Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Here is the text of S.Kannaiyan who spoke on behalf of La via Campesina and civil society mechanism in defense of Right to Food and Public stock holding program of India in the CFS plenary in FAO on 14th October, 2014.
Thank you madam chair and I take the floor representing
La Via Campesina which is an active member in the civil society mechanism here.
Civil Society endorses the stance that India has taken here today on the public stock holding issue. We, as civil society believe in the principle of coherence of human rights, which is enshrined in the UDHR. Human Rights are indivisible and inter-dependent.
We cannot have a right to adequate food in practice only by ensuring minimalistic entitlements and by negating the principle of policy coherence.
The complete hypocrisy of the developed countries particularly the US and the EU needs to be throughly exposed. Whilst protecting the interests of their farmers and agri-business, they are using the blatantly unjust WTO rules to arm-twist India and other developing countries.
Public stock holding is vital to the food and nutrition security of any country. It is one of the principal weapons that we have against food price volatility. A guaranteed minimum floor price mechanism can potentially help small and marginal farmers, especially women farmers. Any trade measure that comes in the way of countries assisting the poorest and most marginalised people is unacceptable to us.
We condemn the unfair trade rules that have permitted the developed countries to put most of their subsidies in the Green box, while developing countries are being squeezed to cut their subsidies.
We believe that there should be a full discussion on the public stock holding issue in CFS 42. We believe that the CFS is THE legitimate forum for the discussion on public stock-holding and food security issues and not the WTO.
The principle of coherence of human rights over-rides any trade negotiation or agreement that comes in the way of food security of our constituent groups.
In 2013, the company was taken to court in Kenya for failure to pay its creditors.4 Unpaid workers went on strike, the Karuturi Hospital suffered power cuts, and free schooling for the flower farmworkers' children at Karuturi School came to an end. The community around the farm in Naivasha continues to bear the economic and social costs of the Indian company's troubles.5
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Road No. 2, A – 33, Mahipalpur Extension, New Delhi – 110 037, IndiaTel: 011 - 26783000, 26784000; Fax: 011-26785001; Email: email@example.com
August 6, 2014
To: Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman,
Minister of State Finance
138, North Block, New Delhi
Dear Shrimati Nirmala Sitharaman:
We are a network of farmers’ organizations in India, comprising of farmers movements from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharastra.
We appreciate the Government of India’s uncompromised stand in the WTO and commitment to food security. At the WTO General Council the Government of India has postponed the Trade Facilitation Agreement indefinitely until a solution on public stockholding has been found. We appreciate the roles the Government of India and you have played in this position, and we will extend support to the Government of India for any pro-farmer and pro-poor position you have in the WTO. However, our position since the Uruguay Round has always been that there is no place for agriculture in the WTO, and Indian farmers have been the champion of this fight, both at home and internationally.
We agree with you that a permanent solution on the issue of public stockholding for food security is paramount to trade facilitation. Thank you for taking a permanent stand for India against pressure from developed countries such as the USA and protecting the interests of Indian farmers. Protecting farmers means protecting food security at large for Indian citizens. Recognizing and acting upon this is a first step for seeking justice for small farmers in a body such as the WTO.
However, the WTO is a fundamentally flawed institution that bends the economic playing field in favor of developed countries and large MNCs at the cost of the livelihoods of the poor. Since the creation of the WTO, farmers’ organizations of India have held strong that agriculture has no place in the WTO. Especially for a country like India, which has a majority rural population, relinquishing sovereignty of our food system to the interests of foreign corporations and developed countries will have a fatal impact for our population. To truly take the “farmers’ stand” the Government of India must demand an end to agriculture in the WTO altogether.
The WTO has always been the centerpiece of the free trade regime with its multilateral reach and its special ability to legally enforce and penalize countries in order to implement global trade rules. It has been 18 years since the WTO was established. The multiple crises of finance, food, climate, can all be linked to the free trade regime and how it has overexploited the planet, pushing us into this climate crisis, poisoning our food and speculating on prices driving them up beyond people’s reach and letting banks and transnational corporations run unregulated pushing us all into the brink of a global recession.
