1. Mobilization within Movements
1. The term ‘‘catachresis’’ is used in subaltern studies by both Gayatri Spivak
(1990: 228) and Gyan Prakash (1992: 8; 1995: 212). Both probably adapted the
word from Derrida, who in an interview in 1981 defined it in reference to his meta-
physical project: ‘‘Catachresis is a violent production of meaning, an abuse which
refers to no exterior or proper norm. The founding concepts of metaphysics—logos,
eidos, theoria, etc.—are instances of catachresis rather than metaphors. . . . I am
trying to produce new forms of catachresis, . . . a violent writing which stakes out
the faults and deviations of language; so that the text produces a language of its own
[which] emerges at a given moment as a monster, a monstrous mutation without
tradition or normative precedent’’ (quoted in Kearney 1984: 123).
2. Account from the author’s field notes, September 1999.
3. There are several other organizations involved in organizing the struggle for
agrarian reform in Pernambuco, including, most importantly, the rural unions
affiliated with the Federation of Agricultural Workers of Pernambuco (Federação
dos Trabalhadores na Agricultura do estado de Pernambuco) and the Catholic
Church. The rural unions have a much longer history in the region (Mallon 1978),
and until the 1990s they were the most visible advocate of both the rural workers
and agrarian reform. By the mid-1990s, however, the mst was the strongest of the
organizations, both in terms of political capacity and organizational strength.
4. Between 1986 and 1997, roughly 5,800 hectares of land were expropriated
in Água Preta; in 1995–1996, according to the Censo agropecuario (Instituto Bra-
sileiro de Geografia e Estatísticas 1996a), there were 38,296 hectares of land in
agricultural establishments (figures cited in Moreira, Moreira, and Menezes 2003:
211). In 2000, according to figures provided by the federal government and re-
ported on the mst Web site, there were 223 expropriated settlements in Pernam-
buco, with 13,185 families living on 174,784 hectares of land (out of a total of
roughly 5.6 million hectares); in the Northeast as a whole, there were 2,328
settlements with 194,830 families living on 6,030,533 hectares of land (out of a
total of roughly 78.3 million hectares). (See
.php?cd=1007, accessed on July 1, 2009.)
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