Rural peoples unite for food, land, and climate justice!

March 30, 2023

Rural peoples unite for food, land, and climate justice! Build our future without hunger, dispossession, and destruction!

Through reckless plunder for profits, the world’s biggest banks, investment firms, financial speculators, and corporations from the wealthiest countries – the rulers of imperialism – conniving with national governments and the local elite of the poor nations have made our planet increasingly unlivable.

The lack of genuine land reform and rural development has worsened hunger and poverty. Landlessness pushes rural peoples, who already comprise almost 80% of the world’s poor, into greater destitution. Over 800 million people worldwide suffer from hunger amid corporate control of our lands, seas, food, and agriculture.

Big businesses plunder and mine resources from poor countries at the expense of the people and planet. Export-oriented corporate plantations continue to expand despite evidence that capitalist industrial agriculture contributes up to one-third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The chemical-intensive agriculture they promote leads to more pests and decreased pesticide efficacy and results in even greater pesticide use and more harmful impacts, including global warming.

Asian countries are among the most vulnerable to climate disasters. Six of the top 10 countries most affected by climate change in fatalities and losses in the past two decades are from Asia, where the temperature rises twice as fast as in any part of the globe. But whether in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or elsewhere, small farmers, landless peasants, agricultural workers, indigenous groups, and rural women and youth are especially vulnerable due to structural poverty and marginalization.

Last year, for instance, extreme flooding in Pakistan killed thousands and damaged almost $15.2 billion worth of resources. Pakistan contributes less than 1% to global GHG emissions compared to the US’s 21.5% and China’s 16.4%. Extreme weather events in Africa killed around 4,000 people and affected 19 million in 2022 alone. Africa as a region contributes between 3.4 to 3.8% in global GHG emissions. This climate injustice must stop by making the world’s biggest imperialist powers and worst polluters accountable for the climate crisis.

To justify their continued pillage of the planet’s resources, the richest countries and corporations take over the global policy discourse that could decide the very survival of humanity. We have seen this in key international forums on food systems, climate change, and sustainable development. They have been using the UN system and other multilateral bodies, including international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Through these platforms, they push further and legitimize the unrelenting onslaught of neoliberalism and perpetuate their viciously destructive and anarchic mode of production.

The working peoples, including the rural peoples, as direct creators of global wealth, food, and various needs of societies, should not allow these powerful forces to continue deciding our fate. Notably, a significant number of rural people include indigenous peoples. They have been at the forefront in defending the land and developing indigenous traditions and knowledge from corporate greed and foreign plunder. We must determine our future now, free from hunger, dispossession, and destruction. It is the only way to end the multiple crises, ruin, and mayhem that imperialism has wreaked upon the people and planet.

The rural peoples – the small farmers, landless peasants, fishers, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples, rural women, and youth, including migrant agricultural workers and refugees – must take active leadership in this fight for the future. We call on all rural peoples’ movements worldwide to strengthen and expand our ranks and mobilize our communities to demand food, land, and climate justice. Big corporate interests and the institutions and policymakers that represent them should no longer be allowed to monopolize the discussions and dictate the narratives on the climate and food crises and how to realize genuine sustainable development.

We should not allow to thrive further, for instance, the bogus climate solutions that big business promotes. Such false solutions include, among others, the monoculture plantations they sell as new forests, the profit-oriented conservation projects for ecotourism, and others that grab lands, waters, and resources from the rural peoples and massively displace our communities. We should continue to oppose harmful and profit-motivated technology corporations peddle, such as digitalization, genetic engineering, and other greenwashing schemes designed to further their monopoly control over the planet’s resources.

We must expose and challenge them everywhere, including on their turf, where they peddle their lies and unveil their schemes, such as the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) in Bangkok, the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) of the UN Climate Change Conference, the twin summits of the UN on sustainable development goals this year and the so-called Summit of the Future in 2024. We do not harbor illusions that these global and regional platforms, dominated by powerful interests profiting from the status quo, will embrace the demands and aspirations of the rural peoples. However, we must show our force to unmask and oppose the corporate agenda and highlight our struggles for a world without the domination of imperialism, where the peoples’ rights and sovereignty – not corporate profits – reign supreme in determining and realizing pro-people and pro-planet development.

Ultimately, we must continue building our global movements by strengthening and intensifying our local and national struggles for our rights to land, resources, food, and a healthy planet. In our communities and countries, we must develop and consolidate our alliances with all the working peoples, similarly oppressed and exploited by imperialism. Through the people’s struggles, we can steadily and decisively weaken imperialism toward building our future.

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