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Like a Murure: Social Change in a Terra-Firme Community on the Amazon Estuary


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LIKE A MURUR: SOCIAL CHANGE IN A TERRA-FIRME COMMUNITY ON THE AMAZON ESTUARY By NEILA SOARES DA SILVA A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2004

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Copyright 2004 by Neila Soares da Silva

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To my husband, Roger, and in the memory of my father, Pedro, and my dear aunts-guardian angels Cuca and Dod, for their love, compassion, and concern.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis would have been impossible without the cooperation of the families in Jocoj, and the support and patience of Pedro Tapuru, Bira, Adamor, Capixaba, Carlos, Srgio, Maria Antonia, and Paulo Oliveira Jr. in Gurup and Belm. My greatest thanks are to these people. There are other debts that cannot be repaid. I would like first to thank the members of my committee, Professors Marianne Schmink, Karen Kainer and Stephen G. Perz, for their understanding and support in the final stage of this project. I am particularly indebted to my advisor, Dr. Marianne Schmink, for her guidance and encouragement in the writing process. I am also indebted to the staff at the Center for Latin American Studies and the Tropical Conservation and Development ProgramTCD. Special thanks go to Margarita C. Ganda and Myrna Sulsona at the Center, and Wanda Carter and Hannah Covert, Coordinator, at the TCD for their dedication, promptness and professionalism. Many institutions provided funding for my masters studies at the Center for Latin American Studies. Their support is gratefully acknowledged. Fellowships from the Tropical Conservation and Development Program, and the Nature and Society Training Program, under the partnership between the Instituto Internacional de Educao do BrasilIEB, the World Wildlife Fund and State University of New York, allowed me to conclude the coursework. Field research in the summer of 2002 was funded by the Charles Wagley Research Fellowship and the Tinker Travel Grant. iv

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Much of what is written in this thesis is the outcome of class discussions and readings for the courses taught by Dr. Anthony Oliver-Smith: Economic Anthropology, Rural Peoples of the Modern World, and Seminar in Economic Anthropology. It was the inspiration of his elegance and clarity of thought in walking us through the intricacies of rural peoples in modern and post-modern contexts that framed my anthropological interests. I am thankful for that. Final thanks go to my mother, Lygia, and my sister and brothers, Vnia, Paulo and Antonio. They contributed encouragement throughout my graduate studies abroad. My debt to my loving family is hard to express. Perhaps through music, as we have always communicated between us, I will find the notes to thank them for everything. I began writing this thesis in the Fall Semester of 2002. Roger was here then, by my side, writing his dissertation and helping me recuperate my physical and spiritual health after my fieldwork experience, and the loss of my best friend, and aunt-mother, Cuca. In the spring of 2003 he had to resume teaching in Brazil. He has been an indefatigable supporter through correspondence, conversations on the phone, and two short but much cherished visits ever since. Without his support and physical presence in the end of my writing process, this thesis would not have been possible. May we have all the time after this endeavor to enjoy the many pleasures of a life together. v

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES...........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT.......................................................................................................................ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 Theoretical Affiliation..................................................................................................4 Entry to the Communities.............................................................................................8 My Access to the Communities.............................................................................8 The Research Setting, Jocoj..............................................................................11 The Fieldwork Experience: How I Met My Hosts.....................................................12 The Organization of the Chapters...............................................................................17 A Brief Note on the History of the Emergence of Amazonias Peasantries ..............21 2 MAKING A LIVELIHOOD: CONTEXT AND PRACTICES..................................26 The Municipality of Gurup.......................................................................................30 The Town....................................................................................................................40 Jocoj in 2002: The Ways the People in the Community Secured Their Livelihoods............................................................................................................42 Other Sources of Income: Remittances and Rural Pensions......................................55 Peasants?.....................................................................................................................59 3 TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE COMMUNITY IN RELATION TO OUTSIDE INTERVENTIONS.......................................................63 The Formation of Jocoj.............................................................................................70 1912-1965, Like a Murur: Economic Independence on the Margins...................76 The Household.....................................................................................................79 Labor Mobilization and Internal Differentiation.................................................80 O Tempo dos Patres (The Time of the Patrons).........................................87 1966-1996, Timber Extraction: From Increased Participation in the Regional and Global Markets to Penury on the Margins.............................................................96 O Tempo da Comunidade (The Time of the Community)...........................97 vi

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Transformations in Sociality, Domesticity and Morality....................................99 Merchants of a Different Breed: Transformation of Social and Economic Relations Within and Between the Community and the Outer World.......104 Jocoj Revisited........................................................................................................107 4 THE SHIFTING MEANINGS OF MOVEMENT...............................................112 O Grande Movimento: Mobility and Agency on the Margins..............................115 The Catholic Church.................................................................................................118 The Socioenvironmental NGO.................................................................................128 Correlating Times, Movements and Social, Economic and Political Transformations in Gurup..................................................................................144 5 CONCLUSION.........................................................................................................157 The Time of the Patrons: Grande Movimento ..................................................161 Timber Extraction: Increased Cash Circulation in Gurups Economy ..................165 The Time of the Community: Movement of the Church...................................169 The Socioenvironmental NGO: Movement of the Environment..........................173 APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS...............................................................................177 B GLOSSARY OF PORTUGUESE TERMS..............................................................179 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................184 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................193 vii

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 2-1 Log Production in Gurup........................................................................................33 4-1 Tempos, Movimentos, and Social, Political, and Economic Context on the Local and Regional Scales..........................................................................146 5-1 Tempos and Movimentos: Transformations in the Social Life of the Community of Jocoj from 1912 to 2002..............................................................158 viii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts LIKE A MURUR: SOCIAL CHANGE IN A TERRA-FIRME COMMUNITY ON THE AMAZON ESTUARY By Neila Soares da Silva August 2004 Chair: Marianne Schmink Major Department: Center for Latin American Studies This thesis portrays the socioeconomic and political circumstances of a community of Amazonian peasants in relation to social transformations in Amazonia, from the end of the rubber boom in 1912 to the time of fieldwork, the summer of 2002. They are direct descendants of escaped slaves. Their history is analyzed by looking at changes in social relations of production and power relations, in various stages and forms of articulation between households in the community and the capitalist market system. The study explores the internal transformations engendered by such historically changing relationstransformations in communal organization of work for production, and household livelihood strategies and family relationsbeginning in the mid-1960s, with state-led efforts to massively integrate Amazonia into the national and world economies. The methodology used in the field research consisted of observation of and participation in daily social intercourse, primarily within the community. Knowledge of the past was acquired through life histories, particularly the testimonies of the elderly. ix

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The analysis of these narratives uncovered a social system marked by enduring hierarchies of economic advantage dividing householders, who entered into reciprocal relations to provide for themselves and reproduce a peasant mode of life, without apparent contradiction. It is argued that these relations among unequals, and their masking in everyday social intercourse, were a response to depeasantization. This analysis highlights the gradual loss by these peasants of a place in the regional economyfrom their vital role as extractors of forest products after the crash of the rubber boom to their virtual exclusion from the economy as producers and as consumers at the time of fieldwork. The leveling of intra-community socioeconomic differences is shown. It is explained as a decline in significance of control over land and/or labor in the community. The interactions are analyzed between the community and the two outside institutions that influenced them in the last quarter of the 20th century. The first was the progressive branch of Catholic church, which promoted political organizing of peasant communities on the estuary, beginning in the mid-1970s. The second institution was a nongovernmental organization (NGO). In the late 1990s, it assisted the slave descendant community in obtaining official recognition of their ethnic territory, and encouraged their engagement in the environmental movement. The effects of these interactions on the ways in which the peasants negotiated their class, ethnic and environmental consciousness in their mobilizations for support for local (sustainable) development are discussed. It is argued that their persistence is a function of their capacity to reinvent themselves as the social, economic, and political worlds they inhabit change, and suggested that it is their full appreciation of the importance of state policies to reduce their poverty and vulnerability that points to a possible future of self-determination. x

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION This thesis tells about social change in a peasant village in the upland tropical forests on the Amazon estuary. The village is located in the municipality of Gurup, where anthropologists Charles Wagley and Eduardo Galvo conducted field research for their seminal studies of non-Indian Amazonian peasantries: Amazon Town: A Study of Man in the Tropics (1964 [1953]), and Santos e Visagens: Um Estudo da Vida Religiosa de It (1955), respectively. What is presented here is ethnography. The thesis consists basically of description of data collected during fieldwork and analysis of those data. I attempt to build up intelligibility of a social system in relation to the history of outside interventions in Amazoniaglobal market forces, national development policies, and international concerns with and actions to help halt the processes of Amazon deforestation that such forces and policies effected. The account begins in the second half of the nineteenth century; this was the time depth of the memories of the oldest peasants in the village. This ethnography has two objectives. The first is to make sense of the conditions in the rural community in my ethnographic present, exploring the ways in which the peoples lives were affected by state-led efforts to massively integrate Amazonia into the national and world economies, beginning in the mid-1960s. The second objective is to illuminate the interactions between the people in the community and the two outside institutions that influenced them at the time of fieldwork. The first was the Catholic church, as embodied by a Liberation-Theology oriented priest, who came to serve the 1

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2 parish of Gurup in the mid-1970s, when the rural communities began to suffer the negative effects of the direct expansion of the capitalist world system into Amazonia. The second institution was a non-governmental organization (hereafter NGO) in the socioenvironmental sector, operative in Gurup since the mid-1990s. At the time, responding to constraints introduced by major social transformations in the region, the households in the community receded to subsistence production. Since Wagleys ethnographic monograph, two of his students conducted fieldwork in this Amazon region for their doctoral research projects, Darrel Miller in 1974 (1975) and Richard Pace in 1983-86 (1998). In addition, a detailed study (Oliveira 1991) of political economy orientation was carried out among roceiros (small-farmers living in the terra firme, i.e., dry upland forests dwellers) and varzeiros (inhabitants of the Amazon vrzeas, i.e., floodplain dwellers) in Gurup, Wagley and Galvos It. Pace also takes the political economy approach in his ethnography. Like Oliveira, he focuses on the effects of capitalist penetration upon communities, but he chooses the town as his unit of analysis, leaving the communities in the rural areas and the traditional anthropological concernsthe understanding of the actual organization and culture of the society in question (Ortner 1984:143)for future investigation. Supplementing Oliveiras and Paces comprehensive responses to the question of what was done to those people (the emphasis being on the larger system), this study of social change pays attention to the ethnographic conditions of a particular locale, and seeks to respond to the questions: what did they think about it? what did they say about it? what did they do about it? (Roseberry 1989:126).

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3 My account is based on a two-month fieldwork period in the summer of 2002. The methodology used in the field research consisted of observation of and participation in daily social intercourse, primarily within the community. Knowledge of the past was acquired through life histories, particularly the testimonies of the elderly, my key informants. 1 In rural communities in Amazonia, other kinds of historical work would require more extensive investigation of archival documentation in church and local public registries, access to which, for various reasons, may be difficult. Thus, the biographical narratives recorded were supplemented with the ethnographic accounts of Wagley, Galvo, Miller, Oliveira and Pace. These writings were used as primary sources. Their careful depiction of the present conditions of Gurup and its peoplesthe time they shared with their anthropological subjects in the fieldand, particularly, their concern with the nature of the ties between the local social groups they studied and the wider political and economic context in which they were located, justified my use of their ethnographies as historical documents (see Marcus and Fischer 1999:96). A two-month stay in the community was hardly the necessary time to build rapport with the people and start listening to their accounts. Because of these limitations, this study is necessarily provisional; ultimately, it attempts to contribute to the understanding of the persistence, or endurance (Nugent 1993), of the historical peasantries of Amazonia through a discussion based on work on one terra-firme (dry upland forest) community of roceiros, focusing specifically on the ways in which they obtained their subsistence. As Nugent (1993) wrote, the historical peasantries of Amazonia do not 1 Key informants are people who know a lot about the rules of a culture, are highly articulate, and are, for whatever reasons of their own, ready or willing to walk you through their culture and show you the ropes (Bernard 2002:187).

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4 represent transformed Indigenous social formations. Their ways of life are a precisely the products of the history of European colonialism and the consequent decimation of the indigenous societies that dotted the banks of the Amazon River and its major tributaries (see also Santos 1984, cited in Harris 2000). In this sense, as Nugent rightly points out, they are creations of colonial and post-colonial expansion, somewhat similar to Mintzs reconstituted Caribbean peasantry, artifacts of the European expansion into the New World (Harris 1998:1).2 Theoretical Affiliation Like Paces and Oliveiras studies, this thesis shares the problematic concerns of studies from the version of Marxist anthropology that Ortner (1984) calls political economythe social transformations in peasant communities effected by the penetration of larger systems into their lives. According to Ortner, the emphasis on external forces, and on the ways societies change, approximate the political economy school to the cultural ecology of the sixties. In the first, the state and the capitalist world system play the deterministic role the environment plays in the latter. But at the level of theory, she adds, political economists differ from their cultural ecology forebears in showing greater willingness to incorporate cultural or symbolic issues in their inquiries (1984:141-142). I hope to offer a more updated representation in the anthropological political economy tradition. But I take her critique. Despite its ethnographic orientation, this study could hardly be strong on political-economy analysis and, at the same time, strong on cultural analysis, that ideal meshing of political economy and interpretive concerns in 2 See the last section in this chapter. It presents a brief note on social and economic history of Amazonia and the emergence of the historical peasantries of the region.

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5 anthropology that Marcus and Fisher talk about in their Anthropology as a Cultural Critique (1999:77-110). The effort would require long-term fieldwork, at least. Ortner has other important critiques to political economiststhey are too strictly materialistic and not political enough and, most important, their acknowledgment of the significance of history to anthropology is offset by a capitalist centered worldview. Briefly, they dont pay attention to the processes on the ground, or, to real people doing real things, to local structure and history, and to the peoples historical agency (1984:142). I also hope to have incorporated these critiques in the thesis. The centrality oral histories have in it is not dictated by the need to validate, or even substitute, my own (rough) reconstruction in those moments in which it is muted by lack of data. Rather, the voices of the people in the community appear throughout the study in an effort to understand their points of view. This said, in this study, I outline the characteristics of the present of a community of roceiros on the Amazon estuary. Then, trying to make sense of their material conditions and social realities, I analyze their history as a history of change seen through changes in social relations of production and power relations, in various stages and forms of articulation between households in the community and the capitalist market system. I look more closely at the internal transformations engendered by such historically changing relationstransformations in communal organization of work for production, productive systems, and household/family relations. By social relations of production I mean the relations that people must enter into to (re) produce the conditions of their material existence. More precisely, I use the term relations of production as defined by Sider (1991)in the double meaning of (1) the

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6 social processes through which work is organized to produce goods, and simultaneously, (2) the processes through which surpluses are formed, transferred out of the control of the producers, and transformed, by those who have the power, into a wide range of economic, political, and cultural values (1991:228). Rosss article, The Evolution of the Amazon Peasantry (1978), serves as an implicit counterpoint to the discussions presented in this thesis, particularly in Chapter 3, where I stress the peoples historical agency in building an entire social system with very little to start with. Ross article tells about the origin and contemporary [sic] status of peasants who inhabit the Amazon River Valley in Brazil (1978:193). As I understand it, it can be placed at the intersection of cultural ecology studies inspired by Julian Stewards tradition (the emphasis is on the low density distribution of commercially desirable Amazonian products and its effects on cultural development; see Orlove 1980:237)and political economy studies in the historically sensitive version of dependency theory(the emphasis is on the world capitalist system and its effects on Amazonian social forms). Ross calls for a redirection of attention from dysfunctional characteristics of the poor, which underlay explanations of poverty and underdevelopment in the 1960s, to economic and ecological factors, which reveal much of the cultural repertoire of peasants and urban and rural poor to be a positive adaptive response to limits imposed on them by the political economy of capitalism (1978:193). He is right in placing the Amazonian peasantry within macrolevel historical, political, and economic processes, but, as Ortner critiqued, he puts too much emphasis on the expanding capitalist market system, and too little on the activity of local social groups within it. Different from Ross, I emphasize the peoples historical agency.

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7 Not discounting the influence of structures and systems within which people acted, I believe it would be inaccurate to characterize the sociopolitical profiles of the peasant social system I studiedin different periods covered by the peoples narratives concerning their pastas mere adaptation to the imperatives of the natural environment, or accommodation to the conditions of the external market (see also Harris 2000:16). What these narratives uncovered, especially in the period immediately after the collapse of the rubber boom, beginning in 1912, was not a loose social organization of undernourished and impotent peasants pulled from and thrust back to their isolated houseshardly communities at all! (Ross 1978:216)providing cheap labor to the regional extractive economy, according to the ebbs and flows of the international market. Rather, what they revealed was a social system marked by clear hierarchies of economic advantage dividing householders, who entered into reciprocal relations, if among unequals, to provide for themselves and reproduce a mode of life. As I analyze this social system, I engage in dialogue with recent ethnography of the historical peasantries in Amazonia (Lima 1992, 1997; Chibnik 1994; Harris 2000), and explore the tension between a Chayanov-inspired interpretation of intra-communal differentiation, and a view of socioeconomic differences among peasants, informed by Leninist theory. A. V. Chayanov (1966) and V. I. Lenin (1974) were protagonists of a major ideological confrontation in late nineteenth century Russia, regarding the role of peasantries in the transition to capital. Lenin treated rural differentiation in terms of class antagonisms, and viewed as inevitable the polarization of the peasantry between a peasant bourgeoisie and a proletariat, predicting the disappearance of the peasantry under capitalism. Chayanov, on the other hand, interpreted rural differentiation in terms of

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8 demographic cyclespeasant households would differentiate according to their labor composition, that is, the ratios between producers and consumers within the household along its developmental cycle (Chayanov 1966:xxi). Lima, Chibnik and Harris are clearly on the Chayanovian pole of this debate. My material, though it also clings to this pole, suggests a slightly different interpretation. I identified a crystallization of socioeconomic differences in the community, one that transcended the limits imposed by the developmental cycle of the households, but that didnt necessarily imply a split between the well to do and worse off peasants along class lines. On the contrary, it would not be wrong to assume that these differences in economic position provided a solid basis for the reproduction of the social system qua peasant system (see also Almeida 1988). Entry to the Communities My Access to the Communities I had no prior relations with the people in Jocoj, the community where I did most of my fieldwork. It was located in the upland forests in rural Gurup. My access (physical) to them was facilitated by the Federation of Organization for Social and Educational Assistance (FASE, hereafter), an NGO specializing in human rights and environmental protection that works closely with peasant groups and grassroots political movements in Brazil. The NGO had initiated activities in Gurup in the mid-1990s. It had been working in partnership with the local chapter of the Rural Workers Union (Sindicato de Trabalhadores Rurais/STR) ever since. At the time of fieldwork, the primary focus of the FASE program in Gurups interior was land titling. The second most important objective of the NGOs interventions in local communities was to promote sustainable development, which, as defined in the organizations brochures, was something that achieves, at the same time, the goals of environmental conservation,

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9 social justice and economic efficiency (Gurup 2002). Thus, the NGO developed projects that tried to reconcile the improvement of rural social groups living conditions with biodiversity conservation. To attain these combined goals, FASE had built solid partnerships with INCRA, the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform, IBAMA, the Brazilian Institute for Renewable Natural Resources and the Environment, and ITERPA, the Land Institute of the State of Par, where Gurup is located. Jocoj is one of the 11 rural black communities in Gurup that have recently succeeded in achieving legalization of a 92,011-hectare area. They were the first to obtain official recognition of their traditional land rights on the Amazon estuary since the legal opportunity was presented to descendants of escaped slaves in the new 1988 Federal Constitution. The families in each of these communities collectively own their territorial subdivisions within the ethnic territory through membership in one global association, which was legally established to receive the communal land title. In the late 1980s, unprecedented understory forest fires in Amazonia elicited growing international concern about tropical deforestation in Brazil. Thus, international and transnational funding networks of environmental organizations started channeling financial and technical aid through Brazilian NGO for activities revolving around sustainable management of aquatic and forest resources by forest-dwelling social groups. Thats how FASE obtained support from ICCO, a major private development organization of the Protestant churches in the Netherlands, and later the European Union. In the community of Jocoj, FASE carried out an inventory of timber resources involving villagers in order to submit a community-based forest management plan for approval by IBAMA.

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10 Soon after my first contact with the director of the FASE program of activities in Gurup, known as the Gurup Project, back in March 2002, he sent me copies of two detailed reports containing the necessary updated information on the overall project and its diverse components. The first was a mid-term evaluation report, written by two independent consultants in the environmental movement in Brazil. The second was an implementation progress report, written by the technical team at the NGO. Both documents were dated November 2001. With the help of these readings, which gave me a more recent view of the situation of the peasant groups in rural Gurup, I wrote my research proposal. My initial interest was in responding to the question of whether and how the social forms of production of varzeiros and roceiros on the Amazon estuary had been affected by the (re)incorporation of Amazonia into capitalist structures at international and national levels, beginning in the mid-1960s, right after the military took power in Brazil and launched programs for Amazon modernization. The particular estuarial zone where Gurup is located had never been the target of any big infrastructure building or large-scale development project. Yet, it was deeply affected by government policies of incentives and subsidies to attract capitalist firms to Amazonia from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. With the blessing of the Brazilian government, international lumbering firms and, later in the mid-1970s, commercial fishing enterprises caused extensive destruction of terrestrial and aquatic environments on which peasant groups in this Amazon region seasonally depend. I intended to investigate the internal socioeconomic changes engendered by the responses these groups had developed to social, economic, and environmental transformations in their world. I was specifically interested in looking

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11 at processes of intracommunal economic differentiation as expressed in changes in forms of appropriation of land and natural resources. The Research Setting, Jocoj Jocoj is one of the small tributaries on the south bank of the Amazon, near the town of Gurup. It takes two and a half hours navigating a small motorboat upstream against the flow of the Amazon to reach it. I ached for the sight of its black waters during every trip in the equatorial sun. Entering the Jocoj River was refreshing. Because it was narrow (rivercourse width <10m), the canopies of the trees on the riverbanks almost tunneled long stretches of river during the remainder of the trip. The next hour before we got to the neighborhood was never empty of surprises. The coca-cola waters mirrored the vegetation cover, sometimes giving us the impression that we could dive into the sky, and every river bend had a story, a funny anecdote about some fellow villager, which the passengers were always happy to tell. Much of what I learned about the primeirantes (the founders of the village) was told in the boats. Without my tape recorder, and sharing the same seat, it was easier to engage in free conversations with the people. Just past the mouth of the Jocoj, there was a small cluster of three houses facing the river. Built about a meter off the ground, they were joined by a wooden bridge that came from the backyard of the main house and branched into two smaller paths upstream of the parental hearth. These were the homes of Miguel Marzago and Maria Vitria, and their married son and daughter, respectively. They were the only families living in the vrzea of the river. During the rainy season, the muddy mix of black and Amazon white waters regained their terrain up to the forest line, where the levee faded into higher elevations. The boat always stopped at the Marzagos for a chat, or to deliver a message

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12 to their close kin in the village. Occasionally, a passenger would buy fish or salted shrimp from these families. The vila (small village, or neighborhood) received its name from the river. I never heard people mentioning the official name of the neighborhood, Our Lady of Nazar. The Jocoj was the central axis of the communitys territory, its main spatial reference. People lived up or downstream, and all relevant natural features were located within a distance of minutes or a few hours walking from the riverbanks. The spatial arrangement of Jocoj was typical of the majority of Amazon villages. Little had changed since Charles and Cecilia Wagley visited the community in 1948. As he wrote: The vila of Jocoj contains nineteen houses built along on fairly straight street. It is a small village with a white chapel and a ramada, a large open structure used for dancing festivals. An overly large hut without walls is used as a school, and in 1948 it functioned with about the same regularity and efficiency as the one in It. Jocoj parents were exceedingly anxious that their children take advantage of the school, for it was the only rural neighborhood which boasted one. (Wagley 1964:30-31) At the time of fieldwork, the school building was located at one end of the straight street. A water tower and a shed to protect the water pump shared the scene we viewed from the boat when it neared the shore. The Fieldwork Experience: How I Met My Hosts I arrived in Jocoj on a Saturday morning. The director of the FASE program in Gurup had told me that his local staff had already made the arrangements with the community concerning my stay there. Bruno, an agronomist of FASEs work team, had driven me there in the NGOs powerful motorboat. The men in the community were rebuilding the ramada when I first met them. In two weeks, the glorious celebration of St. John the Baptist would take place in Jocoj, I learned. People from almost all the communities in the nearby islands and igaraps (small streams) will come to the

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13 festival, they said. A team from Jari3 accepted our invitation to come for a soccer match with our team, Dito, the coordinator of the community, explained. They were excited, I could feel, and definitely had no plans for a break. The presentation of my research project would have to wait. Bruno left the village. The children invited me for a swim in the Jocojo River. I was feeling uncomfortable, so I took the opportunity to relax. My conversation with the villagers happened only on the following day. After the Sunday morning mass, when the whole community congregates, they gathered in the ramada and I presented my research project. I thought that the people at FASE had already given them an overview of the project, but, much to my dismay, not only hadnt they touched on the research objectives and methodology, such as the mapping sessions, but also they had already carried out themselves much of what I had planned to do during the fieldwork. We worked hard with the people of FASE to make the map of our land for the recognition of our land rights. It was a requirement of ITERPA, they said. I walked with Soninha all across this land to show her our boundaries with the neighboring communities, Lucas said. He seemed to speak in the name of the group. Assisted by the communities, Soninha, a surveyor, and Bruno had mapped the whole territory claimed by the slave descendants in Gurup. As the conversation evolved, I learned that the people in the community resented the way FASE had conducted its activities in Jocoj. This feeling was confirmed when Lucas said, if you worked for FASE, we would not allow you to stay here. I froze. Yet, 3 The Jari region is located at the junction of the eastern end of the Lower Amazon River and the western edge of the Amazon estuary (Little 2001)pp.32. The peasants of the islands and of the upland forests on the estuary have always moved back and forth between Gurup and other riverside towns and the extensive Brazil nut stands in the Jari region. In the late 1960s a wood pulp factory associated with a massive tree plantation and a kaolin mining operation were established in this region (Little 2001:77-79) starting the process of industrialization that until the mid-1980s, and after that in a less significant manner, continued to absorb, on a permanent or seasonal basis, the riverine peoples from the estuary.

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14 from a few expressions I saw when he said that, I suspected that the resentment was not totally shared, or it was not felt as intensely as he was voicing. Dito, the coordinator, said, we are grateful for the support that FASE gave to the quilombola4 communities. It would have taken years to get our land title without FASEs support for the mapping, and the alliances with lawyers and other contacts they have in Belm. But, as you will see, our living conditions havent changed a bit. You are welcome to stay, if you want, he told me, especially because you plan to stay a long time. People visit us, but they dont stay long enough to see how hard our everyday struggle is to feed our families here. The relationship between the NGO sector of civil society and rural communities has always interested me. I had managed a small grants program that funded productive conservation5 projects implemented by local resource user groups in Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest. In the supervision of the program, I visited a number of initiatives that were doomed to failure, possibly because of the way the division of labor had been defined from the start. Such a division, never explicitly formulated, was more or less like this: the technical staff from NGOs would take responsibility for the planning of projects, the communities (always taking for granted the existence of a community of purpose) would implement them, and a little dialogue (in the context of fora, workshops, seminars, in which differentials in power between development experts and peasants or indigenous peoples are often unattended to) would suffice to seal their ecological partnerships. 4 In Brazil, fugitive slave settlements were given the name quilombo. The descendants of slaves in the country call themselves quilombolas, based on a long shared history of resistance and a common heritage dating back to the eighteenth century. 5 The term productive conservation is defined by Anthony Hall as [a process] based on the economic use of Amazonias forest resources and waterways by local populations alongside the preservation of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations (Hall 1997:xxiv-xxv).

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15 The words I had heard in our first conversation kept repeating in my mind. In the recent past, FASE had sent several researchers to Jocoj. The heads of all families, men and women, had responded to surveys; veteranos (married men with children) and jovens (mostly unmarried men and women) helped make maps, participated in forest inventories, and were trained in GPS use. Yet, we have never received copies of the reports they wrote, or the project proposals they prepared to get funding, or even of the map of trees (map for extraction made after the forest inventories). Most important, the living conditions of the community hadnt improved at all. Misunderstanding and suspicion is not infrequent in the relations between local communities and outside institutions, as Almeida (1996:152) wrote. People resent the wealth of NGOs and government, and this may lead to speculation about possible hidden interests, such as vested interests in land by foreigners. Thus, I knew it would not be easy to understand the apparently chronic misunderstandings in the interactions between the community and FASE, but I was prepared to try, even knowing it would take precious time until I felt I was really beginning to gain access to the people in the community. At least they had agreed that I stayed. It was clear, however, that the methodology had to be reduced in scope. There was no reason to try getting their agreement to carry out another household socioeconomic survey, for example. Mapping sessions also seemed pointless to me at that time. Actually, Lucas had already said that they would not participate in any of the activities they had been involved either during the process of regularization of their communal lands, or after the land title was awarded to the quilombola communities. In a sense, the problems I encountered in the field are discussed in Alberts (1997) short note, Ethnographic Situation and Ethnic Movements. He talks about the

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16 disappearance of the two founding illusions on which classical anthropology was based, the boundedness of its object and the scientific transparency of its methodology: participant observation. He discusses the intellectual implications and perspectives created for the discipline by the transformation of former docile anthropological peoples into political subjects vis--vis the nation-states. As indigenous peoples and their organizations question the purpose and consequences of anthropological research, anthropologists face two ethical and political obligations that were eluded by classical ethnography, Albert says. First, they have to be accountable in their work to people who previously were only the objects of their studies. Second, they have to assume the responsibility their knowledge entails for these peoples strategies to resist nation-states policies that dont take account of local rights. Rather than constrain anthropology, however, the new condition created increasing demand for anthropological involvement, he argues. Permission to conduct research is often obtained through negotiations with representatives of host communities. Their demands range from studies for legal causes, such as land and human rights, to production of didactic material for training purposes, such as brochures for health workers in indigenous communities, for example. But the people in Jocojo presented no demands to me. They hadnt invited me in the first place. Yet, they decided to not expel me from the vila in our first meeting. Thus, I decided that at least part of my work would have to be useful to them. Merely mediating their relationship with FASE was not my intention at all. As the fieldwork developed, however, I came to realize that the main cause of their problems with the NGOthe only possibility of institutional support to the riverine peasants in rural Gurupa, according to the mid-term evaluation report as well as to my own observationwas the

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17 miscomprehension on the part of FASE technical staff of the communitys social organization and cultural practices. Thus, I dedicated my time to the task of responding to those basic questions anthropologists have always been concerned with: how did this sociocultural system work? and how did it come to be as it was at the time of fieldwork? Put in other words, how did those people manage their lives? how did they make a living? what held them together? what held them in the world? what were their most important ties with the outside? From what I experienced in my interactions with the people in the community and with the FASE work team, my original assessment proved correctthere was really no incompatibility between research and solidarity with the communitys needs and interests. What I could do to contribute to improve the relations between the community of Jocoj and the NGO was precisely to provide the latter with an understanding of the social reality, worldviews, and values that together help to guide these peasant peoples social interactions. The Organization of the Chapters Chapter 2 is divided in two sections. After briefly introducing the process of Amazon incorporation into the world market, and the specific consequences of this incorporation to Gurup and the peasant groups in its rural areas, I present the municipalitytown and countryside, physical and socioeconomic environment. A long interview with the chief executive of the municipal administration in 2002 serves as my point of departure. Conventional wisdom says we must always begin with the present situation before we can turn to the past in order to make sense of it. Hence, section two presents an ethnographic account of the community of Jocoj. The focus is the communitys economytheir productive activities, i.e., the ways in which they drew their sustenance

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18 and survival from their environments, and the nature and state of their articulation with the larger capitalist system in which the community was embedded. Without engaging in the conceptualization debate, I conclude section two with a brief discussion about the peasant character of the community. This chapter emphasizes the marginal position of Gurup in the Amazon economy, and the situation-specific outcomes unleashed by the process of capitalist expansion into Amazonia, particularly the levels of household production and consumption in Jocoj, and the general lack of economic options available to subordinate peoples in rural Gurup. In Chapter 3, I provide insight into the past. The story is told at the level of the history of the community. The background against which this story is told is provided by Nugents historical account of the emergence of the historical peasantries in Amazonia as independent petty commodity producers, and the ways in which these peasantries were maintained politically invisible, and their perspectives cast to the side before, during and after the state-sponsored efforts to modernize Amazonia and integrate the region in the world market. The personal memories of the elderly and other men and women who lived through the events in the last quarter of the twentieth century are the foundation for the analysis of the ways in which the people in Jocoj produced and (re)produced their livelihoods in relation to outside transformations. I look at the nature of the transition between two patterns of the communitys economy. The first is characteristic of the period between the collapse of the rubber industry, beginning in 1912, and the entrance of capitalist firms on the Amazon estuary to exploit the old-growth forests on its vrzeas. Unquestionably an uneven process, the latter period began in the mid-1960s and was subsequently stimulated by massive fiscal

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19 incentives and tax holidays given by the Brazilian government, from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. This economic pattern characterizes the period of the operations of lumbering firms in Gurup, when the hitherto diversified livelihood strategies of households in Jocoj for managing economic stress and exploitation were nearly totally funneled into various approximations of wage labor, as men in the community were engaged by firms to cut down the forests on their own natural surroundings. In this discussion about social change in Jocoj, I seek to understand the transformations of sociality, morality, and domesticity engendered by changes in the productive base. In the course of the discussion, I place my ethnographic and ethnohistorical material in the context of recent ethnographies of the riverine peasantries in Amazonia (Lima 1992, 1997; Nugent 1993; Chibnik 1994; Harris 2000). A comparison of my findings about the impacts of capitalist expansion on the organization of productive relations in the community is thus provided. I look specifically at the process of internal (socioeconomic) differentiation in Jocoj. I contend that the particular form of penetration of capitalist firms on the estuarythe nature of their activity (timber extraction), and the ways in which they engaged labor in the communityrather than launch the polarization of these peasants into a class of petty capitalists and another of near-landless laborers, as social scientists informed by Leninist theory would predict, leveled existing economic differences between households and put a check on their ability to socially reproduce. Hoping to have explained the material circumstances of the families in Jocoj at the time of fieldwork, I conclude this chapter with an exploration of the reason(s) the riverine peasantries in Amazonia remained politically invisible. Following Nugent (1993; Nugent

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20 1997), but distancing from him at the same time, I suggest that these peasant peoples were not simply neglected by those in power in the Brazilian government. Rather, the appearance of neglect seems to mask the fact that they were effectively taken care of, inasmuch as their social forms of interaction with nature and between themselves were viewed by policy-makers as impediments or superfluous to the expansion of capitalism in the region. Few and rather tenuous relations linked the people in Jocoj to the outer world when I met them in the summer of 2002. By all measures, households in the community were excluded from participation in the market both as producers and as consumers. Chapter 4 looks into the interactions of the community with the two relevant linking institutions: the Catholic church and FASE, the NGO. I try to assess whether and how these engagements had helped reduce the disenfranchisement of the people in the community, and improve their living conditions. I focus on those situations and circumstances that are not always clear to those who are called upon to act professionally or on a humanitarian basis in the solution of social problems and environmental dilemmas. Then, I analyze the variations in the peoples discourse practices as related to their involvement in the sociopolitical and economic events of local and regional history. I discuss the process of black identity (re)construction among slave descendant communities in Gurup after the legalization of their ethnic territory. The ways in which they negotiated their class, ethnic and environmental consciousness in their mobilizations for support for local (sustainable) development are discussed. I argue that it is the full

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21 appreciation on their part of the importance of state policies to reduce their poverty and vulnerability that points to a possible future of self-determination. Chapter 5 presents a summary of the communitys social relations and material conditions in the different historical periods examined in this thesis. I highlight the gradual loss by the roceiros in Jocoj of a place in the regional economyfrom their important role as extractors in the period immediately after the rubber boom to their virtual exclusion from the economy as producers and as consumers at the time of fieldwork. But, as Trouillot (1988) wrote in his Peasants and Capital: Domenica in the World Economy, the wonder about peasants is their continuing existence (1988:1). I conclude this thesis suggesting that it is their capacity to reinvent themselves as the social, economic, and political worlds they inhabit change that accounts for their persistence. A Brief Note on the History of the Emergence of Amazonias Peasantries The history of the European conquest and occupation of the Brazilian Amazon is one of genocide, slavery and ethnocide.6 By the end of the sixteenth century, fueled by the ideology of exploration and discovery, the Dutch, French, and English had already established their strongholds in eastern Amazonia, and sealed political relations with Amerindians with whom they traded. In the seventeenth century, after the Portuguese secured their supremacy over these European potencies in the lower Amazon, 7 the 6 This historical sketch of the development of the mixed-blood peasantry in the colonial period relies on many sources, but primarily on Parker (1985) and Harris (2000). It ends with the decline of the rubber industry in Amazonia around 1912. 7 The town of Gurup owes its existence to its privileged geographical positionin the lowland landscape of the Amazon estuary, it rests on a high elevation at the mouth of the Amazon River a position that allowed it to become a fortress from which the Portuguese could halt Dutch and English intrusions into the colossal Amazon.

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22 Portuguese Crown gave the Catholic church the responsibility to bring together Indians from their villages into mission settlements, and make them Christian slaves or laborers. With the purpose of provisioning colonists with indigenous labor and knowledge of rivers, forests, and their products, mission villages were constructed along the riverbanks, from the estuary to the lower middle Amazon. But this did not occur without tension between the church and the colonists. The greedy missionariesmostly Jesuits who had entered the Amazon in order to protect the indigenous labor force from outright colonist violenceadministered this labor force according to their own interests. Deprived of labor, the colonists and the military succeeded in obtaining support from the Portuguese Crown to free this indigenous labor force from the control of the missionaries. By the mid-eighteenth century, the government of the mission villages was taken from the Jesuits, who were expelled from Brazil in 1759. If their work was intended to physically protect native Amazonians from the decimation caused by the excesses of settlers and colonial authorities, it nonetheless resulted in ethnocide (Kelly 1984; Parker 1985a; Oliveira 1994). In 1757 the Crown created the Directorate of Pombal, which was the first coherent state policy for the settlement and exploitation of the Amazon in Brazil (Schmink and Wood 1992:40). It was originally conceived to weave the Indians into the social and economic fabric of the colony, and thereby integrate their labor force. The sociocultural transition to local civil society would be accomplished through marriage with whiteswhich were encouraged to live in Indian settlementsuse of Portuguese language and habits, and wages, or payments in cloth and other imported goods. Thus, lay village directors were appointed to administer Indian labor (Parker 1985a:23-35).

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23 Political stability and intensified regional economy were also important goals of the new policy. Large-scale plantation agriculture would substitute for the extractive system of the traditional Amazonian economy. Expeditions to bring Indians into the now mixed-raced towns continued under the supervision of village directors. Those who were captured and survived European diseases and ill treatment resisted working as slaves in plantations. As a result, African slaves were brought into Amazonia for production of plantation crops, but only the elite with large land holdings and capital could afford slaves, and even the elite in the region could only afford small groups of slaves (Funes 1996). Thus, extractive activities continued dominating the economy of the area. At the end of the eighteenth century, when the Directorate was abolished, there had been little success either in creating an integrated labor force, or in building an export economy based on sugar cane, cocoa, rice, tobacco, or cotton (Harris 2000:37). Those Indians and blacks that did abandon the settlements of the whites, moved out along rivers and streams with the hope of fishing, hunting, cultivating, and gathering only for themselves. These survivors of the colonial havoc, and the mixed-blood population that continued scattered along the banks of the Amazon and its major tributaries formed the free riverine Amazonian peasantry, known in the anthropology of the region as caboclos (Parker 1985a; Oliveira 1994; Harris 2000). The historical period between the abolition of the Directorate and the beginning of the 1840s is known in the historiography of Amazonia as the phase of decadence. According to Santos (1980), economic activity declined due to a combination of factors, including a weakened Portuguese Empire, a decreased international demand for Amazonian commodities, and a series of factors internal to the region. One crucial

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24 political factor was the civil war in Amazonia, known as the Cabanagem Revolt. Historians interpret this uprising as either a result of tensions between factions of the elite in the region (e.g. Santos 1980), or a rebellion of the oppressed rural population8 (cf. Harris 2000:39). The revolt began in the early 1830s with an alliance between pro-independence elitesBrazil had proclaimed independence in 1822black slaves, mixed-bloods, Indians and urban workers. It was crushed in 1836, and had major consequences in the formation of the peasantries in Amazonia. First, it devastated the regions labor force, thus, increasing labor scarcity. Second, it left a vacuum of economic and political power in the region (Schmink and Wood 1992:42); the plantation and ranch owners lost control of their work force. Third, it effectively freed the rural population that survived to organize themselves economically and socially without external control. This encouraged further dispersal of the newly emerged peasantries to riverine lands, particularly floodable forests, surrounding towns (Harris 2000:39). Thus, the Directorates failure to promote agriculture and integrate an Amerindian labor force in Amazonia and the economic decline of the years that followed its end account for the emergence and flourishing of the riverine peasantries. Besides, the collapse of the Directorate explains the appearance and consolidation of two important institutions in the Amazonian socioeconomic landscape: the trading posts and the 8 Following Santos (1980) and Ross (1978), Pace (1998) argues that the economic depression impacted the production of cacao, the leading export crop of the time; hence, the peasantries, now freed from the Directorate and, most important, in the process of consolidation as independent petty commodity producers, found themselves barely subsisting (1998:68), relying on agriculture and extraction of less valued products, and depending on credit advanced by traders. Their involvement in the Cabanagem Revolt, he maintains, was a consequence of the frustration with their material circumstances. According to Nugent (1993) and Harris (2000), this interpretation, and representation of the historical peasantries of Amazonia fails to notice the impressive sense of opportunity and flexibility of the peasantries in the region to (re)organize themselves according to the vagaries of external markets.

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25 institution of aviamento trade relations. 9 During the Directorate, settlers who were unable to buy slaves and/or secure Amerindian labor became comissrios volantestraders who operated outside the legal channels (Parker 1985a:31; 1989:255). Both trading posts owners and aviadores acted as ties between dispersed extractors of tropical forest products and export houses that eventually delivered these products to external markets. In the period of economic decline following the breakdown of the Directorate, many settlers established in riverside villages, and continued to provide this link between local, regional and export markets. As Parker (1989) wrote, the village qua trading post served as a key reference point for emergent caboclo society in terms of trade, communication and information exchange, and social intercourse. While traders succeeded in controlling the exchange value of the commodities, and maintaining the mixed-blood, or riverine peasants in debt through the aviamento system, these peasants, on the other hand, bore the unfortunate distinction of being kept at arms length from the social sources of power(Shanin 1971:15). 9 The aviamento system was the political-economic idiom through which patron-client relations were articulated in Amazonia. The trader-patron would keep the clients in debt by advancing credit and imported goods, mostly foodstuff, but also tools and other industrialized items, in exchange for guaranteed delivery of particular products, principally rubber (Lima 1992; Nugent 1993).

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CHAPTER 2 MAKING A LIVELIHOOD: CONTEXT AND PRACTICES In the mid-1960s, when the military came to power in Brazil, it embarked on an ambitious project to massively incorporate Amazonia into the national and international economies. The region was seen as a vast empty space where the country should consolidate its presence and implement major infrastructural work to allow for the exploitation of its wealth of natural resources, namely land and mineral resources. Under the National Integration Program, building a network of roads connecting Amazonia with the coastal areas of Brazil was initiated in the early 1970s, the most important being the Transamazon Highway, with construction directly related to public policies designed to alleviate the effects of the drought that periodically afflicts the Northeast. By the end of the decade, peasants who had become marginal to the sugarcane plantations of the Northeast of Brazil migrated to Amazonia to settle alongside the highways under the colonization program of PIN (Velho, 1974), but these colonization efforts were short-lived. Rather than concentrate on populating the region and fostering local development, by the late 1970s, the plans of authorities in control of the Brazilian economy changedattracting private investment to promote accumulation in the countrys industrial sector became the new leitmotiv. Thus, the militarys development policies for Amazonia provided subsidized credit and fiscal incentives for large-scale agricultural projects, timber and mining companies, and facilitated accumulation of public lands by important business groups from the Center-South of the country (Cardoso and Mller 1977; Almeida 1990:228; Schmink and Wood 1992). 26

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27 Just as the former federal and state government programs had been geared to the material interests and ideological horizons of commercial elites and urban sectors,1 public policies during the military rule were predominantly antipopular in nature. The indigenous peoples and non-Indian peasantries who have lived for centuries in Amazonia were largely excluded from government policies, only considered, or benefiting, in the short-term through the expansion of programs such as the Rubber Campaign during World War II, or during the aborted colonization program in the 1970s (Santos 1980; Schmink and Wood 1992). Despite sheltering the major highway through which Amazonian commodities were drained to European and North American shores, the Amazon valley remained largely unaffected by national schemes for modernization of Amazonia, particularly the road-building program. The towns along the Amazon banks, which had begun the twentieth century as important trading centers and stopping places in the busy river network, were hardly ever considered as sites for large-scale economic development projects (Santos 1980; Bunker 1985). Yet, on the Amazon estuary, a number of small towns and riverine peasant communities in their environs were deeply affected by government policies of incentives and subsidies to attract international firms. They became important sources of cheap labor and raw material for international lumbering firms. Beginning in the mid-1960s, but more intensively in the mid-1970s, three large corporations initiated operations on the Amazon estuary. After depleting its floodable forests of all known commercially valuable species at the time, they advanced to other 1 The programs were aimed at financing the traditional development schemes of the elites, and consisted mostly of initiatives to promote rubber and Brazil nut collection, and exports of other Amazonian commodities for the international market.

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28 areas upstream the Amazon, where rich stands of hardwoods were still available, leaving a largely impoverished extractive resource base for the locals, and the small-scale sawmills that sprung up in the area with the timber boom (Oliveira 1991). By the mid-1980s, as timber extraction began to wane throughout the lower Amazon, the economies of the towns and riverine communities significantly declined (Pace 1992). Thus, just as it had happened in the periods in which economic activity receded after the booms in the world market of diverse fruits of the forests and rivers in the region, such as the boom of raw rubber extraction from the mid-1980s to the early 1900s, riverside towns in the region once again became neglected in terms of the development concerns of the government or the capitalist class. As Oliveira Filho noted (1979), the interpretations of the traditional historiography of Amazonia used the analytical model of the cycle, that is, paid attention to the boom and bust of export commodities, and omitted other phenomena occurring in diverse Amazon areas before, during, and after each cycle, particularly the last and most important cycle of raw rubber extraction. Arguably influenced by this historiography, most of Amazonian anthropology between the 1950s and 1990s has represented the Amazonian as stagnant, and the livelihoods and sociality of the social groups historically established in the region, as subject to the imperatives of nature (Wagley 1964; Moran 1974; Ross 1978; Parker 1985a; Parker 1985). Recent studies on the heterogeneous historical peasantries in Amazonia, however, have offered much more lively narratives, which finally do justice to the historical agency of (small) peoples. Taking into account the larger system, but paying close attention to the processes on the ground, Nugent (1993) and Harris (2000), argue that, in spite of, or

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29 as a consequence of stagnation, riverine societies emerged and consolidated, and their economies grew, expanding their repertoire of forms, shifting from monocultural export extractivism to broad-based production which included a variety of food and non-food crops as well as various forms of petty extractivism (Nugent 1993:182). With the lessening of international attention, small towns along the Amazon had to reform themselves along more autonomous2 lines. As Harris (2000) wrote, the stagnation alleged to have characterized the region in the twentieth century must be juxtaposed to the simultaneous strengthening of local social relations and a resilient peasant economy (2000:54). In this chapter I present an ethnographic account of the economy of Jocoj. It is divided into two sections. The first presents a general account of the socioeconomic characteristics of the municipality of Gurup, in which the community under study is located. Section two examines the economic practices of the villagers. These two sections are based on my fieldwork in the summer of 2002. This chapter is mostly descriptive. With the brief description of the historical origins and trajectory of the riverine peasantry in Amazonia provided in Chapter 1, it is meant to introduce Chapter 3, in which, based on the memories of the elderly in the community, I discuss the particular historical trajectory of Jocoj, from its beginning to the time of fieldwork. The aim is to explore the nature of the transition between two economic patterns. The first begins with the decline of rubber extraction and ends with the penetration of capitalist firms in the estuarine region under state-led modernization programs (from the1910s to the mid-1960s); the 2 Nugent (1993) argues that the limited autonomy of Santarenho social formation that he studied is not a result of a local development initiative, but an adaptation to neglect by the modernizing apparatus which is by and large unconcerned with Amazonian societies except in so far as their existence has implications for the extraction of raw materials (Nugent 1993:94).

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30 second pattern begins with the intensification of lumbering firms activities on the estuary and ends with their withdrawal to other areas in the lower Amazon where stands of precious woods were still available (from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s). The Municipality of Gurup The municipality of Gurup lies wholly within the Amazon Estuary and can be divided into two major ecological zones, the vrzea, which occupies approximately 75% of the 8,578 square kilometer territorial unit, and the terra firme. Gurup includes many islands of the estuarine archipelago that separate the Amazon into a complex network of channels, including the Great Island of Gurup, whose western end is at the junction of the estuary and the Lower Amazon River (see Fig 2-1). Irregular in shape, Gurup is bordered by the State of Amap and the Amazon River on the north, the municipalities of Melgao and Porto de Moz on the south, the municipalities of Afu, Breves and Melgao on the east, and the State of Amap and the municipalities of Porto de Moz and Almeirin on the west, near the mouth of Xing River, an important clearwater tributary to the Amazon River. The low-lying area has an average elevation of only 20 m (65,62 ft) above the sea level. The municipal seat is also named Gurup3. According to the Demographic Census of 2000 (IBGE), the small town was home to 6,593 people; the remaining 16,505 of the 23,098 total municipal population live in the communities that dot the high levees on the vrzeas of islands and the shores of the Amazon River. A significantly smaller population lived in communities that string along the banks of the small southern tributaries that empty into the Amazon River. Small diesel-powered motorboats (from 5 to 10 meters 3 Location of the town: Lat.1o 245S and Long. 51o 388W.

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31 Gurup Figure 2-1. Location of Area of Study

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32 long and equipped with up to 10 horsepower engines) were the main means of transportation for the peoples in Gurups countryside. Only canoes, however, linked many families to the town. One of the poorest municipalities of the State of Par, Gurups IHD-M (Municipal Index of Human Development) in 1991 was 0.3964, while the average IDH in the state was 0.491, and 0.742 in Brazil. In 1980, when 40% of the municipalities in Amazonia presented an IHD-M between 0.40 and 0.60, Gurups index was 0.456. The decline from 0.456 to 0.396 in the intercensal interval 1980-1991 reflects the depletion of marketable wood species in the vrzeas and consequent migration of lumbering firms operations to other municipalities where these species were still available.5 In the summer of 2002, the economy in this forgotten Amazon area was based on other extractive activities, including fishing and shrimping. Aa fruit (Euterpe oleraceae), dourada catfish and fresh-water shrimp (camaro) were the main products securing a scanty circulation of money in Gurup, largely in the town. Lumbering activities really fueled the local economy from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s; the climax was in 1983 (Oliveira 1991:108, citing IBGE census data) (see Table 2-1). In informal conversations with 4 The Index of Human Development was created in the 1990s by the UNDPUnited Nations Program for Development. It combines three basic development components: longevity, education and income. Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth. Education combines adult literacy rates and school enrollment rates for elementary school, middle and high school, and college. Finally, income is measured by the populations purchasing power, based on the GDPGross Domestic Product per capita adjusted to local costs of living in order to permit comparison across countries by the use of the methodology known as parity of purchasing power. The methodology used to calculate the HDI involves the transformation of these three dimensions into indexes of longevity, education and income, varying between 0 (worse) and 1 (better) as well as the combination of these three indexes into a synthesis index (Sawyer and Monteiro 2001:309, my translation). 5 In his article Social Conflict and Political Activism in the Brazilian Amazon: a case study of Gurup (1992), Pace wrote: The community is poor: it suffers from underemployment, periodic food shortages, high malnutrition rates, a lack of good medical facilities, and a high infant mortality rate. (1992:711).

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33 several urban residents, lingering memories of this timber boom were frequently expressed. Table 2-1: Log Production in Gurup Year Total log production (m3) 1975 235,000 1980 450,300 1983 670,100 1990 415,200 1995 265,500 2000 205,480 2001 198,650 Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatstica (IBGE) Agricultural Census 1975; Vegetal Extractive Production 1980 2001. The people blamed the federal and state governments for Gurups abandonment. Lack of investments in the area and a corrupt political systemoften translated into pork barrel politics by the state legislatureadded to poor geographic location,6 were pointed out by urban and rural residents as the main causes of widespread poverty in this municipality. According to the mayor7, Gurups monthly budget ranged from R$ 450,000 to R$ 500,0008 (about $175,000). As shown on the 2000 database on Brazilian municipalities (IBGE 2001), federal funds in the amount of R$ 2,116,914.17 (about $740,919.96) per year, or R$ 176,409.51 (about $61,743.33 ) per month, were transferred to Gurup through the Municipal Participation Fund (Fundo de Participao dos 6 About 500 kilometers of Amazon River waters separate Gurup from the most urbanized areas of the State of Par, including Belm, the capital of the state. The towns in the Amazon River floodplains have no permanent roads other than the waterway to access markets in these urban centers. In addition, because the high costs of transportation influence location of industries and sawmills, firms choose towns or municipalities that are closer to the urban centers and main ports in the state, to the detriment of Gurup. 7 Raimundo Monteiro dos Santos; Interview on July 15, 2002. 8 Analyzing public spending at the municipal level in Amazonia, Sawyer and Monteiro (2001:316-317) indicated that between 1991 and 1995 the majority of the municipalities in the region had a total monthly revenue between R$ 500,000 and R$1 million.

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34 MunicpiosFPM).9 The remaining amount of Gurups revenue consisted mostly of monthly transfers from the Ministry of Education for payment of schoolteachers and local acquisition of food items for meals provided to students in the first four grades at municipal schools, equivalent to the elementary school in the US. There were 197 primary schools and one official middle school in Gurup. In 2000, there were 7,873 students attending primary school and 196 attending the towns middle school (IBGE 2001). Because primary schools were located in or near isolated local communities in the interior, the government had difficulties in staffing them with qualified teachers, frequently not community members. Distance is a major problem in Gurup. In the vrzeas, individual households or small clusters of households were scattered along the countless streams that feed into the Amazon delta. As a result, although the average number of children and adolescents enrolled in each school in the rural areas was 20, there were localities where schools had less than ten students attending class. But education was a high priority for the local municipal government, then controlled by the Workers Party (PT), which won the municipal elections for the 2001-2004 term. Assisted by a specialist in literacy programs from Belm, the Secretary for Education,10 who had completed only four years of school, organized a series of capacity building courses for schoolteachers to use the methodology proposed by Paulo Freire, a 9 Article 159 of the 1988 Brazilian Federal Constitution established the FPM as a means to mitigate regional inequalities and promote socioeconomic equilibrium between states and municipalities. In addition to the FPM, the National Treasury Secretariat redistributes a considerable part of the federal tax revenues to the 26 states and 5,500 municipalities in the country through the Maintenance and Development of Elementary Education Fund (FUNDEFFundo de Manuteno e Desenvolvimento do Ensino Fundamental) and the Rural Land Tax (ITRImposto Territorial Rural). 10 Antnio Santana Alves Filho; Interview on June 24, 2002.

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35 Brazilian educator,11 to teach reading and writing to students in the municipality. Despite the fact that there were almost no other permanent jobs than the jobs with the municipal government12a situation also noticed by Miller (1976:303) and Pace (1998:27)both rural and urban residents seemed to perceive education as a means of social mobility, since better education is likely to improve chances in the job market. Like other leaders of the Workers Party in Gurup, however, the Secretary for Education also emphasized the political, and not only the economic significance of educationhe viewed it as a consciousness-raising instrument and a way to promote grassroots political organization and mobilization. On an experimental basis, in 2001 PTs administration initiated middle schools in focal places in the vrzeas. Because students in the last three grades of middle school already contribute to family labor in gardening, harvesting and fishing activities, the schools operated only three days a week. Every Sunday afternoon 70 small riverboats leased by the administration transported adolescents and young adults from their localities to schools, and returned them to their families every Wednesday afternoons. The experiment had been working successfully at the time of fieldwork, and school dropout was expected to decrease in the municipality. One of the most valued initiatives of the local administration among rural residents whom I interviewed seemed to be the launching of the program Casa Familiar Rural 11 Paulo Freire critiqued official education systems as means to reproduce unjust social systems. His proposals to redirect education consisted of incorporating culturewhich he conceives as the practices, wants and knowledge of individuals and social groupsand the particular sociopolitical contexts in which such individuals and groups are inserted, to educate them and elicit more critical views of their local realities. 12 Of the 23,098 inhabitants in the municipality, in July 2002, about one thousand worked for the municipal government.