What we need is not more free trade, but rather, a new system, one that is based on peoples’ sovereignty, economic, climate, social and cultural justice. What we need is a trade that is based on complementarity, solidarity and that has at its heart, the peoples’ interests and not that of corporations. We need an agricultural system that is based on food sovereignty and not based on growing cash crops for the markets.
There are hundreds of alternatives from communities, from social movements, from peasants, workers, women, migrants, fishers, youth and economic justice activists.
One again, thank you for standing strong for farmers at the WTO and holding back on the Trade Facilitation Agreement in the interest of public stockholding. We urge you to continue to work in the same direction until agriculture is out of the WTO altogether.
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, State President, BKU Punjab,
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka
Sh Vijay Jawandhia
Shetkari Sanghatna Maharashtra
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements
Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha
Kerala Coconut Farmers Association
Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Karnataka Rajya Ryot Sangha, Karnataka
President, Tamila nadu Farmers Association, Tamilanadu
Uzhavar Ulaippalar Katchi,
Tamil Nadu Farmers Assocation
Thursday, May 29, 2014
S. Kannaiyan, Secretario geral, SICCFM
A escola Nacional Forestan Fernades, criada pelo MST, assim foi nomeada em homenagem ao líder e intelectual homônimo da classe trabalhadora brasileira e da América do Sul. Segundo Paulo, um dos coordenadores de Política nessa instituição, “ Está é uma escola para os membros do movimento. Em São Paulo a escola possui uma estrutura básica necessária, além disso, existem centros regionais em Brasília, no Ceará, Pará, e está prevista a abertura de novas filiais em outras regiões do país. Atualmente, são 30 os centros de formação do MST”.
A decisão pela construção deste centro de formação foi tomada em 1996, mas foram necessários três anos para que a primeira escola fosse inaugurada. Neste período, algumas personalidades muito conhecidas passaram a suportar a causa do movimento. Entre eles, o fotografo brasileiro mundialmente reconhecido, Sebastião Salgado, que doou os direitos de publicação de fotografias das lutas e da vida cotidiana dos Sem Terra como fonte de renda para a construção da escola do MST. Chico Buarque e José Saramago também doaram os direitos do livro realizado em parceria com o fotógrafo como contribuição à coleta de fundos para o projeto.
A escola Florestan Fernandes foi construída graças ao trabalho árduo de voluntários que vieram de todo o Brasil. Arquitetos e engenheiros desenharam e ajudaram na construção do edifício que foi inaugurado em 2005. Atualmente, a escola conta com uma boa biblioteca com livros referentes a assuntos diversos, salas de aula, centros de reuniões, acomodações bem conservadas, cozinha e salão para refeições. Além de uma sala de informática e conexão Wi-Fi em todo o prédio. Todos os dias os estudantes expressam suas ideias inovadoras e ateiam as bandeiras do MST e da Via Campesina no pátio da escola.
Mas o que eles fazem na escola do MST? Neste espaço são ministrados treinamentos político em diferentes áreas. Tais quais:
1) Teoria Política: 4 cursos nacionais que duram, cada um, 40 dias, sendo dois destes cursos destinados ao treinamento dos futuros líderes do MST.
2) Um curso para lideres de movimentos sociais realizado em três etapas, cada uma com a duração de 45 dias.
3)Curso intensivo de leitura sistemática de Karl Marx realizado em 6 etapas, cada uma com duração de uma semana.
4) Curso intensivo similar para leitura do trabalho de Karl Marx e dos escritos de Florestan Fernandes, quem escreveu mais de 60 livros de política clássica.
5) Estudos Latino-americanos. Via Campesina – CLOCK ( Coordenação latino-americana de movimentos sociais) e Via Campesina ALBA – rede de movimentos sociais na América Latina que envia seus estudantes para este curso. Exitem 3 disciplinas oferecidas sob esta cátedra:
I- Formação de instrutores de política. Este curso tem uma duração de 40 dias e, no final, os alunos devem apresentar um programa para seus movimentos. Cerca de 60 estudantes, originários de 16 países, participam dessas aulas.
