Cultivating space for contemporary resistance in Brazil's Amazon and Cerrado

Brian Garvey, Maria Luisa Mendonça, Mauricio Torres, Daniela Stefano, Fábio Pitta

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This paper investigates how contemporary labour-capital conflicts in the Cerrado and Amazon biomes of Brazil are centred on the expansion of value from land via dispossession and land titling, and the extraction of value through financial mechanisms that enhance the current and future rent from landholdings. Understanding the consequent territorial struggles between traditional collective ownership on the one hand, and private individual and corporate value capture on the other requires a departure from incumbent capital-(salaried) labour analyses in value chain studies. Resistance to further land capture for speculation reveals inter-and intra-class class tensions, and the facilitative role of the state in validating illicitly grabbed resources. Despite the adverse political conditions in Brazil, there are modest, but significant gains by autonomous land occupations and demarcations in confronting capital expansion. In the face of intensified land grabbing, violent threats, and the laundering of illicit resource extraction, the two cases presented open up new dimensions of, and possibilities for, capital-labour struggles linked to commodity expansion and extraction on resource-rich frontiers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825–839
Number of pages15
JournalEconomic and Labour Relations Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2024


  • labour
  • land
  • conflicts
  • commodities
  • Brazil


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