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International Day of Peasant Struggles: Build Solidarity! Enough with the genocide, evictions and violence!

By staff - La Via Campesina, April 17, 2024

17 April 2024 – Today is the International Day of Peasant Struggles. A moment when we, La Via Campesina, commemorate the 28th anniversary of the El Dorado de Carajás Massacre in Brazil and denounce the impunity with which peasant and indigenous people are harassed, attacked and criminalized around the world. Every year, our movement dedicates this day to mobilize in support of the ongoing struggles of peasants, rural communities, indigenous groups, pastoralists, fisherfolk, migrants, and rural workers.

As a global peasant movement, we persistently denounce and resist various forms of oppression—genocides, wars, hunger, evictions, persecution, criminalization, and systemic violence—within a geopolitical landscape dominated by the advancing forces of imperialism, neocolonialism, and exploitative capitalism. Our efforts, that also found a full consensus at the recetly concluded 8th International Conference, encompass a diverse set of initiatives, including the UN Working Group to monitor the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, the efforts to broaden the global movement for Food Sovereignty by actively contributing towards the Nyéléni Global Forum for Food Sovereignty in 2025, a host of global solidarity campaigns, and our sustained advocacy for an alternative trade framework based on Food Sovereignty. These actions exemplify La Via Campesina’s response to the crisis-ridden context we confront.

On this International Day of Peasant Struggles, our member organizations worldwide are engaged in a myriad of activities. These include demonstrations of denunciation and solidarity, seed exchanges, planting of traditional crops, sale of agroecological products, conferences with other social movements, and various other actions. These efforts nourish global processes and propel collective demands for Food Sovereignty and social justice. Below is a succinct overview of the most notable struggles at the global level.

Chayuda Boonrod: “Dams are Just Good for the Capitalists”

By Chayuda Boonrod - Capire, April 5, 2024

Chayuda Boonrod is a member of the Assembly of the Poor (AoP), a grassroots organization based in Thailand that struggles for self-determination and right to resources with both rural and urban communities. Her participation in the struggle comes from her family, who is involved in the struggle for land in the country.

Chayuda shared with us aspects of the current political context of Thailand, and the struggle of AoP against dams’ impacts in the country. The Assembly of the Poor is active in the struggle against dams since it was formed, on September 10th, 1995. “I was born on the 31st, so I’m 21 days younger than the organization. Growing up, I saw my family, my aunts, and uncles, everyone that I know, engaging in one way or another with our organization and La Via Campesina” said Chayuda.

This interview was conducted during the 8th International Conference of La Via Campesina, held in December 2023 in Bogotá, Colombia. Together with La Via Campesina, AoP members have participated in activities both in the country and abroad. About this relationship between these two organizations, she adds: “We have many people from LVC coming to visit and study the communities”. Besides that, AoP hosted the LVC Asia Youth meeting, held on Oct 2022 in Surat Thani, Thailand. Read the full interview below.

At the FAO panel on Family Farms, La Via Campesina fiercely defends peasant farms

By Morgan Ody - La Via Campesina, January 24, 2024

In a passionate speech delivered at the Food and Agricultural Organization on January 23, 2024, Morgan Ody, the General Coordinator of La Via Campesina, put forth a fierce defense of the peasant way of life and the urgent necessity to defend peasant farming in the face of global crises.

Peasants at the frontline of the climate struggle share testimonies

By Jang Su-ji - La Via Campesina, January 10, 2024

Peasants around the globe find themselves at the forefront of the intensifying climate crisis, grappling with scorching droughts, heatwaves, torrential downpours, typhoons, and hailstorms. The adverse impacts of climate change is escalating rapidly, posing a direct threat to agriculture and food production worldwide. The 8th International Conference of La Via Campesina, held in Bogotá, Colombia, in December, provided a space for its members – small-holder farmers from more than 80 countries – to highlight the ongoing crises in their territories.

Chilean beekeepers, who spoke during the meeting, explained how they were among those who bore the brunt of this crisis. Extreme droughts had ignited forest fires, wreaking havoc on their livelihoods. In Turkey, according to peasant accounts, agricultural production plummeted by 50-60% in 2023 due to climate change effects, and the government’s responses, such as investing in solar panels on farmland and promoting electric vehicles, faced criticism for their inadequacy and unintended consequences – as they often came up on greenfield and fertile lands. In Sri Lanka, floods and droughts regularly disrupt farming, exacerbated by the government’s sale of natural resources to multinational corporations, leading to deforestation and hindering tea cultivation. Cambodian peasants explained how they grapple with the fallout of repeated typhoons, floods, and severe droughts, causing a 30% decline in agricultural production and forcing rural youth to migrate, jeopardizing food security.

