking together better MST with the racial question
and with respect to political struggle. There was a big great
economist from Zambia who gave us a beautiful
reflection about Marxism. And my son, who
was 20 years old, he said, OK, I’ve
learned about Marxism. I’m glad that I went with him. And so I want to
how are you thinking about this question
with respect to MST when it was born on the eve
of the Constitution 1988? All the debate was taking place
in rural black communities. And then MST arises or emerges. And I could be mistaken,
but MST did not incorporate that debate,
those discussions coming from rural black communities. Also for some of the maroon
or quilombola communities. So in the first moment
it seemed that it was a movement of the South
and whites in the South. And so we thinking that
this great population– this great possibility of
people all over the country who are not white have
to be incorporated. So it can’t just be
an organization that has an appearance of whiteness. So I wanted to know what
do you think about this? Whether the MST
as an organization needs a more
systematic reflection to find a political practice
that incorporates, in fact, the racial question in
the struggle for land inside the movement of rural
workers or landless people. I don’t have a lot
to say, just wanted to talk about the boycott. And I think that’s a
great idea that you are calling and sending
faxes to the representatives. There is a form of putting
pressure on them that is possible today that
that wasn’t possible not too long ago. And I would like
to highlight again this new space, this
new transnational space for pressure. We have to be very creative. And we have to use all of the
possible mechanisms and ways to put pressure on people,
to denounce, to increase visibility, and to let the
world know what’s happening. So with respect to
the boycott, it’s a little bit more
complicated because it would require a wider and a
really strong organization. In other words, is needs to–
we need to spread the word, and it needs to spread in a
way that is actually impactful. So I can think of the boycott
in South Africa in the 80s that there were effective. So– and farmworkers boycott
here in the 70s and 60s. In other words, the boycott is
an important and powerful tool, but it’s a weapon that
needs to be very well articulated and strategized. And then it needs to
have enough support so that it is successful. So about broadening the debate– in about 2007, we did
an action or an activity linking the northeast
all around the Northeast to struggle against or to
think about shrimp farming. We had commercial
shrimp farming. It was something that went
beyond just taking over our territory. It went beyond an attack
to traditional fishing. We had a situation where
the militia had actually killed several fishermen
and fisherwomen to maintain or to make
it possible for shrimp farming to go forward
in our territory. So we organized some
meetings to discuss the impact of the creation
of captive shrimp, or shrimp farming. The artists of the
northeast mobilized. They created music,
songs, poetry. We did festivals. And we built something that was
called the cry of Fortaleza. 10 reasons to not eat shrimp
farmed or farmed shrimp– commercially farmed shrimp. We talked about how it is
bad for the environment. It’s bad for health. All the whole set
of bad impacts. And after that what
we managed to do– we managed that shrimp
farming was prohibited. That there were no new licenses
given to do shrimp farming. In Brazil we succeeded
in broadening the debate with a certain charter,
but also with a whole set of other instruments. We had to do dialogue with
people other than ourselves. And after that came the
change to the forestry code. So there was an important
activity around that. But this possibility
is very important. We need to discover mechanisms–
efficient mechanisms to dialogue with the whole
society with respect to this. And we understand
we’ve understood that when people become
aware that it is also their own lives at risk, then
they become co-resposible for the situation. The things that we’re
placing before them, they also take responsibility. So the campaign– a wide
campaign is very important. Now, what we need
is we need support. We need partnerships. Many partnerships. We need partnership
of professionals who know different things,
because unfortunately our society is a
society that’s still held back or restrained by
what is argued formerly. So my arguments, even
although I argue them in a very coherent way, they’re
not necessarily accepted. So we have to sum
and bring together different types of arguments
so that we can make a better argument for the whole society. With respect to direct
action to support us, I think that they’re
extremely important. We, for example, have
something called a place called the quilombo dos rios macacos. It is one of the most
heavily attacked. They’ve been having serious
attacks from the Navy, the Brazilian Navy. For the past few years,
many different kinds of violations of their human
rights have taken place. I’m not sure if it’s possible
to imagine that what’s happening to them is actually happening. And we received,
for example, a visit from Professor
[? Jury ?] Augusta Brown. She came to Bahia, and she
collaborated with the founding of that School of the Water. And she asked us how
could she collaborate. And we told her you
have to help us denounce these violations,
things that would make the Brazilian
government more sensitive. So what happened was the
Brazilian government received this rain of cards– letters coming from students
in the United States at Brown. And we were able to have certain
advances because of that. Because what happens
is in Brazil, they’re very concerned
about what people outside might be thinking about Brazil. Unfortunately what we think
about ourselves is not considered quite as important. But if the International
Society starts to understand that Brazil is
a violator of human rights, that it’s a– or, for example, we’re
a left government. A left government but we’re
acting in an incoherent way, then this has repercussions. I’ve been speaking with
the professor at home about different things that
are happening currently in [? Conceicao. ?]
