1st April, 2009
The uniting of 800 million rural workers against the loss of their traditional way of life gives lie to globalisation’s claims to beneficence. Resistance is far from futile, says Ed Hamer
The word ‘peasant’ doesn’t immediately conjure up images of romantic revolution. To be honest, it doesn’t even come close. In this country the term is more closely associated with the muddied underclasses toiling the fields of medieval Europe than with any memories of our own 14th-century pitchfork rebellion.
Fortunately, vernacular is only cultural, and so too are stereotypes. While the enduring image of revolting peasants is now all but lost from our own countryside, theirs is a struggle still embodied by staggering majority of the world’s rural poor. It seems appropriate, then, that La Via Campesina (‘The peasant Way’) should be the title claimed by an unprecedented grassroots movement emerging from the fields, paddies and plantations of the global south to reclaim not only its rightful name, but also its right to exist.
Via Campesina is a rapidly growing mobilisation of small and medium-scale farmers, landless workers, indigenous peoples and rural youth drawn from more than 60 countries on five continents. While collectively the movement represents a diversity of campaigns, ranging... To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
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