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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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Cultural categories by media type: The media specificity of landless cultural expression.

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Lyrics: ZĂ© Pinto
(Translated by Bernard McGuirk)


So no one cries anymore

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The capitalist, we know,
says there's no need
for Agrarian Reform
Yet his project brings misery
Millions of landless
on the road are thrown
in fear of going to the city
to face favelas (1)
famine and no job
The way out of this plight
is to join hands
with our comrades.

And so no one
cries any more
no one from anyone
takes bread
the ground where once the oxen trod (2)
is beans and rice,
fodder will no longer suffice.

Brother join the Movement (3)
Invite the sister
and the children too
For the land belongs only
to those whose hands
show callous of the hoe
If we're against the latifundium
Of Mother Nature
we are allies
And long live victory on the land
With so few

Occupying land we go
knocking down the fences (4)
conquering the ground
Let the landowner weep
For the child of whoever harvests bread
To smile
And the fight for Agrarian Reform
we'd even halt
if the agrarian bourgeoisie
had got the guts
to teach its kids to feed on fodder

1 Editor's note: Favelas: urban areas where people of low income, or none at all, build their improvised houses or huts, especially on the sides of hills. These agglomerations are generally lacking in minimum comfort, hygiene, privacy, and safety, with extremely precarious accesses. The favelas are increasingly associated with urban violence.

2 Editor's note: The ground where the ox trod: it is common for landowners to put a few head of cattle on farms so that they will not be classified as unproductive and so run the risk of disappropriation.

3 Editor's note: Movement: i.e. Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra - MST (Movement of the Landless Rural Workers).

4 Editor's note: "Fence" relates to the Landless's symbology of barbed wire

This song is from the CD Art in movement

 to CD

Lyrics: Edited by Else R P Vieira


November 2002

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Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.

Latifundium (plural latifundia)
'Landed estate, or large rural property, has two definitions: landed-estate by size, which is a rural estate with an area greater than six-hundred times the average size of family property; landed-estate by use is a rural estate with an area lesser than six-hundred times the average size of family property whose lands are uncultivated' (Fernandes, Bernardo Mançano. Pequeno Vocabulário da Luta pela Terra. Unpublished). 

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Landless Voices hosted by the
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Project Director & Academic Editor: Else R P Vieira
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Web Site created: January 2003
Last updated: November 18th 2014