Supposedly, we have a left government–
a leftist government in the state of Bahia. But we managed to– we would have been
able, or we would be able to push the state
government in Bahia. If, for example, the state
government received complaints from an external organization
or activity– so if something comes, that kind of
internal, external pressure. I love Brazil. It’s where I’m going
to live and die. But that’s the face that
our country has right now. Colonialism is still
strong in Brazil, and the current
government is trying to widens that colonialism. I’d like to go along this line
with what Elionice said to you. So raising consciousness about
society of what’s happening, and to help the society realize
that these fields, these lands, are also theirs. And that these
people, that they are people that live off the land,
and the water, and the animals. And that even those
who live in the cities or in other urban
spaces, they would they would have trouble
surviving if our way of life was threatened because
everyone needs to eat. And food, as national
surveys have– and official surveys have shown,
their products from the hand– they come from the hands
of peasants, of fishers, of indigenous people. It’s not the big
companies that do this– that they produce this food. And so I think it’s a
really important effort that we need to make. So that the effort
of the MST has been trying to show that
we also produce food. And that if you’re going to
get food from us, it’s diverse, it’s healthy. Whereas if you’re going
to get from companies, they also produce food,
but it’s bad for you. It’s toxic. And so we want to try and
differentiate our production from their production
and be able to offer what our country has– the best our country
has to society at large. And so I think we’ve
constructed markets for people to go and buy our
products, and in that way we try to increase our
visibility and help people see that we are directly
tied to the food that they eat– the
healthy food that they eat. And so we’ve tried to
make this process more visible because the
big companies sometimes get what we produce, and
then they sell it and try and pass it off as theirs. But we want to help people
know what’s actually going on. And so commercializing
production is a challenge, and we know that
it’s the challenge that we’re facing in Brazil
and all over the world. But it’s the same all
over the world in terms of the production comes from
peasants and other people who are exploited. And we can’t give up
before we denounce those who are committing abuses. We can’t accept defeat
before we even try. What you call mechanisms
of denunciation– I remember when I was starting
out in the MST that we would– we want to scare, or we want to
make visible the death threats that we’re receiving
and show people that look if we die then you
will also be harmed by that. And so these are mechanisms. These are strategies for
survival for agrarian reform. And regardless of
the context, it was a daily fight for
survival and for guaranteeing our right to life. And in terms of solidarity–
international solidarity– it’s fundamental in this
struggle, this daily struggle. So whether you call it– what you call denunciation
and other things, we always have called
it the beginning. We’ve called it solidarity. Those are all encompassed
in solidarity. That’s what we’ve
always called it. And denouncing governments
that are responsible– that are co-responsible
for these abuses. And, for example,
Norwegian companies they– we want to show that they
also are affecting the Amazon because they’re investing in
companies that are deforesting and that are exploiting
the natural resources. So helping people
understand their involvement in these processes will allow
us to save the lives of those who are working in those areas
and those in other spaces, as well. So to finish up, I’d like
to say the following. I don’t think it’s the MST
that was late in bringing up the racial question,
or the gender question, or ethnicity question. I think it was the left. The Brazilian left. I’m from a generation
in which people said that the important thing
was to topple capitalism, and then we’d would
look at other agendas. And this– representative
[INAUDIBLE] he wrote in the
Constitution when they were developing
the Constitution and they were talking
about the racial question. I read this. I don’t know. I was a little younger. But I read it after,
and they’re talking about this racial
struggle on the left and he wrote a letter from
the party asking forgiveness. But he said my relationship
with the black movement prevents me from advancing the
demands of the MST movement. So I’m going to go– I’m going to stick
with the black movement here, because if I
follow the MST’s demands it can have really
disastrous consequences. And so we’re trying to unify all
these different projects, all these different fronts,
but the left as a whole. And, of course, we
are part of the left, and we’re a movement in it– a peasant movement. We suffer the
consequences of making these questions secondary,
and that today we’re trying to make primary questions
in terms of race and ethnicity. Or, rather, we’re trying
to face [? capital ?] isn’t an abstract thing. It’s a concrete thing. So if we are fighting against
racism, or chauvinism, or anything– the prejudice and the bias. Homophobia. If we’re standing up to that,
we’re standing up to capital. And so I think raising
consciousness was not just something that happened
with the MST now or recently, it’s the result of
very concrete movements and it is something that’s
true of the left in general. So the right has
been provoking us, but also the left
has been trying to raise consciousness
and make people understand that these
questions are just as important as capital. That land and the
racial question are crucial questions and
issues that we need to focus on. And we need to educate people
about the importance of this. And I’d like to– I wasn’t at the opening session,
but I’ve heard a lot about it, and people have
been talking a lot about hope and about
struggle and et cetera. And what I would to read is– [? Juan ?] Pedro
ended sharing with– sharing part of a letter
that he’d received– a university
professor in Seattle. And he wrote this letter when
he went to Pará to study. And this letter, rather– and so I don’t know
if you’re aware, but [INAUDIBLE] was one
of the first professors to be the victim of
attacks and other prejudice from those criticizing and
attacking our movement. So she was– demonstrators
were cursing them out. From the moment that [? Juan ?]
