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International Day of Peasant’s Struggle

  • Category
    History & Culture
  • Published
    26th Apr, 2021

April 17, every year is celebrated as the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle by La Via Campesina  (“the peasant way”), an international organization.

Context

April 17, every year is celebrated as the International Day of Peasant’s Struggle by La Via Campesina  (“the peasant way”), an international organization.

About

Why the day is celebrated as International Day of Peasant’s Struggle?

  • Symbolic representation: The day commemorates the massacre of the landless peasants who were agitating for comprehensive agrarian reform in Eldorado dos Carajás, Brazil in 1996.
  • The Brazilian military police in the Amazonian State of Pará attacked the members of the Landless Workers Movement (MST), during the protest. They blockaded the highway, killed 19 and injured hundreds of peasants.

Significance of the movement

  • Common vision: The day is the reflection of the common vision of food sovereignty and strengthening solidarity against the increased criminalization of struggles.
  • Global struggle: This year agrarian struggles all over the world including the ongoing farmer’s protests in India were remembered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • These movements have highlighted the issues of food deprivation, hunger and agrarian practices all over the world.
    • The movement has acquired international significance due to its resemblance of the issues in developing world where agriculture still plays an important role in sustaining livelihoods and ensuring food sovereignty.

La Via Campesina

  • It is an international movement which brings millions of peasants, small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world together.
    • It came up in 1993.
  • It has been developing and promoting the vision of food sovereignty as an alternative to the dominant capitalist relations of production, particularly in agriculture.
  • It aimed to show that the agricultural economy and food sectors are not isolated, but they are linked deeply with the environmental, economic, democratic and health crises which culminated in the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • La Via Campesina highlights the need for public health systems, food sovereignty, peasant agroecology and strengthened localised food systems to fight against hunger and to cool the planet, preserve biodiversity, and respect peasants’ and workers’ rights.
  • La Via Campesina’s campaigns and builds alliances for significant UN initiatives such as
    • the appointment of a UN Special Rapporteur for the right to food
    • the establishment of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
    • the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) processes
    • UN declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP)
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