Taking Matters into Their Own Hands: The MST and the Workers’ Party in Brazil

Taking Matters into Their Own Hands: The MST and the Workers’ Party in Brazil

By Bruce Gilbert

Brazil’s Movement of Landless Rural Workers (Movimento de Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra do Brasil—MST) has long engaged in a subtle form of brinkmanship with the Brazilian state and with the rule of law. The strange combination of audacity and vulnerability that characterizes this strategy is even more delicate in the context of the fourth straight mandate of the MST’s erstwhile political ally, the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores—PT). The great hope born in the MST that a PT administration would wholeheartedly support agrarian reform and thus make the MST strategy of land occupation and civil disobedience mostly unnecessary was to be utterly disappointed. As a result the MST must both challenge and yet tacitly support the PT for fear of the alternatives, all of which are worse. In this article the author concludes that the MST effectively implements a strategy that all at once creates authentically socialist agricultural settlements while simultaneously using the state to forward its goals.

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Climate change and colonialism in the Green Economy

Climate change and colonialism in the Green Economy

BOOK REVIEW

by Sebastian Kratzer

Magdalena Heuwieser’s Green Colonialism in Honduras: Land Grabbing in the name of climate protection and the defence of the commons looks closely into one of the countries most affected by climate change. Through the lens of a decolonial theory developed in Latin America, this German-language book provides a profound and often shocking analysis of how supposedly ‘green’ projects are hijacked by more powerful political and economic interests. But it goes beyond an account of a few failed or mismanaged climate change initiatives to show how the ‘Green Economy’ fails to solve the multiple environmental, financial and food crises Honduras, and the world, face today. It is this political ecology analysis of climate change action and development that may be the most valuable contribution of this book. Heuwieser (re)defines them as part of a struggle over territory, resources and power and provides an alternative mini manifesto for the defence of the commons. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in the region, let alone those planning climate change or development projects there.

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