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January 23, 2015 marked the 10th anniversary of the Florestan Fernandes National School, which focuses on the political education of members of the Landless Rural Peasant Movement (MST) of Brazil.
After the MST celebrated in 2014 its 30th anniversary of agrarian reform struggles, 2015 started off with more celebrations. Two days before January 23rd, in the framework of its celebrations, former Brazilian President, and according to many analysts, the most important leader of the Workers Party (PT)), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, visited the School for the first time. Below we share a video circulated by the MST.
Lula visited “La Florestan”, as the school is referred to many times by the landless workers, joined by tens of people, among them journalist and former chair of the Social Communication Secretariat of Lula´s administration, Franklin Martins, and economist Joao Pedro Stédile, main leader of the MST.
The school is located in Guararema municipality, 65 kilometers from Sao Paulo, and its goal is to ensure the capacity-building needs of landless peasants, activists of social movements and political organizations belonging to the working class. It was named after Brazilian sociologist and social activist Florestan Fernandes, a peasant engaged with the search of knowledge produced by and for peasants, with a social transformation perspective.
Thousands of activists from different Latin American countries have had their capacities built in Florestan Fernandes school. Over 500 volunteer professors, both from Brazil and other countries, teach on Political Philosophy, Theory of Knowledge, Rural Sociology, Political Economy of Agriculture, Brazilian Social History, International Current Affairs, Administration and Social Management, among others.
During his visit on January 21, Lula talked with MST members about the current national political situation. According to an article published by Via Campesina TV (http://tv.viacampesina.org/), leader Rosana Fernandes, member of the MST National Directorate and of the pedagogical coordination of the Florestan Fernandes National School, said that Lula visited the place as a friend of the movement, but also because it is a good moment to discuss about agrarian reform.
“The struggle for land is the main driver of our organization. For this reason, we need to ask why hasn´t the agrarian reform become a reality yet, and why our demands have not been implemented yet. We don´t want Lula to be against our President, Dilma, but we want him to exert influence so that agrarian reform becomes a reality”, said Fernandes.
In the video circulated by the MST, we can see Lula saying “I believe we need to value the fact that the MST has managed to build and sustain a school as good as the FLorestan Fernandes school. (…) After visiting the school I have to acknowledge that with Florestan Fernandess we have the best political capacity building school of Brazilian social movements. I hope the MST continues with this school, improving its classes, and even turning it into a model for other political capacity building schools of our country”.
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