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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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Photo by Carlos Carvalho, MST Archives São Paulo
Reproduced by permission.


MST's flag

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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.

MST - Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra/ Movement of the Landless Agrarian Workers
'Foundation: On January 4, 1984, the MST was set up as a national movement, after a long period of struggle (1979-1983) located in several states. It was founded during the 1st National Meeting of the MST (q.v.), which took place in Cascavel, Paraná, January 21-14, 1984. At this meeting, the general objectives, the main demands, and the forms of organization and struggle were defined. Leadership of the land-struggle from thirteen states in Brazil took part.

General Objectives:

1 — For the land to be only in the hands of those who work it;

2 — To fight for a society without exploiters and the exploited;

3 — To be an autonomous mass movement within the union movement to achieve agrarian reform;

4 — To organize rural workers at the bases;

5 — To encourage the participation of the rural workers in unions and political parties;

6 — To be dedicated to the formation of leaders and to build a political leadership of workers;

7 — To connect with urban workers and workers from Latin América.


1 — Legalization of the worker-occupied lands;

2 — Establishement of a maximum area for rural properties;

3 — Disappropriation of all latifundia;

4 - Disappropriation of lands belonging to mulitnational companies;

5 — Demarcation of indigenous lands, with the resettlement of poor occupants in areas of the region;

6 — Investigation and punishment of all crimes committed against rural workers;

7— End of government incentives and subsidies to Proálcool and other projects that benefit the landowners;

8 — Change of government agricultural policies to give priority to the small farmer;

9 — Immediate extinction of the GETAT and the GEBAM;

10 - End of the colonization policy' (Calendário Histórico dos Trabalhadores. São Paulo: MST, Setor de Educação. 3a. edição, 1999, pp. 19-20). 

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Landless Voices hosted by the
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Project Director & Academic Editor: Else R P Vieira
Web Site Producer: John Walsh
Web Site created: January 2003
Last updated: July 5th 2016