On November 16, the communities that make up the Citizenship Forums and Networks in the State of Maranhão released a report highlighting the importance of community farms to advance the occupation of land taken by the latifundium and to consolidate land ownership for peasants. In addition, according to the peasants, they also serve to demonstrate, in practice, who the food produced on the land should serve and what the relationship is between the community farms organized by these communities and political power.
In the country, the food security of millions of Brazilians is compromised due to the worsening hunger caused by the latifundium, which controls the prices of basic food for subsistence. In contrast, in recent years, the communities that make up the Forums and Networks have been able to secure their families’ food needs: “In addition to producing grains and tubers, the communities of Baixada Maranhense have increased the number of small animals, mainly pigs that were no longer slaughtered by the land grabbers who had fenced off fields. The improvement in the quantity and quality of food consumed by peasant families is remarkable”.
Part of the products from the community farms are still sold in other communities, creating a solidarity economy which does not depend on the latifundium. With this, according to the workers, the peasant organization is strengthened: “The method is really simple, everything starts from the very organization that exists in the community. Everything is thought out, planned and carried out in collective initiatives. In the end, everyone works and everyone benefits from production. When carrying out the tasks, several peasants travel kilometers from their home communities to participate in the collective initiatives in various places, staying for days living together, talking, debating and working. It is always very pleasant to accomplish the tasks”.
The peasants stress the importance of these practices for understanding the need to fight for a new society: “From these moments on, the peasants realize that alone and isolated they will never be able to overcome their common enemy, the latifundium! Thus, they begin to have a joint vision, they draw up their plans for struggles and exercise political power in building the new society.”
In the account given by the Forum and Networks, the beneficial consequences of these activities are revealed: “As the peasants, quilombolas, and indigenous people get to know their own history and that of their people, the restraints created by the State, which always denies the elementary right to land, are being destroyed. They are realizing that it is not a piece of paper made in a notary’s office or a court order given in favor of the latifundium with the stroke of a pen that will define whose land it is. They already say loud and clear: the land belongs to those who live on it”.