The time has come for a transformation of Europe’s food systems. Small-scale food producers, peasants, community groups, environmental justice activists and others have been calling for years for a shift towards agriculture that nourishes communities, regenerates ecosystems, and provides decent and sustainable livelihoods. The concept of agroecology encompasses these ambitions, referring to the science, movement, and practice of working with nature to build food sovereignty. The climate crisis and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have only made it clearer how urgent such a transformation is.
Land politics – who controls what land, how is it used, for how long, for what purposes and to whose benefit – is a central pillar of this debate. As politicians across Europe struggle to balance the urgent need for climate action with the need to strengthen equity and popular support for new policies, the risk of societal discord looms large, fuelled by farmer protests, perceptions of ‘agri-bashing,’ and long-running tensions between conservation movements and agricultural communities. This has been made more complicated by the interweaving of questions of land and national identity and an apparently increasing disconnect between those living in rural and urban areas.
Brazil has recently undergone a shift from economic growth to recession, as well as from a left-wing, neo-developmentalist politics to one on the far-right, authoritarian and economically ultraliberal. Such an economic and political U-turn touched upon the countryside in contrasting ways. This paper reflects on the politics of the past. It suggests that the road to regression was paved during the tenure of the Worker’s Party (PT), when politics were considered both popular and progressive. And it was under the PT’s rule when the ‘rural world’ mattered the most for politics.
The BRICS are following the pattern traditionally adopted by Northern countries of enclosing and exploiting land, both nationally and abroad, to benefit capital and global agro-industrialisation. They are also using law and diplomacy, notably Bilateral Investment Agreements, in order to facilitate access to foreign land, and foster their own economic interests.
How does looking at the rural U.S. from a "three rural americas" perspective helps provide a more nuanced framework for understanding the role of rural residents in current national politics, and especially in the last election?
How do dominant political-economic conditions articulate and manifest in rural spaces? This question is central to grasping the contextual dynamics of agrarian change and associated contestations, conflicts and struggles.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
28 January 2016
“Land is like our vein; it is vital for our living. After our land was confiscated, we don’t know what to do for our livelihood,” says a farmer from Kachin State in Myanmar. Today many inhabitants of rural communities in Myanmar live under threat of losing their lands in a battle for resources spurred by ethnic conflict, exploitative land laws, and powerful economic actors. The existence of a legal right to the land does not translate into that right being respected in practice, and people across the country are now working to protect their right to the land.
In Argentina, the accumulation of new lands for expanding mining and large-scale agribusiness requires displacement of current occupants. However, peasant resistance is shaping to achieve far-reaching structural change.
While state-society relations in Turkey have historically been top-down and coups d’etat periodically interrupted the functioning of electoral politics, the recent authoritarian turn under President Erdogan is remarkable. This paper examines two especially salient political economic dynamics at play.