Entity from the popular field since 1984, MST seeks to expand

A traditional civil and popular entity, the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), which since 1984 has invested in an expressive struggle for agrarian reform, now intends to increase the number of representatives of the organization in parliaments. The idea is to launch more candidates for both the local Legislative Power and the National Congress.

Eleven months before the 2022 election – when Brazilians must elect new senators, state, district and federal deputies – there are candidacies that are in the phase of political adjustments and consolidation, therefore, the movement still does not know the exact number of candidates for these positions. A number, however, is already on the organization’s horizon: there will be supporters competing in 15 states and the Federal District.

“Our main concern is democracy, and it involves land distribution. The MST is currently having a whole debate. Our main strategy will always be the fight for land and agrarian reform, but for that, we need to act in other spaces”, says Alexandre Conceição, from the national directorate of the entity.

The MST is considered one of the main political opponents of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) among civil society entities that oppose the administration. The conservative advance, which began in the Temer government (2016-2018) and worsened from 2019 onwards, gave impetus to the organization to work on the idea of ​​giving more muscle to its body of representatives in the Legislative Power.

One of the main articulators of the great popular street protests across the country, the movement is especially critical of the government’s economic agenda and is a permanent chorus against the fiscal tightening, high inflation, the privatization agenda, in addition to the stagnation of impeachment requests.

Also born in the 1980s and within the resistance to the military dictatorship, the PT tends to be the main acronym that will accommodate MST candidates next year, but other legends from the opposition camp could also become the destination of the landless, segment where the entity sees a degree of ideological permeability for the agenda it intends to pursue.

Movement usually invests in political training of militants in settlements and encampments to strengthen the struggle in the civil sphere / Matheus Alves

Figures such as governor Flavio Dino, from Maranhão, and federal deputy Marcelo Freixo (RJ), for example, strengthen the MST’s dialogue with the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), the party that now houses the two politicians. Freixo must run for governor by the acronym and helps to sew up the candidacy of landless activist Marina dos Santos, who has been working in the movement since her adolescence. She is also currently in talks with the PT.

Another possible candidate for the MST is the militant Erivan Hilário, who should seek a seat in the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District (CLDF). He has a strong involvement with the entity’s educational training area and should appear at the polls as “Ruth Venceremos”, a drag queen identity to which the activist usually gives life in Brasília, where he also develops a work to fight for the LGBTQIA+ public agenda.

Troop

Currently, the MST has three deputies in the Federal Chamber. Valmir Assunção (PT-BA), João Daniel (PT-SE) and Marcon (PT-RS) make up the so-called “agrarian nucleus” of the PT caucus, which opposes the Agricultural Parliamentary Front (FPA), known as the “ruralist bench” .

The three are originally from grassroots militancy in the countryside and were settled by the agrarian reform before holding positions in Congress. Valmir Assunção emphasizes that the MST representatives find political difficulties to advance the agrarian reform agenda, including among opposition members in the Chamber.

“The agrarian reform format of some, even though they are in opposition, does not understand the need for democratization of access to land, so, of course, it has difficulty. The need to have more deputies is precisely to overcome these difficulties”, says Assunção.

For João Daniel, the federal Legislature lacks more parliamentarians from the MST as it is the arena where the Union’s budget is approved, the main terrain of dispute in the country and defining point of the course of different public policies. He complains about the configuration of forces in the Chamber and Senate, where vacancies are hegemonized by interlocutors from large economic groups.

“That is why it is essential to have deputies from the working class, popular movements and unions. The MST and Via Campesina have strength, they have votes, so it is essential that they debate the role of politics and the importance of having parliamentary mandates to dispute public policies, dispute the budget, debate ideas and build large projects linking parliament and streets.”

Marcon (PT) recalls that the agenda taken by landless activists to the Legislative Power goes beyond agrarian reform, incorporating demands that have a direct or indirect connection with the issue. This is the case with the environmental agenda.

“We need more land reform deputies and deputies in the Chamber and State Legislative Assemblies to defend popular agrarian reform, but also urban reform, rural and urban working people, agroecology and combating the use of poisons .”

Edition: Rodrigo Durão Coelho

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