Occupying in Latin America: Social Movements Taking Over Land, Factories and Schools

Panelists Michael Fox, Esneider Arevalo & Nathan Schneider
Panelists Michael Fox, Esneider Arevalo & Nathan Schneider

This Left Forum panel was organized by Toward Freedom and Between the Lines Radio Newsmagazine.

While the Occupy Movement has taken the world by storm, a long history of different types of social movement occupations have marked Latin America for decades. This panel draws connections between the Occupy Movement in the US and its historical and contemporary counterparts in Latin America. Participants will discuss Brazil’s landless farmer movement, the occupation of factories and businesses in Argentina following the country’s 2001 economic crisis, the occupation of land by farmers and urban activists in Paraguay and today’s powerful student movement in Chile, which has occupied the streets and schools of the nation. This panel will look at the distant and recent history of occupying as a short- and long-term tactic of the some of the most powerful social movements in the hemisphere, and tie it to today’s struggles emerging out of the global Occupy Movement.

Click here for an audio recording of this panel

Chair: Scott Harris, co-founder and executive producer of Between The Lines Radio Newsmagazine, a 21-year-old syndicated weekly public affairs program broadcast on 50+ stations across the U.S. He has been active in Latin American issues since first being involved in the Central American solidarity movements of the 1980s and founded the Norwalk, CT – Nagarote, Nicaragua Sister City Project which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2011.


Michael Fox, above left, is the editor of the NACLA Report on the Americas. He has worked for many years as a freelance journalist, radio reporter, and documentary filmmaker covering Latin America. He is the co-author of Venezuela Speaks!: Voices From the Grassroots (PM Press, 2010) and the co-director of the documentary films Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas and Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse to Action, both available through PM Press.

Nathan Schneider, above right, is an editor of WagingNonviolence.org, for which he began covering the planning of Occupy Wall Street in August of 2011. His writing about the Occupy movement has appeared in The Occupied Wall Street Journal, Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, Tidal, the Boston Review, and elsewhere.

Esneider Arevalo, above, center, is a NYC-based member of Friends of the MST, a network of individuals and organizations that support the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) in the struggle for social and economic justice while securing respect for human rights. Esneider is a native of Colombia and has been active in Latin America solidarity work for more than two decades; he joined FMST after working directly with the MST in Brazil in 2003.