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36 (CFR) in Gurup. Also a boarding school, it provided formal education and training in agroforestry to students selected from diverse communities in the vrzea and the terra firme. In July 2002, there were 52 female and male adults attending the Casa Familiar Rural. Every two weeks CFRs boat docked at the towns trapiche (wharf) and took them downstream the Amazon towards a bay of the Great Island of Gurup, where the school was located. The knowledge gained at school was intended to be applied in their families plots during the period they stayed in their villages. There was high expectation among PT leaders and representatives of the rural workers union that at least 50% of the students participating in the program would have the anticipated multiplication effect in their localities, and hence produce change towards new and more sustainable agroforestry practices, which would not only supply the rural families with the staples of their diet, but also provide them with more permanent sources of income. Another initiative of the municipal government that was strongly supported by urban and rural residents was the renovation of the sole hospital in Gurup. Not only had the administration made available to the public diagnostic examinations using X-ray and ultrasound, formerly accessible only in far-away Belm, but also it took the equipment on boat trips to communities throughout the river archipelago and igaraps. In the boat, a physician, at least two nurses and occasionally a dentistthere were no dentists at the hospital on a permanent basisprovided medical and dental care to the rural population, including Pap tests for uterine cancer prevention. Despite this improvement in the municipalitys health care delivery system, much was yet to be done. Although the local administration hired two qualified doctors who were in tune with its objective to focus primarily on prevention rather than on treatment,

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37 there was only one doctor for every ten thousand inhabitants, while the number recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is ten. Also, although the hospital was considered a reference to the population on the estuary, including those living in nearby municipalities in the same microregion13 (see also Pace 1998:29), there were only twenty hospital beds for 23,098 inhabitants in Gurup, or less than one bed per thousand inhabitants, whereas the WHO recommends four. The health conditions of the rural population have probably improved, if the mayor succeeded in implementing a program already designed but whose implementation had not yet begun at the date of my departure from Gurup in August 2002. The program would promote partnerships between the municipal administration and households in the rural areas. The local government would finance construction of wooden cesspools for household sewage. As a counterpart to this financial aid, the households would provide labor and raw material, if appropriate hardwood species were available in the areas they lived. This was intended to reduce the high number of cases of parasitic infestation among the population,14 as I noted then, including the need for hospitalization because of intestinal infections and severe anemia. 13 Gurup forms part of the Portel Microregion, which also includes the municipalities of Bagre, Melgao and Portel. The Portel Microregion, in turn, is included in the Maraj Mesoregion, which is divided into the Microregion of Arari, consisting of the municipalities of Cachoeira do Arari, Chaves, Muana, Ponta de Pedras, Salvaterra, Santa Cruz do Arari and Soure, and the Microregion of Furo de Breves, comprising the municipalities of Afu, Anajas, Breves, Curralinho, and So Sebastio da Boa Vista. 14 According to one of the local physicians, 100% of the tests in the hospitals laboratory present positive results for diverse parasites.

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38 The mayor commented about the hospitals vaccination campaign in the interior. The 2002 campaign reached the 103 communities in Gurups interior,15 and a total of 6,000 children took vaccines against childhood diseases. The problems noted by Pace (1998:38), such as shortage of vaccines and difficulties in keeping the supply of ice to preserve them, had been successfully countered by a dedicated team of nurses and paramedics involved in the campaigns, he said. However, finding interior residents remained an issue, despite the fact that campaigns were announced well in advance at the towns hospital and through the local radio station. Because of lack of education, there were parents who would still hide their children for fear that they would present severe reactions to vaccines. In Jocoj, where I did my fieldwork, two families left their houses on the day the vaccination team visited the village. But the municipal government confronted situations that were more difficult to address. Its resolve to emphasize illness prevention rather than treatment faced the opposition of representatives in the state legislature, who, according to the mayor, were not interested in supporting initiatives whose positive impacts were felt by voters only in the long-term (a time period greater than the regular inter-election period of four years). He said he had recently lost a battle in Belm to get state funds to complete the sewer system in the town. Despite his efforts, the politicians had chosen to support a project to build a new and highly visible riverfront park in Gurup, rather than the underground sewer system. As a result, a significant portion of household waste would continue to find its way to the Amazon River. 15 The municipal government uses the Catholic Churchs count of communities in Gurups countryside. In the jurisdiction of the Xing Prelacy there are 68 communities, and the total number of communities assisted by the Santana Prelacy in the neighboring State of Amap is 35.

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39 Little could be done with the revenue from own collections in Gurup. According to the mayor, the amount received per month from tax money averaged between R$ 42 to R$ 52,000 or approximately 10 per cent of the municipalitys monthly budget.16 In our interview, the mayor also complained about the collective mentality (sic) of Brazilians, who dont like to pay taxes, only to add that his administration had decided to not levy the water tax in urban Gurup until the water system covered 100 per cent of the town.17 Against all odds, however, he said, he had finally succeeded in obtaining state funds to complete the infrastructure required to make running water available to the totality of Gurups urban residents by mid-2003. Retail sales were also rarely taxed, except in transactions with the local municipal government and FASE, the NGO that was active in the municipality. Although the largest supermarkets had two cash registers each, the bulk of their money came from sales to urban and rural residents whose debts were paid on a monthly basis, on the day of the payment of the social benefits to women and men who were, or still are, agricultural workers and who aged 55 and 65 or above, respectively. The day I arrived in Gurup was payday. 16 Imposto sobre circulao de mercadorias e servios (ICMS). This contrasts with the situation noted by Miller (1976:314). In 1974, during the timber boom, he wrote that the tax revenue on all items extracted from the municipality (the ICM, now ICMS because services provided within municipalities are also taxed) accounted for 33 per cent of the municipal revenue. On the other hand, Gurups own collections in 2002 fell within the average stated by Sawyer and Monteiro (2001)according to their study (2001: 317), 70% of the Amazonian municipalities collections total between one thousand and one hundred thousand Brazilian Reais, or $350.00 and 35,000.00 American Dollars. 17 In 2000, only 1,123 (about 30%) out of 3,801 permanent private households in urban Gurup had running water (IBGE 2001). According to the mayor, in July 2002 running water was available to about 60% of the permanent private households in the town.

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40 The Town The town of Gurup is located halfway between Belm, the capital of the State of Par, and Santarm, the second largest urban center in the state, situated at the mouth of Tapajs River, a major southern tributary to the Amazon River. My trip from Belm to Gurup in early June lasted about 28 hours. I took the Rodrigues Alves, the largest and safest commercial boat that transported people up and down the lower course of the Amazon River and the estuary. It used to leave the capital every Wednesday around 6:00 p.m. and arrived in Gurup between 8:00 p.m. and sometime before dawn on Friday. Every Sunday around noon, the Rodrigues Alves approached the newly rebuilt trapiche of the town on its way back to Belm. I knew frontier cities and small towns in Amazonia, but Gurup was the first town in a long since settled Amazonian area where I had stayed for more than a few hours between boat trips. Before 7 in the morning, I was already strolling on the towns streets. I took the First Street, as Wagley referred to it. It branched from the street that originated from the municipal wharf and faced the Amazon all the way downriver up to the highest point of the only elevation in the flat estuarial landscape. The most important buildings of the town were located on the first street, including the Catholic Church and the four-century-old fortress built by the Portuguese Crown on the top of the hill. The Post Office was the first building on this sloping-up street. Thats where social benefits were paid to the population, because there were no banks in Gurupthey had left with the timber bust. In front of the Post Office, a two hundred-meter-long line of aged people holding their little umbrellas, still shut, patiently waited for their payments to arrive in the town. The manager of this alternative bank allowed doors to open only when the money arrived. This happened between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., when the line was already spaced to give

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41 room to umbrellas, now opened. Many of the elderly left their grandchildren to hold their place in the line and competed for the few benches in the shade under the trees in the adjoining municipal square. Along the line, on both sides, a younger crowd, mostly of women and children, tried to sell all sorts of cheap stuff to the eldersplastic containers, cheap aluminum pans, soda pop, homemade snacks and other odd items. All were struggling to meet ends meet. Many in this secondary crowd were hired by storeowners hungry for cash, including the owner of the biggest supermarket in Gurup. A group of four policemen pretended to observe the activity on the street. Later I found out from a woman in Jocoj that one of them was a real darling for she had never had to pay him the customary R$ 5 fee for him to cut in line and get her payment. One last curious crowd shared the scenetrue vultures were keeping company to their armed peers in uniforms. Except for the payday spasms, life in the town was mostly slow. Structural unemployment and underemployment accounted for the small groups of men and women chattering, who would sit on the doorsteps of their houses or shops. At noon, the temperature would go up to 110 degrees. All stores would close, and so would the public buildings. Those who could avoid frying in the early afternoon sun would visit relatives in the town or seek refuge in their small riverboats anchored in the bay along the municipal trapiche. At 5:00 p.m., when virtually all residents in riverside communities had already done their business in town, the bay would be bare again. For the few lucky residents who had jobs with the local administration, thats when the workday would end. By this time, the townspeople would regain the first street or hang around the old riverfront park until the sunset. Adolescents would crowd in the doorway of the middle

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42 school. Evening school sessions would begin at 5:30. Around 7:00, families would have already retreated to their homes. At this time, open-TV channels would start broadcasting soap operas. If there was no party in the town, the deserted streets would echo with the melodramas of remote middle classes broadcast from the industrialized Southeast. From small riverboats on the river, the sight of the town [was] a welcome break in the monotonous forest lined banks of the Amazon. It [stood] out neat and colorful against the dark green vegetation, Wagley wrote (1964: 22). I took the boat trip to the community of Jocoj many times. As the boat left the bay in Gurup and reached the southern Amazon channel immediately in front of the town,18 we would note a modest growth of the urban fabric, another mark of the timber boom. But after a while, the monotony of the dark green horizon resumed, leaving behind a thinning line of faded wooden houses. If the river level was high, small riverboats navigated near the mudflats beside the forest. The proximity of the aningais (arum patches, Montrichardia arborescens) that colonized flooded areas and mudflats would always make me feel a little safer, for these small boats were hardly well maintained, and the 2.5 kilometer-wide body of water was intimidating. Behind the aninga stands, a uniform row of tall buriti (Mauritia flexuosa) palms dominated the view. Jocoj in 2002: The Ways the People in the Community Secured Their Livelihoods The community19 of Jocoj comprised three house clusters and a vila. The first cluster was built on an inlet of Igarap Jiju, a small branch of Rio Jocoj that empties 18 The Great Island of Gurup divides the river just before the town; the waters of the north channel flow northeast to the Port of Santana and the city of Macap, the capital of the northern State of Amap. 19 I use the term community here to refer to both the people and their locality. However, the term has a particular genesis in the Amazon scenethe Catholic Church introduced it in the seventies, the darkest decade of the military dictatorship in Brazil. In Chapter 4, the role of the Catholic Church in the political changes in rural Brazil and in Gurup, in particular, will be further discussed. What I want to retain here is

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43 into the Amazon some twenty minutes before the riverboat reaches the mouth of the Jocoj. The largest house cluster was located at this point. Moving upwards, about one hour past this cluster, we reached the non-floodable upland where the vila was located. To continue towards the sources of the Jocoj, we needed to paddle. Only canoes would take us to the clearing in the forest of terra firme where two widows and their families shared the acres on which their in-laws once grew large manioc (Manihot esculenta) gardens with which they made their livelihoods. Of the 29 families (157 people) residents of the community in June 2002, 22 lived in 18 houses facing the straight dirt street across the vila. Almost all houses were built above the ground on stilts to avoid animals, insects and dirt from entering through the openings on their wooden floors. All had walls made from wood and two or three rooms. Each house had a big room with at least two open sides, and some had all sides open like big verandahs. Roofs were covered with tiles made from asbestos material or ceramic. Four houses had fresh thatched roofs. Almost all kitchens were separated from the main body of the houses, and all of them were roofed with palm thatching. The chapel and the ramada or barraco (community center), as these large open structures used for dancing in festivals and for communal meetings were called, were located at the midpoint of the dirt street. By all measures, they were the heart of the community. that, today, community is used by the people throughout the countrys rural areas, including those living in the remotest Amazonian headwaters, to refer to local social groups that have their own political organization, which often includes positions of representation, such as coordinator, deputy coordinator, and secretary or treasurer. Most important, the decision-making processes in local communities, at least ideally, are characterized by widespread participation of community members, men and women, elders and young adults. As Lima (1997: 1) noted, nowadays, the rural-based peoples in Amazonia hardly ever distinguish community from locality, and the terms neighborhood or vila are less and less heard in conversations with comunitrios (community members). My use follows theirs, the term is used throughout this thesis in the empirical sense.

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44 Viewed from the inside, all but a few houses were poorly furnished. Family belongings consisted basically of one table, two or three chairs, a few wooden benches, one hammock for every adult or every two children under five, kitchen utensils, and, rarely, a gas stove and a radio, which hardly ever were put to work, because cooking gas and batteries were practically unaffordable. Two houses of families that had lived for years in the Jari region had sofas and beds, but people generally slept in hammocks. One of these houses had a precious satellite TV, which allowed us to watch all soccer matches of the World Cup in June 2002. To this end, every household in the community, and this researcher, contributed with one or two liters of diesel for the power generator. Usually, the vila was unlit. The power generator and the water pump lacked appropriate maintenance. Once a week, however, a household would buy diesel to start them up. On these days tap water was available, and the women would take the opportunity to wash the floor of their houses. A water tower was built in the vila in 1992; it was a gift from a local politician during an election campaign,20 but most of the water used to cook and drink was from the river. Problems related to poor sanitation, such as 20 The practice of exchanging gifts for votes is still common in rural Gurup, despite the efforts of the Workers Party in the state, and in Gurup in particular, to raise political awareness among riverside communities. The year of 2002 was election year in Brazil. Supported by the municipal government, a Workers Party candidate visited the community of Jocoj during his campaign. I was present in the meeting. After a lively discussion revolving around problems that affect family agriculture in Amazonia, the candidate explained to the attentive audience that his platform called for increased credit opportunities and improved and decentralized technical assistance for agricultural workers. Despite the lucid conversation, in which interesting views on the situation of the rural-based peoples in the area were elicited and which was critical of persisting patron-client relations during election campaigns in rural areas, the candidate heard from a man, who represented the quilombola communities in Gurup at the State Commission of Rural Black Communities, that the people in Jocoj would exchange their vote for a sign of the candidates commitment to the cause of the agricultural workers in the town, a gift in cash or in kind. This attitude is frequently interpreted (and critiqued) by rural union leaders, the Catholic Church, and NGO staff as political conservatism, backwardness, and demonstrations of remaining ties with old patrons, or still willingness to conserve old and oppressive patron-client relationships. What they seem to miss is that the future, as viewed by the traditional peasantries in Amazoniaand they dont seem to have reasons to view it otherwiseis only too uncertain (see Chapter 3).

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45 diarrhea, were constant in the community, especially among children, who led an almost entirely aquatic life. All houses had outhouses in their backyards, and most of them were built on the slope near the ports at which the girls regularly fetched water for their mothers. The women kept carefully tended living pharmacies in their backyards and gardens, especially in suspended wooden structures supported by poles where the more sensitive plants are cultivated in cans. This structure is called jirau. Besides medicinal plants, such as boldo (Peamus boldus Mold.), cidreira (Melissa officinalis L.) and mastruz (Chenopodium ambrosioides L.), used for treatment of intestinal parasites, every jirau had green onions, basil, paprika and other herbs for seasoning fish. The importance of these herbs should not be underestimated, considering that fish and manioc flour, if available, comprise the everyday meal of families in riverside communities, a monotony that herbs sensually break (see also Murrieta 2001). The childrens duty was to feed chickens, raised mostly for donations to the celebration of saints festivals, occasionally to complement meager family meals in the scarce rainy season, but never as an economic option. Although almost every household in Jocoj had some chickens (about a dozen each), at the time of fieldwork, only one household had grown corn to feed them, either in roados21or intercropped in manioc fields. Usually chickens were fed with crueira, the under roasted coarse granules of farinha (manioc flour) discarded in the processing of the poisonous, or bitter, variety of manioc. 21 Roados are small fields (less than a quarter of a hectare) on areas of secondary vegetation (fallow areas often with less than three years between cycles of cultivation) that are usually monocropped but followed sequentially by manioc.

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46 The children fed the chickens, but they were also the ones who ate their eggs. It was common to find kids inspecting the terrain surrounding their houses to discover where chickens had laid their eggs. These welcome and daily rewards complemented the childrens snacks of never left to ripen fruits picked from the trees on their own backyards. However, accompanying their movement from the doorsteps of the chapel, a position from which little in the vila is left without inspection, I frequently caught them sneaking into other backyards to pick fruits from the trees of some grumbling distant kin. Food security was far from the reality of the people in Jocoj. The base of their diet was farinha and fish. But fish were not easy to catch in blackwater rivers,22 especially in the rainy season, locally called inverno (winter). Thus, farinha was the staple of the diet, and the balance between energy and animal protein was not frequently achieved in the community. In June of 2002, when the water levels were expected to lower with the arrival of the summer, it rained without mercy on Jocoj. On many occasions, I joined the sons of my hosts to watch the showers from the door of their house. Despite the jokes we used to tell one another, and a little gossiping about potential couples in the vila, the delayed rains always evoked melancholic memories of long winter days without a square meal to eat, and they would constantly refer to the season as the time of hunger. Farinha was produced primarily for household consumption, but villagers also sold part of their production to store owners or individual buyers in Gurup. The families that 22 During the rainy season fish catches decline because fish migrate out of the river channels into the flooded forests and disperse. Also, blackwater rivers are known for their absence of aquatic grasses, which feed larger fishes (Moran 1993: 48). They are poorer than the whitewater rivers, such as the Amazon, which carry large quantities of silt that they receive annually from the Andes (Goulding 1989: 15). During my stay in Jocoj, from June to August, I never saw catches of more than four small fish (approximately 40 cm) per fisherman fishing in the Jocoj River. The most common fish found on meals in the vila was the jeju, followed by taririras, or traras, (both fish are of the group Cypriniformes Characo, family Erythrinidae), jacunds (not identified) and jandis (Leiarius marmoratus, of the family Pimelodidae) and jatuaranas (Brycon cephalus B. melanopterus) (Soares and Junk 2000: 439).

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47 had boats, if cash was available to buy diesel for the long and expensive travel, sold farinha to vrzea dwellers scattered along the shores of the Amazon River and islands in the estuary. Other than manioc flour and the by-products of manioc processing, such as tucup and tapioca23, the only source of family income in the terra firme was timb24 vine, which was planted on the edges of gardens and remained in these sites when they were left fallow. The National Institute for the Environment (IBAMA), however, forbids the selling of timb. For this reason, the vine was sold only to the regates (itinerant river traders) that visited the community on a monthly basis. Almost all households in Jocoj sold timb to these traders during my fieldwork in the vila. I accompanied a group of villagers to the house cluster at the mouth of the Jocoj, where a trader had anchored his boat. We could barely breathe inside the boat cabin. It was covered with timb vines bought from other fregueses (clients) in communities upriver Amazon, near the mouth of Rio Xing. Adding to the piles of vines other men in the vila had sold to the trader, I calculated he had at least a ton of timb to sell to varzeiros on the northern islands in the estuary on his way back to Santana, a port in the bordering State of Amap. 23 In the process of manioc flour preparation tucup is obtained by squeezing a mash of grated maniochalf soaked and half drywith a palm fiber tube called tipit. The clear portion of the liquid (with toxic compounds) drained from the mash is the tucup. It is the substance of a traditional sauce very appreciated in Amazonia. The solid particles that separate out from this liquid provide tapioca, which is used to make beiju, a kind of manioc pancake eaten with super-sweetened coffee in the early morning, usually before household workers leave their houses for the energy-consuming tasks in their gardens. 24 Timb vines are piscicides. Villagers use them in the dry season to fish in half-dry pools and shallow streams. Fish enter these pools and streams with the incoming tide and are trapped before the tide flows out. When crushed, the vines release a poison that stupefies the fish, which rise to the surface and are easily caught. Gurup is located at approximately 300 kilometers up the Amazon River from the merging of its white waters with the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite this, there are enough tidal lifts in this low-lying area to cause daily flooding of mudflats and flooded forests, especially during the dry season (Wagley 1964: 75; Moran 1993: 79).

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48 On the same occasion, a group of brothers in the vila delivered 52 frechais (rafters) of sucupira (Bowdichia virgilioides H. B. K.) (Martini, Rosa, and Uhl 2001: 343), a hardwood species, which had been ordered by the river trader in the name of a boatbuilder in Santana. I observed their negotiation with the trader. The man was uneasy with my presence, I could sense. Later I found out he associated me with the IBAMA agentswho would have to be ubiquitous in order to effectively enforce environmental law in the vast Amazon estuary. To negotiate with the brothers, he made them paddle to the opposite riverbank, so I couldnt hear their conversation. Upon their return to the boat, he gave them R$ 390 (about $136.50), or R$ 0.30 (about $0.11) per 20 cm in length (about 8 inches), the average size of a palmo.25 Although this was the average price received in Gurup, the man knew his freguses were illiterate and had little knowledge of basic mathematical operations, so, in addition to marking up prices of commodities they exchanged for the woodfood items, such as water buffalo cheese made by residents in the islands, coffee and sugarhe made a funny deduction of debts owed for other necessities he had sold on credit to the brothers on his previous visit. As a result, they returned to the vila with little to meet their families needs, and hardly enough cash to allow for purchases of other household necessities at stores in Gurup, including salt, cooking oil, soap, and diesel. In this way, the traditional relation of dependence between regates and frequeses in Amazonia was perpetuated. 25 The palmo is the local unit of measure for sawn wood; it is equivalent to the distance between the thumb and the little finger.

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49 Other than timb and the sporadic orders for sawn wood, some households sold fruits raised in their yards, gardens or in their stios26 to buy imported goods in Gurup. Fruits sold to river traders or to buyers in the city included aa, banana, avocado, watermelon, pineapple, Brazil nut, cupuau (Theobroma grandiflorum), and pupunha (peach palm). Fruit trade, however, was also a very irregular economic alternative, and households grew only small amounts of these fruits.27 Every harvest was a gamble, the success of which always depended on access to patches of adequate soils28 and rainfall. Thus, manioc flour was the bulk of their diet and their most important source of income. But low prices in Gurup made manioc crops more valued for their consumable qualitiesa meal without farinha is not conceivable in Amazonian riverside communitiesthan for their exchangeable qualities. In June 2002, almost all households in Jocoj were making farinha from the last manivas of gardens planted in 2000they call the plant maniva and the roots mandioca. Some families had re-planted on the same garden sites in 2001; others had chosen to let their sites return to bush. But new plots had also been cleared in that year. 26 A stio is the heart of the interfluvial land area where families grow their gardens. In the stios, the two-faced, pitched roof open structures for processing manioc flour are located. They are locally called casas de farinha. Frequently, an old palm-thatched, one-room house is found in the stios too. If children are too young to attend primary school, families spend the whole week in the stios, returning to the vila only for the traditional gathering of the Sunday mass. 27 When listing the fruits they sell, villagers always added the affixinho, e.g. abacatinho (little avocado). The diminutive word indicates the lack of importance of fruits as a source of income. Fruits are grown mostly for home consumption. Occasionally, however, people sacrifice them for petty cash. 28 The soils in Gurups upland forests of terra firme are for the most part nutrient poor soils (Oliveira Jr. 1991: 16). According to Moran (1993: 74), Massaranduba (Manilkara huberi) and Sumama (Ceiba pentandra) are kinds of forest vegetation indicative of poor agricultural soils. These species of vegetation are frequently found in the vrzeas of the municipality, but massaranduba is also abundant in its forestlands of terra firme.

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50 As a general rule, all households had at least one and a half tarefas29 in maniva with mature roots every year, either in one site, or, to reduce risk of ants and other uncertainties of the environment, in two or three very small clearings in patches of different soils.30 This land area would include plots planted one year and plots planted two years before the year the households workers were opening a new garden. Because of the delayed rains in June and early July 2002, many families hadnt yet begun the work in their new fields. Except for the households where disease in the previous year had prevented workers from opening the minimum required for home consumption, however, all said that they would clear either larger plots or plots the same size as those opened in 2001. The five thousand hectare area that composed the territory of the community of Jocoj was divided in centros controlled by the families in the community. These centros 29 In Jocoj at the time of fieldwork, a tarefa was a land area of 2,500 square meters. Based on a careful socioeconomic survey conducted in 1989 in rural Gurup, Oliveira Jr (1991: 277) wrote: a tarefa is a unit of land measurement used by the peasantries in Gurup with 0.36 ha on average. But in my interviews in Jocoj, a one-hectare garden was invariably reported to have four tarefas. However, Oliveira Jrs data coincide with my own concerning the average yield of a one-hectare manioc-plot, which is around four tons of roots, if the plot is well tended. In Jocoj, to produce only for home consumptionthe consumption of an average size household (6.82) is 20 liters of manioc flour per week, equivalent to 650 kg per yeara family would need to harvest roots from a total land area of 0.50 hectares each year. My interviewees said that a one-hectare manioc garden, if well weeded, produces 20 sacks of 60 kilograms of farinha on average. Thus, to supply household needs, the total land area in manioc needed is 0.54 hectares. A tarefa was a local unit of measurement, which therefore was tied to particular activities. The term tarefa means literally task, a form of labor calculationthat which a peasant and his family, or a work party in the village could complete in X or Y hours, days, weeks. Human in scale, it corresponded to 25 braas by 25 braas. A braa was the linear measure of a man standing with his arm stretched upwards and holding a machete, totaling approximately 2.5 meters. One tarefa would therefore correspond to 3,906.25 square meters, and not 2,500 square meters or a quarter of a hectare. Thus, the elderly women in Jocoj were always distrustful when I said that the gardens of other men in the community had four tarefas each. They would always say: thats why nowadays gardens are never sufficiently weeded. 30 Almost all heads of households declared that they preferred to clear four to five year fallow areas and avoid slashing and burning the ever decreasing areas of mata grossa, or old capoeiras, as they also call old fallow areas. Usually, these areas were cultivated by their fathers and left fallow for twenty or more years. As Moran (1993) wrote, the conservation awareness of native Amazoniansand historic peasantries in the region, I must addis because they still interact closely enough with their physical environment to understand that they have to be concerned with the impact of their actions upon long-term productivity of their habitat. (1993: 32)

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51 were located between small streams that cut the communal territory, where gardens were grown and manioc flour was processed. The stios were the heart of these centros. Almost all centros were named after natural features found in their geographical areas, usually islands of palm trees, or concentrations of other relevant tree species. Such names included Tucumzal, Aaizal, Umarizal, Itaubal, and Piqui. Occasionally, however, their names referred to the social history of the place, such as Pau de Letra, which referred to a trunk where the first residents in the vila who learned to write engraved their names. But every centro was associated with a particular surname, and the right to cultivate in these areas was acquired by vertical kinship ties, provided that use by that particular family was not discontinued. The children of the first villager to occupy and grow gardens in the area, both women and men, were entitled to a share in it. As they marry, and especially after they have children of their own, separate fields in the centro appear, and new households are established in the vila. The birth of the first child, more than marriage, is the landmark of the new stage in the domestic cycle. The families that lived on the high levees in the vrzea also had centros to grow manioc in the upland forests of terra firme. But they only depended on the trade of manioc flour in the meager rainy season, or at least from late February to June. In the dry season, household necessities, locally called despesa, or despesinha, 31 were bought with fish and shrimp, and, if home consumption was secured, aa. Aa is also a sine qua non of the local diet. Indeed, I never noted belt-tightening associated with aa in Jocoj, as seemed to happen with other fruits, such as avocado and pineapple, which were sold to river traders despite the childrens appetite for them. Actually, it was common to hear 31 Despesa means expense, the items that households consume or use (but see also note 27).

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52 complaints from the people in the vila about extremely low prices of aa fruit in Gurup during the fruits season, essentially the summer months of July, August and September. Oftentimes I heard villagers say Id rather let the toucan plant aa than harvest its fruits to sell them for very little money in Gurup. The price could be as low as R$ 2,00 (about $0.70) for a twenty-liter can of aa fruit (about 5,28 gallons) equivalent to two kilograms of rice at the towns supermarkets. The householders in the vrzea of the Jocoj32 used to sell their catches to marreteiros (middlemen) and to geleira owners33 (owners of boats equipped with diesel-powered refrigerators). Middlemen arrived in Gurup just before the beginning of the dourada catfish season, from July through September. They would come on commercial riverboats and contact fishermen in the city, or pedem passagem(ask for a ride) on community boats to reach their clients along the Amazon River. Like the owners of refrigerator boats, frequently fishermen themselves, the middlemen provided their clients with ice, diesel for motorboats, the high-priced malhadeiras34 (gill nets) and other 32 I refer to the families living in the vrzea of the Jocoj River as varzeiros, but not all of these people would self-identify as such. The cluster living on the banks of the Igarap Jiju, for example, is composed of roceiros from the headwaters of the river. They moved to the vrzea areas as a result of the decline in prices of manioc flour in the late 1960s, and massively engaged in timber cutting until the mid-1980s, when timber extraction began to decline in Gurup. These families have worked mostly for geleiras ever since. 33 In my interviews on the vrzea of the Jocoj no mention was made of the conflicts that led these people to establish partnerships with geleira owners. But Paulo Oliveira Jr, in his study of the peasantry in Gurup (1991), mentions that these fishing entrepreneurs, who were funded by the Superintendency for the Development of Fisheries (SUDEPE), beginning in the early 1980s, invaded fishing spots of varzeiro families, destroyed their fishing equipment, blocked watercourses with their gill nets and eventually, with the blind eye of the local judge managed to engage varzeiros as partners in their predatory activities (1991:157). 34 Batista et al.(2000) provide the following description of malhadeiras: they are made of mono and multi-filament line; lead rope with rustic or styrofoam floats but sometimes just suspended with cables attached to the vegetation; plumb weights in bottom rope (Batista et al. 2000:421). Malhadeiras are used in the littoral zones of lakes or while crossing it; in creeks they are left parallel to the margins and inside small inlets. Drift gill nets are used to catch catfish in the main rivers. Gill nets distributed to fishers in Jocoj were approximately eight panels wide and 10 meters long. Each panel has one braa, and each braa today is 2.00 meters.

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53 apparatuses for the fishing season. Every geleira also included in its crew a specialist to repair or rebuild gill nets during the season, and each household had a set of styrofoam containers to store ice. If the previous year had been a poor year for fish, these patrons would provide their clients with some cash in advancethough this practice was more and more infrequent, I was toldso varzeiros could get through the first weeks of the new season. When containers filled with their first catch, patrons would come to pick them up, or fishers would cross the Amazon to take them to the geleiras, generally anchored near the prime fishing areas along the shores of the Great Island of Gurup. From this moment to the last collecting trip, barter would resume and only exceptionally would fishers claim their payments in cash. In October, catches of dourada decline, and fishers avoid using gill nets lest the clash of ocean tides with downstream waters make them fold, and hence entangle on big stones on the riverbed. But fresh-water shrimp mature at this time of the year. Thats when patrons come to sell matapis35 and babau for shrimp, as varzeiros concentrate on them. Good catches of other fat fish on the river channels, such as filhote (Brachyplatystoma sp) (Soares and Junk 2000: 439), however, are still possible until February, when the river level begins to rise rapidly and waters invade the floodplains. From February to June, varzeiros turn to artisanal fishing and manioc flour processing. But, as Wagley said, during the winter months, there are times when the only fish to be had is dried pirarucu,36 imported codfish, and tinned sardines and tuna (Wagley 1964: 35 Matapis are traps made of a variety of palm fibers. The people in Jocoj, place them near the aninga stands in the mudflats. The mouth of the trap is its widest part. It narrows in a conical shape as it enters the central part of the trap, forming a narrow neck. This central part is quasi-cylindrical in shape, only slightly narrower towards the end. Shrimp enter the matapi and trespass the narrow neck, having difficulty escaping, since the wide mouth faces the direction of the waters. 36 Arapaima gigas (Barthem 2001).

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54 73). In Gurup, however, heavy fishing had long since made pirarucu very rare, and, as the people in vrzeas said, no inverno a gente vai s tariando pra tomar o caf e comer a farinhazinha, (in the rainy season we can barely hold on to drink coffee and eat a little manioc flour). Fishing and shrimping were marginal economic options to the residents in the terra firme. As the rains in early July finally dissipated, many ventured to the Amazon River for catches of big, marketable fish to sell in Gurup. But generally they didnt use fishing methods such as gill nets. A few households had cast nets, gigs and rods,37 though very small malhadeiras (one to two meters wide and one meter long panels) were more popular in the vila, and almost all households would place these nets in the small inlets of the Jocoj River and the small streams that feed into it. Villagers usually paddled to check their malhadeiras when they arrived from the work in their casas de farinha late in the afternoon, though their children, mostly boys, were responsible to survey these traps at least two times during the day. If luck permitted, two to four jejus, traras, or jandis, would secure evening family meals. Another source of quick but scarce cash was game. Hunting for money was limited, though. In a conversation with two villagers they said se o sujeito t aperreado, ele pode matar uma paca pra vender em Gurup. Agora, se no tiver aperreado, s pra comer com a famlia.38 The perception that game and fish stocks were depleting resulted 37 Gigs are locally known as zagaias. They are wooden spears with a metallic head of two prongs. In Jocoj, men would occasionally risk fishing with gigs in the night using a flashlight. They call this fishing method piraquerar. Rods are sticks with monofilament lines with metal hooks (Batista et al. 2000: 421). When rods are available, boys and adolescents fish in the igaps (flooded forests) and on the banks of Jocoj and its branches. Bait is usually small fish. 38 If a man is very pressed (for a medicine, or basic supplies), he is allowed to sell a paca (Agouti paca) in Gurup. But, if he is not very pressed, he can only hunt to eat with his family.

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55 in the elaboration of a set of rules governing hunting and fishing activities. The community had discussed and approved these rules in 1995. Basically, they spelled out the methods and the quantities allowed to catch or kill, for example, fishing with cacuris39 or timb was banned. Also, in the rainy season, when the rising water level forces terrestrial mammals to flee the floodplains, villagers could only hunt up to two individuals of the same species, if it was a small species. Hunting in the night was locally called lanternar (from lanterna, flashlight). On new moon days, a father and a son, or two brothers would risk finding a paca, a deer or a wild pig using their rifles and flashlights. If lucky, they would share their prey with the family and close kin. Big game would be shared with other neighbors, they said. If money were urgently needed, though, the hunter would be allowed to sell his kill in Gurup, where a paca was easily sold for R$ 30 (about $10.50). Often, this sum was equivalent to two thirds or even all the monthly family income in the vila. Other Sources of Income: Remittances and Rural Pensions On many occasions, I found myself initiating the ever-embarrassing conversation about household income. In the course of my interviews it became clear to me that households in the vila fell short of their needs. According to the doctors and social workers at the hospital in Gurup, the situation of the residents in other communities in the countryside didnt seem to be different. Many communities had children participating in the official distribution of powdered milk under the national campaign to reduce malnutrition in rural areas, including Jocoj. But powdered milk merely appeased the 39 Cacuris are large fish traps usually made from the trunks of aa palms. Like a wall of stakes, cacuris can fence off narrow rivers or small streams, forming a barrier to the fish moving upstream or being carried downstream by the current. At the end of the barrier there is a circular trap into which fish move, and beyond this trap is a smaller inner chamber which may be closed when the fish are to be removed (Wagley 1964: 74).

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56 hunger of those pre-school children. Knowing that unemployment and underemployment already plagued the urban residents in Gurup, and that the possibility of working for wages in farms outside of the community was virtually non-existent, I set myself the task of researching the alternatives the people in rural Gurup had to make ends meet. At first, I focused on remittances from sons and daughters sent by their parents to work in urban areas in the region in search for cash income. I arrived in Jocoj on the eve of St. John the Baptists festival. My hosts, Antonio Maria and Cl, were particularly excited. Their 17-year old son, Valmir, would take a ride in the boat the team from the Jari region had rented to come for a soccer match in the community at the celebration. He worked as a cleaner at the kaolin-processing factory in the Jari industrial park located at Munguba, near Monte Dourado, the company town built, owned and operated by the Jari Project in the 1970s. Valmir had left the vila 18 months before. He had been a student in the local Workers Party twin institution, the Casa Familiar Rural. Soon, however, he realized that he had no plans to spend the rest of his life in the countryside. Hoping he would be able to contribute to his familys income, he left school to try his luck in the traditional destination of young men from the rural areas in the estuary. But life in Jari was not what he had expected. If only I were more qualified! he said. As Little noted in his study of territorial disputes in Amazonia, which focuses on the Jari region and the territorial enclave of the Jari Project, temporary workers and unskilled labor in that industrial complex do not have access to company housing and must fend for themselves in the riverside shantytowns across the river from Monte Dourado and Munguba, respectively (Little 2001: 84). Valmir, like other migrants from

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57 the upland communities in Gurup, received the minimum wage, which was R$ 200/ month (about $70.00) in 2002. The price of a room in the shantytown, if shared by two workers, neared fifteen percent of this minimum wage. The kaolin factory, in turn, discounted this wage by another thirty per cent to cover its expenses with boat fares, food and drink it provided to workers, and social security payment. Thus, all the contribution that those who had left agriculture for jobs in the industrial complex could make to their families in rural Gurup was a small sum to honor their parents duties in the saints festivals.40 There was no secondary school in Jocoj. The communitys one-teacher school had 47 students of different ages in the four different grades of primary school. Students in each grade spent at most two hours and a half each day at school. To attend secondary school in Maria Ribeira, a neighboring community, students had to paddle their cascos (canoes) or cut through a muddy floodable forest in the summer. Only one family in the vila could afford the living expenses of a son and a daughter in Gurup, because the mother held the position of health agent in the community, and received a minimum wage from the state government for it. A job in the Jari industrial park or in the informal economy in the vicinity of the park was another option for rural students seeking higher education, especially in the case of female migrants, because they often worked as domestic servants and lived with the families they served. Thus, they didnt have to pay the rent of a room in Beirado or Beiradinho, the shantytowns across the river. After several interviews and informal conversations with householders in Jocoj and other 40 The amount left, according to Valmir, was barely enough to buy a little breakfast and dinner each day, and a little clothing, if needed. As Marx wrote the minimum wage [is] that quantum of the means of subsistence, which is absolutely requisite to keep a labourer in bare existence as a labourer (1978 [1848]:485).

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58 neighboring communities, it emerged that better education, combined with jobs that make it possible, more than remittances, seemed to be the major reason why parents sent their sons and daughters to look for work in the urban areas near the estuary. Just as they played a crucial role in the economy of the town, the pensions elders received served as a supplement for the deficient income of almost all households in the vila. The people in Jocoj frequently used the terms house and family as synonymous.41 This seemed to reflect their ideal that a household consisted of a conjugal couple and their offspring. Ideally, too, households produced and/or bought what they consumed, pooled resources and ate together. Or, ideally, they were the primary units of production and consumption. Also, it was the responsibility of the household head to provide for the familys needs. This was a matter of honor, and one of the most important criteria against which villagers evaluated married men with children in Jocoj. Indeed, the majority of the domestic units in the community had this ideal composition, and they tried to rely as much as possible on nuclear family labor, based on the division of labor between sexes. But, at least in periods of scarcity as I witnessed in the community during 41 In addition to this first meaninga couple and their offspring living under the same roofthe term family is interchangeable with the term parente, when applied to people who are related through blood. tudo s uma famlia, said a man during an interview, as he pointed to the houses of the married sons and daughters of his mothers siblings. But this use of the term family is made only when people want to emphasize the cohesiveness of the relation between cousins. In a more restrictive sense, this second meaning of the term family refers to male siblings and their children, and the suffix ada, expressing the idea of collection, group is often added to the family name to refer to such group, for example, the Ruiz family is informally called the Ruizada. Here, affinal ties are not recognized, that is to say, a woman of the Ruiz family is included in the Ruizada, but not her husband, since he has a different surname. In Jocoj, the Brazilian naming system is followed, thus surnames pass through the male line, and men and women give their fathers patronym to their children. Although the dual surnames of the children are composed of the patronyms of the paternal and maternal grandfathers, the people in the community recognize the paternal grandfathers patronym as the official family name. Because in Jocoj there had been a tendency for men to continue farming their fathers holdingthe interfluve areas locally known as centrosthe term family tended to refer to male siblings or sets of male siblings related through parental siblings that are male and farm together, exchange labor on a regular basis without the need to reciprocate, and, if they continue residing in the community, inherit propertythe areas left to fallow by their fathers and grandfathers.

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59 fieldwork, pensions cushioned the harsh effects of their failing economythey accounted for the circulation of basic supplies and children between neighboring houses of close kin. While necessities would flow from the houses of the old parental couples, or widow parents, towards the houses of their married sons and daughters, children would often visit their grandparents with the hope of receiving some food. Peasants? In a conversation with Zeca, a resident in Jocoj and, at the time of fieldwork, the president of the association of slave descendant communities in Gurup, he recounted a discussion he had just had with his nephew Tiago, a student at the Casa Familiar Rural. Echoing previous discussions with his classmates, Tiago insisted with his uncle that families in rural communities could still tighten their belts a little further in order to save their scarce money for investments in agriculture. I disagree, Zeca said. People who say that we dont save live in the city. They dont understand our lives! If they buy one kilogram of beef, they will eat it with their family in two or three meals . on the other hand, if I buy one kilogram of beef in Gurup, when I arrive in the vila, I give a piece to my mother, another to my brother and his family; I dont eat it only with my family. . If we use four kilograms of sugar each week, it is not that my family eats all this sugar . neighbors borrow a little, or we share our sugar with them . essa gente no sabe vizinhar, Zeca explained rather annoyed. People who live in cities dont understand life in rural communities, he insisted. Their constant sharing of food, tools, workdays . . Sharing and other old-ingrained values of the people in Jocoj express a cognitive orientation identified with the sociological category peasants. The meaning and utility of the concept of peasant as an analytical tool has been much debated by sociologists and anthropologists (cf. Shanin 1990; Kearney 1996). The

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60 term peasant is certainly unsatisfactory, as Harris noted in his Life on the Amazon (2000). But while he acknowledges Kearneys criticism of its continued usage in his acclaimed Reconceptualizing the Peasantry (1996),42 Harris also claims that the term is reinvigorated in Amazonia, and therefore appropriate to describe the predominantly independent basis of the rural livelihoods of the people in his book (2000:10). The people in Jocoj were perhaps less mobile than the floodplain people in the lower middle Amazon region where Harris did his fieldwork; they had a less diversified economic strategy than Harriss hosts, or, more precisely, there had been fewer opportunities available to them at the time of my fieldwork. Yet, as shown above, in the community, people moved between countryside and town along their life cycles, pursuing educational opportunities, working in the Jari industrial complex, or working as unskilled laborers in the small businesses that proliferated around the complex, or still performing domestic services in the company town. Others attempted to reconcile secondary school in Gurup with helping their families in agriculture during the weekends. But, as Harris wrote, 42 I am sympathetic to Djurfeldts critique of Kearneys challenging of the applicability of the term to what he calls the post-modern world. Kearneys book is divided in two parts. The first presents an authoritative critique against dualistic thinking in peasant studies, particularly against studies in the modernist persuasion that emerged in the aftermath of the World War II. The modern sensibilities, Kearney notes, think in terms of absolute categories, such as subject and object, self and other (1996:5), but also center vs. margin, rural vs, urban, simple vs. complex, peasant vs. proletarian. Thus, the modernist discourse images the peasant as backwardsas opposed to the Western anthropological selfand the peasant society as static, socially bounded isolates. His critique is grounded in his own field experience among the Mixtecs of San Jeronimo in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. The Mixtecs move across the international border between Mexico and the United States constructing complex livelihood strategies for managing economic stress and exploitation. These strategies include from temporary work picking oranges in California to household self-provisioning agricultural production. Kearney argues that the peasant as an anthropological category has always resisted alignment with reality; and the second part of his book is mostly dedicated to conceptualizing a global discourse that accountsbut does not contain, or essentializethese evermore complex subjectivities. Djurfeldts criticism of Kearney is two-fold. First, he contends that Kearney commits what he calls the epochal fallacy since in his argument about the non-peasantness of the Mixtecs, there is an implicit assumption that the state of affairs of his ethnographic present will last forever (1999:3). Second, failing to distinguish between peasant as an ideal type and the real peasants (see Shanin 1990:72), Kearney enters in a discussion about what peasants are, or what they are on the verge of becoming, and this leads him into new essentialisms, Djurfeldt rightly points out (1999:6, the emphasis is mine).

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61 many stay put in their rural and natal communities, working the land and fishing the waters with their kin (2000:10). Reality, as Shanin warns us, is necessarily richer than its conceptualizations, and I do believe the term peasant gives insight into the realities of the people in Jocoj. For the purpose of this study, therefore, peasants are rural producers who are characterized by particular labor processes, principally in agriculture, in which the basic unit of production and consumption in the communitythe household, a kinship-based unithas control over land, uses low cost technology, and produces (or struggles to produce) staple crops to meet consumption needs. Most important, peasant householders in the community put a high value on sharing practices. An understanding of their clinging to such an orientation, however, requires an understanding of their historical career. Thus, listening as carefully as possible to the words of the elderly in Jocoj, in the next chapter, I present a look into their past. In the present chapter, I offered a portrayal of a rural community and their failing economy. At the time of fieldwork, all but a few houses in the community were unable to secure a square meal a daybasically a couple of small fish, farinha, and, if lucky, a bowl of the much appreciated aa palm wine. Even those householders who relied mostly on fishing in the dry season to provide for their families could barely hold on to drink coffee and eat a little farinha at the height of the rainy season. This chapter was intended to lay the groundwork for the discussions that follow in this thesis. As the objective of the thesis is to present an analysis of the social transformations in the life-worlds of this slave descendant community, relying primarily on ethnography, it begins and ends with the period I shared with my hosts, since the goal is not just to provide a sense of historical

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62 continuity, but to make sense of the peoples material conditions and social realities as I encountered them.

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CHAPTER 3 TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE COMMUNITY IN RELATION TO OUTSIDE INTERVENTIONS Inspired by Mintzs (1974) approach to the study of the Caribbean heterogeneous peasantries1 developed in the colonial period, in his Amazonian Caboclo Society (1993), Nugent offers a frame of reference for the study of the historical peasantries in Amazonia. (Re)directing the anthropological gaze from Indigenous to lumpen-Amazonia (Nugent 1993:xviii), he is concerned to show us that the voiceless and politically invisible mixed-blood peoples who live along the banks of the regions waterways constructed actual, structured social systems. And they have history. The specific histories of real peasant societies on the ground, adapting2 to diverse local conditions, particularly the variety of ecological constraints, and the more general history of the formation of the riverine peasantry in the context of the colonial havoc in Amazonia. It is this more general history, the ethnohistory of a people without an official ethno (1993:xviii) that constitutes one of the main preoccupations of his book. Generalizations about an Amazonian peasantry are based on their common and short 1 Mintz (1973) used the term reconstituted peasantries to refer to segments of Antillean societies that were reconstituted as recently as a century or two at most out of earlier economic forms, including Amerindians, African slaves, and other Europeans, which composed the subject masses of European rulers in the post-1492 period of conquest and settlement of the Caribbean region by Europe. The reconstituted peasantries were peasant-like adaptations marginal to the plantation system, and resistant to the domination of capital. Their production was peripheral, interstitial, of short term and, at times, illegal . a reaction to the plantation economy, a negative reflex to enslavement, mass production, monocrop dependence, and metropolitan control (Mintz 1973:99, citing Mintz 1961:31-34 and 1964:xx). 2 In Nugents (1993) words: adaptation [is] not a matter of reciprocity between ecosystem and social system, but rather is a matter of social systems acting upon ecosystems (1993:62). 63

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64 historical career,3 which includes the riverine mission villages and, later, the institution of aviamento trade relations, among other administrative and commercial institutions created to supply the rapacious colonial-extractive economy with a (coerced) labor force. Within the mission villages, through enslavement and other deliberate ethnocidal practices, indigenous peoples were transformed into a relatively undifferentiated and fragmented set of petty producers (Nugent 1993:106). After the collapse of the rubber boom, the aviamento trading system had already left its imprint on the economy of the then recently emerged independent petty commodity producersthe historical Amazonian peasantry. But relatively little is known about specific polities of free riverine peasants compared to Indigenous peoples, the primary focus of scholarly attention in Amazonia. What is the basis of their social reproduction? What holds them together? What holds them in the world? How do they change? Viewed as a product of the colonial conquest, which swept away entire cultures and/or values of indigenous lifeways in the Amazon valley, the historical peasantries have remained nearly invisible to the anthropology of the regionthe social life of particular groups had rarely been taken as object of ethnographic studies before the 1980s. According to Nugent (1993:32), the lack of scholarly attention to this segment of the Amazonian peasantries is a consequence of the assumption that Amazonia was left as a timeless wilderness in which no social structure of consequence persisted after the colonial destruction of indigenous societies.4 3 As Nugent (1993) noted, the link between pre-colonial Amerindian societies and caboclo societies is not insubstantial, but it is extremely complicated to reconstruct in any but the sketchiest form (1993:31). 4 This assumption asserts itself in two different considerations of Amazonian societies. First, nature is what remained between the decimation of pre-colonial indigenous societies and the emergence of free riverine peasants that somewhat replaced them. The second consideration concerns the link between preand post-colonial native Amazonia. Despite the archaeological evidence showing that pre-colonial societies in the

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65 Nugent presents other compelling explanations for the invisibility (political invisibility) of the riverine peasants than their little culture. First, they are invisible because of the fluid and diversified nature of their livelihoods.5 As shown in the previous chapter, which portrays the economy of one community of peasants on the Amazon estuary, their marginal economies involve the creative exploitation of resourcesvrzeas, igaps, rivers, and terra-firme forests. In this sense, they are invisible because the extensification [sic] of their livelihoods matches the scale of their resource base, a forest and a river system that are often characterized as homogenousthe humid tropical forests, the vrzeas, terra firme. Thus, profoundly different ecosystems are subsumed into blanket categories, and consequently the different kinds of complementary activities of the riverine peasants to exploit their base are obscured (Nugent 1993:33). Amazon valley achieved high levels of social evolution, post-colonial, or rather, contemporary indigenous social systems are often represented as constrained, if not shaped, by natural ecosystems (Nugent 1993:32). In addition, this assumption has adverse consequences for the riverine Amazonian peasantries. If uninteresting for thick descriptions (Geertz 1973) because of their unrealized otherness, or virtual absence of culture (Nugent 1993:104; 1997:40), they have also been considered irrelevant to those policy-makers responsible for the official development of the region. Actually, the promotion of Amazonia as a natural space, devoid of socially significant occupation, which the anthropological clinging to the study of the exotic other reinforces, helps sustain the systematic neglect by the official development of the needs of the riverine peasants (Nugent 1993:37). Nugents deconstruction of Amazonian anthropology is beyond the scope of the provisional interpretation of the social and economic transformations in the life of a particular peasant community presented here. Nonetheless, I retain his important critique that anthropological research in Amazonia is associated with global-socio-economic transformations. He proposes that the attention now given to the traditional Amazonian peasantry is a direct consequence of the rise of ecologism, which is a manifestation of the growing international concern with the depletion of tropical forests, and possibly with the related need to secure the supply of industrialized countries with raw materials and substances available in tropical areas (Nugent 1993:84,103-105; 1997:46). 5 As previously mentioned, until the 1990s, the bulk of the Amazonian anthropology was mainly concerned with the internal organization of particular societiesmainly indigenous societiesin circumscribed social settings, while the influence of larger impersonal forces affecting local communities was largely unattended to. Representing the multi-faced peasantsthey are rural cultivators, but seasonally engage in disguised wage-labor as rubber tapers and/or Brazil nut collectors, or even migrate to work temporarily in the urban informal economyby articulating the description of their everyday life (culture) with the larger system (political economy) is a difficult task (Marcus and Fischer 1999:77-110), requiring long-term, often multi-sited (Marcus 1995) field research. Littles Amazonia:Territorial Struggles on Perennial Frontier (2001) is a good example of this approach.

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66 Second, they are economically and politically insignificant because their priorities are not those of the developmentalists for whom Amazonia is foremost an extractive-resource domain (1993:33). But despite their exclusion from the developmental masterplan of highly capitalized, large-scale extractive activities, they suffer their negative consequencesthe ecological effects, such as the predatory timber exploitation on the vrzeas, and, not rarely, displacement. Incorporating previously marginal lands or depleting the existing natural resources on them, the infrastructure provision and related large-scale extractive activities limit, or even cut off, the riverine peasants access to the diverse ecosystems on which their livelihoods depend, and thus compromise the maintenance of their repertoire of petty commodity forms. It is clear that the many riverine peasant social systems assumed different forms in different parts of Amazonia. However, they all share this unfortunate defining feature: they bear the mark of external structuresthat of merchant capital for examplefor which Amazonia has from the sixteenth century until the present represented a vast resource potential (Nugent 1993: xx-xxi). Because they realize their social reproduction on the margins, alien to the axioms and rules that define the technocrats economic model, they are regarded as decadent, and their economies are characterized as stagnant. Accordingly, their marginalization is justified, maintained. But insofar as they secure their access to the varied ecosystems that constitute their production sitesthe necessary condition for the continued reproduction of their livelihoodsin Nugents words, they endure. But how does the specific history of the community of Jocoj reverberate with this more general trajectory of the historical peasantries in Amazonia so brilliantly outlined by Nugent in his Amazon Caboclo Society (1993)? In the preceding chapter, I portrayed

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67 the failing economy of Jocoj. By July 2002 all but a few households in the community were on the edge of poverty because manioc cultivation was the basis of their economy, and it had been severely eroded. And even those few families who relied mostly on fishing rather than slash-and-burn cultivation rushed to clarify: in the rainy season we can barely hold on to drink coffee and eat a little manioc flour. In the present chapter, I look at stories of the lives of adult men and women of different ages in Jocoj with a view to grasping the material conditions and social realities of the peoples lives from the early 1900s to the time of fieldwork. Against this backdrop of oral narratives of the past, I examine the ways in which villagers (re)produced their livelihoods in relation to outside socioeconomic transformations, and seek to understand the transformations of sociality, morality, and domesticity, engendered by changes in the productive base. As said earlier, Nugent (1993) and Harris (2000) argue that the historical peasantries emerged as independent petty commodity producers and their economy of petty forms matured in times of weakening of state dominance and slackening of international demand for Amazon products: the period beginning with the abolition of the colonial administrative policy of the Directorate and consequent dismantlement of the mission village system, 1800-1850, and the interval between the collapse of the rubber export economy and the arrival of large-scale capitalist enterprises to exploit Amazonian raw materials, 1912. In this study of social change in one specific community, I take this latter period of less integration of the local economy and the larger system as my baseline.6 According to recent ethnography from Gurup, the economy of the 6 Nugent (1993) cautions us to not speak of periods of intensification of local social systems external relations as ones characterized by integration. In such periods of integration of Amazonian social systems and the global economy, peasants as laborers, not their production, are incorporated within larger economic systems. In his own words, are periods in which there is competition for Amazonian resources,

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68 communities living around the town underwent radical changes with the emergence and consolidation of state presence and the intensification of capitalist firms activities in the lower Amazon. In Jocoj, far-reaching changes occurred with the entrance of international lumbering firms on the estuary, when the men in the community massively engaged in the extraction of valuable wood species to sell to compradores (businessmen) who dealt in cash, or trade for supplies at local stores in Gurup whose businesses at that moment were totally centered on lumber instead of rubber (Miller 1976:298). Later, as timber ran out along the southern channel of the estuary and islands shores, and firms withdrew to other floodplain areas where rich stands of commercially valuable species were still available, the establishment of the Jari industrial complex, at least in its initial phase, from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, absorbed a significant number of unskilled workers from the estuarial zone, who escaped from a declining economy in their localities. My concern here is to explore the nature of the transition between the economic patterns that characterized these two periods in the communitys historythe first, a period of significant decline in the working family units participation in the extraction of Amazon commodities for export, and the second, a phase of considerable involvement in the wider capitalist economy through various approximations of wage labor at the local level, or even wage-labor proper and engagement in activities distinctive of the urban informal economy. To examine this process of transition and the social and economic transformations it entailed I will analyze the relations of production the people in Jocoj not incorporation of production within larger economic systems, except to the degree that non-valorized labor forms in Amazonia serve to subsidize commercial extraction. . During the rubber boom, Amazonian peasantries per se were not incorporated; rather Amazonian workers were absorbed into large-scale extractive sector. Peasant production, as a consequence, became less cohesive (1993:201).

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69 entered into in the two periods in order to produce the conditions of their existence. By relations of production I mean both the social processes through which work is organized to produce goods, and the processes through which surpluses are formed, transferred out of the control of the producers, and transformed, by those who have the power, into a wide range of economic, political, and cultural values (Sider 1991:228). Finally, in the last section of this chapter, I return to the time of fieldwork. Here, I revisit the social and economic context of the particular area of the Amazon estuary where Jocoj is located, basically the town of Gurup and its environs, and reexamine the ways in which households in the community secured their social reproductiontheir sources of livelihood, the relationships within and between households, particularly their forms of labor mobilization, and the nature of their relationships to the larger national and regional economic system. I conclude with a brief discussion about Nugents idea of invisibility to account for the neglect by the Brazilian state of thousands of riverine peasant peoples who had their autonomy increasingly threatened, and their perspectives cast to the side or excluded in the process of capitalist development in Amazonia, but despite modernization managed to endure on the margins of Amazon society. There are by no means the historical resources in contemporary Jocoj or even in Gurup to allow us to reconstruct the specific history of the community from the days of its foundation as the early hideout of escaped slaves to the decline of the rubber trade in 1912.7 Instead, it is necessary to rely on the historiography and ethnography from the 7 The reconstruction of the specific history of Jocoj since its foundation by escaped slaves in the second quarter of the nineteenth century would require exhaustive archival research both in the local notarys office and the parish registry, which is not always available for researchers examination, to supplement the ethnohistories told by the elders in the community. In general lines, this was the methodology used by the historian Eurpedes Funes (1996) to acquire knowledge of the past of the (quilombola) rural black community of Pacoval, located on the right bank of the Curu River, in the surroundings of the riverside town of Alenquer, in western Par. The effort required to accomplish this task, however, is much beyond

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70 lower Amazon, and from Gurup in particular (Wagley 1964; Galvo 1955; Miller 1975; Kelly 1984; Oliveira 1991; Pace 1998), to supplement the memoirs of the elders, and the fragments they retained of the stories they heard from their fathers and grandfathers. The following account, therefore, is far from what OBrien and Roseberry (1991) have called historical worka combination of real history and historical commentaries and texts of social actors and intellectuals. The Formation of Jocoj The aviamento system turned into a full-blown mechanism of domination during the Amazonian rubber boom. By the 1850s, with the increased demand for rubber in the international market, extracted rubber became the Amazons primary export product, and maintained its primacy over other forest products until the early 1910s. Gurup had rich concentrations of seringueiras (rubber trees, Hevea brasiliensis), and as early as 1852 it had grown as an important area for rubber production. Both peasants and urban workers were drawn into extraction with the rising prices of rubber. Steam transportation was introduced in Amazonia. Gurup became an attractive destination for many new immigrants who entered the town. The population increased, and, under the impact of external demand for rubber, agricultural production declined. Food shortage hit the residents, both in the town and in the countryside; labor was scarce (Pace 1998). At this juncture, it seems reasonable to assume that the few cattle ranches and plantation owners the possibilities of a two-month period fieldwork. As said in the introduction of this study, it was hardly enough to build rapport with my hosts.

