Only 24 hrs left to win a FREE tshirt an

Only 24 hrs left to win a FREE tshirt and DVD and be part of Ciclovida’s next project! Enter the Title Contest for the new Agrofuels short: http://ow.ly/bh0ZN

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Win a Ciclovida Tshirt and DVD! Help pic

Win a Ciclovida Tshirt and DVD! Help pick a title for the new Ciclovida ed movie about agrofuels: http://ow.ly/bh0JA

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Announcement from the Movement to Fight in Defense of Housing (MLDM) regarding the Parangaba-Mucuripe Light Rail project alterations

On March 12th, Metrofor, a transportation company in Fortaleza, shared on its web site changes in the Parangaba-Mucuripe Light Rail project. The most significant change refers to the location of the Fátima neighborhood station, which initially would have been placed next to the Engineer João Tomé bus station, on top of the Aldaci Barbosa community, forcing the removal of close to 250 families (according to Metrofor).

With the project alteration, the station will be constructed in an area in front of the old location, between Borges de Melo Avenue and Francisco Lorda Street, reducing the number of properties affected in this locality due to the station to approximately 20. The proposed Parangaba-Mucuripe Light Rail would connect the wealthy, hotel sector of the city to another neighborhood, where the soccer stadium is located, enabling transportation for World Cup tourists.

According to Metrofor, due to other project alterations, there is an expected reduction in the total number of families affected by the Light Rail from approximately 2,500 to 1,700. The initial Light Rail construction plans would have displaced about 2,500 families, the majority of whom are very low-income; the displaced families will be forced to relocate to areas on the city limits of Fortaleza with minimal compensation.

 

Cid Gomes expelled from the Aldaci Barbosa community [1]

The Aldaci Barbosa community was one of the first to resist the Light Rail removals, and up until today the community has refused to cooperate with the government. Because of this, on August 2nd, 2011, Governor Cid Gomez made a “visit” at night, and without prior notification to the community, with the intention of pressuring the residents to accept the removal. Accompanied by secretaries, advisers, and a security battalion (the general commander of the Military Police was even there!), Cid tried to go from house to house, attempting to secretly negotiate with the residents. But the attempt to intimidate the community, which was caught by surprise with the visit, became a real embarrassment! It didn’t take long before the residents from other communities threatened by the Light Rail construction, political activist organizations, and social movements united with the Aldaci residents. Diverse communication forms covered Cid Gomes being expelled from the community in a humiliating way, below a rain of boos, and yells of “terrorist,” and, “dictator, respect the resident!”

 

The resistance from the communities was crucial!

The Light Rail project alterations cannot be understood as a kind act from Governor Cid Gomes. On the contrary, the resistance from the communities was crucial!

Since the communities learned about the threat of removal, in the beginning of 2010, they started an organization process and a mobilization of the community residents surrounding the Parangaba-Mucuripe extension. In some parts, they have been able to prevent the outsourcing companies’ action, not allowing the registration of families, or the marking of homes, and property evaluation (a situation that has persisted up until today). There have been numerous assemblies, meetings, protests, debates, and other activities within and outside the communities. The resident mobilization and the supporters have brought about the formation of the Movement to Fight in Defense of the Housing (MLDM), which has taken the lead in fighting against the removals. 

All of this movement was decisive in making the situation public, using the local media, up to the national media, to constantly spread material about the issue of the removals.

 

Emergency Changes: The rush against time and the World Cup 2014

Another resource that the MLDM has used has been seeking the support of the Federal Public Ministry and the Public Defenders, which has resulted in recommendations and judicial actions. In result of this, throughout months the government was prevented from performing any act of expropriation in the Light Rail implementation. The result from the most recent actions has been preventing the start of the works in areas where there were planned removals before the government gives a definitive solution for the housing issue for the residents of those areas.

Following this obstruction, the solution the government has sought in order to accelerate the Light Rail implementation was, on one side, to substitute one removal location for another, where supposedly all of these removals would not be necessary (as is the case for Aldaci Barbosa). On the other side, it was necessary to diminish the size of some stations and to alter trajectory points to diminish the quantity of resettlements (from 2,500 to 1,700, according to Metrofor). As the initial project called for removals in almost 70 percent of the route, this would slow down the work in a major part, with the subordinate rhythm of the “resolution of the housing issue.” By diminishing the number of removals, it’s possible to speed up the necessary time for resettlements, and advance the progress of the works.

