Notes from the VII Conference: Political context and struggles in Middle East and North Africa

The first afternoon of the 7th International Conference of La Via Campesina was devoted to the international political context which is characterised by the unsolvable capitalist crisis and ever stronger pressures on populations, states and the environment together with the dangerous commercialisation of natural resources. The future is the struggles and resistance that have been outlined. La Via Campesina’s members, throughout the world, consider that the only alternative to the proposed model is food sovereignty, and that agroecology is the only way to achieve this and to feed the people. In these two spaces the regional specificities were analysed.

Political Context

In the Middle East and North Africa, capitalism and imperialism are arming terrorist groups and are supported by reactionary states. This hegemony suffocates the people of nearly all the countries in the region. With a few exceptions, for example Tunisia (home of the Arab revolutions in 2011 which still provides a glimmer of hope), civil war is everywhere. The Yemeni people are isolated, impoverished and forgotten. The people of Syria who were self-sufficient in terms of food now have their millennia-old culture destroyed and decimated. Palestine is still under military occupation by Israel, colonized, its resources destroyed and its harvests burnt. In the Maghreb, the desert is a cemetery for migrants and the fertile lands are cheap market gardens for Europe. Libya has been destroyed, crushed by capitalism. The land in Morocco has been offered on a silver platter to the European multinationals. Those who once cultivated on these lands are now in despair and migrating from the south to the north and getting caught up in forced slavery in Europe.

La nueva región de Medio Oriente y África del Norte (Mena) en su mística denunció la ocupación y despojo israelí sobre…

Publié par La Via Campesina sur samedi 22 juillet 2017

Struggles and resistance

Despite constant repression, the people of the Middle East and North Africa are not giving up and are still fighting for their rights against desertification provoked by capitalism, both literally and figuratively. Popular revolts are expanding, both politically and organically, and La Via Campesina’s members in the region are making progress, enhancing their links of solidarity and working to bring the peasant struggles to the heart of the debate. A million trees have been planted in Palestine. Small-scale farmers have had some successes: local seeds have been preserved and exchanged, and food sovereignty can feed the local population even in dry regions such as the south of Tunisia. In the Moroccan Rif, a popular protest is intensifying, diversifying and organising itself, by the day, against the brutal police repression.