II - Teoria política latino-americana é o curso de maior duração, são três meses de aula.
III- Especialização em estudos latino-americanos. Este curso é ministrado em parceria com a Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora, são 2 anos de aula conduzidos em 5 etapas. Os temas das aulas são variados e inclui filosofia, política, economia, questões agrarias, e teorias organizacionais. Uma fase é ministrada pela escola nacional em São Paulo e as outras na Universidade.
Cursos formais: a escola nacional do MST tem parceria com várias universidades que ministram cursos formais em graduação e pós-graduação. Sete cursos formais são coordenados pela Universidade de Brasília, pela Federal do Rio de Janeiro, pela Universidade de São Paulo (USP) e UNESP, e pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). Cursos de graduação, incluindo arte, drama e poesia nas áreas rurais; pós-graduação em agro-ecologia e educação e saúde também são oferecidos.
Além das aulas, debates, seminários e encontros são realizados para um público variado. Pelo menos 8 seminários são organizados todos os anos sobre diferentes temáticas, como por exemplo estudos latino-americanos. Aos domingos são feitos ciclos de debate abertos ao público, além de encontros sobre temas variados organizados frequentemente pela escola. Em 2012, cerca de 4100 e, em 2013, 3500 pessoas foram beneficiadas pela escola, tendo participado de diferentes programas da instituição.
A escola nacional do MST é uma ideia para a solidificação do processo de construção do movimento. Todos os voluntários ficam na escola por um período que varia entre 2 e 4 anos. Neste período, eles realizam trabalhos coletivos com divisão de responsabilidades. Durante minha visita, os coordenadores políticos da instituição eram Paula Djacira e Erivan, ambos colaboravam com outros colegas e com o MST. Esta escola não possui nenhum tipo de suporte do governo e não remunera ninguém. Professores voluntários e estudantes trabalham em conjunto pela instituição e pelo movimento..
Em minha despedida, Paulo me disse que espera que o trabalho feito na escola contribua para a redefinição do futuro da sociedade. Infelizmente, os movimentos camponeses indianos não contam com escolas de formação para seus membros e líderes. Fiquei impressionado pela participação igualitária de jovens, mulheres e homens em todas a atividades seja em sala de aula, seja na cozinha. Outra coisa que me impressionou muito foi a contribuição desta instituição para os estudos latino-americanos e, por consequência, para a luta de toda a região. A escola é uma demonstração da luta coletiva dos povos da América Latina e isto é algo que não observamos na Ásia e no qual deveríamos nos espelhar.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
A firsthand account by S. Kannaiyan, General Secretary, SICCFM
Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST) has started a national school named after Florestan Fernandes who was leader and intellectual of working class in Brazil and movements across south America. Paulo, one of the Political coordinators of the School explained more about the MST school. “MST school is the national school for its cadres. There are centers at provincial levels in Brazil. MST school in Sao Paulo has the required essential facilities, and there are plans to have schools in other places too. They have schools in Brasilia, Ciarea, Para (Near Amazon). Currently there are 30 formation Schools for MST.”
In 1996, the MST decided to build the school and took three years to establish it. Many well-known personalities have understood the significance of this Movement and support it.
Sebastian Salgado, the world famous photographer who made stunning photographs of MST’s fights and people’s life and gave the rights of his publications to MST as a source of revenue to build the school.
Chico Buaque, a very popular singer of Brazil also gave the rights of his songs to MST.
Jose Saramago, a noted writer also gave his rights of his books to MST to build their school.
The school was constructed with hard work of the brigades who came from all over Brazil. Architects and engineers have volunteered and designed the school and helped in the construction, with the school being inaugurated in 2005. The school has a good library stocked with books on different subjects and nice class rooms, meeting halls, well-maintained hostels and residential buildings, kitchens and dining halls. There is also a computer room with internet connections for students. The school area is Wi-Fi enabled. Every day in the morning students express innovative ideas and host flags of MST and La Via Campesina in the school.
