Brazil: The Agrarian Reality and the Central Role of the Peasant Struggle

The struggle for land and the brutal suppression of the peasant population: the ongoing account of the reality of the agrarian question in Brazil

The huge monopolisation of the land ownership by the ”Latifundio” (the big landowners) in Brazil continues to rise and it is the basis of the history of the ongoing economic and social crisis in the country and, it is at the same time, the basis of current intensification conflicts. Only 2% of landowners (around 23,000) with properties above 1000 hectares hold almost 50% of all land titles in the country (210.5 million hectares)! While 90% of those (4.95 million peasant families), small holders (with properties of up to one hundred hectares) hold only 20% of them (84.1 million hectares)! The medium landowners (with properties of a hundred thousand hectares) that are 8% (440.000) hold the remaining 125.9 million hectares. Besides this there are about 5 million landless peasant families.(*)
This structure of land ownership, that maintains and reproduces the archaic semi-feudal system, is the basis on which imperialism has developed bureaucratic capitalism – that is backward capitalism through which monopoly capital, i.e. imperialism, has imposed in dominated countries. Capitalism, of the bureaucratic type, was developed in Brazil when capitalism had passed to its monopoly stage, i.e. the imperialist phase – in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
It was propelled forwards mainly by British imperialism in alliance with the big landowners (the rural landowning oligarchies) and large local merchants and importers. The nascent bourgeoisie was weak and having stagnated because capital was already in the imperialist phase, could not advance forward the bourgeois revolution in Brazil. It is also true that the nascent proletariat was unable to lead and advance the national-democratic revolution to its end, leaving it in an incomplete state. This was caused by the weaknesses of the Communist Party, which did not understand its role. A role that under the circumstances at the time demanded that a bourgeois revolution could only be carried out under its leadership. A revolutionary leadership that was based on the worker-peasant alliance and a united front with the small and medium bourgeoisie, conducted through revolutionary armed struggle in order that, on the one hand, it must remove the domination of landowners, destroy the old relations of land ownership, give the land to those who work on it and free the productive forces of the field. On the other hand, it must wipe the imperialist domination and confiscate all the bureaucratic capital (state and non-state), centralizing everything in the hands of the new popular state to promote a new self-reliant economy geared to serve the welfare of the people, advancing new democracy and promote a new culture.
Without these tasks being fulfilled, the fundamental and root causes of the contradictions remain intact, semi-feudal relations continue to remain with some evolution in its forms, consequently determine that Brazil would continue to remain a backward country. Under such conditions all that is called development and industrialization has only deepened the denationalization of the economy and its subjugation to mainly American imperialism. Continue reading

Hong Kong’s Leader: “Poor People Would Ruin Elections”

[The ongoing protests in Hong Kong continue in waves of intensity, as the protest struggles for greater organized strength and programmatic unity, and as supporters of the Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y.Leung (a wealthy capitalist closely supported by the restored-capitalist/imperialist Beijing regime) continue to denounce the protests as a US/British plot.  How it will develop, what changes it may bring, is yet to be seen.  But in the meantime, C.Y. Leung who opposes the protester's demand for more inclusive electoral reform, has let an underlying and unspoken issue come to the surface:  the question of class, of bourgeois rule, and the role of the poor.  While elections cannot solve the problem of capitalist ownership of the state, classes and class struggle cannot be hidden from any major political dispute between state powers and the resistance of the masses.. --  Frontlines ed.]

As protests continue in the crowded city of Hong Kong, thousands of immigrants and low-income families live in tiny subdivided units, unable to afford sky-high rents. Meanwhile, leader Leung Chun-ying lives a lavish lifestyle in an upscale community.

Leung-cy

Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, as police march past

Leung proved today that he is not a “man of the people”. Instead, he came off as an elitist out of touch with the realities of living in Hong Kong.

He said that open elections shouldn’t happen because “many poor” might end up dominating politics.

Leung gave the interview to the Financial Times, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal and reiterated his position that free elections were impossible:

“If it’s entirely a numbers game—numeric representation—then obviously you’d be talking to half the people in Hong Kong [that] earn less than US$1,800 a month. You would end up with that kind of politics and policies.”

Leung made millions in real estate and has the nickname “emperor of the working class.” Already he has been hung in effigy, depicted as Dracula, and openly told to go to hell during the protests in Hong Kong. Continue reading

The Political Economy of Ebola

[Arrogant claims that "there is no alternative" to capitalism explode when held up to stubborn facts like the spread of Ebola in Africa--a disease whose most damning feature is that the racist profit system requires that an entire continent be kept in a state of permanent vulnerabilty, because the resources which could solve the scourge of this disease are tightly held for profitable pursuits and issues closer to the hearts of the privleged.  The people deserve, and, in time, will create a system based on our common interests and needs, (which will put the profit-oriented inhumanity of today in museums for generations of bewildered people to study.)  --  Frontlines ed.]
Ebola is a problem that will not be solved, because it isn’t profitable to do so.

Joseph Ferdinand Keppler / Library of Congress

The Onion (a satirical newspaper in the US — ed.), as ever, is on point with its “coverage” of the worst recorded outbreak of Ebola, and the first in West Africa, infecting some 1,779 people and killing at least 961. “Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away,” read the cheeky headline of the July 31 news brief.

