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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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Cultural categories by media type: The media specificity of landless cultural expression.

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 Culture: Icons, symbols, and monuments

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Reproduced by permission from Calendário Histórico do Trabalhador.
MST São Paulo



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Photography : Edited by Else R. P. Vieira


November 2002

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

(1) ‘Peasant resistance that took place in the Bahian backlands, led by Antônio Conselheiro, from 1893 to 1897. The village of Canudos managed to organise 25 thousand people. Surrounded by the Army, it resisted a number of military attacks for five years. As Euclides da Cunha says, in his Os Sertões [Rebellion in the Backlands], the classic work that describes the resistance, ‘Canudos did not surrender’'(Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano e Stedile, João Pedro. Brava gente: a trajetória do MST e a luta pela terra no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Fundação Perseu Abramo, 1999, p. 63, n. 32).(2)

(2) ‘The Canudos episode represents one of the high points of the poor peasants’ struggle against repression, poverty, and hunger. Its leader, the mystic Antônio Conselheiro, traveled over the backlands of the northeast from 1870 … in the village of Canudos he founded the city of Belo Monte, which assembled 30 thousand of the landless poor, becoming the second largest city in Bahia … Food was shared equally. The ownership of the land was collective … In 1897, the National Army undertook three expeditions, moblizing 12 thousand men with modern weapons … On October 5, 1897, Canudos was destroyed and 5 thousand soldiers died in the battle … The history of Canudos occurred during the messianic phase of the struggle for land’(Calendário Histórico dos Trabalhadores. São Paulo: MST, Setor de Educação. 3a. edição, 1999, p.71). 

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