MST Landless Movement

Last night I went to a terrific lecture by Bruce Gilbert from Bishop's University about the MST, the landless movement in Brazil.  I was tired and expecting a boring academic lecture and instead found a terrifically engaging and educational lecture.  Bruce started as a student activist in the 80's as part of the Student Christian Movement and in his search for the meaning of the word social justice, he became a philospher.  Then he got interested in the landless movement and now he is coming back to being an activist.  Nice.

Anyway I loved his approach.  He says that Marxism has similarities to Christianity in that they both posit perfection and anything short of that is seen as flawed.  Christianity posits the perfect god so humans are therefore flawed since we can never achieve that perfection.  Thus original sin.

Marxists posit a certain road to socialism and anything that doesn't follow that road is flawed.  He says, and I agree, that the left had become obsessed with the state and seizing state power as the only path to transformation.  He says that the MST shows a different path.  He calls it liberation through self-actualization and it is through education that people who are most marginal in the society join the MST and learn through collective action how to self-actualize or self-determine and this is transformative.  He says that liberation comes from the education to know how to flourish getting closer and closer to self-determination.  He sees this as a collective process.

He also gave a wonderful description of the history of land reform or not in Brazil and the role the MST has played.  You can find an article he wrote on the MST here