Families from the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) gathered this Saturday in a demonstration against the threat of eviction suffered by the Comuna da Terra Irmã Alberta. Located in Perus, in the city of São Paulo, the territory is the only agrarian reform area in the capital of São Paulo.
The space of around 115 hectares was occupied more than twenty years ago, with the coordination of the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and support from Sister Alberta, a historical activist honored in the name of the commune.
Since then, families have started to grow fruits, vegetables and legumes for their own consumption and also as an economic activity. The land, which would be destined for the disposal of waste from the Pinheiros and Tietê rivers, today produces cassava, grapes, avocados, among other crops.
Last week, however, the Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo (Sabesp), the formal owner of the land, took action to recover the area. The notification was delivered by a bailiff, but there has not yet been a final court decision.
Luciano Carvalho, from the state coordination of the MST, states that the act marks the first massive movement of families and the beginning of a series of mobilizations, “We chose to do it first in the territory and organize the territory, and then leave. The next steps that we will make viable These are street actions. We now set the objective of the presence of the Grito dos Excluídos”, he says.
Carvalho remembers that the local community’s fight against the landfill is long-standing. According to him, this is the seventh attempt to repossess the area occupied by the commune. “Sabesp’s will has already been defeated in the past by us and the surrounding community. This is a historic struggle for the region.”
This Saturday’s demonstration included an ecumenical act, a conversation about the process and a cultural vigil. In recent days, representatives of the commune were received by the São Paulo State Land Institute Foundation (Itesp) and the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) in search of a solution.
The Comuna da Terra Irmã Alberta is home to around 250 families, including landless people, Haitian immigrants and people who came from neighboring Morro da Mandioca. This year alone, they have already produced more than 10 tons of food.
* with collaboration by Michele de Mello
Editing: Raquel Setz