Although support from urban-based students and activists was important, the rural protest in Indonesia during President Suharto's regime was built on continued protest and organisation around land issues.
Brazil has not experienced any sort of major agrarian reform since then, but dozens of rural movements have been organised and hundreds of thousands of landless peasants have acquired the right of access to land (especially through settlement projects) as a result of these social movements’ struggles. After so many years of fighting and popular mobilisation, what are these movements’ contributions to building rural democracy? This study seeks to understand this process by evaluating social movements’ alliances (both rural and urban alliances) and evaluating their relationships with political parties, especially with the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) and with the Brazilian Federal Government.
Has political regime change led to changes in state-society relations? This study begins to address this question by analysing rural movement efforts to exercise newly-won citizen rights. The specific focus is on rural civil society initiatives to use the “right to know” as a tool to bolster long-standing campaigns to build self-managed, community-based economic development institutions, to bolster peasant influence over the policy process, to defend human rights, and to respect indigenous rights.
This paper attempts to specify the key criteria of a ‘pro-poor land policy’ and ‘truly democratic land governance’ concerning state/public lands, using the lessons from activist databases, including that of the international human rights organization Foodfirst Information and Action Network (FIAN).