Jennifer Franco, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Hannah Twomey
16 February 2015
Myanmar's National Land Use Policy promises to make profound changes to the current economic, social, and political-institutional landscape. This is an important and bold step, but its impact will depend on how it addresses the often “messy” details of actual land based social relations.
Using the case study of the 2012 illegal occupation of farmland owned by the University of California (“Occupy the Farm”), this paper investigates the promises and practical limits of constructing food sovereignty through direct action in the global North. Many grassroots activists find inspiration in the work of the Landless Peasant Movement (MST), La Via Campesina, and the concept(s) of Food Sovereignty (FS); many also express desires to transcend the market/state dichotomy through the creation of “commons”.
Land politics and the social movements mobilizing around land have changed profoundly, inspiring a new generation of scholar-activists. Professor Saturnino ('Jun') M. Borras explores land politics, agrarian movements and scholar-activism in his inaugural lecture at the International Institute for Social Studies.
This assessment is in response to the 6th draft of the NLUP, released in May 2015, following months of public and expert consultations. It outlines some of the key positive and negative points of the new draft.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, Khu Khu Ju, 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.