So what they do in the MST school? They give political training on a variety of subjects. Some of them are:
1) Political theory. Four national courses lasting 40 days each every year, with two of these courses devoted to train the future leaders of MST
2) A course for leaders from social movements, conducted in three phases with each phase running 45 days
3) An intensive course on systematic reading of Karl Marx in six phases, each phase being of 1 week duration
4) A course similar to reading of Karl Marx but to study Florestan Fernandes who has written 60 books of classical political thoughts. This course is to prepare students to read his works.
5) Latin American Studies is an international course. La Via Campesina - CLOCK (Latin American Coordination of Social Movements) and La Via Campesina ALBA- Net work of social movements in Latin America send their students for this course. There are three courses offered to these students under Latin American Studies.
i. Training of Trainers course for political training. This is a 40 days course and by the end of the course students have to present a program for their movement. Around 60 students from the 16 countries are participating in this course.
ii. Latin American Political Theory is the longest course of the school of 3 months duration.
iii. Specialisation in Latin American Studies. This course is being conducted in partnership with the federal university of Juiz De Fora. This is a 2 year course conducted in 5 phases; the subjects of the course include philosophy, politics, economy, agrarian questions and organisational theories. One phase of the course is conducted in the national school in Sao paulo and the rest in the university.
Formal courses: MST national school in partnership with many universities conducts formal graduation and post graduation courses. Seven formal courses are coordinated with Federal University of Brasilia, Federal Rio de Janeiro University, University of Sao Paulo (USP) and UNESP, the state university of Sao Paulo and UFSC (Federal University of Santa Catarina). Graduation courses including art, drama and poetry pertaining to rural areas and post graduation courses in agro ecology and education, Masters courses (similar to M.Phil courses in India) in health and education and Marxism etc. are conducted.
Seminars, debates and meetings: People visit the MST school to attend seminars in various subjects. At least eight seminars are conducted every year on different topics including Latin American Studies. Apart from seminars, there are cycles of debates conducted every Saturday. The debates are open to all. Meetings on different subjects and new issues are also organised regularly in the school. Around 4100 people in 2012 and 3500 people in 2013 were benefited from the school by studying and participating in different programs.
The MST school is an idea of construction built during the process of the movement. All the volunteers stay in the school for a specific time of two to four years, do collective work with division of responsibilities. During the time my visit, Paula Djacira and Erivan were the political coordinators of the school and were collaborating with other friends and within the larger MST movement. The MST school does not get any support from the government and does not pay anybody. Teachers volunteer and students study and work in the school. Some food is grown in the campus with the rest supplied from various states of Brazil from MST.
Paulo’s parting shot to me was that he hoped what was happening in the school would set the stage for the future of society. Indian peasants movements have no such school to systematically educate its cadres and leaders. I felt impressed by the equal participation of young women and men in the all the activities of the school from class room to kitchen. Another impressing thing which I felt in the school was that the schools contribution to Latin American studies which strengthens the (America Luccha) American struggle which demonstrated the collective struggle of Latin American people which is something not there in Asia needs to be explored.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
|South Indian farmer organizations, led by KRRS march to Veerappa Moily's House to protest field trial approvals|
Bangalore, 18th March, 2014: When confronted by scores of farmers of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements (SICCFM), from four states of South India, Veerappa Moily, the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, today claimed that ‘as far as his knowledge goes, he had not approved any field trials of GM crops’ (1). The farmers had gone to demand that the permission he gave to the regulators to go ahead with clearances for GM field trials be revoked and that he also explain the fresh basis on which he reversed his predecessor Jayanthi Natarajan’s decision to suspend approvals given by GEAC. Moily told the protestors that “he had only looked at the file and returned it” and did not approve any trials.
|Union Minister for Environment and Forests listening to the concerns voiced by farmers against GM crops|
“We are not sure if Veerappa Moily is telling the truth or only presenting smart lies in front of us. If this is indeed true that he only looked at the file and returned it, this means that Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) which is meeting on March 21st 2014 to give further approvals for GM crop trials should not give any clearances, since the earlier Minister’s orders will still be binding on them. Jayanthi Natarajan, in her letter to the Prime Minister dated 9th July 2013 (2) that she had ‘felt it important to await the final judgement of the Supreme Court in this matter, and particularly with a view to avoid any disrespect to the Hon’ble Court directed that further proceedings may await the decision of the Supreme Court’ (which incidentally is on April 15th) – which means that this view of the Minister has to continue to prevail on the regulators”, said Mr. K. T. Gangadhar, President of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.
