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Full With Noise: Theory and Japanese Noise Music
by Paul Hegarty.......... "Full with Noise,..." is about noise music, specifically the version that has come to be called Japanese Noise -- itself composed of many different strands. The first half deals with the question of noise. What is it, whose is it, and how can we think about it. Also, how does noise inflect our thinking, rather than being an object; at what point does noise lose its noiseness and become meaning, music, signification? Or -- is there even a point where noise can subsist? Mostly, the text below takes the view that noise is a function of not-noise, itself a function of not being noise. Noise is no more original than music or meaning, and yet its position is to indicate the banished, overcome primordiality, and cannot lose this 'meaning'. Noise, then, is neither the outside of language nor music, nor is it simply categorisable, at some point or other, as belonging exclusively to the world of meaning, understanding, truth and knowledge. Read More ...
Dirty HC Punk explosion - Bristol scene Rise up + Disorder 9 free CDs
From The Cortinas to Lunatic Fringe and Disorder, Bristol had a huge Punk scene that has influenced, affected and stimulated a vast range of artists that operate in the city. Many of these artists produce music that wouldn’t necessarily suggest a Punk heritage but scratch beneath the surface of a lot of the major players in the Bristol milieu and you will find a fondness for the times of `spikey barnets’, limited musical ability, a `F*** You’ attitude and disrespect for the music industry and its poseur hierarchy. Read More ...
Dinosaur Jr.
Beyond + 17 albums free download
A straight shot west out of Boston on I-90 will carry you, in two hours or less, to Western Massachusetts, where the country still looks like it did twenty or even 40 years ago: college towns, I-91 tracing the same lazy ladder from Springfield up through Holyoke and Northampton, Amherst and Deerfield. Out there it's taken for granted that the houses will be drafty, the winters uniformly long, and that, on any given trip to the local supermarket, one might spot Thurston or Lou or Kim or J, on-and-off locals for more than twenty years. {audio}http://www.archive.org/download/DinosaurJrDrawings/07Drawerings_64kb.mp3{/audio} ... Drawerings Read More ...
Leon Theremin /1896-1993/ - the great forefather of Rock N' Roll /big noise master/
In 1919, in the midst of the Russian Civil War, Theremin invented the musical instrument that bears his name. The theremin is an electronic device that resonates sound when its operator waves his hands near its two antennas. It was the first musical instrument designed to be played without being touched. He invented the theremin (also called the thereminvox) in 1919, when his country was in the midst of the Russian Civil War. After a lengthy tour of Europe, during which he demonstrated his invention to full audiences, Theremin found his way to the United States. He performed the theremin with the New York Philharmonic in 1928. He patented his invention in 1929 (U.S. Patent 1,661,058 ) and subsequently granted commercial production rights to RCA. In 1938 Theremin was kidnapped in the New York apartment he shared with his American wife (the black ballet dancer, Iavana Williams) by the NKVD (forerunners of the KGB). He was transported back to Russia, and accused of propagating anti-Soviet propaganda by Stalin. Read More ...
