Bagnolet | June 13, 2023
We, the peasant youth delegates of Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe of La Via Campesina gathered at the International Youth Articulation Meeting in Banten, Indonesia from 29 May to 2 June, 2023. Dozens of us traveled from our communities to strengthen our relationships, prepare for the VIII Conference and our 5th international youth assembly, develop a collective strategic action plan, and ultimately, demonstrate our commitment to La Via Campesina.
United in our diversity, during our time together we shared common challenges, strategized about alternatives together, and committed ourselves to carry forward collective proposals in a spirit of solidarity, internationalism and systemic transformation. We reflected on our respective regional processes, concerns, and dynamics in the framework of the common struggle for food sovereignty and the fight for peasants’ rights.
We recognize the significance of connecting not only with our cultural roots, but to learn from and with senior members of our organizations and communities to bring their experiences and wisdom to our current struggles. We understand the importance of walking hand in hand with the goal of expanding our bases, reaching those fighting capitalism, imperialism, and colonization on different fronts, and forging alliances with other youth movements. Together, we will strive for a world built on solidarity, human dignity, and social justice, amplifying our presence in all the spaces where we fight.
Today, more than ever, we are convinced that peasant agroecology, peasants’ rights, and Popular Peasant Feminism, are critical pathways towards food sovereignty and climate justice.
With strength and unwavering passion, during our time together in Banten we outlined our course of action to confront the challenges of our time. We stand in solidarity with the struggles for food sovereignty and commit ourselves to advancing our political priorities for the empowerment of our movement. Additionally, we pledge to intensify our fight against the climate crisis and engage in profound discussions about agricultural systems and new technologies, emphasizing the primacy of agriculture for and by peasants, including the preservation of biodiversity and the integration of indigenous technological knowledge (ITK). Crucially, we came to clear understanding that the crisis of generational renewal in agriculture is global in scope. Both our organizations and the countryside are suffering from the increasing lack of young peasant farmers. Land grabbing, free trade agreements, and a lack of access to markets and financial resources, among others, were identified as critical causes of youth flight from agriculture.
Simultaneously, we are observing a phenomenon of forced youth migration, as they are compelled to depart from their countries and enter the workforce as exploited cheap labor within the agribusiness sector. We stand in solidarity with migrants, and we commit to expanding the mobilization of young peasants within our communities by asserting our rights protected under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP). We believe that young peasants are the future of food, but we need drastic systemic change to ensure there are adequate resources and support to guarantee dignified livelihoods in agriculture for us and the next generations.
We, the peasant youth, possess the determination to change the world. We are the agents of a vibrant future, wielding the collective power to dismantle existing systems and propel society forward. We dare to dream of utopia, to strive for what may seem impossible, to nurture revolutionary aspirations for a just and equitable world. We cultivate radical hope, as we strive , fight, and emerge as the heralds of tomorrow. Now is the time to infuse our movement with joy and creativity and share our visions and solutions far and wide. We possess the potential to be the turning point, shaping the future of the world and society.
United, we stand against converging forces of hegemonic food systems: patriarchal capitalism, authoritarian governments, and multinational corporations . These neo-colonizers and capitalists, shielded by their wealth from the realities of the world, will not listen to us. But this shouldn’t discourage us: we must create the alternative systems we seek to live in. To do so, we must be organized, disciplined, and committed to expanding our movement and carry our collective goals. Let our voices reverberate across the planet, reaching every corner.
To achieve food sovereignty across scales, the youth must embrace farming and political organization dynamics, prioritize peasants’ rights, climate justice, peasant agroecology, seed sovereignty, and generational renewal in agriculture, as the cornerstones of our discourse. In order to achieve political and systemic goals, we must be organized. During our gathering, we committed to specific tasks related to communicating our struggles, developing political education strategies, and strengthening our organizational structures. Over the next four years we will work together and hold ourselves accountable to implementing the action plan that we created collectively.
Unity in diversity, youth peasants change the world!