Declaration of the III Assembly of the Women of the Via Campesina

Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique on the occasion of the V International Conference of the Via Campesina we the women of the countryside from different continents have held our III Worldwide Assembly of Women.  We find ourselves surrounded by the happiness of sharing, the affection of our compañeras, the richness of our diverse cultures and the beauty of the  women of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

We are women with a history and common struggles for life, land and territory, food sovereignty, justice and dignity:  we are women who share knowledge and experiences, convinced that ideas, like seeds, grow and reproduce when they are exchanged.   We are women who have struggled against violence across history, fighters who continue to defend our territories and cultures from pillage, devastation and death perpetrated by those who have imposed their power since the time of colonialism, and today continue trying to colonize not only our territories but also our minds and our lives. As women, we reclaim the respect of all of our rights and reject the patriarchal system and all its discriminatory expressions.  We reaffirm the full exercise of citizen engagement.  We claim our right to a dignified life, respect for our sexual and reproductive rights, the immediate application of means to eradicate all forms of physical, sexual, verbal and psychological violence, as well as the elimination of the practice of female murder (feminicide) that still persists.

We denounce the fact that the process of migration, especially for women, is strongly related to impoverishment and social and gender violence in the countryside. Displacements of women toward centers of corporate production, the trafficking of women to support entertainment industries, and the expulsions of women from productive lands conspire against the permanence and maintenance of rural communities and against food sovereignty.

We reaffirm the fact that the denunciation of discrimination against women implies recognizing that although the patriarchal system and machismo have existed historically, the neo-liberal model deepens the conditions of discrimination and increases the situations of violence against women and girls in rural areas.  Moreover, the anti-neo-liberal struggle must be fought on a par with the struggle for gender equity, non-discrimination against women and the unceasing combat against all forms of violence in the countryside and in particular the domestic violence suffered by women.

We recognize that all women suffer discrimination; nevertheless not all women are discriminated against equally.  It is not the same thing being among the 20% richest or being poor; it is not the same being a worker or being a businesswoman; being young, adult or elderly; being white, black, mestizo or indigenous; being urban or rural.

Women suffer discrimination of class, gender, ethnicity, sex, aesthetics, among others.  This complexity is necessary to be assumed both as a political expression for the denunciation of discrimination, as well as from a perspective seeking a different kind of society, believing that if another world is possible, other kinds of gender relationships are also possible.

Under the neo-liberal model of globalization, the current international division of labor is also structured as a sexual division of labor.  Women are concentrated in sectors of internationalized production, such as in certain branches of agribusiness, in the maquilas of Mexico, Central America or Asia, and in the sexual tourism of the South.

In order to achieve food sovereignty as women of the Via Campesina we commit ourselves to struggle together to get comprehensive agrarian reform in order to eliminate all forms of violence generated by capitalist modes of production, and that have caused the global food crisis, climate change, the advance of monocultures, GMOs and agribusiness.

These forms of violence include:
•    Increased hunger and famine and grave mortal illness
•    Significant increase in poverty and an increase in the gap between rich and poor
•    Violations of human rights and political repression
•    Mercantilization and privatization of nature and traditional agricultural lands, leading to displacement and forced migration of Indigenous Peoples and family farmers
•    Privatization and contamination of water and air
•    Incessant extraction of minerals and the destruction, appropriation and concentration of productive lands
•    Dramatic loss of biodiversity and the destruction of forests
•    Destruction of traditional farming methods and knowledge
•    Unpredictable weather patterns that destroy crops
•    Loss of control of seeds by family farmers and their appropriation by transnational corporations, resulting in the loss of culturally appropriate foods, and
•    Basic food price increases, with no benefits to family farmers or peasants

Putting an end to these forms of violence that neo-liberal capitalism generates requires our effort and unity in struggle, and our commitment to the construction of a more just society.

The struggle against violence toward women begins in our hearts and consciences.  Let us unify our wills to build a rural world without violence, starting with the creation of a new woman and man.

The women of the VC will continue to build a rural world that is full of life, and is just, equitable and in solidarity, on the way to food sovereignty.  In this 3rd International Assembly of the women of VC we urge all members, from all parts of the world, both men and women, to join in this struggle.  For life and food sovereignty, stop the violence against rural women now!

Globalize Hope!

Globalize Struggle!

Maputo, October 2008