Peasant women against agro-business

Tord Björk | monoculture,MST,Women | Monday, March 9th, 2009

PEASANT WOMEN IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST AGRO-BUSINESS,
FOR THE AGRARIAN REFORM AND FOOD SOVEREIGNTY

We peasant women, riparian, extractivists, indigenous, afro-descendants and landless come forward to denounce, through our political actions, the extreme seriousness of the Brazilian situation. We will not be subordinated to a capitalist and patriarchal model of society, which concentrates power and wealth. We do not want the agriculture project from the agro-business, hydro-business and the transnational corporations in Brazil.

We are mobilizing, to denounce the political, economic, social and environmental crises created by the elite in charge of the State: national and international financial capital. We are not prepared to pay the bill of the crises, through the super-exploitation of our labor, low  wages, longer shifts and the escalation in the exploitation of our natural resources. We therefore DENOUNCE:

THE AGRO AND HYDRO BUSINESSES ARE UNSUSTAINABLE: monocultures, notably sugar-cane, soy and eucalyptus cause strong  environmental unbalance, serious social problems, generating grave consequences for humanity through the intense use of agro-chemicals. It is a model that appropriates and dominates water, land, energy sources, minerals, seeds, and our bio-diversity. It exerts control on seeds through GMOs, increasing illnesses, especially in women and children. It rolls over natural resources, in the greed to increase profits from forests, in the Amazon and in what is left of the Brazilian Savannah [cerrado], Atlantic forest, the pampa biome and the northeastern semi-arid.

SUPER-EXPLOITATION OF LABOR: major profits in this model derive from low wages, precarization, constant threats of  unemployment and conditions similar to slave labor. It is this super-exploitation of labor  which allows the commodities produced in this model to be cheaper and more  competitive in the world.

FINANCING OF THE STATE: this model benefits from public investment taken from the poor in the form of taxes and transferring those resources to banks and companies. Brazilian government collects from society, every year, 150 billion reais and transfers those resources to  banks in order to pay for a debt that was not made by the people, who were never consulted about it. The owners of those papers are no more than 20 thousand  rich people, among bank owners and national and international financial  speculators..

Without those resources, the government cannot invest in education,  employment, health, welfare rights, housing and the agrarian reform. The transfer occurs specially through the FAT [Fund for the Assistance of Workers] and the BNDES [National Bank for Economic and Social Development] – -both government bodies.

It is the most profitable model for capitalists and the most dependent on  public investment. The government and the State give total support to it since it generates dollar credits. That is done specially in terms of credit lines:  the agro-business receives for their exports, more than 65 billion reais a year from public banks and tax exemption. To export only raw material does not  develop the country and does not distribute wealth to all.

AN ALLIANCE that affects food sovereignty and the control of Brazilian agriculture: There´s an alliance between major land owners and transnational corporations to  control the supply of industrial agricultural products – manures, fertilizers, chemical poisons and machines, control prices and markets for each product. Brazil continues prioritizing the export of raw materials, without added values, selling at low prices and by doing so they are transferring part of our  natural wealth included in the product.

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF THE STRUGGLE: Recently, the State has used its  entire police
machine, the judiciary and the media to defend corporations, the agro-business and private
property and to criminalize social struggles.

We reafirm the struggle as the only solution for social transformation! And we have the right to struggle!

We are mobilizing to defend agro-ecology, bio-diversity, co-op peasant agriculture, the production of healthy food, the Agrarian Reform, welfare rights, free and good health and education for  all. In order to defend land, water, seeds, energy and oil as nature´s goods at the service of human beings.

We break the silence to recuperate peasant culture and knowledge, to recuperate our country, Brazil. And to do so we call the Brazilian people to join the struggle. To join us to build a new development project that will benefit the Brazilian people and not corporations and banks.

We will continue struggling and organizing women, men, the working youth, children in order to defend our rights to live in a fair, egalitarian, and sovereign country.

Hurray for march 8th: The international Day of
Struggle for Working Women!

VIA CAMPESINA BRAZIL and FETRAF – MARCH
2009

More about the actions in portuguese at: http://www.mst.org.br/mst/especiais.php?ed=86

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