By Nikhil Aziz
November 9th, 2007
Sin maíz no hay país is the resounding clarion call given by Grassroots International’s Mexican partners, grantees and their allies in rolling out the National Campaign in Defense of Food Sovereignty and the Revitalization of Rural Mexico.
Corn is indigenous to Mexico, and the alliance of peasant, farm worker, indigenous peoples, fisher, consumer, environmental and human rights groups and other organizations that came together to declare sin maíz no hay país are making the point that corn is intrinsically tied to the very idea and identity of Mexico.
By Jake Miller
September 4th, 2007
Victor M. Quintana is an adviser to the Frente Democrático Campesino de Chihuahua , researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez and collaborator with the Americas Policy Program, at www.americaspolicy.org. He works with the Rural Coalition and the Via Campesina, Mexico and has spoken and written widely about agrofuels, especially about their impact on the price of staple foods like tortillas in Mexico.
[This is a final report by George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition from the Via Campesina's International Forum on Agrofuels and Food Sovereignty, August 30-31, 2007 in Mexico City. --Ed.]
Would it seem strange to you if your country had become dependent on food imports, but your government starts promoting the idea that the agricultural system needs to produce agrofuel, too?
How about if 3.5 million of your fellow citizens migrated out of the country since 2000, many because they could no longer make a living on the farm?
“Our Youth is not the Future, Our Youth is the Present” – Julian Moya, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Albuquerque, New Mexico
“We cannot choose the historical conditions we find ourselves in, but we can choose how we respond to them” – Ajamu Baraka, Director, U.S. Human Rights Network, Atlanta, Georgia
These two quotes, among many other hopeful messages I heard at the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) from June 27 to July 1, 2007 in Atlanta epitomized for me the USSF – what it stands for and envisions in terms of a different kind of United States. Both represent the truth embedded in the official slogan of the USSF – Another World is Possible; Another US is Necessary.
"A few days a week, foul-smelling black mud comes out of the plant," Javier told us as he sat a short distance downstream from the Coca-Cola plant in Apizaco, Mexico. Javier, a small farmer getting on in years, has been tending his cows along the Apizquito River for decades. "The spring is about four kilometers up to the east. The water comes out sweet and clean there, but by the time it gets here it's polluted."
Javier, a small farmer near the Coke plant
Up Against the Charros and the Changarros: Mexico's Independent Unions Confront a Wave of Lousy Jobs
Few satisfied workers were in evidence among the thousands flooding Mexico's cities on May 1st (Labor Day in Mexico and everywhere in the world except the United States, despite the holiday's Chicago origin).
The raid came on a Friday night. Law enforcement officials swooped down on hundreds of undocumented immigrants who had not made it far past the border.
Editor's Note: In their latest dispatch from Mexico, Chris Tilly and Marie Kennedy share their insight into the complicated world of human rights.
I had the incredible opportunity to coordinate a meeting between the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (UAWC) and the U.S. farmers and farm worker delegates to Nyeleni.
Present at the meeting were Omar Doanna, UAWC and Stop the Wall, Fuad Abu Sail, UAWC, Khalid Hedmi, UAWC, Zakaraya, a Palestinian farmer, Dena Hoff, NFFC, John Kinsman and John Peck, Family Farm Defenders, Carlos Marentes, Border Agricultural Workers.
The meeting was a rare chance for farmer-activists from very different places to share farming experiences, compare notes on movement-building strategy and show that human connection can conquer political divides.
The recent news about rising corn prices in Mexico (and here in the US), in part a result of growing demand for "clean biofuels" such as ethanol, warrants focusing on a variety of act