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71 in the area that had been able to maintain African slaves struggled to increase productivity of their land through increased exploitation of their labor force.8 Sometime in the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century,9 definitely before 1888, when slavery was abolished in Brazil,10 fugitive slaves reached the mouth of a small stream upriver from Gurup. It was the Jocoj River, barely a creek then. They 8 In his account of the origins of the quilombola communities in the surroundings of Alenquer, Funes (1996) shows us that mistreatment, not influence of greedy river-traders to augment their clientele of extractors of drogas do serto (Amazon forest products), was the main cause of flights of slaves in the lower Amazon. In Jocoj, as in all rural black communities in Gurup, little is known about the actual circumstances of the escape of slaves from cattle ranches and plantations in the area. But the ethnohistory told by elders in the community emphasizes that their ancestors determination was to free themselves from constant whippings they were subject to in the hands of Pedro Lima, the foremen of a plantation in the locality of Gurup-Miri, upstream the Amazon River from Gurup. My grandfather, Pascoal, told me the Portuguese brought his father to Brazil in his early teens. There had been other Portuguese who worked as middlemen. They would buy slaves in Belm to deliver them to local patrons here, on the islands region. The other slaves who came with my grandfather to Jocoj were older than him. Maximiano was the eldest of all, but Placido was the one responsible for the flight. As you may know, at that time, the patrons used to punish the slaves because of their wrongdoing. Placido had impregnated [sic] a young slave in the farm. When the patron discovered the woman had become pregnant, he gave Pedro Lima an order to punish Placido, so Placido planned their escape (interview with Vinicius, 80 years of age, in July 2003). 9 Interviewing old Adelino, he said that his grandmother Aniceta had worked with the cabanos during the Cabanagem Revolt (1835-1836). Time and again she recounted the stories about the pega-pega in Gurup, he said. The pega-pega was the name given by locals to the military incursions in Gurups rural interior in order to capture able-bodied men, including married men, to fight in the 1864-1869 war in which an alliance between Argentine, Uruguay, and Brazil fought against Paraguay. During the war, Adelino said, the neighborhood of Jocoj already existed, and many residents in the town sought refuge among the blacks that resisted the pega-pega. It is impossible to define whether or not Jocoj existed as a hideout of escaped slaves at the time of the Cabanagem Revolt, as Adelinos fading memories allow us to speculate, without careful archival research. In his account of the Cabanagem, Anderson (1985) says that the plantation slaves and the runaway members of several quilombos [on the Amazon valley] became very active during the last six months of the Cabanagem (1985:73). They rebelled against their owners, and the slaveowning segment of the colonial society in general. On the other hand, citing Hurley (1936), Oliveira Jr. (1991) says that the cabanos took command of Gurup for a brief period in 1836, and that, despite the fact that the local revolt was easily controlled by the commander of the fort at Macap, on the north side of the Amazon estuary, in the late 1980s, riverine peasants living on the Great Island of Gurup still recounted that for a long period the island remained as a refuge of the cabanos, who continued raiding Gurup, forcing merchants and town dwellers to hand over food and other supplies, and then returning to their refuge, protected from retaliation by the intricate network of furos (river channels connecting high vrzea to low vrzea areas), parans (small river channels), igaraps, and dense flooded forests. Adelinos account corroborates Hurleys commentary on what happened in Gurup. He said that twice in his youth he witnessed families arriving at Jocoj, escaping from the raids on the towns residences and commerce. 10 When slavery was abolished, Vinicius, who was born in Jocoj in the beginning of the 1920s, said that the runaways celebrated it for nine days with fireworks, dance and rum provided by Armando, the trading post owner. The party, as his father Teodoso had told him, was just like the parties organized by the brotherhoods of town dwellers during the celebrations of Saint Anthony and Saint Benedict, the patron saint of Gurup, and the protector of the poortappers and fishermanrespectively.

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72 had escaped from ill treatment on a plantation located on the headwaters of the Igarap Miri in the surroundings of the town. With the help of Antonio, a trading post merchant of mixed-blood descent established at the mouth of Igarap Monituba, another stream that empties into the Amazon, and now masters of their own time and labor, they dedicated themselves to manioc cultivation. S na lavoura (working at farming only),11 as old Adelino repeated while narrating to this anthropologist the liberation of his ancestors. But petty extractivism must have been incorporated in their economic repertoire at this early stage.12 During the rubber boom, Gurup exported other commodities such as copaba oil, cacao, nuts, tobacco, sarsaparilla, tanned hides and animal pelts (Kelly 1984:342). The very nature of their ties to the outside worldwhich were mediated by the trading post ownermust have left no alternative choice to this developing rural neighborhood. Indeed, by the close of the rubber boom in 1912 the seasonally patterned economy characteristic of the riverine peasantry had already 11 Although the theme of libertos e sujeitos (freed from and subject to slaveowners or patrons), which is very recurrent among the peasantries in Brazils northeast, never emerged in our conversations as native categories, it is clear that Adelino and Viniciuss emphasis on the fact that their ancestors worked at farming as opposed to working at collecting stresses the ideal of personal autonomy that is so dear to the riverine peasantries. At the seringais and castanhais (Brazil nut stands), and at any other off-farm occupation for that matter, it was the patron who controlled their labor force, and this limiting of their personal agency is precisely what the people in Jocoj resisted. Of course Adelino and Vinicius spoke from their own lived experiences of working at seringais and castanhais on the lower Amazon, where, even if the mechanisms of control and coercion were less stringent than in the more remote areas on the headwaters of the Amazon tributaries (see Weinstein 1985:60-61), the labor force was definitely submitted to debt-bondage relations. The very fact that they worked under this unfavorable condition in diverse occasions along their lives account for their different vision of agricultural vs. extractive activities (cf. Pace 1998:85; and Lima and Ferreira Alencar 2001:39). 12 As a result of their resistance to the institution of slavery, the runaways had to engage in extractive activities, including increased reliance on fishing and hunting, not only for their own subsistence, but also to re-establish their links with the outside world through trade. It was common for the runaways who escaped plantations near riverside towns on the lower Amazon area to establish clandestine relations with trading post merchants, river traders, or even storeowners in the towns, with whom they could trade their produce and extractive products for supplies, and, most importantly, who had vested interest in maintaining this clientele, and therefore protected them from slave raiding expeditions by informing them in advance about the events in the towns. Through these relations, the aviamento system took hold of the blacks in Jocoj (see also Acevedo and Castro (1998) and Funes and (1996)).

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73 matured on the Amazon delta (cf. Pace 1998:80). Not only did the blacks provide important commodities for the trading post, but also, during the dry season, they would be recruited by merchants from other Amazon areas to work as collectors on the rich rubber forests of Curu de Alenquer,13 a locality situated on the left bank of the Amazon River, where it receives the clearwaters of the Tapajs River, its major tributary, and on the lower reaches of the Xing River. In the rainy season, they would migrate temporarily to the Brazil nut stands of the Jari region. Funes careful research in the parish and the local registers of the riverside municipalities of Santarm, Alenquer, Vila Curu and bidos, showed that the majority of the slaveholders on the lower Amazon had on average five to ten slaves only, very small numbers compared to the plantations in the Northeasts coastal zone. In addition, an examination of post-mortem estates revealed that most of these small groups of slaves comprised families. At times, two or three generations of the same family lived and worked in the same rural property. In fact, according to the elders in Jocoj, the primeirantes, founders of the neighborhood, were a small group of about twelve people, including two married couples and a group of siblings. But soon these first settlers learned to deal socially with others. My grandfather and his brother ruled everyone in this locality. Whenever an outsider would come, a man . a family seeking shelter, they would determine the location of the plots of ground for them to set up their little houses, s na lavoura, old Adelino insisted. Through kinship arrangementsmostly fictive 13 There were 135 quilombos (hideouts of escaped slaves) on the banks of the Curu River (Funes 1996:467). Many of the blacks from Jocoj married into these quilombos and never returned to their community of birth.

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74 kinship tiesnovatos (newcomers) were woven into the lives of the runaways. Thus, a new society came into existence. Little is known about the social and economic organization of actual peasant communities in Gurups rural interior in the decades of the rubber boom, particularly of the rural black communities in the area. Yet, according to the ethnohistories I was told in Jocoj, era s preto, todos eles . era s escravo . tudo um sangue s (they were all blacks . all were slaves, all were the same blood). Examining the genealogies I collected in the fieldalthough the hazy memories of stories heard by the elders from their relatives didnt allow me to feel securely anchored in my materialI observed that these slave descendants managed to keep as much as possible their social associations within a core group of direct descendants of the primeirantes. Not only did they strengthen their links between blood-kin, through marriage of first cousins, but they also reinforced their affinal ties by means of repeated unions of pairs of brothers and sisters. Like diverse segments of the peasantry throughout Latin America, including other communities of riverine peasants in Amazonia, the solution historically engendered by the slaves to secure access to productive resources consisted primarily of kinship relations. Here too, land tenure and kinship could not, and still cannot, be understood without each other.14 In addition, kinship and other kinds of social organization, such as 14 In her analysis of the socioeconomic organization of two rural communities of mixed-blood peasants in the vicinity of Tef in the middle Solimes River, one in the vrzea and another in the terra firme, Lima (1992) characterizes the consanguineous and repeated family unions, or, in her own terms, the re-linking marriages as indicators of the peoples interest in maximizing kinship relationships, and argues that this maximization of kinship ties is a response to deprivationit provides a solid foundation for economic and political relations between individuals and domestic units within the community (1992:213). No doubt the principle of maximization was active in the formation of Jocoj. And the sentiments of kinship, neighboring, and friendship which resulted from these re-linking marriages certainly informed the peoples consciousness of a moral community, (Scott 1976) in which the minimal consumption needs of all its members had to be met.

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75 neighboring and fictive kinship tiesthe compadrazgo15 relations (ritual co-parenhood)were reinforced by the peoples perception of threat from the outside, or the determination to lead a life as freed as possible from external political and economic control and influence. Such perception furthered internal cohesion and solidarity (Almeida 1988). But the centrifugal drive to seize new opportunities to tap rubber trees in faraway seringais (rubber stands) in the early decades of the twentieth century resulted in the dispersal of slave descendants all through the estuary and upriver Amazon. Just as some youngsters married into the quilombos in the vicinity of Curu de Alenquer, others from this locality married into Jocoj, and still others came to Jocoj from the seringais in Arumanduba, in the vicinity of Almeirin, another town located a few miles upstream from the junction of the Xingu and Amazon rivers. In addition, Gurups active commerce and social life attracted elders from the community during the rubber boom. This was definitely a period of dispersion of kinship relations in Jocoj, including the emigration of many in the group locally called galhos (branches)those who descended directly from the primeirantes. Apparently, in the mid-1900s, locality and economic occupation, not a common originthe African-slaves ancestrywere the key sources of peoples identity in Jocoj. They saw themselves as roceiros of the neighborhood of Jocoj (agricultural producers, more precisely, manioc cultivators). As a result of the process of out-migration, contrary to other rural black communities in Brazil, here, no 15 I use the term compadrazgo, the designation of the institution of godparenthood in Spanish, instead of compadrio, the designation in Portuguese, because the institution is best known in the anthropological literature through the works of Mintz and Wolf (1967), and Gudeman (1971), who, relying on the ethnography of peasant groups in Hispanic Latin America, provided the most influential discussions of this Latin American institution.

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76 differential rights between old and new settlers, or primeirantes and novatos, persisted. In his Amazon Town(1964), Wagley noted: the small village of Jocoj is said to have been inhabited almost entirely by Old Negroes, although the people living there today have about the same appearance as the rest of the people in the It community (1964:137). Wagleys allusion to the peoples skin color and features is not relevant here. What is relevant is the idea implicit in his commentary: a fading past. A silenced experience of resistance to slavery, seemingly not commemorated by the descendants of the Old Negroes in Jocoj, certainly not through storytelling.16 1912-1965, Like a Murur: Economic Independence on the Margins Nossa vida era assim mesmo, que nem murur . It only runs downstream, I know . but it is just like our life was . our work. . Each time we were in a different locality . tapping milk from massaranduba trees . tapping and treating rubber upriver, near the mouth of the Xing River . then collecting ucuba17 seeds, or cutting ucuba trees on the nearby islands . and then collecting Brazil nut downstream, in the Jari region . as I said, each time we worked in a different locality, and each time we had a different patron. Just like a murur, thats how our life was. Possibly in her late 90s, Dona Lucinda, a woman resident in the vrzea near the mouth of the Jocoj River, repeated to me as we sipped a little coffee at the door of her house facing the Amazon River. 16 In his discussion of the changes in the signification of the concept of quilombo, Almeida (1997) reminds us that peasant groups who are descendants of African or indigenous slaves were trained to deal with hostile antagonists, i.e., to deny the existence of a quilombo, an early hideout of escaped slaves, because the very affirmation of being quilombolaan unlawful condition vis--vis the colonial proslavery legislationwould eventually make illegitimate their rights to usufruct acquired by continued occupancy (posse da terra). This may have been one reason for the silence of the people in Jocoj about their past of resistance to slavery. But they generally occupied very marginal lands. Other factors than the dispersal of kin groups, and the fear to have their customary rights to land and resources violated must have intervened. However, it is difficult to grasp the actual workings of power, and cultural power in particular, in Gurup during the transition from the nineteenth to the 20th century, considering the scanty information on the existing sociopolitical relations of the slave descendants with the outer world in this period as well as on the internal struggles within the neighborhood that were likely to result from the tension between the desire to distance from the dominant society and the need to stay within the reach of the dominant societys institutions. 17 Virola duckei A.C Sm.

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77 Murur is what the peasants in the estuary call the islands of vegetation that float downstream on the Amazon, drawn from the river shores by the strength of its colossal waters. She talked of the riverines constant movements to bring a little money into their households. According to the oldest inhabitants in Jocoj, between the demise of the rubber industry and the miniboom of the product during the Second World War, the people in the neighborhood enjoyed a relative material plenty, with a low standard of living, i.e., they perceived themselves as poor rural residents, marginalized in forsaken Gurup, but secured their continuity exploring the new economic opportunities that were open to them. Jocoj was a small vila, almost like a trail in the forest. Then the people began to clear the forest around the vila to plant their gardens. First they planted maize, then squash, watermelon and beans . Manioc would come last. The gneros [their production for the market] were timb, and seringa [from the rubber trees in the vicinity of the vila], which the people would go out to trade in Gurup and downstream in the nearby islands. Then other fbricos [work, understood as extractive activities, collecting times and production] appeared, a fruit that they called by the name jaboti aracunha,18 the massaranduba, the cumar19 . thus, our ganhos [sources of livelihood] began to appear. And the people started trading these new products. (Interview with Adelino, 90 years old, June 2002) Their accounts corroborate with Nugents (1993) and Harris (2000) arguments, which indicate a positive correlation between the stagnation periods of the regional economy and the economic dynamism at the level of the riverine communities. As old Adelino said, the local people continued to work at collecting rubber as well as a variety of other forest products, such as ucuba seeds, andiroba20 oil, and Brazil nut (Oliveira 18 Not identified. 19 Dipteryx odorata. 20 Carapa guanensis Aubl.

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78 1991:75). While food shortage hit Gurup in this period (Pace 1998:83),21 the men in the community would paddle their canoes across the Amazons southern channel to sell manioc flour and other farm produce to small traders in the Great Island of Gurup, or to barter farinha for fish and rice with the residents in the island (Oliveira 1991:72).22 Control of land and other non-valorized or unclaimed resources was not a problem to the people in Jocojnot at least until the mid-1960s, when lumbering companies, through government concessions and/or (c)om(m)ission, entered into the forest lands of Gurups vrzea and terra firme, and threatened their continuity with environmental degradation and occasionally, more in the vrzea than in the terra-firme, destruction of property, land expropriation and evictions. 21 According to Pace (1998:83), food shortage followed the breakdown of the aviamento system with the rubber bust; the scarcity, he says, persisted despite the increase in subsistence agriculture, because the distribution of food, as all commerce in the town, passed through the aviamento chain, which diverted products to Belm, and only rarely would take the products from the terra firme residents to the island dwellers, or to Gurup. 22 Most of the land bordering the small streams upriver from Gurup was owned (the land titles were of doubtful legal validity) by a trader and storeowner in the townthe class of land/storeowners emerged in Gurup with the rising prices of rubber in the international markets. The people in the neighborhoods along these streams were clients (freguses) of the landowner (Wagley 1964:95). After the rubber industry began to disintegrate, the aviamento system persistedthough in a weaker version and in the hands of independent regional firms, which replaced the foreign export houses that concentrated on rubberand so did the patron-client relations that characterized it at the level of the riverside towns in Amazonia (cf. Santos 1980:258; Pace 1998:82; Wagley 1964). The landowner advanced goods on credit to the freguses in exchange for the monopoly over trade of their entire surplus product. Debts were rarely canceled, because industrial goods were overpriced and farm produce and forest products were bought cheap in relation to urban market rates. Ideally, from the perspective of the landowners, the freguses would sell (or consume directly) what they produced, and buy what they needed from the same mediumthe stores that landowners maintained in Gurup. The people in Jocoj recognized the ownership of the land by the storeowner, and they were also aware of the risk of eviction whenever their patrons would catch them trading away a portion of their produce. Nonetheless, they resisted. They would go to Gurup after dark to sell manioc flour to other stores, or they would cross the Amazon, or still go upriver to trading posts to sell and buy at more fair terms. Of course the patrons were aware of what was going on, but there was little that they could do, considering the immensity of the area, to prevent these everyday forms of resistance (Scott 1984) practiced by their clients under cover of night.

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79 The Household The households in Jocoj consumed mostly that which family labor producedbased on a division of labor between sexesmainly through shifting cultivation centered on manioc.23 Apparently, the continuity of their lifewaysbasically the reproduction of their patterns of consumption and cultural values and formswas their aim. Goods were produced primarily for household consumption, and each household controlled its own productive activities, combining subsistence agriculture,24 fishing, hunting, and gathering with a variety of petty forms of market involvement. The bulk of trade was done with the patrons/storeowners in Gurup, but manioc flour and forest products were also traded with small river traders, the regates, for large-salted fish, brown sugar, honey, and palm thatch to cover houses. Occasionally, both in the dry and in the rainy season, some members of the households, often the household heads and/or their eldest sons, would engage in disguised wage labor, (Velho 1982:42) tapping rubber or gathering Brazil nut in the Island region or in distant forests, and returning only in October in time to finish clearing the garden sites and to plant their gardens before the heavy rains begin (Wagley 1964:71). Temporary work was a major concern of all households, because subsistence agriculture was financed out of the saldo25 received in the end of the collecting season. 23 I observed the same division of agricultural tasks noted by Wagley in 1948 during his fieldwork in Jocoj. As he wrote, families worked together in their manioc fields. The clearing of fields, the burning and the coivara (pilling up the brush and digging up the roots after burning the field), were mostly male tasks. Women would always take responsibility for weeding their roas, with the help of other women in the vila. More often than not, husband and wife shared the burden of planting, harvesting tubers and processing manioc flour (Wagley 1964:69). 24 Subsistence agriculture implies agriculture for use and for exchangethe manner through which peasants purchase subsistence goods (Roseberry 1976:56). 25 The positive balance paid by the patrons to their workers after expenses with food and equipment provided to them during the collecting season were deducted.

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80 Traders would buy their farinha, but, as old Adelino said, no patron ever advanced household necessities, much less cash, for the production of farinha. Adelino was also emphatic about the importance of the saldo to sustain the households participation in the communitys ceremonial life. The earnings of the family labor were pooled and controlled by the head of the household, under whose authority all the family worked. He was the coordinator of the work force and the decision-maker concerning production and consumptionall the goods that the family usedaccording to the reproductive necessities of the household. Talking about their natal family, the Flores, a group of middle-aged male siblings in Jocoj, remembered the drastic changes in their domestic life brought about by their fathers death, The whole lot of the family changes . everything collapses. When the strength of the front is lacking . when we lose the leader of our workforce, we become just like a canoe without a keel . and we miss the head of our work . we miss him very much! (Interview in June 2002) Labor Mobilization and Internal Differentiation Although there were gender and age-identified tasks, the division of family labor was not rigid among roceiros in Jocoj, and the parental couple in the household usually bore together the pains of agricultural activities. But despite the strongthough never explicitly acknowledged in the peoples discourseideal of household autonomy and self-sufficiency, extrahousehold labor was often required at times of labor-intensive agricultural tasks, such as clearing sites for manioc gardens and weeding. In such a small neighborhood, labor was recruited within and beyond the circles of close kin through various kinds of reciprocal arrangements, based on dyadic relations between

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81 compadres,26 comadres (co-mothers) and/or neighbors. The direct exchange of labor, locally called troca-de-dia (literally, exchange of day) was the most common type of mutual aid between the poorer residents, whereas hired labor was the preferred way of obtaining extrafamily aid by the wealthier roceiros. Here labor was often paid in kind, usually payment of part of the harvest for labor and/or permission to process their manivas at the hosts casa de farinha. Ordinarily, the well-to-do roceiros were the most important source of aid and sustenance to poor residents outside the household. Fatherless at the age of 10, Georgia, a 75-year-old woman, talked of the story of her life and her work: My father died before I was 10 years old. Two years later my mother died too. At the time, my three sisters and I were under fifteen years of age, and Gregrio, our brother, was still a child. The judge in Gurup had decided to give us away. Each child would be given to a different family in Gurup and in other localities nearby. But fortunately uncle Adelino and his family had returned from the seringais in the Jari region soon right after my mothers funeral. So we sought shelter . we asked to live with him. Thats how we got rid of the judges cruel decision. When my mother was alive, we had our garden sites cleared and then, without any extra help, we planted, weeded, and sold manioc flour. When we needed a little extra money to make repairs on our house, to buy clothes . we collected timb. On occasion, we participated in the convites of Joo Povo, a man who cultivated large manioc fields on the headwaters of the Jocoj River. When my mother died, the manivas in our little garden had just matured. Thats how we paid for her funeral. From the tubers, we manufactured manioc flour to sell. After her death, Rui Marzago, who had a trading post at the mouth of the Igarap Monituba, offered to hire my sisters and I to work at his stio (we promptly accepted, because, of course, we couldnt eat at the expense of uncle Adelino). The old man, Rui Marzago, had all sorts of fruit trees in that stio, and frequently hired the mulherada (women) to clear away the underbrush. We were paid by the task then. When we would finish the job, he would measure the area we had cleared in order to make our payment. Sometimes we traded our labor for the goods he sold at his post; but occasionally we were paid in cash. (Interview in July 2002) The convite, as the cooperative work parties were locally called, was another local cultural form of actualizing the interdependence between households in the 26 Co-fathers, the relation between the father of the child and the godparents in the compadrazgo system.

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82 neighborhood. On such occasions, the host of the work party animated his guests with large quantities of food and drink, and eventually reciprocated the work he had received with a similar amount of physical work. Georgia and other elders in the community insisted that whoever hosted a convite had to return the labor received, irrespective of the persons socioeconomic status. But because of the very expenses involved, only rarely the well off roceiros in the neighborhood incurred such labor obligation. In my chats with the elderly, the convites of the most advantaged roceiros in the vila were frequently mentioned, the zest with which the man cleared new plots, and women weeded this many tarefas each time they participated in these events. Definitely, these men were more successful than their less well off neighbors in putting together this important extrafamily aid. As mentioned, the households in Jocoj were characterized by a pragmatic multi-occupationality, but they were relatively homogeneous in the form, that is to say, every household maintained a similar mix of productive activities, taking advantage of opportunities whenever a new one would arise. The wealth differences among households were not based upon their differing commitments to agriculture, extraction of forest products, and temporary, or still permanent migration of families or individuals with the preservation of economic ties to the neighborhood. For the most part, economic differences among households were quantitative. They were expressed in variations in the amount of labor and land controlled by each household. Households with grown-up, unmarried children had substantial amounts of labor available. Land ownership, in turn, was also related to the labor composition of the household. As in other communities of riverine peasant people in Amazonia, in Jocoj, it was the continuous use of land and

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83 resources that characterized ownership. Hence, the households that had more labor available controlled a greater amount of land than the households headed by a younger man without a significant pool of young labor, especially male labor (cf. Lima 1992:141-144, 212; 1997:2; Harris 2000:63, 151-152; Chibnik 1994:138). Thus, socioeconomic differentiation was a function of the households place in the developmental cycleit reflected the changing labor composition of the households over their life cycles. But it would not be true to assume that the affluence of households was short-, not long-lived, as Lima (1997:3) Chibnik(1994:138) and Harris (2000:64) suggest in their ethnographic studies of other riverine peasant groups in Amazonia. From my conversations with the elderly residents, and from Wagleys (1964) and Galvos (1955) comments about the social relationships among roceiro families in Jocoj, it became evident that, by 1948, there already was a crystallization of socioeconomic differences between a small group of prestigious and better-off and a majority of poorer roceiro families in the neighborhood, i.e., between cultivators of large and cultivators of small manioc fields. Second and most important, the wealthiest families in the vila had apparently been able to circumvent the limitations posed by the development of the family unitsthe demographic differentiation(Chayanov 1966) noted by Lima, Harris and Chibnikthrough social mechanisms that resulted in the reproduction of their privileged circumstances over time. What is more, this internal differentiation played a critical role in the social reproduction of the peasant group. In her study of the relationship between kinship and the agricultural labor organization in Nogueira, an upland forest community in the middle Solimes River area, Lima (1997) argues that the system of agricultural production coupled with the definition

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84 of land ownership by labor investment reflect a corporate and egalitarian ideology in which all members of the community have equal rights to access to the main means of production. In addition, she argues that the limiting of land ownership to actual use (usufruct rights) precludes the freezing of the internal differentiation, and hence the tendency of polarization of the peasant group towards economic classes (Lima 1997:3). Elaborating on Limas proposition, in his Life on the Amazon, Harris (2000) indicates additional sources from which economic and political differentiation derive, other than access to labor and amount of landownership of materials (boats, fishing nets, etc.) and animals (cattle and other animals), and different family historiesand, similarly to Lima, claims that economic differentiation should not be exaggerated because of the nature of the developmental cycle of the households, and because of the density and proximity of kinspeople [that] somewhat diffuses the economic divisions between families (2000:65). The great importance attached to sharing and giving in Par, the Amazon floodplain village he studied, and the changes in size and composition over the households life cycle, account for the tendency against concentration of resources that would lead to a split between richer and poorer residents (2000:65). Concluding his comments on inter-communal differentiation, Harris stresses: differentiation is as much a product of kinship processes (e.g. household formation cycles, senior authority over junior kinspeoples labor) as a product of the economic factors. Furthermore, he argues that the egalitarian sense of collectivity people in Par feel also arises out of the recognition of being in the same political position vis--vis their interaction with powerful outsiders, such as bosses and traders (2000:65).

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85 As I wish to demonstrate in the next section, the social system in Jocoj was marked by clear hierarchies of economic advantage that divided householders in the neighborhood, and the less well off roceiros recognized their differential access to powerful outsiders. I believe the term equalitarian, as employed by Cohen (1982) in his ethnography of the locality of Whalsay in rural Britain, reflects more closely the social relations within the social unit of Jocoj. By equalitarian the anthropologist means the intentional masking or muting of social differentiation, rather than belief in equality as a moral principle (egalitarianism) (1982:17). As in Par, in Jocoj, family history was an important factor affecting the social and economic position of households. The most affluent family in the vila, the Povos, descended from a man who had been recruited by the army to fight the war against the Paraguayans. He was given legal titles to land by way of compensation for his participation in the war from the beginning to the last moments of the conflict. The second most affluent family, the Marzagos, whose members lived along the Igarap Monituba and at the mouth of the Jocoj River, was also regarded by the other families in the vila as owner of large tracts of land bordering the Amazon. The family had deeds of possession dating back to the late nineteenth century. This group of close kin descended from a government official in Gurup, who had fallen for the daughter of a couple of fugitive slaves from Jocoj, and therefore spent most of his life in the neighborhood, leaving title to this long strip of land to the sons and daughters of his informal union. But, as already observed, control of the few large and apparently more fertile tracts of land could not account for wealth differences in the absence of labor. In addition to land, what these two important families seem to have accumulated through their extraordinary

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86 connections with the outer world were productive instrumentsfor example, griddles for their casas de farinha and large canoes bought in faraway Santarm. Labor availability, then, was a consequence of these advantages, since other families in the vila could not afford the expensive materials necessary to process manioc flour.27 Different from Par, however, in the case of Jocoj, it can be argued that the reason why clear-cut economic divisions did not persist, or even the development of intravillage differentiation towards the emergence of a group of petty traders and another of near-landless laborers did not occur, lies primarily in the capitalist environment, more precisely, it lies in the form of penetration of capital into the Amazon estuary and the way households were engaged by capitalist enterprises as they entered Amazonia to extract raw materials. I will return to this proposition in the final section of this chapter. For now I will concentrate on the social relationships of the most advantaged roceiro households within and outside the neighborhood. First, I will briefly comment on their relationships with the patrons in Gurup. Then I will concentrate on their relationships with the least advantaged households during the period examined in this section, 1912-1965basically 27 As these two cases demonstrate, the notion of private property was not alien to the people in Jocoj. But it existed alongside of the ideas of communally owned forest lands, backwater lagoons and streams, and individualized family plots, completing one another according to the principles that define the peasant economic model (cf. Almeida 1988:186-187). As Almeida noted in his study of the different systems of common usufruct rights to land historically engendered by peasant groups in Brazil, mainly peasant groups living in areas of old colonization in the country, in these systems of social relations, the notion of private property is marked by reciprocity ties and by a multiplicity of mutual obligations between kin groups and neighbors(1988:187). An interesting example from Jocoj illustrates his point. At their casa de farinha, the Flores brothers narrated the story of the occupation of their centro in the late 1940s: When our father decided to open new gardens on this forested edge of terra firme, he asked the owner of this land for his permission. The old man said to my father that he could use the land for as long as he needed. When the old man died, my father asked his son if we could continue clearing the fallows for new fields of manioc in this area. The man kept his fathers word. He graciously allowed us to continue farming here. Then he died, and his children never reclaimed this land, and we continue using it each year we open our roas in the areas our father left to fallow. (Interview in June 2002)

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87 relationships concerning the mobilization of labor, which allowed for the continuity of these well-to-do roceiros economic and political privileged positions. O Tempo dos Patres (The Time of the Patrons) In my conversations with the elderly residents in Jocoj, the past was always referred to as a time of plenty, as opposed to the time of fieldwork, June-August of 2002, when gardens were small, fish and game were scarce, fruit trees were seldom planted in large quantities, and fruit hardly ever widely distributed among friends or neighbors in the community. In their discourse, the idea of plenty was usually associated with existing patron-client relations in the past, the opportunities offered by the aviamento system that characterized them, and the advances of merchandise on credit in particular. The time of the patrons, as the idea of plenty was articulated in their speech, was a time in which tinha tudo avortado [sic] (the peoples needs were met with less difficulty than at present times, or things were obtained in more than sufficient amounts). It seemed to me that, in Jocoj, as elsewhere in Brazil (cf. Garcia and Palmeira 2001:65-66),28 the people experienced the waning of the patrons and the freedom from the constraints imposed by patronage with considerable suffering, not relief. Naturally, even if we take into account the reality of the post-1964 environmental degradation and deterioration, mainly the 28 In their note on the transformations in the Brazilian agrarian structure in the 20th century, Garcia and Palmeira (2001) tell about the historical process that eventuated in drastic alterations in the traditional forms of domination in rural areas of Brazils Northeast and Center-South regions after 1950. Such alterations were triggered by a combination of economic and sociopolitical factors, such as the unfavorable evolution of commercial crops prices in the international markets, and the promulgation of a new legislation to regulate the labor market. The obligation to remunerate agricultural workers in cash payments according to the minimum wage after 1963 resulted in the eviction of peasant families from the latifundia. The peasants experienced the waning of the traditional forms of labor recruitment, which were based on the practice of granting peasants the use of parcels of land to cultivate crops for their subsistence, as a loss, decadence. They expressed the consequent decline of their material conditions as the times when the patrons became stingy. These new times, when the peasant householders had to learn to manage their family economies on their own, i.e., without the protection of the patrons, were contrasted with a past when the patrons were generous, though they obligated the peasants to work according to the plantation interests and needs (2001:65).

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88 depletion of fish stocks, and the actual impoverishment of the riverine peasants on the Amazon estuary, these are undeniably idealized representations of the past, especially given the changes in the aviamento system following the breakdown of the rubber industry in the first decade of the 1900s.29 Yet, despite any idealization of the past, the sense of loss in the peoples discourse was unequivocal. As said earlier (note 19, above), when the connections of patrons in Gurup with export firms in the capital loosened, the patrons continued buying reduced amounts of rubber in addition to Brazil nuts, timberbeams cut from valuable wood species on the Amazon vrzeastimb vines, salted pirarucu, and andiroba and ucuba seeds and oil, all through the old aviamento system. Although their stocks and capacity to advance goods on credit to their clients were indeed limited then, they managed to maintain near monopoly over the commercialization of their clients produce by means of traditional practices and strategies to secure their personal loyalty and clientship, including displays of liberality to the communities in the interior, such as straightforward sponsoring, or contributing to the festivities to commemorate saints, and various forms of interpersonal exchange, from granting aid to the heads of families in difficultiesthose critical life situations such as illnesses and deathto taking responsibility for the education of the sons of their most loyal clients at boarding schools in the town or even in the capital. In this way, as Bourdieu (1977, chapter 4) wrote, the objective truth of the transactions between patrons and clients, which were certainly characterized by exploitation,30 was 29 Without international moneys and credit, the casas aviadoras (foreign export houses) ceased operations, and independent regional firmscommercial elite who managed to accumulate capital during the rubber boomreplaced them at the regional level. These regional firms, however, were only a token of the powerful institution of aviamento trade relations during the rubber boom in Amazonia. 30 Here, I follow Roseberrys (1976) use of the concept exploitation in its widest sense to refer to the appropriation by nonproducers of a portion of the total product of direct producers (1976:45). Patron

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89 disguised, transfigured, euphemized. Through these practices and diverse exhibitions of their symbolic capital31their reputation among, and collectively recognized dependability with, clienteles throughout the all-encompassing exchange networks in the interior they controlledand particularly through the creation of personal bonds with clients, including compadrazgo relations, patron-client relations were misrecognized; they were viewed by the clients as relationships governed by the norms of reciprocity, not dictated by the logic of economic interest (following Bourdieu, economic in the narrow sense). Thus, I frequently heard in my conversations with the elderly that Mr. Oscar Santos was a good patron. Santos was the brother-in-law and successor of Liberato Borralho, the most important patron and landowner in Gurup in the first half of the 20th century. Seu Oscar era muito bom patro, ele era um homem de fazer muita eqidade com os pobres,32 in chorus, old Adelino and Gregrio repeated to me. Such misrecognition, added to the actual impoverishment of the roceiros, mainly in the last two decades of the 1900s, accounts for the peoples idealized representations of the time of client relations were exploitative in nature, because the patrons controlled the terms of trade, buying their clients agricultural produce cheap and selling them basic supplies dear. 31 In his theory of practice, Bourdieu (1977) argues that the relation between symbolic and economic (material) capital is of interconvertibility, i.e., ultimately, one form of capital can be cashed in for another, or, as he puts it, the exhibition of symbolic capital (which is always very expensive in economic terms) is one of the mechanisms which (no doubt universally) makes capital go to capital (1977:181). Symbolic capital accrues from material capital, it is a transformed and thereby disguised form of physical economic capital [that] produces its proper effect inasmuch, and only inasmuch, as it conceals the fact that it originates in material forms of capital which are also, in the last analysis, the source of its effects (1977:183). 32 Mr. Oscar was a good patron; he would always deal fairly and equitably with the poor.

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90 the patrons, a time in which the people in the communities had at least these ambiguous mediators trading their product for the market.33 Although all households in Jocoj produced agricultural and extractive goods for the market, and even if the smallest roceiro could participate in the exchanges of the market without the mediation of their wealthier neighbors, access to the patrons in Gurup, and thereby increased participation in the larger economic system was mostly a province of the well-to-do roceiros in the locality. Wagley (1964) insightfully depicts the relationship of Lobato (Liberato Borralho) with Joo Povo, the patriarch of an advantaged family in Jocoj, at the close of the 1940s: Co-fathers and co-mothers who are steady customers at the Casa Gato [Borralhos store] are well remembered by Dona Dora [Borralhos wife]. When they come to 33 Talking about the natural limits between Jocoj and the neighboring community of Maria Ribeira, briefly and powerfully, Armando Ruiz described the complex mixture of orientations underlying the relationships between patrons and freguses in rural Gurup: Nowadays, nobody here crosses the Jocoj River to collect timb on the communal forest lands of Maria Ribeira, but, in the past, Joo Povo used to collect timb on those forests, because Liberato Borralho, the patron who owned the lands where Maria Ribeira is located, favored Joo Povo, my father. In reality, Joo Povos uncle owned those lands, but the old man died. He left his son, Jesuno Povo, planting on his fallows. But Jesuno had this disease, and his debt increased considerably . he had to buy the despesinha of his family; he had to maintain his family . buy his medicines. . So, he had to penhorar a terra (he had to grant Borralho the usufruct of his land for the duration of the loan. i.e. until he paid off his debt). Later he died, and his family couldnt work hard enough to pay Borralho that huge debt. But even if he hadnt died, you know . he would have lost the land anyway he wouldnt have the means to pay off that debt. Thats how many localities here ended up in the hands of the rich. Those ricaos [ao is an augmentative affix, ricao means very rich, literally; here it refers to the powerful patrons/storeowners] took hold of the land of so many families in this area by means of this thing they call by the name of penhora (conveyance)! Antnio broke the silence and added, They were maranhenses (born in the State of Maranho), Borralho and Oscar Santos. Thinking I was concluding his words, I said to myselfmaranhenses and greedy, crafty! As if reading my thoughts, and perhaps to remind me that his ways and values were different from mine, Armando immediately replied: Ah! But they were a nossa valncia [our only source of support] . Gurup had a very weak commerce at that time. . Borralho and Oscar were practically the only patrons there that had the merchandise we needed (the household necessities that they obtained through sales of their own goods or labor) . and they used to give us work . servio pelo mato [literally, service in the forests, here the phrase means work at extracting of forest products], you know . all the timb they would buy, the latex, the milk from massaranduba trees . (Interview in July, 2003)

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91 trade, they are offered coffee or a meal in her house. Joo Povo, for example, the neighborhood leader on the Igarap Jocoj, is Dona Doras co-father. She and Lobato stood sponsors at the baptism of Joo Povos eldest son. Whenever Joo Povo comes to It, he eats a meal at Dona Doras house. She respects her co-father and will not listen to the gossip regarding Joo Povos complex family affairs (he has maintained both a wife and a mistress for years). Joo Povo sent his son to live with Lobato and Dona Dora so that the boy might attend school in town. For this he paid the boys godparents nothing, and when the son finally returned to Jocoj to live Dona Dora complained, half in jest, half seriously, My co-father stole our god-child from us. Joo Povo has brought many customers to the Casa Gato, and he is a valuable co-father to the owner of the Casa Gato. Nowadays, the people of Jocoj tend to buy and sell at other stores and trading posts, and Dona Dora freely complains to her co-father for allowing his people to do so. (1964:158) According to Wagley and Galvo the prestige of the leaders in Jocoj, which, as shown above, was recognized by powerful outsiders, was due to a combination of factsthey were among the longer established residents in the neighborhood, each headed a numerous family, and they were the best economically positioned roceiros in the locality. Such prestige was reflected in their functions in the organization of the feasts on the day of the saints. Just as in the town, in every neighborhood in Gurups rural interior there were religious brotherhoods (irmandades) dedicated to saints. Each neighborhood had three to five religious brotherhoods, the most important of which was the one that focused on the cult of the local patron saint. The affluent roceiros played prominent roles in the brotherhoods; they made up their executive board (Diretoria), and were responsible for the formalities, and contributed to the upkeep, of the saints festivals, which constituted the high days of communal life. It was their prerogative to control the ceremonial funds, which consisted of the voluntary annual contributions from all families in the neighborhood, the membership dues, and the proceeds from the auctions of objects

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92 donated to the saints. Definitely fungible, these ceremonial funds were handy the year around.34 The prestigious roceiros also controlled the few larger tracts of cultivable terra firme in the communitys territory. As the elderly in Jocoj emphasized in our conversations, the manioc fields of the richer were essential for the maintenance of the poorer residents in the neighborhoodwidows with children, unmarried mothers, orphans, incoming relatives of residents, and other land-poor householders who had little or nothing more than the labor-power of their wives to rely on. Armando Ruiz and Vinicius talked about this essential ajuda (aid, help) that the privileged roceiros provided to their poorer neighbors: The marisqueiros [here meaning both small river traders and floodplain dwellers] would arrive at the small port of the neighborhood, and they would find only a liiiiiittle farinha to buy. Then they would paddle to S. Joo [the locality on the headwaters of the Jocoj River where Joo Povo cultivated his manioc fields]. There, they would always find the large quantities of farinha they needed. Except for Sundays, which the people often dedicated to finding a paca, or to fishing on the Amazon River, not a single day would pass that the poorer from Jocoj and from Pucuru [another small neighboring community of slave descendants] wouldnt work at weeding, or clearing, or planting the manivas of the richer. Thats how they managed to buy the despesinha of their families. Even the marisqueiros, if they were short of cash or merchandise, would sometimes stay at Joo Povos and work on his roas for up to one month. (Interview in July 2002) 34 Talking about the difficult economic situation of her eldest son, one of the poorest residents in Jocoj and procurador (attorney for the saint) of St. Sebastian, the less important among the five saints in the locality and whose festival is the only one celebrated in the meager rainy season, old Ignacinha explicited what was only tacitly agreed by villagers: My son said that he is going to pass this position to another person in the community. Nowadays things are very different from what they were in the pastthe procurador doesnt cuida do dinheiro do santo, (literally, take care of the money of the saint, the donations and membership dues paid by the brothers) as they used to do before. Less than one month after the saint festival, the people begin borrowing the money, and the procurador has no alternative than to surrender the little amount that could serve as his poupancinha (little savings) throughout the year, you know . . (Interview in June 2002)

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93 Hence, it was this category of poor, especially young unmarried men, that formed the nexus of labor which the well-to-do householders mobilized to work on their large fields not only through hired labor, but also through reciprocal arrangements, such as the convite, or even through informal adoption. But although the parties involved in these types of extrafamily labor perceived these arrangements as ajuda, it is undeniable that there was an imbalance in the exchanges between them. 35 And it is this imbalance that permitted the reproduction of the structure of the social relations through which the privileged economic position of the land-rich was maintained. Yet, as Mintz (1973) wrote in his note on the definition of the peasantries, the poor permit themselves to be exploited to remain peasants (1973:94). Calling for middle range definitions of peasantries and peasant societies with a view towards bridging the gap between real peasant societies on the ground, and the more abstract definitional statements adequate to describe all of them, Mintz underscores the need to understand the peasants in terms of their internal differentiationnot all in the sector are preys, some among them are commonly among the predators, he says. What is more, he adds, it cannot be assumed that the more powerful segments of the peasantry are necessarily changing the situation by the use they make of the less powerful then 35 This observation was made by Smith (1979) in his study of socioeconomic differentiation among Huasicanchinos, rural-based petty commodity producers in Central Peru. Just as in Huasicancha, in Jocoj, hired labor also involved the exchange of qualitatively distinct commodities (labor vs. goods). Labor was paid in kind; a small part of the harvest was given to the poorer roceiros so that they could fabricate manioc flour in the ovens at the casas de farinha of the richer. In the case of the institution convite, even if the richer returned the same amount of physical labor they had received, sending one of their sons to replace them, because the productivity of their land plots was higher than the productivity of the plots of the poorer householders, and since labor was measured on a simple time basisa day for a daythe institution also allowed for exploitation of the poorer by the richer roceiros. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that the relationship between the host and his guests was exploitative, because the labor given to the better-endowed land plots produced more value than the labor given to the less productive plots, and the difference would be a surplus expropriated from the less productive farmer (Smith 1979:293).

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94 they; often, thoroughgoing peasant and traditional qualities of the small community or the peasant society depend on just such practices (1973: 94). It would be inadequate to subsume the wealthier roceiros in Jocoj under the category of predators, though. As said earlier, the development of intravillage differentiation towards the emergence of a group of petty traders and another of near-landless laborers did not occur. But the economic distance between the most and the less advantaged roceiros was not minimalthough it was a far cry from the distance that separated these advantaged householders from the local elites/patrons in Gurup. The roceiros that regularly worked as day laborers in the manioc fields of their better off neighbors were not only well aware of these differences in economic position between them and their employers, but also counted on them to continue providing for their families, and consequently remain peasants. Therefore it would be a mistake to emphasize the exploitative aspect of these intravillage hierarchical relationships. For the most part, these associations were conceived of as symmetrical exchanges between those needing to attain the subsistence level and those in need of labor.36 The poorer residents would recur to day labor in their own neighborhood because it was convenient to themthe work didnt require leaving their families and their small gardens for long periods, and this is precisely what men avoided when their children were young. Likewise, as fieldwork progressed and I listened to adult men of different 36 Robertson (2001) makes a similar observation about the institution of sharecropping among peasant groups. Social theorists at both ends of the ideological spectrum often view the institution negatively; those leaning towards left end insist on the exploitative nature of the relation between parties, whereas liberals emphasize its transitory nature. The practice of sharecropping, those on the right end argue, is inefficient and irrational, because it contradicts the fundamental motive of human action: self-interest. For this reason, either party lacks motivation to innovate. According to Robertson, however, recent close examination of contracts within different localities reveal that, instead of feudalism or low yields, what is often found is a fluid and versatile range of collaborations, (2001:171) some equitable, some less so. The efficiency of sharecropping is mostly due to this flexibility, he concludes; hence its historical persistence.

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95 generations recount the stories of their lives, and observed daily interactions between householders, it became evident that, back in the first decades of the 1900s just as at the time of fieldwork, nothing could be more remote from their idea of an appropriate life of a roceiro than having his time and labor controlled by another villager. Thus, my material suggests a slightly different interpretation of internal differentiation. Limas, Harriss and Chibniks arguments are all somewhat similar. They agree that socioeconomic differentiation was more related to the households place in the life cycle than to village social stratification, and hence that intravillage economic differences were short, not long lived. My argument is that different family histories, combined with diverse arrangements through which the land-rich roceiros obtained labor from their land poor neighborsthus circumventing the constraint posed by the development cycle of the householdaccounted for enduring social stratification in Jocoj. Yet it would be wrong to underestimate the reciprocal foundations of this stratified social system. Just as Lima interprets the repeated consanguineous family unions within communities of riverine peasants in the Solimes area as indicators of the peoples interest in maximizing kinship ties so as to escape deprivation, I interpret the attitude of roceiro householders in Jocoj towards intravillage economic differences and social stratification as a response to depeasantization. Similarly to Mintzs reconstituted Caribbean peasantry, the production of these roceiros was peripheral, marginal at best in reproducing their lifeways as independent petty commodity producers, but in essence it represented a relatively mature distancing of direct producers from control of capital

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96 (Nugent 1993: 188), a reaction to sociopolitical encroachment in their lives, usurpation of their land, and eventually dependence upon wages.37 1966-1996, Timber Extraction: From Increased Participation in the Regional and Global Markets to Penury on the Margins Between the mid-1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, the rural areas on the estuary began to experience the consequences of the States efforts to modernize Amazonia. International lumbering firms arrived in Gurup to exploit its floodable forests, and established relations with the people in the rural neighborhoods through the mediation of existing patron-client relations. The peasants living along the streams on the Amazon estuary were forced into timber extraction by patron-landowners, now linked to the timber sector, to whom they were tied through patron-client relations, reinforced by compadrazgo ties. We paddled to Gurup with our little produce, and Seu Oscar (the storekeeper and owner of the land in Jocoj) would say that he could keep it as a favor, only to lighten our canoes load on our trip back to the village, 38 said Julinho Povo, a resident in the vrzea area of the Jocoj River. Actually, according to the accounts of the people in Jocoj, it is as if timber had become the official currency in this Amazon area. 37 Sider, in his contribution to the collection of essays that explore the relationship between interest and emotion within family and wider kinship groups (1984), also interprets the organization of production along community lines where merchant capital is the dominant capital as evidence of resistance to external domination. He argues that, within the framework of merchant capital, groups that direct their work process, i.e. those who do not work under direct supervision of agents of those who appropriate the surplus, organized themselves along lines of family, kin, or collectivity not only to produce what they must but also, in conjunction with resistance, to continue to do so. In rural Amazonia, merchant capital was the prevailing form of capital at least until the 1970s, though some students of the region argue it still predominates in certain Amazon areas (see Cleary 1993; Nugent 1993). 38 Reacting to the changed economic circumstances following the collapse of rubber exports, and to a rising inflation rate that had begun in the 1950s, the patron-landowners in Gurup sought to strengthen their position as purchasers of extraction products and agricultural produce, purveyors of imported goods, and suppliers of credit. In control of the terms of trade, they drastically underpriced their clients produce. As a result, the clients access to their own surplus diminished. Eventually, this contractual inferiority had the effect of pushing them into timber extraction, since their access to basic necessities was virtually suspended (cf. Pace 1992:717; 1998:105).

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97 Even the regates and the few trading post owners that had not gone out of business at the time would prefer to trade manufactured goods for timber.39 O Tempo da Comunidade (The Time of the Community) The people in Jocoj referred to the period that followed the time of the patrons as the time of the community. It was Padre Chico, an Italian Catholic priest that came to attend the church in Gurup in the early 1970s, who founded the community, they say. As said earlier (chapter 2, note 19), the Catholic Church was possibly the most important component of Brazils political landscape contributing to the mobilization of the peasantries for improved living conditions, land and resource rights. It was certainly a key factor affecting the structure of the relations between capital and labor throughout the interior of the country (see Garcia and Palmeira 2001). The Liberation Theology-oriented priest arrived in Gurup when profound transformations were taking place on the Amazon estuary. As said, in the first years after lumbering firms began operations on the Amazons south channel, they used the existing patron-client relations in the town to engage the river dwellers labor. This contributed to the lingering of these relations well into the early 1980s. Through the old schemes of patronage, patrons maintained their hold on their clienteles production, labor and political affiliationsthe flow of gifts to the neighborhoods was busier in times of religious festivals, mainly in periods of municipal and state elections. Chico played a role in their waning, though. Noticing this intertwining of religion and politics, he tried to intervene by firing at what he and his 39 The major lumbering firms operating on the Amazon estuary were Brumasa (Bruynzeel Madeiras S/A, from the Netherlands); Eidai (Eidai do Brasil Madeiras S/A, Japanese); Madeira Tropical; Macasa; Companhia Amazonia Madeiras e Laminados (Georgia Pacific) (Oliveira Jr. 1991).

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98 predecessors considered to be pagan customs of excessive drinking of cachaa,40 dancing the gamb,41 and the resulting fights likely to occur between participants on such occasions, when the majority of adults were often drunk and never quite sober. In some of my boat trips from Gurup to the vila, I accompanied Lucas, one of the Ruizes, the most numerous family in Jocoj. A man of few words when sober, he would become a talkative and spirited person after his visits to town. Every acquaintance he would bump into when running his errands provided a break for that last shot of cachaa. Bobbing on the Amazon River, just he and I on his boat, he talked about the politics of religion, the ways in which Padre Chico had influenced the changes in the power structure both in Gurup and in the rural neighborhoods. Padre Chico, Lucas once said, did not oppose our dances, drums and drinking in excess on the festivals as much as he opposed the maneuvers of the patrons to secure political support to the right. But the elderly resisted his attempts to interfere in the management of the community affairs . o velho Oscar era muito chegado com aqueles que tinham mais uma condiozinha, n? (Old Oscar was closely related to the better off in the neighborhood).42 There was no civic authority in Jocoj. Yet the patrons in Gurup viewed those well off roceiros who controlled the religious brotherhoods Lucas referred to them as the elderlyas the chefes do povoado (as the rulers of the neighborhood). 40 A strong alcoholic drink made from sugarcane, which is consumed throughout Brazil, especially by the poorer classes. 41 Gamb is how the samba, a dance of African origin, is locally known in the neighborhoods in rural Gurup, particularly in the communities of slave descendants. 42 The Catholic Church, through the agency of Padre Chico and the progressive Base Ecclesiastic Communities (the CEBs), was key in the organization of the neighborhoods in the interior of Gurup. The victory of the Workers Party in the municipal election held in 1993 was largely a result of Chicos and the CEBs efforts to spread a certain working-class ideology throughout the area, thus accentuating the loss of power of the influential traditional elites in the town, principally the local patrons, who were already on the wane due to economic changes underway (see Pace 1998, Chapters 8 and 9).

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99 They were the most conservative in the neighborhood and they valued local autonomy as firmly as householders rejected other villagers meddling in their households business and their families privacy. In the time of the patrons, the Catholic Church had little penetration in Jocoj, Lucas repeated to me. The community of Jocoj is known among affiliates of the Workers Party (PT) in the town for its strong opposition to the ideological influence of Father Julio and the CEBs. From my conversations with the elderly and other adults in the vila, it became clear to me that until the mid-1980s, the attitude of the majority of villagers towards the Church was still characterized by indifference. Actually, it seemed that it had been like that since the foundation of the neighborhood. Moreover, contrary to Oscar, the storeowner in Gurup and godparent of at least one child of each of the advantaged roceiros in the vila, the only thing the Catholic Church had to offer to the people was the sacraments, but of all the rites of Christianization, only baptism was of relevance to them. Between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s the rural communities in Gurup experienced a new and destructive form of penetration of capital in their area, degradation of their environments, the waning of the patrons, the leveling of intravillage economic distance, emigration of young men and women to faraway Amazonian industrial enclaves, and eventually increased impoverishment. It didnt take long for the people in Jocoj to begin associating the time of the community with the unfortunate brand of fracasso (failure, decline, deterioration). Transformations in Sociality, Domesticity and Morality As international lumbering firms opened regional branches in riverside towns on the estuary, their representatives sought to by-pass patrons, and interact directly with

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100 residents in the vrzeas of the Amazon and its tributaries in the estuarine region43. By the 1970s, the majority of the households in Jocoj had at least one member working at timber harvesting. The prices of manioc flour and less important forest and river products were miserably low; hence many families neglected subsistence agriculture. Because payments by timber firms were made in cash, and because there always was demand to meet increased productivityin the 1970s firms proliferated on the estuarymany household heads turned to the market in Gurup to buy the same items that they were no longer producing with domestic labor, or that they were not producing sufficiently to meet the needs of their families. The cost of household and production supplies became increasingly cheaper. This was a period of massive social change in Jocoj. One important change took place in the system of land tenure. Mentioning a conversation he had with Gregrio, a Jocoj native, Pace (1998) says that Jocoj had grown to its limit by the 1960s, and that the community had used the land surrounding the village to its capacity. In addition, a swamp blocked access to more distant land. This, combined with the low prices of agricultural produce and the information about new opportunities to work for wages in the Jari tree plantation, opened in 1978, explained that, by 1986, half of the households in Jocoj had permanently emigrated to the Jari valley, according to Pace (1998:104). Land was not, and is not, privately owned in Jocoj. The system of tenure is based on usufruct 43 In his book, The Struggle for Amazon Town: Gurup revisited (1998), Richard Pace says, today large extraction firms deal directly with trading post merchants and landowners and eliminate middle positions (import/export houses, aviadores). In doing this the firms deal in cash payments, not in merchandise as the old rubber traders did. Merchandise passes through the traditional channels among import/export firms, aviadores, and trading posts. (Pace 1998:115) Talking to the people in Jocoj, however, it became clear to me that these voracious firms did make a deliberate move to identify brokers(Wolf 1956:1075-1076) who were residents of the riverine communities, and thereby eliminate the merchants from their scheme to exploit the forests on the Amazon estuary.

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101 rights. The land is a communal resource that families have the right to exploit. As said earlier, until the early 1970s, all families cultivated their manioc fields in the proximity of the village. By 1973, however, Gregrio himself, and Armando and Maria Ruiz, the parental couple of the largest group of siblings in the community, had occupied two large interfluves in the communitys territory, their respective centros, Umarizal and Aaizal. In my conversations with old Gregrio and Armando Ruiz, I came to realize that their move meant more than Gregrio had told to Pace. It was not just the exhaustion of the land around the village that led to their decision to establish separate centrosand casas de farinhafrom the other households in the community. Rather, relations between families in Jocoj at the time of the timber boom became somewhat strained. It is likely that their concentration on timber extraction led to competition, and not cooperation, as is the case of festive work parties and other forms of reciprocal exchange of labor in the performance of agricultural tasks. If until 1973 the manioc fields of each household were divided into disconnected strips that were interspersed with the fields belonging to other households, and use of different tracts of land was essentially temporary, the new division of the territory of the community in centros controlled by extended familiesthe situation I encountered at the time of fieldworkindicated a tendency towards crystallization of usufruct rights into de facto property rights (see Lima 1992). Talking about his decision to occupy his centro, the Aaizal, Armando Ruiz explained to me, naquele tempo no era como agora no, a gente podia se colocar em qualquer parte, no tinha esse negcio de se cadastrar no INCRA, no ITERPA (things were different back then; we could place ourselves and open our gardens in whatever corner in the communitys land, and we didnt have to obtain legal title to our tracts of

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102 land from ITERPA, or INCRA. 44 Despite the efforts of the Workers Party and the Rural Workers Union in Gurup to make clear to roceiros and varzeiros in the rural communities the legal efficacy of the document provided by INCRA declaring that the petitioner occupies a land tract in a rural area, the majority of the rural dwellers in the municipality thought this declaration corresponded to a legal title to land. The document is important, however, because it qualifies women and men as rural workers, upon completion of 55 and 60 years of age, respectively, to receive the rural pensions paid by the federal government. As other villagers in Jocoj, Armando considered that the declaration issued by INCRA established his centro as the private property of his family. The idea of private property here was no longer marked by reciprocity ties and by a multiplicity of mutual obligations between kin groups and neighbors as before. Rather, it was informed by the ideology of capitalism. But increased involvement in the market economy through participation as workers in timber extraction, and increased reliance on the market for purchase of food items, affected not only the system of land tenure, but also the patterns of economic cooperation within households in Jocoj. The new way of earning a living was followed by changing relations in the household. As men concentrated on timber extraction and neglected subsistence agriculture, what and how much the family ate or consumed depended largely on the productivity of their labor, (i.e., more forest felling). Except for temporary migration of adult men to collect forest products, up until then mens and womens work were significantly complementary and perceived as equally relevant to the reproduction of the household unit. Husband and wife had to cooperate in the performance of 44 ITERPA and INCRA are the land tenure agencies of the State of Par and the federal government, respectively. ITERPA is the acronym for Par State Land Institute.

