The via campesina : peasants resisting globalization
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AbstractDespite decades of 'development', hunger and poverty persist in rural areas around the world. With the implementation of structural adjustment programs, regional trade agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, rural landscapes everywhere are undergoing rapid change. National governments are restructuring agricultural policies to facilitate greater integration into an international market-driven economy. Concerted attempts to exclude peasants and small-scale farming peoples interests in decision-making and rural policy development have been accompanied by the formation of an international peasant and farm movement, the Via Campesina, which emerged in 1993. This dissertation examines the response of peasant and farm organizations to the increased globalization of a 'modem', industrial and neoliberal model of agriculture by analyzing the formation, consolidation and functioning of the Via Campesina. To date, studies of transnational anti-globalization movements have virtually ignored agrarian activism. Yet, in many countries peasants and farmers have been at the forefront of national struggles against globalization and through the Via Campesina peasant-based resistance has now moved beyond national borders. At the international level peasants and farmers are now leading the way by introducing new concepts like food sovereignty. They are also using the most powerful tools available to social movements - that of non-participation and delegitimization. The Via Campesina is using three traditional weapons of the weak - organization, cooperation and community to redefine rural development and to build an alternative model for rural communities, one that is based on social justice, gender equality and environmental sustainability. Using an analysis of Via Campesina conference proceedings, minutes of the meetings of the Women's Commission and the International Coordination Commission of the Via Campesina, participant observation in numerous Via Campesina events, interviews with key farm leaders, and field work conducted in Mexico, Canada and India, this study explores the main issues, positions, strategies and collective actions of the Via Campesina. In doing so it provides insights into the nature and extent of current agrarian activism.
Bibliography: p. 256-304
CitationDesmarais, A. A. (2003). The via campesina : peasants resisting globalization (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/19530
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