Brazil: Peasant Land Seizure Commemorates 25 Years of Heroic Resistance

By Felipe Vera

On August 16, dozens of peasant families in Brazil, led by the revolutionary organization League of Poor Peasants (LCP), carried out a land seizure at the Nossa Senhora farm, a remnant of the old Santa Elina farm. The weight of this seizure not only represents the force and path of the peasantry in countries like Brazil when guided by revolutionary leadership, but also follows the 25 year anniversary of the heroic Battle of Corumbiara, which took place on the same land.

A spark is igniting across Brazil, and all serious revolutionaries must pay close attention to it. They must educate and politicize the people in their home countries about the significant and ongoing class struggle being waged by the peasantry, workers, and the people generally, who are all fighting for New Democracy.

The people of Brazil, like many other oppressed nations across the world, are oppressed by US imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and semi-feudalism. The revolutionary peasants however, are demonstrating with rebellion that the old state is actually quite fragile and decaying, that its teeth are not so sharp, and that their demands will only be achieved by force outside of the rotten old state, all of which the pessimists, especially those in imperialist centers, reject and cannot fathom.

This rebellion is a reality in the case of Nossa Senhora, which is located in the municipality of Chupinguaia in the state of Rondônia. Although one family owned the estate (through the falsification of documents), which consists of 6,000 hectares of land, it is the peasants themselves who produce and work the lands. The revolutionary peasants have bravely and decisively stood up to the large landowners, knowing full well what this entails—repression on one hand, but the destruction of the old and seeding of the new on the other.

Already as of August 19, reports have surfaced of the Brazilian Military Police having attacked peasants and threatening that they would be “forcibly expelled.” The peasants have not cowered in fear however, they have actually forced out police vehicles.

The blood of the heroes of the 1995 Battle of Corumbiara has provided numerous lessons and prepared the revolutionary peasants in this regard, demonstrating how far the old Brazilian state is willing to go and how they must be organized to combat these impending assaults. Armed with only rudimentary hunting weapons and some shotguns, over 600 families occupying Santa Elina resisted the police attacks during the battle. Masked gunmen were eventually recruited by the police to repress the peasants, which led to a standoff. After running out of ammunition, the peasants surrendered, only to be met with the formation of a concentration camp where over 400 were tortured, leaders as well as of a seven-year-old girl were executed, and many others were forcibly disappeared.

Historical photo of the peasant camp on the old Santa Elina farm on the eve of the Battle of Corumbiara

Yet the heroism of the Corumbiara Resistance continues to this day with the land seizure which took place this past week in Nossa Senhora, 25 years later. From the creation of the LCP to the 2010 land seizures where hundreds of families conquered back most of the land of the former Santa Elina, constructing roads, bridges, schools, and health facilities, the revolutionary peasants are clearing a path free from electoral cretinism and affirming with their actions that it is always right to rebel.

In 2010, CODEVISE and LCP organized the resumption of land seizures at the old Santa Elina farm

We encourage our readers to carry out actions and cultural events in solidarity with the peasant masses of Brazil, and especially those of Nossa Senhora. As the people of Brazil raise banners commemorating the 25 years of heroic resistance and images of those murdered in the struggle, we must hold high the banner of internationalism and extend our deepest class solidarity with the people of Brazil with concrete actions, with the ultimate goal of waging revolution in our home country.

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