Argentina: CLOC-VC congress for supported food sovereignty and integral agrarian reforms


Hernán Viudes, America Latina en Movimento (translated and abridged)

20/04/2015: With the denunciation of the offense of “capital and imperialism in its policy of plundering the assets of our countries, hoarding and extractivism” expelling the peasants and indigenous people from their land, imposing monoculture, mining and imposing genetically modified products, the Sixth Congress of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations-Via Campesina (CLOC-VC) closed in Buenos Aires.


The organizations agreed to defend “Food Sovereignty supported by the realization of a Comprehensive and Popular Agrarian Reform (which) gives us back the joy of taking care of Mother Earth and producing the food that our people and humanity needs to ensure its development.”

After a week of debates in workshops and assemblies, more than a thousand delegates from across Latin America and the Caribbean, together with delegates from Africa, Asia and Europe, conducted a historical characterization of this “unprecedented and complex moment, determined by a new correlation of forces between capital and governments and popular forces. Imperialist capital is now under the financial control of transnational corporations, and therefore socialism is the only system able to achieve the sovereignty of our nations and promote the values ​​of solidarity, internationalism and cooperation between our peoples. ”

They rejected “the industrial food system and national and transnational agribusiness corporations, responsible for climate change and biodiversity loss that affects us all”, and they highlighted “peasant and indigenous agriculture as the only way to feed the world while maintaining and increasing biodiversity and halting global warming. ” That is why we promote “the good life” and a close link with “Mother Earth”, and we fight for an agroecological production system, “not only for technical and scientific issues, but as a political tool for fighting capital.” Since agroecology does not develop in isolation, “we have to build regional strategies to fight and advance public policies that promote” this model.

Discussion, peasant political education and training of leaders is part of the struggle, while identification of problems and public manifestations is the other, they said. They decided to continue “developing the global campaign for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform and People for the defense of land and territory”; developing actions of solidarity against criminal massacres like that of the 43 students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa in Mexico, and repression.

They also decided to plan an international meeting for Agrarian Reformin in Brazil next year 20 years after the slaughter of Eldorado dos Carajas. Also, they found it necessary to become involved in “the international arena with CELAC, UNASUR and Pope Francis, for their support and support for the statement of peasant rights.”

Each April 17, thousands of men and women of the international peasant movement mobilize worldwide to show their disagreement with transnational corporations and free trade agreements that affect the rural and smallholder agriculture as well as national food sovereignty. Since 1996, it is the International Day of global action by Peasant Struggle.

The free trade agreements encourage transnational corporations and industrialized capitalist mode of production which depends heavily on agrochemicals, while increasing the eviction, expulsion and disappearance of peasants. The most important agreements in free trade history are now being negotiated between the European Union, the United States and Canada which, if they materialize, will liberalize trade and markets for transnational corporations.

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Question for this article:

What is the relation between movements for food sovereignty and the global movement for a culture of peace?

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Therefore, on Friday April 17 thousands of Latin American peasants took to the streets marching past the US Embassy in Buenos Aires with their claims against extraction and their proposals for agrarian reform, alliances around topics of socialism and peasant feminism, and a declaration of rights of farmers and others who live in the country.

“We are fighting for a deep structural change in our society, against all forms of exploitation, discrimination and exclusion, and for peasant and indigenous agriculture to ensure good living of the people of the country, to continue to feed humanity and caring for Mother Earth.” That is the agreement reached by the 400 delegates from organizations of peasant men and women, native peoples, afro-descendants and rural workers from 18 countries, who met in the V Assembly of Women of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations-Via Campesina (CLOC-VC ) held this week in Buenos Aires.

They convened under the slogans “no socialism without feminism,” “rural women who sow the fields with struggles and hopes” and they agreed to struggle for “feminism and food sovereignty.” As part of the Sixth Congress of the CLOC-VC held in the complex of the Argentine Ministry of Social Development in Ezeiza, the women characterized the present system as “capitalist-patriarchal oppression, which maintains and reinforces power relations and exploitation and which puts the interests of the market and the accumulation over the rights and welfare of people, nature and Mother Earth. ”

The system often forgets that “it was our knowledge that started agriculture, that throughout history has fed humanity. It is we who create and transmit the knowledge of traditional medicine, and now it is we who produce most of the food. ”

Opposing the processes of usurpation of land and water that multinational companies carry out in Latin America and the Caribbean, the women demanded recognition of their contribution to production, and they reaffirmed “the importance of peasant and indigenous agriculture for the welfare of all mankind, and economic and environmental sustainability on the planet. Without family farming there is no food, and the people cannot survive.”

Deolinda Reed, leader of the Argentine National Peasant Indigenous Movement (MNCI), made it clear that the current agribusiness model imposed by transnational corporations is responsible for the food and environmental crisis in Latin America. “Their logic is to monopolize as much food as possible, with the exploitation of large tracts of land and the use of chemicals, to meet foreign consumption, based on market speculation. We will propose an alternative model of peasant family farming, which produces in an organic, communal way and which gives priority to local consumption, “he said. . . .

“The three key points discussed at the Fourth Assembly of Youth of CLOC Via Campesina were unity around a common enemy – imperialism, violence of capital on youth with the growth of militarism and the extermination of the youth; the exploitation of capital which has created 300 million poor and illiterate in the region; and the need for an alliance of town and country “to deal with these problems” . . .

João Pedro Stedile, from the national coordination of the Movement of Brazilian Landless Workers (MST) and a Via Campesina member, assessed the stakes in the dispute between two opposing agricultural models: agribusiness, which is characterized by private ownership of natural resources with no space for farmers; and agroecological production by peasants who reconcile healthy food production in harmony with the environment.

“Ideas alone do not change the world, to change the world we need mass struggles. We need to take a leap in the mass struggle and organize international struggle against a common enemy that includes Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta, “he said.