La Vía Campesina
An Evolving Transnational Social Movement
Vía Campesina unites more than a hundred national and subnational organisations from Latin America, North America, Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe opposed to neo-liberalism and advocating a pro-poor, sustainable, rights-based rural development and greater democratisation. It is an ideologically autonomous and pluralist coalition. It is both an actor and an arena of action. Claiming global and popular representation, Vía Campesina has emerged as a major actor in the current popular transnational struggles against neo-liberalism, demanding accountability from inter-governmental agencies, resisting and opposing corporate control over natural resources and technology, and advocating food sovereignty, among other issues. It has figured prominently in politically contentious campaigns such as those against the WTO, global corporate giants such as McDonalds, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) along with the transnational companies that promote them, such as Monsanto.
Focusing on the global campaign for agrarian reform, this paper looks at four broadly distinct but interrelated aspects of Vía Campesina's development:
- Agendas and aims
- Alliances, rival movements and the question of autonomy
- Strategies and forms of collective actions
- Representativity and accountability.
In each case, the current Vía Campesina situation is presented, positions clarified, dilemmas identified, and challenges put forward.