Saturday, February 12, 2005

 

General Program of Action (2005-2007)

First Assembly of the Asian peasant coalition (APC)
November 28, 2004 * Dhaka, Bangladesh
I. Background
Millions of peasants have been struggling against all forms of exploitation in Asia, a region of underdeveloped and developing countries. The condition of the peasants in this region is quite terrible due to worsening land and agrarian problems. Currently, Asian agriculture remains feudal; basic problems related to land remains unresolved even though majority of the population is engaged in agricultural production.

It is estimated that out of the 847 million poor people in the developing countries of the world, the poor are heavily concentrated in the South Asia. Furthermore, Asian agriculture remains backward and inefficient where farmers lack farming tools, infrastructure and systems necessary to a self-reliant and sustainable agriculture oriented towards people's needs and build-up.

Asia lands are bountiful and rich. Agricultural lands were fit for rice, corn, banana, coconut, sugar, coffee, abaca and tobacco cultivation and labor force was more than enough to cultivate and produce these crops. Agriculture generate as much as 30 to 50 percent of gross domestic product output, employs 70-80 percent of the labor force and contributes 40-70 percent of the export earnings. Yet more Asian people are chronically hungry and the peasants were pushed further into hunger, poverty and landlessness due to land grabbing and land monopoly of local big landlords, compradors, capitalist and imperialism.

Vast tracts of agricultural lands are converted and geared for export crop production. Worst, the World Bank’s Market Assisted Land Reform Program in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia increases joblessness, indebtedness and leads to life-long bondage.

Imperialist Globalization promotes comprehensive trade liberalization under the World Trade Organization (WTO). These policies further destroyed local economies and opened them up for the unbridled dumping of surplus products from the industrialized countries. Instead of improving the lives of peasants, the WTOs Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) has led to their further marginalization and benefits agricultural exporters, mainly developed countries.

Agrochemical TNCs controlled agricultural research centers in the name of “partnership in agriculture research” through the CGIAR system, like the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). From the start of the Green Revolution, the research centers of the CGIAR promoted a research that ignores the knowledge and experience of farmers, farming communities, and indigenous people.

The agriculture promoted by the CGIAR, with its dependence on pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals, is environmentally and socially unsustainable. Farmers have been plunged into debt, their health and the health of their families has suffered, their knowledge, culture and social systems have been exploited.

The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) gives global corporations the ‘right’ to claim monopoly ownership over rice through patents and similar mechanisms. Companies have already claim intellectual property rights (IPR) on rice. There are now 600 biotech patents on rice genetic resources, plants and breeding methods worldwide.

Throughout Asia, the political and state repressions are rampant. There is a phenomenon of criminalization of agrarian cases that often prejudice the peasants’ rights. The war and the WTO are "interrelated" for many of the world's biggest monopolies and TNCs, war is an occasion to recover from crisis. Asian peasants are one of the major victims of the savagery of US imperialism. The centuries-old problem of landlessness is worsened by war, by imperialist plunder and poverty. And yet, throughout Asian history, the peasantry has remain the major force not only in agricultural and economic production but most of all, the peasantry is one of the major forces in the different movements for liberation and self-determination.

Our colonial experience and history should teach us that if Asian countries should achieve genuine development, they must stop hitching their economies to international structures of monopoly capitalist domination. The development of Asia should be founded on economic programs and political set-ups in which the Asian toiling masses can take control of their land and other productive resources, and marshal them for genuine development.

Our effort to intensify our unity against our common enemy took place during the historic gathering of Asian peasants on March 30-31, 2003 in the Asian Peasant Conference held in the Philippines with the theme: Consolidate our Gains and Strengthen Solidarity! Persevere in the Struggle for Land and Social Emancipation! Intensify Resistance against Imperialist Globalization and War.

The Assembly of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) this November 28, 2004 in Dhaka, Bangladesh is another step to further strengthen and consolidate the ranks, linkages and solidarity relations established between and among the peasant movements in Asia.
II. Program
This assembly hereby approves the General Program of Action as follows:
  1. Onward with the anti-feudal struggle of the peasants for genuine agrarian reform. Fight intensified land grabbing of the landlords and agrochemical TNCs in Asian level.

    Further promote, systematize and broaden the anti-feudal campaign with anti- imperialism that will mobilize the biggest number of peasants in Asia.

