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The greatest strength of the peasant mouvement: its unity

8 February 2016

Invited speaker at the International Colloquium on Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice, Paula Gioia shared her experience in the international peasant movement, stressing the power of Food Sovereignty to fight the on-going crisis affecting the world and the need to convergence different sectors of society in this struggle.

Invited speaker at the International Colloquium on Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice, in Den Haag (Netherlands), on the 5th of February , Paula Gioia shared her experience in the international peasant movement, stressing the power of Food Sovereignty to fight the on-going crisis affecting the world and the need to convergence different sectors of society in this struggle. Firstly, I would like to thank you all who were involved in the organisation of this great event. I also thank you for giving me this space to talk in the name of small scale farmers of the world. But I would like to say, that I see myself as just one of you. I could be Alberto, Ana, Henk, Midori, Sara, Jun, Ludwig, Sofia, Umut or any other of you... Because I am pretty sure, that we all share similar values and are convinced that capitalism is rotten and is the origin of the multiple crises we are facing today. A real system change has to come from below. And I see that each of us plays a very important role in this process. Whatever sectors we belong to, I believe we are all working in one part of this big web. It was great to share different concerns, struggles and strategies with you during these two days and to look ahead, in order to keep working together on a common plan of political changes. In this context of multiple crises, I can guarantee you, that we small farmers, peasants, fisher folk, pastoralists, indigenous people, migrant workers of La Via Campesina will keep struggling for system change. We will keep struggling against capital power and against patriarchalism. We will keep struggling in order to establish social, financial, climate, environmental, nutritional justice in our common planet. We are pretty much convinced that food sovereignty is a true way to transform this destructive system which is in deep crises. Because food sovereignty is a really deep on-going political project that can reverse those crises. But one main condition for Food Sovereignty’s implementation is the convergence of forces, the convergence of different sectors of society. We all know, that small scale food producers will never be able to establish it alone. Without a united and holistic struggle we won't achieve local, national and global policy changes and won't reach a global perspective in the future. For that reason it is important to have spaces like this, where we all come together and look deep and trustfully into each others eyes. I would like to share with you my story. I was born into an Italian migrant family and grew up in the upper middle class in the urban areas of Brazil. I went to a private traditional school; went to one of the best public universities of Brazil to study History and had later the chance to come to Europe. It was in the leftist scene of Berlin, where my political engagement first managed to really outcrop. After some years quite lost, I thought I found a way out of this rotten society, that made me feel so bad and depressed in the previous years. I went into farming. But this decision could not solve my problems. I realized that my struggle was actually just starting, because to achieve real changes you have to come together. At the same time I realized that the food sector is a key sector to achieve changes. And my struggle for changes turned in a much bigger one, in which I was not alone anymore. At least 200 million other colleagues are doing the same and millions of other actors are supporting it. Today I am back on the academic benches. Not as an academic anymore, but as a peasant. I am convinced of the values that I developed during my way. I am very thankful for the education my parents gave me. And I am very happy I can use them in the service of justice and peoples sovereignty. All this has showed me that I am deeply connected with my origins and that my struggle today here from the global north is deeply connected to my past and to the nowadays struggles in the global south. I feel myself as just one of many examples, that our struggle for a system change can overcome existing classes and geographic barriers. It is very important that we use our different resources, talents and visions, in order to build something new, something healthy and strong. No matter if it is the landless child in South Africa, the academic from Harvard, the indigenous community from the Americas, the rice farmer in South Korea, the CSA-group from China, the civil society suffering in Palestine or in Syria, the climate victims in Bangladesh or one of the last small scale farmers in Europe; in the end we are all one and our greatest strength is the solidarity we give each other. In that sense I would like to reaffirm Via Campesina's dedication and commitment in this struggle. We would like to invite you all to be part of this struggle, engaging yourself actively in the Food Sovereignty movement. We want to see many of you in the next Nyeleni Europe Forum, the European Forum on Food Sovereignty, this October in Romania, where we want to keep developing strategies to implement food sovereignty in and from Europe. Via Campesina also already started preparations for our 7th international conference that will take place next year in the Bask Country. Those events represent great moments to raise awareness for the crucial role Europe plays in the food system and to the crucial role of the food system itself in the context of multiple crises. In April this year we have also our Conference on Agrarian Reform in Brazil. More than to highlight the global issue of Land Tenure, it is an opportunity to develop together with allies further common political strategies based on people's struggles. I invite all of you to be aware of those moments and to engage yourself in them, not talking about us, but WITH US! In the end we are all connected. And For real system change we need to: GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE! GLOBALIZE HOPE! Den Haag (Netherland), 05.02.2016  

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