The urban poor may seize land to create homes, but land seizures both historically and today are primarily a strategy by struggling farmers and landless agricultural workers to enable them to cultivate the land. In Europe peasant seizure of land has often been part of a wider revolutionary upsurge, as in France in 1789, Russia 1905 and 1919, Italy 1919 and Spain in 1936-37, but today (unlike urban forms of resistance) is not central to Western protest movements. There is a particularly strong tradition in Latin America of peasant farmers seizing land (with varying degree of nonviolence or violence) from absentee or large landowners and planting crops on the land. Sometimes land seizures were retrospectively legalized by government laws or by sale of land, or even encouraged by leftist politicians, Peasant leagues in Colombia in the 1930s created an independent communist republic in the mountains based on land seized. In the 1950s and 1960s peasants seized land in Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela.
More recently the best known landless movement has been Movimento Sem Terra (MST) in Brazil, founded in 1984, but arising out of the rural and industrial militancy of the 1970s when there were many land seizures. It has continued to organize the landless and unemployed in taking over land from large landowners and multinationals and setting up cooperative farms, as well as organizing slum dwellers in large cities in the southeast, providing them with allotments. But hunger for land, and resistance to its use by large corporations, extends to other parts of Latin America (for example Honduras) and many countries in Africa and Asia.