Little Rock, AR: Last week, in the far northeastern corner of a Little Rock, Arkansas Super Wal-Mart parking lot, a group of thirty Brazilian landless peasants were discovered by Girl Scouts Troupe 475 squatting the land. The peasants had already built a small town made of cardboard boxes and had dug up the parking lot asphalt, planting potatoes, tomatoes, avocado trees, and herba mate in the rich fertile soil beneath.
Jennifer Sully, leader of troupe 475, spotted the shanytown through her binoculars as she was searching the vast lot for the elusive red-tailed hawk. "Well," explained Sully, "I was looking for a darned red hawk, you know, so I could get my bird watchin' patch when all of a sudden, in the corner of my binoculars, I spotted an old brown man watering the parking lot."
The brown man Jennifer Sully saw through her binoculars was Paulo Borges, the elected representative of the small squatter community. Borges believes that his peoples’ claim to the land is justified. “We are poor peasants who have had our lands taken away from us by the wealthy. Often times, the land goes to waste, just sitting there, not being used while we starve,“ claimed Fernandez.
Refusing to live in forced poverty, the Brazilian landless peasants began organizing themselves, building one of the largest and most powerful landless peasant movements in the world. “After many years,” explained Borges, “we won an agreement with the government allowing us to live and grow food on any unproductive land.” This is why, Borges argues, his people are justified in their occupation of the "immense barren land" that is the northeast corner of the Super Wal-Mart parking lot.
“The rich cannot deny us our basic rights to land and life,” stated Borges, surrounded by members of the Brazilian squatter community.
Wal-Mart officials, though, seemed somewhat confused by the claims of the landless peasants. “Well,” began David Stevenmeyer, weekend manager of the Little Rock Super Wal-Mart, “I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, first, this isn’t even Brazil, and second, this land is being used, to park the cars of Super Wal-Mart customers.”
Reggie Patterson, regional director of Wal-Mart, was also quite dumbfounded by the discovery. “How the hell did they even get here? Did they walk? Can you even walk from Brazil to Little Rock? Where the hell is Brazil? Someone get me a map.”
Jim Daily, mayor of Little Rock, argued against the legitimacy of such an agreement if it were to exist in America. “If we let people just take over unused land, the homeless would be settin’ up shop in the aisles of CostCo, poor farmers would grow crops on high school running tracks, and immigrants would sell various fried foods on church lawns. It would really challenge everything we stand for in America.”
The landless peasants claim that their corner of the parking lot, only 1/2 square mile out of the 10 square mile Super Wal-Mart parking lot, was not being used by Super Wal-Mart customers because most tried to park closer to the mega-store so as to avoid the 3 mile trek from the northeast parking lot corner to the front entrance. “People are always asking us for directions to the Super Wal-Mart and when we point to the surrounding miles of asphalt and say, this is Super Wal-Mart, they just snicker to themselves and mutter ‘those crazy immigrants’,” explained Cristina Silva, resident of the squatter community.
Residents of the Mountain View condo community across the street from the northeast corner of the Super Wal-Mart parking lot support the claims of the landless peasants. Toby Diezer said, “To this day, I have not even seen one car parked out here. Every once and awhile we might see an RV with some campers or a couple of high school kids makin out, but otherwise, there is nothing going on out there.”
Despite the claims of the lack of usefulness of the northeast corner of the Super Wal-Mart parking lot, Wal-Mart will not allow the Brazilian landless peasant community to stay unless are they are “buying something at the store”. As a result, for the past week the landless peasants have created a 24 hour Shopping Team. Each member of the community signs up for a one hour shopping shift, leaving the store after purchasing a Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for 10 cents. Thus far, this tactic has prevented their removal from Super Wal-Mart property.
“We hope that this unspoken agreement between our community and Super Wal-Mart will last,” said Borges, “it is really a win-win situation, Super Wal-Mart receives our business and we get to eat those delicious mouth-watering peanut butter and chocolate candies.”