A Statement on the 2017 International Day of the Landless
The ILPS commision No.6 or the Peasant Commission calls on the struggling people of the world to rise up and resist imperialist landgrabbing and local stalwarts of feudalism!
Last year, ILPS commission No. 61, the Asian Peasant Coalition and the People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignty (PCFS) jointly organized the Global Action on Day of the Landless to champion the struggle of the landless rural peoples of the world. The international rural peoples’ commission raised banners against the “intensifying imperialist landgrabbing and plunder” in the global south.
March 29 is a historic event in the people’s struggle for land and resources in Asia when the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) was founded on the said date 14 years ago to challenge imperialist and feudal oppression and exploitation. Coordinated actions were organized by 23 organizations from Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and its network in 8 countries such as in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Palestine on March 29 last year.
This year, more than ever, the landless peasants and rural peoples must bear banners and tools of resistance against intensifying global landgrabbing perpetrated by corporations and first world states including US, EU and Japan, also the so-called BRIC countries namely Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Over a billion of the world’s poor people are now landless and around 200 million farmers do not have enough land to enjoy a decent standard of living.
Imperialist landgrabbing and plunder
After the global financial meltdown of 2008, there was an unparalleled voracious acquisition of lands driven by multinational and transnational companies of mostly developed countries. Landgrabbing of the 21st century is systematic and gargantuan in scale.
Millions of agricultural, forest, and foreshore lands are being converted into gargantuan monocrop plantations, mega-dams, tourist hubs, and other commercial purposes at the demise of farmers, fishers, and hordes of rural peoples’ rights, life and livelihood. In fact, more than 30 million hectares of agricultural lands in over 78 countries have been acquired globally since 2000, while according to the Land Matrix, some 12 million more are ‘under negotiation’. Most of these acquired land are in Africa (10 thousand million hectare), followed by Asia with 5 million hectares. Of the top 20 target countries for land acquisition, Indonesia ranks first with 3 million hectares, of which 123,000 hectares are already in its startup phase.
Financialization of food systems and imperialist resource plunder fuel this global rush for land grabs which further pauperize the already impoverished farmers and cripple national food systems.
Struggle for Land, Struggle for Life
Landgrabbing is almost always accompanied with militarization and, in most cases, gross human rights violation, resistance for land and resource grabbing escalates to the most bitter of struggles – the struggle for land and life.
In collusion with local tyrants and landlords, imperialism unleashes the most brutal of attacks in communities resisting dispossession of lands and resources; military campaigns against struggling peasant and indigenous communities, in an onslaught of harassment, strafing, and extra-judicial killings and massacres.
In stark contrast, there is an ever growing rural unrest and intensifying resistance against local feudalism and imperialist plunder advancing in the Global South. In different parts of the world, peasants have reclaimed their lands, rights, through protracted, bitter struggle, in an ever-growing fashion, creating the largest torrent for social change.
We therefore mark this day, the Global Action on the International Day of the Landless, with pride and hope to advance the struggle for genuine agrarian reform and creating a socially just world.
Consequently, this day is also a warning to imperialist states, client states and landlords in cabal with them, and to the whole moribund capitalist order: we will reclaim our lands, our rights, and our life.
Struggle for a socially just world!
1 The International League of People’s Struggle is the largest international anti-imperialist league of peoples. ILPS Commission 6 advocates agrarian reform and the rights of peasants, farm workers, and fisherfolk against feudal, semi-feudal, and capitalist exploitation and oppression.
2 The Asian Peasant Coalition is a militant coalition of grassroots peasant organizations in Asia. APC has 44 member organizations in the Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.
3 The Peoples’ Coalition for Food Sovereignty is a global network of grassroots peasant organization, NGOs and CSOs for food sovereignty. PCFS has various regional, subregional and national formations and member organizations and networks throughout the world, especially in the Global South
5 International Land Deals for Agriculture, The Land Matrix 2016