Peasant Women’s Movement celebrates 40 years of

Peasant Women’s Movement celebrates 40 years of

The rain that fell in the south of the country did not prevent around 1,500 women from different states from heading to the city of Chapecó, western region of Santa Catarina, to celebrate 40 years of the Peasant Women’s Movement (MMC), on Saturday ( 18). The celebration took place in the rural area, in the community of Faxinal dos Rosas, and brought together women of different ethnicities, creeds, races, ages, who began arriving in the city during the week, many of them traveling hours. With the motto “MMC 40 years we exist because we fight”, the event was attended by women from various popular and trade union movements.

:: “Women’s unity is fundamental to advance the feminist fight for equality” ::

“To change society the way we want, participating without fear of being a woman” was the chorus sung several times during the celebration. There were mystics, artistic interventions, talks about social movements and the historical recovery of the MMC, which emerged at the end of the military regime, a time when several popular movements were emerging that fought for the re-democratization of the country.

“It is with great joy that we are here to celebrate life, celebrate the existence of this movement” / Photo: Juliana Adriano / MST

Nova Itaberaba, today Chapecó, located 557 km from the capital Florianópolis marks the beginning of the movement in Santa Catarina. At the same time, in all regions of the country, many women were also in the same movement of creating autonomous spaces. The first meeting was attended by 28 women. In the following years, it expanded to other municipalities, and is now present in 16 Brazilian states.

“We, rural workers, built our own organization. Motivated by the banner of recognition and appreciation of rural workers, we launch struggles such as: the liberation of women, unionization, documentation, social security rights (maternity pay, retirement), political participation, among others”, highlights the movement.

Thousands of participants attended the celebration of MMC’s 40th anniversary / Photo: Juliana Adriano / MST

At the time of its emergence, the MMC had the support of movements of the Catholic Church linked to Liberation Theology, such as pastorals and Ecclesiastical Base Communities (CEBs), very present in the west of Santa Catarina, led by Bishop Dom José Gomes.

“When we look at the history of the movement, I could not help but be present here remembering the strength, the support at the beginning of the founding of this movement by our late Dom José Gomes. Look at the past with gratitude, celebrate the present with joy and look at the future with hope”, said Dom Odelir José Magri, present at the event.

The act remembered the companions who left.

Celebration of struggle and life

“It is with great joy that we are here to celebrate life, to celebrate the existence of this movement that 40 years ago dared to leave home, organize and fight”, highlighted Noeli Welter Taborda, from the national directorate of the MMC at the opening of the event, together with the leader Sirley Ferreira dos Santos, from Sergipe.

“We are the diversity of the Brazilian countryside. Here we came and here we are to reaffirm our history. Rekindle our memory and publicly say that the struggle is worth life and that life is worth all the struggle, in a world in conflict, on a planet in devastation and a humanity that chooses war”, highlighted Sirley.

As the leaders highlighted, the movement’s path bears the marks of the steps of a collective construction carried out in a joint effort and through the efforts of each peasant woman who arrived. “At first we seemed small, but like seeds we were born and multiplied in every corner of our Brazil”, pointed out Noeli.

Women from various regions attended the event / Photo: Juliana Adriano / MST

The MMC, highlighted Sirley, came in the midst of a dynamic of social struggles in which peasant women did not hesitate to be present and involved, demarcating their identity. “We are not absent, we never shy away, we firmly, forcefully and courageously position ourselves and never accept exclusion, oppression and discrimination as inevitable. Freedom is permeated by a project of the highest dignity to heal the limit in our hope.”

At the event, peasant women who left were remembered / Photo: Juliana Adriano / MST

Learning moment

The indigenous Kaingang and president of Cepin/SC, Sandra de Paula Santos, 40 years old and three months pregnant, highlighted that the meeting that marks the four decades of the movement was a learning experience. “As we listened to each speech, we began to design how to take this into our movement and strengthen it,” she said.

For her, the same prejudice and racism that peasant women suffer also affects indigenous women. “Both by the look, seen as people not well dressed, the color often, of the place where we come from. The service centers when you arrive, the way you are looked at, I believe it is the same prejudices, the same racism that peasant women suffer, we indigenous women suffer too. The collective makes the difference in the fight”, she stressed.