    Intensify the campaign for land rent reduction, price increase of farmers produced, increase agricultural production, increase the wage of the agricultural workers, decrease the production cost together with the struggle against land grabbing, militarization, state fascism and other forms of exploitation in accordance to particular condition the country concern. Confront and focus on issues that can mobilize increasing numbers of peasants against land grabbing and the assertion of their rights to land and seeds.
  2. Actively expose and oppose the continuing state fascism and militarization against the rights of peasants. Resist the maneuver, betrayal and divisive character of local regimes against the farmers. Work for a genuine, just and lasting peace in Asia.

    Effectively expose and oppose the fascist attack, intensifying militarization, violation of human rights, harassments and crimes committed against peasants in accordance with the “war against terrorism”.

    Protest the phenomenon of the criminalization of agrarian cases against the farmers and its struggle for land. Including illegal arrest, abduction, imprisonment and brutal murder against the peasant leaders and activists.


    Make a plan on how to confront and halt the mounting criminalization of agrarian cases and sustain a campaign and all kinds of support for the immediate release of the peasant political prisoners and will take legal steps for the disposal of all cases across Asia.

    Actively and continuously support the campaign to stop the harassment against Asian peasant leaders and activists through signature campaigns, fora, rallies and others.
  3. Resist intensifying imperialist control and plunder on Asian agriculture and economy. Expose and oppose the policies of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank (IMF-WB), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and World Trade Organization (WTO).

    Fight against globalization that further destroy local economies of Asian countries. Continue with the call “WTO, Out of Agriculture”.

    Expose the increasing risk of food security and food self-sufficiency of Asian countries due to WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) that led to further marginalization of peasants.

    Oppose the Agrochemical TNC’s control in agricultural research through the CGIAR system, like the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that ignores the knowledge and experience of farmers, farming communities, and indigenous people.

    Resist the agriculture promoted by the CGIAR that is dependent on pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals. Promote environmental and socially sustainable farming practices.

    Reject the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that give TNCs the ‘right’ to claim monopoly ownership over rice through patents. Reclaim the traditional seeds and promote community seed banking in Asia.
  4. Further develop and heighten the information, education and cultural aspect of the peasant movement. Forward and propagate a pro-people, scientific and mass culture. Maximize the committee on information and education to disseminate materials and documents for collective education.

    Conduct series of information drive, education and training (such as conferences, workshops, study trips, etc.), and cultural activities to enhance their skills and knowledge on peasant issues, campaigns and struggles.

    Sponsor exchange programs among the peasants in Asia to learn from each other’s experiences and lessons in their struggle for genuine agrarian reform.

    Strive for sustained information and education work. Develop different methods of information and education to effectively reach the peasants in Asia.

    Maximize the tri-media –radio, television, print – including the mobile propaganda team (MPT), street plays, alternative video-documentaries and other useful methods of information and education.

    Regularly sponsor a research and documentation to sharpen the line and analysis, to support the education, information and cultural work to help mobilize the peasants. Create
    an e-group and website to ensure that these research and documentation will reach the members in Asia.

    Quarterly print and distribute a publication of the APC [to identify the name] as an effective way for the analysis and principles of the APC on issues confronted. Encourage all the members to contribute articles and news for the publication.
  5. Advance and fortify the alliance and networking of the APC and its partnership with different peasant movements and people’s outside Asia. Strengthen the contribution of the APC in the pursuit of the anti-imperialist movement and struggle in the world.

    Strengthen and expand the membership of APC. Hold leadership and skills training to further improve its leadership competence. Initiate fund raising campaign to finance activities of the APC.

    Continously strengthen the alliance and networking of the APC. Actively join and perform the tasks of organizing and strengthening of anti-imperialist movement in the world.

    Fortify the gains aimed in the establishment of the Asian peasant coalition and support the call for a “Peoples Convention on Food Sovereignty”

    Advance the alliance against agrochemical TNCs and promote alternative farming practices through the International Alliance Against Agrochemical TNCs and link up with other international peasant formation to defend the rights and livelihood of peasants and peoples of the world.

    Coordinate Asia-wide campaigns (such as campaign to junk WTO, resist agrochemical TNCs, etc.) at the international level that would strengthen relations with other organizations and individuals.#



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