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17 April: International Day of Peasants’ Struggles Resist the commercialisation of nature – Stop land grabbing!

17 April 2013 @ 0 h 00 min BST

Call for mobilisation

The dramatic environmental, economic and social crises that we are currently observing have surprisingly not led to a complete change in the direction taken by most national and international elites. On the contrary, we are seeing an increased offensive by economic super-powers to grab all the resources still available to make a profit. Land has become a valuable commodity entering speculative trade, followed by water, seeds etc. This hyper-commercialisation of the commons leads to a massive dispossession of the people who are simply living on the land. Women and men farmers are particularly affected.

At the same time, resistance is blooming everywhere. All over the world, urban and rural communities hit by the same wave of privatisation and destruction of life are resisting against transnational companies which impose the rule of profit over the people’s needs and rights.

People’s resistance against GMOs has recently led to some victories: sustainable agroecological farming initiatives have developed in cities and in the countryside to feed local populations; thousands of people have protested against the absurdity of some “development projects” such as destructive mines, airports, shopping malls, or industrial plantations. Farmers and civil society groups have strongly opposed land grabbing everywhere…

The international peasants’ movement La Via Campesina has been defending and expanding the practice and policies of food sovereignty around the world for 20 years. To launch another 20 years of struggle, we are calling for a massive mobilisation day on 17 April, the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, to reclaim our food system which is being increasingly occupied by transnational capital. We invite everyone to organise activities, protests, art exhibitions, direct actions, discussions, film screenings, farmers markets etc., in your village, school, office, neighbourhood, organisation, community…

Wherever you are, join this collective celebration on 17 April!

  • Inform us about your plans by sending an email to viacampesina@viacampesina.org 
  • Subscribe to our special mailing list by sending a blank email to via.17april-subscribe@viacampesina.net 
  • Send us reports, pictures and videos of your action! We will publish them on the new Via Campesina TV channel. 
  • We will publish the map of actions around the world on www.viacampesina.org 
  • Join our Facebook event!

Origins of this Day of Action: On 17 April 1996, in Eldorado dos Carajás in the Amazonian state of Pará in Brazil, the state military police massacred peasants involved in the Movement of Landless Rural Workers (MST), killing 19 individuals. That day, 1500 women and men participating in the MST occupied and blocked a highway with the intention of pressuring the state and federal governments for agrarian reform. At about 4pm, 155 state military police from two brigades surrounded the MST on the highway, firing tear-gas and live ammunition from machine guns. In addition to the 19 MST killed during the massacre, three more died later from injuries, and 69 people were wounded. State authorities – the police, the army and powerful local landowners – were involved in planning and executing the massacre. More than fifteen years later, none of those responsible for the massacre at Eldorado dos Carajás has been imprisoned or punished.

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17 April 2013
0 h 00 min BST
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