Second roundtable conversation discusses the political and economic situation and its impact on the Brazilian population

Internal team training forms part of the cycle of debates known as “TREADING THE TIGHTROPE: challenges and possibilities for the fight for rights in Brazil,” which aims to stimulate reflections about CESE’s 2021 operations, discuss challenges with the executive team and provide input to planning.

The initiative benefited from contributions from partner, Ruben Siqueira, National Coordinator of the Pastoral Land Commission (Comissão Pastoral da Terra: CPT) and Maureen Santos Coordinator of the National Advisory Centre of the Federation of Bodies for Social and Educational Work (Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional: FASE).

The discussion about the troubled political and economic situation in Brazil provided an opportunity for participants to present features that align the social movements’ demands with CESE’s benchmark policies, through a debate about challenges Remover imagem destacadaand contexts involving diverse groups and territories.

In this mosaic of dialogue and exchange, Maureen Santos addressed the following points: stagnation of the economy and the social consequences; the labour market and Uberization; the deterioration in the population’s living conditions; mass digitization; agribusiness, mining and the predatory model of development; the commodification of nature and common goods; the militarization of the environmental debate; and the growing violence in the countryside and the city.  Long-term and well-known existing problems that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

In order to understand a little about how the logic of financial-industrial-agricultural capital operates and its necropolitics, Ruben provide a historical overview of the relationship between bilateral bodies, transnational corporations and financial capital to control the global economy, associated with agribusiness, agro-energy and Brazilian mining.  He also described the consequences of the exportation of commodities, land grabbing and the predatory exploitation of natural resources: “The land is a major economic asset.  Brazil has one of the greatest concentrations of lands in the world.  This is a historical concentration and plays a decisive role in the upsurge of violence, the massacres and conflicts in the countryside.”  He added: “All of this happens with public funds and tax incentives.”

As well as presenting the main challenges of the current context, Maureen Santos drew attention to proposals for the “green economy” and its derivations.  In contrast with what is stated, this pathway does not meet socio-economic needs and makes traditional peoples and populations even more vulnerable: “This narrative is part of a package of destruction and follows the logic of profit over life.  We need to be attentive to offers of partnership and false solutions to the environmental crisis,” she warned.

Finally, as representatives of partner organizations, they shared pathways to help shape CESE’s activities, through good practices adopted by the social movements to confront developmentalism and the commodification of life: “We need to strengthen local perspectives.  Populations in the countryside pushed forward in the pandemic, with concrete solutions and actions in the face of State inefficiency,” said Maureen.  Ruben added: “These people produce real food.  Conscious, poison-free production, with a different concept of life, the world and the future,” he asserted in reference to settlers, indigenous people, quilombolas and traditional populations.