Senegalese peasants also shared about their challenges. Fisherfolk and farmers are losing jobs due to flooding, prompting calls for international prosecution of transnational corporations responsible for climate impacts. Guatemalan peasants recounted how they are combating water resource depletion and forest loss, promoting agroecological farming to respond to climate change. Paraguayan peasants, facing deforestation and fires, are also advocating for agroecology as a solution. Those who came from Niger shared their experiences of severe food crises due to temperature increases, drought, and flooding, emphasizing the need to reduce carbon emissions and produce locally accessible agricultural products.

In Palestine, the combination of war and occupation accelerated climate change, diminishing agricultural production and food sovereignty. Palestinian peasants confront the accelerated impact of climate change under Israeli occupation, with olive trees being cut down, water resources seized, and high water prices imposed.

The Korean peasants who spoke at the Conference urged global unity against capitalist forces and multinational corporations to address the social and environmental aspects of the climate crisis. They also reflected on the global impact of the climate crisis, highlighting unpredictable losses for farmers and advocating against agrochemicals. This found echo among the French peasants who also called for international solidarity, prioritizing agroecology, and exposing false solutions and colonialist land grabs. Brazilian peasants who spoke at the event decried transnational corporations exploiting land and people, emphasizing the importance of concrete proposals and alternative solutions.

Congolese peasants asserted that the fight against climate change was a collective struggle, emphasizing biodiversity conservation and ecological agriculture for healthy food and planet protection. Honduran peasants stressed the importance of supporting agroecology schools and international aid to combat climate change. Peasants in the Dominican Republic emphasized the need to mobilize against neoliberal policies, capitalism, and imperialism in both rural and urban areas, advocating for large-scale campaigns to shift to ecological agriculture and achieve food sovereignty.

These testimonies of peasants worldwide revealed a shared struggle against the escalating climate crisis. From South America to Asia and Africa, the call for sustainable alternatives, such as agroecology, and the denouncement of inadequate responses and corporate exploitation echoed a united plea for global action to safeguard the future of agriculture and food production.

Declaration of the 1st International Meeting of Diversities and Supporters

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 18, 2023

From the 1st Meeting of Diversities in the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina, we, LVC peasants who identify ourselves as sexually and gender diverse, and our allies, want to celebrate the creation of this space. Here, we meet to exchange ideas, debate and reflect on a reality that drives us, as an international organization, to continue transforming the ways we relate to one another in order to end all the discrimination, prejudice and all forms of violence that gender non-conforming people experience.

We are certain that a new society free of all oppression on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, diverse abilities and class will only be possible when all the people who make up La Via Campesina can treat each other with respect, guaranteeing basic human rights, peasant rights, as well as the rights that have been historically denied to sexually and gender diverse persons and that aim at creating emancipated human relations.

We celebrate the diversity in our soil, waters, forests, farms, and territories. We celebrate our communities’ social and cultural diversity because it builds strength and resilience. As people who embody these diversities, we do not ask to be tolerated; this is not about pity or charity. This is about knowing that a socially diverse movement for agroecology and food sovereignty is a stronger movement and that the liberation of everyone is intertwined with the liberation of our societies.

Declaration of Solidarity and Commitment to the rights of Migrants and Refugees around the world

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 18, 2023

#18D23 On the International Day of Migrants and Refugees, La Via Campesina calls on states to ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families. LVC rejects the proposed EU agreement on migration and proposes a Global Solidarity Pact for the rights of migrants and refugees.

The situation of millions of migrant people and families around the world continues to worsen. Every day, the grabbing and plundering of resources and the destruction of local economies, mainly by transnational economic powers, in addition to wars, terrorism, and environmental and climate disasters, are increasing. All of this is made worse by global capitalism and colonialism, forcing people from their territories. Authoritarian governments and international institutions are complicit, putting in place a regulatory and military structure that stigmatizes, represses, and murders those who decide to migrate at the borders. Once they reach their destination, these people (many of whom are in the agricultural sector) suffer exploitation, discrimination, and racism. In economies that take advantage of migrant labor, such as Europe or the United States, and in countries through which migration passes, the segregation and oppression these people face are made worse by policies of hate and violence against the most vulnerable. This is promoted by the extreme right and fascism, playing into the political and economic power of those who already own our planet.

La Via Campesina includes many organizations of migrants and rural waged workers. The movement continues to demand the recognition and support of both the peasants who remain and fight in their territories and those who decide to migrate to improve their lives and their communities.

