Vía Campesina’s ‘Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform’ has made a significant impact (inter)nationally in reshaping the terms of the land reform debates, but its impact on other land policy dynamics has been marginal.
The global rise in food prices is not only a consequence of using food crops to produce biofuels, but of the "free trade" policies promoted by international financial institutions. Now peasant organisations are leading the opposition to a capitalist industrial agriculture.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has a long history of work in the field of land policy and agrarian reform, playing a lead role in international co-operation from its founding up until the 1970s. From the 1990s on, the initiative in the design and development of land policies and agrarian reform has been taken up by the World Bank, with the FAO generally following its policies.
Brazil has not experienced any sort of major agrarian reform since then, but dozens of rural movements have been organised and hundreds of thousands of landless peasants have acquired the right of access to land (especially through settlement projects) as a result of these social movements’ struggles. After so many years of fighting and popular mobilisation, what are these movements’ contributions to building rural democracy? This study seeks to understand this process by evaluating social movements’ alliances (both rural and urban alliances) and evaluating their relationships with political parties, especially with the Workers Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores – PT) and with the Brazilian Federal Government.