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103 agricultural tasks. Now practically circumscribed to child care and tending small manioc fields, women complained that they felt less and less important, and ever more worried that their husbands would drink away their pay in Gurup. Felling trees was the province of men after all. And, as Zilda, a woman in her forties once said, nossa roa a nossa segurana (our garden/manioc fields are our security), namely, they are what they can rely on that depends little or nothing on the uncertain outer world. As noted earlier, households in Jocoj were income-pooling units of production. And they remained so even after the young unmarried men, encouraged by the Jari Projects demand for unskilled labor, left home to work for wages. During fieldwork, only three of these wage-workers visited the communitytwo were young women that worked as domestic servants in the houses of white-collar employees in the industrial complex, i.e., they joined the mass of riverine peoples working in the informal economy in Amazonian towns and cities. Although I didnt observe or hear of any conflicts between fathers and their migrant children in the period, on different occasions during informal conversations and semi-structured interviews, I noticed a certain resentment on the part of the fathers for not having been able to provide for their families and avoid sending their sons and daughters to look for work in the faraway industrial complex. It seemed to me that this feeling of impotence was compounded with their feeling less sure of their authority in the household. At the level of the community, the crucial change occurred with the withdrawal of the lumbering companies to other areas in the lower Amazon, where dense stands of commercially valuable hardwoods were still available. Just as the patrons in Gurup, those better-off householders that had been involved in ongoing relations of exchange

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104 and patronage with their less well off neighbors also experienced decline. When firms were operating in the vrzeas on the estuary, these roceiros managed to secure their privileged economic position by acting as brokers between the community and the representatives of the firms. They also began to establish themselves as petty traders, buying logs from their neighbors for a slightly smaller amount than they would receive from the compradores of the firms, and selling merchandise they would buy in the town for relatively higher prices than they had originally obtained. Waning with the patrons, or shortly after them, these advantaged roceiros could no longer provide employment for their less advantaged neighbors and thus mitigate the effects of inequalities of land and differences in lifestyle in the community. By cultivating the reciprocal foundations of these hierarchical relations, the prestigious roceiros had hitherto helped the neighborhood to remain viable and relatively self-sufficient. Merchants of a Different Breed: Transformation of Social and Economic Relations Within and Between the Community and the Outer World I introduced the discussion about internal differentiation in this chapter, arguing that the reason why clear-cut economic divisions did not persist in Jocoj, and the development of intravillage economic differentiation towards the emergence of a group of petty traders and another of land poor laborers did not occur should be looked for in the form of penetration of capital on the Amazon estuarial zone and the way capitalist firms engaged peasant domestic units as they entered Amazonia. As noted earlier, although lumbering firms operating on the estuary used the labor force available in rural communities and remunerated these riverine peasants qua workers for their services, they did it, first, through the mediation of local storeowners, and then through the partnership between compradores and brokers in the communities. Thus, capitalist firms acted as if

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105 they were merchantsthey remained outside the process of production, and they did not incorporate the peasantries per se, but absorbed them as workers (Nugent 1993:201). But this new extractive sector was of unprecedented, matchless scale. First, highly capitalized, they advanced ever-greater amounts of cash, not food and production supplies, for Amazon precious woods. Second, they were not buying cheap to sell dear on international markets; they were agents of industrial capital, capitalist institutions using the force of money in a largely demonetized economy to engage and exploit a supply of cheap labor. Third, they were much less concerned in establishing durable ties with loyal clients; rather, they hired men from different riverine communities to extract timber, as they advanced into the Amazon valley, ripping off the old growth forests on its vrzeas. Fourth, while merchant capital was conservative of the peasantries in Amazoniathey were able to combine their seasonal work at tapping rubber, or collecting other forest products for exchange with subsistence agriculture, fishing and other activities that comprised their diverse repertoire of petty formslumbering firms operations, interested in the forests proper, not just in forest products, effected significant deterioration of different ecosystems on which the riverine peasants depend to make a living, compromising their continuity as independent petty commodity producers. As Nugent (1993) eloquently puts it, one of the striking features of Amazon modernization is that, in some senses, it does the opposite of what it claims. Rather than improving the possibilities for the peasantry, it is systematically blocking social reproduction, and in blocking social reproduction in this way, the modernizationist strategy becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, producing in its wake an amorphous peasantry whose stagnant economy will have to survive on the leavings of a pillaged landscape (1993:9).

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106 Furthermore, high mobility was critical for achieving the goal of this particular capitalist sector: quick profit. Resources were exhaustible. As Bunker (1985) wrote, in extractive systems in Amazonia, the unit costs of production (extraction) tends to rise as the scale of production increases, because of the difficulty to access timber in the upland forests, far from the riverbanks. But this direct variation (larger volume-higher cost!) was just a specificity of this extractive activity. The fact that this odd variation (from the typically capitalist perspective) made perfect sense to the riverine peasants/petty commodity producers in Jocojthat is after all their logicjust served to smooth ever further the cash infused transactions between brokers in the community and these welcome, liberal patrons. But definitely not agents of circulation, lumbering firms were simply buying means of production to sell products in their countries of origin, benefiting from the existing socioeconomic conditions in the Amazona backward region in an underdeveloped country, where the price of land and labor were extremely low, and raw materials very cheap. But the question remains. Would the well off roceiros in Jocoj have chosen the road to petty trading and then become petty capitalists, as an anthropologist informed by Leninist theory would suggest? Of course, it would be a mistake to speculate about the destiny of these men, had the macro conditions existing in this Amazon area allowed the process of social differentiation to continue. Nonetheless, it seems reasonable to assume that these roceiros didnt see themselves as having mobility possibilities independent of their communities. Rather, from my conversations with the elderly and with men and women who were members of the former well-endowed households in Jocoj, it seemed to me that the heads of these most advantaged families saw their fortunes very much tied

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107 to the fortunes of their kin, friends, and neighbors, and they were always the first to make sure that, in their economic, social, and ritual relations of cooperation with their less advantaged fellow villagers, the balance of rights and obligations, costs and benefits would reach a rough equilibrium. Now I return to the time I shared with the community during fieldwork. Jocoj Revisited In the 1990s, the people in Jocoj extracted timber only sporadically from their upland forests; difficulties with the transportation of logs, little demand, and depletion of the forests along the Amazon led the majority of the householders in the community to retreat to subsistence agriculture.45 Another period of weakened external relations had begun as lumbering firms withdrew from the estuary. Although the people were able to maintain access to land and water resources, the preconditions for the maintenance of their diverse and flexible economy of agriculture, fishing, hunting, temporary work at extraction of forest products were sporadic, if existing at all, at the time of fieldwork. The selling of their agricultural produce was blocked by the lack of an internal market for food in Gurup. Most of the food consumed by the urban and rural residents was imported by the main retailers in the town from Central Brazil, or from other Amazon areas, mostly the areas where large-scale agriculture established in southern Par. The national and international interest for Amazonian hardwood species was steady, but the large concentrations of species of commercial interest on Gurups vrzeas and terra-firme forests were virtually nonexistent, or what there was left of them was located in 45 In his article Social conflict and political activism, Pace reminds us, resource depletion has historically disrupted Gurups economy on numerous occasions (see Bunker 1985:60-65), the cumulative effect of past and present reductions and depletion has severely threatened present-day (sic) subsistence patterns (1992:720).

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108 areas of difficult access in upland forested areas. Fish stocks were depleting with the continued activity of commercial fishing boats on the estuary, and continued slash-and-burn agriculture in a limited area had endangered the health of their soils and forests. Food security was far from the reality of the people in Jocoj. Finally, opportunities to work for wages in the capitalist enclaves in Amazonia were rare for unskilled labor at the time, and it seems they will remain so. The people had barely retained the means to provide for their (infra)subsistence. The elderly had their rural pensions tokens of a welfare state on the wane in Braziland with the support of the pensions, close kin could provide a social safety net among themselves. Yet the people could hardly hold on to eat a square meal a day. It looked as if their resilient economy had reached its limit. Having portrayed their economy and now outlined their historical career, should I call them semipeasants (Kearney 1996:93), or (infra)subsistence producers, or still external semiproletarians (de Janvry 1981:116, cited in Kearney 1996:114) instead? The answer, I believe, is no. They were facing increasing impoverishment and isolation, but their ways of living, thinking and acting remained essentially peasant ways. And, it seems to me, that this is what transpired in the discussion narrated in Chapter 2. Zeca, a man in his early forties, and his nephew Tiago, a student at the Casa Familiar Rural, talked about economizing; the uncle repelled his nephews alien ideas about making savings for family investments, defending what he saw as the most important value of community life: sharing. But rather than seek to understand what is it that made them keep this cognitive orientation, I think that it is important to attempt to understand why in the midst of capitalist development these people remained invisible. One crucial explanation offered

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109 by Nugent (1993) is the complexity of their livelihoodsthe riverine peasants in Amazonia remained invisible because the extensification (sic) of their livelihoods matches the scale of their resource base, he says. True. From the vantage point of policy makers and agents of state development in Brazil, this was not the way people should interact with land in modernized Amazonia. Clearing the forestthat was the sign of occupation the State chose to acknowledge at the time of modernization. That was how land should be put to use. Nothing will prevent us, proclaimed Brazilian president Getulia (sic) Vargas in 1940, from accomplishing . the conquest and the domination of the great valleys of equatorial torrents, transforming their blind force and extraordinary fertility into disciplined energy (Kuehls 1996: xiii, emphasis in the original). The visionary President of the Republic claimed the administrative ordering of nature and society, which Scott terms High modernism. Discussing how modern states got a handle on their subjects and their environments, in his Seeing Like a State(1998), Scott says that High modernism is one element of a particularly pernicious combination of three elements that resulted in the most tragic episodes of state development in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second element is the unrestrained use of power of the modern state as an instrument for achieving the design of high modernism, and the third is a weakened or prostrate civil society that lacks the capacity to resist these plans (1998:89). This unfortunate conjunction could very well characterize the plans for Amazon modernization and developmentan ideology moving state officials, countless state bureaucracies to concretize it, and thousands of powerless and invisible peasantries and indigenous

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110 peoples who lived in the great valleys of equatorial torrents, empty space no less, that the state set about to transform and discipline when the military took power in Brazil. But what does the clearing of forests attest to the disciplining designs of the state? It confirms the sole attitude towards nature recognized by the state at the time: the capitalist attitude. That voracious, even rapacious, attitude toward the material world . that powerful point of view of nature as object, the obedient servant and uncompromising treasury of man (Heilbroner 1985:135). This is the right way of thinking and acting, the right orientation to nature that is required for that limitless invasion of the world for the purpose of surplus accumulation. And it should be no surprise that the clearing of forests was precisely what entitled individuals to private property in the period of Amazon authoritarian modernization (Almeida 1990:227). That is, it seems to me, the reason why the historical peasantries in Amazonia, who had engendered tenure systems based on communal usufruct rights to land and whose relationship with their environments was characterized by mutual constitution, not objectification or indifference, were excluded from the plans to modernize and develop the region. That is the reason why their perspectives were cast to the side or excluded, and they remained invisible. What Nugent does not acknowledge or emphasize sufficiently in his explanation of their invisibility, however, is that this exclusion from participation in the national or Amazon community was the way the state took care of, not simply neglected all those groups that offered resistance to the so-called economic rationality, that transformation of the blind force and extraordinary fertility of the great valleys of equatorial torrents into disciplined energy, into private property, large and deforested, according to the designs of the modern state. To these peoples the Brazilian

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111 state had no plans for the kind of good life,the political life of citizens with basic rights; rather, it hardly permitted that they lived a bare life, mere existence.

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CHAPTER 4 THE SHIFTING MEANINGS OF MOVEMENT Three men in the community wrote the official story of the founding of Jocoj, which they used to legitimize their land claim. The story is based on interviews with the three oldest men in the community. They described the beginnings of the neighborhood. It was founded by slaves who managed to escape from Gurup-Miri. They were acquainted with a trading post owner who lived and cultivated the shores of a stream that feeds into the Amazon, the Igarap Monituba. Antonio do Monituba, as the trader was locally known, had learned from them about their constant whippings. On different occasions, the slaves had been brought to work on his gardens under the supervision of Pedro Lima, the cruel foremen in Gurup-Miri. So Antonio had promised to support them, if they decided to escape. Thus, during a trip of their master, one of the slaves, a man called Halpio, managed to leave the plantation for a hunt. But in reality he intended to look for an out-of-the-way place, where he and his people could establish a safe hideout. After hours walking, he reached an igap [seasonally inundated forest]. Realizing that thats where the upland forest ended, he climbed the tallest tree he could find; from the top of that tree he spotted a patch of terra firme on the other side of the igap. Upon his return to Gurup-Miri, he told his fellows about this place, and so they invented another hunt to check it. Halpio guided the group. They cut through the large igap, and finally reached the shore of a small creek. The edge of terra firme that Halpio had told them about appeared on the opposite bank; so the group crossed the creek, climbed up its bank, and confirmed: that was a safe hiding place. Luck was on their side. Antonio do Monituba used to fish in that small creek. He would paddle upstream for about 100 yards, and then paddle back to his point of departure, where the creek narrowed. The slaves took his canoe and set about searching the mouth of the creek. They paddled and walked, and finally, not far from the entrance of the Monituba, they located the creeks black waters spreading into the white-water Amazon. That should be the outlet of the creek, they said to themselves. But the bush blocked its course. One happy day, the slaves flew to freedom Halpio, Antonio Francisco, Plcido, Lucas, Maximino, Pscoa . all came to hide on the bank of that creek, the Jocoj. [Histria do Povo de Jocoj, 1999; my translation] If the place was an ideal shelter from the abuses in the plantation, it also hampered the realization of these fugitive slaves as free rural cultivators, with access to the busy 112

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113 river trade network of Amazonia. Only Antonio, the merchant, connected them to the world. It took a generation, the time of the coming of age of a gorgeous girl born to a couple of primeirantes, for them to fully enjoy their hard-won autonomy. Through affinal ties, the marriage of the girl to the intendente (equivalent to the mayor) of Gurup, the runaways initiated the transformation of the black-water creek into the now miles-long Jocoj River. When slavery was abolished, the official history of the locality tells, a couple of fearful but bold runaways who had produced the beautiful girl started visiting Gurup to trade their produce for supplies on their own. Before long, the couple returned to the neighborhood without their jewel, now a stunning morena (black woman). Dazzled with her beauty, the intendente asked the couple for their permission to keep her. Visiting his in-laws, he soon learned about their painsloaded with their cargoto reach the Amazon. Thus, the story goes, with the support of the official, the families in Jocoj started cutting the creek. Year after year, they devoted their time to cleaning it, from its outlet to its headwaters. It took another generation until the opening of the waterway was completed, and the Jocoj River, as they named it, came into existence (see Raffles 2002 for a similar story of place-making). In more recent times, only in the height of the dry season do the people in the community have to push and drag their canoes to the mouth of the Jocoj. During my fieldwork, nothing in that landscape would reveal it was man-made, dug out of their will to participate in the grande movimento (liveliness and activity)the river trade and, occasionally, according to their self-determination, the commemorations and religious celebrations of the residents in the town. This story of human agency and place making provides me with a good entrance to the main theme in the present chapter: the politics of the people in Jocoj. The changes in

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114 the realities of their social and material life examined in the previous chapter provide the necessary background against which the discussion in this chapter unfolds. Here, after exploring the initial ideas included in the local concept grande movimento, the focus shifts to the main points of articulation of the community with the outside world in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Concentrating on the interactions of the community with the two institutions that influenced them at the time of fieldwork: the Catholic church and FASE, the socioenvironmental NGO active in Gurup, I seek to assess whether and how these engagements contributed to change the conditions of existence of the community and reduce their disenfranchisement. First, I survey their experience with Padre Chico, a member of the progressive branch of the church that fostered the political organization of the localities in the interior of the municipality into communities, that is, local social groups in which elected representatives, and, supposedly, independent and participatory decision-making processes substituted for traditional structures of power (see note 19, Chapter 2). Second, I resume the discussion that opened this thesis, and explore the events and discourses around the entrance of FASE in Jocoj to initiate a community-based forest management project. As the discussion unfolds, I trace the changes in the villagers conceptualization of movimento. Such changes correlate to the periodization of history in their own locally and historically evolved narratives of the past: the times. As becomes clear in the discussion, the shifting meanings of movimento and the different times express different ways householders in Jocoj participated in and responded to social, political and economic events influencing them. A summary of the corresponding variations in

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115 times and movements, and their linkages to different local and regional political-economic contexts is then provided. O Grande Movimento: Mobility and Agency on the Margins Movimento is a persistent theme in the stories told by the historical peasantries throughout the Amazon valley (see, for example, Raffles 2002:186; Harris 2000:210-216; Lima and Ferreira Alencar 2001:40). In their reconstruction of the history of the small localities that dot the vrzea of the Middle Solimes, Lima and Alencar (2001)1 note that the presence of this theme is often associated with thae conceptualization of time frequently elicited in the life-histories collected in riverine Amazoniathe past was constructed around the remembrance of the patrons, and the present time was inaugurated by the ebbing of patron-client relations. But while the theme of movimento crowded the peoples personal reminiscences of the time of the patrons, the period was also remembered as the time of confinement (tempo do cativeiro). Thats how men and women living in remote riverine communities in Amazonia usually communicate the idea of their past situation of domination, principally during the rubber era, when patrons were powerful and, not rarely, violent, particularly in far-away localities. The present time was, therefore, often represented as a time of freedom (tempo de ser liberto), a time in which the dependence on the patrons had come to an end. Yet, the anthropologists noted, another transformation was regularly juxtaposed to the social changes occurred with the waning of the patronsthe degradation of the environment. As in Jocoj, the floodplain 1 The remembrance of history: social memory, environment and identity in the Middle Solimes vrzea (2001). This article is an exploration of how riverine peoples remember. The anthropologists study the nature of the Middle Solimes social memory, drawing on oral histories collected in the early 1990s among floodplain-dwellers living in communities within the limits of the Mamirau Sustainable Development Reserve (RDS Mamirau). Their goal is to understand and document the process of occupation of the conservation unit, and identify the social and environmental factors affecting the population distribution in it.

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116 people in Mamirau chose to lay emphasis on the deterioration of their environmental resource base, when talking about the present. Thus, the present was often identified with a perception of decline. Lima and Ferreira Alencar (2001) argue that the association of the changes in the social relations of production, and the relative abundance of resources from which the riverines derived their livelihoods, contribute to the ambiguity regarding the memory of the time of the patrons (2001:39, emphasis added). Apparently, the suggested ambiguity is the effect of the peoples stance vis--vis the time of the patrons. If it was a period in which they were subject to binding patronage schemes, it was nonetheless a time of perceived abundance, and perhaps for this reason, it was commemorated, not silenced by the peoples storytelling. But it is also possible that such ambiguity is less a consequence of the mere juxtaposition of a condition of political oppression (domination by patrons/merchants) and a reality of material plenty (fartura, abundance of natural resources) in the peoples interpretation of their past, as the anthropologists argue, than an expression of the complexity of their material and symbolic exchanges with the patrons, as shown in Chapter 3. In addition, while it is true that in remote seringais and castanhais patrons would often take undue advantage of their clients isolation and would not hesitate to wield outright violence to discipline them, the relationships between patrons and clients in riverine Amazonia were for the most part flexible (see Weinstein 1986; Parker 1989), and the clients actively resisted domination, as the examples of everyday forms of resistance (Scott 1984) mentioned in the last chapter illustrate. As I attempted to demonstrate in the reconstruction of the historical trajectory of the slave descendant roceiros in Jocoj, there was much room left for the politics of the

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117 peasants on the Amazon estuary both at the time the rubber trade dominated the economic life of Amazonia, and principally in times of slackened international demand for Amazon forest products. Lima and Ferreira Alencar (2001), however, go beyond the contradictory ways the riverines talked about the time of the patrons in general, or about their relations with particular patrons, and rightly point out the source of the sentiment of pride that transpired in their glimpses into the pastthe river trade, the imported goods patrons advanced on credit, and the forest products they would sell to patrons in return, all would make them feel part and parcel of the movement. Thus, the riverines felt connected to Belm and Manaus, the Amazon capitals that had gained renown and prosperity during the rubber boom, and they also related themselves to other parts of the country, or even to imagined foreign shores their products would eventually reachpatrons tied these people to markets, mediating their relations with distant consumers, their physical isolation notwithstanding. In Jocoj, as my conversations with the elders revealed, the villagers often ventured on long journeys, exploiting possibilities whenever a new one appeared, up and down the Amazon, extracting forest products. They were constantly on the move to bring a little cash into their householdsjust like a murur, as old Lucinda repeated to me. And it was this mobility, I believe, the possibility of engaging and withdrawing from the extractive sector of the regional economyan economic, but also a social and cultural intersection between household and community, and the outside worldwhich they used as a framework for their critique of the present time. The time of the community, thus, was marked by a discourse of discontent, often punctuated by the emergence of the

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118 term fracasso (failure), and shaped by the peoples perception of loss of mobility and autonomy. The Catholic Church As Garcia and Palmeira (2001) wrote, the Catholic hierarchy played a central role in the popular mobilizations that paved the way to the 1964 military coup in Brazil. But in the late 1960s, possibly due to a growing discomfort with the perception of its weakened cultural and political hegemony in the interior, the church changed to a much more critical stance towards the social relations revolving around the latifundia in the country. In the mid-1950s, Peasant Leagues and other grassroots organizations linked to the Communist Party had been created in the Northeast region. From their association with Protestant pastors, peasant unionism came into being in Brazil. At the time, these organizations embarked on a highly successful campaign to get the Rural Workers Statute approved by the Brazilian parliament, which finally enacted the long expected law in1963. Losing its symbolic hegemony with the arrival of the Communist Party and the Pentecostal churches on the scene, the Catholic church adopted a progressive political positioning and set itself the task of training a corpus of young dynamic Catholic peasant leaders. Eventually it attracted lawyers and educators interested in creating new rural labor unions in the country. This new grassroots and intellectual leadership made up the Christian Base Communities (CEBs), which, in the early 1970s, were established all over the country. Through the CEBs, the church formulated its own critique of government policies and fostered popular mobilizations for improved living conditions in rural areas and urban centers.2 Later, in 1975, after a meeting of churches operating in the Legal 2 The political and economic circumstances in Brazil in the aftermath of the military coup, and the national moment of the Catholic church in the late 1960s coincided with major changes occurring in the Catholic

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119 Amazon, the Brazilian National Bishops Council created the Land Pastoral Commission (CPT) to work throughout Amazonia, providing a fertile basis for peasant mobilizations in the region, where union structures were weak and poorly equipped (Almeida 1990:227-228; Schmink and Wood 1992:102-103; Garcia and Palmeira 2001:62-71). In Gurup, through the CEBs and the local representatives of the CPT, Padre Chico promoted the formal organization of the neighborhoods in the interior into communities. As Lucas repeated to me in our boat travels to and from Gurup, the parish priests central objective was to destabilize the networks of social relations based on dependency and subordination of the riverine peasants to merchants (landowners and storeowners) in the town. One of his main targets, then, were the saints festivals in the rural neighborhoods, for, as noted in Chapter 3, it was on these occasions that patrons displays of largesse were more significant, and therefore, more binding. But not all communities in the countryside embraced the priests progressive ideas, and certainly not all the people in the communities reacted in the same manner to the new approach of the church. In addition, as the ethnography from Gurup shows (Oliveira 1991; Pace 1998), because the communities in the vrzea were more directly affected by the penetration of lumbering firms and aa palm heart industries on the Amazon estuary, they were more promptly touched by the new theme of the Catholic Church in the churchs line at the international level. First, the new line proposed by the Second Vatican Council called for the church to move closer to the faithful and for the faithful in turn to become intensely involved in the promotion of social justice (Hewitt 1998:172). Second, in Latin America, a meeting of bishops was held in Medellin, Colombia. During the conference, the regional episcopate criticized the existing structure of the church, which was viewed as out of touch with the realities in Latin America. In the documentation of the conference, emphasis was given, inter alia, to the theme of the liberation of the poor and economically and socially oppressed, and to the need to support the CEBs as essential instruments for the promotion of social justice. Attuned to these changes, the Brazilian Catholic church, through the National Council of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), began to make explicit its discontent with the path of the authoritarian regime (Novaes 1997:118; Hewitt 1998:172).

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120 seventies, when the Liberation Theology-oriented priest arrived in the town: land and work.3 Reacting against the outcomes unleashed by the general process of economic change and environmental deterioration in Gurup, a strong leadership emerged in the vrzea communities. It was from this segment that, in the mid-1970, the Catholic Church recruited those who would become the catequistas (catechists) of the CEBs and promoters of grassroots organization in the rural areas. With its efforts to indoctrinate these young peasant leaders into orthodox Catholicism and, principally, into the new, progressive line of Catholicism in Brazil, the church afforded an outlet for the expression of antagonisms between riverine peasants and patrons in the town.4 This eventually 3 Brumasa was the lumbering firm that caused more destruction of Gurups flooded forests, and therefore it significantly impacted, economically and socially, the lives of the riverine peasants on the municipality. But certainly those living in the vrzea areas were more impacted than those in the upland forests. The Brumasa initiated operations in Gurup in 1963. In 1965, it promoted a survey to identify the richer stands of valuable woods on the Islands region, as this particular estuarial area is known (Oliveira Jr. 1991:111-112). Between 1968 and 1975, with the fiscal incentive policy for agriculture and ranching from the Superintendency for the Development of the Amazon (SUDAM), Brumasa bought a 500,000-hectare land area in the municipalities of Gurup, Breves, Anajs, Afu, Melgao e Marzago (Bunker 1985:100; Oliveira Jr. 1991:111). In Gurup alone, the firm bought about 95,708 hectares, or approximately 10% of the Gurups total area at the time. These acquisitions were meant to control timber extraction activities on the Islands region, and thus secure a steady supply of valuable woods for the firms export, according to the pace of its industrial processing operations. All the 95,708-hectare area bought in Gurup was located in the vrzea, because the species targeted by the firm then were all vrzea species. The directive of the firm for these areas was to allow the families that had lived and worked on them for years, or even a century, to remain in themthey had the knowledge of the forests, after allprovided that they worked at timber cutting for Brumasa. As discussed in Chapter 3, when firms arrived in Gurup, particularly the Brumasa, they engaged local patrons, buyers, and eventually organized crews of extractors in the communities. The varzeiro communities welcomed these new patrons, because they suspended the payment of rentapproximately 40 kilograms of rubber/year, and a percentage of all their sales of other agricultural and extractive products, which was locally known as condio. But soon, however, they learned that lumbering firms could employ as coercive methods as those employed by traditional patrons in Gurup and local trading posts owners on the river mouths, including land expropriation and evictions, destruction of property, beatings, and threats to kill them, in case they would risk selling logs to river traders at a higher price. (Oliveira Jr. 1991:112-122). 4 From my conversations with the elderly in Jocoj, I suggest that it is possible that religion has always been a dimension for the expression of antagonisms between these two classes. I didnt have the chance to explore this during fieldwork, though. More detailed ethnographic material on the religious celebrations of the neighborhoods in the past would possibly provide evidence of this aspect of the saints festivalsthe festivals as temporarily reversing or leveling ordinary socioeconomic distance between peasants and patrons, store/landowners in the town. In 1948, Wagley participated in profane rural festivals in Gurup,

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121 resulted in a determined resistance movement, centered on non-violent peasant political activity that challenged and, in the 1993 municipal elections, overthrew the power holders in Gurup, mostly the commercial elite (Oliveira 1991:293-318). Thus, as fieldwork evolved and I established rapport with former members of the CEBs in Gurup, I came to realize that some neighborhoods in the interior had became participantes da caminhada (participants in the march, the peasant resistance movement fostered by the church), while others only organized as communities that pray, that is, que no participavam da caminhada(not as participants in the march). Jocoj was a case in point. The community remained nearly impermeable to the progressive insertion of the Catholic church in the sociopolitical scene in Gurup. They welcomed Padre Chico and, at least the youth and young married couples, adhered to the new community organization. This meant increased participation of villagers in decision-making, but mainly broader participation in the Sunday services at the local chapel and in the preparations for, and celebrations of, the saints festivalsthe high-moments of communal life. Clearly, the critical point of religious and political friction between the parish priest and the people in Jocoj was the cult of the local saints. The villagers backed the priest as a religious leader, but opposed any interference on his part in the communitys affairs, in which the most influential merchants of the town were present. His interpretation, however, is that the cults of the patron saints in the rural neighborhoods, bridge a gap in social relations between people of the town and those of the rural zones(Wagley 1964:197). In his Life on the Amazon (2000), Harris wrote that festas create sets of exchanges between insiders and outsiders: hospitality and generosity are offered, people come together and connections are established and maintained. (2000:180-181). But he referred to intercommunal relations with emphasis on equality and reciprocity, and I agree with him in this respect, suffice it to say that most of the old quatrains sung during the festivals tell stories of love affairs and potential marriage relations between young men and women from different communities, including communities as distant as in the Municipality of Ponta de Pedras, in the Maraj Island, near the 300 nautical miles-distant capital of Belm.

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122 particularly in their asymmetrical, but hitherto unfaltering economic exchanges with merchants in Gurup. On the other hand, the priest required that the religious feasts in the formally organized rural communities be completely separated from the excessive drinking of cachaa, drumming, dancing, and the consequent fights that occurred (and still occur) on these occasions. Thus, the people in Jocoj perceived the progressive priests attitude towards their festivals as doubly threateningwhile they enforced clear boundaries between the political and the religious, they insisted on maintaining their celebrations within what the church regarded as the threatening shadowy zone between the sacred and the profane.5 The gamb (a dance of African origin) is our oldest tradition, indignant, old Adelino repeated to me. Antigamente, muito antes deu me entender, no tinha essa novidade de flauta de embaba, viola e cavaquinho. O que os escravos tinham mesmo era s tambor pra bater o gamb, (in the past, long before I was born, the slaves only had the drums to beat the gamb. They didnt have these new instruments, the embaba [wood species] flute, the guitar, and the ukelele), he insisted.6 5 The saints festivals are the most important feature of Amazonian popular Catholicism. In her dissertation, Lima (1992) cites Mauss work centering on the old tension between the popular and the orthodox sectors of Catholicism in Eastern Amazonia. Maus shows that it is the practices of Iberian origin, such as the cult of saints and the celebrations of feasts, not the incorporation of beliefs and practices of indigenous origin in popular Catholicism, such as shamanism, that the Catholic church made its strongest efforts to ban in the region (Lima 1992:287). But, as she rightly points out, the syncretism Maus attributes to Catholicism in Brazil is presented at the level of popular practice, not at that of the church. The efforts of the clergy to dictate the parameters of true religious practice, therefore, inform the laymen of the syncretic, or mixed, nature of their religious practice (1992:287). Thus, as a result of this opposition on the part of the church, she concludes, the laymen not only become aware of the distinction between religious domains based on ideas of right and wrong, or sacred and profane, but also fight for it. In this sense, religious syncretism constitutes the peoples own identity (1992:287). 6 In his The religion of an Amazon community (1952), Galvo tells an interesting anecdote about one case of everyday forms of resistance related to the tension between the Catholic church and the people in Jocoj. . . a few years ago the visiting priest at It [Gurup] found out that there was a new chapel in Jocoj. He decided to go to the locality to consecrate the chapel. It so happened that it was at about the time of the festival of Nazareth and the judges [those responsible for the expense of the festivals] came to town for supplies. When they were ready to return they were accosted by the priest who expressed his wish to visit Jocoj, especially for the celebration of Nazareth. The Jocoj men tried tactfully to discourage the priest. They told him the trip was a long one, the river dangerous for a small canoe; the igarap too small

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123 But Padre Chico was adamant, and eventually this friction resulted in his distancing from the community. Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, pressed by the increasing number of unbaptized children in Jocoj, groups of devout residents tried to approach the church on three different occasionsthe priest refused to administer baptism or any other rite of Christianization to the people in the community, without the written approval of the leadership; the leaders, in turn, refused to agree to his demand. Thus, because of their determination to maintain their tradition, and because of their involvement with the urban-based patronage system, traditional in Gurup, approximations were all short-, not long-lived. It was only in 1992 that the community finally agreed to abide by the parameters dictated by the Catholic church, and, so they say, separated the moments of devotion from the profane practices of dancing and heavy drinking in the cult of local saints. According to former participants in the CEBs, though, it was Padre Chico that ended up accepting their obstinate resistance to the churchs meddling in the communitys traditions and external relationships. But a closer look at the particular economic and sociopolitical circumstances in Gurup, in 1992, suggests a number of reasons for the communitys move towards the caminhada of the Catholic Church and its organizations, the CEBs and the CPT, and the associated Rural Workers Union (STR) and Workers Party (PT), active in Gurup since 1981. for a big canoe; that there was no decent house of enough food; that people would be ashamed, etc. The priest, however, was persistent and said that anything would suit him as long as he could go. The Jocoj men were thus forced to promise to send a canoe for him on the Saints day. Rather than break a promise, they did so, but they sent the worst canoe they had. It was unsteady and leaked in several places. The priest tried to embark but almost fell into the water. He was angry and said that if this was the way they were going to treat him, he would never go to Jocoj. That was what the people in Jocoj hoped for. They had bought supplies, contracted for the music, and invited people. With the priest there, no dancing would be possible(1952:60-61).

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124 As shown in Chapter 3, in the early 1990s the communitys economic prospects were grim. Availability of cash money to purchase household supplies was more and more scarce. First, opportunities to work in timber extraction had all but disappeared with the withdrawal of the major lumbering firms from Gurup. A few contractors continued exploiting forests in the interest of powerful sawmills from Breves and Porto de Moz, towns on the Amazon River that seem to have prospered at the cost of its riverine forest; but rather than hire labor from the communities in the interior, they frequently invaded their territories to extract precious woods. Second, the offer of temporary jobs for unskilled labor in the Jari plantation had been discontinued since 1985. Those who had some qualification had the alternative to migrate to the Jari industrial complex, where they could survive in the unstable informal sector. But this strategy had not resulted in the economic betterment, via remittances, of the parental households that had sent their young children to look for wages in the complex. It had brought tension, insteadwhile some households lost all or the majority of their young laborers, others managed to keep all their children in the community, and this had implications for land tenure, since control over land was conditional upon usufruct. Last, access to merchandise through the aviamento credit-debt relations had drastically diminished. The hyperinflation of the 1988-1994 period in Brazil, added to the merchants loss of their partnerships with timber companies, had caused the collapse of the aviamento system; for the most part, the patrons dealing with the people in Jocoj from the late 1980s on were river traders, who could hardly be differentiated from their clients in economic terms. This period of decadence coincided with the successful electoral campaign for municipal office of the Workers Party candidate. It was a period of increased political

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125 militancy of CEB leaders, and intensive political communication and social interaction between the various rural communities throughout the municipality. By all measures, this was the culmination of a resistance movement that had recently emancipated the Rural Workers Union from the control of landowners and merchants, the political elite in Gurup.7 This combination of social and economic vulnerability and isolation of the majority of the families in Jocoj, and political effervescence of a movement highly charged with religious symbolism at the level of the municipality, eventually aroused the community and attracted their support to a struggle whose goals were ultimately the goals of all the peasantries in Gurupland security, markets for their agricultural and extractive products, basic health and education services, honest legal advice, access to affordable credit, and technical assistance: briefly, survival with dignity. Every year Padre Chico toured all rural communities in his parish. Jocoj was certainly one of them, at least after 1992. The preparations for the priests visits involved all in the communitythe women, the veteranos (literally, veterans, but here, married men),8 the youth (nearly all unmarried women and men), and the children. Thats how the priest encouraged them to organize. Women should grow their own collective gardens; and maintain cantinas (community stores) to escape the overpriced imported goods 7 Until 1986, the STR in Gurup had been a pro-status quo union. In 1986, with the support of the Catholic church and workers unions from the Southeast region, in a demonstration of strength and discipline of the peasant movement more than a hundred men and women camped inside and around the union building for fiftyfour days to impede the president of the union, a pelego (a servile hanger-on of the commercial elite), from eliminating evidence of the voter fraud he had performed, as had happened in 1982. The occupation attracted media attention and forced investigation of the fraud. Soon after the investigating team confirmed the fraud, the peasant movement organized a convention in Gurup. On the occasion a march of about 4,000 protesters crowded the streets of the town, perplexing the local elite. At the convention, representatives of the movement were elected to office; due to one last political maneuver of the conservatives, however, only in the 1988 elections did the movement gain control of the union; it has been in control ever since (Pace 1998:177-182). 8 Full adult standing in the community is only attained with marriage and parenthood.

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126 otherwise accessible only through river traders. Men should keep the tradition of cooperation alive, always engaging in reciprocal work services, such as the mutires (cooperative work parties in agriculture). The youth should open their own manioc gardens to sell farinha, and organize football matches with whatever money they made. During the priests visits to the community, this annual planning often interspersed other conversations with the families about those basic problems of human existence. Only the priest had little to offer other than encouragement. And collective work in the form of mutiro, as the people in Jocoj understood it, that is, as convite (see Chapter 3), was not easy to sustain, principally in times of penury. It was not even considered work, if performed in communal gardens, Zeca explained to mework is that which brings food to my pot; with the mutiro [the collective work performed in one manioc field and here, too, the farinha that was sold from these fields] we raised a little money to make repairs in the communitys infrastructurethe water pump, the boat, the chapel, and the ramada (the community center). Nonetheless, a cantina was opened. It didnt succeed, though, according to Tiana, the womens group leader at the time of fieldwork. What would you say to a mother who had spent all the money her family had buying medicine for her sick child? Would you deny her cooking oil? A little rice? Clearly, what the church brought that was most appreciated by those in Jocoj who participated in the CEBs, the Womens Annual Meetings, and the Catechism Week, was information, knowledge about the outside worldabout human, social and political rights, about the plight of other fellow peasants in Amazonia, about the countrys economy. . In short, what these people cherished the most was their participation in the movimento da Igreja (the church-organized

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127 resistance movement). Zeca ended a conversation I had with a group of middle-aged couples that gathered in the chapel. For example, participating in the movement, I obtained knowledge to help my own community during the process of legalization of our land. In the CEBs . and in the meetings of the church in Gurup, we learned what we know today. In June 2002, the CEBs in Gurup seemed to concentrate more on religious activities than on political action. During the Catechism Week, Padre Chico exhibited an informative video about NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement); the Catholic church and other civil society organizations had launched a campaign to amass support of the population across the country against participation of Brazil in the agreement. That was all the liberationist talk I learned of in my stay in the town. For the most part, the agendas of the CEBs in that parish were much more centered on devotional issues than on politics. Former participants in the CEBs who became leaders of the Rural Workers Union and the Workers Party, including the mayor, resented this retreat of the church. On different occasions the discontent was voicedPadre Chico talked a lot about autonomy and self-determination in the past, but when the communities in the interior, and leadership in the STR and the PT really neared achieving these aspirations, he seems to have disliked it, with little nuance, I would frequently hear in my interviews. But this was definitely not an idiosyncrasy of the parish priest. In his brief review of the recent literature on CEBs in the article From Defenders of the People to Defenders of the Faith (1998) sociologist W. E. Hewitt wrote that social sciences studies of CEB involvement in Brazilian society and politics indicate that the CEBs political function is seriously threatened (1998:174-176). The causes are various, and the shift

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128 away from overt political action seems to be global. At the international level, Vatican conservatism since the election of John Paul II to the papacy is noted. In addition, despite the general support to the CEB concept, the church has never really accepted the politicization of the phenomenon. Thus, resources made available to the CEBs in terms of monetary, ideological and principally personal support have been gradually reduced, Hewitt points out (1998:183). At the national level, Hewitt explores political changes in both church and society in Brazil. The return to democracy in the country has opened new avenues to political involvement, opportunities that were not available to CEB participants during the military rule. A disillusionment among Brazilians in the face of continued elite privilege and enduring social justice is also identified. The rise of the Catholic Charismatic movement, with emphasis on personal communication of the faithful with God and blatant eschewing of politics, may be related to this disillusionment. At the same time, and as a consequence of the democratic opening in Brazil, Hewitt notes, countless groups have emerged, pursuing an evermore-fragmented array of causes, ranging from the environment to womens rights to judicial reform (1998:188). In the microcosm of Gurup, this general trend was confirmed. Not only did the socioenvironmental NGO somewhat occupy a space previously the province of the Catholic church, but it also recruited its staff among those who had followed the trajectory from CEBs to STR to PT. The Socioenvironmental NGO FASE is a civil society organization independent of any denomination, although it has strong links to the Catholic church in Brazil. Created in 1961 by members of the Brazilian chapter of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an organization of the Council of

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129 North American Bishops, the NGO has a history of commitment to the goals of social justice and equity in Brazil. At its 10th anniversary, FASE had already accumulated partnerships with volunteer organizations within and outside the country to assist urban and rural grassroots groups in the implementation of development projects funded by the Superintendency for the Development of the Northeast (SUDENE). Inspired by Liberation Theology, in the 1970s FASE concentrated on consciousness-raising, and community and union organizing. After participating in the creation of the Land Pastoral Commission, and fostering the organization of the construction workers union movement in Brazil, FASE shifted away from urban to rural areas, and directed its focus to agriculture, engaging in discussion and negotiation of state agricultural policies, as the process of democratization initiated in the late 1970s. In 1996, FASE underwent a complete restructuring, establishing three interrelated lines of worklabor and income, urban issues and public policies, and environment (FASE 2002). In 1997 FASE opened a chapter of its office for the North region in Gurup. In 1990, the appointed director for the NGOs program in the municipality had carried out a comprehensive political economy investigation on communities of floodplain dwellers and small farmers in Gurups interior. The investigation was based on long-term field research, involving a team of research assistants who were local leaders in the CEBs and the STR. The Catholic Church, the Federal University of Par, FASE, the Central nica de Trabalhadores (CUT), and the Brazilian Association for Land Reform (ABRA), provided logistic and intellectual support for the effort. The study was funded by the Movimento Laici America Latina (MLAL), an Italian organization that worked in partnership with the STR.

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130 Building on the results of this first broad and successful partnership experience, in 1993, after PT won the municipal elections, FASE organized a consultation seminar in Gurup to discuss the prospects for timber exploitation in the municipality. The seminar brought together local officials, representatives of rural communities, the STR, the church, and specialists from other Amazon areas. In 1996, FASE finally received a positive response from ICCO, a major private development organization of the Protestant churches in the Netherlands, which expressed interest in funding a project that linked forest, environment, and community (Interview with local staff of FASE, June 2002). But 1996 was election year. The PT local government was competing for a second period with the conservative forces it had defeated in 1992. Also, the STR was closing the implementation of a European Union-funded project in support of family agriculture in that year. The timing of ICCOs offer, therefore, was excellent for FASE and its allies in the STR and PT; they expected to secure the continuity of financial commitments by the EU for their projects. Thus, assisted by ICCO and the Institute for Applied Environmental Economics, also in the Netherlands, FASE and CUT organized the Consultation Seminar of Gurup. In the five-day event in May 1996, producers and (potential) importers of timber, nuts, fruits, heart of palm, natural rubber products and coconut coir [sic] came together to analyze the problems of producing these products in a manner which may be considered ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable and to discuss what it takes to bring these products to a demanding market in, for example, Western Europe or the USA. These markets demand quality, safety, and prompt as well as reliable delivery of (certified) products in certain quantities. (EWGA 1996) The event also brought environmentalists from all over the country and representatives of financial institutions, including BASA (Amazon Bank), the Brazilian branch of the Dutch RABO bank, and FUNBIO, the Brazilian trust fund for biodiversity projects. A total of 160 participants from 83 countries attended the seminar, as reported

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131 on the Amazonia web site, presented by the European Working Group on Amazonia (1996). Gurup had never witnessed an event of such magnitude. The NGO and its local partner institutions soon felt the political repercussions of their potlatch. According to my interviews with local FASE staff and residents in the town, Padre Chico and the nuns, pastoral agents in Gurup at the time, considered the seminar an exaggeration, distanced from the realities of the town and the peoples in the interior. As a result, what had been a fruitful collaboration between the church and FASE in the municipality up to that time became a near-public opposition to the NGO. This probably weighed, if unintendedly, on the election returns. In 1997, the traditional political elite replaced the sympathetic PT local government. In this unexpected context of confrontation, FASE began implementation of its Gurup Project in partnership with ICCO and the European Union, the donor organization. The Sustainable Exploitation of Forest Resources was a component of this project,9 and Jocoj was chosen as one of the project sites. Interviewing the director of the FASE Gurup Program and key members of the local NGO staff, I came to realize that the involvement of Jocoj in the initial activities for the community forest management component had been based on their own assessment of interest on the part of one family in the community, the Ruizes. They were the largest family in Jocoj, and had been the only ones to resist incursions of logging companies in the territory of the community between 1994 and 1996. They had also supported the resistance movement of 9 Other activities under the project included land tenure regularization, dissemination of management and processing of aa palm products, management of fisheries and shrimp, creation of a system for monitoring human impact on local forests, dissemination of project results and institutional strengthening of FASE in Gurup.

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132 the peasants in Gurup, actively participating in the occupation of the STR in 1986, when the electoral fraud of the corrupt pro status quo leadership was revealed. Last, and apparently most important, the Ruizes brothers and their brother-in-law, a resident in the vrzea of the Jocoj River, were the only villagers to continue cutting trees on Jocojs communal lands through the 1990s. During the first administration of the PT, they had sold rafters and poles for the repair of municipal schools in Gurup. Despite the sophistication of the big consultation seminar, no consultative meetings about the forest management initiative were held with other families in Jocoj. Informal conversations with some villagers had occurred, but in the town, not in the vila. At any rate, these conversations were not shared with the community. Thus, the majority of the villagers did not understand, from the start, what the NGO was actually proposing. The Ruizes had agreed to begin with a sample lot, and quickly suggested to demarcate the demonstration unit within the limits of their own centro (the interfluvial forestland where all in that family opened their gardens). An expert would coordinate the forest inventory; the Ruizes would assist the inventory team in identifying species and installing reference tags. Once trained, they would be able to carry out other inventories on the centros of their neighbors, or on communal forest lands to be collectively set aside by the community. These were the plans of the NGO staff about how to get things done; only they were not negotiated or even communicated clearly with the people in Jocoj. Thus, the unplanned and unforeseen appeared to disrupt their plans. A 100-hectare forest area was inventoried in the second semester of 1998. As planned and agreed with the Ruizes, they were paid an amount equivalent to the minimum wage to assist the investigating team. No attention was given to the economic

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133 situation and interests of other villagers. While householders tried to feed their families from the communitys downgraded environment, motorboats loaded with food and equipment for the team and the brothers regularly unloaded in the communitys harbor. As a result, discontent rapidly emerged in the form of rumors and gossip. Local government officials and the nuns who provided social services to the community at the time helped aggravate the situation with further rumors and accusations that the NGO would take the land from the community when the forest inventory was completed. As a result, through the grapevine, the initiative was gradually undermined. There were many problems with this intervention in the social life of the community. The lack of skills and adequate preparation on the part of the NGO brought about conflicts both between the investigating team and the Ruizes and between them and other families in the community. During the performance of the forest inventory, a clash between technical and traditional knowledge emerged as soon as the one of the Ruizes provided detailed information about the ecology of tree species on their forests. The forester, it seems, did not expect to deal with peasants who had accumulated observations about their own natural resources and environment, but rather with some sort of tabula rasa, into which she would pour simplified versions of her scientific knowledge. An NGO staff member tried to explain the reason for the foresters complaint. Lucas Ruiz was one of the leaders in Jocoj when the project was approved. At the time, the first of the series of workshops on community forestry management organized by the IEB10 was about to begin in Acre. So, we decided to invite him to participate in the workshop . his family was already in the business of cutting trees anyway. For this reason, we sent him with Slvia, a professor of forestry from Rio de Janeiro, to attend the workshop. But soon after his arrival, we noted that he had 10 Instituto Internacional de Educao do Brasil (IEB), (International Institute for Brazilian Education).

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134 become cocky, you know . so sure of himself, thinking he knew all that it takes to carry out a forest inventory. Because of that trip to Acre, the people he met, the things he heard . he had problems with Flvia, the forester, Slvias student. (Interview in July 2002) Between 1999 and 2000, FASE assisted the slave descendant communities in Gurup to legalize their claims to their ethnic territory. Because of his intimate knowledge of the region, the villagers in Jocoj asked Lucas to work with the surveyor sent by the NGO. Together, they demarcated forestlands and mapped the boundaries between Jocoj and its neighboring communities. Yet, this broad recognition didnt seem to have influenced the NGO staff shared perception of the clash. The conflict within the community resulted from the NGOs decision to begin the community forest management initiative in the work site of the Ruzes. Joca Ruiz, the oldest son of the family, was indeed the coordinator of Jocoj at the time the brothers were introduced by the STR leaders to the director of the FASE program in Gurup. But this position of coordinator, created with the formal organization of the neighborhood into community, had little significance within the social unit. Different from the past, when the civil and religious authorities in the neighborhood converged on the person of the well to do roceiros, the power of the Ruzes was not consensual power (Swartz 1968:31); rather, it was purely political, namely, it derived ultimately from command over physical force. They had never been able to marshal the support (Swartz 1968:19) of their neighbor kin and friends in Jocoj. My father has never been a friend of the Bible; he was good at coordinating activities, such as cleaning the igarap, Joca once said to me. He tried to explain what he viewed as an internal leadership dispute, which he pointed out as the probable cause of the difficulties during the work of FASE in the community. Joca and his family were convinced that they were discriminated against

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135 because they were illiterate. In a sense, Joca was right. Just as in the past preeminence in the brotherhoods and the cultos (weekly religious services) was a standard of conduct of those well to do roceiros who governed the neighborhood, in the time of the community literacy was regarded by a majority within and outside the community as a sine qua non to be a participant in the caminhada, the movement. But rather than a leadership dispute, there had been a vacuum of authority in Jocoj at the time of fieldwork, a void of legitimacy positions comparable to what existed in the time of the patrons, when the well to do roceiros had the ability to eliminate intracommunal tensions and neutralize potential disputes.11 The Ruzes had tricked their neighbors, suggesting to the staff of FASE that the demonstration unit for the proposed community forestry component be located within their own work site. The community, in turn, objected to the fact that the NGO publicized that it was developing a community-based project, for, in reality, the initiative involved and benefited only one family in the community. The NGO had failed to attend to an essential distinction riverine peasants are well aware of: that between neighborhood and community. Cautioning development institutions and experts promoting fisheries management in a lower Amazon area to attend to this distinction, Arajo (1994) wrote, distinguishing between community and neighborhood, avoids the common confusion between an arena of mobilization and preeminence of leadership that defines itself toand bythe outside, and the internal political dynamics of the neighborhood (1994:304). 11 In his book The Struggle for Amazon Town: Gurup Revisited (1998), Pace argues that the people from Jocoj did not develop a high level of political awareness for activism for different reasons. They never had land invasions and abusive patrons, as many communities in the vrzea had; half of the community had migrated to the Jari complex, including those individuals who were more open to the progressive Liberation Theology; and finally they had a leadership void following the massive migration and the retirement of Joo Povo, he wrote. The individuals who have succeeded Joo do not hold the hamlet together as in the past (1998:198, emphasis added).

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136 Insufficient attention to this distinction can cause conflicts and result in death, as Arajo shows in his case study. Another source of misunderstanding between FASE and the people in Jocoj resulted from the reliance of the NGO on the peasant origins of its local staff. As mentioned earlier, they were former CEB catechists who joined the movement of the church at a very young age. Clearly, the NGO hired them because of their personal experience and knowledge of the region and the peoples in the interior. Yet, social scientists in Brazil have observed the difficulty of pastoral agents and militants of the social and human rights causes in the CPTs and CEBs to understand the diverse social realities of the peasantries. Unable to see beyond the general category of poor, and to distinguish between worker (as opposed to capitalist) and peasant, mostly because of their training within the Catholic church and the popular left, they often blame the peasants for their conservatism (Esterci 1984; Novaes 1997; Martins 2002). The pastoral agents have in common the desire to be the instruments of the community, Novaes (1997:167) wrote in her study of Catholicism and land conflicts in the Northeastern State of Paraba. Certainly, there are also pastoral agents of peasant origin. But they are precisely those who, distinguishing themselves from other peasants, learned the techniques and knowledge specific of the codes of the dominant society (1997:167), she emphasizes. In fact, in their interactions with the people in Jocoj, and possibly with all communities where FASE developed projects, the local staff members who were ex-pastoral agents blamed the villagers for their individualism, and conservatism. In the case of Jocoj, they blamed the community for their adherence to the old tradition of the

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137 brotherhoods, which they found somewhat mysterious. Apparently, they used an ideology of collectivism12into which they seemed to have been indoctrinatedas a framework for their critique of the peasant lifeways and modes of socioeconomic organization. One staff member, a man in his late forties who participated in the legalization of the communal lands of the families in the Great Island of Gurup, objected to this culture of individualism that the people were not able to eliminate. This individualism that still predominates in the lives of the people in the communities hinders any possibility of advancement. . Like I told you, almost all communities in the interior had a machine to process rice, many communities had trucks, cantinas, or even medical supplies stored, but if the leadership volunteered to take care of these communal goods, critiques would immediately follow . other villagers would say Ah! He wants to be the owner; he is trying to be the patron here! I always say to the people in the communities that communities should be the type of society of our dreams . utopia . For example, if a person in the city sees the propaganda on the TV about the communal land title the State Government issued to the families in the Great Island of Gurup, she will think that a piece of heaven fell right here into Gurup. . But if you attend an assembly of the families in the island, you will see a totally different reality. What these people understand by land regularization is not the definitive land title the government issues; land regularization, as they see it, only occurs when their individual land plots are demarcated, thats when they recognize their land was legalized. (Interview in August 2002) There is a regrettable absence of leaders with a sense of collectivity in Jocoj, another staff member repeated. And still another, expressing his frustrations with frequent setbacks in their partnerships with communities, questioned whether they should be bold enough to wreck, break everything, let fall into deep economic decadence, the primitive reality of communities like Jocoj, so that they could begin to construct the evolution. 12 The idea seems to be better translated by Marxs concept of primitive communism, which refers to the collective rights to basic resources, absence of hereditary status or authoritarian rule, and the egalitarian relationships preceding exploitation and economic differentiation in human history (Bottomore 1983:394).

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138 I had endless informal conversations with householders in Jocojmen and womenabout this sense of collectivity. And, as fieldwork developed, I confirmed what I had sensed in my arrival in Gurup, when I met with the local staff at FASE, just after my first meeting with the communitythose incredibly committed ex-catechists would greatly benefit if they could have a little training in cultural anthropology, as many CEB members had, back in the 1970s. This would allow them to comprehend the nature of peasant ethics (Woortman 1990),13 and hence understand the value directives and existential propositions that guide their social interactions. This would also elucidate the ways the riverine peasants in Gurup tend to think about development agents, and their advice and interventions in the communities. Zeca, his wife, Lina, and his brother and sister-in-law talked to me about their perceptions on the entrance of FASE in Jocoj. As in other peasant sociocultural systems throughout Brazil, the discourse of roceiros and varzeiros in Gurup is organized by the categories family, work and freedomthe latter understood as autonomyand these categories are not conceived of separately (Woortman 1990). That which is collective [work, initiatives] improves the social life of the community as a whole, you know . people say that we cannot think in terms of the collective, but we have never had a communal experience that resulted in benefits to each individual head of family. Every time we divided the outcomes of our collective works here, only a little money was left to each family, so we always opted to buy things that benefited the whole community. The collective doesnt bring sugar and coffee into our homes. What brings the hearth to our kitchens is the [physical] work that we and our families expend in our gardens, or the tree that a head of household cuts down, sells, and with the money he makes, he buys 13 In his article Com Parente no se Neguceia (1990), based on an extensive corpus of ethnographies on the peasantries in Brazil, Woortman examines the talk of diverse peasant groups in all major geographical regions of the country. He identifies cultural categories organizing the pesants discourse. Family, work and freedom are central among these categories-values, which constitute what Woortman calls peasanticity, and define a moral order. They are actualizations of a general ethics, which the anthropologist reveals through the related anthropological categories of honor, reciprocity and hierarchy, the basis of the peasant ethics (1990-57).

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139 whatever goods he sees as necessary to provide for his family. People talk a lot about the collective, but first, each father must think of his family, of making investments in his house. . (Interview in July 2002) His talk elucidates the peasant ethics, and the social construction of the father in this sociocultural system, in particular. The father provides. He must provide his family with food and other necessities, bringing the hearth to his kitchen. As mentioned in Chapter 2, this was a matter of honor, and one of the most important criteria against which villagers evaluated married men with children in the community. The father, if an honored man, provides by controlling property, the prerequisite to the earning of cash, which was necessary for the purchase of market goods. Property, in turn, is created by the expenditure of the physical labor of the family, which the father controls too, and thereby reasserts his manliness, his honor. Thus, according to this ethic, the father, not the community, manages the household economy. The father governs, gives the direction. Just as the Flores brothers had said to me (Chapter 3), when recounting the story of the disease and subsequent death of their father, after we lost the leader of our workforce, we became just like a canoe without a keel. Before I left Gurup, I had a long informal session with all the local team of FASE at the NGOs office. We exchanged views on the events in Jocoj. Much has been accomplished already. FASE is long-established NGO active in the promotion of the well being of grassroots groups in Brazil. It played a key role in the processes of land regularization, benefiting slave descendants and vrzea dwellers in Gurup. Recognizing that legalization of land was just a first step to actually improve the living conditions of these peoples, the NGO actively participated in the negotiations between IBAMA and environmentalists to amend the existing regulations for approval of community forest management plans, adjusting them to the needs of local communities in Amazonia.