The resistance from the communities has been decisive for the enormous delay in the implementation of the Light Rail. The initial planned time in the Matrix of Responsibilities [2] (a letter of responsibilities written by the government concerning the Light Rail project) was for 30 months (from January 2011 to June 2013). After this, five different dates were announced. The Light Rail bidding notice already defines an 18-month period [3] in order for the winning consortium to finalize the implementation of the project. From April 2012, when the first interventions occurred, the delay has already prevented the train from being ready for the Confederations Cup in June 2013. In order to avoid the risk of not having it done for 2014, the Ceará government was obligated to alter the project.

 

The fight is not going to stop here!

There is no doubt that the decrease of impacts on the resident population surrounding the track should be considered a conquest (not a gift!) by the communities and the Movement. However, the fight is still far from finished, given that: 

 1.     The number of removals remains absurdly high (1,700, according to Metrofor) and we consider it of fundamental importance that other alterations are explored in the project — primarily related to the plan — that could drastically reduce the number of removals; 

 2.)      We consider the government’s resettlement plan completely inadequate, given that it disregards the land surrounding the communities by planning to relocate the families in housing on Fortaleza’s city limits (in José Walter and in Paupina), without equipment guarantees and sufficient social services (schools, nurseries, hospitals, health centers, churches, etc.), creating socioeconomic damage for the large portion of low-income families, with the impossibility of work and income. The Light Rail families’ work and income already depend directly on the housing location (many are fishermen, work in buildings nearby as maids or janitors, nannies, or other services; in surrounding stores, like vendors on the beach, in the restaurants, etc.). Therefore, in exploring new alterations in the plan for persisting resettlement cases, all the relocation possibilities in the areas surrounding the communities should be considered, with adequate housing conditions, and the affected population should have the right to participate and make decisions regarding the elaboration of the housing plan.

 3.) The insecurity of the families in relation to the extremely low value of the indemnities continues to exist. The government housing assistance (R$ 200), which aside from being completely insufficient to finance adequate living conditions, reveals itself as practically a perverse resource because the government tends to delay it for too long. This generates an extreme situation of vulnerability for the families. With the need to accelerate the Light Rail implementation, we are afraid that the government will excessively use this housing assistance, by forcefully lowering the indemnity values (giving properties valued at up to R$16,000 the “right” to receive housing assistance), which gives the government the possibility to postpone the resettlements, extending indefinitely the suffering of these people.

In conclusion, we always insisted in the necessity and the possibility to make these changes in the Light Rail project that would eliminate and drastically reduce the impacts on the residents, who live in the area surrounding the track. The state government of Ceará, when it was not pretending to be deaf, would use supposedly technical arguments that would make such alterations to the project impossible (and only did when it was faced with a threat!). Today, with the World Cup deadlines, once more it’s proven that the impossibilities were always of another order; they are to combine an urban mobility project with the political social cleansing in area of great economic interest (commercial, real estate, and tourism) in Fortaleza.

WHEN THOSE ON THE BOTTOM MOVE, THE TOP ROCKS!!

                                                                                               

Fortaleza, April 15th, 2012

Movement to Fight in Defense of Housing (MLDM)

 

  “CID GOMEZ, LEAVE THE ALDACI BARBOSA COMMUNITY IN PEACE!”

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB65T_-Z62Q

[2] A document signed on January 13th, 2010 between the federal government, 11 mayors and 12 governors (Brasília, one of the host cities, does not have a mayor), defined the responsibilities (cost, schedule, source of founds, executors) of each federative entity in the areas of stadiums, ports, airports, and urban mobility for the World Cup 2014.

[3] According to the National Association of Urban Transportation, the implementation time of a diesel light rail is two years. Information reproduced by Metrofor in Projects Based on Light Rails in Operation and Implementation – Light Rail Projects. SEINFRA – State Government of Ceará, s/d.

 (translated from Portuguese version at: http://pelamoradia.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/fortaleza-nota-do-movimento-de-luta-em-defesa-da-moradia-mldm-ce/)

 

 

 

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SEM FREIOS: UMA CARAVANA DE BICICLETA E A ENERGIA IMPARÁVEL DO ENCONTRO DE CICLOVIDA