Pedro arrived at the airport to the event, they
were constantly attacked and belittled. You know, sometimes the
only language that we have– the only language
that they understand is the language of violence. But I would like
to say that what Professor [INAUDIBLE] she was
afraid, and we kept calling. Said, come on. come participate in
these activities. Come see what we’ve been
experiencing recently. So she wrote after
this experience, “Dear [? Juan ?] Pedro, I
arrived yesterday after three days in the [? S-curve. ?]
And there was a massacre. This is where the massacre
of indigenous people happened in ’96. And I participated in the MST– the 14th camp. And there I experienced
what [? Boffey ?] has said about it
in another context, that it is as if we were bathing
in the waters of the future. People without–
children without land, they helped us
gain consciousness of the problems that are here. And I talked with a few people
that were present at that massacre in ’96, and I saw
the potential of memory as substrata– as a foundation for
the fight for liberty. On my journey, I
experienced things that called into
question my own humanity and made me reflect about it. I visited cemeteries and
memorials made in honor of those who were massacred. [INAUDIBLE] that talks
about a dialogue he had. And he talked to [INAUDIBLE]
and said, what do you think about this people? What do you what do you think
this people are looking for? And of course, the answer
would be land, he thought. But the answer was actually was
what they most want is peace. So I slept there in
[INAUDIBLE] house. And I saw with my own
eyes and with my heart that they plant,
they raise animals, they reap, and they have such
great peace in their house. [INAUDIBLE] became
a professor, and she loves the school where she
works– in the community school. I came back with something
very fixed in my mind. That the MST, in its
35 years of existence, has had constant dedication
to cultivating memory as a powerful tool. I met a lot of
great people there, and a lot of power
of women there. Sincerely, [INAUDIBLE].” So I’d like to say
that hope can only be reaffirmed when we are
capable of constructing it, not only as individuals
in the world, but as a collective
group in the world. And we have faith
and brotherhood. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] So before we
conclude, in fact, I want to ask the
moderator for permission to just have five minutes. A Bahian five minutes, or
an American five minutes? OK, five American minutes. To think along
with her about hope and the current conjuncture. We the people of– the fishing people
are considered people of the waters. And we are regulated. Our life is regulated
by two tides. The big tide and the small tide. In the big tide, we
have productivity. A big productivity in terms
of diversity and quantity. So the big tide is extremely
important and strategic in fishing territories. But the small tide
is a period when we protect fishing
territories so that there can be reproduction of fish. So that there can be a guarantee
that we have the chance to rest so we don’t get sick so much. And it makes it possible
for us to wage struggle. In the big tides– because those are
productive ones– political struggle
can’t be done. And so the evaluation– the assessment that we make
as fishermen and fisherwomen is that we feel the government,
but we live the big tides. So we think about production. We think about the
stomach, our stomachs. We think about consumption. Now we have an opportunity
to live in the smile tide. That’s the tide that makes it
possible for us to struggle. That’s the tide that prepares
the territory for struggle. And it always comes. And so our strategic
task is to take advantage of this small tide
that we’re living through right now. If we don’t have the capacity– strategic capacity to take
advantage of the small tide so that we can wage
struggle, so that we can do small revolutions– the ones that we
dreamed of doing– what we’re living
will not make sense. The times we’re living
through won’t make sense. On the other hand, we’re living
through a phenomena that, for us, has not been explicit or
explained in the fishing world. Sometimes we’re dealing now
with two simultaneous big tides and two simultaneous
small tides. So it could be that
this small tide is not going to finish
in the time period that we would want
her to finish. But she will end. And what we need
to do, in fact, is to take advantage
of the opportunity that this small tide
is providing for us. And with this I want to say that
we, the people of the waters– we understand a lot of
things about the conjuncture. Because if we dare to go
out to sea to get our food, you have to think about
the time and the wind. So long live the waters– the waters of Bahia. Long live the waters of the
north, of the northeast, the waters of Brazil, and the
waters of strategic alliances. Long live all these waters.

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