Who is interested in criminalizing social movements?

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By PEDRO BENEDITO MACIEL NETO*

Watching the “MST CPI”, chaired by Rio Grande do Sul deputy lieutenant-colonel Zucco and reported by deputy Ricardo Salles, is nauseating

“no one frees anyone, no one frees himself alone: ​​men free themselves in communion” (Paulo Freire).

I write in homage to the memory of Margarida Maria Alves, from Paraíba, a trade unionist and human rights defender, murdered forty years ago with a shot from a 12-gauge shotgun in the face, in front of her house, in Alagoa Grande, Paraíba, at the behest of troubled landowners. with Margarida's struggle during the dictatorship.

Its name and history of struggle inspired the Marcha das Margaridas that has been taking place since 2000.

 

The CPI of the MST

Watching the “MST CPI”, chaired by Rio Grande do Sul deputy Lieutenant-Colonel Zucco and reported by São Paulo deputy Ricardo Salles, is nauseating.

Why? Well, that Lieutenant Colonel Zucco, for example, has his mandate tainted by the logic of slave labor, because he received a donation from the farmer Bruno Pires Xavier, convicted of keeping workers in degrading conditions in Mato Grosso; Zucco is also supported by Farsul, which has minimized slave labor in wineries and wants milder punishments for child labor.

And the performance of Ricardo Salles, rapporteur for the CPI, represents the worst in Brazilian politics; he is rude and makes fun of congressmen from the left, especially women, which reveals all machismo, misogyny, racism and homophobia.

Ricardo Salles is so bad that he didn't even serve Bolsonarism; he was exonerated by Bolsonaro, after accusations of alleged involvement in an illegal export scheme of wood from Brazil abroad (perhaps he forgot the logic of the “crack”).

 

Some historical records

With the French Revolution, the first major agrarian reform that has news took place. It contemplated both the bourgeoisie and peasants who acquired small properties confiscated from the nobility and clergy.

In the USA, agrarian reform took place in the 1862th century, XNUMX, favoring small rural properties.

In Mexico, land reform took place from 1910, with the Mexican Revolution, led by Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, large estates were divided and offered to smaller farmers with letters of credit that allowed their purchase.

But in Brazil, agrarian reform is seen by the agrarian elite and its vassals as a “communist thing”, despite the fact that the Land Statute, one of the first laws drafted by the military dictatorship, declares that the State has an obligation to guarantee the right to access to the land for those who live and work there.

In other words, history shows that building a real nation begins with agrarian reform. But Zucco and Salles defend latifundia, they are against the urgent review and redistribution of land in the country, as it would represent greater democratization of access to land and recognition of the social value of land.

Having made this introduction, I move on to a reflection on the theme “criminalization of social movements”.

 

On the criminalization of social movements

The country witnesses the process of criminalization against social movements and human rights activists, with the aim of keeping the review and redistribution of land in the country at a distance. Stopping this criminalization is necessary, but it will be easy, as it occurs at a time of inflection towards the ultra-right and in conjunction with other strategies, all involving co-option and violence, with a view to blocking social struggles for rights.

State structures are conservative and violent in nature; This nature collides with the libertarian nature of social movements, imposing arrests, police inquiries, criminal actions, threats, Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry, accountability, inspection "directed" by inspection and control bodies such as the Federal Court of Accounts-TCU and the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU).

In addition to institutional violence, there is a campaign to demoralize and demonize social movements, prioritizing criminalizing speeches and manipulating information and facts regarding social demonstrations, without guaranteeing them a space for speech.

But what about the federal constitution? Salles and Zucco shrug off the Constitution, they are agents of social inequality in the countryside and in Brazilian society, having as one of their pillars the concentration of land and income, with 46% of the land in the hands of 1% of the owners.

The MST's CPI is committed to misinforming society about what a social movement is and to strengthening the neoliberal development model, which is: socially exclusive, income concentrating and environmentally predatory; a model that has blocked the end of social, political, economic, cultural inequalities.

Salles and Zucco seek to criminalize social movements and, as members of Congress and the CPI, practice institutional violence to the extent that they use their prerogatives and functions to attribute an essentially criminal nature to organized social demonstrations.

They are certainly not unaware that the social movement is essential to the civilizing process and the improvement of the Rule of Law; they also know that the movements are guided by the eradication of poverty, marginalization and social inequalities, which are fundamental objectives of the Democratic State of Law, according to article 3 of the 1988 Constitution; they know that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has already declared that the criminalization of the MST is a violation of human rights, but none of that matters, as they need to satisfy their financiers.

The criminalization of the MST advances in Brazil with the support, for example, of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock – CNA, which finances events organized by associations of the judiciary and the public ministry. That is, it uses its economic power and consequent social prestige to influence the judiciary and the public ministry.

The social movements, among them the MST, make a collective struggle for the benefit of all, because, as Paulo Freire stated, “no one frees anyone, no one frees himself alone: ​​men free themselves in communion".

The Social Movements ensure the necessary improvement of all institutions and their criminalization only interests those who have no commitment to the nation.

*Pedro Benedito Maciel Neto He is a lawyer and holds a master's degree in civil procedure from PUC SP. author of Reflections on the study of law (ed. Komedi).


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