“We feed our peoples and build the movement to change the world”
On Saturday, July 22nd at Derio in the Basque Country, La Via Campesina, the international peasant movement representing over 170 organizations and movements in 72 countries, closed its VIIth International Conference, with a powerful declaration to step up resistance against transnational agribusiness, large scale land-grabbing, criminalisation of people’s struggles, rising xenophobia, racism, and patriarchy.
After four days of collective discussions and reflections on Food Sovereignty, peasant agroecology, autonomous training networks, migrant rights, trade, climate justice and criminalisation of social movements and alliance building, the Euskal Herria Declaration “We feed our peoples and build the movement to change the world” noted with concern the rise of finance capital combined with unbridled monopolisation of natural resources and the unprecedented promotion of dangerous technologies pushed by mega-mergers to dominate the food system with the blunt violation of human rights and nature for profit.
The Declaration, which sets broad strategic direction on how to build a movement to change the world through feminism and food sovereignty, also emphasised the urgent need to build wider alliances at the local, regional, and international levels and the need to unify against the new blend of capitalism and right-wing populism.
Peasant agroecology, popular agrarian reform, including strengthening and developing local markets, coupled with building and forging stronger relationships between the urban and countryside, were put forward to build food sovereignty for the peoples of the world. To do this, the VIIth International Conference highlighted the importance of continuing and scaling up the political, ideological, organizational, and technical training based on the movement‘s own concepts, to shape its identity and ideas to transform society.
Solidarity among people is part of the foundation to changing the world. On the closing day of the conference, La Via Campesina delegates collectively defined the internal functioning (regulations, processes etc) to guide solidarity. According to Unai Aranguren, International Coordination Committee Member from Europe of La Via Campesina, two words define La Via Campesina: “solidarity and hope”.
In a show of solidarity, close to 1,600 people marched through the streets of Bilbao on Sunday as part of a public action – organised by EHNE Bizkaia – that reached the city’s Plaza Nueva where La Via Campesina delegates delivered speeches, issued statements of support, and celebrated with local music and dance. “After fruitful debates, we’re here closing the VIIth Conference of La Via Campesina and have come to the city to ask civil for society’s cooperation and commitment to fight with us for the rights to food, land, water, and seeds. “ said Unai Aranguren.
Two key reports were presented in Derio: (i) Peasants fighting for justice: cases of violations of peasants’ human rights, which focuses on the continuing instances of attack and assault on the peasant movement and (ii) the Agrarian reform and the defense of life, Land and territories, which brings out how the struggles for agrarian reform have transformed itself with new strategies to face the changing face of corporate agribusiness in the countryside.
Globalise the struggle! Globalise Hope!
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