Landless Workers, Unite!

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image by Alexandre Severo /

Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST) has secured an enormous victory. In December, the government granted property to 700 landless families, who will split up tens of thousands of acres in the south of Brazil. In These Times (Feb. 2009) notes that the battle was hard-fought; MST farmers have demonstrated in the area for six years. “This is perhaps the most important victory in the region in the last 40 years,” one activist tells the Chicago-based newsmagazine, which regularly reports on labor issues, “and maybe even the 40 years to come.” 

There is more hope on the horizon: The economic crisis is forcing many landowners to choose between selling to the country’s Agrarian Reform Institute, which buys land and doles it out to landless farmers, or to the hated multinational eucalyptus pulp companies, which devastate the land and provide few jobs.

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