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140 Yet, FASE was not able to tap into the existing international literature, and accumulated experience in Amazoniaa learning experience to all parties involved, no doubton collaborative management of forest resources.14 The people in Jocoj, and the Ruizes for that matter, didnt have a decisive say in the objectives, design or implementation of the forestry initiative. They were involved after the NGOs, ICCO and FASE, identified a problem (the environment) and devised a solution (the project). There had been other families in the community who were interested in managing their forests, and it would have elicited their support, had they been involved in the initiative from its inception. Furthermore, there had been other families that were striving to obtain financial and technical assistance from the state government to experiment with agroforestry systems and sustainable fisheries. Agricultural credit available at the time was prohibitive to these people, who depended mostly on rural pensions to survive. As Julito Pombo once said in a meeting between roceiros and varzeiros, and representatives of the Bank of Amazonia at the STR headquarters in Gurup, he would rather sit at the beach and scrub a vulture until it whitened, than take out loans from the FNO.15 16 The metaphor used by Medeiros comes to mind. Commenting on the promises and limits to 14 For a comprehensive collection of essays on the matter see Wollemberg et al (2001). 15 The Constitutional Fund of the North (FNO) is a public policy that integrates the fiscal incentives system of the Brazilian government for the North region; through the PRONAF, its program for support of family agriculture, the FNO provides financial assistance for activities that are carried out by the small farmer and his family only. 16 A few families in Jocoj got loans from the FNO in 1996 through the mediation of the STR in Gurup. The loans were for raising cattle or rehabilitating fallow areas. Extension agents from the state rural extension agency (EMATER) stipulated that borrowers interplant banana trees and aa palms, species that grow well on natural levees and riparian lands, on their fallows in the dry upland. Borrowers were forced to pay for significant amounts of fertilizers, which they barely touched, soon realizing the crops would be lost. I asked them how they were going to pay off their loans, but they didnt seem concerned with their long-term indebtedness to the Bank of Amazonia. Actually, they told me that the project had been successful; the money had been used mostly to meet household expenses, mitigating their precarious economic conditions for the duration of disbursements.

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141 what can be achieved in the space opened by a new legislation of the Bolivian government to strengthen a rural civil society in that country, she wrote: I came to see the space created by the law as a playing field already designed for a certain game with specific rules. All sorts of players can enter the field, all sorts of things can happen in the field, but you cannot play soccer on a baseball diamond. (Medeiros 2001:416-417) The big consultation seminar organized by FASE and ICCO in Gurup brought together international and national experts and NGO workers, representatives of state development and research institutions, officials from all levels of government, and union leaders and community peasants. Such broad participation, principally of international development and financial agencies reflects the general idea that traditional populations (Carneiro da Cunha and Almeida 1999) form the basis for sustainable development and environmental conservation. But despite this acknowledgment of the role these populations and indigenous peoples have in Amazonia, as Nugent (1993:254) notes, little attention has been paid to the issue of their social reproduction qua peasant and indigenous societies, with their specific ways of life.17 They are certainly not atavistic ecologists, but their social forms of productiontheir ethnoscienceshave been largely beneficial to their natural surroundings.18 17 Of course, their ways of life, their culture, do change. But I follow Kirsch (Kirsch 2001) in his use of Sahlins, when he reminds us that the contemporary definitions of culture as a process that continually undergoes change have the effect of erasing the logical and ontological continuities involved in different ways that societies interpret and respond to imperialist conjuncture. If culture must be conceived as always and only changing, lest one commit the mortal sin of essentialism, there can be no such thing as identity . let alone continuity. To completely naturalize also obscures what is lost or forgotten (Sahlins 1993:4, cited in Kirsch 2001:168). 18 For a comprehensive review of studies in the natural and social sciences on indigenous peoples, rubber tapers and riverine peasants, babau gatherers, quilombolas, etc. in Amazonia see (Diegues, Andrello, and Nunes 2001). A total of 471 publications (theses, books, articles and reports) that address traditional knowledge related to the environment and biodiversity were consulted. The works analyzed, the authors wrote, indicate that the traditional populations in Amazonia constructed across generations a significant set of knowledge and practices about the natural world and biodiversity [that is] essential to their survival in the forest and along rivers and lakes (2001:206, emphasis added).

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142 When I left Gurup, the relations between the majority of the families in Jocoj and FASE were still strained. The Ruzes resented the fact that the NGO had never given them any feedback concerning the forest inventory. They expected to have received at least the map of trees, as they called the forest census. Because of their greed, other villagers repeated, the Ruiz family was punished with restricted access to their best tract of agricultural lands, the area where the inventory had been carried out as well as its surroundings. Joca Ruiz, Lucas and their younger brothers feared that IBAMA would fine, or even arrest them, in case they disturbed those forestlands. FASE and principally IBAMA agents would detect any signs of human interference in that area. The Ruzes conceived the inventory as a photograph that could be used against them at any moment if they transgressed. Other families in the village, however, had a more esoteric interpretation. They believed the area had become mystical. It took me a while until I understood what they meant by mystical. Chatting with old Gregrio one clear summer night, he was showing me the constellations of Scorpius when he suddenly interrupted: that one is not a star. It is the satellite! It constantly surveys the centro of the Ruzes. Now they cannot open their gardens near the area of the inventory, because nothing escapes the gaze of the satellite. It knows everything that happens down here on the ground. (Interview in August 2002) A Panopticon19 hovering over Jocoj! Fearing the Ruzes would use the forest census to do business with the first logging company that approached themand a new 19 The Panopticon is a mechanism of power. Michel Foucault analyses it in his Discipline and Punish (1995). Designed in the eighteenth century to discipline the abnormal individual, its major effect is to induce in the inmate [a condemned man, a madman, a patient, a schoolboy, a worker] a state of conscious and permanent visibility that assures the automatic functioning of power (Foucault 1995:201). The principle on which the Panopticon is based consisted originally of an architectural disposition of buildingsa central tower with wide windows located at the center, and a supervisor was placed in it; an annular building located at the periphery, divided into cells whose windows, to the inside and the outside, corresponded to the windows of the tower; the inmates were placed in the cells, which were constantly illuminated from the outside.

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143 wave of predatory timber exploitation was expected to come soon from as far away as Paragominas in Central Parsomeone in the inventory team had suggested that to the people in the community. But Zeca, married into the Ruzes family himself, and who also slashed and burned in that same mystical centro, calmed me: I know many people think my brothers-in-law would be more than willing to cut down our forests for less than nothing. What they dont take into consideration is that we already had this opportunity in the past. But it didnt tempt us. Our ancestors established in this area about two centuries ago. And after all these years we still have many trees standing. You should see the area that we reserved for the animals to reproduce. We are not like the residents of Marab. I remember the instructor in the second workshop of community forest management, saying that those people had destroyed all their forests in a twenty-year span! If we didnt destroy our forests in two hundred years, what makes these people in Gurup believe that we would do it now? Now that we have much more imagination than we had before! Imaginationthats what they had gained with what my host Antonio Maria once called the movimento do meio ambiente (literally, the movement of the environment). He referred to the meetings with government officials, consultation seminars, visits of environmental experts to Jocoj, activities related to the process of land regularization, and a host of other activities that had made him the representative of the Quilombola Association of Gurup (ARQMIG). Antonio Maria was responsible for negotiations of financial aid from the state government in support of sustainable development projects of the slave descendant communities in the municipality. All this movement, rather than make the men in Jocoj become cocky, as my friends at FASE believed, gave them more imaginationthe awareness on their part that their cultural practices, particularly what they had done for generations to procure their livelihoods, were now valued (see also Lima 1992:309; and Nugent 2002:72).

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144 Correlating Times, Movements and Social, Economic and Political Transformations in Gurup I have outlined the story of the outside relations of the community of Jocoj. In this rough reconstruction, I attempted to approach the peoples perspectives on the circumstances affecting their social and everyday life in the last quarter of the twentieth century. In this section, I focus specifically on the corresponding variations in meaning of movimento and attributes of time in local discourse, as related to the peoples involvement in the economic and political events of local and regional history (see Table 4-1). Contrary to the two highlighted times in the oral histories collectedthe time of the patrons and the time of the communitythe period of transition between them was not emphasized in the peoples memories. Occasionally it was marked with the phrase a entrada da madeira (the beginning of timber cutting). Actually, in chronological terms it virtually overlapped the time of the community. But as culturally perceived, this latter period was more closely associated with the mid-1980s, as the families in the community faced deep economic crisis and began to adhere to the rural movement organized by the Catholic church. Finally, I treat the period of fieldwork, Socioenvironmental NGO, as a transition period. Through ARQMIG, their political organization, and now strategically objectifying their otherness, the leaders of the slave descendant communities in Gurup mobilized to gain access to policy-making and negotiate support for their projects on their own. My point of departure in this historical series was the time of the patrons, which corresponds to the period of consolidation of the historical peasantries in Amazonia, following the end of the rubber boom. Gurup, which had been an important center of rubber production in the State of Par, lost its economic and political significance in the

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145 region. But despite the decline of the rubber economy, the aviamento system persisted, although in a weakened version, in the hands of independent regional firms and a local merchant class. They continued buying rubber, but other tropical products were added to their repertoire of trade commodities, such as Brazil nuts, massaranduba milk, seeds, and cacao. Seizing every new opportunity as new ganhos (new export commodities, sources of livelihood) appeared, householders in Jocoj covered long distances on riverboats to bring a little cash into their households, and contribute to the reproduction of their moral community. This was a time of great peasant mobility and agency. Accordingly, in local historical consciousness it was remembered as a time of grande movimento, intense movement, always associated with the idea of material plenty. Certainly, the peasants were subjugated to capital, since patrons siphoned the product of their labor to international markets. But back in the neighborhood, on the marginstheir cherished space of freedomthese people were able to maintain their autonomy as manioc cultivators and independent petty commodity producers. There were a few continuities, but major changes occurred between the time of the patrons and the period of intensive exploitation of Gurups vrzea forests. Although the international lumbering firms that came to the Amazon estuary used the local merchant class as their agents, they infused the local economy with cash, and this eventually transformed everything from the social relations of production linking peasants/extractors and patrons, to the social relations of daily life and work within communities. In Jocoj, the peoples memories about the period they worked at timber cutting on their communal lands were never free of contradiction. On the one hand, this period was associated with increased consumption of consumer goods, improvements in their houses, access to tools,

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Table 4-1: Tempos, Movimentos, and Social, Political, and Economic Context on the Local and Regional Scales Tempos Movimentos LocalPolitical and Economic Context Regional Political and Economic Context Tempo dos Patres (from early 1910s to mid-1960s) Grande Movimento No social and geographical barriers to mobility of peasants on the estuary; they worked as extractors throughout the Amazon valley; Amazon forest and river products traveled over the Amazon river to reach overseas markets Gurup lost economic and political significance in the Amazon region with withdrawal of Amazon rubber on the world market; Aviamento system persisted, but in weakened version and in the hands of independent regional firms and local merchant elites, who continued to buy reduced amounts of rubber, but diversified trade, including Brazil nuts, small quantities of precious woods, seeds, cacao, etc. Collapse of the international rubber trade, and breakdown of the powerful aviamento system, which linked trading posts at river mouths, local aviadores, export houses in the main capitals in Amazonia, foreign firms and international banks; Consolidation of historical peasantries in Amazonia based on diversified livelihood strategies, combining subsistence agriculture, fishing, temporary work at extraction, hunting, and various forms of petty extractivism Timber Extraction (from mid-1960s to mid-1980s) $$ Increased circulation of cash in Gurups economy; International lumbering firms used merchant class as their agents; Aviamento system persisted, but transactions in cash increasingly supplanted system of credit-debt relations; Logs traveled over the Amazon River to reach foreign ports Direct penetration of capitalism on the Amazon estuary; Monetization of Gurups economy, increase in number of retail stores and pure market transactions between peasants and storeowners; Peasants, as laborers, were increasingly incorporated within the larger economic system; they were hired to fell their own forests for international lumbering firms; Food production in rural Gurup once more neglected Brazilian government efforts to massively integrate Amazonia in the global market; Programs for Amazon Modernization and Development were launched, federal government grants fiscal incentives to attract international capital to Amazonia; Establishment of Christian Base Communities and Land Pastoral Commission in Amazonias sociopolitical landscape in support of rural social movements activities, principally peasant mobilizations in new frontier areas, where land conflicts were frequent and violent 146

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Table 4-1: (Continued) Tempos Movimentos Local Political and Economic Context Regional Political and Economic Context Tempo da Comunidade (from mid-1970s to mid-1990s) Movement of the church or March of the church Information: circulation of new ideas, human and social rights discourses among roceiros and varzeiros in Gurup Economic crisis following withdrawal of lumbering firms; Collapse of aviamento credit debt system as a consequence of increase in pure market transactions, and resulting loss of freguesias during height of timber extraction; Catholic church sponsored peasant resistance movement: CEBs and CPT active in rural and urban Gurup, promoting political organizing of peasants; Rural Workers Union and Workers Party opened chapters in Gurup; Workers Party won local election for 1993-1996 term; Rise in international concerns with Amazon deforestation; Threatened by large-scale capitalist enterprises (cattle ranches, mining projects, dam and infrastructure building), rubber tappers and indigenous peoples in Amazonia forged the alliance Peoples of the Forest, and mobilized for the maintenance of their modes of existence; Alto Juru, first Extractive Reserve, created as a conservation unit in 1990; Multilateral Institutions, International cooperation agencies and NGOs channeled resources in support of sustainable management of forest resources and biodiversity conservation by forest dweller groups through national NGOs Socioenvironmental NGO (from late 1990s to fieldwork) Movement of the Environment Imagination: incorporation of new ideas and circulation of sustainable development discourse among roceiros and varzeiros in Gurup; Emergence of discourse of ethnic difference among slave descendants Gurup increasingly marginalized in regional economy; FASE established regional office in Gurup; Through mediation of FASE, State of Par officially recognized the ethnic territory of slave descendant communities, issuing land title in the name of ARQMIG, the Quilombola Association of Gurup; Second electoral term of Workers Party (2001-2004) Consolidation of environmental movement in Amazonia; Intense grassroots mobilization in Amazonia for creation of public policies in support of bottom-up development and conservation 147

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148 and occasionally chainsaws and motors for locally built boats. Also, because cash was the means by which credit advances were made and balances paid, they were able to pay off their debts in cash, purchase merchandise at lower prices in different retail stores, and thus avoid the credit-debt relations that bound them to patrons. This was an important factor contributing to the decline of merchants and trading post owners in Gurup (Pace 1992:718). On the other hand, this lure of cash resulted in neglect in subsistence agriculture, environmental degradation, and eventually increased impoverishment. The third period in this sequence was quite different from the first two. Contrary to what had happened after the end of the rubber boom, with the decline in timber extraction, Gurup entered into deep economic stagnation, without showing its previous ability to reorganize along more autonomous lines. Padre Chico arrived in the municipality to witness the peak of predatory timber extraction, and assistactively, not passivelythe breakdown of the aviamento system. This was the time of the community. The families in Jocoj resisted the inauguration of this new time. They preferred the certainty of the old patrons. At least, through the servio pelo mato the patrons would give themtheir jobs as extractors of forest productsthey could fulfill the needs of their families for food, shelter and clothing. But patrons waned due to a combination of factors, including inflation, the withdrawal of major lumbering firms from the area, and reduction of their clienteles. Due in part to the same factors, the economic conditions in the community deteriorated too. Without their traditional mobility, and now deprived of their major source of incometheir labor was no longer neededthe people in Jocoj gradually joined their fellow vrzea dwellers in the vigorous peasant resistance movement flourishing at the time. Now in the movement of the

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149 church, these people, who had been almost entirely denied education, gained information, the awareness that their basic needs made rights, consciousness of themselves as rights-bearing creatures. From my conversation with men and women in Jocoj who participated in the 54-day occupation of the Rural Workers Union, and in other mass mobilizations organized by the church, it seems correct to assert that the most important connotation of information was political knowledge, the increase in awareness of the commonalities between roceiros and varzeiros in the municipality, despite the diversity of their survival practices, or their different land tenure situations, or yet their different relations with the local elite of merchants, trading post owners and local government officials. Ultimately, their goal was to secure access to natural resources, better market conditions for their products, basic services, and credit. Their ability to overcome these divisions and work together in the struggle to gain control over the local political system could well be translated as a passage from, broadly speaking, class culture to class consciousness, a passage that was made possible by the collective action promoted by the progressive Catholic church priest, and the churchs CEBs and CPT. As Sider (1991) wrote, in the absence of collective action, a collective consciousness is not likely to develop (1991:229, citing E. P. Thompson 1978).20 Having provided the organizational 20 Lima (1992) asserts that the segment of the Amazonian peasantry referred to as caboclo does not constitute a class. In her critique of the term caboclo, she distinguishes between the use of the term as a category of social classification, and as a social category of anthropological studies. As mentioned earlier in this study, in the colloquial use, caboclo is a term of reference, not of self-reference. As used in the anthropological literature, the term distinguishes the historical peasantries from other rural inhabitants in Amazonia, principally new migrants who came to the region under governmental programs for occupation and development. This distinction is based on cultural characteristics, mainly human-environmental relations and technology. Caboclo does not constitute a social group, understood as concrete human aggregation defined by close interaction and personal relationship, she wrote. It does not constitute a class either, since the notion of class implies the existence of explicit political interests, especially in the Marxist sense, when the notion of class is close to that of a social group based on the existence of a unified group consciousness (Lima 1992:11, citing Guiddens 1980:62). According to Lima, the only category of

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150 instruments for the development of class consciousness, and the fora necessary for the transformation of the poor with a general perception of common interests (a class in itself) into the poor with common interests and apt for political confrontation, (a class for itself) the progressive Catholic church promoted a sense of unity and capacity for action among riverine peasants in Gurup. Lima (1992) suggests that the lack of involvement in a political movement accounts for the absence of a collective identity among caboclos in Amazonia (Lima 1992:iii). Environmental concerns, she suggests, may provide a basis for the emergence of a political consciousness among caboclos. The rural peoples recognition of the role they might play in the new phase of Amazonian politics might lead to the creation of collective identity and motivate the people to adopt their own term of self-ascription. (1992:iii) In a way, this happened in different Amazon areas, not in the region as a whole, beginning in the mid-1980s, as Almeida (1994) comments in an insightful article on rural social movements in the region, which is discussed below. But the assertion that the riverine peasants would have to be touched by the environmental movement/eco-politics to develop a political consciousness, it seems to me, is an underestimation of their political understandings and horizons, which can transcend the little worlds of communities (see, for example, the suggestive discussion in Anderson 1985). But principally, the assertion also downplays the transformations in the Amazonian sociopolitical landscape accomplished by the Catholic church and its organizations, the self-ascription used by rural peoples in Amazonia is that of poor. I use the concept of class here in the general sense asserted by Marx that major class divisions existed in all forms of society beyond the early tribal communities. The distinction that needs to be made between the periods before and after the Catholic church initiated the political organizing of rural inhabitants of Amazonia, it seems, is that which exists between a class-in-itself and a class for itself. A class-in-itself becomes a class-for-itself as class consciousness, and consciousness of antagonisms between classes are developed, and political organization is promoted.

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151 CEBs, the CPT. These organizations mobilized a class substratum on which different political identities would be constructed. As Kearney wrote, expressions of identity are always constructed; class is positional and relational within a field of value. . Because value is ontologically real, that is, essential, class is an essential feature of personhood (comments by Michael Kearney in Fischer 1999:494). The relationship between class (class differences) and expressions of identity (cultural differences, i.e., ethnicity, race, gender, nationality, etc.) is not either/or but both-and, he argues. As he puts it, it is never a question of whether identity or class is the primary categorical dimension of a person or group but one of how the identities that are historically given or consciously constructed map onto class positions and the uneven exchange relationships that define them in a field of value (in Fischer 1999:494) This relationship between class and identity is implied in Almeidas Universalizao and Localismo (1994). The article chronicles the broad political mobilizations of distinct social groups in Amazonia, which agglutinated their specific interests despite their differentiation vis--vis material conditions of existence. These economically differentiated groups often formed as a reaction to state programs and state-sponsored private sector interventions in the region. Such interventionsdams, ports, airports, railroad and road building, large-scale mining, large-scale cattle ranchingtargeted the land and natural resources of rural social groups, but completely disregarded their interests, or even their existence. The rural social movement Alliance of the Peoples of the Forest is a case in point. Perhaps the most important case of construction of a political identity in the recent history of social movements in Amazonia, this alliance was forged between rubber tappers from the State of Acre and indigenous peoples from western Amazonia in 1989. Supported by rural workers unions, the Catholic church, and committed allies from environmentalist NGOs and Universities, they banded together to

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152 resist the appropriation of their traditional lands and the destruction of Amazon ecosystems. This perceived threat of loss of their resource base formed the basis for the creation of political solidarity between these hitherto sociopolitically fragmented groups. As Almeida emphasizes, and different from what Lima suggests, the ecological crisis (Wolf 1984:336-350) lived by different segments of the peasantry and by indigenous groups in Amazonia has an explicit political and ideological dimension and does not correspond to the ecological question that characterizes the larger society (Almeida 1994:522, citing Almeida 1990:13). As mentioned earlier in this study, Gurup was not directly affected by infrastructure-building and large-scale economic development projects. But the peasants in its interior did live an ecological crisis, as discussed earlier, because the municipality was affected by government policies designed to promote the extraction and export of natural resources. In the case of the terra-firme communities, such as Jocoj, principally timber extraction and commercial fishing for export, which endangered the stable combination of resources from which they earned their living. As Pace (1992) noted, the main sources of conflict and organized political activity in Gurup were market-based tensions (outright extinction or loss of control over resources), and to a lesser degree, political ones (1992:717). But while in different Amazon areas rural social movements amplified and diversified, organizing under broad categories of mobilization, such as the peoples of the forest, and those affected by dam-building, varzeiros and roceiros in Gurup continued their struggle for access to market and control of the local political system, mobilizing as rural workers, and organizing exclusively through the CEBs and

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153 the Rural Workers Union, maintaining the political predominance of class in their confrontations. Concluding his ethnography of Gurup, The struggle for Amazon Town (1998) Pace notes that at the end of his research period, Gurup was beginning to feel the effects of these new trends [the new social movements in Amazonia, and the alliances between rural Amazonians and national and international NGOs]. I remember asking my consultants about extractive reserves, the Rubber Tappers Union originating in Acre, and the union leader Chico Mendes, who was assassinated while defending the rubber tappers way of life. In the 1980s no one I talked to was aware of any of these. By the 1990s, however, union leaders were discussing joining the Rubber Tappers Union and setting aside land for biological reserve. They are actively pursuing information on replanting strategies for many hardwoods and palms in the area. They are also trying hard to form a fishers cooperative and to limit commercial fishing in the municipality. (1998:212) He registered the influence of FASEs activities in Gurup. This brings me to the last period in this historical series of times and movements that punctuated the social history of the community of Jocoj: the period marked by the launching of the FASE Gurup Project in 1997 and by the emergence of ethnicity-based political organization among slave descendants in Gurup. From the economic standpoint, there was continuity between the time of the community and this period of consolidation of the environmental movement in Amazonia, and direct influence of the movement in rural Gurup. The municipalitys economy remained largely stagnant and marginalized, as described in Chapter 2. At the micro level, the living conditions in Jocoj, as in other rural communities in the interior, remained badly low. But from the social and political standpoints, as shown in Paces comments, the new cycle of rural movementsthe broad alliances in support of a proposal for the sustainable development of Amazonianow echoed in every day discourse. Accompanying my hosts on their errands in the town, I witnessed countless encounters between community and STR leaders, officials of the

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154 local PT administration, and staff of FASE. More often than not, the subject matter of their conversations was local (sustainable) development. Their talked revolved around ideas and technologies they wanted the students at the Casa Familiar Rural to test in experiments in forest extractivism and fishing, about news from initiatives in other Amazon areas, potential sources of credit, and possible solutions to the problem of market for their products. Clearly, all this represented the imagination that Zeca and Antonio Maria in Jocoj so emphatically affirmed they had gained in their exposure to the movement of the environment. The times of imagination, however, were also times of economic crisis in Brazil. Funds for experimenting with management of natural resources were rare and difficult to access. More so in the case of largely illiterate peasants lacking adequate documentation and knowledge to fill out the numerous forms required to access existing commercial credit lines and small-grants environmental programs. For the most part, governmental and non-governmental international aid and state agencies funds in Amazonia were mediated by NGOs. But as shown in the discussion about the interaction between FASE and the roceiros in Jocoj, the NGO had not been effective in dealing with complex problems involving participatory local development. Also, despite the fact that these roceiros had historically combined extractive activities and agriculture, they depended primarily on the latter, particularly in the absence of a stable market for their products. According to the local FASE team, however, donor agencies refused to provide funds for agriculture, or even for experimenting with agroforestry (but see Smith 2000:163). This was a constant complaint in our conversations. The people at FASE knew the priorities of the people in the interior, but felt powerless to address them.

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155 All this certainly contributed to reinforce the idea among roceiros in Jocoj and their relatives in other slave descendant communities that they needed to strengthen ARQMIG, the quilombola association in Gurup, in order to initiate a cycle of non-mediated relations with state agencies for support for their projects. They wanted to gain social recognition qua rural black communitiesthe denomination used by organized slave descendant groups of peasants in Brazil, in their mobilizations for social justice and restitution of past dispossession. FASE had helped them get recognition of their quilombola title to land, navigating the intricate state bureaucracy. Now they shifted their gaze to other critical demands: capital, market and technologies. Their goal was to gain accessthrough ARQMIG, not through outside organizationsto decision-making process in public policy for bottom-up development and conservation. The process of political (black) identity (re)construction under way in Gurup could very well be interpreted as a means of articulating these demands. In order to obtain official recognition of their black territory, these slave descendants were asked to dig up their memories and write their history, declaring unbroken continuity of identity with the first escaped slaves who established in the area. Gradually, a collective consciousness of ethnic contours was laid on a well-grounded class consciousness that they had acquired in the time of the community, as participants of the movement of the church. Although these people had always asserted their kinship continuity with the escaped slaves who founded Jocoj, apparently, in everyday intercourse they had never played out their differences from other communities of riverine peasants on the estuary. In everyday discourse, they identified themselves as roceiros de Jocoj or as poor, a self-identification based on their perceived position

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156 in the economic structure of Amazonian society, or on their economic occupation and the locality where they lived, more precisely, the river where they lived. Mirroring the times of the environmental movement/eco-politics, in which national and international supporters seemed to have a diminishing regard for class difference, but were often willing to give some kind of recognition to claims of cultural difference (Sharp 1996:92; but see Ribeiro 2000), they now learned to couch their demands in the language of ethnicity and sustainable development. It would not be wrong to assert that this transition period of the movement of the environment announced a time in which the people in Jocoj, and their relatives in the black territory, would engage state agencies making good use of their informed imagination.

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION In this thesis I portrayed the socioeconomic and political circumstances of the roceiro community of Jocoj in relation to historical changes in Amazonia, from the decline of the rubber industry after 1912 to the time of fieldwork, the summer of 2002. The purpose of this final chapter is to provide a summary of the main changes occurred in the communitys social relations and material conditions, according to the historical sequence examined: time of the patrons/grande movimento, timber extraction/increase in cash circulation, time of the community/movement of the church, Socioenvironmental NGO /movement of the environment. As I present the summary, the main arguments of this ethnography are highlighted. Table 5-1 presents the main points of this summary. The critical nexuses are shown between the community and the larger system of social relations in the different periods of the historical sequence covered in this study. The ways the people in the community produced and reproduced the material means of their social existence are identified, and the transformations in the communitys economy are highlighted. To this end, I single out the ecological conditions in which the community existed and from which families derived their livelihoods, and the relations of production proper, that is, the ways work was organized for production at the household and the community levels, including the social forms of access to and control over the means of production (land, labor power, and instruments of production), and, principally, the ways households surpluses were appropriated by representatives of the larger economic system. 157

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Table 5-1: Tempos and Movimentos: Transformations in the Social Life of the Community of Jocoj from 1912 to 2002 Historical Period: 1912-1965* Historical Period: 1966-1985 Historical Period: 1975-1995 Ethnographic Present 2002 Stagnation of Regional Economy Amazon Modernization Hyperinflation, Foreign Debt Crisis in Brazil Neoliberal Polices in Brazil Time of the Patrons Grande Movimento (Timber Extraction) (Transition) Time of the Community Movement of the Church (Transition) (Movementof the environment) Household Basic unit of production and consumption Basic unit of production and consumption Basic unit of production and consumption Basic unit of production Land/property Land perceived as abundant, property of roas based on use, property of plants in old fallows and backyards based on expenditure of physical labor Men occupied interfluvial zones, centros, each centro had one casa de farinha, but tendency towards crystallization of usufruct rights into de facto rights Extended families controlled centros, roas opened by each individual family, property of roas based on use, but idea of inheritance of property based on declaration of occupancy issued by INCRA Extended families controlled centros, roas opened by each individual family, property of roas based on use, property of plants in old fallows and backyards based on expenditure of physical labor Labor Family labor in agriculture, according to division of labor by sex and age Men engaged in temporary labor at extraction in distant localities Women tended small gardens, processed farinha Men worked at timber cutting, cleared new, but small roas Family labor in agriculture, main tasks performed by husband and wife, according to division of labor by sex and age Family labor in agriculture, main tasks performed by husband and wife, according to division of labor by sex and age Reproduction of material means of social life Land and labor based combination of subsistence agriculture, temporary work, petty trade of extractive products and farinha; home consumption; household-focused Labor and land based, logs sold, cash payments, increased consumption of market goods, neglect of subsistence agriculture; home consumption; firms, not extractors, made profits Land based, household-focused; emphasis on subsistence agriculture, petty trade, mostly of timb vines; varzeiro households fished for commercial fishing boats in the dry season Land based, household-focused; emphasis on subsistence agriculture, petty trade, mostly of timb vines; varzeiro households fish for commercial fishing boats in the dry season 158

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Table 5-1: Continued 159 HistoricalPeriod: Historical Period: 1910-1965* 1966-1982 Historical Period: 1980s 1990s Summer of 2002 Stagnation of Regional Economy Amazon Modernization Hyperinflation, Foreign Debt Crises in Brazil Neoliberal Polices in Brazil Time of the Patrons Grande Movimento (Timber Extraction) (Transition) Time of the Community Movement of the Church (Transition) (Movementof the environment) Authority Head of familys authority derived from expenditure of physical labor to socially reproduce household and control over production process Women complained about loss of authority within household due to neglect of subsistence agriculture Men resented fact that they could not provide for their families, and avoided sending their children to look for wages in the Jar industrial complex Parental couple shared decision-making in most households in the community Critical nexus between rural and urban sectors Laborandgoods, via petty commodity production $$Cash Ideology,information, roceiros began to see themselves as rights-bearing creatures Ideology,imagination, environmental awareness, $$ rural pensions Community Moral community, sharing of meat, fish and fruits among kin and neighbors Moral community, less sharing among neighbors Moral community, sharing mostly among close kin Moral community, sharing mostly between elderly recipients of rural pensions and their married children Environmental conditions Resources perceived as abundant, idea of material plenty Downgrading of neighborhoods environments due to over-harvesting of timber and aa palm heart Overfishing with timb in the Jocoj River; overfishing in the Amazon River by commercial fishing boats Fishing in the Jocoj River possible three years after community erected rules of access to and use of river, small tributaries, igaps, and fauna within limits of community territory

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Table 5-1: Continued 160 HistoricalPeriod: Historical Period: 1910-1965 1966-1982 Historical Period: 1980s 1990s Summer of 2002 Stagnation of Regional Economy Amazon Modernization Hyperinflation, Foreign Debt Crisis in Brazil Neoliberal Polices in Brazil Time of the Patrons Grande Movimento (Timber Extraction) (Transition) Time of the Community Movement of the Church (Transition) (Movementof the Environment) Land Well to do roceiros controlled best tracts of agricultural lands, the less well off cultivated area around the vila; rights to fields disappeared as land was left to fallow Well to do roceiros were more involved in timber extraction, land was less important Householders petitioned INCRA to obtain title to 100-hectare plots of land within centros controlled by extended families Communal land title encompassed the 100 ha petitioned INCRA, ITERPA, which were declared void Labor mobilization Exchange of day, convite, hired labor Householders cut timber, logs delivered to patrons under the aviamento system, well to do roceiros mediated transactions with patrons first, and then with lumbering firms representatives Mutiro, occasional exchange of day, mostly among cumpadres, close kin within centros exchange labor without need to reciprocate Mutiro, close kin within centros exchange labor without need to reciprocate, exchange of day among compadres infrequent Power Structure Social power of well to do roceiros, civil and religious authority converged on\ their persons; economic power of patrons (symbolic capital/economic capital) Social power of well to do roceiros, civil and religious authority converged on their persons; economic power of patrons (symbolic capital/economic capital) Socioeconomic differences levelled, following collapse of aviamento system/decline of patrons and withdrawal of international firms from estuarial zone; formal organization of community, increased participation of all in decision-making Tensions within community, some individuals began to see their projects more independently from their neighbors, void of authority position

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161 The Time of the Patrons: Grande Movimento (from the Early 1910s to the Mid-1960s) The period between the demise of the rubber industry and the mini-boom of the product during World War II was a period of consolidation of the historical peasantries in Amazonia. Despite the dramatic decrease in rubber export, the extractive economy remained the focal point of Amazon River life. But because the roceiros in Jocoj retained control over the means of production, and because there had no social or geographic barriers to their mobility, they could engage in diverse productive activities, combining disguised wage labor as extractors in faraway localities on the Amazon valley, manioc cultivation, fishing, hunting, and a variety of forms of petty extractivism on their own natural surroundings. In Jocoj, land was perceived as abundant and other natural resources as boundless until the arrival of lumbering firms in Gurup. The direct descendants of the primeirantes, the founders of the neighborhood, as well as the newcomers could place themselves and open their fields in every corner in the communitys land. All but the two wealthier families in the neighborhood, who had rights of property (marked by reciprocity ties, as defined in Chapter 2, note 27) over large tracts of agricultural land, grew manioc on fields located in the area between the vila and the Amazon River. To circumvent the uncertainties of the climate and soils, each household had two or more manioc fields planted each year, the rights over which disappeared as land was left to fallow. The householder only retained rights over the perennial plants he or she had cultivated. Expenditure of physical labor, as mentioned earlier, generated rights of use and disposition.

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162 Agricultural and other tasks necessary for the (re)production of the household were divided between husband, wife and children according to their categorization as appropriate to the sex and age of the household member. But husband and wife bore together the actual pains of agricultural labor. In my interviews with the elderly in Jocoj, this interdependence was invariably emphasized. If nursing or the need to take care of young children restricted the mobility of women, in the peaks of extractive seasons, men and their eldest sons would travel long distances, as new ganhos (sources of livelihood, generally extractive activities) appeared. This was precisely what the elderly stressedwhile their men and sons engaged in temporary labor, women would make sure, by tending their manioc fields, alone, with their children, or in diverse arrangements with their female close kin or neighbors, that they would have farinha to meet the consumption needs of the household throughout the year. The centrality of agriculture was marked by the way people in Jocoj defined themselves: as roceiros, i.e., small farmers, but basically manioc cultivators. The ability to control the process of production in planting manioc not only conferred authority to the head of household, but also reaffirmed the idea of the neighborhood as a space of freedom (see also Harris 2000). On various occasions the oldest men in the community recounted to me the stories of oppression in that they had undergone themselves in the seringais and castanhais in Arumanduba and on the Jar valley, or, more frequently, that they had heard from their fathers and grandfathers. These stories frequently ended with the comment, but in the end of the season, we would get our saldos (the balance, see note Chapter 3, note 25) and return to Jocoj to clear new fields and eat farinha with our wives and children. Back in their neighborhoods, there were neither foremen nor patrons

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163 meddling in the affairs of their households, not even their fellow well to do neighbors and occasional (small) patrons. At the level of the community, through various forms of cooperation, householders secured the extrafamily aid needed, the most important of which were the exchange of day, convite (literally, invitation), and hired labor. The convite was more frequently used by the well to do roceiros, who opened large manioc fields and used to sell large quantities of farinha to patrons/storeowners in Gurup. The peoples memories of the convites conveyed the idea of conviviality. On these occasions, hosts and guests feasted and commemorated communal bonds. Hired labor, however, was the usual form used by the better off men in the community to mobilize labor from their neighbors who didnt control labor and land in sufficient amounts. This, together with family histories and the extraordinary ties with the outside world, that permitted that the well to do roceiros accumulated means of productionbasically the best and larger tracts of agricultural lands and the instruments of production to process maniocaccounted for enduring, but apparently not progressive, social stratification in Jocoj. The fact that the better off roceiros controlled the best lands in the neighborhood, however, didnt imply that land was scarce. Labor, not land, was. If relations between the well to do and the less well off roceiros could be characterized as exploitative, they also served to generate a series of obligations through which the land poor ascertained future ajuda (help) in cases of illnesses, or other moments of life crisis. More important, these relations were perceived as symmetricalthe laborand land-poor roceiros obtained the necessary complement to their own

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164 (insufficient) agricultural production and thus provided for their families, and the well off, in turn, maintained their privileged economic position. As mentioned above, in this period of material plenty, the social reproduction of the household was based primarily on a combination of agriculture and temporary labor at extraction. Diverse forms of petty extractivism were considered accessory activities. The aim of householders was the reproduction of their ways of lifethe primary purpose of this pattern of economy being home consumption. Householders used the saldo, the credit received in return for their labor as extractors to purchase necessities and finance agriculture. Manioc, and to a lesser extent timb, were the only crops grown for use and for exchange. When in Jocoj, householders would deliver farinha to patrons in Gurup in return for market goods through the system of aviamento credit-debt relations, or they would cross the Amazon to sell it at higher prices to trading post owners in the Great Island of Gurup, or still barter it for fish and rice with vrzea dwellers. But not infrequently the well to do roceiros would buy all the production of farinha in the neighborhood and trade it with patrons in Gurup. These patrons, and other patrons in faraway seringais and castanhais exploited the roceiros in Jocoj by appropriating their surplus product and their labor power, respectively. These were the critical nexuses between the rural community and the larger system. The roceiros proper and their extractive products and agricultural produce contributed to the grande movimento, as noted in Chapter 4. My main arguments in the analysis of this period of the historical trajectory of the slave descendant roceiros in Jocoj were the following: First, their life was not dominated

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165 by the imperatives of Amazonian political economy. These people did develop a diversified livelihood strategy, not a semblance of strategy (Ross 1978:217-218), which permitted that areas of their social life, however pervaded by the demands of extraction of forest/river products, remained determined by their own demands, according to their own value directives. Second and related to this first point, the oral narratives I recorded, and their own efforts to make a history so as to validate their land claims and obtain official recognition of their territorial rights, revealed a much more complex sociopolitical profile than suggested in the relevant literature. The system was equalitarian (Cohen 1982), that is to say, it was marked by enduring hierarchies of economic advantage dividing householders, but these differences were intentionally masked and muted in everyday social intercourse. Poor and well off peasants entered into reciprocal relations to provide for themselves, and reproduce a (peasant) mode of life, without apparent contradiction. I interpret the attitude of roceiro householders in Jocoj towards intravillage economic differences and social stratification as a response to depeasantization. Timber Extraction: Increased Cash Circulation in Gurups Economy (from the Mid-1960s to the Mid-1980s) As mentioned in Chapter 3, householders in Jocoj were forced into timber extraction by miserably low prices obtained for their agricultural produce in Gurup. As Pace (1992) wrote, merchants in the town and trading post owners in its vicinity were striving for their survival since the end of the mini-boom of rubber in Amazonia after World War II. Rising national inflation, combined with the negative effects of the regional depression in extracted commodities between 1945 and 1966, had compromised their ability to extend credit to their clienteles (1992:717). At first, the roceiros saw

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166 timber cutting as an accessory activity. It was conceived as supplementary to agriculture and petty extractivism. Soon, however, it became their main source of livelihood and brought about major changes in domesticity, sociality and morality in Jocoj. As timber cutting grew in importance in the neighborhood, and more and more men engaged in the activity, land and forest resources, which had hitherto been perceived as abundant and boundless, began to be perceived as finite. Notice of conflicts over access to land and forest resources on the vrzea areas may have contributed to this change in perception. By 1973, the major families in the vila had already occupied the larger interfluvial zones on the communal lands in Jocoj. In this way, the division of the community territory in different centros I encountered in 2002 was established. Every centro had its own casa de farinha. The families who had for years planted together and shared the few casas de farinha available in Jocoj were now definitely separated. More important, although property continued to be based on use and association to specific land plots, a tendency towards crystallization of usufruct rights into de facto rights was manifested at the time. International lumbering firms began operations in Gurup in the mid-1960s. Through patrons, firms hired labor in the communities on the Amazon estuary. But around the mid-1970s, firms had already established regional offices in the towns of Breves, Porto de Moz and Gurup, and the well to do roceiros in Jocoj had already been identified by buyers from these offices. Thus, the two wealthier families in Jocoj, the Povos and the Marzagos, became directly involved in the transactions with lumbering firms, buying logs from their kin and neighbors in the vila, and delivering them to firms. The transactions between buyers and these well to do roceiros, and between them and the

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167 other extractors followed the system of aviamento: firms advanced cash to the well off men, and they advanced cash to the extractors to help finance extraction, and to cover their households expenses (despesa) for the duration of extractive cycle. Logs were delivered on the Amazon in return. After buyers measured the jangadas (log rafts), they balanced the accounts and a new cycle of forest felling would begin. Whatever profits the well to do men would make, they converted into merchandise bought in Gurup to sell at slightly higher prices in Jocoj. Apparently, with direct penetration of capitalism into the estuary, the hitherto stable socioeconomic relations between the well off roceiros and their poor neighbors were heated. It impossible to assert, however, whether or not competition and contradiction leading to a polarization of these intra-community socioeconomic differences, and a subsequent split between a class of petty capitalists and another of landless peasants would occur in Jocoj, as a Leninist interpretation of peasant economy as a transitional one would suggest. Rather, from my conversations in the village, there were indications that the reciprocal foundations of this stratified social system were not shaken enough. Although it is not possible to maintain that there was no tendency for capitalism to develop within the community, and insist in the stability of the peasant mode of production, the Chayanovian argument, my own point is that in Jocoj, as apparently in other vrzea communities, as long as intra-community economic differences and social stratification existed, it served to halt emigration and ultimately depeasantization. Like patrons in Gurup, the well-endowed roceiros in the neighborhood faced economic decline beginning in the mid-1980s, mostly because of the withdrawal of large firms from this Amazon area, as the forests on the vrzeas and the more accessible upland

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168 areas were depleted of the species of commercial interest at the time. But I insist, even if the macro conditions existing in Amazonia had permitted that these rich roceiros formed, with other wealthy peasants in the region, a class of petty traders, my interviewees and the economic situation of these men or their descendants at the time of fieldwork suggested that they would not separate their destinies from the destinies of their kin, friends and neighbors. The little that they had accumulated during the prosperous times of timber extraction was reported to have been converted into aid, foodstuff, medicine, or had deteriorated for lack of maintenancean old truck given by one of the lumbering firms to pull logs from the upland forests, and a large motorboat then reduced to its hull. At the level of households, the women continued performing their tasks in agriculture, but their bargaining power within the domestic circle declined. Because men diverted their work from agriculture to extraction, and because households became increasingly dependent on the market for reproduction, womens work in agriculture was devalued. Different from the previous period, when the emphasis was on subsistence agriculture and household consumption, women were now relegated to an accessory position, tending manioc fields that they knew were not sufficient for the household expenses during the whole year. This period of forest felling overlapped with the time of the community, but for at least 18 years the households in Jocoj approached and distanced themselves from the timber extraction sector, according to external forces but, to a certain extent, to their own wants too. The economic pattern that characterized this transition period separating a time of plenty from a time of failure differed significantly from the old pattern of the

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169 time of the patrons. The aim of householders was still the reproduction of their lifeways. But cash entered in circulation, and timber was the official currency in Gurup; merchants, trading post owners and itinerant river traders all dealt in timber. This had the effect of diverting labor from agriculture to extraction, and caused households to depend more and more on market consumption. Even if this unprecedented circulation of cash enticed these men to increase their productivity by felling more of their own forests, turning a profit was not possible. They were poorly paid for the logs they cut, even though they obtained higher prices compared to the prices of farinha and other their produce. Their families were provided for, and their houses improved. Actual profits, however, were essentially made by the capitalist firms, which appropriated surplus value in their articulation with the peasant households, accessing labor first through patrons in Gurup, then through the well to do roceiros in the neighborhood. What circulated between the rural and urban sectors were above all cash and logs. The Time of the Community: Movement of the Church (from the Mid-1970s to the Late 1990s) The formal organization of the neighborhood into community occurred between the midand the late 1970s. Timber cutting for international firms lasted until 1986, although a few families in Jocoj continued in this extractive activity well into the 1990s. A combination of overharvesting of timber and aa palm heart, and overfishing in the Amazon by commercial fishing fleets, which came to Gurup in the early 1980s, caused significant environmental degradation in Jocoj. Little by little, the idea of fracasso (failure) solidified in the peoples minds, always associated with the new times, in which their disguised forms of insurance (Wolf 1969:279, citing Lipton 1968:341) had

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170 disappeared. Now, neither their labor, nor, principally, their production linked these roceiros to the urban sector. My argument here is that socioeconomic differences in Jocoj were leveled due to this unfortunate combination: control over land and/or labor meant nothing in this new time. Their relations with the urban sector were primarily political then, and economic exchanges with the larger system were virtually non-existent. Itinerant river traders siphoned off of Jocoj the little that these people produced on their centros, basically timb vines. In 1992, when the families in the community resumed relations with the Catholic church, they were both economically and socially isolated from the outside world, and experienced the harsh consequences of government policies for modernization and development of Amazonia on their own natural surroundings. In the late 1980s, the children of those men who had occupied the interfluvial areas in the communitys territory, back in the early 1970s, had already married and opened their own manioc fields in these areas. This was a time in which the people in Jocoj became aware of the possibility of petitioning to INCRA to obtain title to 100-hectare land plots. The document issued by INCRA was merely a declaration of occupancy, not a formal title to land, but for years it was believed to constitute formal property rights. Within the centros, close kin continued slashing and burning their fields, irrespective of these titles, but access to these lands was nearly blocked to non-kin in the community. The former notion of property rights now gained new contours: it was defined along capitalist lines. The lack of economic alternatives, added to this enclosure, may have contributed to the massive emigration of families and young males in Jocoj in the early 1980s. As

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171 Pace wrote, the extraction boom had depleted or reduced certain key resources vital to farmers/extractors means of livelihood (1992:720). Resource depletion had already disrupted the Gurups economy on several occasions, he explains, but the cumulative effect of past and present reductions and depletions had severely threatened (present-day) subsistence patterns (Pace 1992:720). The variety of sources of livelihood the people in Jocoj once had at their disposal in their natural surroundings were evermore scarce. Back into subsistence agriculture, they tried to extract from their manioc fields the levels of consumption of the previous timber boom. They hoped to earn a living from agriculture, selling farinha in the Jari region through their kin that had established themselves in the industrial complex. Problems of soil exhaustion, lack of access to fertilizers and pesticides, and most important, problems of transportation of their produce blocked their success. With the new community organization and gradual involvement in the caminhada da Igreja the mutiro was instituted in Jocoj. The people reinterpreted the original idea of mutiro, as encouraged by the Catholic church elsewhere in Brazil, which consisted of collective work and collective appropriation of the outcomes, and adjusted the institution to a new modality of convite, one in which era tudo um nvel s, as Joca narrated to me. All participants in the mutiro were equal, he said. The times of the little patrons, as the ex-catechists at FASE referred to the well to do men in Jocoj, were over. But the communal bonds were ascertained all the same on these occasions. Thats how they made communal projects viable. And thats how Padre Chico gave a motor to the community when they built together their boat, the Jesus Christ.

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172 Householders in Jocoj tried to feed their families exclusively from their land, rivers and lakes. But game was increasingly scarce. The logging companies that invaded the upland forests in Jocoj beginning in the mid-1980s hired professional hunters in Gurup to feed their crews. The result was the near-extinction of the species of fauna that the men in the community used to bring to their homes at the end of the day, on their way back from their manioc fields. Armadillos, pacas, caetitus, all were now dreamt of, but rarely encountered on their trails and river banks. Timb was their only alternative source of income, but they also used piscicide on the Jocoj River, the streams that fed into it, and the igaps on their lands. Fish disappeared from their black waters in a few years, according to old Gregrio, who was known to be a specialist in the use of malhadeiras. By 1995, the coordinators in the community suggested that they develop rules of access and use for the river, small streams, lakes, fauna, and forestlands. All residents supported the idea. In three years, boys and their fathers were bringing fish from the old Jocoj to their hearths. Occasionally, a little timb was sold to the river trader who visited the community on a monthly basis. In 1992, a man in Jocoj who had been involved in the peasant resistance movement earlier than and despite of his close kin, neighbors and friends in the community, organized a big mutiro to cut the bush that constantly regrows, blocking the course of small rivers and streams on the estuary. Three communities of slave descendants participated in the effort. The Jocoj was the first river to be cleaned. History was reenacted, then. Just as the first runaways, back in the late nineteenth century, had opened the waterway to participate in the grande movimento, the traffic of

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173 people and goods on the Amazon highway, now their descendants officially inaugurated their participation in the caminhada da Igreja, the peasant resistance movement sponsored by the Catholic church, by cutting the bush that blocked the Jocoj before it reached the Amazon. Only in this new time what circulated between the people in the community and the Catholic priest, CEB cathechists, rural union leaders, and other roceiros and varzeiros in Gurup were words, ideas: the rights discourse. Thats how their struggle to obtain their land title began. They claimed official recognition of their territorial rights, and the system of communal ownership of land and resources that their ancestors had engendered, and they married and repeated their unions between their families and opened their space of freedom to novatos coming from the Northeast region to tap rubber trees in Gurup during the rubber boom. The Socioenvironmental NGO: Movement of the Environment The legalization of the black territory of slave descendants introduced no changes in the forms of appropriation of land in Jocoj. Extended families continued growing manioc and processing farinha on their centros. With the help of FASE, their limits of respect between neighboring communities were defined. These boundary lines that had been respected for generations were now fixed on papermaps that the people circulated with pride in the community. Rural pensions now reduced the frequency of the bouts of hunger that afflicted the families in the vila. Foodstuff circulated from the parental hearths to the houses of their married children. Households continued to be the basic units of production, but not of consumption. Extended families were, instead. What householders extracted from their roas was not sufficient to feed their families. Cooperation in the form of mutiro continued, though with little zest. Only rarely could householders provide food and drink

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174 to their guests. Timb vines, fruits, and rarely sawn wood, were sold to the river trader, on whose monthly visits the families that did not have access to rural pensions depended. To qualify as slave descendants and obtain official recognition of their collective black territory, the slave descendants in Jocoj engaged in a process of identity (re)construction, which they strategically associated with the imagination they had gained through their connections with the environmental movement, in order to influence ethnic minority and sustainable development state policies. This imagination was not an ideologyunderstood as the capability of dominant groups or classes to make their own sectional interests appear to others as universal ones (Guiddens 1979:6). It was not a passive acceptance of an environmentalist agenda defined by eco-elites (Nugent 2002:69-72) from outside Amazonia either. Rather, following the example of the rubber tappers in Acre, equating social and ecological justice, and using their informed imagination, these slave descendant roceiros and verzeiros in rural Gurup were voicing a claim deeply rooted on reflection on their own experience as economic actors in processes that eventually unleashed the dire ecological consequences and conditions in which they now lived. In their identity-based mobilizations, through their quilombola association, they aimed at developing new, recreating old, and defending their few existing sources of livelihood, so as to continue their mode of life. Apparently, these people knew how crucial state policies were for them to escape their poverty and vulnerability, and gain control of their economic futures. As Edelman notes in his article, The Persistence of the Peasantry (Edelman 2000), after more than a decade of neoliberalism, state agencies remain central points of reference . the state may have diminished its size and activities, but it still remains a fount of amelioration of specific

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175 problems and an essential element in the political legitimationas well as the certification, licensing, even incorporationof new social subjects who seek to survive by engaging the market. (2000:5) In this thesis, I attempted to place the history of the people in Jocoj within the social and economic processes in Amazonia, beginning after the rubber boom. Through autobiographical narratives of women and men in the community, I tried to understand their points of view about their own social historical. These fragments of the past highlighted a continuous, if uneven, undermining of the ecological and socioeconomic pre-conditions for their social reproductionunrestricted access to ecosystems based on which they developed their diversified livelihood strategies, and the existence of a market for their agricultural produce and extractive materials (Nugent 1993:197). When those few who considered the possibility looked beyond their relationships to their lands, forests, rivers, lakes, and igaps, and considered temporary migration to the industrial enclaves in other Amazon areas, they realized that their access to these places was practically blocked by their chronic illiteracy and general lack of qualifications. Leaving agriculture was no longer an option to the people in Jocoj. Most important, it was not what the majority of the roceiros in the community wanted. Apparently, up till the legalization of their black territory, these people had neither emphasized nor downplayed their black ethnic identity in their everyday intercourses with outsiders. But they were known in Gurup as descendants of the old Negroes of Jocoj. Their kinship continuity with the runaways who founded the neighborhood was already an expression of resistance and ethnicity. For generations they had been creating and recreating a landscape to live in and a place in the world, living their own lives as much as possible on their own terms, reinventing themselves, as the social, political, and economic worlds which they inhabited changed. Now they carved out a political space by

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176 means of essentialist practices . to continue to do so. This particular way of placing themselves in the ever-changing world accounted for their persistence. Future ethnography could illuminate this.

