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"Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes."  --Alexander Haig

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Author Topic: It takes a Riot Squad to Move a Woman - Authority and Property in South America  (Read 529 times)

picaro

  • Guest

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Hats off to Luis Vasconcelos for this powerful picture.

The caption says, “An indigenous woman holds her child while trying to resist the advance of Amazonas state policemen who were expelling the woman and some 200 other members of the Landless Movement from a privately-owned tract of land on the outskirts of Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon March 11, 2008. The landless peasants tried in vain to resist the eviction with bows and arrows against police using tear gas and trained dogs. REUTERS/Luiz Vasconcelos-A Critica/AE (BRAZIL)”.

Images of heavy-handed oppression really don’t come much better than this - defenceless, screaming woman clutching naked child is shoved and beaten by faceless, armoured authority.



The symbols are reinforced by the strong composition. The woman and her child appear all the more vulnerable as the only elements of humanity and colour against the advancing wall of shields and boots.Such a potent image leaves very little room for any doubt. In such circumstances do we need to know the details of the dispute to have any doubts that what we are witnessing is wrong?

At first glance, you might side with the propertied interests, but read on:

"One of the biggest forces behind the compulsory enclosures, Scott argues, was the tax collectors, who wanted a more detailed and accurate map of who owned and owed what."

22 Floors of Freedom

The Brasilia Settlement

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About a fifth of Rio de Janeiro's residents, half of Mumbai's, and two-thirds of Nairobi's live as urban squatters, a category that includes an estimated 1 billion people around the world. They don't hold title to the land on which they live; they are loosely if at all regulated; they do not pay taxes; they seldom receive postal delivery, water, sewers, roads, or other public services; and, in general, they live with a minimal legal order.

Anarchist political theorists have long dreamed of such a society; some of their ideas are today being put to the test. As Neuwirth reports, squatter anarchy can work surprisingly well. In the favela squatter settlements of Rio, law and order is privately maintained by local drug lords, and there is hardly any crime, comparing favorably in this regard with most Rio neighborhoods served by the city police. The housing is built one small step at a time. Although the exterior appearance is typically ramshackle at first, the interiors are surprisingly neat and comfortable, and after a few decades the outsides are often attractive as well.

Illegal Cities - Life among the Third World's squatters
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David

  • Secessionist, Peacemaker and Non-violent
  • Enemy of the State
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  • Karma: 1124
  • Posts: 2819
  • Came home on feb 3rd '07'

Very very interesting.  I have no doubt some version of 'eminent domain' was used by the large landowners in many countries.  Squatting then becomes a form of civil dis., neccessary for basic survival in many areas. 
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David

  • Secessionist, Peacemaker and Non-violent
  • Enemy of the State
  • ******
  • Karma: 1124
  • Posts: 2819
  • Came home on feb 3rd '07'

This post and its links have done a great deal to focus my views in a different direction. 
There is a quote somewhere that to be rich in a gov't run society is to be a member of the ruling elite.  I increasingly believe that.  The wealthy benefit the most from the stifling of competition.  The gov't knows what it is doing.  Their behavior ensures a steady supply of campaign contributers. 
It is not the poors responsibility that the economic constriction of the economy results in a softer job market, fewer housing options, etc.  They are victims.  And while it is easy to focus our efforts on the minimum wage and welfare, they are a pittance to the money spent on the offensive military and regulations in general. 
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