Animal Collective
Album: Fall Be Kind + 9 albums free download
By way of decrying a society that left its citizens unbearably restrained, Edith Wharton describes how in New York in the 1870s, women would order dresses from their Paris dressmakers and then leave them in tissue paper at least two years before wearing them in public; the thought of showing them "in advance of the fashion" was unforgivably vulgar. Social life has changed, but cultural life seems just as restricted now – even Animal Collective are held back by trends that seem a couple of years old (and that they helped to invent). When I think back on 2009, I’ll first remember how our impoverished aesthetic generation repeatedly scraped the resin from the cultural trash barrel. Every second person is wearing neon leggings, and the ones who aren’t rock a ‘70s aesthetic, with high-waisted jeans and moccasins. Christmas sweaters are getting impossible to find at the thrift store. Ska revival. Garage rock revival. It never ends. Read More ...
Guapo
Elixirs
For just over 10 years, London's Guapo has been working in the world of avant and progressive rock. The band's past is a bit hard to track with its numerous lineup changes and guest musicians. The most recent change in roster was the resignation of Matthew Thompson, the founding member of Guapo, which occurred just before the release of 2005's Black Oni. The departure of Thompson has left Guapo with percussionist David Smith and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan. Though O'Sullivan is by no means a founding member of the band, but he was essential in honing the sound on Guapo's last two LPs: Five Suns and Black Oni. These two albums have been pivotal in building Guapo's following of fans, so it's hard not to credit O'Sullivan as an asset to the band.... {audio}http://www.neurotrecordings.com/artists/guapo/audio/Guapo-The%20Selenotrope.mp3 {/audio} ... The Selenotrope Read More ...
The Swans - THIS IS NOT A REUNION - Message From Gira + free discography download (20 CDs)
Michael Gira's re-activated Swans will be undertaking their first U.S. performances in 13 years, celebrating the Fall release of the first new Swans album since Soundtracks For The Blind (1997). The album was recorded by Jason LeFarge at Seizure's Palace in Brooklyn and is currently be remixed by Gira with Bryce Goggin (Antony & The Johnsons, Akron/Family) at Trout Recordings. Read More ...
New Zealand Psychedelic Noise scene + 6 free CDs
For a small country New Zealand has long been pumping out some impressive music. Way back in the 1960s it was crazed long-haired punkers messed up on all sorts of stuff - musical (the Pretty Things, Love, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Troggs and who-knows-what-else) and I guess otherwise. Some of the best of these bands (at least, the ones that recorded) can be heard on Wild Things vol 1 and 2, compiled by NZ music historian John Baker, the first of which came out on Flying Nun, the second probably on Baker's own Zero Records, also the home to No. 8 Wire: Psychedelia Without Drugs. Read More ...