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APPENDIX A GLOSSARY OF ACRONYMS ABRA Associao Brasileira de Reforma Agrria (Brazilian Association for Land Reform) ARQMIG Associao dos Remanescentes de Quilombos do Municpio de Gurup (Quilombola Association of Gurup) BASA Banco da Amazonia (Amazon Bank) CEB Comunidades Eclesiais de Base (Base Ecclesiastic Communities or Christian Base Communities) CFR Casa Familiar Rural (Rural Family House) CNBB Conselho Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil (National Council of Brazilian Bishops) CPT Comisso Pastoral da Terra (Land Pastoral Commission) CRS Catholic Relief Services CUT Central nica dos Trabalhadores (Central of Workers Unions) COOMAG Cooperativa Mista Agroextrativista de Gurup (Joint Agroextractivist Cooperative of Gurup) EMATER Empresa de Assistncia Tcnica e Extenso Rural (State Rural Extension Agency) EU European Union FASE Federao de rgos para Assistncia Social e Educacional (Federation of Organizations for Social and Educational Assistance) FNO Fundo Constitucional de Financiamento do Norte (Constitutional Fund of the North) FPM Fundo de Participao dos Municpios (Municipal Participation Fund) FUNBIO Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade (Brazilian Trust Fund for Biodiversity) FUNDEF Fundo de Manuteno e Desenvolvimento do Ensino Fundamental (Maintenance and Development of Elementary Education Fund) GDP Gross Domestic Product GPS Global Positioning Satellite IBAMA Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovveis (Brazilian Institute for Renewable Natural Resources and Environment) 177

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178 IBGE Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatstica (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) ICCO Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation ICMS Imposto sobre Circulao de Mercadorias e Servios (State Sales Tax) IEB Instituto Internacional de Educao do Brasil (International Institute for Brazilian Education) IHD Index of Human Development IHD-M Municipal Index for Human Development INCRA Instituto Nacional de Colonizao e Reforma Agrria (Brazilian Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform) ITERPA Instituto de Terras do Estado do Par (Land Institute of the State of Par) ITR Imposto Territorial Rural (Rural Land Tax) MLAL Movimento Laici America Latina (Latin America Laic Movement) NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement NGO Non-Governmental Organization PIN Programa de Integrao Nacional (National Integration Program) PT Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party) PRONAF Programa Nacional de Fortalecimento da Agricultura Familiar (National Program for Support of Family Agriculture) RABO Dutch Bank RDS Reserva de Desenvolvimento Sustentvel (Sustainable Development Reserve) STR Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais (Rural Workers Union) SUDAM Superintendncia para o Desenvolvimento da Amazonia (Superintendency for the Development of Amazonia) SUDENE Superintendncia para o Desenvolvimento do Nordeste (Superintendency for the Development of Northeast Region) SUDEPE Superintendncia para o Desenvolvimento da Pesca (Superintendency for the Development of Fisheries) UNDP United Nations Development Program WHO World Health Organization

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APPENDIX B GLOSSARY OF PORTUGUESE TERMS aa (Euterpe oleraceae), a palm fruit used to make a popular pulpy juice ajuda aid, help andiroba (Carapa guanensis Aubl.) forest tree which produces an oily nut (seed) aningais (Montrichardia arborescens) arum patches aviador (pl. aviadores), creditor/supplier in aviamento system aviamento credit and supply system for extractive activities baba (Orbignya phalerata Martins), an oily nut from baba palm tree barraco community center, a large open structure (shelter) used for dancing festivals and communal meetings beiju type of pancake made with tapioca boldo (Peamus boldus Mold), a herbal plant with medicinal use burit (Mauritia flexuosa), a tropical palm tree which produces edible fruit and seeds cabanos rebel involved in the Cabanagem Revolt (1835-1836) caboclo Amazonian peasantry of mixed ethnic ancestry cacao (Theobroma cacao L.), cocoa cachaa a strong alcoholic drink obtained by distillation of fermented sugarcane juice cacur large fish trap usually made of the trunks of aa palms camaro fresh water shrimp caminhada march, the resistance movement fostered by the Catholic church cantina community store capoeira fallow area, secondary growth forest casa de farinha open structure for processing manioc flour casas aviadoras foreign export houses in aviamento system casco canoe castanhal (pl. castanhais), Brazil nut tree stand catequista catechists, lay instructor of Catholicism trained by the Church centro interfluvial land areas where extended families grow their gardens cidreira (Melissa officinalis L.) a herbal plant with medicinal purpose 179

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180 coivara agricultural practice consisting of gathering together the partially burned into piles digging out the worst of the under burned roots systems comadre co-mother, term for women linked by godparenthood comissrios volantes traders who operated outside the legal channels compadre co-father, term for men linked by godparenthood, the relation between the father of the child and the godparent in the compadrazgo system compadrazgo Spanish word for godparenthood; in Portuguese compadrio compradores buyers comunitrios community members condio literally, condition convite literally, invitation, term used for cooperative work parties copaba (Copaifera officinalis), a tree species which produces an oleoresin that accumulates in cavities within the tree trunk; it is harvested by tapping or drilling holes into the wood of the trunk and collecting the resin that drips out. crueira under roasted coarse granules of manioc flour discarded in the processing of the poisonous (bitter) variety of manioc culto weekly religious service cumar (Dipteryx odorata), forest tree species for timber; it also produces a dark seed with medicinal properties cupua (Theobroma grandiflorum), a native Amazonian tree that produces an edible fruit, which contains an oily seed similar to cocoa despesa expense, the items that households consume or use diretoria executive board dourada kind of catfish drogas do serto literally, backland drugs, Amazon forest products embaba (Cecropia glaziovi Snethlage), tree species for timber farinha type of flour, but in the Amazon usually referred to manioc flour made from the bitter variety (Manihot esculenta) fabrico extractive activity festa literally party, saints festival filhote (Brachyplatystoma sp.), species of fish fracasso failure, decline, deterioration frechais rafters fregus (pl. fregueses), client furo river channel connecting high vrzea to low vrzea areas

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181 galhos literally, branches, direct descendants of first settlers gamb a dance of African origin, similar to samba ganho source of livelihood geleira a boat of any size with an ice store that transports fish gnero produce igap flooded forest igarap small stream igreja church intendente head of citys government, equivalent to a mayor inverno winter, usually referred to the rainy season throughout the Amazon region irmandade religious brotherhood jacunds (not identified), species of fish jangada log raft jandis (Leiarius marmoratus, family Pimelodidae), species of fish jatuarana (Brycon cephalus B. melanopterus) species of fish jeju (group Cyprimiformes characo, family Erythrinidae) species of fish jirau suspended wooden structure supported by poles used to cultivate herbs and horticultural plants jovens unmarried men and women lanternar from lanterna (flashlight), hunting in the night malhadeira gill net mandioca (Manihot esculenta), manioc; the roots of the manioc plant provides farinha, tapioca, tucup, tipit; the leaves may also be eaten (manisoba) and the stalks are used as cuttings (maniva) maniva aerial part of the manioc plant, usually used to replant the crop maranhense a person who is born in the State of Maranho marreteiro middleman massarandba (Manibara huberi), forest tree species for timber mastruz (Chenopodium ambrosioides L.), herbal plant species mata grossa old fallow area, secondary growth forest matapis type of fish trap made of palm fiber morena black woman movimento literally movement, social movement when indicated within the text

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182 mulherada women murur islands of vegetation that float downstream on the Amazon river, drawn from the river shores by the strength of its colossal waters, as they are called by the peasants in the estuary of the Amazon river mutiro (pl. mutires), cooperative work parties in agriculture novato newcomer paca (Agouti paca), animal species palmo unit of measure for sawn wood; equivalent to the distance between the thumb and the little finger of an open hand paran small river channels participantes da caminhada participants in the march, the resistance movement fostered by the Catholic church pelego a servile hanger-on of the commercial elite penhora conveyance pirarucu (Arapaina gigas), species of fish poupana savings primeirantes the founders of the village, first settlers procurador attorney for the saint pupunha (Bactris gasipaes), peach palm species with an edible core (palmito), if fecund, produces an edible fruit quilombo fugitive slave settlement, hideouts of escaped African slaves quilombola descendants of African slaves ramada same as barraco regato (pl. regates), itinerant river trader ricaos literally very rich people, refers to the powerful patrons/storeowners roa cultivated field, garden roado small field (less than a quarter of a hectare) on areas of secondary vegetation (fallow areas often with less than three years between cycles of cultivation) that as usually monocropped but followed sequentially by manioc roceiros small farmers living in the terra firme, dry upland forest dwellers saldo positive balance paid by the patrons to their workers after expenses with food and equipment provided to them during the collecting season were deducted seringa product extracted from rubber trees seringal (pl. seringais), rubber tree stands seringueira (Hevea brasiliensis), rubber tree

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183 stio heart of the interfluvial land area where extended families grow their gardens sucupira (Bowdichia virgilioides H.B.K.), forest tree species sumama (Ceiba pentandra), forest tree species for timber tapioca edible starchy granulated solid particles that separate out from drained grated manioc mash; it is used to make beij tarefa literally task, a form of labor calculation on which a peasant and his family, or a work party could complete in x or y hours, weeks. Human in scale, a tarefa corresponds to an area of 2.5 x 2.5 meters (equivalent to a man standing with his arm stretched upwards). Land area corresponding to 2,500 square meters (by the time of fieldwork, although in the past a tarefa was reported to correspond to 3,906.25 square meters) taririras (group Cypriniformes characo, family Erythrinidae), species of fish terra firme dry upland forest timb type of vine plant that releases a piscicide (poison substance) that stupefies the fish, rise to the surface and are easily caught tipit tube made of palm fibers used to strain manioc mash traras same as taririras, species of fish trapiche wharf, dock troca-de-dia literally exchange of day, direct exchange of labor (common type of mutual aid between the poorest residents) tucup clear liquid extract (containing toxic compounds) drained by squeezing grated manioc mash with a tipit; it is used as an ingredient in a traditional sauce very appreciated in Amazonia ucuba (Virola duckey A.C.Sm.), forest tree species vrzea white-water floodplains varzeiro inhabitants of the Amazon vrzeas, floodplain dwellers veteranos literally veterans, married men with children vila small village, neighborhood zagaia gig, wooden spears with a metallic head of two prongs, used in the fishing method called piraquera

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LIST OF REFERENCES Acevedo, Rosa, and Castro, Edna. 1998. Negros do Trombetas: Guardies das Matas e Rios. Belm: Cejup/Universidade Federal do Par. Albert, Bruce. 1997. 'Ethnographic Situation' and Ethnic Movements. Critique of Anthropology 17 (1):53-65. Almeida, Alfredo W. B. de. 1988. Terras de Preto, Terras de Santo, Terras de ndio: Uso Comum e Conflito. Cadernos do NAEA 10:163-196. Almeida, Alfredo W. B. de. 1990. The State and Land Conflicts in Amazonia, 1964-1988. In The Future of Amaznia, edited by D. Goodman and A. Hall. London: The Macmillan Press. Almeida, Alfredo W. B. de. 1997. Os Quilombos e as Novas Etnias: Preciso que nos Libertemos da Definio Arqueolgica". Paper presented at Direitos Territoriais das Comunidades Negras Rurais: Aspectos Jurdicos e Antropolgicos, April 15-16, at So Paulo, Brazil. Almeida, Mauro. 1996. The Management of Conservation Arreas by Traditional Populations: The Case of Upper Juru Extractive Reserve. In Traditional Peoples and Biodiversity Conservation in Large Tropical Landscapes, edited by K. H. Redford and J. A. Mansour. Arlington, VA.: America Verde The Nature Conservancy. Anderson, Robin. 1985. The Caboclo as Revolutionary: The Cabanagem Revolt, 1835-1836. In Studies in Third World Societies, 32, edited by E. Parker. Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary. Arajo, Roberto. 1994. Manejo Ecolgico, Manejos Polticos: Observaes preliminares sobre conflitos sociais numa rea do Baixo Amazonas. In Amaznia e a Crise da Modernizao, edited by M. A. D'Incao and I. Maciel da Silveira. Belm: Museu Paraense Emlio Goeldi, 301-308. Barthem, Ronaldo B. 2001. Componente Biota Aqutica. In Biodiversidade na Amaznia Brasileira, edited by L. P. Pinto. So Paulo: Estao Liberdade e Instituto Socioambiental, 60-78. 184

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185 Batista, Vandick da S., Freitas, Carlos Edwar de C., Silva, Antnio Jos I. da, and Freire-Brasil, Deusimar. 2000. The Fishing Activity of River People in the Floodplain of the Central Amazon. In The Central Amazon Floodplain: Actual Use and Options for a Sustainable Management, edited by W. J. Junk, J. J. Ohly, M. T. F. Piedade and M. G. M. Soares. Leiden: Backhuys Publishers, 417-431. Bernard, H. Russell 2002. Research Methods in Anthropology: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press. Bottomore, Thomas, ed. 1983. A Dictionary of Marxist Thought. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by R. Nice. New York: Cambridge University Press: Cambridge Original edition, 1972. Bunker, Stephen G. 1985. Underdeveloping the Amazon: Extraction, Unequal Exchange and Failure of the Modern State. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. Cardoso, Fernando Henrique, and Mller, Geraldo. 1977. Amaznia: Expanso do Capitalismo. So Paulo: Editora Brasiliense. Carneiro da Cunha, Manuela, and Almeida, Mauro. 1999. Populaes Tradicionais e Conservao. Paper presented at Seminrio de Consulta: Avaliao e Identificao de Aes Prioritrias para a Conservao, Utilizao Sustentvel e Repartio dos Benefcios da Biodiversidade da Amaznia Brasileira, September, 21-25, at Macap, Brazil. Chayanov, Alexander V. 1966. The Theory of Peasant Economy. Edited by D. Thorner, B. Kerblay and R. E. F. Smith. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Chibnik, Michael. 1994. Risky Rivers: The Economics and Politics of Floodplain Farming in Amazonia. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. Cleary, David. 1993. After the Frontier: Problems with Political Economy in the Modern Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Latin American Studies 25 (2):331-349. Cohen, Anthony P., ed. 1982. Belonging: Identity and Social Organization in British Rural Cultures. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Diegues, Antonio Carlos, Andrello, Geraldo, and Nunes, Mrcia. 2001. "Populaes Tadicionais" e Biodiversidade na Amaznia: Levantamento Bibliogrfico Georeferenciado. In Biodiversidade na Amaznia Brasileira, edited by J. P. R. Capobianco, A. Verssimo, A. Moreira, D. Sawyer, I. Santos and L. P. Pinto. So Paulo: Estao Liberdade e Instituto Socioambiental, 205-224. Djurfelt, Goran. 1999. Essentially Non-Peasant? Some Critical Comments on Post-Modernist Discourse on the Peasantry. Sociologia Ruralis 39 (2):261-269.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Neila Soares da Silva was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 11, 1957. She received her bachelors degree in architecture and urban planning at the Santa Ursula University (FAU-USU) in 1981. After a four-year period working at an architecture firm, she started her graduate studies at the Graduate Program in Social Anthropology at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro. At the time, she did her fieldwork among Nambiquara Indians in western State of Mato Grosso. From this experience, she joined AWARU, a non-governmental organization that provided legal support to indigenous groups in Central Brazil. In 1992, she worked in the organization of the Indigenous Peoples World Conference on the Earth, Environment and Development, during the Earth Summit (UNCED, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). In the same year, she was appointed as head of the land tenure department at the regional office of the National Indian Foundation, FUNAI, in the State of Mato Grosso. At FUNAI, she also worked as anthropologist at the Special Projects Unit, Brasilia headquarters, under programs for demarcation of indigenous peoples lands. In 1996, she joined the Rain Forest Unit at the World Bank, Brasilia Office to work as a social scientist, where she was responsible for the task-management of the Demonstration Projects, a sub-component of the Pilot Program to Protect the Brazilian Rain Forest, PPG 7. Neila came to the University of Florida to study at the Tropical Conservation and Development Program at the Center for Latin American Studies under the guidance of Dr. Marianne Schmink. In the Fall Semester of 2003, she began her doctoral studies at the Anthropology Department at UF. 193


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LIKE AMURURE: SOCIAL CHANGE IN A TERRA-FIRME COMMUNITY ON THE
AMAZON ESTUARY
















By

NEILA SHARES DA SILVA


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2004

































Copyright 2004

by

Neila Soares da Silva





























To my husband, Roger, and in the memory of my father, Pedro, and my dear aunts-
guardian angels Cuca and Dod6, for their love, compassion, and concern.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This thesis would have been impossible without the cooperation of the families in

Jocoj6, and the support and patience of Pedro Tapuru, Bira, Adamor, Capixaba, Carlos,

Sergio, Maria Antonia, and Paulo Oliveira Jr. in Gurupa and Belem. My greatest thanks

are to these people. There are other debts that cannot be repaid. I would like first to thank

the members of my committee, Professors Marianne Schmink, Karen Kainer and Stephen

G. Perz, for their understanding and support in the final stage of this project. I am

particularly indebted to my advisor, Dr. Marianne Schmink, for her guidance and

encouragement in the writing process.

I am also indebted to the staff at the Center for Latin American Studies and the

Tropical Conservation and Development Program-TCD. Special thanks go to Margarita

C. Gandia and Myma Sulsona at the Center, and Wanda Carter and Hannah Covert,

Coordinator, at the TCD for their dedication, promptness and professionalism.

Many institutions provided funding for my master's studies at the Center for Latin

American Studies. Their support is gratefully acknowledged. Fellowships from the

Tropical Conservation and Development Program, and the Nature and Society Training

Program, under the partnership between the Instituto Internacional de Educacgo do

Brasil-IEB, the World Wildlife Fund and State University of New York, allowed me to

conclude the coursework. Field research in the summer of 2002 was funded by the

Charles Wagley Research Fellowship and the Tinker Travel Grant.









Much of what is written in this thesis is the outcome of class discussions and

readings for the courses taught by Dr. Anthony Oliver-Smith: Economic Anthropology,

Rural Peoples of the Modern World, and Seminar in Economic Anthropology. It was the

inspiration of his elegance and clarity of thought in walking us through the intricacies of

rural peoples in modem and post-modem contexts that framed my anthropological

interests. I am thankful for that.

Final thanks go to my mother, Lygia, and my sister and brothers, Vania, Paulo and

Antonio. They contributed encouragement throughout my graduate studies abroad. My

debt to my loving family is hard to express. Perhaps through music, as we have always

communicated between us, I will find the notes to thank them for everything.

I began writing this thesis in the Fall Semester of 2002. Roger was here then, by

my side, writing his dissertation and helping me recuperate my physical and spiritual

health after my fieldwork experience, and the loss of my best friend, and aunt-mother,

Cuca. In the spring of 2003 he had to resume teaching in Brazil. He has been an

indefatigable supporter through correspondence, conversations on the phone, and two

short but much cherished visits ever since. Without his support and physical presence in

the end of my writing process, this thesis would not have been possible. May we have all

the time after this endeavor to enjoy the many pleasures of a life together.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES .................................................... ............ .............. viii

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ...... ...................... ix

CHAPTER

1 IN TR OD U CTION ............................................... .. ......................... ..

T theoretical A affiliation ................................................................. ........................ 4
Entry to the C om m unities .......................................................... ..............8
M y Access to the Communities...................... .... ........................... 8
The Research Setting, Jocoj6 ...................................................11
The Fieldwork Experience: How I Met My Hosts ............................................. 12
The O organization of the C hapters.......................................................... ..................17
A Brief Note on the History of the Emergence of Amazonia's Peasantries .............21

2 MAKING A LIVELIHOOD: CONTEXT AND PRACTICES..............................26

T he M municipality of G urup ............................................................ .....................30
The Tow n .............. .............. ... ......... ........ ... .................... ... .................. 40
Jocoj6 in 2002: The Ways the People in the Community Secured Their
Livelihoods ........................... ...... ... .. ... .... ......... ............ 42
Other Sources of Income: Remittances and Rural Pensions .................................55
P e a san ts? ...................................... .................................................. 5 9

3 TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE COMMUNITY IN
RELATION TO OUTSIDE INTERVENTIONS ................................................. 63

The Form action of Jocoj6................................ ................. ...........................70
1912-1965, Like a Mururd: Economic "Independence" on the Margins .................76
T he H ou sehold ................................ .................................. ..... 79
Labor M obilization and Internal Differentiation ............ ............................... 80
O "Tempo dos Patr6es" (The "Time of the Patrons")................................. 87
1966-1996, Timber Extraction: From Increased Participation in the Regional and
Global M markets to Penury on the M argins.................................. ..................96
O "Tempo da Comunidade" (The "Time of the Community")...........................97









Transformations in Sociality, Domesticity and Morality ...................................99
Merchants of a Different Breed: Transformation of Social and Economic
Relations Within and Between the Community and the "Outer World".......104
Jocoj 6 Revisited ................................................... ........ .............. 107

4 THE SHIFTING MEANINGS OF "MOVEMENT" ............................................112

"0 Grande Movimento": Mobility and Agency on the Margins..............................115
The Catholic Church .................. ............................ ........ ................. 118
The Socioenvironm ental N G O ........................................... ... ..... ................. .... 128
Correlating "Times," "Movements" and Social, Economic and Political
Transform nations in Gurupa........................................................ ............... 144

5 C O N C L U SIO N .......... .................................................................... ......... ... .... 157

"The Time of the Patrons": "Grande M ovimento" ............ ................................... 161
Timber Extraction: Increased Cash Circulation in Gurupa's Economy ..................165
The "Time of the Community": "Movement of the Church"...............................169
The Socioenvironmental NGO: "Movement of the Environment" ..........................173

APPENDIX

A GLOSSARY OF ACRONYM S ........................................ .......................... 177

B GLOSSARY OF PORTUGUESE TERM S.............................................................179

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ......... ...................... ............................................................ 184

BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH .............. ........................ .................... ............... 193
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

2-1 L og P reduction in G urup .......................................................................... ....... 33

4-1 "Tempos," "Movimentos," and Social, Political, and Economic Context
on the Local and R regional Scales ............................................... ............... 146

5-1 "Tempos" and "Movimentos": Transformations in the Social Life of the
Community of Jocoj6 from 1912 to 2002 ............. ............................................ 158















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

LIKE A MURURE: SOCIAL CHANGE IN A TERRA-FIRME COMMUNITY ON THE
AMAZON ESTUARY

By

Neila Soares da Silva

August 2004

Chair: Marianne Schmink
Major Department: Center for Latin American Studies

This thesis portrays the socioeconomic and political circumstances of a community

of Amazonian peasants in relation to social transformations in Amazonia, from the end of

the rubber boom in 1912 to the time of fieldwork, the summer of 2002. They are direct

descendants of escaped slaves. Their history is analyzed by looking at changes in social

relations of production and power relations, in various stages and forms of articulation

between households in the community and the capitalist market system. The study

explores the internal transformations engendered by such historically changing relations-

transformations in communal organization of work for production, and household

livelihood strategies and family relations-beginning in the mid-1960s, with state-led

efforts to massively integrate Amazonia into the national and world economies.

The methodology used in the field research consisted of observation of and

participation in daily social intercourse, primarily within the community. Knowledge of

the past was acquired through life histories, particularly the testimonies of the elderly.









The analysis of these narratives uncovered a social system marked by enduring

hierarchies of economic advantage dividing householders, who entered into reciprocal

relations to provide for themselves and reproduce a peasant mode of life, without

apparent contradiction. It is argued that these relations among unequals, and their

masking in everyday social intercourse, were a response to depeasantization. This

analysis highlights the gradual loss by these peasants of a place in the regional economy-

from their vital role as extractors of forest products after the crash of the rubber boom to

their virtual exclusion from the economy as producers and as consumers at the time of

fieldwork. The leveling of intra-community socioeconomic differences is shown. It is

explained as a decline in significance of control over land and/or labor in the community.

The interactions are analyzed between the community and the two outside

institutions that influenced them in the last quarter of the 20th century. The first was the

progressive branch of Catholic church, which promoted political organizing of peasant

communities on the estuary, beginning in the mid-1970s. The second institution was a

nongovernmental organization (NGO). In the late 1990s, it assisted the slave descendant

community in obtaining official recognition of their ethnic territory, and encouraged their

engagement in the environmental movement. The effects of these interactions on the

ways in which the peasants negotiated their class, ethnic and environmental

consciousness in their mobilizations for support for local (sustainable) development are

discussed. It is argued that their persistence is a function of their capacity to reinvent

themselves as the social, economic, and political worlds they inhabit change, and

suggested that it is their full appreciation of the importance of state policies to reduce

their poverty and vulnerability that points to a possible future of self-determination.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

This thesis tells about social change in a peasant village in the upland tropical

forests on the Amazon estuary. The village is located in the municipality of Gurupa,

where anthropologists Charles Wagley and Eduardo Galvdo conducted field research for

their seminal studies of non-Indian Amazonian peasantries: Amazon Town: A Study of

Man in the Tropics (1964 [1953]), and Santos e Visagens: Um Estudo da Vida Religiosa

de Itd (1955), respectively. What is presented here is ethnography. The thesis consists

basically of description of data collected during fieldwork and analysis of those data. I

attempt to build up intelligibility of a social system in relation to the history of outside

interventions in Amazonia-global market forces, national development policies, and

international concerns with and actions to help halt the processes of Amazon

deforestation that such forces and policies effected. The account begins in the second half

of the nineteenth century; this was the time depth of the memories of the oldest peasants

in the village.

This ethnography has two objectives. The first is to make sense of the conditions in

the rural community in my "ethnographic present," exploring the ways in which the

peoples' lives were affected by state-led efforts to massively integrate Amazonia into the

national and world economies, beginning in the mid-1960s. The second objective is to

illuminate the interactions between the people in the community and the two outside

institutions that influenced them at the time of fieldwork. The first was the Catholic

church, as embodied by a Liberation-Theology oriented priest, who came to serve the

1









parish of Gurupa in the mid-1970s, when the rural communities began to suffer the

negative effects of the direct expansion of the capitalist world system into Amazonia. The

second institution was a non-governmental organization (hereafter NGO) in the

socioenvironmental sector, operative in Gurupa since the mid-1990s. At the time,

responding to constraints introduced by major social transformations in the region, the

households in the community receded to subsistence production.

Since Wagley's ethnographic monograph, two of his students conducted fieldwork

in this Amazon region for their doctoral research projects, Darrel Miller in 1974 (1975)

and Richard Pace in 1983-86 (1998). In addition, a detailed study (Oliveira 1991) of

political economy orientation was carried out among roceiros (small-farmers living in the

terra firme, i.e., dry upland forests dwellers) and varzeiros (inhabitants of the Amazon

vdrzeas, i.e., floodplain dwellers) in Gurupa, Wagley and Galvdo's "Ita." Pace also takes

the political economy approach in his ethnography. Like Oliveira, he focuses on the

effects of capitalist penetration upon communities, but he chooses the town as his unit of

analysis, leaving the communities in the rural areas and the traditional anthropological

concerns-the understanding of "the actual organization and culture of the society in

question" (Ortner 1984:143)-for future investigation. Supplementing Oliveira's and

Pace's comprehensive responses to the question of what was done to those people (the

emphasis being on the "larger system"), this study of social change pays attention to the

ethnographic conditions of a particular locale, and seeks to respond to the questions: what

did they think about it? what did they say about it? what did they do about it? (Roseberry

1989:126).









My account is based on a two-month fieldwork period in the summer of 2002. The

methodology used in the field research consisted of observation of and participation in

daily social intercourse, primarily within the community. Knowledge of the past was

acquired through life histories, particularly the testimonies of the elderly, my "key

informants." 1 In rural communities in Amazonia, other kinds of historical work would

require more extensive investigation of archival documentation in church and local public

registries, access to which, for various reasons, may be difficult. Thus, the biographical

narratives recorded were supplemented with the ethnographic accounts of Wagley,

Galvdo, Miller, Oliveira and Pace. These writings were used as primary sources. Their

careful depiction of the "present" conditions of Gurupa and its peoples-the time they

shared with their anthropological subjects in the field-and, particularly, their concern

with the nature of the ties between the local social groups they studied and the wider

political and economic context in which they were located, justified my use of their

ethnographies as historical documents (see Marcus and Fischer 1999:96).

A two-month stay in the community was hardly the necessary time to build rapport

with the people and start listening to their accounts. Because of these limitations, this

study is necessarily provisional; ultimately, it attempts to contribute to the understanding

of the persistence, or "endurance" (Nugent 1993), of the historical peasantries of

Amazonia through a discussion based on work on one terra-firme (dry upland forest)

community of roceiros, focusing specifically on the ways in which they obtained their

subsistence. As Nugent (1993) wrote, the historical peasantries of Amazonia do not



1 "Key informants are people who know a lot about the rules of a culture, are highly articulate, and are, for
whatever reasons of their own, ready or willing to walk you through their culture and show you the ropes"
(Bernard 2002:187).









represent transformed Indigenous social formations. Their ways of life are a precisely the

products of the history of European colonialism and the consequent decimation of the

indigenous societies that dotted the banks of the Amazon River and its major tributaries

(see also Santos 1984, cited in Harris 2000). In this sense, as Nugent rightly points out,

they are creations of colonial and post-colonial expansion, "somewhat similar to Mintz's

reconstituted Caribbean peasantry, artifacts of the European expansion into the New

World" (Harris 1998:1).2

Theoretical Affiliation

Like Pace's and Oliveira's studies, this thesis shares the problematic concerns of

studies from the version of Marxist anthropology that Ortner (1984) calls "political

economy"-the social transformations in peasant communities effected by the penetration

of larger systems into their lives. According to Ortner, the emphasis on external forces,

and on the ways societies change, approximate the political economy school to the

cultural ecology of the sixties. In the first, the state and the capitalist world system play

the deterministic role the environment plays in the latter. But at the level of theory, she

adds, "political economists differ from their cultural ecology forebears in showing greater

willingness to incorporate cultural or symbolic issues in their inquiries" (1984:141-142). I

hope to offer a more updated representation in the anthropological political economy

tradition. But I take her critique. Despite its ethnographic orientation, this study could

hardly be strong on political-economy analysis and, at the same time, strong on cultural

analysis, that ideal "meshing of political economy and interpretive concerns in




2 See the last section in this chapter. It presents a brief note on social and economic history of Amazonia
and the emergence of the historical peasantries of the region.









anthropology" that Marcus and Fisher talk about in their Anthropology as a Cultural

Critique (1999:77-110). The effort would require long-term fieldwork, at least.

Ortner has other important critiques to political economists-they are too strictly

materialistic and not political enough and, most important, their acknowledgment of the

significance of history to anthropology is offset by a capitalist centered worldview.

Briefly, they don't pay attention to the processes on the ground, or, "to real people doing

real things," to local structure and history, and to the peoples' historical agency

(1984:142). I also hope to have incorporated these critiques in the thesis. The centrality

oral histories have in it is not dictated by the need to validate, or even substitute, my own

(rough) reconstruction in those moments in which it is muted by lack of data. Rather, the

voices of the people in the community appear throughout the study in an effort to

understand their points of view.

This said, in this study, I outline the characteristics of the "present" of a community

of roceiros on the Amazon estuary. Then, trying to make sense of their material

conditions and social realities, I analyze their history as a history of change seen through

changes in social relations of production and power relations, in various stages and forms

of articulation between households in the community and the capitalist market system. I

look more closely at the internal transformations engendered by such historically

changing relations-transformations in communal organization of work for production,

productive systems, and household/family relations.

By social relations of production I mean the relations that people must enter into to

(re) produce the conditions of their material existence. More precisely, I use the term

"relations of production" as defined by Sider (1991)-in the double meaning of "(1) the









social processes through which work is organized to produce goods, and simultaneously,

(2) the processes through which surpluses are formed, transferred out of the control of the

producers, and transformed, by those who have the power, into a wide range of

economic, political, and cultural values" (1991:228).

Ross's article, "The Evolution of the Amazon Peasantry" (1978), serves as an

implicit counterpoint to the discussions presented in this thesis, particularly in Chapter 3,

where I stress the people's historical agency in building an entire social system with very

little to start with. Ross' article tells about the "origin and contemporary [sic] status of

peasants who inhabit the Amazon River Valley in Brazil" (1978:193). As I understand it,

it can be placed at the intersection of cultural ecology studies inspired by Julian

Steward's tradition (the emphasis is on the low density distribution of commercially

desirable Amazonian products and its effects on cultural development; see Orlove

1980:237)and political economy studies in the historically sensitive version of

dependency theory(the emphasis is on the world capitalist system and its effects on

Amazonian social forms). Ross calls for a redirection of attention from dysfunctional

characteristics of the poor, which underlay explanations of poverty and

underdevelopment in the 1960s, to economic and ecological factors, "which reveal much

of the cultural repertoire of peasants and urban and rural poor to be a positive adaptive

response to limits imposed on them by the political economy of capitalism" (1978:193).

He is right in placing the Amazonian peasantry within macrolevel historical, political,

and economic processes, but, as Ortner critiqued, he puts too much emphasis on the

expanding capitalist market system, and too little on the activity of local social groups

within it. Different from Ross, I emphasize the people's historical agency.









Not discounting the influence of structures and systems within which people acted,

I believe it would be inaccurate to characterize the sociopolitical profiles of the peasant

social system I studied-in different periods covered by the people's narratives concerning

their past-as mere adaptation to the imperatives of the natural environment, or

accommodation to the conditions of the external market (see also Harris 2000:16). What

these narratives uncovered, especially in the period immediately after the collapse of the

rubber boom, beginning in 1912, was not a loose social organization of undernourished

and impotent peasants pulled from and thrust back to their isolated houses-hardly

communities at all! (Ross 1978:216)-providing cheap labor to the regional extractive

economy, according to the ebbs and flows of the international market. Rather, what they

revealed was a social system marked by clear hierarchies of economic advantage dividing

householders, who entered into reciprocal relations, if among unequals, to provide for

themselves and reproduce a mode of life.

As I analyze this social system, I engage in dialogue with recent ethnography of the

historical peasantries in Amazonia (Lima 1992, 1997; Chibnik 1994; Harris 2000), and

explore the tension between a Chayanov-inspired interpretation of intra-communal

differentiation, and a view of socioeconomic differences among peasants, informed by

Leninist theory. A. V. Chayanov (1966) and V. I. Lenin (1974) were protagonists of a

major ideological confrontation in late nineteenth century Russia, regarding the role of

peasantries in the transition to capital. Lenin treated rural differentiation in terms of class

antagonisms, and viewed as inevitable the polarization of the peasantry between a

peasant bourgeoisie and a proletariat, predicting the disappearance of the peasantry under

capitalism. Chayanov, on the other hand, interpreted rural differentiation in terms of









demographic cycles-peasant households would differentiate according to their labor

composition, that is, the ratios between producers and consumers within the household

along its developmental cycle (Chayanov 1966:xxi). Lima, Chibnik and Harris are clearly

on the Chayanovian pole of this debate. My material, though it also clings to this pole,

suggests a slightly different interpretation. I identified a crystallization of socioeconomic

differences in the community, one that transcended the limits imposed by the

developmental cycle of the households, but that didn't necessarily imply a split between

the well to do and worse off peasants along class lines. On the contrary, it would not be

wrong to assume that these differences in economic position provided a solid basis for the

reproduction of the social system qua peasant system (see also Almeida 1988).

Entry to the Communities

My Access to the Communities

I had no prior relations with the people in Jocoj6, the community where I did most

of my fieldwork. It was located in the upland forests in rural Gurupa. My access

(physical) to them was facilitated by the Federation of Organization for Social and

Educational Assistance (FASE, hereafter), an NGO specializing in human rights and

environmental protection that works closely with peasant groups and grassroots political

movements in Brazil. The NGO had initiated activities in Gurupa in the mid-1990s. It had

been working in partnership with the local chapter of the Rural Workers' Union

(Sindicato de Trabalhadores Rurais/STR) ever since. At the time of fieldwork, the

primary focus of the FASE program in Gurupa's interior was land titling. The second

most important objective of the NGO's interventions in local communities was to

promote sustainable development, which, as defined in the organization's brochures, was

"something that achieves, at the same time, the goals of environmental conservation,









social justice and economic efficiency" (Gurupa 2002). Thus, the NGO developed

projects that tried to reconcile the improvement of rural social groups' living conditions

with biodiversity conservation. To attain these combined goals, FASE had built solid

partnerships with INCRA, the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform,

IBAMA, the Brazilian Institute for Renewable Natural Resources and the Environment,

and ITERPA, the Land Institute of the State of Para, where Gurupa is located.

Jocoj6 is one of the 11 rural black communities in Gurupa that have recently

succeeded in achieving legalization of a 92,011-hectare area. They were the first to obtain

official recognition of their traditional land rights on the Amazon estuary since the legal

opportunity was presented to descendants of escaped slaves in the new 1988 Federal

Constitution. The families in each of these communities collectively own their territorial

subdivisions within the ethnic territory through membership in one global association,

which was legally established to receive the communal land title.

In the late 1980s, unprecedented understory forest fires in Amazonia elicited

growing international concern about tropical deforestation in Brazil. Thus, international

and transnational funding networks of environmental organizations started channeling

financial and technical aid through Brazilian NGO for activities revolving around

sustainable management of aquatic and forest resources by forest-dwelling social groups.

That's how FASE obtained support from ICCO, a major private development

organization of the Protestant churches in the Netherlands, and later the European Union.

In the community of Jocoj6, FASE carried out an inventory of timber resources involving

villagers in order to submit a community-based forest management plan for approval by

IBAMA.









Soon after my first contact with the director of the FASE program of activities in

Gurupi, known as the "Gurupi Project," back in March 2002, he sent me copies of two

detailed reports containing the necessary updated information on the overall project and

its diverse components. The first was a mid-term evaluation report, written by two

independent consultants in the environmental movement in Brazil. The second was an

implementation progress report, written by the technical team at the NGO. Both

documents were dated November 2001. With the help of these readings, which gave me a

more recent view of the situation of the peasant groups in rural Gurupi, I wrote my

research proposal.

My initial interest was in responding to the question of whether and how the social

forms of production of varzeiros and roceiros on the Amazon estuary had been affected

by the (re)incorporation of Amazonia into capitalist structures at international and

national levels, beginning in the mid-1960s, right after the military took power in Brazil

and launched programs for Amazon modernization. The particular estuarial zone where

Gurupi is located had never been the target of any big infrastructure building or large-

scale development project. Yet, it was deeply affected by government policies of

incentives and subsidies to attract capitalist firms to Amazonia from the mid-1960s to the

early 1980s. With the "blessing" of the Brazilian government, international lumbering

firms and, later in the mid-1970s, commercial fishing enterprises caused extensive

destruction of terrestrial and aquatic environments on which peasant groups in this

Amazon region seasonally depend. I intended to investigate the internal socioeconomic

changes engendered by the responses these groups had developed to social, economic,

and environmental transformations in their world. I was specifically interested in looking









at processes of intracommunal economic differentiation as expressed in changes in forms

of appropriation of land and natural resources.

The Research Setting, Jocoj6

Jocoj6 is one of the small tributaries on the south bank of the Amazon, near the

town of Gurupa. It takes two and a half hours navigating a small motorboat upstream

against the flow of the Amazon to reach it. I ached for the sight of its black waters during

every trip in the equatorial sun. Entering the Jocoj6 River was refreshing. Because it was

narrow (rivercourse width <10m), the canopies of the trees on the riverbanks almost

tunneled long stretches of river during the remainder of the trip. The next hour before we

got to the neighborhood was never empty of surprises. The coca-cola waters mirrored the

vegetation cover, sometimes giving us the impression that we could dive into the sky, and

every river bend had a story, a funny anecdote about some fellow villager, which the

passengers were always happy to tell. Much of what I learned about the primeirantes (the

founders of the village) was told in the boats. Without my tape recorder, and sharing the

same seat, it was easier to engage in free conversations with the people.

Just past the mouth of the Jocoj6, there was a small cluster of three houses facing

the river. Built about a meter off the ground, they were joined by a wooden bridge that

came from the backyard of the main house and branched into two smaller paths upstream

of the parental hearth. These were the homes of Miguel Marzagdo and Maria Vit6ria, and

their married son and daughter, respectively. They were the only families living in the

varzea of the river. During the rainy season, the muddy mix of black and Amazon white

waters regained their terrain up to the forest line, where the levee faded into higher

elevations. The boat always stopped at the Marzagdos' for a chat, or to deliver a message









to their close kin in the village. Occasionally, a passenger would buy fish or salted shrimp

from these families.

The vila (small village, or neighborhood) received its name from the river. I never

heard people mentioning the official name of the neighborhood, Our Lady of Nazare. The

Jocoj6 was the central axis of the community's territory, its main spatial reference.

People lived up or downstream, and all relevant natural features were located within a

distance of minutes or a few hours walking from the riverbanks. The spatial arrangement

of Jocoj6 was typical of the majority of Amazon villages. Little had changed since

Charles and Cecilia Wagley visited the community in 1948. As he wrote:

The vila of Jocoj6 contains nineteen houses built along on fairly straight street. It is
a small village with a white chapel and a ramada, a large open structure used for
dancing festivals. An overly large hut without walls is used as a school, and in 1948
it functioned with about the same regularity and efficiency as the one in Ita. Jocoj6
parents were exceedingly anxious that their children take advantage of the school,
for it was the only rural neighborhood which boasted one. (Wagley 1964:30-31)

At the time of fieldwork, the school building was located at one end of the straight street.

A water tower and a shed to protect the water pump shared the scene we viewed from the

boat when it neared the shore.

The Fieldwork Experience: How I Met My Hosts

I arrived in Jocoj 6 on a Saturday morning. The director of the FASE program in

Gurupa had told me that his local staff had already made the arrangements with the

community concerning my stay there. Bruno, an agronomist of FASE's work team, had

driven me there in the NGO's powerful motorboat. The men in the community were

rebuilding the ramada when I first met them. In two weeks, the glorious celebration of St.

John the Baptist would take place in Jocoj6, I learned. "People from almost all the

communities in the nearby islands and igarapes (small streams) will come to the









festival," they said. "A team from Jari3 accepted our invitation to come for a soccer

match with our team," Dito, the coordinator of the community, explained. They were

excited, I could feel, and definitely had no plans for a break. The presentation of my

research project would have to wait. Bruno left the village. The children invited me for a

swim in the Jocojo River. I was feeling uncomfortable, so I took the opportunity to relax.

My conversation with the villagers happened only on the following day. After the

Sunday morning mass, when the whole community congregates, they gathered in the

ramada and I presented my research project. I thought that the people at FASE had

already given them an overview of the project, but, much to my dismay, not only hadn't

they touched on the research objectives and methodology, such as the mapping sessions,

but also they had already carried out themselves much of what I had planned to do during

the fieldwork. "We worked hard with the people of FASE to make the map of our land

for the recognition of our land rights. It was a requirement of ITERPA," they said. "I

walked with Soninha all across this land to show her our boundaries with the neighboring

communities," Lucas said. He seemed to speak in the name of the group. Assisted by the

communities, Soninha, a surveyor, and Bruno had mapped the whole territory claimed by

the slave descendants in Gurupa.

As the conversation evolved, I learned that the people in the community resented

the way FASE had conducted its activities in Jocoj6. This feeling was confirmed when

Lucas said, "if you worked for FASE, we would not allow you to stay here." I froze. Yet,

3 The Jari region is located at the junction of the eastern end of the Lower Amazon River and the western
edge of the Amazon estuary (Little 2001)pp.32. The peasants of the islands and of the upland forests on the
estuary have always moved back and forth between Gurupa and other riverside towns and the extensive
Brazil nut stands in the Jari region. In the late 1960s a wood pulp factory associated with a massive tree
plantation and a kaolin mining operation were established in this region (Little 2001:77-79) starting the
process of industrialization that until the mid-1980s, and after that in a less significant manner, continued to
absorb, on a permanent or seasonal basis, the riverine peoples from the estuary.









from a few expressions I saw when he said that, I suspected that the resentment was not

totally shared, or it was not felt as intensely as he was voicing. Dito, the coordinator, said,

"we are grateful for the support that FASE gave to the quilombola4 communities. It

would have taken years to get our land title without FASE's support for the mapping, and

the alliances with lawyers and other contacts they have in Belem. But, as you will see,

our living conditions haven't changed a bit. You are welcome to stay, if you want," he

told me, "especially because you plan to stay a long time. People visit us, but they don't

stay long enough to see how hard our everyday struggle is to feed our families here."

The relationship between the NGO sector of civil society and rural communities

has always interested me. I had managed a small grants program that funded "productive

conservation"5 projects implemented by local resource user groups in Amazonia and the

Atlantic Forest. In the supervision of the program, I visited a number of initiatives that

were doomed to failure, possibly because of the way the division of labor had been

defined from the start. Such a division, never explicitly formulated, was more or less like

this: the technical staff from NGOs would take responsibility for the planning of projects,

the communities (always taking for granted the existence of a "community of purpose")

would implement them, and a little dialogue (in the context of fora, workshops, seminars,

in which differentials in power between development experts and peasants or indigenous

peoples are often unattended to) would suffice to seal their "ecological partnerships."



4 In Brazil, fugitive slave settlements were given the name quilombo. The descendants of slaves in the
country call themselves quilombolas, based on a long shared history of resistance and a common heritage
dating back to the eighteenth century.

5 The term "productive conservation" is defined by Anthony Hall as "[a process] based on the economic
use of Amazonia's forest resources and waterways by local populations alongside the preservation of
natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations" (Hall 1997:xxiv-xxv).









The words I had heard in our first conversation kept repeating in my mind. In the

recent past, FASE had sent several researchers to Jocoj6. The heads of all families, men

and women, had responded to surveys; veterans (married men with children) andjovens

(mostly unmarried men and women) helped make maps, participated in forest

inventories, and were trained in GPS use. Yet, "we have never received copies of the

reports they wrote, or the project proposals they prepared to get funding, or even of the

"map of trees" (map for extraction made after the forest inventories)." Most important,

the living conditions of the community hadn't improved at all.

Misunderstanding and suspicion is not infrequent in the relations between local

communities and outside institutions, as Almeida (1996:152) wrote. People resent the

wealth of NGOs and government, and this may lead to speculation about possible hidden

interests, such as vested interests in land by foreigners. Thus, I knew it would not be easy

to understand the apparently chronic misunderstandings in the interactions between the

community and FASE, but I was prepared to try, even knowing it would take precious

time until I felt I was really beginning to gain access to the people in the community. At

least they had agreed that I stayed. It was clear, however, that the methodology had to be

reduced in scope. There was no reason to try getting their agreement to carry out another

household socioeconomic survey, for example. Mapping sessions also seemed pointless

to me at that time. Actually, Lucas had already said that they would not participate in any

of the activities they had been involved either during the process of regularization of their

communal lands, or after the land title was awarded to the quilombola communities.

In a sense, the problems I encountered in the field are discussed in Albert's (1997)

short note, "'Ethnographic Situation' and Ethnic Movements." He talks about the









disappearance of the two founding illusions on which classical anthropology was based,

the boundedness of its object and the scientific transparency of its methodology:

participant observation. He discusses the intellectual implications and perspectives

created for the discipline by the transformation of former docile "anthropological

peoples" into political subjects vis-a-vis the nation-states. As indigenous peoples and

their organizations question the purpose and consequences of anthropological research,

anthropologists face two ethical and political obligations that were eluded by classical

ethnography, Albert says. First, they have to be accountable in their work to people who

previously were only the objects of their studies. Second, they have to assume the

responsibility their knowledge entails for these peoples' strategies to resist nation-states'

policies that don't take account of local rights. Rather than constrain anthropology,

however, the new condition created increasing demand for anthropological involvement,

he argues. Permission to conduct research is often obtained through negotiations with

representatives of host communities. Their demands range from studies for legal causes,

such as land and human rights, to production of didactic material for training purposes,

such as brochures for health workers in indigenous communities, for example.

But the people in Jocojo presented no demands to me. They hadn't invited me in

the first place. Yet, they decided to not expel me from the vila in our first meeting. Thus,

I decided that at least part of my work would have to be useful to them. Merely mediating

their relationship with FASE was not my intention at all. As the fieldwork developed,

however, I came to realize that the main cause of their problems with the NGO-the only

possibility of institutional support to the riverine peasants in rural Gurupa, according to

the mid-term evaluation report as well as to my own observation-was the









miscomprehension on the part of FASE technical staff of the community's social

organization and cultural practices. Thus, I dedicated my time to the task of responding to

those basic questions anthropologists have always been concerned with: how did this

sociocultural system work? and how did it come to be as it was at the time of fieldwork?

Put in other words, how did those people manage their lives? how did they make a

living? what held them together? what held them in the world? what were their most

important ties with the outside? From what I experienced in my interactions with the

people in the community and with the FASE work team, my original assessment proved

correct-there was really no incompatibility between research and solidarity with the

community's needs and interests. What I could do to contribute to improve the relations

between the community of Jocoj6 and the NGO was precisely to provide the latter with

an understanding of the social reality, worldviews, and values that together help to guide

these peasant peoples' social interactions.

The Organization of the Chapters

Chapter 2 is divided in two sections. After briefly introducing the process of

Amazon incorporation into the world market, and the specific consequences of this

incorporation to Gurupa and the peasant groups in its rural areas, I present the

municipality-town and countryside, physical and socioeconomic environment. A long

interview with the chief executive of the municipal administration in 2002 serves as my

point of departure.

Conventional wisdom says we must always begin with the present situation before

we can turn to the past in order to make sense of it. Hence, section two presents an

ethnographic account of the community of Jocoj6. The focus is the community's

economy-their productive activities, i.e., the ways in which they drew their sustenance









and survival from their environments, and the nature and state of their articulation with

the larger capitalist system in which the community was embedded. Without engaging in

the conceptualization debate, I conclude section two with a brief discussion about the

"peasant" character of the community. This chapter emphasizes the marginal position of

Gurupa in the Amazon economy, and the situation-specific outcomes unleashed by the

process of capitalist expansion into Amazonia, particularly the levels of household

production and consumption in Jocoj6, and the general lack of economic options

available to subordinate peoples in rural Gurupa.

In Chapter 3, I provide insight into the past. The story is told at the level of the

history of the community. The background against which this story is told is provided by

Nugent's historical account of the emergence of the historical peasantries in Amazonia as

independent petty commodity producers, and the ways in which these peasantries were

maintained politically invisible, and their perspectives cast to the side before, during and

after the state-sponsored efforts to modernize Amazonia and integrate the region in the

world market. The personal memories of the elderly and other men and women who lived

through the events in the last quarter of the twentieth century are the foundation for the

analysis of the ways in which the people in Jocoj6 produced and (re)produced their

livelihoods in relation to outside transformations.

I look at the nature of the transition between two patterns of the community's

economy. The first is characteristic of the period between the collapse of the rubber

industry, beginning in 1912, and the entrance of capitalist firms on the Amazon estuary to

exploit the old-growth forests on its varzeas. Unquestionably an uneven process, the latter

period began in the mid-1960s and was subsequently stimulated by massive fiscal









incentives and tax holidays given by the Brazilian government, from the mid-1970s to the

early 1980s. This economic pattern characterizes the period of the operations of

lumbering firms in Gurupa, when the hitherto diversified livelihood strategies of

households in Jocoj6 for managing economic stress and exploitation were nearly totally

funneled into various approximations of wage labor, as men in the community were

engaged by firms to cut down the forests on their own natural surroundings.

In this discussion about social change in Jocoj6, I seek to understand the

transformations of sociality, morality, and domesticity engendered by changes in the

productive base. In the course of the discussion, I place my ethnographic and

ethnohistorical material in the context of recent ethnographies of the riverine peasantries

in Amazonia (Lima 1992, 1997; Nugent 1993; Chibnik 1994; Harris 2000). A

comparison of my findings about the impacts of capitalist expansion on the organization

of productive relations in the community is thus provided. I look specifically at the

process of internal (socioeconomic) differentiation in Jocoj 6. I contend that the particular

form of penetration of capitalist firms on the estuary-the nature of their activity (timber

extraction), and the ways in which they engaged labor in the community-rather than

launch the polarization of these peasants into a class of petty capitalists and another of

near-landless laborers, as social scientists informed by Leninist theory would predict,

leveled existing economic differences between households and put a check on their

ability to socially reproduce.

Hoping to have explained the material circumstances of the families in Jocoj6 at the

time of fieldwork, I conclude this chapter with an exploration of the reasons) the riverine

peasantries in Amazonia remained politically invisible. Following Nugent (1993; Nugent









1997), but distancing from him at the same time, I suggest that these peasant peoples

were not simply neglected by those in power in the Brazilian government. Rather, the

appearance of neglect seems to mask the fact that they were effectively taken care of,

inasmuch as their social forms of interaction with nature and between themselves were

viewed by policy-makers as impediments or superfluous to the expansion of capitalism in

the region.

Few and rather tenuous relations linked the people in Jocoj6 to the "outer world"

when I met them in the summer of 2002. By all measures, households in the community

were excluded from participation in the market both as producers and as consumers.

Chapter 4 looks into the interactions of the community with the two relevant "linking"

institutions: the Catholic church and FASE, the NGO. I try to assess whether and how

these engagements had helped reduce the disenfranchisement of the people in the

community, and improve their living conditions. I focus on those situations and

circumstances that are not always clear to those who are called upon to act professionally

or on a humanitarian basis in the solution of social problems and environmental

dilemmas.

Then, I analyze the variations in the people's discourse practices as related to their

involvement in the sociopolitical and economic events of local and regional history. I

discuss the process of black identity reconstructionn among slave descendant

communities in Gurupa after the legalization of their ethnic territory. The ways in which

they negotiated their class, ethnic and environmental consciousness in their mobilizations

for support for local (sustainable) development are discussed. I argue that it is the full









appreciation on their part of the importance of state policies to reduce their poverty and

vulnerability that points to a possible future of self-determination.

Chapter 5 presents a summary of the community's social relations and material

conditions in the different historical periods examined in this thesis. I highlight the

gradual loss by the roceiros in Jocoj6 of a place in the regional economy-from their

important role as extractors in the period immediately after the rubber boom to their

virtual exclusion from the economy as producers and as consumers at the time of

fieldwork. But, as Trouillot (1988) wrote in his Peasants and Capital: Domenica in the

World Economy, "the wonder about 'peasants' is their continuing existence" (1988:1). I

conclude this thesis suggesting that it is their capacity to reinvent themselves as the

social, economic, and political worlds they inhabit change that accounts for their

persistence.

A Brief Note on the History of the Emergence of Amazonia's Peasantries

The history of the European conquest and occupation of the Brazilian Amazon is

one of genocide, slavery and ethnocide.6 By the end of the sixteenth century, fueled by

the ideology of exploration and discovery, the Dutch, French, and English had already

established their strongholds in eastern Amazonia, and sealed political relations with

Amerindians with whom they traded. In the seventeenth century, after the Portuguese

secured their supremacy over these European potencies in the lower Amazon, 7 the


6 This historical sketch of the development of the mixed-blood peasantry in the colonial period relies on
many sources, but primarily on Parker (1985) and Harris (2000). It ends with the decline of the rubber
industry in Amazonia around 1912.

7 The town of Gurupa owes its existence to its privileged geographical position-in the lowland landscape of
the Amazon estuary, it rests on a high elevation at the mouth of the Amazon River -a position that allowed
it to become a fortress from which the Portuguese could halt Dutch and English intrusions into the colossal
Amazon.









Portuguese Crown gave the Catholic church the responsibility to bring together Indians

from their villages into mission settlements, and make them Christian slaves or laborers.

With the purpose of provisioning colonists with indigenous labor and knowledge of

rivers, forests, and their products, mission villages were constructed along the riverbanks,

from the estuary to the lower middle Amazon. But this did not occur without tension

between the church and the colonists. The greedy missionaries-mostly Jesuits who had

entered the Amazon in order to protect the indigenous labor force from outright colonist

violence-administered this labor force according to their own interests. Deprived of

labor, the colonists and the military succeeded in obtaining support from the Portuguese

Crown to free this indigenous labor force from the control of the missionaries. By the

mid-eighteenth century, the government of the mission villages was taken from the

Jesuits, who were expelled from Brazil in 1759. If their work was intended to physically

protect native Amazonians from the decimation caused by the excesses of settlers and

colonial authorities, it nonetheless resulted in ethnocide (Kelly 1984; Parker 1985a;

Oliveira 1994).

In 1757 the Crown created the Directorate of Pombal, which was the first coherent

state policy for the settlement and exploitation of the Amazon in Brazil (Schmink and

Wood 1992:40). It was originally conceived to weave the Indians into the social and

economic fabric of the colony, and thereby integrate their labor force. The sociocultural

transition to local civil society would be accomplished through marriage with whites-

which were encouraged to live in Indian settlements-use of Portuguese language and

habits, and wages, or payments in cloth and other imported goods. Thus, lay village

directors were appointed to administer Indian labor (Parker 1985a:23-35).









Political stability and intensified regional economy were also important goals of the

new policy. Large-scale plantation agriculture would substitute for the extractive system

of the traditional Amazonian economy. Expeditions to bring Indians into the now mixed-

raced towns continued under the supervision of village directors. Those who were

captured and survived European diseases and ill treatment resisted working as slaves in

plantations. As a result, African slaves were brought into Amazonia for production of

plantation crops, but only the elite with large land holdings and capital could afford

slaves, and even the elite in the region could only afford small groups of slaves (Funes

1996). Thus, extractive activities continued dominating the economy of the area. At the

end of the eighteenth century, when the Directorate was abolished, there had been little

success either in creating an integrated labor force, or in building an export economy

based on sugar cane, cocoa, rice, tobacco, or cotton (Harris 2000:37). Those Indians and

blacks that did abandon the settlements of the whites, moved out along rivers and streams

with the hope of fishing, hunting, cultivating, and gathering only for themselves. These

survivors of the colonial havoc, and the mixed-blood population that continued scattered

along the banks of the Amazon and its major tributaries formed the 'free' riverine

Amazonian peasantry, known in the anthropology of the region as "caboclos" (Parker

1985a; Oliveira 1994; Harris 2000).

The historical period between the abolition of the Directorate and the beginning of

the 1840s is known in the historiography of Amazonia as "the phase of decadence."

According to Santos (1980), economic activity declined due to a combination of factors,

including a weakened Portuguese Empire, a decreased international demand for

Amazonian commodities, and a series of factors internal to the region. One crucial









political factor was the civil war in Amazonia, known as the Cabanagem Revolt.

Historians interpret this uprising as either a result of tensions between factions of the elite

in the region (e.g. Santos 1980), or a rebellion of the oppressed rural population8 (cf.

Harris 2000:39). The revolt began in the early 1830s with an alliance between pro-

independence elites-Brazil had proclaimed independence in 1822-black slaves, mixed-

bloods, Indians and urban workers. It was crushed in 1836, and had major consequences

in the formation of the peasantries in Amazonia. First, it devastated the region's labor

force, thus, increasing labor scarcity. Second, it left a vacuum of economic and political

power in the region (Schmink and Wood 1992:42); the plantation and ranch owners lost

control of their work force. Third, it effectively freed the rural population that survived to

organize themselves economically and socially without external control. This encouraged

further dispersal of the newly emerged peasantries to riverine lands, particularly

floodable forests, surrounding towns (Harris 2000:39).

Thus, the Directorate's failure to promote agriculture and integrate an Amerindian

labor force in Amazonia and the economic decline of the years that followed its end

account for the emergence and flourishing of the riverine peasantries. Besides, the

collapse of the Directorate explains the appearance and consolidation of two important

institutions in the Amazonian socioeconomic landscape: the trading posts and the




8 Following Santos (1980) and Ross (1978), Pace (1998) argues that the economic depression impacted the
production of cacao, the leading export crop of the time; hence, the peasantries, now freed from the
Directorate and, most important, in the process of consolidation as independent petty commodity
producers, "found themselves barely subsisting" (1998:68), relying on agriculture and extraction of less
valued products, and depending on credit advanced by traders. Their involvement in the Cabanagem
Revolt, he maintains, was a consequence of the frustration with their material circumstances. According to
Nugent (1993) and Harris (2000), this interpretation, and representation of the historical peasantries of
Amazonia fails to notice the impressive sense of opportunity and flexibility of the peasantries in the region
to (re)organize themselves according to the vagaries of external markets.









institution of aviamento trade relations. 9 During the Directorate, settlers who were unable

to buy slaves and/or secure Amerindian labor became "comissarios volantes"-traders

who operated outside the legal channels (Parker 1985a:31; 1989:255). Both trading posts

owners and aviadores acted as "ties" between dispersed extractors of tropical forest

products and export houses that eventually delivered these products to external markets.

In the period of economic decline following the breakdown of the Directorate, many

settlers established in riverside villages, and continued to provide this link between local,

regional and export markets. As Parker (1989) wrote, "the village qua trading post served

as a key reference point for emergent caboclo society in terms of trade, communication

and information exchange, and social intercourse." While traders succeeded in

controlling the exchange value of the commodities, and maintaining the mixed-blood, or

riverine peasants in debt through the aviamento system, these peasants, on the other hand,

bore the unfortunate distinction of being "kept at arms length from the social sources of

power"(Shanin 1971:15).

















9 The aviamento system was the political-economic idiom through which patron-client relations were
articulated in Amazonia. The trader-patron would keep the clients in debt by advancing credit and imported
goods, mostly foodstuff, but also tools and other industrialized items, in exchange for guaranteed delivery
of particular products, principally rubber (Lima 1992; Nugent 1993).














CHAPTER 2
MAKING A LIVELIHOOD: CONTEXT AND PRACTICES

In the mid-1960s, when the military came to power in Brazil, it embarked on an

ambitious project to massively incorporate Amazonia into the national and international

economies. The region was seen as a vast empty space where the country should

consolidate its presence and implement major infrastructural work to allow for the

exploitation of its wealth of natural resources, namely land and mineral resources. Under

the National Integration Program, building a network of roads connecting Amazonia with

the coastal areas of Brazil was initiated in the early 1970s, the most important being the

Transamazon Highway, with construction directly related to public policies designed to

alleviate the effects of the drought that periodically afflicts the Northeast. By the end of

the decade, peasants who had become marginal to the sugarcane plantations of the

Northeast of Brazil migrated to Amazonia to settle alongside the highways under the

colonization program of PIN (Velho, 1974), but these colonization efforts were short-

lived. Rather than concentrate on populating the region and fostering local development,

by the late 1970s, the plans of authorities in control of the Brazilian economy changed-

attracting private investment to promote accumulation in the country's industrial sector

became the new leitmotiv. Thus, the military's development policies for Amazonia

provided subsidized credit and fiscal incentives for large-scale agricultural projects,

timber and mining companies, and facilitated accumulation of public lands by important

business groups from the Center-South of the country (Cardoso and Miller 1977;

Almeida 1990:228; Schmink and Wood 1992).


