Tricontinental Institute for Social Research
Latin-American spiritualities in times of Covid-19: Social movements and solidarity actions as resistance
This paper engages with the spirituality and the mysticism in one project of the Landless Workers’ Movement – Brigadas de Trabalho de Base (grassroots brigades). This project engages with the periphery of the big cities, promoting education and social projects. We analyze their solidarity actions during pandemic times and how they find spirituality nowadays. We will interview activists on the front line doing these actions and listen to their experiences about spirituality and mysticism.
Brazil is facing an oppressive and neo-fascist government. The protests and solidarity actions are the way to rethinking the world we want. As Arundhati Roy wrote, “pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next” (2020). Spirituality as a path to resistance is beyond religion, creeds or temples, it is a spirituality we find in the streets, in marches, in the screams seeking for justice and in the gentle hand that help others.
Our theoretical reference is the decolonial perspective of the Quechua concept of “sumak kawsay”, Buen Vivir (good living or well living). Buen Vivir is a wide concept, not translatable into English. It is not individual well that is being promoted by capitalism; far from that. Buen Vivir is a community-centric idea of harmony: with humans and nature. This exploration of solidarity in Buen Vivir is inspired by the writings of Esperanza Martínez, Alberto Acosta, Ivone Gebara and our companheirxs (comrades) of struggles in Latin-America.