|Farmers marching towards Union Minister Veerappa Moily's house to protest against field trials of GM crops|
Earlier in the day, scores of farmers of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (SICCFM) staged a protest march and sit-in at the residence of Veerappa Moily in Bangalore. This was in response to the recent announcement by the Minister in a press conference in Delhi (on 27th February 2014) to permit hundreds of field trials of GM crops including GM varities of rice, wheat, maize etc across the country. The decision had been widely condemned by farmer unions, civil society, political parties etc, given the growing evidence of adverse impacts of GM crops to farm livelihoods, human health and environment.
“This is a clear turnaround from what the Minister announced in Delhi and seemed to have done, in terms of giving a go-ahead to the 117th meeting minutes of the GEAC. If he is hiding behind semantics by saying that he did not clear field trials, we want to warn him that we will come back in greater numbers to protest these lies from him. If he is speaking the truth that he has not made any file notings at all or give clearances, we want him to give express instructions now to the regulators not to clear any trials in the upcoming meeting, given the amount of confusion prevailing on the subject”, said Chukki Nanjundaswamy, working president of KRRS.
|Farmer leaders addressing the gathering about GM crops and its adverse consequences|
“GM crops are the latest tools in the hands of Multinational seed companies to take control of our seeds. The decision by Moily to permit the experiments of these risky GM seeds of various companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dupont etc in our farms across the country shows that our governments are hand in glove with them in making that happen” said Kannaiayan Subramanian of SICCFM.
Addressing the farmers Badagalpura Nagendra, General secretary of KRRS stated that “It is unfortunate that such GM crops are being mindlessly promoted by the central and state governments even after the repeated failure of Bt cotton, the only GM crop approved for commercial cultivation in the country. There was massive failure of Bt cotton reported in Karnataka in the last season which was acknowledged even by the Agriculture Minister in the Karnataka state assembly. However, the compensation announced was measly and inadequate. The tragedy is that companies like Monsanto who own the Bt technology walk away with thousands of crores of Rupees earned as royalty from Bt cotton seed sales while the farmers are pushed to suicides. We want to warn the Karnataka government not to give any NOCs to field trials here; otherwise, farmers will be forced to ensure that these trials are cremated”.
The announcement by Moily late last month received flak from state governments including the Congress ruled Kerala government. The Chief Minister of Tamilnadu responded by saying that she will not permit field trials in her state.
Various state govts besides kerala and Tamilnadu, like Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya pradesh, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan had denied permissions for field trials in the past. Hailing the recent statement by the Tamilnadu Chief minister J Jayalalitha to keep the state free from GM crop trials P.Suresh Kumar of Katchi Sarpartra Tamizhaga Vyavasaigal Sangam said that “agriculture is a state subject and it is unacceptable that the central government continues to peddle GM crops despite opposition from state governments.”
Those gathered also pointed to the reccomendations by the parliamentary standing committee on Agriculture which in its report submitted in 2012 highlighted the various concerns with GM crops and the inadequacy of its regulation in the country and strongly reccomended against any open release of GM crops including for field trials as they could lead to irreversible contamination of seed and food supply. The Supreme Court appointed Technical Expert committee had also given similar recommendations last year.
“GM seeds are not just a threat to seed sovereignty of the country but also food safety and sustainability of our environment and they have no place in our country. Experiences with field trials both in the country as well as in other parts of the world shows that they can contaminate our seeds and food supply chains ” said Davison of Kerala Coconut Farmers Association. He further stated that “It is nothing but vested interests to promote GM crops when it is so clear that science and society are against it”.
KRRS and SICCFM declared that they will step up the campaign against GM crops and their promoters in the coming days, that this will be made into an election issue and that will not permit even a single field trial to happen in the state. They urged the Chief Minister of Karnataka to stand by the will of the people and deny any permission for such risky experiments in the state.
Notes to the Editor.