In times of pandemics, peasants are united to feed the people!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Info Source: 
MST web site reproduced from Via Campesina web site

Stay Home But Not Silent

COVID-19 paralyzed the world and exposes the vulnerability of the current globalized agribusiness food system and the dangers it poses to all forms of life.

On April 17, 2020, Via Campesina celebrates the International Day of Peasant Struggles in a context that shows once again the historical role of the peasantry in societies and its fundamental task of feeding the people, even in scenarios of war, fascism, authoritarianism and pandemics.

COVID-19 has paralyzed the world and exposes the vulnerability of the current globalized agribusiness food system and the dangers it poses to all forms of life. We must learn from this crisis and invest in building local, resilient and diverse food systems.

States must begin by implementing “Food Sovereignty” through agro-ecological production and the promotion of Popular Agrarian Reforms. Once again, the extraordinary circumstances facing humanity today must compel all countries to protect and guarantee the rights of peasants and others working in rural areas, as stated in the United Nations Declaration adopted in 2018 (UNDROP).

Let’s build international solidarity!

During the week of April 17, Via Campesina will continue to denounce the dangers of capitalism and its devastating consequences: the political, social, economic and health crises. With the spread of COVID-19, the life of the working class is becoming even more precarious, and its subsequent economic consequences will undoubtedly be alarming for this sector. Therefore, people in the world need strategic alliances between the most vulnerable sectors of society, between small producers and consumers of food, promoting fair trade and healthy eating.

Revealing the expansionist policy driven by the profits of multinationals during this health crisis. As we did 24 years ago in Eldorado dos Carajás, with a single voice of resistance and keeping alive our long history of fighting impunity: we, peasants, indigenous peoples, shepherds, fishermen, agricultural workers, migrants, racially oppressed and organized people , we warn of the reduction of our rights as workers, the right to health and quality education, uniting to condemn the systematic violence we are experiencing, the militarization and oppression unleashed against our peoples and the constant erosion of democratic principles in our countries .

The current spread of COVID-19 reminds us of the fundamental need for strong public health systems, which in recent years have been systematically paralyzed by certain governments, to allow for the privatization of essential services. In addition, this crisis also reveals the face of profit seekers, agribusiness, pharmaceutical companies and other transnational companies that are trying to seek business opportunities in these difficult times.

While in the countryside all over the world, millions of us - small food producers - continue to produce food, and to feed people, ensuring national food supply and Food Sovereignty. We continue to do so even in quarantine, in contexts of closing borders and curfews, respecting biodiversity and through agroecological production.

We make the life of our soil and mother earth our priority and that is why we commit ourselves to keeping peasant markets alive with justice, in solidarity, in reciprocity and free from poisons and all speculation. See various expressions of action, solidarity and demands from our members in this context of COVID-19.

COVID-19: Peasants, migrants and agricultural workers at risk!

As Via Campesina, we are concerned with the state of peasants, agricultural workers and migrants who are in precarious working conditions and without access to medical care or relevant safety measures.

That is why members of La Via Campesina in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas demand that their governments respond quickly and responsibly to the needs of the vast majorities, and not just “provide encouragement to Coronavirus capitalists”. We do not want economic measures that benefit the elites as in the past, rescuing banks and corporations to "save the economy". We demand justice for the peasant and oppressed sectors of the world

This year on April 17 we call on our members and allies to be vigilant against all kinds of opportunism in this global crisis.

Call for creative mobilizations!  Here’s what we want for April 17:

• Stay at home, but not in silence! The time has come to carry out creative struggles from our countryside and cities;

• We are going to transform windows, terraces, gardens and fields into our plazas for demonstration and our pots and pans into resistance drums;

• Make your own flags and banners! Let our walls speak and show our strength and resistance in the midst of this scenario of crisis and capitalist hegemony;

• Let us internationalize solidarity! Let's think about how to share with the community, neighborhood or friends and how to help the people who are most vulnerable;

• Commit to consuming the food of the peasants and their cooperatives, not of the multinationals! Go to local markets, consume directly from the producer, buy in your neighborhood stores and promote humanist values.

Be the people’s spokesman or -woman and let your voice be heard on social media!

Make videos, photos or audio reports to let everyone know that we are united by the same struggle and resistance in all corners of the world! We are united!