26









Just as the former federal and state government programs had been geared to the

material interests and ideological horizons of commercial elites and urban sectors,1 public

policies during the military rule were predominantly antipopular in nature. The

indigenous peoples and non-Indian peasantries who have lived for centuries in Amazonia

were largely excluded from government policies, only considered, or benefiting, in the

short-term through the expansion of programs such as the Rubber Campaign during

World War II, or during the aborted colonization program in the 1970s (Santos 1980;

Schmink and Wood 1992).

Despite sheltering the major highway through which Amazonian commodities were

drained to European and North American shores, the Amazon valley remained largely

unaffected by national schemes for modernization of Amazonia, particularly the road-

building program. The towns along the Amazon banks, which had begun the twentieth

century as important trading centers and stopping places in the busy river network, were

hardly ever considered as sites for large-scale economic development projects (Santos

1980; Bunker 1985). Yet, on the Amazon estuary, a number of small towns and riverine

peasant communities in their environs were deeply affected by government policies of

incentives and subsidies to attract international firms. They became important sources of

cheap labor and raw material for international lumbering firms.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, but more intensively in the mid-1970s, three large

corporations initiated operations on the Amazon estuary. After depleting its floodable

forests of all known commercially valuable species at the time, they advanced to other



1 The programs were aimed at financing the traditional development schemes of the elites, and consisted
mostly of initiatives to promote rubber and Brazil nut collection, and exports of other Amazonian
commodities for the international market.









areas upstream the Amazon, where rich stands of hardwoods were still available, leaving

a largely impoverished extractive resource base for the locals, and the small-scale

sawmills that sprung up in the area with the timber boom (Oliveira 1991). By the mid-

1980s, as timber extraction began to wane throughout the lower Amazon, the economies

of the towns and riverine communities significantly declined (Pace 1992). Thus, just as it

had happened in the periods in which economic activity receded after the "booms" in the

world market of diverse fruits of the forests and rivers in the region, such as the boom of

raw rubber extraction from the mid-1980s to the early 1900s, riverside towns in the

region once again became neglected in terms of the development concerns of the

government or the capitalist class.

As Oliveira Filho noted (1979), the interpretations of the traditional historiography

of Amazonia used the analytical model of the "cycle," that is, paid attention to "the boom

and bust" of export commodities, and omitted other phenomena occurring in diverse

Amazon areas before, during, and after each cycle, particularly the last and most

important cycle of raw rubber extraction. Arguably influenced by this historiography,

most of Amazonian anthropology between the 1950s and 1990s has represented the

Amazonian as stagnant, and the livelihoods and sociality of the social groups historically

established in the region, as subject to the imperatives of nature (Wagley 1964; Moran

1974; Ross 1978; Parker 1985a; Parker 1985).

Recent studies on the heterogeneous historical peasantries in Amazonia, however,

have offered much more lively narratives, which finally do justice to the historical agency

of (small) peoples'. Taking into account the larger system, but paying close attention to

the processes on the ground, Nugent (1993) and Harris (2000), argue that, in spite of, or









as a consequence of 'stagnation', riverine societies emerged and consolidated, and their

economies grew, expanding their "repertoire of forms, shifting from monocultural export

extractivism to broad-based production which included a variety of food and non-food

crops as well as various forms of petty extractivism" (Nugent 1993:182). With the

lessening of international attention, small towns along the Amazon had to reform

themselves along more autonomous2 lines. As Harris (2000) wrote, "the stagnation

alleged to have characterized the region in the twentieth century must be juxtaposed to

the simultaneous strengthening of local social relations and a resilient peasant economy"

(2000:54).

In this chapter I present an ethnographic account of the economy of Jocoj6. It is

divided into two sections. The first presents a general account of the socioeconomic

characteristics of the municipality of Gurupa, in which the community under study is

located. Section two examines the economic practices of the villagers. These two sections

are based on my fieldwork in the summer of 2002. This chapter is mostly descriptive.

With the brief description of the historical origins and trajectory of the riverine peasantry

in Amazonia provided in Chapter 1, it is meant to introduce Chapter 3, in which, based

on the memories of the elderly in the community, I discuss the particular historical

trajectory of Jocoj6, from its beginning to the time of fieldwork. The aim is to explore the

nature of the transition between two economic patterns. The first begins with the decline

of rubber extraction and ends with the penetration of capitalist firms in the estuarine

region under state-led modernization programs (from thel91Os to the mid-1960s); the


2 Nugent (1993) argues that the limited autonomy of Santarenho social formation that he studied is not a
result of a local development initiative, but an adaptation to neglect by the "modernizing apparatus which is
by and large unconcerned with Amazonian societies except in so far as their existence has implications for
the extraction of raw materials" (Nugent 1993:94).









second pattern begins with the intensification of lumbering firms' activities on the estuary

and ends with their withdrawal to other areas in the lower Amazon where stands of

precious woods were still available (from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s).

The Municipality of Gurupa

The municipality of Gurupi lies wholly within the Amazon Estuary and can be

divided into two major ecological zones, the virzea, which occupies approximately 75%

of the 8,578 square kilometer territorial unit, and the terra firme. Gurupi includes many

islands of the estuarine archipelago that separate the Amazon into a complex network of

channels, including the Great Island of Gurupi, whose western end is at the junction of

the estuary and the Lower Amazon River (see Fig 2-1). Irregular in shape, Gurupi is

bordered by the State of Amapa and the Amazon River on the north, the municipalities of

Melgaco and Porto de Moz on the south, the municipalities of Afui, Breves and Melgago

on the east, and the State of Amapa and the municipalities of Porto de Moz and Almeirin

on the west, near the mouth of Xingu River, an important clearwater tributary to the

Amazon River. The low-lying area has an average elevation of only 20 m (65,62 ft)

above the sea level.

The municipal seat is also named Gurupi3. According to the Demographic Census

of 2000 (IBGE), the small town was home to 6,593 people; the remaining 16,505 of the

23,098 total municipal population live in the communities that dot the high levees on the

varzeas of islands and the shores of the Amazon River. A significantly smaller population

lived in communities that string along the banks of the small southern tributaries that

empty into the Amazon River. Small diesel-powered motorboats (from 5 to 10 meters


3 Location of the town: Lat. 1 24'15"S and Long. 510 38'18"W.
























































Figure 2-1. Location of Area of Study










long and equipped with up to 10 horsepower engines) were the main means of

transportation for the peoples in Gurupa's countryside. Only canoes, however, linked

many families to the town.

One of the poorest municipalities of the State of Para, Gurupa's IHD-M (Municipal

Index of Human Development) in 1991 was 0.3964, while the average IDH in the state

was 0.491, and 0.742 in Brazil. In 1980, when 40% of the municipalities in Amazonia

presented an IHD-M between 0.40 and 0.60, Gurupa's index was 0.456. The decline from

0.456 to 0.396 in the intercensal interval 1980-1991 reflects the depletion of marketable

wood species in the varzeas and consequent migration of lumbering firms' operations to

other municipalities where these species were still available.5 In the summer of 2002, the

economy in this forgotten Amazon area was based on other extractive activities,

including fishing and shrimping. Aqai fruit (Euterpe oleraceae), dourada catfish and

fresh-water shrimp (camardo) were the main products securing a scanty circulation of

money in Gurupa, largely in the town. Lumbering activities really fueled the local

economy from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s; the climax was in 1983 (Oliveira

1991:108, citing IBGE census data) (see Table 2-1). In informal conversations with





4 "The Index of Human Development was created in the 1990s by the UNDP-United Nations Program for
Development. It combines three basic development components: longevity, education and income.
Longevity is measured by life expectancy at birth. Education combines adult literacy rates and school
enrollment rates for elementary school, middle and high school, and college. Finally, income is measured
by the population's purchasing power, based on the GDP-Gross Domestic Product per capital adjusted to
local costs of living in order to permit comparison across countries by the use of the methodology known as
'parity of purchasing power'. The methodology used to calculate the HDI involves the transformation of
these three dimensions into indexes of longevity, education and income, varying between 0 (worse) and 1
(better) as well as the combination of these three indexes into a synthesis index" (Sawyer and Monteiro
2001:309, my translation).

5 In his article "Social Conflict and Political Activism in the Brazilian Amazon: a case study of Gurupi"
(1992), Pace wrote: "The community is poor: it suffers from underemployment, periodic food shortages,
high malnutrition rates, a lack of good medical facilities, and a high infant mortality rate." (1992:711).









several urban residents, lingering memories of this timber boom were frequently

expressed.

Table 2-1: Log Production in Gurupa
Year Total log production (m3)
1975 235,000
1980 450,300
1983 670,100
1990 415,200
1995 265,500
2000 205,480
2001 198,650
Source: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE) Agricultural Census
1975; Vegetal Extractive Production 1980 2001.

The people blamed the federal and state governments for Gurupa's abandonment.

Lack of investments in the area and a corrupt political system-often translated into pork

barrel politics by the state legislature-added to poor geographic location,6 were pointed

out by urban and rural residents as the main causes of widespread poverty in this

municipality. According to the mayor Gurupa's monthly budget ranged from R$

450,000 to R$ 500,0008 (about $175,000). As shown on the 2000 database on Brazilian

municipalities (IBGE 2001), federal funds in the amount of R$ 2,116,914.17 (about

$740,919.96) per year, or R$ 176,409.51 (about $61,743.33 ) per month, were transferred

to Gurupa through the Municipal Participation Fund (Fundo de Participacgo dos




6 About 500 kilometers of Amazon River waters separate Gurupa from the most urbanized areas of the
State of Para, including Bel6m, the capital of the state. The towns in the Amazon River floodplains have no
permanent roads other than the waterway to access markets in these urban centers. In addition, because the
high costs of transportation influence location of industries and sawmills, firms choose towns or
municipalities that are closer to the urban centers and main ports in the state, to the detriment of Gurupi.

7Raimundo Monteiro dos Santos; Interview on July 15, 2002.

8 Analyzing public spending at the municipal level in Amazonia, Sawyer and Monteiro (2001:316-317)
indicated that between 1991 and 1995 the majority of the municipalities in the region had a total monthly
revenue between R$ 500,000 and R$1 million.









Municipios-FPM).9 The remaining amount of Gurupi's revenue consisted mostly of

monthly transfers from the Ministry of Education for payment of schoolteachers and local

acquisition of food items for meals provided to students in the first four grades at

municipal schools, equivalent to the elementary school in the US.

There were 197 primary schools and one official middle school in Gurupa. In 2000,

there were 7,873 students attending primary school and 196 attending the town's middle

school (IBGE 2001). Because primary schools were located in or near isolated local

communities in the interior, the government had difficulties in staffing them with

qualified teachers, frequently not community members. Distance is a major problem in

Gurupa. In the virzeas, individual households or small clusters of households were

scattered along the countless streams that feed into the Amazon delta. As a result,

although the average number of children and adolescents enrolled in each school in the

rural areas was 20, there were localities where schools had less than ten students

attending class.

But education was a high priority for the local municipal government, then

controlled by the Workers' Party (PT), which won the municipal elections for the 2001-

2004 term. Assisted by a specialist in literacy programs from Belem, the Secretary for

Education,10 who had completed only four years of school, organized a series of capacity

building courses for schoolteachers to use the methodology proposed by Paulo Freire, a


9 Article 159 of the 1988 Brazilian Federal Constitution established the FPM as a means to mitigate
regional inequalities and promote socioeconomic equilibrium between states and municipalities. In addition
to the FPM, the National Treasury Secretariat redistributes a considerable part of the federal tax revenues to
the 26 states and 5,500 municipalities in the country through the Maintenance and Development of
Elementary Education Fund (FUNDEF-Fundo de ManuteniAo e Desenvolvimento do Ensino
Fundamental) and the Rural Land Tax (ITR-Imposto Territorial Rural).

10 Ant6nio Santana Alves Filho; Interview on June 24, 2002.









Brazilian educator,1 to teach reading and writing to students in the municipality. Despite

the fact that there were almost no other permanent jobs than the jobs with the municipal

government 2-a situation also noticed by Miller (1976:303) and Pace (1998:27)-both

rural and urban residents seemed to perceive education as a means of social mobility,

since better education is likely to improve chances in the job market. Like other leaders

of the Workers' Party in Gurupa, however, the Secretary for Education also emphasized

the political, and not only the economic significance of education-he viewed it as a

consciousness-raising instrument and a way to promote grassroots political organization

and mobilization.

On an experimental basis, in 2001 PT's administration initiated middle schools in

focal places in the varzeas. Because students in the last three grades of middle school

already contribute to family labor in gardening, harvesting and fishing activities, the

schools operated only three days a week. Every Sunday afternoon 70 small riverboats

leased by the administration transported adolescents and young adults from their

localities to schools, and returned them to their families every Wednesday afternoons.

The experiment had been working successfully at the time of fieldwork, and school

dropout was expected to decrease in the municipality.

One of the most valued initiatives of the local administration among rural residents

whom I interviewed seemed to be the launching of the program "Casa Familiar Rural"


1 Paulo Freire critiqued official education systems as means to reproduce unjust social systems. His
proposals to redirect education consisted of incorporating culture-which he conceives as the practices,
wants and knowledge of individuals and social groups-and the particular sociopolitical contexts in which
such individuals and groups are inserted, to educate them and elicit more critical views of their local
realities.
12 Of the 23,098 inhabitants in the municipality, in July 2002, about one thousand worked for the
municipal government.









(CFR) in Gurupa. Also a boarding school, it provided formal education and training in

agroforestry to students selected from diverse communities in the virzea and the terra

fire. In July 2002, there were 52 female and male adults attending the Casa Familiar

Rural. Every two weeks CFR's boat docked at the town's trapiche (wharf) and took them

downstream the Amazon towards a bay of the Great Island of Gurupi, where the school

was located. The knowledge gained at school was intended to be applied in their families'

plots during the period they stayed in their villages. There was high expectation among

PT leaders and representatives of the rural workers union that at least 50% of the students

participating in the program would have the anticipated multiplication effect in their

localities, and hence produce change towards new and more sustainable agroforestry

practices, which would not only supply the rural families with the staples of their diet, but

also provide them with more permanent sources of income.

Another initiative of the municipal government that was strongly supported by

urban and rural residents was the renovation of the sole hospital in Gurupa. Not only had

the administration made available to the public diagnostic examinations using X-ray and

ultrasound, formerly accessible only in far-away Belem, but also it took the equipment on

boat trips to communities throughout the river archipelago and igarapes. In the boat, a

physician, at least two nurses and occasionally a dentist-there were no dentists at the

hospital on a permanent basis-provided medical and dental care to the rural population,

including Pap tests for uterine cancer prevention.

Despite this improvement in the municipality's health care delivery system, much

was yet to be done. Although the local administration hired two qualified doctors who

were in tune with its objective to focus primarily on prevention rather than on treatment,









there was only one doctor for every ten thousand inhabitants, while the number

recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is ten. Also, although the

hospital was considered a reference to the population on the estuary, including those

living in nearby municipalities in the same microregion13 (see also Pace 1998:29), there

were only twenty hospital beds for 23,098 inhabitants in Gurupa, or less than one bed per

thousand inhabitants, whereas the WHO recommends four.

The health conditions of the rural population have probably improved, if the mayor

succeeded in implementing a program already designed but whose implementation had

not yet begun at the date of my departure from Gurupa in August 2002. The program

would promote partnerships between the municipal administration and households in the

rural areas. The local government would finance construction of wooden cesspools for

household sewage. As a counterpart to this financial aid, the households would provide

labor and raw material, if appropriate hardwood species were available in the areas they

lived. This was intended to reduce the high number of cases of parasitic infestation

among the population,14 as I noted then, including the need for hospitalization because of

intestinal infections and severe anemia.









13 Gurupa forms part of the Portel Microregion, which also includes the municipalities of Bagre, Melgaco
and Portel. The Portel Microregion, in turn, is included in the Maraj6 Mesoregion, which is divided into the
Microregion of Arari, consisting of the municipalities of Cachoeira do Arari, Chaves, Muana, Ponta de
Pedras, Salvaterra, Santa Cruz do Arari and Soure, and the Microregion of Furo de Breves, comprising the
municipalities of Afua, Anajas, Breves, Curralinho, and SAo Sebastiio da Boa Vista.

14 According to one of the local physicians, 100% of the tests in the hospital's laboratory present positive
results for diverse parasites.









The mayor commented about the hospital's vaccination campaign in the interior.

The 2002 campaign reached the 103 communities in Gurupa's interior,15 and a total of

6,000 children took vaccines against childhood diseases. The problems noted by Pace

(1998:38), such as shortage of vaccines and difficulties in keeping the supply of ice to

preserve them, had been successfully countered by a dedicated team of nurses and

paramedics involved in the campaigns, he said. However, finding interior residents

remained an issue, despite the fact that campaigns were announced well in advance at the

town's hospital and through the local radio station. Because of lack of education, there

were parents who would still hide their children for fear that they would present severe

reactions to vaccines. In Jocoj6, where I did my fieldwork, two families left their houses

on the day the vaccination team visited the village.

But the municipal government confronted situations that were more difficult to

address. Its resolve to emphasize illness prevention rather than treatment faced the

opposition of representatives in the state legislature, who, according to the mayor, were

not interested in supporting initiatives whose positive impacts were felt by voters only in

the long-term (a time period greater than the regular inter-election period of four years).

He said he had recently lost a "battle" in Belem to get state funds to complete the sewer

system in the town. Despite his efforts, the politicians had chosen to support a project to

build a new and highly visible riverfront park in Gurupa, rather than the underground

sewer system. As a result, a significant portion of household waste would continue to find

its way to the Amazon River.


15 The municipal government uses the Catholic Church's count of communities in Gurupi's countryside. In
the jurisdiction of the Xingi Prelacy there are 68 communities, and the total number of communities
assisted by the Santana Prelacy in the neighboring State of Amapi is 35.









Little could be done with the revenue from "own collections" in Gurupa. According

to the mayor, the amount received per month from tax money averaged between R$ 42 to

R$ 52,000 or approximately 10 per cent of the municipality's monthly budget.16 In our

interview, the mayor also complained about the "collective mentality" (sic) of Brazilians,

who "don't like to pay taxes," only to add that his administration had decided to not levy

the water tax in urban Gurupi until the water system covered 100 per cent of the town.17

Against all odds, however, he said, he had finally succeeded in obtaining state funds to

complete the infrastructure required to make running water available to the totality of

Gurupi's urban residents by mid-2003.

Retail sales were also rarely taxed, except in transactions with the local municipal

government and FASE, the NGO that was active in the municipality. Although the largest

supermarkets had two cash registers each, the bulk of their money came from sales to

urban and rural residents whose debts were paid on a monthly basis, on the day of the

payment of the social benefits to women and men who were, or still are, agricultural

workers and who aged 55 and 65 or above, respectively. The day I arrived in Gurupi was

payday.






16 Imposto sobre circula~io de mercadorias e services (ICMS). This contrasts with the situation noted by
Miller (1976:314). In 1974, during the timber boom, he wrote that the tax revenue on all items extracted
from the municipality (the ICM, now ICMS because services provided within municipalities are also taxed)
accounted for 33 per cent of the municipal revenue. On the other hand, Guruph's "own collections" in 2002
fell within the average stated by Sawyer and Monteiro (2001)-according to their study (2001: 317), 70% of
the Amazonian municipalities' collections total between one thousand and one hundred thousand Brazilian
Reais, or $350.00 and 35,000.00 American Dollars.

1 In 2000, only 1,123 (about 30%) out of 3,801 permanent private households in urban Gurupa had
running water (IBGE 2001). According to the mayor, in July 2002 running water was available to about
60% of the permanent private households in the town.









The Town

The town of Gurupa is located halfway between Belem, the capital of the State of

Para, and Santarem, the second largest urban center in the state, situated at the mouth of

Tapaj6s River, a major southern tributary to the Amazon River. My trip from Belem to

Gurupa in early June lasted about 28 hours. I took the "Rodrigues Alves," the largest and

safest commercial boat that transported people up and down the lower course of the

Amazon River and the estuary. It used to leave the capital every Wednesday around 6:00

p.m. and arrived in Gurupa between 8:00 p.m. and sometime before dawn on Friday.

Every Sunday around noon, the Rodrigues Alves approached the newly rebuilt trapiche

of the town on its way back to Belem.

I knew frontier cities and small towns in Amazonia, but Gurupa was the first town

in a long since settled Amazonian area where I had stayed for more than a few hours

between boat trips. Before 7 in the morning, I was already strolling on the town's streets.

I took the First Street, as Wagley referred to it. It branched from the street that originated

from the municipal wharf and faced the Amazon all the way downriver up to the highest

point of the only elevation in the flat estuarial landscape. The most important buildings of

the town were located on the first street, including the Catholic Church and the four-

century-old fortress built by the Portuguese Crown on the top of the hill. The Post Office

was the first building on this sloping-up street. That's where social benefits were paid to

the population, because there were no banks in Gurmpa-they had left with the timber bust.

In front of the Post Office, a two hundred-meter-long line of aged people holding their

little umbrellas, still shut, patiently waited for their payments to arrive in the town. The

manager of this alternative bank allowed doors to open only when the money arrived.

This happened between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., when the line was already spaced to give









room to umbrellas, now opened. Many of the elderly left their grandchildren to hold their

place in the line and competed for the few benches in the shade under the trees in the

adjoining municipal square.

Along the line, on both sides, a younger crowd, mostly of women and children,

tried to sell all sorts of cheap stuff to the elders-plastic containers, cheap aluminum pans,

soda pop, homemade snacks and other odd items. All were struggling to meet ends meet.

Many in this secondary crowd were hired by storeowners hungry for cash, including the

owner of the biggest supermarket in Gurupa. A group of four policemen pretended to

observe the activity on the street. Later I found out from a woman in Jocoj6 that one of

them was a "real darling" for she had never had to pay him the "customary" R$ 5 fee for

him to cut in line and get her payment. One last curious crowd shared the scene-true

vultures were keeping company to their armed peers in uniforms.

Except for the payday spasms, life in the town was mostly slow. Structural

unemployment and underemployment accounted for the small groups of men and women

chattering, who would sit on the doorsteps of their houses or shops. At noon, the

temperature would go up to 110 degrees. All stores would close, and so would the public

buildings. Those who could avoid frying in the early afternoon sun would visit relatives

in the town or seek refuge in their small riverboats anchored in the bay along the

municipal trapiche. At 5:00 p.m., when virtually all residents in riverside communities

had already done their business in town, the bay would be bare again. For the few lucky

residents who had jobs with the local administration, that's when the workday would end.

By this time, the townspeople would regain the first street or hang around the old

riverfront park until the sunset. Adolescents would crowd in the doorway of the middle









school. Evening school sessions would begin at 5:30. Around 7:00, families would have

already retreated to their homes. At this time, open-TV channels would start broadcasting

soap operas. If there was no party in the town, the deserted streets would echo with the

melodramas of remote middle classes broadcast from the industrialized Southeast.

From small riverboats on the river, "the sight of the town [was] a welcome break in

the monotonous forest lined banks of the Amazon. It [stood] out neat and colorful against

the dark green vegetation," Wagley wrote (1964: 22). I took the boat trip to the

community of Jocoj6 many times. As the boat left the bay in Gurmpa and reached the

southern Amazon channel immediately in front of the town,18 we would note a modest

growth of the urban fabric, another mark of the timber boom. But after a while, the

monotony of the dark green horizon resumed, leaving behind a thinning line of faded

wooden houses. If the river level was high, small riverboats navigated near the mudflats

beside the forest. The proximity of the aningais (arum patches, Montrichardia

arborescens) that colonized flooded areas and mudflats would always make me feel a

little safer, for these small boats were hardly well maintained, and the 2.5 kilometer-wide

body of water was intimidating. Behind the aninga stands, a uniform row of tall buriti

(Mauritiaflexuosa) palms dominated the view.

Jocoj6 in 2002: The Ways the People in the Community Secured Their Livelihoods

The community19 of Jocoj6 comprised three house clusters and a vila. The first

cluster was built on an inlet of Igarape Jijui, a small branch of Rio Jocoj6 that empties


18 The Great Island of Gurupa divides the river just before the town; the waters of the north channel flow
northeast to the Port of Santana and the city of Macapi, the capital of the northern State of Amapi.

19 I use the term "community" here to refer to both the people and their locality. However, the term has a
particular genesis in the Amazon scene-the Catholic Church introduced it in the seventies, the darkest
decade of the military dictatorship in Brazil. In Chapter 4, the role of the Catholic Church in the political
changes in rural Brazil and in Guruph, in particular, will be further discussed. What I want to retain here is










into the Amazon some twenty minutes before the riverboat reaches the mouth of the

Jocoj6. The largest house cluster was located at this point. Moving upwards, about one

hour past this cluster, we reached the non-floodable upland where the vila was located.

To continue towards the sources of the Jocoj6, we needed to paddle. Only canoes would

take us to the clearing in the forest of terra firme where two widows and their families

shared the acres on which their in-laws once grew large manioc (Manihot esculenta)

gardens with which they made their livelihoods.

Of the 29 families (157 people) residents of the community in June 2002, 22 lived

in 18 houses facing the straight dirt street across the vila. Almost all houses were built

above the ground on stilts to avoid animals, insects and dirt from entering through the

openings on their wooden floors. All had walls made from wood and two or three rooms.

Each house had a big room with at least two open sides, and some had all sides open like

big verandahs. Roofs were covered with tiles made from asbestos material or ceramic.

Four houses had fresh thatched roofs. Almost all kitchens were separated from the main

body of the houses, and all of them were roofed with palm thatching. The chapel and the

ramada or barracdo (community center), as these large open structures used for dancing

in festivals and for communal meetings were called, were located at the midpoint of the

dirt street. By all measures, they were the "heart" of the community.




that, today, "community" is used by the people throughout the country's rural areas, including those living
in the remotest Amazonian headwaters, to refer to local social groups that have their own political
organization, which often includes positions of representation, such as "coordinator," dcpilN coordinator,"
and "secretary" or "treasurer." Most important, the decision-making processes in local communities, at
least ideally, are characterized by widespread participation of community members, men and women,
elders and young adults. As Lima (1997: 1) noted, nowadays, the rural-based peoples in Amazonia hardly
ever distinguish "community" from "locality," and the terms "neighborhood" or "vila" are less and less
heard in conversations with comunitarios (community members). My use follows theirs, the term is used
throughout this thesis in the empirical sense.










Viewed from the inside, all but a few houses were poorly furnished. Family

belongings consisted basically of one table, two or three chairs, a few wooden benches,

one hammock for every adult or every two children under five, kitchen utensils, and,

rarely, a gas stove and a radio, which hardly ever were put to work, because cooking gas

and batteries were practically unaffordable. Two houses of families that had lived for

years in the Jari region had sofas and beds, but people generally slept in hammocks. One

of these houses had a precious satellite TV, which allowed us to watch all soccer matches

of the World Cup in June 2002. To this end, every household in the community, and this

researcher, contributed with one or two liters of diesel for the power generator.

Usually, the vila was unlit. The power generator and the water pump lacked

appropriate maintenance. Once a week, however, a household would buy diesel to start

them up. On these days tap water was available, and the women would take the

opportunity to wash the floor of their houses. A water tower was built in the vila in 1992;

it was a gift from a local politician during an election campaign,20 but most of the water

used to cook and drink was from the river. Problems related to poor sanitation, such as



20 The practice of exchanging gifts for votes is still common in rural Guruph, despite the efforts of the
Worker's Party in the state, and in Gurupa in particular, to raise political awareness among riverside
communities. The year of 2002 was election year in Brazil. Supported by the municipal government, a
Worker's Party candidate visited the community of Jocoj6 during his campaign. I was present in the
meeting. After a lively discussion revolving around problems that affect family agriculture in Amazonia,
the candidate explained to the attentive audience that his platform called for increased credit opportunities
and improved and decentralized technical assistance for agricultural workers. Despite the lucid
conversation, in which interesting views on the situation of the rural-based peoples in the area were elicited
and which was critical of persisting patron-client relations during election campaigns in rural areas, the
candidate heard from a man, who represented the quilombola communities in Gurupa at the State
Commission of Rural Black Communities, that the people in Jocoj6 would exchange their vote for a "sign
of the candidate's commitment to the cause of the agricultural workers in the town," a gift in cash or in
kind. This attitude is frequently interpreted (and critiqued) by rural union leaders, the Catholic Church, and
NGO staff as political conservatism, backwardness, and demonstrations of remaining ties with old patrons,
or still willingness to conserve old and oppressive patron-client relationships. What they seem to miss is
that the future, as viewed by the traditional peasantries in Amazonia-and they don't seem to have reasons
to view it otherwise-is only too uncertain (see Chapter 3).









diarrhea, were constant in the community, especially among children, who led an almost

entirely aquatic life. All houses had outhouses in their backyards, and most of them were

built on the slope near the ports at which the girls regularly fetched water for their

mothers.

The women kept carefully tended "living pharmacies" in their backyards and

gardens, especially in suspended wooden structures supported by poles where the more

sensitive plants are cultivated in cans. This structure is calledjirau. Besides medicinal

plants, such as boldo (Peamus boldus Mold.), cidreira (Melissa officinalis L.) and

mastruz (Chenopodium ambrosioides L.), used for treatment of intestinal parasites, every

jirau had green onions, basil, paprika and other herbs for seasoning fish. The importance

of these herbs should not be underestimated, considering that fish and manioc flour, if

available, comprise the everyday meal of families in riverside communities, a monotony

that herbs sensually break (see also Murrieta 2001).

The children's duty was to feed chickens, raised mostly for donations to the

celebration of saint's festivals, occasionally to complement meager family meals in the

scarce rainy season, but never as an economic option. Although almost every household

in Jocoj6 had some chickens (about a dozen each), at the time of fieldwork, only one

household had grown corn to feed them, either in rogados2or intercropped in manioc

fields. Usually chickens were fed with crueira, the under roasted coarse granules of

farinha (manioc flour) discarded in the processing of the poisonous, or bitter, variety of

manioc.


21 Rocados are small fields (less than a quarter of a hectare) on areas of secondary vegetation (fallow areas
often with less than three years between cycles of cultivation) that are usually monocropped but followed
sequentially by manioc.









The children fed the chickens, but they were also the ones who ate their eggs. It

was common to find kids inspecting the terrain surrounding their houses to discover

where chickens had laid their eggs. These welcome and daily "rewards" complemented

the children's snacks of never left to ripen fruits picked from the trees on their own

backyards. However, accompanying their movement from the doorsteps of the chapel, a

position from which little in the vila is left without inspection, I frequently caught them

sneaking into other backyards to pick fruits from the trees of some grumbling distant kin.

Food security was far from the reality of the people in Jocoj6. The base of their diet

was farinha and fish. But fish were not easy to catch in blackwater rivers,22 especially in

the rainy season, locally called inverno (winter). Thus, farinha was the staple of the diet,

and the balance between energy and animal protein was not frequently achieved in the

community. In June of 2002, when the water levels were expected to lower with the

arrival of the summer, it rained without mercy on Jocoj6. On many occasions, I joined the

sons of my hosts to watch the showers from the door of their house. Despite the jokes we

used to tell one another, and a little gossiping about potential couples in the vila, the

delayed rains always evoked melancholic memories of long winter days without a square

meal to eat, and they would constantly refer to the season as "the time of hunger."

Farinha was produced primarily for household consumption, but villagers also sold

part of their production to store owners or individual buyers in Gurupa. The families that


22 During the rainy season fish catches decline because fish migrate out of the river channels into the
flooded forests and disperse. Also, blackwater rivers are known for their absence of aquatic grasses, which
feed larger fishes (Moran 1993: 48). They are poorer than the whitewater rivers, such as the Amazon,
which carry large quantities of silt that they receive annually from the Andes (Goulding 1989: 15). During
my stay in Jocoj6, from June to August, I never saw catches of more than four small fish (approximately 40
cm) per fisherman fishing in the Jocoj6 River. The most common fish found on meals in the vila was the
jeju, followed by taririras, or trairas, (both fish are of the group Cypriniformes Characo, family
Erythrinidae), jacundis (not identified) and jandihs (Leiarius marmoratus, of the family Pimelodidae) and
jatuaranas (Brycon cephalus B. melanopterus) (Soares and Junk 2000: 439).










had boats, if cash was available to buy diesel for the long and expensive travel, sold

farinha to varzea dwellers scattered along the shores of the Amazon River and islands in

the estuary. Other than manioc flour and the by-products of manioc processing, such as

tucupi and tapioca23, the only source of family income in the terra firme was timb624

vine, which was planted on the edges of gardens and remained in these sites when they

were left fallow. The National Institute for the Environment (IBAMA), however, forbids

the selling of timb6. For this reason, the vine was sold only to the Iegil'w' (itinerant river

traders) that visited the community on a monthly basis.

Almost all households in Jocoj6 sold timb6 to these traders during my fieldwork in

the vila. I accompanied a group of villagers to the house cluster at the mouth of the

Jocoj6, where a trader had anchored his boat. We could barely breathe inside the boat

cabin. It was covered with timb6 vines bought from other fregueses (clients) in

communities upriver Amazon, near the mouth of Rio Xingu. Adding to the piles of vines

other men in the vila had sold to the trader, I calculated he had at least a ton of timb6 to

sell to varzeiros on the northern islands in the estuary on his way back to Santana, a port

in the bordering State of Amapa.



23 In the process of manioc flour preparation tucupi is obtained by squeezing a mash of grated manioc-half
soaked and half dry-with a palm fiber tube called "tipiti." The clear portion of the liquid (with toxic
compounds) drained from the mash is the tucupi. It is the substance of a traditional sauce very appreciated
in Amazonia. The solid particles that separate out from this liquid provide tapioca, which is used to make
beiju, a kind of manioc pancake eaten with super-sweetened coffee in the early morning, usually before
household workers leave their houses for the energy-consuming tasks in their gardens.

24 Timb6 vines are piscicides. Villagers use them in the dry season to fish in half-dry pools and shallow
streams. Fish enter these pools and streams with the incoming tide and are trapped before the tide flows
out. When crushed, the vines release a poison that stupefies the fish, which rise to the surface and are easily
caught. Gurupa is located at approximately 300 kilometers up the Amazon River from the merging of its
white waters with the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite this, there are enough tidal lifts in this
low-lying area to cause daily flooding of mudflats and flooded forests, especially during the dry season
(Wagley 1964: 75; Moran 1993: 79).









On the same occasion, a group of brothers in the vila delivered 52frechais (rafters)

ofsucupira (Bowdichia virgilioides H. B. K.) (Martini, Rosa, and Uhl 2001: 343), a

hardwood species, which had been ordered by the river trader in the name of a

boatbuilder in Santana. I observed their negotiation with the trader. The man was uneasy

with my presence, I could sense. Later I found out he associated me with the IBAMA

agents-who would have to be ubiquitous in order to effectively enforce environmental

law in the vast Amazon estuary. To negotiate with the brothers, he made them paddle to

the opposite riverbank, so I couldn't hear their conversation. Upon their return to the

boat, he gave them R$ 390 (about $136.50), or R$ 0.30 (about $0.11) per 20 cm in length

(about 8 inches), the average size of apalmo.25 Although this was the average price

received in Gurmpa, the man knew his fregueses were illiterate and had little knowledge

of basic mathematical operations, so, in addition to marking up prices of commodities

they exchanged for the wood-food items, such as water buffalo cheese made by residents

in the islands, coffee and sugar-he made a funny deduction of debts owed for other

necessities he had sold on credit to the brothers on his previous visit. As a result, they

returned to the vila with little to meet their families' needs, and hardly enough cash to

allow for purchases of other household necessities at stores in Gurmpa, including salt,

cooking oil, soap, and diesel. In this way, the traditional relation of dependence between

regat6es and frequeses in Amazonia was perpetuated.








25 The "palmo" is the local unit of measure for sawn wood; it is equivalent to the distance between the
thumb and the little finger.










Other than timb6 and the sporadic orders for sawn wood, some households sold

fruits raised in their yards, gardens or in their sitios26 to buy imported goods in Gurupa.

Fruits sold to river traders or to buyers in the city included acai, banana, avocado,

watermelon, pineapple, Brazil nut, cupuaqu (Theobroma grandiflorum), and pupunha

(peach palm). Fruit trade, however, was also a very irregular economic alternative, and

households grew only small amounts of these fruits.27 Every harvest was a gamble, the

success of which always depended on access to patches of adequate soils28 and rainfall.

Thus, manioc flour was the bulk of their diet and their most important source of income.

But low prices in Gurupa made manioc crops more valued for their consumable

qualities-a meal without farinha is not conceivable in Amazonian riverside communities-

than for their exchangeable qualities.

In June 2002, almost all households in Jocoj6 were making farinha from the last

manivas of gardens planted in 2000-they call the plant "maniva" and the roots

mandiocaa." Some families had re-planted on the same garden sites in 2001; others had

chosen to let their sites return to bush. But new plots had also been cleared in that year.





26 A "sitio" is the heart of the interfluvial land area where families grow their gardens. In the sitios, the
two-faced, pitched roof open structures for processing manioc flour are located. They are locally called
"casas de farinha." Frequently, an old palm-thatched, one-room house is found in the sitios too. If children
are too young to attend primary school, families spend the whole week in the sitios, returning to the vila
only for the traditional gathering of the Sunday mass.

27 When listing the fruits they sell, villagers always added the affix-inho, e.g. abacatinho (little avocado).
The diminutive word indicates the lack of importance of fruits as a source of income. Fruits are grown
mostly for home consumption. Occasionally, however, people sacrifice them for petty cash.

28 The soils in Gurupi's upland forests of terra fire are for the most part nutrient poor soils (Oliveira Jr.
1991: 16). According to Moran (1993: 74), Massaranduba (Manilkara huberi) and Sumafma (Ceiba
pentandra) are kinds of forest vegetation indicative of poor agricultural soils. These species of vegetation
are frequently found in the virzeas of the municipality, but massaranduba is also abundant in its forestlands
of terra fire.










As a general rule, all households had at least one and a half tarefas29 in maniva with

mature roots every year, either in one site, or, to reduce risk of ants and other

uncertainties of the environment, in two or three very small clearings in patches of

different soils.30 This land area would include plots planted one year and plots planted

two years before the year the household's workers were opening a new garden. Because

of the delayed rains in June and early July 2002, many families hadn't yet begun the

work in their new fields. Except for the households where disease in the previous year

had prevented workers from opening the minimum required for home consumption,

however, all said that they would clear either larger plots or plots the same size as those

opened in 2001.

The five thousand hectare area that composed the territory of the community of

Jocoj6 was divided in centros controlled by the families in the community. These centros

29 In Jocoj6 at the time of fieldwork, a tarefa was a land area of 2,500 square meters. Based on a careful
socioeconomic survey conducted in 1989 in rural Gurupi, Oliveira Jr (1991: 277) wrote: "a tarefa is a unit
of land measurement used by the peasantries in Gurupi with 0.36 ha on average." But in my interviews in
Jocoj6, a one-hectare garden was invariably reported to have four tarefas. However, Oliveira Jr's data
coincide with my own concerning the average yield of a one-hectare manioc-plot, which is around four tons
of roots, if the plot is well tended. In Jocoj6, to produce only for home consumption-the consumption of an
average size household (6.82) is 20 liters of manioc flour per week, equivalent to 650 kg per year-a family
would need to harvest roots from a total land area of 0.50 hectares each year. My interviewees said that a
one-hectare manioc garden, if well weeded, produces 20 sacks of 60 kilograms of farinha on average. Thus,
to supply household needs, the total land area in manioc needed is 0.54 hectares. A tarefa was a local unit
of measurement, which therefore was tied to particular activities. The term "tarefa" means literally "task," a
form of labor calculation-that which a peasant and his family, or a work party in the village could complete
in X or Y hours, days, weeks. Human in scale, it corresponded to 25 braqas by 25 bramas. A braca was the
linear measure of a man standing with his arm stretched upwards and holding a machete, totaling
approximately 2.5 meters. One tarefa would therefore correspond to 3,906.25 square meters, and not 2,500
square meters or a quarter of a hectare. Thus, the elderly women in Jocoj6 were always distrustful when I
said that the gardens of other men in the community had four tarefas each. They would always say: "that's
why nowadays gardens are never sufficiently weeded.

30 Almost all heads of households declared that they preferred to clear four to five year fallow areas and
avoid slashing and burning the ever decreasing areas of mata grossa, or old capoeiras, as they also call old
fallow areas. Usually, these areas were cultivated by their fathers and left fallow for twenty or more years.
As Moran (1993) wrote, the conservation awareness of native Amazonians-and historic peasantries in the
region, I must add-is because "they still interact closely enough with their physical environment to
understand that they have to be concerned with the impact of their actions upon long-term productivity of
their habitat." (1993: 32)









were located between small streams that cut the communal territory, where gardens were

grown and manioc flour was processed. The sitios were the heart of these centros. Almost

all centros were named after natural features found in their geographical areas, usually

islands of palm trees, or concentrations of other relevant tree species. Such names

included Tucumdzal, Acaizal, Umarizal, Itaubal, and Piquia. Occasionally, however, their

names referred to the social history of the place, such as Pau de Letra, which referred to a

trunk where the first residents in the vila who learned to write engraved their names. But

every centro was associated with a particular surname, and the right to cultivate in these

areas was acquired by vertical kinship ties, provided that use by that particular family

was not discontinued. The children of the first villager to occupy and grow gardens in the

area, both women and men, were entitled to a share in it. As they marry, and especially

after they have children of their own, separate fields in the centro appear, and new

households are established in the vila. The birth of the first child, more than marriage, is

the landmark of the new stage in the domestic cycle.

The families that lived on the high levees in the varzea also had centros to grow

manioc in the upland forests of terra firme. But they only depended on the trade of

manioc flour in the meager rainy season, or at least from late February to June. In the dry

season, household necessities, locally called despesa, or despesinha,3 were bought with

fish and shrimp, and, if home consumption was secured, acai. Acai is also a sine qua non

of the local diet. Indeed, I never noted belt-tightening associated with acai in Jocoj6, as

seemed to happen with other fruits, such as avocado and pineapple, which were sold to

river traders despite the children's appetite for them. Actually, it was common to hear


31 Despesa means expense, the items that households consume or use (but see also note 27).










complaints from the people in the vila about extremely low prices of acai fruit in Gurupi

during the fruit's season, essentially the summer months of July, August and September.

Oftentimes I heard villagers say "I'd rather let the toucan plant acai than harvest its fruits

to sell them for very little money in Gurupi." The price could be as low as R$ 2,00 (about

$0.70) for a twenty-liter can of acai fruit (about 5,28 gallons) equivalent to two kilograms

of rice at the town's supermarkets.

The householders in the virzea of the Jocojo32 used to sell their catches to

marreteiros (middlemen) and to geleira owners33 (owners of boats equipped with diesel-

powered refrigerators). Middlemen arrived in Gurupi just before the beginning of the

dourada catfish season, from July through September. They would come on commercial

riverboats and contact fishermen in the city, or "pedem passagem"(ask for a ride) on

community boats to reach their clients along the Amazon River. Like the owners of

refrigerator boats, frequently fishermen themselves, the middlemen provided their clients

with ice, diesel for motorboats, the high-priced malhadeiras34 (gill nets) and other


32 I refer to the families living in the virzea of the Jocoj6 River as "varzeiros," but not all of these people
would self-identify as such. The cluster living on the banks of the Igarap6 Jijui, for example, is composed
of roceiros from the headwaters of the river. They moved to the virzea areas as a result of the decline in
prices of manioc flour in the late 1960s, and massively engaged in timber cutting until the mid-1980s, when
timber extraction began to decline in Guruph. These families have worked mostly for geleiras ever since.

33 In my interviews on the virzea of the Jocoj6 no mention was made of the conflicts that led these people
to establish "partnerships" with geleira owners. But Paulo Oliveira Jr, in his study of the peasantry in
Gurupa (1991), mentions that these fishing entrepreneurs, who were funded by the Superintendency for the
Development of Fisheries (SUDEPE), beginning in the early 1980s, invaded fishing spots of varzeiro
families, destroyed their fishing equipment, blocked watercourses with their gill nets and eventually, with
the "blind eye" of the local judge managed to engage varzeiros as "partners" in their predatory activities
(1991:157).

34 Batista et al 11 ""'1 ,1 provide the following description of malhadeiras: they are "made of mono and multi-
filament line; lead rope with rustic or styrofoam floats but sometimes just suspended with cables attached
to the vegetation; plumb weights in bottom rope" (Batista et al. 2000:421). Malhadeiras are used in the
littoral zones of lakes or while crossing it; in creeks they are left parallel to the margins and inside small
inlets. Drift gill nets are used to catch catfish in the main rivers. Gill nets distributed to fishers in Jocoj6
were approximately eight panels wide and 10 meters long. Each panel has one braca, and each braca today
is 2.00 meters.









apparatuses for the fishing season. Every geleira also included in its crew a specialist to

repair or rebuild gill nets during the season, and each household had a set of styrofoam

containers to store ice. If the previous year had been a poor year for fish, these patrons

would provide their clients with some cash in advance-though this practice was more and

more infrequent, I was told-so varzeiros could get through the first weeks of the new

season. When containers filled with their first catch, patrons would come to pick them up,

or fishers would cross the Amazon to take them to the geleiras, generally anchored near

the prime fishing areas along the shores of the Great Island of Gurupa. From this moment

to the last collecting trip, barter would resume and only exceptionally would fishers claim

their payments in cash.

In October, catches of dourada decline, and fishers avoid using gill nets lest the

clash of ocean tides with downstream waters make them fold, and hence entangle on big

stones on the riverbed. But fresh-water shrimp mature at this time of the year. That's

when patrons come to sell matapis and babagu for shrimp, as varzeiros concentrate on

them. Good catches of other fat fish on the river channels, such asfilhote

(Brachyplatystoma sp) (Soares and Junk 2000: 439), however, are still possible until

February, when the river level begins to rise rapidly and waters invade the floodplains.

From February to June, varzeiros turn to artisanal fishing and manioc flour processing.

But, as Wagley said, "during the winter months, there are times when the only fish to be

had is dried pirarucu,36 imported codfish, and tinned sardines and tuna" (Wagley 1964:


5 Matapis are traps made of a variety of palm fibers. The people in Jocoj6, place them near the aninga
stands in the mudflats. The mouth of the trap is its widest part. It narrows in a conical shape as it enters the
central part of the trap, forming a narrow neck. This central part is quasi-cylindrical in shape, only slightly
narrower towards the end. Shrimp enter the matapi and trespass the narrow neck, having difficulty
escaping, since the wide mouth faces the direction of the waters.

36 Arapaima gigas (Barthem 2001).









73). In Gurupa, however, heavy fishing had long since made pirarucu very rare, and, as

the people in varzeas said, "no inverno a gente vai s6 tariando pra tomar o cafe e comer a

farinhazinha," (in the rainy season we can barely hold on to drink coffee and eat a little

manioc flour).

Fishing and shrimping were marginal economic options to the residents in the terra

fire. As the rains in early July finally dissipated, many ventured to the Amazon River

for catches of big, marketable fish to sell in Gurupa. But generally they didn't use fishing

methods such as gill nets. A few households had cast nets, gigs and rods,37 though very

small malhadeiras (one to two meters wide and one meter long panels) were more

popular in the vila, and almost all households would place these nets in the small inlets of

the Jocoj6 River and the small streams that feed into it. Villagers usually paddled to

check their malhadeiras when they arrived from the work in their casas de farinha late in

the afternoon, though their children, mostly boys, were responsible to survey these traps

at least two times during the day. If luck permitted, two to fourjejus, trairas, orjandids,

would secure evening family meals.

Another source of quick but scarce cash was game. Hunting for money was limited,

though. In a conversation with two villagers they said "se o sujeito 'ta aperreado, ele

pode matar uma paca 'pra vender em Gurupa. Agora, se ndo tiver aperreado, s6 'pra

comer com a familiar"3 8 The perception that game and fish stocks were depleting resulted


3 Gigs are locally known as "zagaias." They are wooden spears with a metallic head of two prongs. In
Jocoj6, men would occasionally risk fishing with gigs in the night using a flashlight. They call this fishing
method "piraquerar." Rods are sticks with monofilament lines with metal hooks (Batista et al. 2000: 421).
When rods are available, boys and adolescents fish in the igapos (flooded forests) and on the banks of
Jocoj6 and its branches. Bait is usually small fish.

38 If a man is very pressed (for a medicine, or basic supplies), he is allowed to sell a paca (. 1i. paca) in
Gurupi. But, if he is not very pressed, he can only hunt to eat with his family.









in the elaboration of a set of "rules" governing hunting and fishing activities. The

community had discussed and approved these rules in 1995. Basically, they spelled out

the methods and the quantities allowed to catch or kill, for example, fishing with

cacuris39 or timb6 was banned. Also, in the rainy season, when the rising water level

forces terrestrial mammals to flee the floodplains, villagers could only hunt up to two

individuals of the same species, if it was a small species. Hunting in the night was locally

called lanternar (from lanterna, flashlight). On new moon days, a father and a son, or

two brothers would risk finding a paca, a deer or a wild pig using their rifles and

flashlights. If lucky, they would share their prey with the family and close kin. Big game

would be shared with other neighbors, they said. If money were urgently needed, though,

the hunter would be allowed to sell his kill in Gurupa, where a paca was easily sold for

R$ 30 (about $10.50). Often, this sum was equivalent to two thirds or even all the

monthly family income in the vila.

Other Sources of Income: Remittances and Rural Pensions

On many occasions, I found myself initiating the ever-embarrassing conversation

about household income. In the course of my interviews it became clear to me that

households in the vila fell short of their needs. According to the doctors and social

workers at the hospital in Gurupa, the situation of the residents in other communities in

the countryside didn't seem to be different. Many communities had children participating

in the official distribution of powdered milk under the national campaign to reduce

malnutrition in rural areas, including Jocoj6. But powdered milk merely appeased the

39 Cacuris are large fish traps usually made from the trunks of acai palms. Like a wall of stakes, cacuris can
fence off narrow rivers or small streams, forming a barrier to the fish moving upstream or being carried
downstream by the current. At the end of the barrier there is a circular trap into which fish move, and
beyond this trap is a smaller inner chamber which may be closed when the fish are to be removed (Wagley
1964: 74).









hunger of those pre-school children. Knowing that unemployment and underemployment

already plagued the urban residents in Gurupa, and that the possibility of working for

wages in farms outside of the community was virtually non-existent, I set myself the task

of researching the alternatives the people in rural Gurupa had to make ends meet. At first,

I focused on remittances from sons and daughters sent by their parents to work in urban

areas in the region in search for cash income.

I arrived in Jocoj6 on the eve of St. John the Baptist's festival. My hosts, Antonio

Maria and C16, were particularly excited. Their 17-year old son, Valmir, would take a

ride in the boat the team from the Jari region had rented to come for a soccer match in the

community at the celebration. He worked as a cleaner at the kaolin-processing factory in

the Jari industrial park located at Munguba, near Monte Dourado, the company town

built, owned and operated by the Jari Project in the 1970s. Valmir had left the vila 18

months before. He had been a student in the local Worker's Party twin institution, the

Casa Familiar Rural. Soon, however, he realized that he had no plans to spend the rest of

his life in the countryside. Hoping he would be able to contribute to his family's income,

he left school to try his luck in the traditional destination of young men from the rural

areas in the estuary. But life in Jari was not what he had expected. "If only I were more

qualified!" he said.

As Little noted in his study of territorial disputes in Amazonia, which focuses on

the Jari region and the territorial enclave of the Jari Project, temporary workers and

unskilled labor in that industrial complex "do not have access to company housing and

must fend for themselves in the riverside shantytowns across the river from Monte

Dourado and Munguba, respectively" (Little 2001: 84). Valmir, like other migrants from









the upland communities in Gurupa, received the minimum wage, which was R$ 200/

month (about $70.00) in 2002. The price of a room in the shantytown, if shared by two

workers, neared fifteen percent of this minimum wage. The kaolin factory, in turn,

discounted this wage by another thirty per cent to cover its expenses with boat fares, food

and drink it provided to workers, and social security payment. Thus, all the contribution

that those who had left agriculture forjobs in the industrial complex could make to their

families in rural Gurupa was a small sum to honor their parents' duties in the saint's

festivals.40

There was no secondary school in Jocoj6. The community's one-teacher school had

47 students of different ages in the four different grades of primary school. Students in

each grade spent at most two hours and a half each day at school. To attend secondary

school in Maria Ribeira, a neighboring community, students had to paddle their cascos

(canoes) or cut through a muddy floodable forest in the summer. Only one family in the

vila could afford the living expenses of a son and a daughter in Gurupa, because the

mother held the position of health agent in the community, and received a minimum

wage from the state government for it. A job in the Jari industrial park or in the informal

economy in the vicinity of the park was another option for rural students seeking higher

education, especially in the case of female migrants, because they often worked as

domestic servants and lived with the families they served. Thus, they didn't have to pay

the rent of a room in Beiradao or Beiradinho, the shantytowns across the river. After

several interviews and informal conversations with householders in Jocoj6 and other

40 The amount left, according to Valmir, was barely enough to buy a little breakfast and dinner each day,
and a little clothing, if needed. As Marx wrote "the minimum wage [is] that quantum of the means of
subsistence, which is absolutely requisite to keep a labourer in bare existence as a labourer" (1978
[1848]:485).










neighboring communities, it emerged that better education, combined with jobs that make

it possible, more than remittances, seemed to be the major reason why parents sent their

sons and daughters to look for work in the urban areas near the estuary.

Just as they played a crucial role in the economy of the town, the pensions elders

received served as a supplement for the deficient income of almost all households in the

vila. The people in Jocoj6 frequently used the terms "house" and "family" as

synonymous.41 This seemed to reflect their ideal that a household consisted of a conjugal

couple and their offspring. Ideally, too, households produced and/or bought what they

consumed, pooled resources and ate together. Or, ideally, they were the primary units of

production and consumption. Also, it was the responsibility of the household head to

provide for the family's needs. This was a matter of honor, and one of the most important

criteria against which villagers evaluated married men with children in Jocoj6. Indeed,

the majority of the domestic units in the community had this ideal composition, and they

tried to rely as much as possible on nuclear family labor, based on the division of labor

between sexes. But, at least in periods of scarcity as I witnessed in the community during


41 In addition to this first meaning-a couple and their offspring living under the same roof-the term
"family" is interchangeable with the term parentte" when applied to people who are related "through
blood." "t tudo s6 uma familiar said a man during an interview, as he pointed to the houses of the married
sons and daughters of his mother's siblings. But this use of the term "family" is made only when people
want to emphasize the cohesiveness of the relation between cousins. In a more restrictive sense, this second
meaning of the term "family" refers to male siblings and their children, and the suffix "ada," expressing the
idea of "collection," "group" is often added to the family name to refer to such group, for example, the
Ruiz family is informally called "the Ruizada." Here, affinal ties are not recognized, that is to say, a woman
of the Ruiz family is included in the "Ruizada," but not her husband, since he has a different surname. In
Jocoj6, the Brazilian naming system is followed, thus surnames pass through the male line, and men and
women give their father's patronym to their children. Although the dual surnames of the children are
composed of the patronyms of the paternal and maternal grandfathers, the people in the community
recognize the paternal grandfather's patronym as the official "family name." Because in Jocoj6 there had
been a tendency for men to continue farming their father's holding-the interfluve areas locally known as
"centros"-the term "family" tended to refer to male siblings or sets of male siblings related through
parental siblings that are male and farm together, exchange labor on a regular basis without the need to
reciprocate, and, if they continue residing in the community, "inherit property"-the areas left to fallow by
their fathers and grandfathers.









fieldwork, pensions cushioned the harsh effects of their failing economy-they accounted

for the circulation of basic supplies and children between neighboring houses of close

kin. While necessities would flow from the houses of the old parental couples, or widow

parents, towards the houses of their married sons and daughters, children would often

visit their grandparents with the hope of receiving some food.

Peasants?

In a conversation with Zeca, a resident in Jocoj 6 and, at the time of fieldwork, the

president of the association of slave descendant communities in Gurupa, he recounted a

discussion he had just had with his nephew Tiago, a student at the Casa Familiar Rural.

Echoing previous discussions with his classmates, Tiago insisted with his uncle that

families in rural communities could still tighten their belts a little further in order to save

their scarce money for investments in agriculture. "I disagree," Zeca said. "People who

say that we don't save live in the city. They don't understand our lives! If they buy one

kilogram of beef, they will eat it with their family in two or three meals ... on the other

hand, if I buy one kilogram of beef in Gurupa, when I arrive in the vila, I give a piece to

my mother, another to my brother and his family; I don't eat it only with my family. ...

If we use four kilograms of sugar each week, it is not that my family eats all this sugar ..

. neighbors borrow a little, or we share our sugar with them ... essa gente no sabe

vizinhar," Zeca explained rather annoyed. People who live in cities don't understand life

in rural communities, he insisted. Their constant sharing of food, tools, workdays ....

Sharing and other old-ingrained values of the people in Jocoj6 express a cognitive

orientation identified with the sociological category "peasants."