Our shorthand explanation is that if the people infected with Ebola were white, the problem would be solved. But the market’s role in both drug companies’ refusal to invest in research and the conditions on the ground created by neoliberal policies that exacerbate and even encourage outbreaks goes unmentioned.

Racism is certainly a factor. Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist and the head of the Wellcome Trust, one of the largest medical research charities in the world, told the Toronto Star: “Imagine if you take a region of Canada, America, Europe, and you had 450 people dying of a viral hemorrhagic fever. It would just be unacceptable — and it’s unacceptable in West Africa.”

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October 22: Nationwide Protests Against The Police State

Every single day carries a new story (or stories) about egregious assaults by police against the citizens who have entrusted (and paid) them to serve and protect. Even the Bureau of Justice Statistics had to conclude recently that police brutality is grossly unchecked across the nation by the political system. Such unchecked power is even more frightening when we see police becoming as militarized as any Third World dictatorship . And of course, to back up this lawlessness is a ready-and-waiting prison-industrial complex that leads the world in caging its own citizens.

Shooting pets, tasering kids, no-knock SWAT raids, raping, pillaging … you name it – and it will only get worse until people have the courage to take action in huge numbers and put a stop to this madness that has been tolerated for way too long.

The October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation has been mobilizing every year since 1996 for a National Day of Protest on October 22, bringing together those under the gun and those not under the gun as a powerful voice to expose the epidemic of police brutality. Please view their videos below and find a location to participate.

The Coalition also works on the Stolen Lives Project , which documents cases of killings by law enforcement nationwide – the second edition of their book documents only the tip of the iceberg with 2,000 confirmed cases. According to the Coalition, 2014 has been particularly bad with 800 documented cases.

Click HERE to enlarge


The full statement from the Coalition is as follows:

The Call for the 19th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

On the eve of the 19th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, a defiant new spirit is in the air. In Ferguson, Missouri, people continue to rise up in outrage against the killing of Mike Brown , an unarmed 18-year-old Black youth who was just days away from starting college. Despite the rapid and ruthless militarization of the town by racist police and the National Guard, people defied curfews, tear gas, rubber bullets, and calls for a return to business-as-usual—and oppression-as-usual—by protesting and rebelling for ten consecutive , sweltering nights in August. Thousands from around the country gathered in Ferguson this past weekend to stand in solidarity with the brave people of Ferguson. These are the moments where the decades of racist abuse, criminalization, and police terror at the hands of this system came crashing against fearless resistance from the very people it seeks to control, inspiring justice-seeking people not just nationwide, but around the world. The National Day of Protest was founded to oppose exactly these kinds of abuses. This year, in big cities and small towns, in the face of police brutality, repression, mass incarceration and the criminalization of youth we say, Let the spirit of Ferguson ignite hearts nationwide with an uncompromising passion for justice!

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Dysturbing: “Putting Photojournalism Where It Will Be Stumbled Upon”

Photographers mounted a picture of protesters in Hong Kong in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while it was still dark Friday morning. Credit Philip Montgomery for The New York Times

 Walking along West 43rd Street in Manhattan on Friday morning, Serena Torres, 45, did a double-take at a jarring, life-size image of a raging man in white robes wielding a machete as he chased a fleeing mob.

“What is this?” said Ms. Torres, an accountant from Ridgewood, Queens, as she stared at the billboard-sized poster and its caption, which described the man as a Muslim shop owner in the Central African Republic chasing looters. Continue reading

The Gary Webb Story: Still Killing the Messenger

 

[The greater the exposure of government crimes against the people, the greater the suppression of those who bring the stories to light.  The people will never forget the courageous work of journalists like Gary Webb. -- Frontlines ed.]
by Joseph A. Palermo, huffingtonpost.com, 10/20/2014
Few things are better at getting the word out about a past injustice than a Hollywood movie and Kill the Messenger starring Jeremy Renner and directed by Michael Cuesta does so with depth and drama. For the first time the true story about the courageous investigative journalist, Gary Webb, is being told in movie theaters across the country where people can draw their own conclusions unhindered by the noise and static of establishment naysayers in the corporate media.

 

This powerful film uses an “entertainment” format to assess the compelling evidence that people tied to the Nicaraguan Contras, who President Ronald Reagan called “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers,” were involved in bringing cocaine back to the United States at the dawn of the crack epidemic.

Writing for the San Jose Mercury-News, Gary Webb had traveled repeatedly to Central America and uncovered what appeared to be the story of the decade: people associated with a U.S.-backed mercenary army had become international drug traffickers. If “agents” or “assets” of the Central Intelligence Agency’s war against Nicaragua were implicated, even indirectly, in importing one gram of cocaine to America’s cities that should have set off alarm bells in the journalistic community and possibly won a Pulitzer Prize for Webb.

Instead, the mainstream press went after Webb in a coordinated smear campaign that ignored the potential abuses he had uncovered and effectively allied itself with the Contras. “Journalists” and editors from the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times, essentially toed the line of right-wing rags like the Washington Times by citing unnamed sources from the CIA and national security establishment to burnish the image of the Contras and their taskmasters.
Despite a mountain of evidence from witness accounts, law enforcement and court records, a Senate subcommittee inquiry, Oliver North’s notebooks, congressional testimony, and even the CIA’s own internal review that backs up Webb’s original reporting, these mainstream hacks found that the best way to defend the CIA was to sully their colleague Webb.

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