At the beginning of May, the assembly of the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations (CLOC-Vía Campesina) was held in Colombia, with the assistance of more than 80 Latin American and Caribbean organizations. Francisca Rodríguez, from Anamuri (National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women, Chile), spreads enthusiasm, for what she sees as a construction of more than two decades that is taking important definitions, which are not temporary, but the result of debates, experiences and struggles of these years. A construction that she knows first-hand, because Francisca is the founder of both the CLOC and the international Via Campesina.
He is now in Mexico to participate on behalf of the CLOC-VC in the meeting of the Alliance for Biodiversity in Latin America, a collaboration of organizations that, among other tasks, publishes the journal Biodiversity, sustento y cultures (see here).
For Francisca, this assembly of the CLOC-VC was significant, because they agreed to walk together not only for the things they oppose, but also for the project of society they want to build: peasant, popular and socialist, in alliance between the countryside and the city.
The CLOC was born as a result of the Campaign 500 Years of Indigenous, Peasant, Black and Popular Resistance. From very early on they identified and developed principles and axes of struggle, such as being anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. At the V Congress of the CLOC in Ecuador, 2010, the Women's Assembly revolutionized the congress and many in La Via Campesina with the slogan Without feminism, there is no socialism. They added the principle of being anti-patriarchal, something that aroused misgivings from some colleagues, but which is now clearly consolidated as a principle and increasingly as an attitude within organizations. They also affirmed criticism of industrial, chemical and transgenic agriculture; as well as the care and defense of Mother Earth, biodiversity and the role of peasants, peasants and indigenous people as fundamental actors in that defense.
Regarding the new agreements of her recent Assembly, Francisca relates that although for many CLOC-VC organizations the electoral processes and progressive governments have been seen as moments of opportunity, they also recognize the limits of continuing under the same structures and under the supremacy of national and transnational bourgeoisies. In any case, Francisca continues, much more is needed for the socialism we want. “The biggest challenge for the CLOC-VC is the construction of socialism from the territories, from the local. But also, and even more so in the crises that we are experiencing throughout the continent, to find more solid ways of communicating, understanding and organizing ourselves with other popular movements, from diversity and building a common project of society from different perspectives. Our definition of the society for which we fight emerges from our historical processes, and with the conviction that socialism cannot arise by itself or by decision of a government or an enlightened vanguard nor can it be decreed from above, this construction of the society that we want and yearn to live can only arise from the grassroots, from the conscious and organized people. It does not matter, he continues, that our organizations call it in different ways, be it community socialism, society of good living, society of plenitude or other names. The important thing is the real content that we put in and that this project becomes a common horizon of the peoples. There is a lot of experience accumulated within the CLOC and the Via Campesina, but also in many other movements and times. Our vision is nourished by the struggles of workers, indigenous and native peoples, Afro-descendant peoples, peasant peoples, the struggles of youth and women, and other groups that fight against the system. capitalist and patriarchal, like LGTBI groups, environmentalists and others. "
These reflections are not a declaration of a forum, an event or of some intellectuals, but rather they are the accumulation of collective work of many peasant organizations for decades, along with the resistance struggle in each place. Along this path, La Via Campesina has developed fundamental concepts for social change, such as food sovereignty (as opposed to the governments' concept of food security, where it does not matter what and who produces the food); the affirmation of peasant and indigenous agriculture based on agroecology as the only possible way to feed all of humanity now and in future generations and to cool the planet; the comprehensive and popular agrarian reform; that is to say, not only by land, but also by territory and by maintaining the social function of the land, in the recognition that food is an issue of the whole society, not only rural or peasant farmers; the defense and recovery of native, creole, ancestral seeds; that the common goods (water, air, seeds, biodiversity, soil, minerals) must be common, not privatized and protected to guarantee that all of us enjoy them now and in future generations.
Each region of La Via Campesina International has its peculiarities and accents, its diversity, but they have agreed common principles that give it identity. With this heritage and other contributions from each region, they now convene the VII World Conference of La Via Campesina, in July, under the slogan We feed our peoples and build a movement to change the world.