G20 pushes business as usual, Small farmers demand system change

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Failed institutions that have  impoverished people the world over are being promoted as the solution to the current crisis

La Via Campesina News release
Seoul, November 18, 2010

The G20 just concluded its Summit in Seoul, Korea where they professed to discuss solutions to the global financial crisis. Claiming to be the forum for global economic governance, these 20 countries are making decisions that will affect the whole world, while excluding majority of the countries, which also happen to be the poorest.

The G20’s agenda is driven by corporate capital as evidenced by the G20 Seoul Business Summit where around 120 top global CEO’s met with G20 leaders to discuss corporate priorities. In contrast, civil society and social movement representatives voicing people’s demands and priorities were not allowed into Korea. The Korean government effectively prevented the democratic participation of civil society and social movement representatives from abroad by denying visas and by forcibly deporting others.

Yoon Geum Soon, member of the International Coordination Committee of La Via Campesina adds, “The Korean government has used the G20 Summit as an excuse to severely restrict democratic rights and carry out a crackdown on migrants, street vendors and homeless people.”

To make matters worse, the G20 is reviving the international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO) that were responsible for the current crisis in the first place. These failed institutions that push for business as usual and further trade, investment and financial liberalization, have been responsible for further impoverishing people the world over and are now being promoted as the solution to the current crisis.

The US-Korea FTA, which has been long opposed by social movements not only from both Korea and the US, pushes this same kind of free trade liberalization that is pro business and anti-people.

Small farmer delegates from different countries who are members of the international peasant movement La Via Campesinaii were in Seoul to voice their opposition to this illegitimate and undemocratic Summit and to the free market based solutions that these rich countries are pushing for.

A clear example of these free market solutions being pushed by the G20 is the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a new program under the auspices of the World Bank, which commodifies our food, land and agriculture.

La Via Campesina believes that the GAFSP, the G20’s proposed solution to the food price crisis, will push small farmers to depend on genetically modified seed technology and will make them lose their land to agribusiness under the guise of increased land investment.

La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement which represents two hundred million of small farmers and family farmers in the world, demands an end to these free market solutions, this undemocratic process and a change in the economic model.

“The crisis has proven that the neoliberal model has failed and yet the G20 countries are pushing for the same free market solutions and business as usual. We demand systemic change and a new model that puts people first and promotes food sovereignty” says Henry Saragih, International coordinator of La Via Campesina.

The time is now for people’s alternatives and a new model based on principles of social, economic and climate justice.