On Wednesday September 27, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (also known as CPI) that investigated the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST) came to a close and confirmed the total flop of the pro-Bolsonaro far-right in the Chamber of Deputies, particularly the participation of the federal deputy Ricardo Salles (Liberal Party), the commission’s rapporteur. Salles was the minister of the environment in the Bolsonaro government. For many analysts, Salles seems to have used the CPI as an extension of his work in the ministry. Throughout the 130 days of the CPI, the commission presented data from when Salles was a minister and insisted on criminalizing the MST.
In late July, I visited two settlements of the Landless Rural Workers (MST) on the outskirts of São Paulo (Brazil). Both settlements are named for brave women, the Brazilian lawmaker Marielle Franco – who was assassinated in 2018 – and Irmã Alberta – an Italian Catholic nun who died in 2018. The lands where the MST has built the Marielle Vive camp and the Irmã Alberta Land Commune were slated for a gated community with a golf course, and a garbage dump, respectively. Based on the social obligations for land use in the Brazilian Constitution of 1988, the MST mobilised landless workers to occupy these areas, build their own homes, schoolhouses and community kitchens, and grow organic food.