WITHOUT BRAKES: A BICYCLE CARAVAN AND THE UNSTOPPABLE ENERGY OF THE CICLOVIDA ENCONTRO

Meu café da manhã geralmente não consiste em uma explicação sobre o poder de salvar sementes como uma forma de resistência contra o desenvolvimento da agricultura para o lucro em vez do povo, ou a necessidade para lutar contra a atrocidade da barragem hidroelétrica Belo Monte, que está forçando mais de 20 mil indígenas na Amazônia a sair de suas casas e comunidades. Meu café da manhã tipicamente não é seguido por uma caravana de bici-pé de dois dias percorrendo comunidades do sertão no nordeste do Brasil, que inclui duas pessoas que andavam de bicicleta mais de 8 mil kilômetros para ajudar a expôr os efeitos devastadores dos agronegócios no documentário. Mas neste dia foi. // My breakfast doesn’t typically consist of an explanation behind the power of seed saving as a means of resistance against agricultural development for profit rather than people, or the need to fight against the atrocity of the Belo Monte hydro-electric dam that’s displacing more than 20 thousand indigenous people in the Amazon. My breakfast isn’t then usually followed by a two-day bici-pé caravan to communities in the sertão of Northeastern Brazil that includes two people who rode more than five thousand miles to help expose the devastating effects of modern agriculture in a documentary. But on this day it was.

Sunset in Barra do Leme

[Bici-pé: Um termo usado por Inácio para definir o ato de andar alternadamente a pé e com uma bicicleta, como meio de transporte] //
[Bici-pé: A term used by Inácio to define the act of interchangeably riding and walking a bicycle for transportation]

Nossa caravana de bici-pé pedalava-caminhava saindo do assentamento Barra do Leme, por uma descida conduzindo até um açude brilhante com água usada para beber a nossa esquerda, com uma verde agrofloresta florescendo a nossa direita. Um caminho vermelho alaranjado entre as duas paisagens, com areia estalando ao nossos pneus-pés, debaixo de um sol forte palpitando constantemente. Eu me sentia absolutamente eufórica. Meu nível de energia quando começamos a caravana só era comparável ao movimento que fazia para a frente na bicicleta verde escura, amava profundamente, e sem freios; o que quase me atirou ao chão pelas ladeiras do sertão, e me guiando com um brilho imparável. // As our bici-pé caravan pedal-walked away from the land settlement Barra do Leme, a slope leading to a glistening lake for drinking water on our left, flourishing verde permaculture to our right, separated by a red-orange crunchy path of sand perpetually pounded by the scorching sun, I was absolutely giddy. My energy level was only comparable to the forward motion of a dark green, thoroughly-loved bicycle sem freios that was about to throw me down the hills of the sertão, and guide me with an unstoppable brilliance.

Viktor Pereira helps prepare the bikes for the carravan

[Sem Freios: Literalmente, uma bicicleta sem freios; movimento para a frente, sem a capacidade de parar] //
[Sem Freios: Literally, without brakes; forward motion without the ability to stop.]



Depois de 10 dias revigorantes no encontro de Ciclovida, alguns de nós dos Estados Unidos que estavam há mais tempo no Brasil, voltamos para nossas barracas no assentamento, depois de passar algum tempo em Fortaleza. A caravana de bici-pé era uma continuação e conclusão das duas semanas passadas, onde eu tive o privilégio de aprender, andar de bicicleta, cozinhar, conversar, construir, conhecer pessoas, e dançar com um grupo incrível de aproximadamente 60 ativistas – incluindo Inácio e Ivania do Ciclovida: Lifecycle, aqueles/as que são de verdade algumas das pessoas mais inspiradas e dedicadas que eu encontrei – das várias regiões do Brasil, e dos Estados Unidos no encontro de Ciclovida. // After an invigorating ten days on the Ciclovida encontro, a few of us from the United States who were staying in Brazil longer, returned to our tents at the settlement, after some time back in the city of Fortaleza. The bici-pe caravan was an incredible continuation and conclusion of those two weeks, where I had the privilege of learning, biking, cooking, conversing, building, connecting, and dancing with an incredible group of about 60 activists – including Inácio and Ivania from Ciclovida: Lifecycle, who are truly some of the most inspirational, dedicated people I have ever met – from various regions throughout Brazil, and the United States for a Ciclovida encontro.

