People's Agrarian Reform: An Alternative to the Capitalist Model

by João Pedro Stedile and Osvaldo León Agrarian Program of the MST

ALAI AMLAT-en, 07/02/2014.- Since the 1980s, we are living in a new phase of capitalism, marked by the hegemony of finance capitalism and transnational corporations, which have gained control of the production of the principal commodities and world trade, generating structural change in agricultural production.

This control over goods by financial capital that circulates in the  world in proportions five times greater than their equivalent in actual  production (255 billion dollars/year in currency, for 55 billion dollars/year in goods), transforms natural assets – such as land, water,  energy, minerals – into mere commodities under its control. And due to this, there is an enormous concentration of property in land, natural assets and food.

In effect, at the present time, close to one hundred food and agriculture transnationals (such as Cargill, Monsanto, Dreyfus, ADM, Syngenta, Bunge, etc.) control the greater part of world production of fertilizers, agrochemicals, pesticides, agro-industries and the food market. This is because foods are now sold and subject to speculation in international markets, like any raw material (iron, petroleum, etc.), and the big financial interests acquire millions of tons of food for speculation. Millions of tons of soya, maize, wheat, rice, even harvests not yet planted, for the year 2018, are already sold. That is to say, millions of tons of grain that do not exist already have owners.

This production model that capital is now establishing in the whole world is known as agribusiness, and this basically involves organizing agricultural production in the form of monoculture on an ever increasing scale, with the intensive use of agricultural machinery and toxic chemicals, along with the growing use of GM seeds.

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