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Vía Campesina and peasant struggles

Marc Edelman


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Vía Campesina (“Peasant Road”) is a transnational social movement, founded in 1993, that links over 100 organizations of “peasants, small– and medium-sized agricultural producers, landless, rural women, indigenous people, rural youth and agricultural workers” ( www.viacampesina.org ), in almost 60 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. The membership is diverse and includes landless peasants in Brazil, small dairy farmers in Europe, well-off farmers in South India, wheat producers in Canada, and land-poor peasants in Mexico. The main issues of concern to Vía Campesina (always referred to by its Spanish name) include global trade rules, intellectual property and genetically modified organisms, the survival of family farms, sustainable alternatives to corporate-controlled industrial agriculture, agrarian reform, the human rights of peasant activists, and “food sovereignty,” which it defines as the right to protect national production and to shield domestic markets from the dumping of low-priced agricultural imports. Vía Campesina and its component subnational, national, and regional organizations have participated in numerous militant and theatrical protest actions against the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF), G8 summit meetings, and large agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto, Cargill, and Syngenta. The movement ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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