One of several natural-building projects in its beggining stages: a health and healing house

A primeira parte do encontro consistia em visitas de solidariedade a comunidade indígena de Jenipapo-Kanindé, a comunidade rural do Chapada do Apodi, um assentamento do Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra e a Comunidade do Trilho em Fortaleza. Durante estas visitas nós aprendemos sobre as várias lutas que estas comunidades estão travando concernente direitos da terra, poluição da água de empresários grandes como Ypióca, e uso intensivo de pesticidas dos agronegócios. Também a deslocamento criado por projetos do Copo do Mundo acontecendo na cidade. // The first portion of the encontro involved solidarity visits to several communities, such as the indigenous community of Jenipapo-Kanide, the rural community of Chapada do Apodi, a Movement of Landless Rural Workers settlement, and the train-track community in Fortaleza, Comunidade do Trilho. During these visits we learned about the various struggles concerning land rights, pollution from large companies like Ypioca, which primarily produces the sugar cane rum Cachaça, agro-businesses’ intensive use of pesticides and water pollution, as well as displacement caused by numerous World Cup projects happening in the city.

Looking out from a dune at the indigenous community of Jenipopa-Kanide. Above, a water source for the community that has been largely polluted by Ypióca.

A segunda parte do encontro convergiu na Barra do Leme, no assentamento do Ciclovida, uma ocupação de terra, onde se mantém um banco de sementes com fim de preservar-lás e um lugar de resistência coletiva contra o monopólio e controle que grandes empresas do agronegócio (como Monsanto e Cargill) sobre as sementes, e assim das vidas dos humanos. Na Barra do Leme, nós experimentamos uma vivência coletiva, aprendendo com os companheiros por meio de oficinas e conversas, fazendo bio-construção – tal como uma casa de médicos construída de argila e cana de açúcar, também uma cisterna grande, um gerador de “bike-power” (energia de bicicleta), com a ajuda de pessoas muito legais. Também houve um intenso intercambio entre idiomas, discutimos movimentos sociais, colaboramos com esforços de mídia, e, ultimamente, como o movimento de Ciclovida pode continuar (para mais detalhes, lê o blog post na escrita ótima de Ashley Trull: https://ciclovidatour.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/resistencia-convivencia-creatividade-e-solidariedade-at-the-ciclovida-encontro-in-brazil/). //
The second portion of the encontro converged at Barra do Leme, at the Ciclovida settlement, or land occupation, which acts as a seed saving bank and a place of collective resistance against the monopoly and control that large agro-businesses (like Monsanto and Cargill) exert over seeds, and thus the lives of human beings. At Barra do Leme, we lived collectively, learned from each other through workshops and conversation, did some awesome natural building – such as a medical house built from clay and sugar cane, as well as a large cistern, and bike-powered generator with the help of natural building folks. We shared languages, discussed social movements, collaborated media efforts, and, ultimately, how the Ciclovida movement can move forward (for more details, read Ashley Trull’s beautifully-written blog post: https://ciclovidatour.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/resistencia-convivencia-creatividade-e-solidariedade-at-the-ciclovida-encontro-in-brazil/).

Quando uma amiga e colega de trabalho me deu um email sobre o encontro de Ciclovida, eu sabia, imediatamente, que queria participar, já que estava planejando uma volta ao Brasil. Tenho um interesse forte em agricultura sustentável e direitos da terra, especialmente depois da programa que eu fiz com o School for International Tranining, dois anos atrás no região. Antes de me encontrar com as pessoas, eu não poderia ter idéia, e nem teria como verdadeiramente saber da rede incrível de pessoas que eu encontraria e passaria a fazer parte. //
When a friend and co-worker of mine passed along an email about the Ciclovida encontro, I immediately knew I wanted to participate as I was already planning a trip to Brazil, and have a strong interest in sustainable agriculture and land rights, particularly after the School for International Training program I did two years ago in the region. Before meeting up with folks, however, I did not, and could not, truly understand the incredible network of people I was about to meet and become a part.

Ivania explains natural remedies involving clay

Eu sinto que entrei em algo muito maior que eu mesma, uma família, uma rede internacional, lutando pelos mesmos valores que defendo: vida humana, meio ambiente e a libertação desse sistema destrutivo. Até pouco tempo eu me sentia pessimista, antes de vir para o encontro, quando eu estava nos Estados Unidos. Mas esse pessimismo que eu sentia foi superado, e eu me senti revigorada pela paixão, altruísmo e dedicação das pessoas que participavam do encontro. Eu aprendi muito sobre viver coletivamente, sobre permacultura, a possibilidade real de criar espaços por fora do capitalismo, movimentos sociais, remédios naturais, e enfim, o mais importante, nas palavras de Ivania: “uma relação nova com a terra.” //
I feel like I’ve entered something so much larger than myself, an international family, a network fighting for what I value: human life, the environment, and liberation from a destructive system. My recent cynicism in the United States was quickly forgotten, and I was reinvigorated by the passion, selflessness, and dedication of those participating in the encontro. I learned an extensive amount about collective living, permaculture, the real possibility to create spaces outside of capitalism, social movements, natural remedies, and ultimately, and most importantly, in Ivania’s words: “uma nova relação com a terra.”

