My Thoughts on the MST
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Near the end of the program, the group took a trip to an
area where an MST project was in progress.
The MST, aka the Sem Terra Movimiento, is a social rights organization,
who fights for and aids the poor of the country, specifically those with no
land to live on. The MST searches for
land that is not in use and whose ownership is vague and after finding it,
sends a certain amount of homeless to “invade” the land. With the help of the organization, these
homeless erect homes and begin to work the land, growing crops to sustain
themselves and their families. The social
group even provides supplemental education as well as legal help, in which they
attempt to win legal ownership of the disputed land for the homeless. Such an organization is unique to
In terms of positives, the MST clearly improves the life of many of the poor. Where initially they may not have had anywhere to stay, the organization finds land and property for the poor to call their own, to make their home. Rather than just giving the underprivileged food directly, the group demonstrates to the people how to farm and grow crops, so that these people, once dependent on others, become self-sufficient. Without the MST, the poor would have nothing, and would be struggling just to get by day to day. Yet, with the MST, these people now enjoy a greater quality of life and a better atmosphere to live in.
at a broader perspective, the MST could also be very socially beneficial to
While full of potential, the MST also has its drawbacks. While visiting the MST camp, one of the workers explained how the MST supported all governments and group that are against “the establishment.” What exactly is “the establishment?” In my opinion, the “establishment” to this group is capitalism and everything related to it. They are against the fact that while some get richer, others get poorer and remain poor. They oppose the fact that in all capitalist nations, not everybody can be equal. Yet, to be against capitalism is to be against the hundred of years of international progress and development. Throughout history, the population of countries has risen, and people have the tendency to congregate around the more strategic locations, such as ports and rivers. As the population of these areas increase, not everybody can be self-sufficient off the lands, and there is a growing need for services. Thus, there becomes the need for specialists who need to be paid, and so the cycle of capitalism starts. Clearly, being against the “establishment” is very radical, and not a realistic ideology in the world of today. Without such radical messages, the MST might be able to gain more support, socially and politically.
In addition, in the long run, this social organization, while currently fighting for the betterment of the conditions of the poor, will not do much to change the inequality of the country. The organization helps people survive, but does little in helping them climb the economic ladder. While the MST may teach them how to live off the lands, that is all these people really know or get to know. In order to become more wealthy and change economic status, these people must turn to capitalism. But since they are taught anti-capitalism sentiments, and for the most part resigned to rural farms, the big city life (and thus industry and wealth) may be too much of a culture shock for these folks. Thus, down the line, these poor people will continue to be just as poor as they are today, thus sustaining, rather than changing, the inequality of the country. While against the establishment, this organization does little to change it.
Overall, the MST is socially very positive. It gives the poor land and the means to survive, thereby increasing their quality of life to a certain extent. Yet, the radical ideas and unproductive long term effects of the MST hinder the organization’s potential and sustainability.
regret about the
In terms of
shortening stays in the other cities of the program,
unfortunately, that also means some time needs to be cut out of
more time in
In terms of the workload, I would only make one change, since for the most part it was reasonable and doable. With regards to personal cultural blogs, I would reduce the number to two or three a week, as opposed to four. Four a week became a little difficult in the fact that it was hard to come up with material, especially when we stopped having class so frequently (since that is where I got a lot of my ideas). With four a week, I think people in the long run began to start putting forth less effort and thought in the blogs, since the topics to write about began to dwindle as well. With two or three blogs a week, the student has more time to put forth more effort and thought in his blogs. As a result, they become more meaningful to him/her and the professor.
last change to the program would be to spread the final exams out some
those changes, the entire trip was fantastic.