Theses defended

Whose is the land? The issue of agrarian reform and the MST in the Lula government

Rangel Silvando da Silva do Nascimento

Public Defence date
December 13, 2019
Doctoral Programme
Labour Relations, Social Inequalities and Trade Unionism
Elísio Estanque e Bernardo Mançano Fernandes
The PhD Thesis, "Whose is the land? The issue of agrarian reform and the MST in the Lula government ", aimed to, from the perspective of the militants of the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem-Terra), analyze the policies of the Lula government (2003-2010) and PT (Partido dos Trabalhadores), faced with the antagonism between agribusiness and agrarian reform. Considering that historically PT is a political party which supports the agrarian reform, including it in the election campaign plans until 2002, the current study is guided by the following questions: How do socio-territorial movements resist the advance of the neoliberalism? How do PT and MST perceive the agrarian question? What did change in the agrarian question during the PT government? How did PT and MST deal with agrarian reform? To answer these questions, in addition to the literature review, participant observation and interviews with MST militants were carried out. This methodology was used due to the importance of the militant experiences and reflections on the reality for the production of knowledge, within the orientation methodology of the ecology of knowledge, according to the epistemologies of the South. Given the strength of the agribusiness in the context of the neoliberal hegemonic globalization, the agrarian question in Brazil and the main movement related to this issue, the MST, a socio-territorial movement, for having the territory as a trump will be highlighted. The peasantry is deterritorialized by agribusiness and vice versa. In the struggle for land, the peasants recreate themselves and become a subversive participant of the order which violently imposes the private property of the land for the production of commodities by the agribusiness allied with the latifundium in Brazil. In the MST militant voices, the Lula government did not carry out the expected agrarian reform, not only because it accommodated itself in the interests of agribusiness and in the politics of class conciliation, which became known as Lulism, but also because the left wing politics conform to not make effective pressure on the PT government, so that it fulfilled its historical commitments with the popular classes. Lulism is a weak reformism and a conservative pact, which adopts compensatory policies without a process of awareness of the beneficiaries and without confronting the order. However, with all the problems, the most general evaluation of most of the MST militants is that there have been advances and during the Lula administration the country was less unequal and more democratic. In addition, even without get the agrarian reform expected in the PT government, the MST continues to support it, since PT is the only political party with effective conditions to face the total domination of the neoliberalism in the State control.

Keywords: Socio-territorial movements; Struggle for land; Agrarian Reform; MST; Agribusiness; PT; Lulism