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Indybay Feature
The Ruralistas – The cancer, that controls and devours Brazil
by arDaga Speaks-many-languages Widor
Wednesday Jan 12th, 2011 5:25 AM
From a South-American Persepctive:
A bastion that has been led into offensive. That is what the Ruralistas are. Motto: Attack is the best defence. Ruralistas may be a relatively new word creation. To describe, also self-describe, this cartel of death. But they are certainly not a new phenomenon.
The cancer came over the Atlantic ocean

The Ruralista ethics are rooted first in the immediate beginning of the Roman pontifical and Lusitania-monarchist Joint Venture Brazil and then also in the extensive historical middle of this country's development.
Firstly, therefore, in the Bandeirantes era. The Bandeirantes (or Mamelucos) were the culturally uprooted and homeless hordes of sons of early Portuguese warlords with their not seldom hundreds of Indigenous wives, who were “produced” and acculturated and intentionally “trained” to turn them into merciless, yes raging, since ashamed of their „low“ maternal aboriginal matrix, Índio hunters set on resisting or simply still free Original people. Further and further into the hinterland. Penetrating, cleansing, opening up. (This first Brazilian man-hunting pattern of expansion and land occupation carried out by the stronger-in-violence stands also for the end of the Jesuits' urban utopia field laboratories filled with mainly Guarani people in the Brazilian Deep South and – today's – neighbouring Paraguay and Argentina.)
Secondly, in a settled slave-holder economy and society, with even for then-contemporary Europeans frequently not imaginable land concentration in the fists of a very few, that was built upon a bi-polar social vision – caught/gained waste people (beast and sex slaves) on the one side, and (wealth) hunting/owning/multiplying people wasters on the other. (For details and better theoretical understanding of half a millennium of Brazil see the two anthropo-sociological master works “O Povo Brasileiro”, Darcy Ribeiro, and “Casa-Grande & Senzala”, Gilberto Freyre.)
At such extreme conditions of property and rule, turned additionally complex through the mass imports of African waste people of various and distinct cultures that had become “necessary” after the fast wasting of around 80% of the Aboriginal people, assaulting and destroying of everything and everybody not (totally) consented, is an imperative of the logic of power-over and preservation of rule.

And there we are already in the here and now. With today's governors of this continual system and its inherent world vision. The Ruralistas of the 21st century have declared a total war to essentially keep the achieved status quo. Surly not so much driven any more by the ethnophobic-racist component like their Bandeirante predecessors, but above everything because this Brazil-permanent archaic model of the Bandeirante slave economy stands for fabulous and fabulously fast profits even more so after its “genetic enrichment” with neoliberal globalization. One of the omnipotent new Ruralista warlords, and omni-lethal to the Land and Original people and landless farmers, the ex-governor and neo-senator (for the state of Mato Grosso) “Soya King” Blairo Maggi, for example, managed to carry home a known profit of half a billion US$ in just one year (2003).

Too many Berlusconis don't spoil the business

The Bancada Ruralista is the Ruralistas' spearhead within the legislature (and the executive, too). They are running many main action lines:
• Land reform, democratization of land possession, shall remain impossible. Organizations and individuals who strive for land reform (or merely engage for obedience to the respective laws in expropriation cases) shall be branded as “terrorists” (and quietened). By any means necessary. (See Chico Mendes, Dorothy Stang, the Eldorado dos Carajás Massacre soon completing 15 years with all the culprits free – as almost always when the victims are waste people, and hundreds of other in this manner solved problems.) Ms. Vandana Shiva's visions and global efforts for a truly sustainable and socially just economy, for example, or Via Campesina's Declaration of Cancún (1) from December 09th, 2010, in which radical change of paradigm, away from neoliberal motored interaction between man and Mother Earth is demanded, is for Ruralistas as acceptable as the organized resistance in the Ghetto of Warsaw then was for the Nazis. But even timid proposals for democratization at agricultural global-regional decision-making levels like those suggested in the Executive Summary of the Synthesis Report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) (2) that was signed in April 2008 in Johannesburg by all (participating) governments (only Australia, Canada and the USA did not fully approve the Report, the 58 others did) are still like a red rag to them. So are the thoughts of heretical maverick economists like Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, René Passet (...). They all represent something inconceivable: change. Something that has to be fought against.
• (Over-) Due debts agribusiness firms, agriculture companies and big landowners and cattle breeders owe the public shall be extended and reduced if not plainly remitted. Nevertheless, privileged access to fresh loans shall be more and more facilitated.
• Green light, supportive measures and expansion for all genetically manipulated food stuff and seeds.
• Experts and/or politicians considered friendly towards environmentalists, Native American peoples and/or landless farmers shall be prevented from all government departments while as many Ruralistas as possible shall be pressured into them. The Ministries of Agriculture and Energy and Resources, as well as the top positions of the agricultural spheres of the nationalised banks are (understood as) non-negotiable feudal rights (sinecures) of the Ruralistas, if the respective government wishes to keep at least the appearance of independence and ability to act. The other “option” would be to encounter boycott by the Bancada Ruralista of all governmental initiatives. No matter who or which parties actually are nominally in power.
• Trade and application of currently legalized products of agricultural chemistry shall be guaranteed. Any restrictions prevented. Other products shall become legalized. Among these highly toxic and damaging ones long prohibited in Europe, Northern America or China (Acefato, Carbofurano, Cihexatina, Endossulfan, a.o.). To achieve those aims authorities are pressured, compromised, undermined.
• Every try by the Executive to combat (or only investigate) slave labour spread over fazendas and agribusiness enterprises of the entire country, is met with fierce and successful resistance.
• Any statement, any initiative, any draft bill in favour of environmental protection and/or ecologically sustainable agriculture is disparaged, condemned and blocked. In contrast to land owners who have illegally cleared. They receive strong backing also through bills to push through amnesty. It is certainly no coincidence that the Bancada Ruralista is nicknamed “Power saw-Lobby” and/or “Exterminators of the Future”. (The creators of the latter brilliant term, by the way, from the NGO SOS Mata Atlântica are facing trial because of defamation of character. That stands for another popular tactical Ruralista tool. With unlimited capital at hand they can go all the way in the endlessly slow Brazilian judicial jungle. Common people or NGOs surly can't.)