[“Uma nova relação com a terra”: uma relação explicou por Ivania como a recuparação da relação que foi perdido quando capitalismo interviu no campo; um relação em que agricultores tem autonomia e controle das sementes (e não estão usando sementes modificados), comunidades compartilha sementes naturaís, e um entendimento das sementes é parte da cultura]

[“Uma nova relação com a terra”: a new relationship with the land; a relationship explained by Ivania as essentially a recovery of the one that was lost when capitalism intervened in the countryside; one in which farmer have autonomy and control over their seeds (and aren´t using genetically modified seeds), communties share natural seeds, and understanding seeds is part of the culture] 


Screening and discussion of Ciclovida: Lifecycle in the rural community of Erva Moura

As imagens do documentário do Ciclovida passavam na tela da televisão em amarelo e cinza nos contornos da América do Sul durante a caravana nas vizinhas comunidades rurais. Duas imagens de Inácio e Ivania sentados ao lado um do outro – uma delas na televisão, e a outra imagem com eles em pessoa – na escola da comunidade Macacos e na casa da presidente do assentamento Erva Moura. . // Images of the Ciclovida documentary flashed on the television screen in yellow and gray outlines of South America during our caravan to the neighboring rural communities. Dual images of Inacio and Ivanha sat beside each other — one on the television screen, and the other in person — in the school of the Macacos community, and in the settlement´s president´s house in Erva Moura. 

Depois de bater nas portas das casas, convidando as pessoas para assistir a projeção do filme e discussão, nas duas noites, muitas pessoas deram seu tempo para sentar com a gente e discutir o papel da agricultura na comunidade, assim como o uso de agrotóxicos, a monocultura e a modificação genética das sementes. Nossa caravana não precisava viajar muito longe – aproximadamente 30 kilometros de viagem total – para ter conversas poderosas e interessantes com as pessoas. Durante toda esta viagem as pessoas abriram suas portas para nós, de uma maneira tal que lhes tenho muita gratidão por isso.//
After knocking on doors and inviting people to come to a screening and discussion, on both nights, numerous people took the time to sit with us, and discuss the role of agriculture in the community, as well as the use of agro-toxins, monoculture, and genetic modification of seeds. Our caravan didn’t need to travel far – about 30 kilometers round trip — to have powerful, interesting conversations with folks. People opened their doors to us in a way that I have been consistently grateful for throughout this trip.

Second film screening and discussion in the rural community of Macacos

 

Os sete de nós sem duvida levaram a energia coletiva e o entusiasmo do encontro com a gente, como as rodas de nossas bicicletas giravam em uníssono, nossas correntes quebraram e vizinhos amáveis repararam, nossos corpos suavam até mergulharmos nas lagoas por onde passávamos, e nosso português fluiu e teceu conversas tanto quando poderíamos esticá-las. Eu fui atirada pelas ladeiras do sertão, sem freios, sendo guiada com uma energia “imparável”, na crença e na realidade de que alternativas realmente são possíveis – todos pela preservação do “Ciclovida.”

//
The seven of us undoubtedly carried the collective energy and enthusiasm of the encontro with us, as our bicycles wheels spun in unison, our chains broke and were repaired by kind neighbors, our bodies sweat until we dove into passing lakes, and our Portuguese flowed and wove into conversation as far as we could stretch it. I was thrown down the hills of the sertão sem freios, and guided along with an unstoppable energy, a belief and an actuality that alternatives really our possible – all with the preservation of the “lifecycle.” 

Our caravan -- pronto para começar

–Taylor Miles; Portuguese translation a collaborative effort with the generous help of Viktor Pereira and Nildo Mattos

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Resistencia, Convivencia, Creatividade, e Solidariedade at the Ciclovida Encontro in Brazil

Like bees
We gathered
In a swarming mass
Energy buzzing
Off each other
Vibrating through one another
With this sort of rapid, ecstatic frequency
As we sing and hum
Around the sweet scent
Of resistance

In Barra do Lemme, the home of the Ciclovida farm in northeast Brazil, it is not uncommon to find yourself surrounded by the buzzing, humming, zipping energy of bees. They seem to be everywhere: swarming around freshly cracked-open cane, curiously crawling into cups of juice, hovering over the bright colors of shirts and plants and skin. And it was that sort of bee-like buzzing energy, curiosity, and sense of community that for me was characteristic of the Ciclovida Encontro. It was a 10-day gathering of activists and ecologists of all ages: 35 coming from Brazil, 23 from the United States, 2 from Chile, and 1 from the Netherlands to learn together, exchange ideas, and take action for environmental justice, autonomy, and a new relationship with a land. For me, it was an incredible gathering that pulled together an incredible (and incredibly large) group of various overlapping values, visions, and passions, but all with different paths and forms of action. Looking back, for me it was mainly an experience of resistencia, convivencia (co-living), creatividade, and solidariedade.

