Last June the fifth international conference of the international peasants movement La Via Campesina took place in Indonesia. ASEED didn’t take part. To busy, to expensive and to much polluting travelling. But we do support Via Campesina and it’s goals. Below you find the empowering call that the participants agreed during that conference in Jakarta.(Jakarta, June 12, 2013) We, La Vía Campesina, call rural and urban organizations and social movements to transform and build a new society based on food sovereignty and justice. We gather here strengthened by the spirit of our friends and leaders and all those whose courage and commitment to our struggle inspires us. La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement gathers more than 200 million peasants, small-scale producers, landless, women, youth, indigenous, migrants, and farm and food workers, from 183 organizations and 88 countries. We are in here in Asia home to the majority of the world’s peasants to celebrate our first two decades of struggles.
Coming together in Mons (Belgium) in 1993 and articulating our radical vision of food sovereignty in Tlaxcala (Mexico) in 1996, we have succeeded in repositioning peasant and family farmers (men and women) as a central social actor in the processes of resisting the neo-liberal trade agenda and constructing alternatives. As people of the land we are vital actors not only in the construction of a distinct agricultural model, but also in building a fair, diverse and egalitarian world. We feed humanity and care for nature. Future generations depend on us to protect the earth.
Today, more than ever another world is necessary. The destruction of our world, through overexploitation and dispossession of people and the appropriation of natural resources is resulting in the current climate crisis and deep inequalities which endanger human kind and life itself. La Vía Campesina says a resounding NO to this corporate-driven destruction.
We are building new relationships between human beings and nature based on solidarity, cooperation and complementarity. At the heart of our struggle is an ethic of life. La Vía Campesina is committed to giving visibility to all of the local struggles around the world, ensuring that these are understood from international perspectives and integrated into a global movement for food sovereignty, social change and self-determination for the peoples of the world.
We call on our organisations, allies, friends, and all those committed to a better future to reject the ‘green economy’ and build food sovereignty.
OUR WAY FORWARD
Food sovereignty now – transforming our world
Food sovereignty is a key part of the fight for social justice bringing together many sectors from the countryside and the city. Food sovereignty is the fundamental right of all peoples, nations and states to control food and agricultural systems and policies, ensuring every one has adequate, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food. This requires the right to define and control our methods of production, transformation, distribution both at the local and international levels.
During the last two decades our vision of food sovereignty has inspired a generation of activists engaged in social change. Our vision for our world encompasses an agricultural revolution as well as socio-economic and political transformation. Food sovereignty articulates the crucial importance of local and sustainable production, respect for human rights, fair food and agricultural prices, fair trade between countries, and the safeguarding of commons against privatization.
Today, we are facing a major crisis in our history, which is systemic. Food, labour, energy, economic, climate, ecological, ethical, social, political and institutional systems are collapsing in many parts of the world. The growing energy crisis in a context of fossil fuel depletion is being addressed with false solutions ranging from agrofuels to nuclear energy which are among the greatest threats to life on earth.
We reject capitalism, which is currently characterized by aggressive flows of financial and speculative capital into industrial agriculture, land and nature. This is generating huge land grabs and a brutal displacement of people from their land, destroying communities, cultures and ecosystems. It creates masses of economic migrants, climate refugees and unemployed, increasing existing inequalities.
Transnational corporations, in complicity with governments and international institutions, are imposing under the pretext of green economy GM monocultures, mega mining, dams and fracking projects, large tree and bio-fuel plantations, or the privatisation of our seas, rivers, lakes and forests. Food sovereignty wrests control over our commons back into the hands of the people.
Agroecology is our option for today and the future
Peasant agriculture, artisanal fisheries and herding remain the source of most of our food. Peasant agroecology is a social and ecological system encompassing a great diversity of technologies and practices that are culturally and geographically rooted. It removes dependencies on agro-toxins, reject confined industrial animal production, uses renewable energies, and guarantees healthy food. It enhances dignity, honours traditional knowledge and restores the health and integrity of the land. Food production in the future must be based on a growing number of people producing food in more resilient and diverse ways.
Agroecology defends biodiversity, cools down the planet and protects our soils. Our agricultural model not only can feed all of humanity but is also the way to stop the advance of the climate crisis through local production in harmony with our forests and waterways, enhancing diversity and returning organic matter to natural cycles.
