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La Via Campesina, Jakarta 2013: Reflections by Aussie Farmers Cris and Lee-Anne Geri

posted Jul 22, 2013, 5:51 PM by Scott John
We were honoured to be present at the La Via Campesina Conference in Jakarta recently and met numerous interesting and dedicated family farmers who are endeavouring to make a difference nationally and globally by continuing or adopting agroecological techniques largely based on peasant agriculture. Some who had been educated in cities chose to return to the land hoping to create a healthy future for their families, their countries and the environment. They shared their challenges, victories, failures and goals. Most we met were not interested in froth and bubble and peripheral diversionary issues. They wanted action on issues that hindered achievement of truly sustainable family farming: ending free trade agreements, hobbling transnational corporations and stopping bureaucratic interference.

Man! We thought….this is us. Liberty for the little people!

When we realised that how we operated our farm was agro-ecological we were even more excited.

Sadly, in our opinion, the voice of the farmer was not heard. It seemed that the decisions were already made:

·      Feminism was more important. When the leading African, a well tanned articulate bilingual woman, proposed that the “F” statement should be limited to “No discrimination based on gender”, apparently the scribes were asleep.

·      Free trade was complained about by all and sundry. Fair trade not free trade was the adopted slogan…but where was the plan to end the rot? Some African farmers rightly murmured that the ordeal was a talkfest. Pity the non-farmers that appeared in control did not seek out the counsel of Africans.

·      Transnational corporate cannibalism was very well understood and articulated. When we suggested that the Dual Taxation Agreements that empower the TNCs were the problem… and embarrassment of governments by public disclosure and a demand for at least equal taxation of those entities on that point might be of value, again there appeared a communication problem between scribes and steerage.

 

It also became apparent that the LVC is happily travelling down the “science is settled”, CO2 causes adverse climate change road. Again, a few intelligent peasants were interested to hear of the volumes of contrary evidence. The Delphi principle of propaganda sans discussion was perfectly applied by steerage in this instance. Naturally those that think that they will profit from the transfer of wealth from Australia to polluting areas will not look a carbon gift horse in the mouth.

 

Our Conclusion: Whilst peasants believe that governments will solve their problems they will forever remain in their “struggle”. LVC was initiated by farmers and, in our opinion, has to again separate itself from corporate (government, UN, NGO, New World Order) interference and input.

Farmers can survive without government, but government cannot survive without farmers!

 

There were magnificent unheard people at the Jakarta conference and we hope that they will be heard when Africa holds the LVC banner high in 2017. 


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