The meaning and utility of the concept of "peasant" as an analytical tool has been

much debated by sociologists and anthropologists (cf. Shanin 1990; Kearney 1996). The










term "peasant" is certainly unsatisfactory, as Harris noted in his Life on the Amazon

(2000). But while he acknowledges Kearney's criticism of its continued usage in his

acclaimed Reconceptualizing the Peasantry (1996),42 Harris also claims that the term is

reinvigorated in Amazonia, and therefore appropriate to describe the predominantly

independent basis of the rural livelihoods of the people in his book (2000:10). The people

in Jocoj6 were perhaps less mobile than the floodplain people in the lower middle

Amazon region where Harris did his fieldwork; they had a less diversified economic

strategy than Harris's hosts, or, more precisely, there had been fewer opportunities

available to them at the time of my fieldwork. Yet, as shown above, in the community,

people moved between countryside and town along their life cycles, pursuing educational

opportunities, working in the Jari industrial complex, or working as unskilled laborers in

the small businesses that proliferated around the complex, or still performing domestic

services in the company town. Others attempted to reconcile secondary school in Gurupa

with helping their families in agriculture during the weekends. But, as Harris wrote,


42I am sympathetic to Djurfeldt's critique of Kearney's challenging of the applicability of the term to what
he calls "the post-modem world." Kearney's book is divided in two parts. The first presents an
authoritative critique against dualistic thinking in peasant studies, particularly against studies in the
modernist persuasion that emerged in the aftermath of the World War II. The modem sensibilities, Kearney
notes, "think in terms of absolute categories, such as subject and object, self and other" (1996:5), but also
center vs. margin, rural vs, urban, simple vs. complex, peasant vs. proletarian. Thus, the modernist
discourse images "the peasant" as backwards-as opposed to the Western anthropological self-and the
peasant society as static, socially bounded isolates. His critique is grounded in his own field experience
among the Mixtecs of San Jeronimo in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico. The Mixtecs move across the
international border between Mexico and the United States constructing complex livelihood strategies for
managing economic stress and exploitation. These strategies include from temporary work picking oranges
in California to household self-provisioning agricultural production. Kearney argues that the peasant as an
anthropological category has always resisted alignment with "reality;" and the second part of his book is
mostly dedicated to conceptualizing a global discourse that accounts-but does not contain, or essentialize-
these evermore complex subjectivities. Djurfeldt's criticism of Kearney is two-fold. First, he contends that
Kearney commits what he calls the "epochal fallacy" since in his argument about the non-peasantness of
the Mixtecs, there is an implicit assumption that the state of affairs of his ethnographic present will last
forever (1999:3). Second, failing to distinguish between "peasant" as an ideal type and the "real" peasants
(see Shanin 1990:72), Kearney enters in a discussion about what peasants are, or what they are on the
verge of becoming, and this leads him into new essentialisms, Djurfeldt rightly points out (1999:6, the
emphasis is mine).









"many stay put in their rural and natal communities, working the land and fishing the

waters with their kin" (2000:10). Reality, as Shanin warns us, is necessarily richer than

its conceptualizations, and I do believe the term "peasant" gives insight into the realities

of the people in Jocoj6.

For the purpose of this study, therefore, peasants are rural producers who are

characterized by particular labor processes, principally in agriculture, in which the basic

unit of production and consumption in the community-the household, a kinship-based

unit-has control over land, uses low cost technology, and produces (or struggles to

produce) staple crops to meet consumption needs. Most important, peasant householders

in the community put a high value on sharing practices. An understanding of their

clinging to such an orientation, however, requires an understanding of their historical

career. Thus, listening as carefully as possible to the words of the elderly in Jocoj6, in the

next chapter, I present a look into their past.

In the present chapter, I offered a portrayal of a rural community and their failing

economy. At the time of fieldwork, all but a few houses in the community were unable to

secure a square meal a day-basically a couple of small fish, farinha, and, if lucky, a bowl

of the much appreciated acai palm wine. Even those householders who relied mostly on

fishing in the dry season to provide for their families could barely hold on to drink coffee

and eat a little farinha at the height of the rainy season. This chapter was intended to lay

the groundwork for the discussions that follow in this thesis. As the objective of the thesis

is to present an analysis of the social transformations in the life-worlds of this slave

descendant community, relying primarily on ethnography, it begins and ends with the

period I shared with my hosts, since the goal is not just to provide a sense of historical






62


continuity, but to make sense of the peoples' material conditions and social realities as I

encountered them.















CHAPTER 3
TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE COMMUNITY IN
RELATION TO OUTSIDE INTERVENTIONS

Inspired by Mintz's (1974) approach to the study of the Caribbean heterogeneous

peasantries1 developed in the colonial period, in his Amazonian Caboclo Society (1993),

Nugent offers a frame of reference for the study of the historical peasantries in

Amazonia. (Re)directing the anthropological gaze from Indigenous to "lumpen-

Amazonia" (Nugent 1993:xviii), he is concerned to show us that the voiceless and

politically invisible mixed-blood peoples who live along the banks of the region's

waterways constructed actual, structured social systems. And they have history. The

specific histories of real peasant societies "on the ground," adapting2 to diverse local

conditions, particularly the variety of ecological constraints, and the more general history

of the formation of the riverine peasantry in the context of the colonial havoc in

Amazonia. It is this more general history, the "ethnohistory of a people without an

official 'ethno'" (1993:xviii) that constitutes one of the main preoccupations of his book.

Generalizations about an "Amazonian peasantry" are based on their common and short




1 Mintz (1973) used the term "reconstituted peasantries" to refer to segments of Antillean societies that
were reconstituted as recently as a century or two at most out of earlier economic forms, including
Amerindians, African slaves, and other Europeans, which composed the subject masses of European rulers
in the post-1492 period of conquest and settlement of the Caribbean region by Europe. The "reconstituted
peasantries" were peasant-like adaptations marginal to the plantation system, and resistant to the
domination of capital. Their production was "peripheral, interstitial, of short term and, at times, illegal... a
reaction to the plantation economy, a negative reflex to enslavement, mass production, monocrop
dependence, and metropolitan control" (Mintz 1973:99, citing Mintz 1961:31-34 and 1964:xx).

2 In Nugent's (1993) words: "adaptation [is] not a matter of reciprocity between ecosystem and social
system, but rather is a matter of social systems acting upon ecosystems" (1993:62).









historical career,3 which includes the riverine mission villages and, later, the institution of

aviamento trade relations, among other administrative and commercial institutions

created to supply the rapacious colonial-extractive economy with a (coerced) labor force.

Within the mission villages, through enslavement and other deliberate ethnocidal

practices, indigenous peoples were transformed into "a relatively undifferentiated and

fragmented set of petty producers" (Nugent 1993:106). After the collapse of the rubber

boom, the aviamento trading system had already left its imprint on the economy of the

then recently emerged independent petty commodity producers-the historical Amazonian

peasantry.

But relatively little is known about specific polities of "free" riverine peasants

compared to Indigenous peoples, the primary focus of scholarly attention in Amazonia.

What is the basis of their social reproduction? What holds them together? What holds

them in the world? How do they change? Viewed as a product of the colonial conquest,

which swept away entire cultures and/or values of indigenous lifeways in the Amazon

valley, the historical peasantries have remained nearly invisible to the anthropology of

the region-the social life of particular groups had rarely been taken as object of

ethnographic studies before the 1980s. According to Nugent (1993:32), the lack of

scholarly attention to this segment of the Amazonian peasantries is a consequence of the

assumption that Amazonia was left as a timeless wilderness in which no social structure

of consequence persisted after the colonial destruction of indigenous societies.4


3 As Nugent (1993) noted, "the link between pre-colonial Amerindian societies and caboclo societies is not
insubstantial, but it is extremely complicated to reconstruct in any but the sketchiest form" (1993:31).

4 This assumption asserts itself in two different considerations of Amazonian societies. First, nature is what
remained between the decimation of pre-colonial indigenous societies and the emergence of free riverine
peasants that somewhat replaced them. The second consideration concerns the link between pre- and post-
colonial native Amazonia. Despite the archaeological evidence showing that pre-colonial societies in the










Nugent presents other compelling explanations for the "invisibility" (political

invisibility) of the riverine peasants than their little "culture." First, they are "invisible"

because of the fluid and diversified nature of their livelihoods.5 As shown in the previous

chapter, which portrays the economy of one community of peasants on the Amazon

estuary, their marginal economies involve the creative exploitation of resources-varzeas,

igap6s, rivers, and terra-firme forests. In this sense, they are "invisible" because "the

extensification [sic] of their livelihoods matches the scale of their resource base," a forest

and a river system that are often characterized as homogenous-"the humid tropical

forests," "the varzeas," "terra firee" Thus, profoundly different ecosystems are

subsumed into blanket categories, and consequently the different kinds of complementary

activities of the riverine peasants to exploit their base are obscured (Nugent 1993:33).




Amazon valley achieved high levels of social evolution, post-colonial, or rather, contemporary indigenous
social systems are often represented as constrained, if not shaped, by natural ecosystems (Nugent 1993:32).
In addition, this assumption has adverse consequences for the riverine Amazonian peasantries. If
uninteresting for 'thick descriptions' (Geertz 1973) because of their unrealized otherness, or virtual absence
of 'culture' (Nugent 1993:104; 1997:40), they have also been considered irrelevant to those policy-makers
responsible for the official development of the region. Actually, the promotion of Amazonia as a natural
space, devoid of socially significant occupation, which the anthropological "clinging" to the study of the
exotic "other" reinforces, helps sustain the systematic neglect by the official development of the needs of
the riverine peasants (Nugent 1993:37). Nugent's deconstruction of Amazonian anthropology is beyond the
scope of the provisional interpretation of the social and economic transformations in the life of a particular
peasant community presented here. Nonetheless, I retain his important critique that anthropological
research in Amazonia is associated with global-socio-economic transformations. He proposes that the
attention now given to the traditional Amazonian peasantry is a direct consequence of the "rise of
ecologism," which is a manifestation of the growing international concern with the depletion of tropical
forests, and possibly with the related need to secure the supply of industrialized countries with raw
materials and substances available in tropical areas (Nugent 1993:84,103-105; 1997:46).

5 As previously mentioned, until the 1990s, the bulk of the Amazonian anthropology was mainly concerned
with the internal organization of particular societies-mainly indigenous societies-in circumscribed social
settings, while the influence of larger impersonal forces affecting local communities was largely unattended
to. Representing the multi-faced peasants-they are rural cultivators, but seasonally engage in disguised
wage-labor as rubber tapers and/or Brazil nut collectors, or even migrate to work temporarily in the urban
informal economy-by articulating the description of their everyday life (culture) with the larger system
(political economy) is a difficult task (Marcus and Fischer 1999:77-110), requiring long-term, often multi-
sited (Marcus 1995) field research. Little's Amazonia: Territorial Struggles on Perennial Frontier (2001) is
a good example of this approach.









Second, they are economically and politically insignificant because "their priorities

are not those of the developmentalists for whom Amazonia is foremost an extractive-

resource domain" (1993:33). But despite their exclusion from the developmental

masterplan of highly capitalized, large-scale extractive activities, they suffer their

negative consequences-the ecological effects, such as the predatory timber exploitation

on the varzeas, and, not rarely, displacement. Incorporating previously marginal lands or

depleting the existing natural resources on them, the infrastructure provision and related

large-scale extractive activities limit, or even cut off, the riverine peasants' access to the

diverse ecosystems on which their livelihoods depend, and thus compromise the

maintenance of their repertoire of petty commodity forms. It is clear that the many

riverine peasant social systems assumed different forms in different parts of Amazonia.

However, they all share this unfortunate defining feature: "they bear the mark of external

structures-that of merchant capital for example-for which Amazonia has from the

sixteenth century until the present represented a vast resource potential" (Nugent 1993:

xx-xxi). Because they realize their social reproduction on the margins, alien to the axioms

and rules that define the technocrats' economic model, they are regarded as decadent, and

their economies are characterized as stagnant. Accordingly, their marginalization is

justified, maintained. But insofar as they secure their access to the varied ecosystems that

constitute their production sites-the necessary condition for the continued reproduction of

their livelihoods-in Nugent's words, "they endure."

But how does the specific history of the community of Jocoj6 reverberate with this

more general trajectory of the historical peasantries in Amazonia so brilliantly outlined

by Nugent in his Amazon Caboclo Society (1993)? In the preceding chapter, I portrayed









the failing economy of Jocoj6. By July 2002 all but a few households in the community

were on the edge of poverty because manioc cultivation was the basis of their economy,

and it had been severely eroded. And even those few families who relied mostly on

fishing rather than slash-and-bum cultivation rushed to clarify: "in the rainy season we

can barely hold on to drink coffee and eat a little manioc flour." In the present chapter, I

look at stories of the lives of adult men and women of different ages in Jocoj6 with a

view to grasping the material conditions and social realities of the peoples' lives from the

early 1900s to the time of fieldwork. Against this backdrop of oral narratives of the past, I

examine the ways in which villagers (re)produced their livelihoods in relation to outside

socioeconomic transformations, and seek to understand the transformations of sociality,

morality, and domesticity, engendered by changes in the productive base.

As said earlier, Nugent (1993) and Harris (2000) argue that the historical

peasantries emerged as independent petty commodity producers and their economy of

petty forms matured in times of weakening of state dominance and slackening of

international demand for Amazon products: the period beginning with the abolition of the

colonial administrative policy of the Directorate and consequent dismantlement of the

mission village system, 1800-1850, and the interval between the collapse of the rubber

export economy and the arrival of large-scale capitalist enterprises to exploit Amazonian

raw materials, 1912-1965. In this study of social change in one specific community, I

take this latter period of less integration of the local economy and the larger system as my

baseline.6 According to recent ethnography from Gurupa, the economy of the


6 Nugent (1993) cautions us to not speak of periods of intensification of local social system's external
relations as ones characterized by integration. In such periods of integration of Amazonian social systems
and the global economy, peasants as laborers, not their production, are incorporated within larger
economic systems. In his own words, "are periods in which there is competition for Amazonian resources,









communities living around the town underwent radical changes with the emergence and

consolidation of state presence and the intensification of capitalist firms' activities in the

lower Amazon. In Jocoj6, far-reaching changes occurred with the entrance of

international lumbering firms on the estuary, when the men in the community massively

engaged in the extraction of valuable wood species to sell to compradores (businessmen)

who dealt in cash, or trade for supplies at local stores in Gurupa whose businesses at that

moment were totally centered on lumber instead of rubber (Miller 1976:298). Later, as

timber ran out along the southern channel of the estuary and islands' shores, and firms

withdrew to other floodplain areas where rich stands of commercially valuable species

were still available, the establishment of the Jari industrial complex, at least in its initial

phase, from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, absorbed a significant number of

unskilled workers from the estuarial zone, who escaped from a declining economy in

their localities.

My concern here is to explore the nature of the transition between the economic

patterns that characterized these two periods in the community's history-the first, a

period of significant decline in the working family units' participation in the extraction of

Amazon commodities for export, and the second, a phase of considerable involvement in

the wider capitalist economy through various approximations of wage labor at the local

level, or even wage-labor proper and engagement in activities distinctive of the urban

informal economy. To examine this process of transition and the social and economic

transformations it entailed I will analyze the relations of production the people in Jocoj 6


not incorporation of production within larger economic systems, except to the degree that non-valorized
labor forms in Amazonia serve to subsidize commercial extraction .... During the rubber boom,
Amazonian peasantries per se were not incorporated; rather Amazonian workers were absorbed into large-
scale extractive sector. Peasant production, as a consequence, became less cohesive" (1993:201).









entered into in the two periods in order to produce the conditions of their existence. By

"relations of production" I mean both "the social processes through which work is

organized to produce goods, and the processes through which surpluses are formed,

transferred out of the control of the producers, and transformed, by those who have the

power, into a wide range of economic, political, and cultural 'values'" (Sider 1991:228).

Finally, in the last section of this chapter, I return to the time of fieldwork. Here, I

revisit the social and economic context of the particular area of the Amazon estuary

where Jocoj6 is located, basically the town of Gurupa and its environs, and reexamine the

ways in which households in the community secured their social reproduction-their

sources of livelihood, the relationships within and between households, particularly their

forms of labor mobilization, and the nature of their relationships to the larger national and

regional economic system. I conclude with a brief discussion about Nugent's idea of

"invisibility" to account for the neglect by the Brazilian state of thousands of riverine

peasant peoples who had their autonomy increasingly threatened, and their perspectives

cast to the side or excluded in the process of capitalist development in Amazonia, but

despite modernization managed to "endure" on the margins of Amazon society.

There are by no means the historical resources in contemporary Jocoj6 or even in

Gurupa to allow us to reconstruct the specific history of the community from the days of

its foundation as the early hideout of escaped slaves to the decline of the rubber trade in

1912.7 Instead, it is necessary to rely on the historiography and ethnography from the


7 The reconstruction of the specific history of Jocoj6 since its foundation by escaped slaves in the second
quarter of the nineteenth century would require exhaustive archival research both in the local notary's
office and the parish registry, which is not always available for researcher's examination, to supplement the
ethnohistories told by the elders in the community. In general lines, this was the methodology used by the
historian Euripedes Funes (1996) to acquire knowledge of the past of the (quilombola) rural black
community of Pacoval, located on the right bank of the Curua River, in the surroundings of the riverside
town of Alenquer, in western Parn. The effort required to accomplish this task, however, is much beyond









lower Amazon, and from Gurupa in particular (Wagley 1964; Galvdo 1955; Miller 1975;

Kelly 1984; Oliveira 1991; Pace 1998), to supplement the memoirs of the elders, and the

fragments they retained of the stories they heard from their fathers and grandfathers. The

following account, therefore, is far from what O'Brien and Roseberry (1991) have called

"historical" work-a combination of "real history" and historical commentaries and texts

of social actors and intellectuals.

The Formation of Jocoj6

The aviamento system turned into a full-blown mechanism of domination during

the Amazonian rubber boom. By the 1850s, with the increased demand for rubber in the

international market, extracted rubber became the Amazon's primary export product, and

maintained its primacy over other forest products until the early 1910s. Gurupa had rich

concentrations of seringueiras (rubber trees, Hevea brasiliensis), and as early as 1852 it

had grown as an important area for rubber production. Both peasants and urban workers

were drawn into extraction with the rising prices of rubber. Steam transportation was

introduced in Amazonia. Gurupa became an attractive destination for many new

immigrants who entered the town. The population increased, and, under the impact of

external demand for rubber, agricultural production declined. Food shortage hit the

residents, both in the town and in the countryside; labor was scarce (Pace 1998). At this

juncture, it seems reasonable to assume that the few cattle ranches and plantation owners








the possibilities of a two-month period fieldwork. As said in the introduction of this study, it was hardly
enough to build rapport with my hosts.










in the area that had been able to maintain African slaves struggled to increase

productivity of their land through increased exploitation of their labor force.8

Sometime in the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century,9 definitely

before 1888, when slavery was abolished in Brazil,10 fugitive slaves reached the mouth of

a small stream upriver from Gurupa. It was the Jocoj6 River, barely a creek then. They

8 In his account of the origins of the quilombola communities in the surroundings of Alenquer, Funes
(1996) shows us that mistreatment, not influence of greedy river-traders to augment their clientele of
extractors of "drogas do sertio" (Amazon forest products), was the main cause of flights of slaves in the
lower Amazon. In Jocoj6, as in all rural black communities in Guruph, little is known about the actual
circumstances of the escape of slaves from cattle ranches and plantations in the area. But the ethnohistory
told by elders in the community emphasizes that their ancestors' determination was to free themselves from
constant whippings they were subject to in the hands of Pedro Lima, the foremen of a plantation in the
locality of Guruph-Miri, upstream the Amazon River from Guruph. "My grandfather, Pascoal, told me the
Portuguese brought his father to Brazil in his early teens. There had been other Portuguese who worked as
middlemen. They would buy slaves in Bel6m to deliver them to local patrons here, on the islands region.
The other slaves who came with my grandfather to Jocoj6 were older than him. Maximiano was the eldest
of all, but Placido was the one responsible for the flight. As you may know, at that time, the patrons used to
punish the slaves because of their wrongdoing. Placido had impregnated [sic] a young slave in the farm.
When the patron discovered the woman had become pregnant, he gave Pedro Lima an order to punish
Placido, so Placido planned their escape" (interview with Vinicius, 80 years of age, in July 2003).

9 Interviewing old Adelino, he said that his grandmother Aniceta had "worked with" the cabanos during the
Cabanagem Revolt (1835-1836). Time and again she recounted the stories about the "pega-pega" in
Guruph, he said. The "pega-pega" was the name given by locals to the military incursions in Guruph's rural
interior in order to capture able-bodied men, including married men, to fight in the 1864-1869 war in which
an alliance between Argentine, Uruguay, and Brazil fought against Paraguay. During the war, Adelino said,
the neighborhood of Jocoj6 already existed, and many residents in the town sought refuge among the blacks
that resisted the "pega-pega". It is impossible to define whether or not Jocoj6 existed as a hideout of
escaped slaves at the time of the Cabanagem Revolt, as Adelino's fading memories allow us to speculate,
without careful archival research. In his account of the Cabanagem, Anderson (1985) says that "the
plantation slaves and the runaway members of several quilombos [on the Amazon valley] became very
active during the last six months of the Cabanagem" (1985:73). They rebelled against their owners, and the
slaveowning segment of the colonial society in general. On the other hand, citing Hurley (1936), Oliveira
Jr. (1991) says that the cabanos took command of Gurupa for a brief period in 1836, and that, despite the
fact that the local revolt was easily controlled by the commander of the fort at Macaph, on the north side of
the Amazon estuary, in the late 1980s, riverine peasants living on the Great Island of Gurupa still recounted
that for a long period the island remained as a refuge of the cabanos, who continued raiding Guruph,
forcing merchants and town dwellers to hand over food and other supplies, and then returning to their
refuge, protected from retaliation by the intricate network offuros (river channels connecting high virzea
to low virzea areas), paran6s (small river channels), igarapds, and dense flooded forests. Adelino's account
corroborates Hurley's commentary on what happened in Guruph. He said that twice in his youth he
witnessed families arriving at Jocoj6, escaping from the raids on the town's residences and commerce.

10 When slavery was abolished, Vinicius, who was born in Jocoj6 in the beginning of the 1920s, said that
the runaways celebrated it for nine days with fireworks, dance and rum provided by Armando, the trading
post owner. The party, as his father Teodoso had told him, "was just like the parties organized by the
brotherhoods of town dwellers during the celebrations of Saint Anthony and Saint Benedict, the patron
saint of Guruph, and the protector of the poor-tappers and fisherman-respectively.










had escaped from ill treatment on a plantation located on the headwaters of the Igarape

Miri in the surroundings of the town. With the help of Antonio, a trading post merchant

of mixed-blood descent established at the mouth of Igarape Monituba, another stream

that empties into the Amazon, and now masters of their own time and labor, they

dedicated themselves to manioc cultivation. "S6 na lavoura" (working at farming only),1

as old Adelino repeated while narrating to this anthropologist the liberation of his

ancestors. But petty extractivism must have been incorporated in their economic

repertoire at this early stage.12 During the rubber boom, Gurupa exported other

commodities such as copaiba oil, cacao, nuts, tobacco, sarsaparilla, tanned hides and

animal pelts (Kelly 1984:342). The very nature of their ties to the outside world-which

were mediated by the trading post owner-must have left no alternative choice to this

developing rural neighborhood. Indeed, by the close of the rubber boom in 1912 the

seasonally patterned economy characteristic of the riverine peasantry had already


11 Although the theme of "libertos e sujeitos" (freed from and subject to slaveowners or patrons), which is
very recurrent among the peasantries in Brazil's northeast, never emerged in our conversations as native
categories, it is clear that Adelino and Vinicius's emphasis on the fact that their ancestors worked at
farming as opposed to working at collecting stresses the ideal of personal autonomy that is so dear to the
riverine peasantries. At the seringais and castanhais (Brazil nut stands), and at any other off-farm
occupation for that matter, it was the patron who controlled their labor force, and this limiting of their
personal agency is precisely what the people in Jocoj6 resisted. Of course Adelino and Vinicius spoke from
their own lived experiences of working at seringais and castanhais on the lower Amazon, where, even if the
mechanisms of control and coercion were less stringent than in the more remote areas on the headwaters of
the Amazon tributaries (see Weinstein 1985:60-61), the labor force was definitely submitted to debt-
bondage relations. The very fact that they worked under this unfavorable condition in diverse occasions
along their lives account for their different vision of agricultural vs. extractive activities (cf. Pace 1998:85;
and Lima and Ferreira Alencar 2001:39).

12 As a result of their resistance to the institution of slavery, the runaways had to engage in extractive
activities, including increased reliance on fishing and hunting, not only for their own subsistence, but also
to re-establish their links with the outside world through trade. It was common for the runaways who
escaped plantations near riverside towns on the lower Amazon area to establish clandestine relations with
trading post merchants, river traders, or even storeowners in the towns, with whom they could trade their
produce and extractive products for supplies, and, most importantly, who had vested interest in maintaining
this clientele, and therefore protected them from slave raiding expeditions by informing them in advance
about the events in the towns. Through these relations, the aviamento system took hold of the blacks in
Jocoj6 (see also Acevedo and Castro (1998) and Funes and (1996)).









matured on the Amazon delta (cf. Pace 1998:80). Not only did the blacks provide

important commodities for the trading post, but also, during the dry season, they would

be recruited by merchants from other Amazon areas to work as collectors on the rich

rubber forests of "Curua de Alenquer,"13 a locality situated on the left bank of the

Amazon River, where it receives the clearwaters of the Tapaj6s River, its major tributary,

and on the lower reaches of the Xingu River. In the rainy season, they would migrate

temporarily to the Brazil nut stands of the Jari region.

Funes' careful research in the parish and the local registers of the riverside

municipalities of Santarem, Alenquer, Vila Curua and Obidos, showed that the majority

of the slaveholders on the lower Amazon had on average five to ten slaves only, very

small numbers compared to the plantations in the Northeast's coastal zone. In addition,

an examination of post-mortem estates revealed that most of these small groups of slaves

comprised families. At times, two or three generations of the same family lived and

worked in the same rural property. In fact, according to the elders in Jocoj6, the

primeirantes, founders of the neighborhood, were a small group of about twelve people,

including two married couples and a group of siblings. But soon these first settlers

learned to deal socially with others. "My grandfather and his brother ruled everyone in

this locality. Whenever an outsider would come, a man ... a family seeking shelter, they

would determine the location of the plots of ground for them to set up their little houses,

s6 na lavoura," old Adelino insisted. Through kinship arrangements-mostly fictive





13 There were 135 quilombos (hideouts of escaped slaves) on the banks of the Curua River (Funes
1996:467). Many of the blacks from Jocoj6 married into these quilombos and never returned to their
community of birth.









kinship ties-novatos (newcomers) were woven into the lives of the runaways. Thus, a

new society came into existence.

Little is known about the social and economic organization of actual peasant

communities in Gurupa's rural interior in the decades of the rubber boom, particularly of

the rural black communities in the area. Yet, according to the ethnohistories I was told in

Jocoj6, "era s6 preto, todos eles ... era s6 escravo ... tudo um sangue s6" (they were all

blacks ... all were slaves, all were the same blood). Examining the genealogies I

collected in the field-although the hazy memories of stories heard by the elders from

their relatives didn't allow me to feel securely anchored in my material-I observed that

these slave descendants managed to keep as much as possible their social associations

within a core group of direct descendants of the primeirantes. Not only did they

strengthen their links between blood-kin, through marriage of first cousins, but they also

reinforced their affinal ties by means of repeated unions of pairs of brothers and sisters.

Like diverse segments of the peasantry throughout Latin America, including other

communities of riverine peasants in Amazonia, the solution historically engendered by

the slaves to secure access to productive resources consisted primarily of kinship

relations. Here too, land tenure and kinship could not, and still cannot, be understood

without each other.14 In addition, kinship and other kinds of social organization, such as



14 In her analysis of the socioeconomic organization of two rural communities of mixed-blood peasants in
the vicinity of Tef6 in the middle Solim6es River, one in the virzea and another in the terra fire, Lima
(1992) characterizes the consanguineous and repeated family unions, or, in her own terms, the "re-linking
marriages" as indicators of the people's interest in maximizing kinship relationships, and argues that this
maximization of kinship ties is a response to deprivation-it provides a solid foundation for economic and
political relations between individuals and domestic units within the community (1992:213). No doubt the
principle of maximization was active in the formation of Jocoj6. And the sentiments of kinship,
neighboring, and friendship which resulted from these "re-linking marriages" certainly informed the
people's consciousness of a "moral community," (Scott 1976) in which the minimal consumption needs of
all its members had to be met.









neighboring and fictive kinship ties-the compadrazgo15 relations (ritual co-parenhood)-

were reinforced by the people's perception of threat from the outside, or the

determination to lead a life as freed as possible from external political and economic

control and influence. Such perception furthered internal cohesion and solidarity

(Almeida 1988).

But the centrifugal drive to seize new opportunities to tap rubber trees in faraway

seringais (rubber stands) in the early decades of the twentieth century resulted in the

dispersal of slave descendants all through the estuary and upriver Amazon. Just as some

youngsters married into the quilombos in the vicinity of Curua de Alenquer, others from

this locality married into Jocoj6, and still others came to Jocoj6 from the seringais in

Arumanduba, in the vicinity of Almeirin, another town located a few miles upstream

from the junction of the Xingu and Amazon rivers. In addition, Gurupa's active

commerce and social life attracted elders from the community during the rubber boom.

This was definitely a period of dispersion of kinship relations in Jocoj6, including the

emigration of many in the group locally called galhos (branches)-those who descended

directly from the primeirantes. Apparently, in the mid-1900s, locality and economic

occupation, not a common origin-the African-slaves ancestry-were the key sources of

people's identity in Jocoj6. They saw themselves as "roceiros of the neighborhood of

Jocoj6" (agricultural producers, more precisely, manioc cultivators). As a result of the

process of out-migration, contrary to other rural black communities in Brazil, here, no



15 I use the term "compadrazgo," the designation of the institution of godparenthood in Spanish, instead of
"compadrio," the designation in Portuguese, because the institution is best known in the anthropological
literature through the works of Mintz and Wolf (1967), and Gudeman (1971), who, relying on the
ethnography of peasant groups in Hispanic Latin America, provided the most influential discussions of this
Latin American institution.










differential rights between old and new settlers, or primeirantes and novatos, persisted. In

his Amazon Town(1964), Wagley noted: "the small village of Jocoj6 is said to have been

inhabited almost entirely by "Old Negroes," although the people living there today have

about the same appearance as the rest of the people in the Ita community" (1964:137).

Wagley's allusion to the people's skin color and features is not relevant here. What is

relevant is the idea implicit in his commentary: a fading past. A silenced experience of

resistance to slavery, seemingly not commemorated by the descendants of the "Old

Negroes" in Jocoj6, certainly not through storytelling.16

1912-1965, Like a Mururd: Economic "Independence" on the Margins

Nossa vida era assim mesmo, que nem murur ... It only runs downstream, I know
... but it is just like our life was ... our work. .... Each time we were in a different
locality tapping milk from massaranduba trees tapping and treating rubber
upriver, near the mouth of the Xingu River ... then collecting ucuiuba17 seeds, or
cutting ucuuba trees on the nearby islands and then collecting Brazil nut
downstream, in the Jari region ... as I said, each time we worked in a different
locality, and each time we had a different patron.

"Just like a murure, that's how our life was." Possibly in her late 90s, Dona

Lucinda, a woman resident in the varzea near the mouth of the Jocoj6 River, repeated to

me as we sipped a little coffee at the door of her house facing the Amazon River.


16 In his discussion of the changes in the signification of the concept of "quilombo," Almeida (1997)
reminds us that peasant groups who are descendants of African or indigenous slaves were "trained" to deal
with hostile antagonists, i.e., to deny the existence of a quilombo, an early hideout of escaped slaves,
because the very affirmation of being quilombola-an unlawful condition vis-a-vis the colonial proslavery
legislation-would eventually make illegitimate their rights to usufruct acquired by continued occupancy
(posse da terra). This may have been one reason for the silence of the people in Jocoj6 about their past of
resistance to slavery. But they generally occupied very marginal lands. Other factors than the dispersal of
kin groups, and the fear to have their customary rights to land and resources violated must have intervened.
However, it is difficult to grasp the actual workings of power, and cultural power in particular, in Gurupa
during the transition from the nineteenth to the 20th century, considering the scanty information on the
existing sociopolitical relations of the slave descendants with the outer world in this period as well as on
the internal struggles within the neighborhood that were likely to result from the tension between the desire
to distance from the dominant society and the need to stay within the reach of the dominant society's
institutions.


17 Virola duckei A.C Sm.









"Murure" is what the peasants in the estuary call the islands of vegetation that float

downstream on the Amazon, drawn from the river shores by the strength of its colossal

waters. She talked of the riverine's constant movements to bring a little money into their

households. According to the oldest inhabitants in Jocoj6, between the demise of the

rubber industry and the miniboom of the product during the Second World War, the

people in the neighborhood enjoyed a relative material plenty, with a low standard of

living, i.e., they perceived themselves as poor rural residents, marginalized in forsaken

Gurupa, but secured their continuity exploring the new economic opportunities that were

open to them. Jocoj6

was a small vila, almost like a trail in the forest. Then the people began to clear the
forest around the vila to plant their gardens. First they planted maize, then squash,
watermelon and beans ... Manioc would come last. The generos [their production
for the market] were timb6, and seringa [from the rubber trees in the vicinity of the
vila], which the people would go out to trade in Gurupa and downstream in the
nearby islands. Then other fdbricos [work, understood as extractive activities,
collecting times and production] appeared, a fruit that they called by the name
jaboti aracunha,'8 the massaranduba, the cumarti19 ... thus, our ganhos [sources of
livelihood] began to appear. And the people started trading these new products.
(Interview with Adelino, 90 years old, June 2002)

Their accounts corroborate with Nugent's (1993) and Harris (2000) arguments,

which indicate a positive correlation between the "stagnation" periods of the regional

economy and the economic dynamism at the level of the riverine communities. As old

Adelino said, the local people continued to work at collecting rubber as well as a variety

of other forest products, such as ucuiba seeds, andiroba20 oil, and Brazil nut (Oliveira




18 Not identified.

19 Dipteryx odorata.
20 Carapa guanensis Aubl.










1991:75). While food shortage hit Gurupi in this period (Pace 1998:83),21 the men in the

community would paddle their canoes across the Amazon's southern channel to sell

manioc flour and other farm produce to small traders in the Great Island of Gurupi, or to

barter farinha for fish and rice with the residents in the island (Oliveira 1991:72).22

Control of land and other non-valorized or unclaimed resources was not a problem to the

people in Jocoj6-not at least until the mid-1960s, when lumbering companies, through

government concessions and/or "(c)om(m)ission," entered into the forest lands of

Gurupi's virzea and terra firme, and threatened their continuity with environmental

degradation and occasionally, more in the varzea than in the terra-firme, destruction of

property, land expropriation and evictions.







21 According to Pace (1998:83), food shortage followed the breakdown of the aviamento system with the
rubber bust; the scarcity, he says, persisted despite the increase in subsistence agriculture, because the
distribution of food, as all commerce in the town, passed through the aviamento chain, which diverted
products to Bel6m, and only rarely would take the products from the terra fire residents to the island
dwellers, or to Gurupa.

22 Most of the land bordering the small streams upriver from Gurupa was "owned" (the land titles were of
doubtful legal validity) by a trader and storeowner in the town-the "class" of land/storeowners emerged in
Gurupa with the rising prices of rubber in the international markets. The people in the neighborhoods along
these streams were clients (fregueses) of the landowner (Wagley 1964:95). After the rubber industry began
to disintegrate, the aviamento system persisted-though in a weaker version and in the hands of independent
regional firms, which replaced the foreign export houses that concentrated on rubber-and so did the patron-
client relations that characterized it at the level of the riverside towns in Amazonia (cf. Santos 1980:258;
Pace 1998:82; Wagley 1964). The landowner advanced goods on credit to the fregueses in exchange for the
monopoly over trade of their entire surplus product. Debts were rarely canceled, because industrial goods
were overpriced and farm produce and forest products were bought cheap in relation to urban market rates.
Ideally, from the perspective of the landowners, the fregueses would sell (or consume directly) what they
produced, and buy what they needed from the same medium-the stores that landowners maintained in
Gurupa. The people in Jocoj6 recognized the "ownership" of the land by the storeowner, and they were also
aware of the risk of eviction whenever their patrons would catch them trading away a portion of their
produce. Nonetheless, they resisted. They would go to Gurupa after dark to sell manioc flour to other
stores, or they would cross the Amazon, or still go upriver to trading posts to sell and buy at more fair
terms. Of course the patrons were aware of what was going on, but there was little that they could do,
considering the immensity of the area, to prevent these everyday forms of resistance (Scott 1984) practiced
by their clients under cover of night.









The Household

The households in Jocoj6 consumed mostly that which family labor produced-

based on a division of labor between sexes-mainly through shifting cultivation centered

on manioc.23 Apparently, the continuity of their lifeways-basically the reproduction of

their patterns of consumption and cultural values and forms-was their aim. Goods were

produced primarily for household consumption, and each household controlled its own

productive activities, combining subsistence agriculture,24 fishing, hunting, and gathering

with a variety of petty forms of market involvement. The bulk of trade was done with the

patrons/storeowners in Gurupa, but manioc flour and forest products were also traded

with small river traders, the regat6es, for large-salted fish, brown sugar, honey, and palm

thatch to cover houses.

Occasionally, both in the dry and in the rainy season, some members of the

households, often the household heads and/or their eldest sons, would engage in

"disguised wage labor," (Velho 1982:42) tapping rubber or gathering Brazil nut in the

Island region or in distant forests, and returning "only in October in time to finish

clearing the garden sites and to plant their gardens before the heavy rains begin" (Wagley

1964:71). Temporary work was a major concern of all households, because subsistence

agriculture was financed out of the saldo25 received in the end of the collecting season.


23 observed the same division of agricultural tasks noted by Wagley in 1948 during his fieldwork in
Jocoj6. As he wrote, families worked together in their manioc fields. The clearing of fields, the burning and
the coivara pillingg up the brush and digging up the roots after burning the field), were mostly male tasks.
Women would always take responsibility for weeding their rocas, with the help of other women in the vila.
More often than not, husband and wife shared the burden of planting, harvesting tubers and processing
manioc flour (Wagley 1964:69).
24 "Subsistence agriculture" implies agriculture for use and for exchange-the manner through which
peasants purchase subsistence goods (Roseberry 1976:56).

25 The positive balance paid by the patrons to their 'workers' after expenses with food and equipment
provided to them during the collecting season were deducted.









Traders would buy their farinha, but, as old Adelino said, "no patron ever advanced

household necessities, much less cash, for the production of farinha." Adelino was also

emphatic about the importance of the saldo to sustain the households' participation in the

community's ceremonial life.

The earnings of the family labor were pooled and controlled by the head of the

household, under whose authority all the family worked. He was the coordinator of the

work force and the decision-maker concerning production and consumption-all the goods

that the family used-according to the reproductive necessities of the household. Talking

about their natal family, the Flores, a group of middle-aged male siblings in Jocoj6,

remembered the drastic changes in their domestic life brought about by their father's

death,

The whole lot of the family changes .. everything collapses. When the strength of
the front is lacking when we lose the leader of our workforce, we become just
like a canoe iiunlt a keel and we miss the head of our work ... we miss him
very much! (Interview in June 2002)

Labor Mobilization and Internal Differentiation

Although there were gender and age-identified tasks, the division of family labor

was not rigid among roceiros in Jocoj6, and the parental couple in the household usually

bore together the "pains" of agricultural activities. But despite the strong-though never

explicitly acknowledged in the people's discourse-ideal of household autonomy and self-

sufficiency, extrahousehold labor was often required at times of labor-intensive

agricultural tasks, such as clearing sites for manioc gardens and weeding. In such a small

neighborhood, labor was recruited within and beyond the circles of close kin through

various kinds of reciprocal arrangements, based on dyadic relations between









compadres,26 comadres (co-mothers) and/or neighbors. The direct exchange of labor,

locally called troca-de-dia (literally, exchange of day) was the most common type of

mutual aid between the poorer residents, whereas hired labor was the preferred way of

obtaining extrafamily aid by the wealthier roceiros. Here labor was often paid in kind,

usually payment of part of the harvest for labor and/or permission to process their

manivas at the host's casa de farinha. Ordinarily, the well-to-do roceiros were the most

important source of aid and sustenance to poor residents outside the household.

Fatherless at the age of 10, Georgia, a 75-year-old woman, talked of the story of her life

and her work:

My father died before I was 10 years old. Two years later my mother died too. At
the time, my three sisters and I were under fifteen years of age, and Greg6rio, our
brother, was still a child. The judge in Gurupa had decided to give us away. Each
child would be given to a different family in Gurupa and in other localities nearby.
But fortunately uncle Adelino and his family had returned from the seringais in the
Jari region soon right after my mother's funeral. So we sought shelter ... we asked
to live with him. That's how we got rid of the judge's cruel decision. When my
mother was alive, we had our garden sites cleared and then, without any extra help,
we planted, weeded, and sold manioc flour. When we needed a little extra money to
make repairs on our house, to buy clothes ... we collected timb6. On occasion, we
participated in the "convites" of Jodo Povo, a man who cultivated large manioc
fields on the headwaters of the Jocoj6 River. When my mother died, the manivas in
our little garden had just matured. That's how we paid for her funeral. From the
tubers, we manufactured manioc flour to sell. After her death, Rui Marzagao, who
had a trading post at the mouth of the Igarape Monituba, offered to hire my sisters
and I to work at his sitio (we promptly accepted, because, of course, we couldn't
eat at the expense of uncle Adelino). The old man, Rui Marzagao, had all sorts of
fruit trees in that sitio, and frequently hired the "mulherada" (women) to clear away
the underbrush. We were paid by the task then. When we would finish the job, he
would measure the area we had cleared in order to make our payment. Sometimes
we traded our labor for the goods he sold at his post; but occasionally we were paid
in cash. (Interview in July 2002)

The convite, as the cooperative work parties were locally called, was another local

cultural form of actualizing the interdependence between households in the

26 Co-fathers, the relation between the father of the child and the godparents in the compadrazgo system.









neighborhood. On such occasions, the host of the work party "animated" his guests with

large quantities of food and drink, and eventually reciprocated the work he had received

with a similar amount of physical work. Georgia and other elders in the community

insisted that whoever hosted a convite had to return the labor received, irrespective of the

person's socioeconomic status. But because of the very expenses involved, only rarely

the well off roceiros in the neighborhood incurred such labor obligation. In my chats with

the elderly, the convites of the most advantaged roceiros in the vila were frequently

mentioned, the zest with which the man cleared new plots, and women weeded "this

many tarefas" each time they participated in these events. Definitely, these men were

more successful than their less well off neighbors in putting together this important

extrafamily aid.

As mentioned, the households in Jocoj6 were characterized by a pragmatic "multi-

occupationality," but they were relatively homogeneous in the form, that is to say, every

household maintained a similar "mix" of productive activities, taking advantage of

opportunities whenever a new one would arise. The wealth differences among households

were not based upon their differing commitments to agriculture, extraction of forest

products, and temporary, or still permanent migration of families or individuals with the

preservation of economic ties to the neighborhood. For the most part, economic

differences among households were quantitative. They were expressed in variations in the

amount of labor and land controlled by each household. Households with grown-up,

unmarried children had substantial amounts of labor available. Land ownership, in turn,

was also related to the labor composition of the household. As in other communities of

riverine peasant people in Amazonia, in Jocoj6, it was the continuous use of land and









resources that characterized "ownership." Hence, the households that had more labor

available controlled a greater amount of land than the households headed by a younger

man without a significant pool of young labor, especially male labor (cf Lima 1992:141-

144, 212; 1997:2; Harris 2000:63, 151-152; Chibnik 1994:138).

Thus, socioeconomic differentiation was a function of the households' place in the

developmental cycle-it reflected the changing labor composition of the households over

their life cycles. But it would not be true to assume that the affluence of households was

short-, not long-lived, as Lima (1997:3) Chibnik(1994:138) and Harris (2000:64) suggest

in their ethnographic studies of other riverine peasant groups in Amazonia. From my

conversations with the elderly residents, and from Wagley's (1964) and Galvdo's (1955)

comments about the social relationships among roceiro families in Jocoj6, it became

evident that, by 1948, there already was a crystallization of socioeconomic differences

between a small group of prestigious and better-off and a majority of poorer roceiro

families in the neighborhood, i.e., between cultivators of large and cultivators of small

manioc fields. Second and most important, the wealthiest families in the vila had

apparently been able to circumvent the limitations posed by the development of the

family units-the "demographic differentiation"(Chayanov 1966) noted by Lima, Harris

and Chibnik-through social mechanisms that resulted in the reproduction of their

privileged circumstances over time. What is more, this internal differentiation played a

critical role in the social reproduction of the peasant group.

In her study of the relationship between kinship and the agricultural labor

organization in Nogueira, an upland forest community in the middle Solim6es River area,

Lima (1997) argues that the system of agricultural production coupled with the definition









of land ownership by labor investment reflect a corporate and egalitarian ideology in

which all members of the community have equal rights to access to the main means of

production. In addition, she argues that the limiting of land ownership to actual use

(usufruct rights) precludes the "freezing" of the internal differentiation, and hence the

tendency of polarization of the peasant group towards economic classes (Lima 1997:3).

Elaborating on Lima's proposition, in his Life on the Amazon, Harris (2000) indicates

additional sources from which economic and political differentiation derive, other than

access to labor and amount of land-ownership of materials (boats, fishing nets, etc.) and

animals (cattle and other animals), and different family histories-and, similarly to Lima,

claims that economic differentiation should not be exaggerated because of the nature of

the developmental cycle of the households, and because of "the density and proximity of

kinspeople [that] somewhat diffuses the economic divisions between families" (2000:65).

The great importance attached to sharing and giving in Paru, the Amazon floodplain

village he studied, and the changes in size and composition over the households' life

cycle, account for the "tendency against concentration of resources that would lead to a

split between richer and poorer residents" (2000:65). Concluding his comments on inter-

communal differentiation, Harris stresses: "differentiation is as much a product of kinship

processes (e.g. household formation cycles, senior authority over junior kinspeople's

labor) as a product of the economic factors." Furthermore, he argues that the egalitarian

sense of collectivity people in Paru feel "also arises out of the recognition of being in the

same political position vis-a-vis their interaction with powerful outsiders, such as bosses

and traders" (2000:65).









As I wish to demonstrate in the next section, the social system in Jocoj6 was

marked by clear hierarchies of economic advantage that divided householders in the

neighborhood, and the less well off roceiros recognized their differential access to

powerful outsiders. I believe the term equalitariann", as employed by Cohen (1982) in his

ethnography of the locality of Whalsay in rural Britain, reflects more closely the social

relations within the social unit of Jocoj6. By equalitariann" the anthropologist means "the

intentional masking or muting of social differentiation, rather than belief in equality as a

moral principle (egalitarianism)" (1982:17).

As in Pari, in Jocoj6, family history was an important factor affecting the social

and economic position of households. The most affluent family in the vila, the Povos,

descended from a man who had been recruited by the army to fight the war against the

Paraguayans. He was given legal titles to land by way of compensation for his

participation in the war from the beginning to the last moments of the conflict. The

second most affluent family, the Marzagdos, whose members lived along the Igarape

Monituba and at the mouth of the Jocoj6 River, was also regarded by the other families in

the vila as "owner" of large tracts of land bordering the Amazon. The family had deeds of

possession dating back to the late nineteenth century. This group of close kin descended

from a government official in Gurupa, who had fallen for the daughter of a couple of

fugitive slaves from Jocoj6, and therefore spent most of his life in the neighborhood,

leaving title to this long strip of land to the sons and daughters of his informal union. But,

as already observed, control of the few large and apparently more fertile tracts of land

could not account for wealth differences in the absence of labor. In addition to land, what

these two important families seem to have accumulated through their extraordinary










connections with the outer world were productive instruments-for example, griddles for

their casas de farinha and large canoes bought in faraway Santarem. Labor availability,

then, was a consequence of these advantages, since other families in the vila could not

afford the expensive materials necessary to process manioc flour.27

Different from Paru, however, in the case of Jocoj6, it can be argued that the reason

why clear-cut economic divisions did not persist, or even the development of intravillage

differentiation towards the emergence of a group of petty traders and another of near-

landless laborers did not occur, lies primarily in the "capitalist environment," more

precisely, it lies in the form of penetration of capital into the Amazon estuary and the way

households were engaged by capitalist enterprises as they entered Amazonia to extract

raw materials. I will return to this proposition in the final section of this chapter. For now

I will concentrate on the social relationships of the most advantaged roceiro households

within and outside the neighborhood. First, I will briefly comment on their relationships

with the patrons in Gurupa. Then I will concentrate on their relationships with the least

advantaged households during the period examined in this section, 1912-1965-basically


27 As these two cases demonstrate, the notion of "private property" was not alien to the people in Jocoj6.
But it existed alongside of the ideas of "communally owned" forest lands, backwater lagoons and streams,
and "individualized family plots," completing one another according to the principles that define the
peasant economic model (cf. Almeida 1988:186-187). As Almeida noted in his study of the different
systems of common usufruct rights to land historically engendered by peasant groups in Brazil, mainly
peasant groups living in areas of old colonization in the country, "in these systems of social relations, the
notion of private property is marked by reciprocity ties and by a multiplicity of mutual obligations between
kin groups and neighbors"(1988:187). An interesting example from Jocoj6 illustrates his point.

At their casa de farinha, the Flores brothers narrated the story of the occupation of their centro in the late
1940s:

When our father decided to open new gardens on this forested edge of terra fire, he asked the owner of
this land for his permission. The old man said to my father that he could use the land for as long as he
needed. When the old man died, my father asked his son if we could continue clearing the fallows for new
fields of manioc in this area. The man kept his father's word. He graciously allowed us to continue farming
here. Then he died, and his children never reclaimed this land, and we continue using it each year we open
our roqas in the areas our father left to fallow. (Interview in June 2002)










relationships concerning the mobilization of labor, which allowed for the continuity of

these well-to-do roceiros' economic and political privileged positions.

O "Tempo dos Patroes" (The "Time of the Patrons")

In my conversations with the elderly residents in Jocoj6, the past was always

referred to as a time of plenty, as opposed to the time of fieldwork, June-August of 2002,

when gardens were small, fish and game were scarce, fruit trees were seldom planted in

large quantities, and fruit hardly ever widely distributed among friends or neighbors in

the community. In their discourse, the idea of plenty was usually associated with existing

patron-client relations in the past, the opportunities offered by the aviamento system that

characterized them, and the advances of merchandise on credit in particular. The "time of

the patrons," as the idea of "plenty" was articulated in their speech, was a time in which

"tinha tudo avortado [sic]" (the peoples' needs were met with less difficulty than at

present times, or things were obtained in more than sufficient amounts). It seemed to me

that, in Jocoj6, as elsewhere in Brazil (cf. Garcia and Palmeira 2001:65-66),28 the people

experienced the waning of the patrons and the freedom from the constraints imposed by

patronage with considerable suffering, not relief. Naturally, even if we take into account

the reality of the post-1964 environmental degradation and deterioration, mainly the

28 In their note on the transformations in the Brazilian agrarian structure in the 20th century, Garcia and
Palmeira (2001) tell about the historical process that eventuated in drastic alterations in the traditional
forms of domination in rural areas of Brazil's Northeast and Center-South regions after 1950. Such
alterations were triggered by a combination of economic and sociopolitical factors, such as the unfavorable
evolution of commercial crops' prices in the international markets, and the promulgation of a new
legislation to regulate the labor market. The obligation to remunerate agricultural workers in cash payments
according to the "minimum wage" after 1963 resulted in the eviction of peasant families from the
latifundia. The peasants experienced the waning of the traditional forms of labor recruitment, which were
based on the practice of granting peasants the use of parcels of land to cultivate crops for their subsistence,
as a loss, decadence. They expressed the consequent decline of their material conditions as the "times when
the patrons became stingy." These new times, when the peasant householders had to learn to manage their
family economies on their own, i.e., without the "protection" of the patrons, were contrasted with a past
when the patrons were "generous," though they obligated the peasants to work according to the plantation
interests and needs (2001:65).









depletion of fish stocks, and the actual impoverishment of the riverine peasants on the

Amazon estuary, these are undeniably idealized representations of the past, especially

given the changes in the aviamento system following the breakdown of the rubber

industry in the first decade of the 1900s.29 Yet, despite any idealization of the past, the

sense of loss in the people's discourse was unequivocal.

As said earlier (note 19, above), when the connections of patrons in Gurupa with

export firms in the capital loosened, the patrons continued buying reduced amounts of

rubber in addition to Brazil nuts, timber-beams cut from valuable wood species on the

Amazon varzeas-timb6 vines, salted pirarucu, and andiroba and ucuuba seeds and oil, all

through the old aviamento system. Although their stocks and capacity to advance goods

on credit to their clients were indeed limited then, they managed to maintain near

monopoly over the commercialization of their clients' produce by means of traditional

practices and strategies to secure their personal loyalty and clientship, including displays

of liberality to the communities in the interior, such as straightforward sponsoring, or

contributing to the festivities to commemorate saints, and various forms of interpersonal

exchange, from granting aid to the heads of families in difficulties-those critical life

situations such as illnesses and death-to taking responsibility for the education of the

sons of their most loyal clients at boarding schools in the town or even in the capital. In

this way, as Bourdieu (1977, chapter 4) wrote, the objective truth of the transactions

between patrons and clients, which were certainly characterized by exploitation,30 was


29 Without international moneys and credit, the "casas aviadoras" (foreign export houses) ceased
operations, and independent regional firms-commercial elite who managed to accumulate capital during
the rubber boom-replaced them at the regional level. These regional firms, however, were only a token of
the powerful institution of aviamento trade relations during the rubber boom in Amazonia.

30 Here, I follow Roseberry's (1976) use of the concept "exploitation" in its widest sense "to refer to the
appropriation by nonproducers of a portion of the total product of direct producers" (1976:45). Patron-










disguised, transfigured, euphemized. Through these practices and diverse exhibitions of

their "symbolic capital"31-their reputation among, and collectively recognized

dependability with, clienteles throughout the all-encompassing exchange networks in the

interior they controlled-and particularly through the creation of personal bonds with

clients, including compadrazgo relations, patron-client relations were misrecognized;

they were viewed by the clients as relationships governed by the norms of reciprocity, not

dictated by the logic of economic interest (following Bourdieu, "economic" in the narrow

sense). Thus, I frequently heard in my conversations with the elderly that Mr. Oscar

Santos was a "good patron." Santos was the brother-in-law and successor of Liberato

Borralho, the most important patron and landowner in Gurupa in the first half of the 20th

century. "' Seu' Oscar era muito bom patrdo, ele era um home de fazer muita eqiidade

com os pobres,"32 in chorus, old Adelino and Greg6rio repeated to me. Such

misrecognition, added to the actual impoverishment of the roceiros, mainly in the last two

decades of the 1900s, accounts for the people's idealized representations of the "time of









client relations were exploitative in nature, because the patrons controlled the terms of trade, buying their
clients' agricultural produce cheap and selling them basic supplies dear.

31 In his "theory of practice", Bourdieu (1977) argues that the relation between symbolic and economic
(material) capital is of interconvertibility, i.e., ultimately, one form of capital can be "cashed in" for
another, or, as he puts it, "the exhibition of symbolic capital (which is always very expensive in economic
terms) is one of the mechanisms which (no doubt universally) makes capital go to capital" (1977:181).
Symbolic capital accrues from material capital, it is "a transformed and thereby disguised form of physical
'economic capital' [that] produces its proper effect inasmuch, and only inasmuch, as it conceals the fact
that it originates in 'material' forms of capital which are also, in the last analysis, the source of its effects
(1977:183).

32 Mr. Oscar was a good patron; he would always deal fairly and equitably with the poor.










the patrons," a time in which the people in the communities had at least these ambiguous

mediators trading their product for the market.33

Although all households in Jocoj6 produced agricultural and extractive goods for

the market, and even if the smallest roceiro could participate in the exchanges of the

market without the mediation of their wealthier neighbors, access to the patrons in

Gurupa, and thereby increased participation in the larger economic system was mostly a

province of the well-to-do roceiros in the locality. Wagley (1964) insightfully depicts the

relationship of "Lobato" (Liberato Borralho) with Joao Povo, the patriarch of an

advantaged family in Jocoj6, at the close of the 1940s:

Co-fathers and co-mothers who are steady customers at the Casa Gato [Borralho's
store] are well remembered by Dona Dora [Borralho's wife]. When they come to


33 Talking about the natural limits between Jocoj6 and the neighboring community of Maria Ribeira, briefly
and powerfully, Armando Ruiz described the complex mixture of orientations underlying the relationships
between patrons and fregueses in rural Guruph:

Nowadays, nobody here crosses the Jocoj6 River to collect timb6 on the communal forest lands of
"Maria Ribeira," but, in the past, Joio Povo used to collect timb6 on those forests, because Liberato
Borralho, the patron who owned the lands where Maria Ribeira is located, favored Joio Povo, my
father. In reality, Joio Povo's uncle owned those lands, but the old man died. He left his son, Jesuino
Povo, planting on his fallows. But Jesuino had this disease, and his debt increased considerably ...
he had to buy the despesinha of his family; he had to maintain his family ... buy his medicines. ....
So, he had to penhorar a terra (he had to grant Borralho the usufruct of his land for the duration of
the loan. i.e. until he paid off his debt). Later he died, and his family couldn't work hard enough to
pay Borralho that huge debt. But even if he hadn't died, you know ... he would have lost the land
anyway... he wouldn't have the means to pay off that debt. That's how many localities here ended
up in the hands of the rich. Those ricaqos ["ago" is an augmentative affix, "ricaco" means very rich,
literally; here it refers to the powerful patrons/storeowners] took hold of the land of so many families
in this area by means of this thing they call by the name of "penhora" (conveyance)!

Ant6nio broke the silence and added, "They were maranhenses (born in the State of Maranhio), Borralho
and Oscar Santos." Thinking I was concluding his words, I said to myself-maranhenses and greedy, crafty!
As if reading my thoughts, and perhaps to remind me that his ways and values were different from mine,
Armando immediately replied:

Ah! But they were a nossa valtncia [our only source of support] ... Gurupa had a very weak
commerce at that time. Borralho and Oscar were practically the only patrons there that had the
merchandise we needed (the household necessities that they obtained through sales of their own
goods or labor) .. and they used to give us work service pelo mato [literally, service in the
forests, here the phrase means work at extracting of forest products], you know ... all the timb6 they
would buy, the latex, the milk from massaranduba trees ... (Interview in July, 2003)