Odd

Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet
The biggest threat to the open internet is not Chinese government hackers or greedy anti-net-neutrality ISPs, it’s Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence. McConnell’s not dangerous because he knows anything about SQL injection hacks, but because he knows about social engineering. He’s the nice-seeming guy who’s willing and able to use fear-mongering to manipulate the federal bureaucracy for his own ends, while coming off like a straight shooter to those who are not in the know. When he was head of the country’s national intelligence, he scared President Bush with visions of e-doom, prompting the president to sign a comprehensive secret order that unleashed tens of billions of dollars into the military’s black budget so they could start making firewalls and building malware into military equipment. Read More ...
The Peyote Way Church of God - believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life
The Peyote Way Church of God is a non-sectarian, multicultural, experiential, Peyotist organization located in southeastern Arizona, in the remote Aravaipa wilderness. It is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Native American Church, or any other religious organizations, though we do accept people from all faiths. Church membership is open to all races. We encourage individuals to create their own rituals as they become acquainted with the great mystery. We believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle (see Word of Wisdom), can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life. Peyote is currently listed as a controlled substance and its religious use is protected by Federal law only for Native American members of the Native American Church. Read More ...
All world secret underground bases build for space travelers
The following material comes from people who know the Dulce (underground) base exists. They are people who worked in the labs; abductees taken to the base; people who assisted in the construction; intelligence personal (NSA,CIA,FBI ... ect.) and UFO / inner-earth researchers. This information is meant for those who are seriously interested in the dulce base. for your own protection be advised to “use caution” while investigating this complex.Does a strange world exist beneath our feet? Strange legends have persisted for centuries about the mysterious cavern world and the equally strange beings who inhabit it.  More UFOlogists have considered the possibility that UFOs may be emanating from subterranean bases, that UFO aliens have constructed these bases to carry out various missions involving Earth or humans. Read More ...
Dreamachine - stroboscopic flicker device enter you to a hypnagogic state - try it right here in your browser
The dreamachine (or dream machine) is a stroboscopic  flicker device that produces visual stimuli. Artist Brion Gysin and William Burroughs's "systems adviser" Ian Sommerville created the dreamachine after reading William Grey Walter's book, The Living Brain. In its original form, a dreamachine is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. The cylinder is placed on a record turntable and rotated at 78 or 45 revolutions per minute. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations  normally present in the human brain while relaxing. Read More ...
Japan’s Annual Penis Festival – Celebrates Fertility
KOMAKI, Japan — It's springtime in Japan and that means one thing. Actually, two things. Penis festivals and vagina festivals. It may sound like a sophomoric gag. But these are folk rites going back at least 1,500 years, into Japan's agricultural past. They're held to ensure a good harvest and promote baby-making. Maybe they should hold more such festivals. Japan has one of the world's lowest birthrates (1.37 children per woman), which experts blame on stagnant incomes and changing gender relations. Read More ...
Rarest Fishes in the World
Aquatic Lifeforms You Never Caught While Fishing:
Black-lip Rattail ............ These sorts of rattails feed in the muddy seafloor by gliding along head down and tail up, powered by gentle undulations of a long fin under the tail. The triangular head has sensory cells underneath that help detect animals buried in the mud or sand. The common name comes from the black edges around the mouth. Read More ...
Island of Ghosts: Hashima Island - Japan’s rotting metropolis
Hashima, an island located in Nagasaki Bay, is better known as Warship Island (Gunkanshima). The island was inhabited until the end of the 19th century, when it was discovered that the ground below it held tons of coal. The island soon became a center of a major mining complex owned by Mitsubishi Corporation. As the complex expanded, rock brought out of the shafts was used to artificially expand the island. Seawalls created in this expansion turned Hashima into the monstrous looking Gunkanshima; its artificial appearance makes it looks more like a battleship than an island. Read More ...
Japan Monster mummies - the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu, raijū, and human monks
These fairly freaky historical remains can be found lurking in dark corners of Buddhist temples and museums across Japan. Known as monster mummies, they are, in fact, the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu and raijū. Or should I say things that people thought were demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu and raijū. They are not pretty, but they are really fascinating. Read More ...

