Since the overthrow of President Dilma Rouseff last August, Brazil's social movements have come under increasing attack from the new rightwing government of Michel Temer. In one particularly egregious case, police and military forces invaded the education center of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), the Movement of Landless Workers on November 4.

In response, on November 21, UALE issued the following resolution:

"UALE Resolution in Support of the MST, Landless Workers’ Movement

The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) condemns the invasion of the MST’s education center, Florestan Fernandes, by the Brazilian police and military forces on the morning of November 4, 2016. This school provides educational opportunities to rural organizers from throughout the hemisphere and beyond.

The largest social movement in Brazil today, the MST has enabled thousands of poor rural workers, including indigenous and African Descendant, to gain land for cooperative farming. It has a network of schools around Brazil and hosts students from countries all over the world. Their education integrates political economy with history, culture and agricultural knowledge, developing communities in solidarity and in struggle.

There is no question that MST’s Schools were viewed as dangerous and subversive by the Temer government. In its effort to stamp out any resistance to the new regime, the government has launched violent attacks such as this one, against other social movements as well, especially indigenous and Afro-Brazilian communities.

The raid began at 9:25 am, Sao Paulo time, with police and military firing weapons into the air and climbing over gates and fences. According to reports, the government had issued criminal complaints against MST organizers, educators and members, as part of a broad assault on social movements throughout the country.

As an Association of labor educators, we stand in solidarity with Florestan Fernandes and the MST, and call on all progressive forces to help publicize this and other attacks on social movements, and to contact immediately the Brazilian Embassy in DC, the US State Department and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to look into these human rights violations and pressure the Temer government to halt its repressive and violent actions."

More about the increasing repression in Brazil can be seen in this article by UALE member Ruth Needleman, posted in our Discussion Forum.

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