And these are just a few, the core lines, where the Bancada Ruralista either successfully defends or attacks.
How is such oligarchical rule of a very small interest group – in the context of 190 million Brazilians – possible in an electoral democracy?

Money makes the Ruralista world go round

One of our many paper laws is the punishable illegality of vote-buying. Yet (for the empirical cognoscente) culturally unsurprising, candidates continue to win elections through massive vote-buying. That money is always at hand, also for legal propaganda and expenses, the Ruralista Alliance cares for. Thus candidates are bought (in case they hadn't offered themselves already beforehand) who then buy the people's votes. Former president Lula and his successor Dilma's Workers Party (PT), via a populist master move, does it openly and all across the country. Through monthly pay check assistance. It's true that these checks – if they get into the right hands, which often is not the case – have been easing economic hardship and misery of many poor. But they do not mean any (follow up) step towards real emancipation. Yet, they certainly do guarantee the PT (candidates) up to 90% of the votes in the most poverty stricken areas (mainly the feudal North-eastern States like Bahia and Ceará). Numbers as if we were dealing with results from vanished curiosities like Enver Hodscha's Albania, Honecker's GDR or Breshnev's Soviet Union.
Once elected, the representatives now indebted to the Ruralistas and protected by this mighty lodge, are dependable bloc voters on all matters of their masters. Since not all Bancada Ruralista deputies declare themselves as such, their exact number is never known. But even if elections result in a diminished number of their faction, the losses are quickly made good through new entries (purchases) from among the freshers. All these expenses are nothing more than necessary personnel investment peanuts considering the billions of profit from the continental destruction business.
Forest, no matter of which ecosystem, Cerrado, (Atlantic, Amazon) Rainforest, Caatinga, Manguezal, Pantaneira (…), its traditional inhabitants, whether Indigenous or not, fauna and water and soil are all lying fallow and thus squandered riches. In the Ruralista comprehension of things life and its biological basis and components only exist as commercial potentials and values. They are not understood as separate self-values outside capitalism. In the “good old” Bandeirantes way these have thus to become opened up and tapped to serve sacrosanct progress. Assault troops made up of miserable workers (lumpenproletariat), de-facto slaves and gunmen, do the vanguard job of the coarse for the Ruralistas. Land/forest gets cleared of any human resistance. Then it's the big turn of the mobile illegal sawmill industry. (The author calls it “big” because they also act, on a less visible “smaller” scale, in still populated areas, like, for example, Indigenous Territories. Also in “protected” Biological Reserves.)
The adjective illegal has many practical translations and contradictory meanings in Brazil, quite often far away from the definitions of (paper) laws. Because waste people's rights guaranteed by law do not exist in reality (the very existence of waste people is proof to that!), just as duties and prohibitions in reality do not exist for people wasters. This is so stark that the author of this article customarily calls the Constitution the most important and splendid work of Brazilian satirical fiction. And at the Supreme Court (another theatrical novel) some of the most eminent Ruralista figures are standing guard, like big land owner and former law student in Germany Gilmar Mendes, to make absolutely sure that everything continues to go “the right way”. And that too means, among other convenient things, that owners of the mobile sawmill industries do not have to worry about possible judicial consequences. The illegal workers on the spot perhaps. In case that one of the few raids is being played for the grand media consumers in far away cities. Middle class staff and top of the people and nature waster industries have nothing to fear.
If the concerned land/forest is not already owned by a Ruralista, also this legal problem gets solved smoothly the Brazilian way. In a fine-tuned interaction of traditional and epidemic active and passive corruption between the Ruralista economy, (judicial and other) authorities and governmental forces. Sometimes, in the case of rare awkward and/or unruly exceptions who resist to “follow the rules”, the smooth way may be substituted by mob like pressure and violence. While the paper questions are being solved, the one or the other way, the land/forest suffers radical transformation through bulldozers and caterpillars and fire. Pasture and cattle come next. Pesticides and genetically modified material follow in the Ruralista business line..., and in no time agribusiness with its mechanical monocultures of soya, cotton, sugar cane, eucalyptus, citrus fruit and others, are extending from horizon to horizon where forest, legally protected or not, and relatively free people collecting forest products in a sustainable way, or Native Peoples Territory, had been (and, sometimes, continue to be on paper, especially in the case of invaded Indigenous Territories). Like, just to name two examples, the South of the states of Piauí and Maranhão, today part of the Bünge reign, or the South of the state of Bahia, today part of the Veracel realm.
This scheme is covered all over the country by the Bancada. And their strength frustrates any legal attempt to provoke change of this over 500 year old status quo of robbery, murder and destruction for profit. Or “order and progress”, as the national flag says.

