Rio Grande do Sul government

Stop closing schools for the landless and official attacks in Brazil against World Social Forum:

Authorities in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil governed by politicians that have received support from the Finnish-Swedish transnational company Stora Enso are now closing schools for landless. The sudden decision to close all the schools that have been started in MST encampments has come after a growing conflict between Stora Enso and MST, a movement that defends biological diversity against the monoculture plantations promoted by the transnational cellulose corporation.

A representative of the same authorities that are now closing the schools have simultaneously attacked the World Social Forum (WSF) that started in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, and for many years have been held there. The WSF is widely respected in Brazil and globally as a strong inspiration for global democracy, including showing how the South can democratise the world.

The MST in Rio Grande do Sul was a pioneer twelve years ago in implementing a Brazilian law that supported schools in the countryside, and has become a model for the rest of the country. UNICEF Brazil have awarded the educational work which has developed due to MST as a model for education among children in vulnerable socio-economic conditions.

MST is not only struggling for implementing agrarian reform and education in the countryside but is also engaged in work of importance to the survival of the planet. The 1.5 million participants in the movement are aiming at ecological agriculture. This work of theirs is a direct threat to transnational companies who wish to make profit from gene-manipulated plants and monoculture plantations for the cellulose and agrofuel industries. One of the main opponents of MST is Stora Enso who has given financial support in the election to those political forces that are now trying to stop the landless movement.

We oppose this politics in the interest of Northern transnational corporations and the accusation that the WSF is an illegitimate, undemocratic force.

We, the undersigned,

1. Strongly protest the closure of schools for the landless and the attack on World Social Forum alliances by politicians and authorities in Rio Grande do Sul, the birth place of both the landless movement MST’s schools and the World Social Forum (WSF), which are bringing hope to rural education and to the democratisation of the world.

2. Demand that the schools in MST encampments and settlements on the countryside be enabled to continue with public funds and support.

3. Demand that the authorities in Rio Grande del Sul withdraw the description made by its superior public ministry council member Thums of the World Social Forum as a gathering place for “terrorists and marginals”. Thums is also among the responsible for the closing of the schools and attempts to make MST illegal. To use a public office for making such an offence against WSF is not in the interests of the state of Rio Grande do Sul or the integrity of any public service.

4. Protest against the interference by transnational corporations such as Stora Enso in domestic politics, since this gives those who are rich means to undemocratically influence politics.

We also support the MST’s statement as follows :

Ever since the start of the struggle for the land, the care for good education for children and teenagers in MST/RS has been very important for the movement. There has been a lot of fight to make the right for a formal education in the acampments reality. Because of that we express our total support to the schools of the acampments of MST, which are under attack of the government of Rio Grande do Sul and sectors of the Ministério Público, which in the beginning of 2009 declared them closed.

MST is a social and legitimate movement and therefore has the right to an education of quality.that takes in consideration the conditions of the struggle and education at the countryside, where the childern and teenagers live together with their families and their community

We demand the the schools of the acampments of MST shall have the rights to continue

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The Stop closing schools for the landless and support MST and WSF petition to Rio Grande do Sul government was written by Tord Bjork and is in the category Education at GoPetition.