Science

The World's First Commercial Brain-Computer Interface + history of BCI
A brain–computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain–machine interface, is a direct communication pathway between a brain and an external device. BCIs are often aimed at assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions. Research on BCIs began in the 1970s at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) under a grant from the National Science Foundation, followed by a contract from DARPA. The papers published after this research also mark the first appearance of the expression brain–computer interface in scientific literature. Read More ...
Meet ALICE - new CERNs giant detector
The giant ALICE detector is already underway at CERN, and researchers are scrambling to add an electromagnetic calorimeter to capture jet-quenching, the newest way to look inside the quark-gluon plasma — the hot, dense state of matter that filled the earliest universe, which the Large Hadron Collider will soon recreate by slamming lead nuclei into one another.  CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is known mainly as the accelerator that will soon begin searching for the Higgs particle, and other new physics, in proton collisions at unprecedented energies — up to 14 TeV (14 trillion electron volts) at the center of mass — and with unprecedented beam intensities. But the same machine will also collide massive nuclei, specifically lead ions, to energies never achieved before in the laboratory. Read More ...
Vadim Chernobrov & Russian secrets experiments with time machines
A disturbing story in the March, 2005. 1 issue of Pravda suggests that the U. S. Government is working on the discovery of a mysterious point over the South Pole that may be a passageway backward in time. According to the article, some American and British scientists working in Antarctica on January 27, 1995, noticed a spinning gray fog in the sky over the pole. U. S. physicist Mariann McLein said at first they believed it to be some kind of sandstorm. But after a while they noticed that the fog did not change its form and did not move so they decided to investigate. Read More ...
The Secrets of Coral Castle and pyramids EXPLAINED by Leedskalnin's Magnetic Current theory
Coral Castle doesn't look much like a castle, but that hasn't discouraged generations of tourists from wanting to see it. That's because it was built by one man, Ed Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant who single-handedly and mysteriously excavated, carved, and erected over 2.2 million pounds of coral rock to build this place, even though he stood only five feet tall and weighed a mere 100 pounds. Ed was as secretive as he was misguided. He never told anyone how he carved and set into place the walls, gates, monoliths, and moon crescents that make up much of his Castle. Some of these blocks weigh as much as 30 tons. Ed often worked at night, by lantern light, so that no one could see him. He used only tools that he fashioned himself from wrecks in an auto junkyard. Read More ...
Microbial communities in fluid inclusions and long-term survival in halite + The 11th Hour - documentary
Fluid inclusions in modern and ancient buried halite from Death Valley and Saline Valley, California, USA, contain an ecosystem of “salt-loving” (halophilic) prokaryotes and eukaryotes, some of which are alive. Prokaryotes may survive inside fluid inclusions for tens of thousands of years using carbon and other metabolites supplied by the trapped microbial community, most notably the single-celled alga Dunaliella, an important primary producer in hypersaline systems. Deeper understanding of the long-term survival of prokaryotes in fluid inclusions will complement studies that further explore microbial life on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, where materials that potentially harbor microorganisms are millions and even billions of years old. Read More ...
How Norbert Wiener Invents Cybernetics + his book " God and Golem, Inc.........."
Norbert Wiener invented the field of cybernetics, inspiring a generation of scientists to think of computer technology as a means to extend human capabilities. Norbert Wiener was born on November 26, 1894, and received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University at the age of 18 for a thesis on mathematical logic ( see below "The Logic of Boolean Algebra").  After working as a journalist, university teacher, engineer, and writer, Wiener he was hired by MIT in 1919, coincidentally the same year as Vannevar Bush. In 1933, Wiener won the Bôcher Prize for his brilliant work on Tauberian theorems and generalized harmonic analysis. Read More ...
The T2K Experiment - From Tokai To Kamioka - Where is the anti-matter?
From the beginning of 2010, the T2K experiment will fire a beam of muon-neutrinos from Tokai on Japan's east coast, 300km accross the country to a detector at Kamioka. It hopes to investigate the phenomenon of "neutrino oscillations" by looking for "muon neutrinos" oscillating into "electron neutrinos".  A million pound detector has been built at the University of Warwick as part of a vital experiment to investigate fundamental particles - neutrinos. Read More ...
Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military leadership
The internal workings of the US military had little significance to the overall state of the nation, except during wars – until the post-WWII era.   With the military dominating our foreign policy and being one of the most trusted institution, the character of our senior generals may become a major factor shaping our future.  Hence the importance of this chapter by GI Wilson from The Pentagon Labyrinth: Ten Short Essays to Help You Through It, edited by Winslow T. Wheeler and published by the Center for Defense Information and the World Security Institute.  You can see a summary and download a free copy of this important book at the Project for Government Oversight (POGO). Read More ...