Reverse gear full speed - Cutting down on protection of Nature and People

As we have already mentioned above it is one of the core functions of the Bancada Ruralista, to block any land reform. Brazil together with its neighbour Paraguay share the world champion title of landholding concentration. And the objective is that it stays like that. (Many of the big landowners in Paraguay are Brazilians.) When in 2005 the then chairman of the parliamentary commission for the land issue, representative João Alfredo from the Party of Socialism and Liberty (PSOL), split off from the Workers Party (PT) little time into Lula's first presidential period and his and his party's almost immediate forgetfulness concerning the former PT trade marks (as long as they had been opposition), that is land reform and the fight against corruption, presented his final report in which land reform was recommended in order to solve the notorious and rampant situation of violence in the country and which, furthermore, demanded obedience of the Constitution and democratization of the access to land, the Ruralistas within the commission quickly managed to thwart the report and put it into the archives of not adopted resolutions.
Yet, such freezing of the status quo doesn't do it any more for the Ruralistas. They have rather started to fight legal restrictions that anyway only exist on (law) paper.
A clear and concrete example of the new tactic is the Forest Codex. A good law, that makes environmental protection, alongside of agriculture, possible. Would make it possible, if the Codex would be obeyed. But the Bancada Ruralista works with zest to thwart that law or to “modify” it, as they put it. Incidentally, the most diligent servants towards this aim are comrades of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB). This theoretically (paper) Maoist Stalinist party and coalition partner of Lula and the new government under president Dilma, is political home to Congress man Aldo Rebelo, also Lula's man of confidence in the House of Representatives. And Rebelo is in overall charge of the attempt to throw back environmental protection into ecological stone age of the Industrial Revolution on (law) paper too. For his tenacious and precious wood chopper services comrade Rebelo, although a big-wig communist, gets juicy donations from the paper industry and is praised publicly for his bom senso (common sense) and efforts for the right thing by Ms. Kátia Abreu, the far right iron lady and leader of the Bancada Ruralista. (We will still talk about her in this article.) It's for the PCdoB cadre maybe also, apart from the Ruralista money, a question of harmony with Big Brother China's “neo-maoist” realpolitik maxim: Growth by any means and at all costs – And human and environmental rights are thus disruptive subversive factors. Cancer behaviourism.

The state-run ignorance of the victims is helpful

The direct victims, Native peoples and small self-sufficient farmer communities (often Quilombolas = descendants of former runaway slaves), also sustainable users like local fishermen and gatherers of the forests' natural products, are driven out, murdered or (re-) swallowed by the Ruralista machine in the form of miserably paid waste workers or plain slaves. Successful resistance is rare. That has on one side to do with the financial superiority of the Ruralista machine. A very decisive trump in a through and through corrupt system and state. But on the other hand that has also to do with the chronic disastrous situation in terms of information and education of Brazil's waste people. We are talking about an administered status quo of profound ignorance, that too is protected by the very same Bancada Ruralista from within the law-foiling bodies (House of Representatives and Senate). School non-education and non-thought-stimulation are systematic, endemic and deeply rooted in Brazilian history. (3) It is neither coincidence nor bad luck that Brazilian school lesson quality is always at the very bottom in all inquiries of diverse (UN-) organizations. While Brazil is among the first ten economic powers of the world, it shares one of the most ineffective public education systems ranking together with Zimbabwe. What is said here is evidently not valid for the urban private elite schools. Where the daughters and sons of the middle class of the people wasters are cared for. The children of the top are educated out of the country. (A pattern that also applies to public “health” “services”. Nobody with money dares to search for treatment in a public hospital.)
And Brazil isn't only “top” in terms of dreadful public “education” and “health” systems, but also in terms of media concentration. TV Bandeirantes – nomen est omen – for example is the unofficial media extension of the Ruralistas. And TV Globo is a media corporation giant grown during the years of dictatorship that would be bankrupt and dead today if it wasn't for the massive governmental aid by Lula. The government money certainly doesn't come from government officials but the public. And in the Brazilian case that means heavily from the very waste people. For the country does not have a sophisticated redistributing progressive (income) tax system like (most of) the European countries. The Brazilian state finances itself preferably through very high taxes in consumer goods and services. Which in turn means that the very poor pay the proportionally highest taxes! They can't boycott rice, nor electric energy. So it is not necessarily an exaggeration to say that the media giant Globo gets survival aid through the hunger of many people. But of course they get some fine money from private economy too. Last not least from the Ruralista sector. It's a power symbiosis. Eight out of every ten Brazilians get their informations from within the Globo empire! Rupert Murdoch can only dream of such figures. It is thus not a big surprise, that Globo is not really a giant that spreads critical analysis or questioning, but rather systematic stupefaction and distortion (and/or concealing) of facts. Up to lying like mad. Above everything when the subject are Original peoples who dare to protest, engage in resistance or even in retomadas (“take-backs” of land in Native Territories through Native men, women and children that had been illegally occupied and turned into fazendas by big farmers backed by private gunmen and all too often also police). Quite some Ruralistas are also elected representatives and own media (something actually forbidden by law, yet...). Like, for example, Senator Magalhães who is the (real) owner and commander of TV Bahia (the Globo network player in the state of Bahia) and one of the notorious big land-occupiers also within the (paper) Reservation of the Pataxó-Hã-Hã-Hãe People in the South of Bahia.
How smooth must be the language of the whites, when they can make right look like wrong, and wrong like right. (Black Hawk)