Peasant Youth Unveils Vision: 5th International Youth Assembly Declaration

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 16, 2023

We have on this land all of that which makes life worth living
On this land
The lady of our land
The mother of all beginnings
And the mother of all ends
She was called Palestine

Mahmoud Darwish

We, the young peasants, convened our 5th International Assembly of the Youth Articulation of La Vía Campesina in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 1, 2023. We started our gathering by centering our sense of belonging to the land that we come from. We reaffirmed our solidarity and shared all of our love with the people of Palestine and their longstanding struggle for liberation, especially in the current context of blatant genocide, violent occupation, and the siege of Gaza by Israel. We commit to continue amplifying the message of their struggles with our communities and the general public and engage in direct and ongoing actions in support of the Palestinian people.

We gathered to address and contemplate the profound crises gripping global agriculture and food systems while sharpening our strategies, actions and solutions . We engaged in vital discussions, sharing experiences and wisdom of our people, focusing on four critical themes: the crisis of generational continuity in agriculture, climate justice and agroecology, a critical analysis of new digital technologies, and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People working in Rural Areas from a youth perspective.

Committed to advancing collective visions and proposals rooted in solidarity, internationalism, and systemic transformation, we presented our consolidated ideas at the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina. Consequently, our 5th International Youth Assembly was a landmark event to reinvigorate our strategies and commitment to the movement. As we transition from one International Coordination Committee (ICC) youth member per continent to one ICC youth member per region we further strengthen and expand our active participation with commitment to inclusivity, balance, diversity and intergenerational exchange thus strengthening our work within and from our regions thus strengthening our work within and from our regions.

VIIIth International Conference, La Via Campesina: Bogotá Declaration

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 9, 2023

More than 400 delegates of La Via Campesina, representing 185 organizations and movements in 83 countries, together with allies, are gathered in Bogotá, Colombia to celebrate our 8th International Conference from the 1st to the 8th of December of 2023.

We, the peasants, rural workers, landless, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, forest dwellers, rural women, youth and diversities and other peoples who work in the countryside around the world and united within La Via Campesina, declare that “Faced with global crises, we build food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity!” towards a just and decent food system for all, recognizing peoples’ needs, respecting nature, putting people before profit and resisting corporate capture.

The 8th Conference is happening at a time when the Colombian social movements are celebrating a major political victory, the creation of an agrarian jurisdiction, and the constitutional recognition of peasants as political subjects with rights. Our participation in the monitoring and follow-up of the peace agreement in Colombia inspires us as peasants to continue building peace worldwide.

Historical Challenges for Peasant Movements around the World

By Joao Pedro Stedile - La Via Campesina, December 6, 2023

In these two days we did a collective exercise to diagnose the situation and now we are going to debate what to do for the next 5-10 years, so I wanted to ask for your attention to bring some reflections that can help systematize common elements around the world.

We have to make an effort to understand what the global issues are, as they confront us and affect everyone.

I am going to divide my reflection into 3 chapters:

Peasants from 81 countries around the world reflect on the past 30 years and look to the future

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 5, 2023

The International Peasants movement, La Via Campesina, opened its 8th International Conference on the 3rd of December in Bogotá, Colombia. Comprised of 182 farmers’ organizations from 81 countries, La Via Campesina holds its International Conference every four years, but the 8th was held six years after the 7th Conference held in Bilbao, Spain in 2017 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the opening of the plenary session, the Youth Assembly was held on the first day, and then the Women’s, Men Against Patriarchy, and Gender Diversity assemblies were held on the second day. The 8th International Conference is scheduled to run for eight days from December, 1 to 8.

From South Korea, Kim Jung-yeol, ICC member for La Via Campesina Southeast and East Asia, Yoon Geum-soon, former ICC member for Southeast and East Asia, Kwon Oh-hyun, Vice Chair of the Korean Peasants League (KPL), Yang Ok-hee, President of the Korean Women Peasants Association (KWPA), Lee Jun-kyu, secretary general of the Goesan KPL, and Kim Ji-young, secretary general of the Jeju Daejeong-eup KWPA are participating as delegates.

The 8th International Conference will mark the 30th anniversary of La Via Campesina, which was founded in 1993, and will focus on reflecting on its progress, sharing the experiences of peasants around the world in the face of climate change, war, and other threats, and outlining the activities of La Via Campesina’s affiliated farmer organizations around the world for the next four years. In particular, the Conference will consolidate the meaning of the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Peasants on December 17th, 2018, and will focus more on the need to strengthen international solidarity for the realization of peasants’ rights and the achievement of food sovereignty.

The opening ceremony, which took place on the 3rd of December, was led by the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations Council (CLOC), which played a key role in the preparation of the Conference. On that day, CLOC held a symbolic ceremony emphasizing solidarity, struggle, and unity, holding up signs on communication, agroecology, and land reform, and eliciting a response from the anticolonialist participants.

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