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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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Emerging culture by categories -> History: Marches, defining moments, congresses 48 resources (Cultural categories devised by & © Else R P Vieira)

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Children's compositions


Francisco Macilom Numes Aquino
(17 years old , Magistério PB, Safra Settlement, Santa Maria da Boa Vista, state of Pernambuco.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


1999: Happy Fifteenth Anniversary MST
(Obstacles and misunderstandings encountered by the MST in fifteen years. Victories. Personification of the MST in a first-person narrative.)

I was born in 1984
And wasn’t born from nothing,
But I’ll be going down
This long road.

On the road of life,
Which is not very easy,
We have to struggle.
I do not admit defeat.

I have faced several barriers
And not for them have I given up.
Our companions fallen in the fight
We shall always remember.

During this time there were
Many struggles, many victories,
Only those who believe in victory
Can attain it.

I have struggled much
In this country, this world,
Searching for land
And fighting against the latifundium.

Homeless families
Now have a place to live,
The workers in the country
For our Brazil to change.

I am not alone in this struggle.
I sing with every citizen,
With conviction to my front
And history in hand.

Everyone knows me
In this endless country,
From state to state
There is always a place for me.

I have always been criticized
But I have always won,
While those who criticize die,
We only grow.

My name everyone must know:
Agrarian Reform,
Everyone’s struggle.
I am the MST.

I am in this movement
And I am also fighting.
This is my homage.
Congratulations MST, for fifteen years!

Children's compositions : Organized by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.


November 2002

Resource ID:



Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.

Agrarian Reform
'The public policy of making access to the land democratic, agrarian reform is a political intervention of the state to decenter the landed-estate structure. According to the Land Statute of 1964, agrarian reform is a set of measures to promote the best distribution of land, with modifications in the system of possession and use in order to satisfy principles of social justice and increased productivity. Today, in Brazil, this concept has been cheapened by the use of improper meanings, which have distorted the principles of the policy. For example; by means of an agreement with the World Bank, the government developed a set of financing policies for the purchase and sale of land, which it has called agrarian reform' (Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano. Pequeno Vocabulário da Luta pela Terra. Unpublished). 

Latifundium (plural latifundia)
'Landed estate, or large rural property, has two definitions: landed-estate by size, which is a rural estate with an area greater than six-hundred times the average size of family property; landed-estate by use is a rural estate with an area lesser than six-hundred times the average size of family property whose lands are uncultivated' (Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano. Pequeno Vocabulário da Luta pela Terra. Unpublished). 

Life Projects: The Brazil we want.
The children’s texts included here come from a collection of prize-winning essays of the National Contest for Essays and Drawings organized by the MST Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra [Movement of the Landless Rural Workers], in 1998, when the Movement was fifteen years old. The contest included elementary schools of the encampments and settlements all over Brazil.

The winning essays were published in an anthology titled Desenhando o Brasil [Drawing Brazil], organized by Alípio Freire, Silvana Panzoldo and Emílio Alonso (São Paulo: Editora Lidador, 1999). The data on the authors were obtained from the same anthology. All the essays originally had the general title "The Brazil We Want." The specific sub-titles added were derived from the texts of each author. The texts are here republished with the authorization of the MST of São Paulo.

Else R. P. Vieira. Translated by Thomas L. Burns

See also: The compositions and poems of the little landless: history under revision

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