Spanners in the works have to get off – Trump card xenophobia

Since the Indigenous peoples are persecuted by the Ruralistas, let down (sacrificed) and/or robbed by the state (authorities), left in the dark by state run “schools” and the mass media and/or manipulated into wrong understanding of real conditions, often forasteiro (“from outside”, “not from here”) volunteers stand in to aid.
The Vorarlberg (Austria) born Bishop Erwin Kräutler is such an example. In December 2010 he was awarded the “Alternative Peace Nobel Prize” of the Right Livelihood Foundation (what happened unmentioned in our big media!). Yet in his action area in the trigger-happy Amazonian state of Pará he is considered a mortal enemy and a condemned man. Since he had chosen to struggle for the right of the people who dare to live in the way of Ruralista and political and corporate and (Native) children waster groups' order and progress. Not enough, Austria's trade delegate in Brazil's economic capital São Paulo has treated the bishop, one of the few survivors of the once in South America powerful liberation theology current, with open hostility too. After all the soon to be constructed dam and water power plant of Belo Monte, the third biggest of the world after its completion and one of Lula's and his successor Dilma's dear hobby-horses, a megalomaniac and lethal Pharaoh project that will cause human catastrophes like the construction of the Panama channel in the words of the bishop, means fat profits for Austrian (German and other) companies (Andritz, Voith, Siemens...) too. And what are a couple of thousand (Indigenous) lives and a few thousand square miles of intact rain forest compared to such globalized order and progress?
Apart from the (in central Europe quite) prominent figure of Erwin Kräutler there are many more people who work hard as front-line redistributors of knowledge and information at a grass-roots level with and for the waste people. They are (thus) hands-on supporters of the fight against exploitation and plundering and destruction. Since they are not known to the (wider) public, much less present in the media, they have to work without any police or other protection and are often running high risks.
These, seen as spanners in the nice works of the Ruralista controlled state, are nowadays mantra-like targeted, condemned and threatened by the Bancada Ruralista Schutzstaffel in Parliament and the(ir) media. No day goes by without warning of foreigners, foreign NGOs, foreign conservationists (criminals) in the Senate and, thus, the TV, foreigners who want to obstruct Brazil's development and the Brazilians' well-being (to come). Foreigners who want to pinch huge chunks of our Brazil, who work to undermine our sovereignty, who want to condemn our people to misery and hunger. And so on. And in the internet even wilder dossiers of foreign plots are circulating. Written by fictitious eye-witnesses with equally invented academic titles to increase their trustworthiness. On concealed invasion. On huge areas (mainly in the Northern Region), where people don't speak Brazilian Portuguese any more (but English instead). Where Brazilian citizens can't move freely any more... Baron Münchhausen finally went online. On the Ruralista payroll, of course.
Fanning the flames of xenophobia is one of the most beloved cards played by the Ruralistas these days in the poker for all-pervading destruction power. Certainly it is not a new phenomenon, nor a new instrument in this country. Already towards the end of 19th century the Nativistas stirred up hatred against the Portuguese, and also the Spaniards, Italians and Syrians (then a collective term for all immigrants from the Middle East). The fertile ground for such agitation was the intensified competition for the few urban jobs available. Nationalistic minded murder was frequent. With the beginning of 20th century foreigners became the synonym for disturbers of the order and from 1907 on repressive measures against foreigners became laws via the Senate. Among these the deportation of anarchist foreigners. In the early 1940s Olga Braun, German communist and partner of the former guerilla genius and now (pro-Moscow) communist leader Luís Carlos Prestes, was arrested and handed over to the Nazis by president Getúlio Vargas and his police chief Filinto Müller although pregnant and therefore by breaching the (paper) law. She died in an concentration camp.
Another quality of foreigners, certainly, became pretty popular. In the 1930s, for example, masses were marching in the streets of Porto Alegre in a sea of swastika flags and Adolf photos. The Brazilian NSDAP should quickly become the strongest and biggest of the whole world, except for the mother party in Germany itself. Nazi slave farms were functioning in rural São Paulo. With Blacks instead of Jews. Plus, last not least, Dr. Mengele has spent the bucolic and undisturbed autumn of his life right here in Brazil. But that is dragging us already into another field of discussion. Lets turn back to the Ruralista main line.

