VI Women Assembly of the CLOC-LVC: Declaration

Ten years after the historic day when, in the Niceto Perez School of the ANAP, CLOC-Vía Campesina declared that peasant men and women in Latin America pave the way for socialism, women stood up and shouted with all their strength that WITHOUT FEMINISM THERE IS NO SOCIALISM.

The VI Peasant Women Assembly was a part of the VII Congress of the Latin America Coordination of Peasant Organizations, CLOC-Via Campesina, which took place in the municipality of Güira de Melena, province of Artemisa, Cuba. It gathered together women delegates of our organizations from 21 countries, inspired by the historical breakthroughs of Cuban women and the revolutionary spirit of Vilma Espin, Celia Sanchez and their people. We met to continue walking down our historic path, the one that has kept alive the resistance of women from the countryside in the face of the patriarchal and capitalist system.

We, present in the VI Women Assembly of the CLOC-Vía Campesina, are aware of the onslaught of capitalism in Latin America, which continues to plunder the common goods of nature and exploiting our land with the complicity of lackey governments that wreck the lives of the peoples of the countryside and mainly of women; us, who have been struggling for decades against all forms of exploitation, discrimination and subordination. In that sense, we take on the commitment to strengthen unity in diversity to change the capitalist and neoliberal system which prioritizes the interests of the capital above the right of the peoples to Good Living, to the protection and care for mother earth and to food sovereignty.

As women of the countryside, we struggle for an equitable and egalitarian society; a society that transforms the power relations that have meant the subordination of women, particularly those of us who live in rural areas, in conditions of poverty and discriminations; those of us who have been oppressed under patriarchal policies, to agri-business systems of exploitation through transnational companies, to displacements, forced migration and violence.

During these two decades of sociopolitical praxis and reflexion, we have industriously studied the categories of gender, class, race and ethics until we reached the understanding that the inequalities that affect women are structural in a capitalist patriarchal colonial and racist society. We are convinced that gender and racial oppression, domination and exploitation cannot be eliminated without also eliminating class oppression.

In the construction of peasant and popular feminism, with our political evolution and definition, we have put forward a proposal, based on our diversity and self-determination, that may lead us to create a popular and peasant feminist identity. While feminism includes different perspectives, as peasant organizations we acknowledge that feminism has provided valuable contributions to transform the lives of women at a political, economic and social level. CLOC-Via Campesina considers these efforts a political action directed towards the conformation of a socialist society.

In this process of feminist construction that emerges from the rural territories and peoples, the debate goes hand in hand with action and the struggle in Stop Violence Against Rural Women, against agri-business and toxic agrochemicals. It is the struggle for life, for the defense of Seeds which are Heritage of our Peoples in the Service of Humanity; for the equal right to land ownership, against exploitations, violence and abuse in the workplace; for fair and equal pay. Agroecology as an ancestral system of production that ensures Food Sovereignty is an important contribution from the women of CLOC/LVC made with the aim of moving forward in the transformation of society; it is a struggle of the entire peasant movement at a global scale. That is why it is also part of popular and peasant feminism.

The great challenges are: to continue making progress in strengthening our organizations, to build unity and alliances among movements, to continue working on political education so that every member of peasant, indigenous and afro-descendant organizations can participate in a complex debate; one that allows the emergence of the bases for our vision of a socialist society that, with unity in diversity, may lead us towards social transformations conscious of gender and generational factors.

It is vital to stay focused on a perspective that unites gender and class struggle to face the actions of the empire, capital and patriarchy so that we may identify and confront our enemies.

We salute and commit ourselves to continue the work of this great feminist wave that emerged with the strength of women confronting sexism and patriarchy, sexual abuse and harassment, for bodily autonomy and the right to choose, for the right to sexual and reproductive health. We advocate for the confluence of these forces with the struggle for radical changes in our society, so that we may live in dignity, equality and justice. From our identity and perspective of a popular and peasant feminism, we will work for the progress of feminist perspectives.

As delegates from 21 countries in this VI Women Assembly of CLOC-Via Campesina we speak out against the aggressions to our brothers and sisters, the people of Venezuela, and the destabilizing attempts of the reactionary right in Nicaragua. We reject the Helms-Burton law and it’s strengthening of the blockade and embargo to the Cuban revolution. We also condemn the aggressions against all of the peoples of the Americas who are living under this fierce attack of capitalism. We reject all destabilizing strategies against the countries of Latin America, such as the militarization of our territories and the intervention and sequestering of our States.

We call on the peoples of the world to stand together in one single voice speaking out against such international actions that seek to subjugate our peoples. We condemn the hundreds of assassinations of peasant and indigenous social leaders in Latin America and pronounce ourselves in favour of the continuation of the peace efforts in Colombia.

We call on the governments of the Northern Triangle of Central America, Mexico and the United States, to respect the human rights of thousands of families that have set out in migrant caravans, especially women and children.

The peasant women of the CLOC-LVC finish our VI Assembly asserting that with feminism we will build socialism!

From our territories, unity, struggle and resistance for socialism and the sovereignty of the peoples.