At a Johannesburg BRICS Think Tank, Scholars Get Drunk on Their Own Rhetoric
A ‘think tank’ is sometimes a group of people paid to think, by the people who control the tanks (as Naomi Klein once remarked). Here in Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s highest-profile intellectual vehicles appears to be a victim of drunken driving by scholars from whom we otherwise expect much stronger political navigation skills.
In the luxurious central business district of Sandton, a large gathering of state-funded intellectuals (staying at the 5-star Intercontinental Hotel) is conferencing in heart-warmingly hedonistic style, replete with national Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa songs and dances.
The May 28-31 BRICS Academic Forum and SA BRICS Think Tank meeting at the Sandton Convention Centre must be South African scholars’ most expensive event of the year, in spite of the theme, “Envisioning Inclusive Development through a Socially Responsive Economy.”
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Occupy, Resist, Produce
Source: Toward Freedom
Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) is one of Latin America’s largest social movements, with roughly 1.5 million members. For decades the MST has operated under their slogan “Occupy, Resist, Produce” to settle landless farmers on unused land in Brazil, where roughly 3% of the population owns over 2/3 of the vast country’s arable land.
The following is a brief overview of the history, tactics and vision of the MST.
In the early hours of the morning on October 29, 1985, 2,500 landless families arrived in trucks, buses, and motorcycles to occupy Fazenda Annoni, a roughly 23,000-acre plot of land in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The families were forced to occupy the land out of desperation. For many of these activists, the alternative was grueling, slavery-like labor on large estates, or crushing poverty in city slums. Darci Bonato, a participant in the occupation, recalled that the families had only what they could carry on their backs with them to start their new lives.
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