Robbers shouting “stop the thief!”

Through attacking and lying via the media “conscience” and “opinion” are shaped in a concerted power play. This multiple defamation trick with the myth of the stab in the back perpetrated by foreigners, foreign NGOs and (seduced because silly) Natives of First Nations, has the beneficial side effect of covering up the Ruralistas' own notorious criminality (if the media would pay attention to it at all). In order to give a “good” example, let's go straight to the top of the iceberg. To the leader of the Bancada Ruralista, senator and above mentioned eulogist of useful realpolitik communists, Kátia Abreu, from the Democrats (DEM), one of the three most important party harbours of the Ruralistas, besides PMDB (government party) and PSDB (opposition party). Ms. Abreu furthermore is president of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Cattle Breeding (CNA) where most of the presentable hard core Ruralistas are romping about. The not so presentable, militant and gun-crazy extension is reunited in the Ruralista Defence Union (UDR). In Ms. Abreu's state of Tocantins she is investigated for violating the Forest Codex (that her communist pal Aldo is about to crack), for violating the Rights of Indigenous peoples and for breaking the Constitution.
In addition she owns two unproductive fazendas (~2,500 hectares). A fact that according to (paper) law must lead (should have led) to expropriation and division among landless farmers. She is also part of an illustrious gang (ex-governor, ex-minister, former high-ranking military, ex-boss of Embraer, a.s.o.), that has managed to usurp (with then-governors help) 105,000 hectares of land from 80 farmer families in Campos Lindos county (state of Tocantins). Ms. Abreu and her brother gained 2,400 hectares at a price of eight R$ per hectare by pulling this job. The real value is about three hundred times higher. The robbed families were driven off their land, have lost everything they had and are in misery up to this day. Just one dared to take the long and winding judicial way versus dona Kátia: Juarez Vieira Reis, who, together with his spouse, ten children and 23 grandchildren, was chased off. They found a place to stay in a hut owned by one of Juarez' sons at the edge of Campos Lindos. Shortly after they were accommodated the hut burned down. According to the police report there is no doubt: arson. The fire started from above (the roof) and from the outside.
It doesn't take Wikileaks for everybody who wants to know that internal documents of the CNA indicate illegal election campaign financing. 650,000 R$ went from the Confederation's coffers to Ms. Abreu's advertising agency. And since Ms. Abreu, regarding her understanding of politics and her (missing) scruples seems a Berlusconi clone – laws are made or unmade depending on what Ruralista needs at the moment – one could continue this list (also those of other grand Ruralistas) of transgressions and crimes. All this, in any case, is too insignificant for our standards to have such noble figures convicted. And is normal enough, to be ignored by the mass media.
So was the nice surprise on December 08th, 2010, when Ms. Abreu arrived at the airport of Cancún, Mexico. A representative of the Indigenous peoples of the Amazon rainforest acting for an alliance of NGOs and social grass-roots movements presented her with a Golden Power Saw made of cardboard and coloured paper, a prize for her tireless efforts in favour of forest destruction. Not one big Brazilian media reported it. Still, the CNA president reacted somewhat angrily. After all she went to Cancún with a delegation of Ruralista colleagues to do counter propaganda business. The aim was to explain and convince the delegates of the climate conference that what Brazil needs is not a reduction in tree cutting but an increase. Ms. Abreu doubtlessly is a specialist for such charlatan educational work and mercenary science. Earlier the same year she invited to a big Ruralista public relation event, where some carefully chosen and paid “specialists” denied, that there is global warming at all, while others expressed their thought that if there is global warming, one should rather focus on its positive effects. Like, for example, that less people would die from cold.
Such and more wisdom alike we now hear every day the senators and representatives go to work and walk up to the rostrum (which doesn't happen all too often, although they earn eight per cent more than their US and almost double of their British counterparts and six times more than their Argentine neighbours, to put it in a comparable geo-political context – paid, of course, via the hungry and miserable Brazilians who can't buy food at the end of the month due to the heavy taxes included in the food they already bought earlier in the month). It is indeed a very similar pattern to Putin's Russia (and other “emerging economies” under autocrat rule). Constant questioning with the help of mercenary pseudo scientists what no de facto scientist, neither in Russia nor in Brazil doubts any more: the ongoing global warming with mankind as a decisive factor. Plus spreading the myth of a concerted plot of the rich Industrial Nations (bloody foreigners!) to keep (the respective) us in line and poor. In order to make Brazilians finally understand, that they are under brainwash attack from foreign malicious NGOs and that there isn't one good reason for any “tree-hysteria”.

