Statement from the 6th Bahian Agroecology Meeting – year 2019
Teia dos Povos (The Web of the People)
Empowered and guided by our African and Native Brazilian people, acknowledging and cherishing our beautiful diversity. We are great and we will be even greater.
With the permission of the elders,
To the organizational basic core,
To every link of our web,
To all women,
To all young people,
To all support groups,
We, the Afro-Brazilian and Native Brazilian people, are squaring off in a great and popular engagement purpose. We happen to be in the heart of Payaya native people lands, next to the headwaters of Utinga river, in this year of 2019. Inspired by the brave spirit of the cacique Sacambuassu, our aim is to consolidate an important alliance. Even though we can’t accurately name such an aliance against oppression yet, we are strongly convinced that this is the biggest popular unity of all times.
What we have so far named The Web of The People congregates social movements and organizations such as peasants, artisanal fishermen and fisherwomen, riverside people, borderland livestock farming’s people, landless people, homeless people, afrobrazilian religions’ people, small farmers, several nations of native brazilian communities, quilombolas (communities of enslaved people direct descendants), black people, people engaged in extraction activities, and many other parts of our web, building itself through solidarity.
We have gathered and set up a self-organized camp in the city of Utinga, in order to speak and listen to one another. Through our mutirões – collective efforts –, we were able to build toilets, kitchens, ocas (native brazilian dwellings), shower facilities, a community composting heap and other infrastructure facilities. We have hosted a popular fair to exchange raw goods, organically raised fruits and vegetables, artistic and artisanal materials, fabrics, organic cosmetics. We have spoken and listened to popular conferences, conversation circles, learned through various workshops, exchanged native seeds, cooked together, sang along and had fun together. Our children and grandchildren were taken care of in our own recreational-pedagogical space. We played with them. We didn’t have to stay away from our children and grandchildren.
Therefore, we have come together in our Web of The People, in order to weave the Good Living; to discuss and defend our land, our territory, our waters and ancestry.
In Weaving the Good Living, we have become victorious in our sixth meeting, our sixth journey.
We have improved our self-governing strategies and also have moved forward with self-funding activities, carrying on our political and ideological authonomy. We seek to make a situation analysis or/and a conjunctural reflection in accordance with our own perspective and realities. Our faith, beliefs and ancestry substantiate our cosmovision, as well as they shape the defence of the right to the territory. Without defending our waters, we are unable to exist as a human community. In other words, wisely expressed by the Payaya people: “the river is the otherness within me.”
Today we have agreed that weaving the Good Living is only possible through political resistance, political organization, authonomy and self-determination. Our ancestors have provided guidance and advice, so then we have learned that being strong is to know what we are fighting for. We have sat down and conversed. It is as clear as our waters that the scenario appeals to the unity, because the deceased are mostly women, black and native brazilian people. Indeed, there is an engineering of death, a manufacturing of corpses through conflicts and massacres caused by agrobusiness enterpreneurship, mass incarceration of black and native brazilian people, increased militarization, privatization of security systems, closing of schools, development megaprojects which takes over our territories and sentence to death our very existence. In a few words, we have a common enemy. Our forefathers and foremothers have once build strategic alliances on previous contexts which allowed us to be standing up here today. Those were always circumstances of war.
The strenght we release here today, at the Chapada Diamantina, comes from the ancestral energy overflowing through the river, the soil, from the woods, pulsing at the rituals for invoque the jurema, from the spiritual entities, the caboclos (native brazilian entities), nkisis, orishas and voduns (afrobrazilian entities), strenghtening the rebelion of peoples also through the ubuntu and Good Living principles, spiritual weapons to defy the colonization of minds, hearts, bodies and territories.
We are no longer under illusions about conciliating with such a wicked arrangement of institutionality, discouraging and demotivating, as well as the constituted powers, which have always advocated the interests of ruling classes. We hold no more illusions concerning the burgeois democracy dominated by capitalism. They keep pursuing and spreading hatred to our people, now fostering the militarization of agrarian and environmental policies. Also, criminalizing leaderships of organizations and social movements. It’s been more than five hundred years of spiritual, intellectual, cultural, moral and physical murder, the reason why we put what happened to black and native brazilian people throughout the centuries in terms of genocide.
There is a massive economic project which is also a neo-extractive tactics of accumulation in predatory capitalism, focused on strategic control of land, water, mineral supply and biodiversity. Rivers die, forests are burnt, the sea water is polluted, and everything happens in such a quick rhythm that makes so clear their undisguised scorn against our communities. This is the reason why we have defended Mother Earth, as long as we are part of it and we are sustained by mother nature. We are inspired by those who have spoken about building a world within which other worlds could fit into; those who have already told “enough!” years ago.
We have been great, but we can be even greater. We have learn the lesson from our mistakes and also from our achievements. We keep strenghtening our web of solidarity, providing shelter to everyone and designing strategies of self-defense and resistance. However, we are aware that out there, urgent challenges await us. Our articulation shall move on.
The preparatoty meetings to the bianual agroecology journey – i.e., various simultaneous and smaller events to set up a short-term agenda by the Web of The People to be discussed at the agroecology meeting – were crucial to improve self-management and therefore planning joint actions for connected communities. Although it is necessary to multiply such preparatory meetings, and once the main task of the Web is to promote political articulation, considering the organizational basic core, the parts of our chain and local communities, it must be said that the Web is not seeking to replace the agenda of social movements, but rather putting them in connection. The purpose of the Web is to be a permanent link in between communities struggling against the forces of capital. The Web of the People is every and each one of us.
We also have found a compromise in order to strenghten the participation of the young people in our spaces and, for such a reason, all territories are now required to develop activities oriented to youth prominence.
We must carry on, insisting on the vital necessity to fight back and struggle against attacks and social discrimination, specially for women. At the territories under the flag of The Web of the People, women have reached respect and dignity and occupy central position for the survival of our people. From sowing to planting, from organizing family to implementing political agenda: women need to take their place, more and more, on decision-making structures and processes. In the domain of agroecology, the land is feminine and the main role belongs to women.
Thereby, we call for all the organizational basic core, chain parts, supporters, partners, to help planning a great intervention in Salvador March 2020. The intervention will be guided by black and native women. To those who intend to participate, it is mandatory to honor and respect women leadership. This is our next task.
2020 will be the year of the greatest alliance of all times, towards the liberation of our peoples. Here we will stand up, resisting the ongoing white foreign invasion.
To the war, then!
Go tell the people we shall move on!
Headwaters of Utinga River, Spring of 519th year since the first invasion.