News from La Via Campesina
(Jakarta, 4th of June 2013) Within the setting of the VI Conference of La Via Campesina which will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia, women farmers from Asia, Europe, America and Africa will hold the IV International Women’s Assembly on 6 and 7 June, using the slogan Sowing the seeds of action and hope, for feminism and food sovereignty!
Since its birth, Via Campesina has sought to encourage women’s participation in all levels of action, requests for power, and representation, as a way of recognising the importance of women in the process of the movement’s political construction, and as a way of eradicating all types of gender discrimination.
We women have been key participants and leaders in Via Campesina. In fact, the woman’s role in Via Campesina is part of what makes this movement unique both in the history of peasant movements and amongst other social movements and international organisations. According to Nettie Wiebe, the historic leader, the work, perspectives, analysis, energy, leadership and presence of women in Via Campesina have transformed and strengthened our movement.
Drawing on the experience of women from the Latin American Coordinating Committee of Rural Organisations (CLOC), women from Via Campesina started to organise women’s assemblies before their conferences. The assemblies were established in order to debate and construct not only an agenda for fighting for women, but also an agenda that rescues the role of women in the fight for Via Campesina and that contributes to the collective construction of another model of society based on food sovereignty and sovereignty of villages. Over the past 20 years, the women of Via Campesina have held 3 International Assemblies: India 2000, Brasil 2004, and Mozambique 2008.
For this IV International Women’s Assembly, women farmers from all over the world have held significant debates over patriarchy, feminism and the construction of a peasant-based and popular feminism. According to Francisca Rodríguez, a member of the Women’s Commission, when one talks of feminism, one talks of a fight that involves not only women from rural areas but all exploited men and women in society. We recognise feminism as an effort to understanding the complexity of the means of exploitation and domination, in order to construct a comprehensive movement that articulates disagreements.
Additionally, for this assembly, debates have been taking place over the advancement of capitalism, agribusiness, mining and their presence in peasant-based agriculture as a threat to the sovereignty of villages and particularly how they effect women. Women from Via Campesina have been condemning land grabbing by using a comprehensive agrarian reform that guarantees justice for women and men, in favour of agroecology, through land, water, seeds and common goods.
In that sense, the IV International Women’s Assembly condemns the neoliberal model and capitalism as the principles responsible for worsening conditions of discrimination, inciting violent situations against us women, putting us in a position of inequality with men.
Stop Violence against Women
The global campaign Stop Violence against Women (Basta de Violencia contra las Mujeres) propelled by Via Campesina will soon celebrate its fourth birthday. It is one of the most daring and significant campaigns that has established itself as an international peasants’ movement and is the result of a process of discussion and debate that materialised during the V International Conference of La Via Campesina in Maputo 2008.
In the IV International Women’s Assembly, which will be held in June in Indonesia, this campaign will be relaunched and will seek to condemn violence faced by women based on discrimination against class, gender, ethnicity and sex (which is worse for women in rural areas). It will also seek to reinforce the agreement for the construction of new gender relations within Via Campesina.
Communication team of La Via Campesina