Playing for time till the final whistle is blown

In the internet age of course, to which meanwhile also the favela residents and Indigenous communities are achieving or already have achieved access, such hermetic omnipotence to spread lies like the Ruralistas enjoy in our Potemkin democracy, is bound for gradual passing. If they don't manage to cut blossoming media pluralism (efforts that are well under way, non-commercial critical community radio stations are, often violently, shut down, robbed and destroyed by governmental authorities and indymedia is constantly targeted and, as a result, suddenly inaccessible, also with a little help by judges and prosecutors, with both these action lines flagrantly unconstitutional, yet the law is doing time on paper), or undermine them and channel or castrate them (from the inside). Certainly the Ruralistas know that (too). Thus it is about time. About gaining as much time as possible, about controlling as many governments, parliamentary terms, supreme (and/or low) courts, authorities, etc. as possible with the aim of incorporating everything into idol “progress” what's still around and irrationally idle. Except for a few Nature Park and Indigenous Zoo fig leaves (which, of course, could and should be used in a useful profit making way too). It's about playing for time in order to be able to transform even the last common lands and goods and relatively free people into profit of a small self-interested group. And, considering the continental size of Brazil, that's still a lot. By any means necessary and come what may. No matter if that stands for further genocide in the “good” old Bandeirante tradition, extensive desertification, loss or contamination of soil and world's largest easily accessible sweet water reserves. The only thing that counts is the “rationality” of More Über Alles.
That is what the Ruralistas and their Bancada are and what they want. And everybody who doesn't follow their narrow line, or just articulates a “but?” suffers inevitably their attack.
Those are the transsecular same old new rulers of Brazil. Completely independent from the respective label the state has adopted (colony, monarchy, dictatorship, democracy). For the meticulous the author refers to an incomplete list (a complete one is not possible here since the Bancada is made up of roughly 200 wo/men) of some Bancada members plus their main financiers: http://www.oreconcavo.com.br/2010/09/30/o-dossie-da-bancada-ruralista-o-que-estes-parlamentares-fazem/

New governments, fresh destruction zest

In the meantime Brazil's big media monoculture continues to spread happily and unshakeably the shouting and cheering: More record-breaking harvest of soya, more exports for the KZ-like poultry industry, more oil discovered off-shore, more vehicles sold, more areas for cultivating crops for ethanol, more X-mas turnover than last year... Not just on a daily basis. But all day long. In all possible and (supposedly) impossible TV programs. “Big Brother” in Brazilian reality doesn't only mean an awful TV voyeuristic spectacle. It is a clattering one-voice conscience tattooing machine too. This instead of the exact opposite: critical analysis and proposals and stimulation for less. Less soya, less animals for slaughter, less wasting of humans, less destruction of nature, less cars, less energy consumption and needs...
And the new president by the grace of Lula, Ms. Dilma Rouseff, in accordance with such tradition filled up her “new” team of ministers with the very same old Ruralista cadres, like – just to name one example – the 75 year old senator Edison Lobão, hardcore evergreen from the state of Maranhão where a town is named after him. This gentlemen, actually journalist and lawyer, is a nostalgic admirer of generalíssimo Ernesto Geisel, who in turn is to be found in history books as one of the chiefs of recent dictatorship and bankrotteur of the national treasury. Apart from such heroism, senator Edison also loves him because of a common favourite plaything: Nuclear Energy. An “inevitability” he calls it. For Brazil is also one of the uranium richest countries of the world. “Apocalyptic alarm rowdies” are opponents of atomic energy to him. Well, somehow this makes Ruralista sense: with 75 you don't really have to think about (nuclear waste) consequences any more. If you're unscrupulous enough. Thus he shouted from the hilltops that he plans to have 50 nuclear plants running before 2050, when former president Lula had made him energy and resources minister. That was a big laugh even in the economic press and quite some respected physician just shook his head. The best engineers of the present, the German, have decided to abandon nuclear energy (although the actual neoliberal government there doesn't seem to follow that clear people's choice), and we want to take it up flat out. Although we even lack on common engineers to throw up all the buildings needed for the coming festivals of money squandering and diverting (to Liechtenstein and the Caymans) also known as Olympic Games and Football World Cup. Hilarious Atomic Edison is also well remembered for his promise that Brazil would never suffer a blackout any more. And shortly after, almost the whole gigantic country sat in the dark. Yet, apart from his clownesque talents he is a very powerful Ruralista and thus energy minister in Dilma's team again. And this is where the funny part ends. Because our first woman-president (and former energy and resources minister herself) is just as enthusiastic about nuclear energy and any megalomaniac construction and agribusiness in Pharaoh dimensions (dams, highways, deep sea oil drilling...). Minister Edison Lobão is also (de facto) owner of a TV channel, TV Difusora, thus direct opinion shaper in his Maranhão strong and stranglehold Imperatriz. Furthermore he is part of the inner circle of the former president and current president of the senate José Sarney (PMDB), the very godfather of the vast Brazilian North, and a close ally of both, Lula and Dilma. Now, enumerating all things that the “grand old master” of the Sarney Clan controls and does doesn't fit in articles but books (4). And should guarantee him a special place in the dock of The Hague's International Court. It is not difficult to hear Northerners or fellow men from the state of Maranhão (the state which politically still is part of the Northeast but is generally seen as the “transition state” from he Northeast to the North) say: “Here it only rains, Sarney willing.” The Godfather, thus, also controls the electricity giants Eletrobrás and Eletronorte. And that again helps to understand why his man Lobão has also fought hard – apart from the traditional Ruralista agenda – for an additional three mega water-power plants in the Amazon area: Jiraú, Baixo Iguaçu and Belo Monte. Gigantic destruction projects solely to prolong a deadly and doomed economic system with its intrinsic gargantuan corruption schemes, because there is still Nature left that has to be transformed into (illegal) profit. The illegal profit is the Siamese twin of the “legal” one. Since big construction in Brazil always and without exception stand for “magically multiplying” costs (paid by the waste people) and similar vast sums “magically disappearing”.

