Bukittinggi Paradigm on Agrarian Reform and Revolution

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" The international meeting “Agrarian Reform and the Defense of Land and Territory in the 21st Century, the Challenge and Future” was organized by La Via Campesina and the Global Campaign on Agrarian Reform (GCAR) to discuss the global conjuncture and identify key elements of a common strategy for agrarian reform, food sovereignty and the defense of land and territories. Over 150 representatives from peasants, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, youth, workers, women, landless workers, human rights and research organizations participated in the meeting, which was held in Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatera, Indonesia from July 10th-13th 2012."



"Agrarian and aquatic reform in the 21th Century must be struggles for justice that democratize agrarian structures and build new social, economic and political relations. They incorporate space, territory, water and biodiversity.

To counter the destruction of several decades of neoliberalism, the new agrarian-aquatic reforms must be revolutionary and transformative, end land and resource concentration, and resist counter-agrarian reform. Elements of the vision include :

Food sovereignty :agrarian and aquatic reform must be founded on the principles of food sovereignty and have as its central pillar, the concept of territory. Food sovereignty demands secure access to and control over farmlands, seeds, breeds, forests, pastoral lands, migratory routes, fishing areas, water bodies, seas, coasts and eco-systems by peasants, fisher-folk, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and workers. It cannot be realized without land and resource sovereignty, and the rights of food producers to govern their territories-domains, including their customs, rules and agreements for protecting, using and sharing domains across geo-political boundaries.

Redistribution of power : expropriation and distribution of private lands that do not serve a social purpose to landless/land-poor families, the over-arching goal of redistribution is to redistribute power and alter power relations in favor of small-scale food producers, their organizations and movements. Such redistribution cannot be carried out through market mechanisms. Agrarian reform must balance the priorities of peasants, family farmers, fisher-folk, indigenous peoples, the landless, pastoralists and other rural communities, emphasizing the particular needs of women and youth.

The right to resources, territory and self-determination :agrarian and aquatic reforms must guarantee rural people secure access to and control over their lands and territories, restore pride of identity and the dignity of peasants, indigenous peoples, fisher-folk, pastoralists, workers and women. It must respect the rights of mother earth, the cosmovisions of different cultures, and local autonomy and governance with equal rights for women and men. Communities of food producers should be able to make decisions over the use, management and preservation of their lands, territories and resources, with priority to the rights of women, youth and historically marginalized groups.

Defense of land and territories : all possible measures—legal, regulatory and direct action—should be used to defend lands, water, territories, minerals and biodiversity from expropriations, capitalist enclosures, commodification and destruction. Land and territory must be defended as social/collective wealth, not simply as individual property while at the same time respecting and upholding the rights of mother earth. Land speculation must be prohibited, and state and private corporations must be prevented from acquiring large expanses of land. These include community/collective titles to prevent individual land parcels from entering the market, opposing market mechanisms in land governance, peoples’ counter-enclosures such as land occupations, and mobilizations in public spaces and fora to build popular support for our struggles.

Address poverty, unemployment, hunger and distress migration : agrarian reform must create enabling conditions for enhancing standards of living for the majorityand for reviving and rebuilding rural economies, including for example, public provision of good quality, affordable and accessible services in health, education, electricity, water and sanitation, transportation, recreation, credit, banks, markets, etc. It must reverse the distress migration of rural peoples, enable the reinsertion of peasants back on their lands and ensure futures for young people in the countryside.

Rural-urban land sovereignty : A new vision must address the reality of urban areas in relation to land, water, housing, food and essential services. The same forces of speculative capital that drive land grabbing in rural areas are behind the real estate speculation that cause mass evictions of the urban poor. A strong-rural-urban alliance to resist common enemies requires rebuilding inter-dependence between producers and consumers, and revisiting concepts of social, economic, political and environmental justice.

Models of production, distribution and consumption : should be non-exploitative, environmentally responsible and slow down climate change. Energy policy is especially important since land, forests, rivers, seas and sea-beds are being captured to feed high-energy industries and lifestyles. Production models should empower and enrich small-scale food producers, not force them into debt traps or value chains they have no control over. Production and distribution models should be based on food sovereignty and agro-ecology, and support the recovery of native seeds and breeds, water harvesting, locally generated renewable energy, revival of traditional foods and re-building local food systems.

Peace, justice and dignity : food sovereignty, agrarian reform and defense of land and territories are struggles for peace, justice, dignity and life. A new agrarian reform must mobilize forces to end state, military and corporate occupations of lands and territories, oppose war and militarization of our economic systems, and challenge the criminalization of our struggles."

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