Rural peoples are under attack by an onslaught of ‘new wave’ policies and mechanisms of land and resource grabbing, colonial plunder, and human rights violations.
The last decade has been marked by a continuous rise in foreign and domestic large-scale land acquisitions led by the world’s biggest TNCs and imperialist governments. In fact, a 2020 report highlights that only 1% of landowners operate 70% of the world’s farmland. This stark reality also emphasizes the growing army of landless peasants in the Global South.
In the hands of both corporations and domestic landlords, the ballooning land concentration has facilitated deforestation, rural poverty, and the degradation of rural food security and national food sovereignty.
Worse, these also come with increased militarization and relentless attacks against land and environmental defenders, taking the lives of at least 212 people in 2020 alone. Rising fascism in the Global South complements these neoliberal policies of plunder to thwart the growing demand for radical transformation for just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems and societies.
‘New wave’ of landgrabs
The corporate-led United Nations’ Food Systems Summit has legitimized and popularized the most notorious schemes of land and resource grabbing in the last decade: the financialization of ‘farmlands’ and ‘natural capital’, biofuel frenzy, conservation-as-carbon-offsets, and digitalization of ‘assets’, including land.
The UNFSS also birthed and entrenched TNC-led multi-stakeholder initiatives to support these land and resource grabbing schemes.
Some of the major offshoots of these discussions are the various ‘nature-positive solutions’, which the UNFSS proponents also advocated for at the 26th Conference of Parties last December. Taking off from the World Economic Forum’s carbon offset initiatives, nature-positive solutions are poised to greenwash polluting companies with ‘green’ initiatives like the Trillion Tree project, conservation projects, and carbon sequestration programs targeted mostly at the lands of the Global South.
These green land and resource grabs are now legitimized as part of the arsenal to combat climate change — a facade for TNCs to evade carbon reduction and continue colonial plunder in the Global South. Despite the failure of similar schemes in the past, including REDD+ programs, they are rehashing these ‘nature-based solutions’ to evade accountability, continue colonial plunder, and increase profits.
Not in our name, not in our lands
The Global People’s Summit, led by the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty, PAN Asia Pacific, and other Global South NGOs and peoples’ organizations, has made a mark last year in demanding that these greenwashing schemes be done ‘not in our name’. This year, we’re building on the strength of the landless people’s movements and rural people to demand: NOT IN OUR LANDS.
Amid the rising prices of food—pushed by imperialist trade regimes, neoliberal policies, and rising biofuel prices—we are standing our ground to advocate for a radical transformation in land ownership and tenure.
A genuinely redistributive land reform program in the Global South is crucial in achieving food security and people’s food sovereignty. Furthermore, it should be complemented with the increased struggle against foreign and TNC land and resource grabs.
Human rights violations, including killings of peasant leaders, harassment, community evictions, related to the struggle for land, must be exposed and perpetrators held accountable.
Day of the Landless
Led by the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) since 2015, the Day of the Landless is commemorated every March 29 to gather landless rural peoples’ movements and land advocates to highlight the struggles for land in the Global South.
Since then, the Day of the Landless has been instrumental in broadening and deepening the understanding of landlessness and land monopoly in the Global South. It also widened the support for landless farmers’ movements for rights, land, and food sovereignty.
This year, the APC, PCFS, PANAP, International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) Commission 6, and the Rural Constituency of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) will hold both virtual and on-ground discussions and actions with allies to:
- To expose ‘new normal’ and greenwashed land and resource grabs, which are prompted and supported by the corporate-led UN Food Systems Summit in 2021
- To highlight the growing policy-driven land inequality, landlessness, and land and resource grabbing the Global South
- To gather support for land and environment defenders under attack
This year’s Day of the Landless commemoration also serves as a build-up to the Stop Killing Farmers campaign, a 2019 resolution of the ILPS Commission 6, underscored every October.
Ways to participate
Take part in the March 29 Day of the Landless global action!
Organize on-ground activities such as protests, meetings, discussions, gatherings, or any such activity that highlight our land struggles and our analysis on today’s new wave of land and resource grabs. Post these activities and/or share any visual or written content (photos, videos, graphics, statements, etc.) on social media to amplify our demands and broaden the reach of our calls.
Please use the hashtags #DayoftheLandless2022, #NoLandNoLife, and #Hungry4Change so that we can also share your posts.
Join Peasants Rise Up vs Land Grabs and Fascist Attacks (webinar on peasants’ political repression)
PANAP, PCFS, APC, ILPS Commission 6, and the Coalition of Agricultural Workers International (CAWI) are holding a webinar on the continued and worsening political repression of peasants asserting their right to land.
Register to join: https://bit.ly/DOTL2022
Call for write-ups: Not in our Lands!
Let us share the stories of our land struggles in line with the theme. Here are a few questions as take-off points for submissions: How does the new wave of land and resource grabs concretely impact our communities? What are our experiences in the fight for rights, land, and food sovereignty amid worsening repression? How do we envision the radical transformation in land ownership and tenure?
Send your contributions—preferably 500 to 1000 words—to [email protected] and we will feature them on the PCFS website and its social media accounts. Accompanying photos/videos are also welcome.
- Resist land and resource grabbing!
- Reject neoliberal land reforms!
- End neoliberal food systems now!
- Land rights are human rights!
- Genuine agrarian reform now!
- Land to the tillers, food for all!
- Defend land rights defenders!
- Stop killing farmers!
- Fight for just, equitable, healthy, and sustainable food systems!
- Uphold people’s food sovereignty!
 US-UAE led AIM 4 Climate,
 BMGF funded MSIs like SUN, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Initiative for Smallholder Financing; Nestle-led Food and Land Use Coalition.