Sandra de Paula Santos / Photo: Fabiana Reinholz

Josefina Silva Boscher, 70 years old, from the Coletivo das Mulheres Negras de Santa Catarina, when speaking about the importance of the MMC, highlighted the representation that the movement brings. “The movement has all ethnicities. All types of people from the countryside, from the city, from the waters. The peasant women teach a great lesson.”

The event featured an agroecological products fair / Photo: Juliana Adriano / MST

“We from the West of SC, who are left-wing, welcome us strongly. Sometimes we black women, full of a history, are more withdrawn, but we are learning together with all women, of all races, to love, value ourselves and fight for what we do. And peasant women do this”, stated the activist who came from the city of Joaçaba. “Look woman, through the trajectory of these 40 years of struggle, each one searching for what is within themselves, we will all, whether included or excluded, fight to occupy our space”, said Josefina.

Josefina / Photo: Fabiana Reinholz

Teenagers who came from Mato Grosso do Sul, Vânia Marisol and Ana Clara Rodrigues dos Santos, attended a women’s movement meeting for the first time and were happy with the experience. “It’s the first experience I had with MMC. I came because of a lady who has been in the movement for 40 years. It was the first movement of many that I fell in love with, it was a place where I felt very welcomed. It was an incredible experience. I want to join the movement. It’s incredible to see this new generation with so much knowledge”, said student Vânia, 15 years old.

Ana Clara (left) and Vânia (right) / Photo: Fabiana Reinholz

“I came from MS together with an acquaintance, a teacher of mine. At first I didn’t know the purpose and when I arrived here I was able to learn more about the subject and everything. I grew up in a family that never went that way. How people judge I’ve never been able to understand much, but coming here I was able to understand how it works properly. And I managed to realize that it is very different from the way everyone thinks. If you interact with the right, you end up thinking in a completely different way, because they explain it to you in a certain way. And then you come here, there’s social interaction, you see that it’s not a three-headed monster, which is totally different from what they told you”, explained Ana Clara, 15 years old.

During the mystique the importance of rural production was highlighted / Photo: Marta Bringmann / Union of Municipalities of Cachoeirinha

Beginning of everything

At the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s, in various places in the interior of the country, women farmers, artisanal fishermen, coconut breakers, extractivists, tenants, sharecroppers, riverside dwellers, shellfish gatherers, squatters, cold-fryers, day laborers, partners, without – land, campers, settlers, faxinalenses, rural workers, aggregates, indigenous people, quilombolas, women from the countryside, forests and waters and other traditional communities came together with the proposal to organize autonomous women’s movements. It was a context of technological modernization of and in agriculture with the arrival of poison packages and the so-called “green revolution”, which brought major disruptions to the social system (perverse and adverse effects) for women and peasant families, affecting life in different dimensions in the field.

“The 40 years of MMC’s existence have a very important meaning for us, peasant women. There were many achievements: social rights such as retirement, maternity pay, sickness benefit, SUS, among others, which have done so much good for rural women and families, as well as for society as a whole”, highlighted Noeli.

The event featured artistic presentations / Photo: Marta Bringmann / Union of Municipalities of Cachoeirinha

From Rio Grande do Sul, MMC activist Adriana Mezzadri, 42 years old, resident of the city of Charrua, northwest region of the state, highlighted that the movement only reached 40 years of history, struggle and resistance “thanks to many peasant women who in Most of them are not here with us today, but they dared to start in the 70s, in the fight for the democratization of the country, to start getting together, to debate the need and the right to be a woman, to not be afraid of being a woman”. According to her, this process of struggle and resistance was building the movement, which “came from indigenous, black and popular resistance from the countryside and the city, from water and forests, building and conquering various rights”.

In addition to the mystics and artistic presentations, the event featured a fair of agroecological, indigenous products, from Movimento Sem Terra, MMC and others.

The event featured a demonstration of support for Palestine / Photo: Juliana

Source: BdF Rio Grande do Sul

Editing: Marcelo Ferreira


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