All this while the one and only surviving high ranking adversary of the power saw, concrete and more-crazy monoculture of this kind of “progress”, culture minister Juca Ferreira, was not taken over by the new president Dilma Rouseff. No space left for one friend of minorities and multitude, able to listen. Also at the (Indigenous) grass-roots level.

An internationalist cancer

Our cancer's greed, lust and destructive zeal are felt for some time on the other side of (imaginary) boarders too. Native peoples and landless farmers, anyway often identical, are also the preferred human victims “abroad”. In the north of the dry Paraguayan Chaco a few aboriginal bands still manage(d) to continue as nomads and hunter-gatherers and evade contact with devouring globalized mono-civilization. The only ones in America, out of the Amazon rainforest. Among them families of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode people, who live inside an area recognized in 2005 by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve. Yet, the land, far from all paper declarations, was taken by Brazilian Ruralistas. Namely the “firm” Yaguarete Porá, a consortium of Brazilian cattle breeders and traders. Their bulldozers destroy the traditional land of the Native peoples. Something only recognizable from satellite pictures. Since security teams of the “firm” deny even federal government officials access. The Paraguayan lawyer of the “firm”, Eduardo Livieres, already told the public that his clients A) don't destroy anything and B) much less in Reserves and/or Reservations. Paraguayan judiciary differs from its Brazilian counterpart through language. But surly nothing substantial. That means that if there some time in the far future will be a judgement at all, the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode might not exist any more. Or if, they'll probably be found in the condition of slave-workers of the proper “firm”, or in one of the Mennonite enterprises in Filadelfia, a bit further down in the south. Just like so many other ethnics already seized by dominant civilization. And the world biosphere may well have given way to “unforeseen circumstances”.
In Bolivia, the supposedly plurinational (referring to the Indigenous peoples' diversity in the country) administered neighbour, realpolitik dances too to the music the Brazilian Ruralistas play. The way from Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, the two states where most of Brazilian soya and plants for “bio-diesel” are grown and also the stage of ongoing uninterrupted genocide (not “only”) of the Guarani-Kaiowá people since our agri-economic miracle, celebrated from the Brazilian government to the Financial Times, needs very much land, to the Pacific harbours of Northern Chile is shorter than the one to Brazil's own Atlantic coast. And the Pacific sea route to the extremely hungry markets of the Far East is again much shorter=cheaper than the detour route via the Atlantic. In order to take the shortest, directest way through Bolivia one would have to cross the Parque Nacional y Territorio Indígena Isiboro-Secure. Just like the before-mentioned Paraguayan example, thus, a double (paper-) protected territory, where three ethnics, the Moxeño, the Yuracaré and the Chiman dwell. Useless papers, because Evo Morales has recently sanctioned the construction of a road cutting it into two. What a highway stands for Nature and Indigenous Life in Latin-American reality is simply the beginning of the end. For both. It's an empirical imperative.
In both mentioned cases which are “just” two examples of how the Brazilian Ruralist cancer acts internationally (too) and which have achieved international attention in 2010 (through Survival International in the first case, and Rettet den Regenwald in the latter) all these things happening were not possible if there weren't accomplices within the local authorities and also collaboration of corrupted Indigenous leaders. None might get as rich as certain perfectly acculturated and corrupted Indigenous figures in Canada (like, one example, the posse of chief Shirley Clarke from the Mi'k-maq People in Nova Scotia) and other countries, but surely Ruralista money (Bandeirante methods too, if necessary) favour rapid agreements with some Indigenous leaders. That is true for Bolivia, Canada, Brazil, Papua, Congo... And neither the basis of Aboriginal people nor of landless or subsistence farmers have a say in the system, not in the official (paper-constitutional) one, nor in the parallel.

