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Via Campesina

La Via Campesina declaration on migration and rural workers

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By La Via Campesina, World Social Forum, Tunis 2015

March 25-28, 2015 -- La Via Campesina, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The migration of peoples across arbitrary barriers is an integral part of human history. Rooted in the search for better living conditions, this movement of peoples from one place to another was later transformed into a social, economic and political process that has largely served to benefit ruling elites -- the slave traders of the past and the multinationals of the present. Today, as capital demands exceptional freedoms for itself -- combined with greater restrictions on the poor -- wars, social exclusion, economic injustice and the global climate crisis are forcing millions of human beings to seek refuge across internationally imposed boundaries.

Challenging the globalisation of indifference: Pope Francis meets with popular movements

The author, Judith Marshall, meets Pope Francis.

By Judith Marshall

November 21, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I have recently returned from three fascinating days in Rome where I participated in a World Meeting of Popular Movements. This event brought to the Vatican a throng of articulate delegates from among the poor and excluded of the 21st Century, people fighting for land, for housing, for work and for dignity. Pope Francis was a central force in creating this gathering in Rome. Our meeting with him in the Old Synod Hall of the Basilica was a high point.

The meeting brought together 150 delegates. Thirty of them were Bishops from various parts of the world whose ministries include strong accompaniment and support for movements of the poor. The other 120 came from various popular movements working on the thematic issues of the meeting – Terra, Labor, Domus. Men and women fighting for land, work and housing were present from every continent. In a statement from the organisers, the logic was clear.

The myth of ‘environmental catastrophism’

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared.]

By Ian Angus

September 2013 -- Monthly Review -- Between October 2010 and April 2012, over 250,000 people, including 133,000 children under five, died of hunger caused by drought in Somalia. Millions more survived only because they received food aid. Scientists at the UK Met Centre have shown that human-induced climate change made this catastrophe much worse than it would otherwise have been.1

This is only the beginning: the United Nations’ 2013 Human Development Report says that without coordinated global action to avert environmental disasters, especially global warming, the number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3 billion by 2050.2 Untold numbers of children will die, killed by climate change.

South Africa: Harvesting discontent -- farmworkers rebel; Stop rural slavery! Respect the farmworkers!

This elderly couple has been forced to live for years in this former outhouse (toilet) on a farm near Rawsonville. The husband worked on the farm for approximately 20 years until 2010, when he stopped working due to ill health. ©2011 Marcus Bleasdale/VII for Human Rights Watch.

By Mercia Andrews

January 13, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The protests and mobilisation that started in the small town of De Doorns on November 6, 2012, galvanised the anger of farm dwellers against decades of discontent at extreme exploitation and oppression that persist on farms, in rural towns and South Africa's agricultural sector.

Small farmers, Indigenous peoples condemn Doha climate talks: 'Governments produce blank pages for planet’s future'

Trade unionists joined a march in Doha for action on climate change to demand improved human rights for migrant workers. Photograph: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images.

Statement by the international peasant movement La Via Campesina,

December 7, 2012 – As the climate negotiations come to a close, the industrialised countries insist on inaction for the next decade, finding even more ways to escape their historical responsibility, create more carbon markets including one on agriculture and to keep business as usual of burning the planet.

While governments continue to prioritise the interests of industry and agribusiness, peasant farmers continue producing to feed the world’s people and the planet.

Nature’s matrix: Linking agriculture, conservation and food sovereignty

Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty
By Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, and Angus Wright
Earthscan, 2009

Review by Ian Angus

October 17, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In any discussion of biodiversity and species extinction, someone usually insists that overpopulation is the problem. More people equals more farms equals less wilderness equals more extinctions. Life is a zero-sum game: you can have people and farming OR wildlife and biodiversity, but not both.

Rio+20: Farmers, Indigenous peoples mobilise against green capitalism and the privatisation of nature

Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20.

The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.

Raj Patel: Feeding 10 billion (audio)

January 11, 2012 -- In a Saskatoon lecture, writer and activist Raj Patel argues that the only way to feed everyone is to completely rethink agriculture and empower women. He outlines the history of the "Green Revolution" and how it was based on attempts to defeat "communism", control population and spread the market system. The lecture was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Ideas program.

Climate talks: 'Social movements must unite to cool the planet' -- 'Disastrous' Durban failure condemned

"Developed countries, led by the United States, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action.  And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

Indigenous peoples condemn climate talks fiasco and demand moratorium on REDD+

By the Global Justice Ecology Project

La Via Campesina: 'No deal better than a bad deal that condemns humanity to climate catastrophe'

 

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Assembly of the Oppressed, December 5, 2011, Durban, South Africa

As the Assembly of the Oppressed we are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neoliberal capitalist system. The fight against climate change is a fight against neoliberal capitalism, landlessness, dispossession, hunger, poverty and the re-colonisation of the territories of the people’s of Africa and the global South. We are here to declare that direct action is the only weapon of the oppressed people of the world to end all forms of oppression in the world.

We are here in Durban, South Africa, where the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties [COP17] is taking place and are discussing false solutions to the climate crisis. And we can see that the future of Mother Earth and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their responsibility and erase history.

#OccupyCOP17, Durban climate talks: African and Indigenous voices for real climate justice, not false solutions

About 50 protesters held a pre-COP17 action on November 25, chanting "Phansi [down with] CDMs, phansi!" In the background is the World Cup white elephant, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, a few kilometres north of the extremely well-guarded International Convention Centre.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

#OccupyCop17: Climate justice general assembly

Below is the call for a general assembly from www.occupycop17.org.

