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The Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) organizes every four years a national meeting that gathers the people affected throughout the country. In addition to demanding the respect of the rights of the people affected, the 8th Gathering proposes to "denounce the capitalist, imperialist and patriarchal model", assess in a critical way the legacy of the Russian Revolution and for natural resources to serve the working class.
Real World Radio interviewed Sonia Mara Maranho, member of the National Coordination of the MAB to know more about this. Maranho is working in the organization of the 8th MAB Gathering, to take place from October 1st-5th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, under the motto "Water and energy with sovereignty, distribution of wealth and popular control". The gathering has become a space where the people affected talk about their processes of struggle and the way they organize their work, and it is also a capacity-building space. Over 4000 people affected by dams will discuss their issues during five days.
Maranho stated that the movement "is advocating for a national policy to treat those people affected by dams", because Brazil lacks "a national policy, a governmental body to discuss the dam building issue or a fund that pays this historical debt that the State and private companies have accumulated with the people affected", since every dam built has resulted in human rights violations, she added. This demand is specially relevant in the current Brazil, amid a coup d´Etat and permanent "attacks to democracy", regretted Maranho.
"We fight for a popular energy project to improve the living conditions of the Brazilian people and for energy to be a common good, not a commodity", she said. Maranho insisted on the "importance of popular control over energy, water, the full participation of the people" and the key role of energy to achieve the food sovereignty of the peoples. "The people need to control their resources, these should not be open to private processes. This coup-like government is attempting to privatize everything: water, energy, state federal companies, our oil deposits, our banks, our education, our health", she pointed out. "In this process we want a purpose for the wealth generated in Brazil, we want it to be used in a way that serves the working class, we want Brazil´s oil deposits to be invested in health, education, jobs, rights that we have historically conquered and that are now being violated by Temer´s administration".
The MAB proposes "to change the current energy model in Brazil and Latin America", where energy has been turned into a commodity, because it is produced at very low costs but then sold to the population at high prices, "it is sold as the most expensive form of energy", she regretted.
At the end of the gathering there will be an international seminar titled "Energy transition for a popular energy project", from October 6-8, which will gather participants from over 20 countries to discuss "the importance of the international struggle", said the spokesperson. This is where the issue will be linked with the Russian Revolution. Maranho stated that the Russian comrades also felt "the need to build a society where all natural resources are respected" because they are the "heritage of the working class", and "when capitalists and imperialists meddle, they turn them into a commodity and then the workers can no longer take advantage of the wealth they work so hard to produce". She added that the seminar "will include a discussion about the current model, but also about the struggle, the ways in which to unite our proposals and build an alternative to the capitalist, imperialist and patriarchal system".
October 3rd marks the National Day of Struggle for the Sovereignty of the People in Brazil and in this context, Maranho highlighted the struggle of the Cuban and Venezuelan people, indigenous people of Bolivia and the working class of Ecuador. About her country, she stated that "right now in Brazil it is necessary to build the unity of the working class, including peasants, workers, young people, women, older people, everyone who thinks it is possible to change this system that is no longer useful for workers. This is why we say: water and energy with sovereignty, distribution of wealth and popular control, workers of the countryside and the city building a new popular energy model".
The event will also be attended by the workers and peasants platform of the energy sector, which gathers organized workers from unions of the electricity, oil, chemical, urban sectors and the MAB, Via Campesina, the Landless Rural Workers Movement and the Education Workers Confederation of Brazil. "Together with them we are building a platform that challenges the current energy model", she concluded.
Imagen: MAB´s Facebook Page
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