From Teia dos Povos (Translated by A Planeta)
With the respect of our elders,
With the blessing of those older than our elders,
With responsibility for the legacy of the great struggles of the peoples,
To the social movements,
To the militancy of the left,
To the core of the Web,
To the links of the Web,
A war for land
Wherever we look in Brazil, we see a war for land. It is not a conventional and open war. It is a blatant and shameless war that feigns respect for the constitution and violates it every day to persecute and kill us. Brasilia is a simulacrum of power. The de facto power is the land. They know it and that is why they persecute us. We only have our bodies, courage and few territories to live with dignity. They decided that we cannot have our lands, our territories, that everything must belong, sooner or later, to large estates, mining and mega-companies. We only have our bodies, our courage and some tears that have not yet dried, that is what prepares us for the battle!
The judiciary of Bahia and Brazil, the military police and the armed forces only serve to persecute, kill, arrest black women and black men, destroy indigenous peoples, quilombolas (*), landless and all those who fight for dignity. We pay these guys high salaries to serve the white slave-owning elite of that country, behaving like bush captains (1). Now, at this very moment, how many families are being evicted as they fight for a piece of land to survive in this crisis of hunger, misery that is sweeping the country, the pandemic. Madness is the reign of these politicians who are in Congress, who are in palaces, who are in bad company, making laws to destroy the Poor of Brazil and handing over our wealth and our lands to foreigners.
The last day
Rulers, your day will come! When the Poor, the Blacks, the Negroes, the Indigenous and all the Peoples thirsty for justice rise up to demand our rights to land and territory, to the means of production and to all that rightfully belongs to us, your last day will have come! Wait for us, the day will come!
Our suffering and the tears of our ancestors who started this long Indigenous, black and popular struggle will cry out to collect this bill. Get ready for the aroeira vine that will return to the back of the one who ordered it. To the comrades who are being evicted in Porto Seguro (Bahia), threatened in São Francisco de Paula (Rio Grande do Sul), hunted in Chupinguaia (Rondonia) and in all corners of this country, resist, insist, because the land is ours and of our ancestors.
Our indigenous brothers and sisters are in Brasilia, standing up, fighting, in defence of land and territory, in defence of life. This is what they called their camp: Fight for life. Let us stand firm. This land is ours and, unlike the whites, we don’t believe it is ours, because in the end, we belong to it. We swear by all that is most sacred, we will avenge all our ancestors who died on their feet, fighting in defence of the land, the territories. We will avenge all the black men and women, the indigenous peoples who were enslaved, raped and massacred.
Is there anything more important in Brazil at this moment than the struggle of the peoples? After all, were not the indigenous peoples the ones who put most of their bodies and lives into the struggle against fascism? What is the left(s) waiting for to take on the historic task of substantially supporting this struggle? Every inch of land for the peoples is one inch less land for the big landlords. The less power the landowners have, the greater will be our conditions for emancipation. Indigenous lands, quilombolas, riparians, traditional extractivists… these are collective lands, where land ownership does not become a commodity for speculative capital. Every struggle on this side strengthens our path towards overcoming capitalism.
Our Quilombola brothers and sisters, rest assured: if the time frame passes to the indigenous people, their lands will also be at risk. Our elders tell us that when a neighbour’s beard is on fire, ours must be soaked. We ask, then, how to unify these struggles and build a grand alliance? The time has come and whoever does not prepare for war will mourn the victims at home and count the bodies of their children.
There is no favourable situation for the fight.
There is no more room for the growth of capitalism except with robust dispossession and unbridled violence. They are anxious to have some backing for their digital money and they know that land is a fundamental asset, without which there are no other assets. When are we going to learn this lesson that these worms have already learned? Let’s not postpone our uprising, for the cops in disguise will be on the move.
They are anxious to have some backing for their digital money and they know that land is a fundamental asset, without which there are no other assets. When are we going to learn this lesson that these worms have already learned? Let us not postpone our uprising, because the police disguised as militias no longer fear even their direct rulers, they serve and want to serve only fascism. Every decision from above against our territories will be met with cruel refinements by dogs thirsty for violence against us, the people from below. Shall we not defend ourselves? Shall we not repel violence with proportional violence?
Our peoples made Palmares, the bastions of Contestado, Canudos, Calderão de Santa Cruz do Deserto, Balaiada, Cabanagem… our peoples are rebels and are not waiting for a good time to fight. Zumbi, Antônio Conselheiro, Manuel Balaio could not wait for the change of governors. This is very serious, my friends. If we want the last day of struggle to come, today we have to sharpen the sickles, hoist the flags and make a good field that will give us sustenance for the battle. The word of the moment is self-defence! The last day will not come if we do not show immediately that it is possible, that we already knew and still know how to do it. And for that, make no doubt about it, the alliance of the peoples is fundamental. No party, organisation or people can unify so many heterogeneous peoples with its way of acting. So let’s have a heterogeneous alliance, from below, to the left and for land and territory.
This is not a letter, it is an invitation to resistance, an invitation to prepare for war!
To the Black, Indigenous and Popular alliance!
Tell the people to go forward!
We will go forward!
Note: We will meet at the end of January 2022 at the Agroecology Day in Recôncavo da Bahia, until then we will organise for the confrontations. If you are as attentive as we are, let’s talk, because our struggle needs a lot of people, it is a mass struggle and we are building it little by little.
1 The capitanes de monte («capitães do mato», in Portuguese) were free labourers who provided services to large landowners, especially the capture of runaway slaves. Often, capitães de monte were freed slaves who had earned the trust of their masters.
(*) descendants of African slaves