Conclusion

Year for year and step by step the dominant culture of mankind is moving Gaia closer to the abyss of an ecological collapse. Great parts of the world, among them Brazil, are threatened in a few decades by unseen and catastrophic draughts, drying out soil and water shortage according to the latest studies of the renowned US climate research institute NCAR. But our jolly Brazil fêtes every additional step towards the abyss as progress. And that is true for (almost) all political parties, even the eco-capitalists and narcissi of the Green Party (PV). Their latest crowd puller, former environment minister Marina Silva from the circle of comrades of the late Chico Mendes, who had just managed to obtain a sensational fifth of the presidential votes in 2010, never pauses to repeat the en vogue illusion and fairytale of the compatibility of economic growth and global sustainability (5). Again during her farewell speech from the Senate on December 16th, 2010.
And the profiteers of the intensified mass disappearance of species and (cultural and physical) mass murder manage to confuse people in order to keep the destruction machine going unquestioned. Senator Mozarildo, a doctor-turned-politrickster from the Amazon devastation state of Roraima, is one of the most diligent rice-field-monoculture-instead-of-forests-with-self-sufficient-people advocates and also a tirelessly front-line manipulator of the Bancada Ruralista who teaches the nation over and over again, that in reality it isn't human activity that causes global warming – if there is such a change at all. Quoting unnamed “scientists” as his sources. Probably those from the above-mentioned Ruralista event at São Paulo.
The objective is, we mentioned it earlier, to gain time. And consequently Brazil is (again) discussing if mankind is the motor of global warming, or not. Instead of doing something against it. Plus against the ongoing ethnocides and genocides. It's a bizarre scenario. As if our village had caught fire, with people and infra-structure in flames, and we sit there and discuss cheerfully on main square, whose responsibility the fire is.
Thus the author recalls a great sentence made famous around the world by environmental activists in the early 1980s which many then mistook for a “Prophecy of the Cree” but in reality is a very freely adapted part of a speech delivered by Chef Seattle in 1854. Some (possibly original) excerpts of Seattle's speech, including the “model sentence” are:

And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone.

Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander away beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.

Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

And the environmentalists' slogan, spread through popular stickers, went:

Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

Whereas genuine and timeless Indigenous statements related to our Ruralista issue are:
One doesn't sell land people walk on. (His-horse-is-Spirited aka Crazy Horse)
When we Indians kill animals, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. The white people pay no attention. How can the Spirit of the Earth like the white man? Everywhere the white man has touched it, it is sore. (Wintu Woman)
How beautiful it is to feel, that in other countries we have brothers who support us, who act in solidarity with us, who make us understand, that our struggles are not isolated. This solidarity means very much. (Domitila Barrios de Chungara)
Time has come, that we all shall organize and form our autonomous districts. We must not wait for any permission of a bad government. We must organize like real rebels, whether in accordance or not with the law, and must not hope that somebody allows us to become autonomous. (Commander Brus Li from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, EZLN)

Wisdom or simply common sense coming from a culture of life - not death, empirically sensible towards nature and genuine-because-lived liberté and egalité and fraternité. Whose extermination in Brazil is led and executed by the Ruralista human cancer.

The philosopher Hegel concluded, that we can learn from History, that people don't learn from History. When in the 1870s worried Texans asked the notorious racist and butcher of Native Americans, General Philip Sheridan, whether he wasn't going to halt the mass slaughtering of the “buffalo” (bison) the career official answered: “Let us kill and skin and sell them until they're wiped out. For this is the only way to achieve lasting peace and to guarantee progress of civilization”. The 140 or so years from the US Army general to the Ruralistas of Brazil confirm Mr. Hegel. And the brave general surly would also today, in plain 21st century, whether engaged in the US war (resources business) “against terrorism”, or in the Ruralista strive for “progress and prosperity”, make millions and a splendid career.



(1) http://viacampesina.org/sp/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1126:via-campesina-declaracion-de-cancun-las-miles-de-soluciones-estan-en-manos-de-los-pueblos&catid=46:cambios-climcos-y-agro-combustibles&Itemid=79


(2) http://www.agassessment.org/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Synthesis%20Report%20(English).pdf


(3) Lateinamerika ist (nicht) Brasilien - Bildung scheidet (“Latin America is (not) Brazil – Segregation line Education”), ArDaga Widor, http://ch.indymedia.org/de/2011/01/79471.shtml


(4) Honoráveis Bandidos - Um Retrato do Brasil na Era Sarney (“Honourable Bandits – A picture of Brazil in the Sarney Era“), Doria Palmerio / Editor GERAÇÃO


(5) Die Legende vom nachhaltigen Wachstum (“The Legend of Sustainable Growth”), Le Monde diplomatique, German edition, Nr. 9288 from 10.9.2010, Niko Paech; Capitalism and the Curse of Energy Efficiency - The Return of the Jevons Paradox, Monthly Review November 2010, Volume 62, Number 6, John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York













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