Social and climate justice, and solidarity
As we build upon our geographical and cultural diversity our growing food sovereignty movement is reinforced by integrating social justice and equality. Practicing solidarity over competitiveness, rejecting patriarchy, racism, colonialism and imperialism, we struggle for participatory and democratic societies, free from the exploitation of children, women, men and nature.
We demand climate justice now. Those who are suffering most are not those who generate climatic and environmental chaos. The drivers of capitalist growth through the false solutions of the green economy are worsening the situation. Therefore, ecological and climate debt must be rectified. We demand the immediate stop to carbon market mechanisms, geo-engineering, REDD, and agro-fuels.
We will keep fighting permanently against transnational corporations, by among other actions, boycotting their products and refusing to cooperate with their exploitative practices. Free trade and investment agreements have created conditions of extreme vulnerabilities and injustices for millions. The implementation of these agreements results in violence, further militarization and the criminalization of resistance. Another tragic outcome is the massive movement of peoples migrating to low-paid, insecure and unsafe jobs rife with human rights violations and discrimination. La Vía Campesina has succeeded in putting the rights of peasants on the agenda of the Human Rights Council and we call on national governments to realize these rights. Our struggle for human rights is at the heart of international solidarity and includes the rights and social protections of migrant farm and food workers.
A world without violence and discrimination against women
Our struggle is to build a society based on justice, equality and peace. We demand respect for all women’ rights. In rejecting capitalism, patriarchy, zenophobia, homophobia and discrimination based on race and ethnicity, we reaffirm our commitment to the total equality of women and men. This demands the end to all forms of violence against women, domestic, social and institutional in both rural and urban areas. Our Campaign against Violence towards Women is at the heart of our struggles.
Peace and demilitarization
There is an increase in conflicts and wars over appropriation, proliferation of military bases and criminalization of resistance. This violence is intrinsic to a deadly capitalist system based on domination, exploitation and pillage. We are committed to respect, dignity and peace.
We grieve and honour the hundreds of peasants who have been threatened, persecuted, incarcerated, and even killed in their struggles. We demand accountability and punishment for those who violate human rights and the rights of nature. We also demand the immediate release of political prisoners.
Land and territories
We demand a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform. This means ensuring full rights over land, recognizing indigenous peoples’ legal rights to their territories, guaranteeing fishing communities’ access and control of fishing areas and ecosystems, and recognising pastoral migratory routes. Only such reform ensures a future for young rural peoples.
A Comprehensive Agrarian Reform also includes a massive distribution of land as well as livelihood and productive resources to ensure permanent access to land for youth, women, the unemployed, the landless, displaced, and all those willing to engage in small-scale agroecological food production. Land is not a commodity. Existing laws and regulations need to be reinforced, while new ones are needed to protect against speculation and land grabbing. We continue to fight for land and territories.
Seeds, the commons and water
Seeds are at the heart of food sovereignty. Hundreds of organizations worldwide are joining with us to implement the principle of the Peoples’ Heritage Seeds Serving Humanity. Our challenge is now to continue keeping our living seeds in the hands of our communities, by multiplying seeds on our farms and territories. We continue to fight against the misappropriation of seeds through various forms of intellectual property and the contamination of stocks with GM technology. We oppose the distribution of technological packages combining GMO seeds with the massive use of pesticides.
We will continue to share seeds knowing that our knowledge, our science, our practice as guardians of seed diversity are crucial to adapting to climate change.
The cycles of life flow through water. Water is an essential part of ecosystems and all life. Water is a commons and therefore it must be protected.
Building on our strengths
Our strength is creating and maintaining unity through diversity. We present our vision which is inclusive, broadly-based, practical, radical and hopeful as an invitation to join us in transforming our societies and protecting Mother Earth.
- Popular mobilization, confrontation with the powerful, active resistance, internationalism and local grassroots engagement are necessary components for effecting social change.
- In our courageous struggles for food sovereignty we continue to build essential strategic alliances with social movements, including workers, urban organizations, immigrants, groups resisting mega-dams and the mining industry, among others.
- Our main tools are training, education and communication. We are exchanging our accumulated knowledge of the methods and content of cultural, political, ideological and technical training. We are multiplying our schools, educational experiences and communication instruments with our bases.
- We are committed to creating empowering spaces for rural youth. Our greatest hope for the future is the passion, energy and commitment articulated in the youth in our movement.
We go forward from this VI International Conference of La Vía Campesina, embracing new organizations, confident in our strengths and filled with hope for the future.
For the land and peoples’ food sovereignty in solidarity and struggle!