Building – Construindo
Um novo mundo
Juntos
With our minds and our hearts and our hands
We stand
In a pit of mud
A mired mess
Of sticks and clay and cane grass
Of capitalism and oppression
Of injustice

We learned about many different communities in struggle and the different forms resistance is taking here in Brazil. During the first half of the Encontro we had the incredible privilege of visiting various communities here in the northeast of Brazil in the state of Ceará. Our first stop was Jenipapo-Caninde, an indigenous community south of Fortaleza that has been struggling for a long time for a right to their land. They have lived on the land for generations and generations, and only in recent decades suddenly had contact with capitalism and development projects that tried to move in on their lands. The people of Jenipapo-Caninde organized against a resort development project that was going to be built on their land, struggled to have their land demarcated by the state as protected, and continue to resist against Ypioca, a huge sugar cane alcohol (cachaça) company here in Brazil that is using up and polluting the lake water of the Jenipapo-Caninde community. We got to speak with members of the community here and Chief Pequena, one of the only woman chiefs in the network of indigenous communities in the Northeast.

Raquel, one of the youth at Jenipapo-Caninde, showed us the community museum, explaining the history of her community and their struggle

The struggle of Jenipapo-Caninde is closely connected to another community we visited, the Tomé community in Chapada de Apodi who live on a plateau where it is difficult to get water. Agribusiness has moved in and started pumping water up the plateau, not for the people, but to irrigate vast plantations. The water resources of people in Tomé are being poisoned by the company´s pesticide use and pollution. They have been organizing for years against agribusiness´ crimes there and have been a strong force. One of the leaders in resistance from the community, Zé Maria, was assassinated for his prominent role in fighting against the companies destroying his community.

The third community we visited was the Comunidade do Trilho, the train-track community here in Fortaleza. The community here is organizing in resistance to World Cup development projects that are intended to displace thousands of people living along an already-existing train track. The community is a struggling, poor community that has been marginalized by the city and the state, which have given the people living here no voice and no say in the development happening in preparation for the World Cup in 2014. The plan, for which construction is expected to start shortly in a couple weeks, is to build a passenger train alongside the existing freight line, requiring the demolition of the houses of all these people, rather than the demolition of high-rises and commercial centers on the other side of the existing train tracks.

Talking with folks at the Comunidade do Trilho (train track community), about the World Cup development projects

In all of these visits, we had the incredible opportunity to talk with people on the frontlines of organizing against these injustices of agribusiness, capitalism, and the state. I personally took away a deep sense of courage and admiration for people and communities who are living resistance, every day, together with the people around them, because that is what they must do to live. I felt an incredible sense of shared history, shared identity, and tightly-knit community within the communities we visited and hope I can carry that sense back with me when I return to the United States, to my community, where resistance, for me and people of my racial and class background, often is viewed as more of a choice than a necessity.

But we dig our feet deep
And we reach our hands in
Because we see beauty
And potential
In the changing form
This brown muck could take

An afternoon meeting

The second part of the Encontro was spent at Barra do Lemme, a land settlement that the Ciclovida farm is part of, where we had the incredible experience of the culture of convivencia there on the farm. I´ll never forget the incredible feeling of the first night at the farm when we had our first opening circle, 50 people sitting in our opening circle, with that sort of buzzing energy, finishing dinner as Ivania opened up the Encontro on the farm saying, “We are here to live together, learn together, and work together, sharing in our resistance and building a new world in resistance to and outside of capitalism.” I felt this surge of excitement to think that this could be possible and all of the faces, all of these people, would share with me in doing that. The following 5 days were spent living an ideal sort of life, all sharing the work of constructing projects that foster autonomy, sharing in the tasks of cooking and cleaning, sharing food, exchanging ideas, sharing poetry, songs, and music, celebrating together, and taking care of each other. Every day we would wake up, have breakfast together that was prepared by a group of people who started their day´s work 2 hours prior, make announcements about the projects and activities of the day, break off to do work for 4 or 5 hours (each person free to go to projects as they desired), regroup for lunch mid-day, take an hour or two to rest, jump in the reservoir, take a nap, take a walk during the hottest hours of the day, then gravitate back to the projects to work more in the afternoon, re-group for workshops and discussions early evening, have dinner, then have activities after dinner like workshops, presentations, discussions, open-mics, and even a foho dance one night!

