Land struggle in Brazil under the Workers’ Party governments

Sauer S., Meszaros G. Land struggle in Brazil under the Workers’ Party governments // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2020. V.5. №1. P. 93-124.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2020-5-1-93-124


The article considers the state agrarian policy during the presidency of Lula da Silva (2003–2010) and Dilma Rousseff (2011–2016). This policy was controversial: on the one hand, the Workers’ Party has always supported land reforms and social movements in the agrarian sphere, but, on the other hand, it began to make political and electoral alliances with large agribusiness. Therefore, more than a decade of generally progressive activities determined only insignificant changes in the implementation of key government programs. In some cases, there were even outright failures such as attempts to expand land expropriation to provide landless family farms with land. The political cycle ended with the collapse of electoral alliances and with the impeachment of Rousseff in 2016, which proved political and tactical failures of the Workers’ Party. The article considers government decisions, historical causes of land conflicts, struggles for land and territory, challenges in mobilizing supporters in this struggles. The authors emphasize the content of political discussions (especially under the criminalization of social movements which makes them illegal), economic disputes about the role of agribusiness, and the fierce struggle for land and territorial rights under the progressive governments of the Workers’ Party.


Brazil, Workers' Party, agrarian reform, rural poverty, social movements, agribusiness

About the authors

Sauer Sérgio, PhD (Sociology), Professor, University of Brasilia (UnB). 70.847-080 SQN 406, Bl. H, Apt. 305, Brasilia/DF, Brazil.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Meszaros George A., PhD (Sociology), Professor, University of Warwick, School of Law, Coventry CV4 7AL, United Kingdom.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


Read 744 times Last modified on Mar 15 2023

Russian Peasant Studies. Scientific journal

The Russian Peasant Studies is published by the Center for Agrarian studies of the Russian Presidental Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) since 2016. ISSN 2500-1809. Frequency - four issues per year. The Russian registration number is PI FS77-65824 27-May-2016. Open access: All volumes and articles can be downloaded for free in the PDF format. Russian Peasant Studies included to Russian Science Citation Index, Russian Science Citation Index Core, List of Journals approved by Russian Hihger Attestation committee (Ministry for Sciende and Education) and  Scopus database. The publisher: Delo Publishing House of the RANEPA. Hard copies of the journal can be purchased at the Delo e-store or by subscription in the "Press of Russia" Agency (subscription index - Т81017). Full list of the RANEPA Journlas


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