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Understanding 'rural' authoritarian populism
The Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative (ERPI) focuses on understanding the rise of 'authoritarian populism' in rural settings across the world, as well as the forms of resistance occurring and the alternatives being built. New exclusionary politics are generating deepening inequalities, jobless 'growth', climate chaos, and social division. The ERPI is focused on the social and political processes in rural spaces that are generating alternatives to regressive, authoritarian politics. We aim to provoke debate and action among scholars, activists, practitioners and policymakers from across the world who are concerned about the current situation, and hopeful about alternatives.
In Europe, land speculation and land concentration are an increasing threat to small and medium sized family farms and new entrants. Soaring land prices make it increasingly difficult for farmers to have access to land. In the meantime, investors are buying up enormous pieces of land, sometimes using legal loopholes. Land is increasingly becoming a globally tradable commodity and an object of financial speculation. Examples such as Scotland and Andalusia, where arable land, pastures and forests are highly concentrated since centuries, show the negative effects for sustainable rural development and societies as a whole.
What is governance? There are different definitions, but it can be conceived as the way that authority is exercised. Governance is networked, globalised, territorialised and differentiated. Governance has different objectives for different actors and actor networks. While it is a contested concept, globally governance is becoming increasingly financialised, and in some cases this includes land governance.
Watch this trailer for a powerful new documentary about how supposedly well-meaning Dutch and Swedish investments can result in land grabbing and human rights abuses in one small community in Mozambique.
In the industrial or corporate food regime, hunger is a staple commodity. Agrarian and food justice movements have come a long way in building an alternative system, but there are still many challenges.
"The banks are ours!" Public money was used to bail out the banks, and now they are lending back to the public at interest, while governments ignore the social and environmental crises that confront society. It is time to demand real solutions that will work not only for the sake of the economy but for the lives and conditions of people on whom it depends.