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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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Studies, statements & references -> Statements by Intellectuals and Artists 13 resources (Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.)

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Haroldo de Campos
(Renowned poet, founder of the Concretist Movement, literary critic, translator from several languages. Nationally and an internationally acclaimed translation theorist and intellectual. Translated by Bernard McGuirk.)


A second abolition
(MST: a second moment in the process of liberating Brazil from slavery. A great mass of Brazilians, reduced to misery, are struggling for a true Agrarian Reform.)

I consider the Sem-Terra Movement a second (and I hope definitive) moment of the long and difficult process of liberating Brazil from slavery (the first "official" one was on May 13 1888, when negro slavery was abolished by Princess Isabel). Incidentally, Brazil was the last country in the Americas to abolish that crime against humanity that was already bitterly condemned by the great German scientist Alexander von Humboldt (Essai Politique sur l&lsquot;île de Cuba, Paris 1826). After being pronounced free, the ex-slaves were abandoned to their own fate and reduced to a miserable condition, one of the strongest reasons for social discrimination and the iniquitous distribution of wealth. Nowadays, independently of colour and of racial origin, a great mass of Brazilians, reduced to misery, are struggling for a true AGRARIAN REFORM against owners of great uncultivated latifundia, a minority of very rich people that despises the fate of that miserable stratum of the Brazilian population. This struggle, in my opinion, corresponds to a struggle for freedom and a conquest of citizenship and ought to be supported by politically aware Brazilian intellectuals, as was the case with the campaign for abolitionism and against slavery of our Romantic era supported by such as Luís Gama (poet, journalist and ex-slave) or Castro Alves (poet and author of the celebrated anti-slavery poem "African Voices" of 1868).


November 2002

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