(Updated April 1) Left statements on Libya: Stop the bombing, victory to the Arab revolution

March 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of statements on the situation in Libya issued by left parties and organisations around the world following the start of the US-led bombing campaign. Statements include those by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt),  Via Campesina, Socialist Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Fourth International, France's New Anti-Capitalist Party, the South African Communist Party, Focus on the Global South, Sinistra Critica (Critical Left, Italy), Portugal's Left Bloc, Brazil's PSOL. There is also a statement signed by 58 communist and workers' parties. More will be posted as they come to hand. See also statements by Socialist Alliance (Australia), the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the New Zealand Greens.

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Cuba: The Campesino-to-Campesino agroecology movement: sustainable peasant agriculture and food sovereignty

The following article was recommended by Raj Patel. Patel writes:

Want to know what a sustainable climate-change-proof agricultural system might look like? Here’s an example from Cuba, in an academic paper written by my friend, comrade and former boss, Peter Rosset, together with folk from Cuba’s peasant agriculture movement. The article’s free to download (for now), but the key parts from the abstract are:

Our key findings are (i) the spread of agroecology was rapid and successful largely due to the social process methodology and social movement dynamics, (ii) farming practices evolved over time and contributed to significantly increased relative and absolute production by the peasant sector, and (iii) those practices resulted in additional benefits including resilience to climate change.

The futility of green capitalism: Interview with Daniel Tanuro

Interview with Daniel Tanuro, translated by Richard Fidler

January 17, 2011 -- Climate & Capitalism -- Daniel Tanuro’s new book, L’impossible capitalisme vert,or “The Futility of Green Capitalism”, is a major contribution to our analytical understanding of ecosocialism. Tanuro, a Belgian Marxist and certified agriculturist, is a prolific author on environmental history and policies.

Addressed primarily to the Green milieu, as the title indicates, this book is a powerful refutation of the major proposals advanced to resolve the climate crisis that fail to challenge the profit drive and accumulation dynamic of capital. Much of the book appears to be a substantially expanded update of a report by Tanuro adopted in 2009 by the leadership of the Fourth International as a basis for international discussion. That report was translated by Ian Angus and included in his anthology The Global Fight for Climate Justice.

Venezuela: Food sovereignty project launched

Food Sovereignty Venezuela -- Jose, a campesina leader from one of Venezuela's most prominent campesina organisations, the Ezequiel Zamora National Campesino Front (FNCEZ) tells of his work with campesinos in Portegeusa State. He describes life and land ownership possibilities before and after the revolution and the some of the surprises that are revealed in his ongoing quest of helping the poor reclaim their land. Special thanks to the great translations of Venezuelan activist Yasmin Tovar and the  stunning background music of Ali Primera, renowned Venezuelan singer of revolutionary tales.

By Lisa Macdonald

Honduras: Resistance front calls for boycott of the military-business dictatorship; Global day of action called for August 11

Photo by  James Rodríguez.

Call from the National Front against the Coup d'Etat in Honduras to the worldwide working class 

August 3, 2009 -- Tegucigalpa -- June 28 of the this year when the Honduran population was preparing to participate in a popular opinion poll on ... whether or not to convoke a Constitutional Assembly, thousands of soldiers kidnapped the constitutional president of the republic, Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and they expelled him to the neighbouring country of Costa Rica; they occupied the Presidential House; they violently closed all of the independent radio and television stations; they persecuted all the functionaries of the government and they implanted a state of siege in the whole country.

Honduras: (Updated July 3) Solidarity and left movements condemn coup, demand elected president be returned to power

Solidarity protest in Sydney, Australia, July 1, 2009. Photos by Peter Boyle.

Below are just some of the statements released by solidarity groups, left parties and governments, and international organisations demanding the return to power of Honduras' elected presidet Manuel Zelaya. They have been compiled by Australia's Green Left Weekly.To view the complete list, click HERE.

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Statement by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN)

World farmers’ alliance Vía Campesina challenges food profiteers (excerpt from new pamphlet)

The following review is an excerpt from a new pamphlet, La Vía Campesina: Farmers North and South Confront Agribusiness, by John Riddell and Adriana Paz, published by Socialist Voice in Canada. To download the pamphlet, please click HERE.

More on Via Campasina.

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Review by John Riddell

La Vía Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants by Annette Aurélie Desmarais. Fernwood Publishing, 2007.

May 31, 2009 -- The neoliberal assault that has driven labour into retreat over the last two decades has also sparked the emergence of a peasants’ international, La Vía Campesina. Based in 56 countries across five continents, this alliance has mounted a sustained and spirited defence of peasant cultivation, community and control of food production.

Annette Desmarais’s book on La Vía Campesina has given us a probing and perceptive account of the world peasant movement’s origins, outlook and activities. (”La Vía Campesina” means “Peasant Path” or “Peasant Way”. See “Peasants or Farmers?” at the end of this article.)

Food sovereignty: Accelerating into disaster -- when banks manage the food crisis

January 26, 2009 -- Against the dramatic background of a profound global food and general economic crisis the Spanish government organised the “High Level Ministerial Meeting on Food Security for All” on the January 26-27, 2009, in Madrid.

The emergency of today is rooted in decades of neoliberal policies that dismantled the international institutional architecture for food and agriculture and undermined the capacity of national governments to protect their food producers and consumers. The central cause of the current food crisis is the relentless promotion of the interests of large industrial corporations and the international trade that they control, to the detriment of food production at the local and national levels and the needs and interests of local food producers and communities. At the World Food Summit in 1996, when there were an estimated 830 million hungry people, governments pledged to halve the number by 2015. Today, in the midst of a terrible food crisis, the figure of hungry people has risen to well beyond 1 billion.

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