A Call for Worldwide Actions against Global AgriBusiness during the G8 Summit in June 2007

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A Call for Worldwide Actions against Global Agri-Business during the G8 Summit in June 2007

In June 2007, the political elite of the world's strongest economies (the group of G8 states) will meet in Germany at Heiligendamm near Rostock to coordinate their politics. A basic tenet of this is the creation and widening of better conditions for profit making by transnational companies from the North. At the same time, thousands of people will gather to demonstrate global resistance to exploitation, oppression and capitalism. One topic will be the global politics of agriculture, and in particular genetic technology.

The Companies of the North - Hand in Hand with the IMF, World Bank and WTO =46or years, multinational companies such as Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Bayer and BASF have been trying to impose agricultural technology worldwide. This has been nothing less than an attempt at the total control of agricultural production. With biopiracy, patenting, the buying up of land, the Protection of Species Agreement, WTO rulings and terminator technology an attempt has been made to take the freedom to decide what they grow on their fields away from farmers. The globalisation of agriculture has brought a worldwide standardisation of food habits and in particular the methods of industrialised growing and cultivation. Genetic technology has accelerated this process through monoculture farming and a total dependence on the fertiliser and seed industries. Furthermore, it has involved the systematic destruction of the means of subsistence for small scale and indigenous communities with catastrophic consequences, especially in the global South. The context in which all this has taken place are the structural adjustment programmes of the IMF, the free trade agreements of the WTO and the agricultural subsidies of the United States and EU governments.

The consequences of agriculture politics are visible globally. More than half of humanity, be it small scale farmers or agricultural labourers, live from agriculture.

Resistance in the South The farmers' movements in the South are the force for resistance against the politics of agricultural industrialisation. There are reports - even if they are limited - of diverse forms of resistance. Over the last few years, in India, thousands of cotton farmers have, again and again, stormed local branches of Monsanto. In South Brazil, in March 2006, 1500 farmers destroyed 5million eucalyptus trees which were sucking up groundwater. In Brazil, Ghana, Malawi and Zimbabwe, land occupations have been a part of everyday political life.

The right, in particular, to "food sovereignty" is demanded, amongst others, by Via Campesina, a worldwide association of small scale farmers, agricultural labourers and landless people with more than 200million members. Food sovereignty means more than just the right to free access to enough healthy, wholesome and culturally typical food. Moreover, it means the right to agricultural - which means non-industrialised - food production, and therefore the right to control the means of production, especially land, water and seeds. Answers to fundamental questions concerning property and distribution need to be rethought in the context of food sovereignty.

Resistance in the North? In Europe and the industrialised North, the issue plays a smaller role, only coming to the surface in extreme circumstances. One example was the articulation of support for mistreated, hyper-exploited migrant agricultural workers on vegetable plantations in southern Spain. Another is the activities against the planting of genetically modified food. For example, in 2004, 2500 "Voluntary Mowers" destroyed genetically modified fields in the south of France.

Now, some activists involved with the mobilisation against the G8 Summit also want to support the resistance in the North. The aim is not only to make the worldwide resistance to globalised agriculture and genetic technology visible, but also to help it grow. This is no small task as problems manifest themselves in very different ways.

In the "South": through hunger; displacement; incredibly fast-growing slum cities; exploitation in the countryside; the worldwide worsening of the social situation of women in particular; catastrophic environmental destruction.

In the "North": through the widespread closure of farms; the erosion of villages and their replacement by advanced capitalist agro-export monocultures; growing alienation in cities and the countryside. Everywhere, the tendency is visible: more and more land is being controlled by fewer and fewer actors, namely, landlords and transnational companies.

The First Successes in Cooperation There has already been successful cooperation between the South and the North in resistance to genetic agriculture. Worldwide protests and actions have severely limited its development. Again and again, genetic engineering companies have been forced to withdraw from various regions and countries. Of course, they are always looking for ways to return. The genetic companies are global actors and their politics are a part of capitalist globalisation. For this reason, successful resistance needs to be globally networked and part of the worldwide movement against neoliberalism!

Hopefully, a broad coalition of farmers, consumers, trade unionists and opponents to economic globalisation will take action against the global agri-business, gaining publicity around the G8 Summit in spring 2007. The objective is to carry out actions at various points within the agricultural production chain. For example: to blockade the sowing of genetically modified crops; to address the outrageous working conditions of employees and the ruinous prices paid by the head buyers at the multinational supermarket, Lidl; to criticise the agricultural policies of the European Union and the collaboration between different departments at the University of Rostock and agri-business in front of a pig-fattening factory. With a diversity of actions, it should be possible to show who are the winners and losers in globalised agriculture. We will demonstrate to the world media gathered in Rostock that we won't accept this insanity without resistance. Also in agriculture: another world - without profit, exploitation and environmental destruction - is possible!

We hope that lots of people from different parts of Europe will take part.

Beyond this, we want to appeal to the movements in the South to support our project. We hope that there will be coordinated actions during the 2007 G8 Summit, for example, against seed multinationals. Not only in Europe and North America, and not only in India or Brazil, but rather, in every country throughout the whole world resistance needs to demonstrate that they are responsible for hunger, exploitation and displacement. They simply have to go - worldwide!

This proposal has been discussed in Germany and amongst some other European movements.

We request that you make this proposal known globally, that you discuss it, and that you modify it. We also request that, if you decide not to support this Call, you tell us wh= y.

Contact: herhan@gmx.net and g8_landwirtschaft@yahoo.de

23rd July 2006.

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