Three powerful speakers from three continents delivered one message for the delegates to take away from last night’s session, “Struggles from the Global South”– we need to stick together if we are going keep our land!
Fernanda Aparecida Matheus from MST Brazil, the landless workers movement, said that the fight was no longer against old fashioned landowners but against Business. “We need international movements because you can’t get back land if you don’t go up against the multinationals”.
MST Brazil was formed in 1984 as a result of the many peasants without any land. “Brazil started to lose its land to private companies at the end of seventies, so we, the MST, decided to organize and take it back” said Manuela. It is now the largest social movement in Latin America with an estimated 1.5 million members.
In a powerful statement that reflected the themes of the day, Fernanda said;
“You can’t privatize land, you can’t privatize seeds, you can’t privatize water, these should be basic rights for humans!”
Massa Kone from Caravane Ouest Africaine in Mali shared the same ideas in his intervention.
“Our land is being sold from underneath us and the only way we can defeat them is united”
Massa explained their only option was direct action.
“We are trying to stop multinational from actually entering my country by protesting whenever we can. We want multinationals to get the impression that ours is not a safe country to invest in. We would rather have a country that is considered not safe, than give our land away!”
He had a last message for those listening. “We must remember that in our countries, democracy is about majority and we are the majority. And if we don’t point fingers we will be forced into a corner so we have to say we’ve had enough and we have to say that now!”