We can make
Beautiful creations
From the scraps and wreckage
Of a broken system
We hold it in our hands
Even as it cuts us
Breaking our skin
There is pain
And courage
In the act of
Building something new

Working together on the natural building "healing house"

For me one of the main sentiments I experienced during the Encontro was the incredible sense of creativity. Together we physically accomplished constructing a cistern and filter system that will catch water and then filter it so it is potable. We completed a bike-power system that uses 3 pedaling stations to produce energy stored in a battery.  We constructed a healing house out of all natural materials found on the land there that will be a place for people in the community to receive and share natural therapy and treatment. Less tangibly, we built incredible strong connections between ourselves and our movements and our projects. I was incredibly inspired by the creativity of folks working on media during the Encontro: capturing stories, experiences, and moments with video, photo, and recording. As well as folks who created poetry, music, food and drawings; all of these things created using the resources at hand.  We talked about our movements and what we hope to create in the future moving forward together; we surely have built an incredible foundation for collaborating and working in solidarity with each other.

But our actions
Are rooted in love
And we will heal
Ourselves
The world
Each other
Taking care of one another
Through pain
Through borders
Through the hurt we feel in division
Forced upon us by capitalism
We are cut
We bleed
But together will heal
And grow
Like this wild forest
Bringing life and wonder
And resistance
In what others have deemed a dry forsaken place
But in it we see
Fertility
Potential

And to me, this experience of solidarity is much deeper than any I have ever talked about before because it is rooted in the personal relationships and friendships we built during this experience. It is the power of understanding more deeply that there are people organizing and struggling in other parts of the world at the same time and with shared purpose. The power of knowing we are organizing and struggling for each other and with each other. In general I just feel so grateful to have had this experience of connecting with folks from different parts of the world to openly and explicitly share in the struggle against capitalism and for autonomy, horizontalism, and a new relationship with the land and with each other. This experience has built a strong network of solidarity and shared resistance that will continue to build as we move forward together, overlaying this new set of connections with the other movements and connections we all already have. I hope you´ll be a part of this with me as we continue to work together!

Against all odds
We will take root and reach upward
In spite of beating sun and crippling heat
Dryness wearing at our feet
We will take what has been tossed away
And make art of it
We will revive what we can
And evolve as we can
Taking lessons from the ants
And the plants
And the snails
And the fungi
And the fish
Because we all wish
To be whole again
Part of the cycle
The ecology
Exchange
Interchange
Interdependence
We are descendants
Of a long-time-life
We are ripe
For change

-Ashley Trull

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Guatemala Tour Winter 2011

Guatemala Domingo 11, 2011                                                                                                   Guatemala Sunday11, 2011
Acabamos de tener nuestra primera proyección de Ciclovida esta noche, y fue la discusión más increíble aún de todos las pressentaciones de ciclovida. We just had our first screening of Ciclovida this evening, and it was the most incredible discussion yet of all the ciclovida screenings. .
La mayoría de los participantes eran activistas de una estación de radio comunitaria o campesinos indígenas de la zona de Sumpango, Sacatepéquez, Guatemala. Most of the participants were activists from a community radio station or indigenous farmers from the area of Sumpango, Sacatepequez, Guatemala.
"Altiplano"

"Altiplano"

 Era la primera vez que mostamos la versión doblada al español de una hora , y, a pesar dealgunos errores debido al apuro en el doblaje,  funcionó bien para el público y fue muy bien recibido. It was our first time showing the Spanish one hour dubbed version, and, despite some errors due to the rushed dubbing work, it worked well for the audience and was very well received. 
Muchos de los participantes eran  jóvenes, ellos  dijeron que  la pelicula era muy reveladora,  sobre las semillas
transgénicas y los agrocombustibles. Otros tenían una riqueza de conocimiento sobre la agricultura sostenible, el imperialismo, etc. Many youth participants said it was very eye-opening on issues of GMO seeds and agrofuels. Others had a wealth of knowledge about sustainable agriculture, imperialism, etc.
Una mujer trajo las semillas de maíz en mazorca hermosas, los que han ahorrado para la próxima temporada de siembra. One woman brought her beautiful corn seeds, the ones they have saved for next planting season.

"Mazorca"

Esperamos con interés de 6 a 10 más proyecciones aquí, en varios pueblos en Guatemala durante las próximas dos semanas, casi todos organizados por el espectacular trabajo de Lisa Maya Knauer, una amiga de Dania que ha estado haciendo un trabajo con una red de estaciones de radio indígenas.  We look forward to the 6-10 more showings here in various pueblos in Guatemala over the next two weeks, almost all organized by the spectacular work of Lisa Maya Knauer, a friend of Dania’s who has been doing work with a network of indigenous radio stations (more about what she’s up to here: http://guatebuenaguatemaya.blogspot.com and here’s some info about the community radio movement).
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A Growing Revolution in Massachusetts

We’ve had a great tour through the farmlands of Massachusetts this week! The tour has brought us to all sorts of family farms, community gardens, revolutionary agricultural projects, and more! We started off int the hometown of the two film-makers, Matt and Loren Feinstein: Colrain, Massachusetts. We arrived in the evening and kicked off with an event at the Green Emporium/Mike and Tony’s Pizzeria, the only pizza shop in this small population-2000 town.

Colrain event at Mike and Tony's

We had a beautiful event with an incredible turnout of many great folks from Colrain; it was one of our biggest events yet, despite the fact that it is the smallest town we’ve stopped in! Jarabe and Inacio were joined in opening up the event by alocal folk band

The Feinstein family and friends

The Feinstein family turned out in full force, with 3 generations of the family present to see the film (many for the umpteenth time) and to meet Ivania and Inacio. All-in-all the event felt very warm and the Ciclovida team felt very welcomed in this cozy little farm town.

 

The next day we headed out on bike east to Turners Falls, our next stop on the tour. We had a gorgeous ride weaving through the hills of western Mass, descending into the beautiful Pioneer Valley. We arrived at the Brick House, the community resource center that hosted the event. The Brick House is a great community space that has served many purposes through the years, as its mission is, “to provide accessible services, respond to immediate needs and foster community organizing efforts to address longer-term solutions for change and community development.”

Event at the Brick House in Turners Falls

That night we did a workshop on the Landless Movements in Brazil and had a great screening with a packed audience! After the show we headed out to Gill to stay with the wonderful folks at Undergrowth Farm. They welcomed us to the cozy home and shared some homemade kombucha, maple syrup, home-cooked food, stories, and even seeds with us!

The Undergrowth Farm

In the morning we got a tour of their gardens where they already have som crops blooming! It was a short but very sweet visit, and Ivania shared with them that she was happy to visit their farm because their lifestyle seemed very familiar to her, similar to how she lives in Brazil.

They sent us off as we biked on eastward toward Orange, MA to check out the Seeds of Solidarity Farm. We had our most challenging ride yet as we biked uphill for over 2 1/2 hours to get out of the Valley! With tired legs we were welcomed to the Seeds of Solidarity Farm by Deb and Ricky, the two creators and workers of this organic, revolutionary, solar-powered, off-the-grid farm. At SoS they use innovative, yet very basic method of “no till” farming. They don’t till the soil but let instead let it recuperate and help it to do so by laying down cardbord to attract worms and fungus to nourish the soil. At the farm they do workshops and classes about this farming technique and also sell their produce at local farmstands. They have beautiful hoophouses bursting with greens and soon a whole array of other produce including tomatoes, corn, beans, and more! After spending the afternoon sharing stories, food, and seeds with them, we traveled off for Fitchburg. This time in van, and luckily for us as we soon discovered that Fitchburg is the second hilliest city in the country!

That night we had a small, intimate movie screening at The Rabbit Hole bookstore. We connected with some wonderful people from Fitchburg, including people working with the Cleghorn Neighborhood Center, Mass Local Food, and Growing Places, an awesome program helping people, particularly low-income people, all across Massachusetts start up community gardens. They are hoping to open up 50 new gardens this year! We had a great discussion after the movie in which people shared feelings of frustration that fighting against corporations sometimes makes you feel like you’re up against a huge wall, but also sharing that hearing about Ivania and Inacio’s form of resistance by biking 6000 miles really gave them hope. One woman from the audience also said something very poignant; she said: “I am beginning to realize that one of the most revolutionary things I am doing in my life right now is growing my own food.” Indeed we are seeing, day by day, that revolution and rebellion is indeed growing and being grown.

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