Space

UFO's of Nazi Germany
Viktor Schauberger & UFO's of Nazi Germany
It was nearly the end of WWII. At that same time, scientist Viktor Schauberger worked on a secret project. Johannes Kepler, whose ideas Schauberger followed, had knowledge of the secret teachings of Pythagoras that had been adopted and kept secret. It was the knowledge of Implosion (in this case the utilization of the potential of the inner worlds in the outer world). Hitler knew - as did the Thule and Vril people - that the divine principle was always constructive. A technology however that is based on explosion and therefore is destructive runs against the divine principle. Thus they wanted to create a technology based on Implosion. Read More ...
It Takes a Giant Cosmos to Create Life and Mind + new Supernova Discovered to be the 'Creation-Machines' of the Cosmos
Excerpt from 'The Intelligent Universe', James Gardner ................... There is a time machine clearly visible right outside your front door. It’s easy to see—in fact, it’s impossible to overlook—although its awesome powers are generally ignored by all but a discerning few.  The unearthly beauty, the ineffable grandeur, and the ingenuity of construction of this time machine are humbling to every human being who makes an effort to probe into the enigma of its origin and the mystery of its ultimate destiny. The time machine of which I speak is emphatically not of human origin. Indeed, a few venturesome scientists are beginning to entertain a truly incredible possibility: that this device is an artifact bequeathed to us by a supremely evolved intelligence that existed long, long ago and far, far away. All knowledgeable observers agree that the scope of its stupendous powers and the sheer delicacy of its miniscule moving parts seem nothing short of miraculous. Read More ...
The Size Of Our World or How Insignificant the Earth Really Is in the Universe
Compared to you and me, the Earth is really big. But compared to Jupiter and the Sun, the Earth is pretty tiny. There are many ways we can measure the size of the Earth. Let's look at how big the Earth is, and then compare it to other objects in the Solar System. The diameter of the Earth is 12,742 km. In other words, if you dug a hole down into the Earth, passed through the center of the Earth, and came out the other side, you would have dug a hole 12,742 km deep (on average). That's about 4 times longer than the diameter of the Moon. Read More ...
Strange Images from Space - Photos&videos of the Bizarre in Our Universe
Some weird and unusual objects are floating around in the cosmos. Space is always serving up something new, unusual, and unexpected. Here are images and explanations of obejcts that have amazed and delighted astronomers. Read More ...
Project Icarus: Gas Mining on Uranus
Project Icarus is a 21st century theoretical study of a mission to another star. Icarus aims to build on the work of the celebrated Daedalus project. Between the period 1973-1978 members of the BIS undertook a theoretical study of a flyby mission to Barnard's star 5.9 light years away. This was Project Daedalus and remains one of the most complete studies of an interstellar probe to date. The 54,000 ton two-stage vehicle was powered by inertial confinement fusion using electron beams to compress the D/He3 fusion capsules to ignition. It would obtain an eventual cruise velocity of 36,000km/s or 12% of light speed from over 700kN of thrust, burning at a specific impulse of 1 million seconds, reaching its destination in approximately 50 years. Read More ...
Astronomers had found evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang
Our cosmos was "bruised" in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background. There's something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang. Read More ...
Mysterious Radio Waves from Unknown Object in M82 Galaxy
There is something strange is lurking in the galactic neighborhood. An unknown object in galaxy M82 12 million light-years away has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before except perhaps by Ford Prefect. M82 is starburst galaxy five times as bright as the Milky Way and one hundred times as bright as our galaxy's center. "We don't know what it is," says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK. But its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. This "superluminal" motion occurs usually in high-speed jets of material bursting out by black holes. Read More ...
Nibiru - great arrival of Planet X  + Timeline of 2012. cataclysm
“A secret document prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is claiming that President Medvedev confirmed in his extended meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in February 2011 that the new planet named Tyche (pronounced ty-kee) by NASA will be appearing in the Earth’s night sky by 2012. Though the existence of this planet had long been known to the ancients, it has only been in the past year that Western scientists have begun informing their citizens about this unprecedented event soon to occur, but who are, also, still failing to tell how catastrophic its appearance will be. Tyche was the name coined for this ancient celestial body by the two astrophysicists proposing it for “planet” status, Daniel Whitmire and John Matese from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Read More ...

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La Via Campesina - food and farming for the Earth

La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.


La Via Campesina comprises about 150 local and national organizations in 70 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Altogether, it represents about 200 million farmers. It is an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent from any political, economic or other type of affiliation.

A movement born in 1993
A group of farmers’ representatives – women and men- from the four continents founded La Via Campesina in 1993 in Mons, Belgium. At that time, agricultural policies and the agribusiness were becoming globalized and small farmers needed to develop and struggle for a common vision. Small-scale farmers’ organizations also wanted to have their voice heard and to participate directly in the decisions that were affecting their lives.

La Via Campesina is now recognised as a main actor in the food and agricultural debates. It is heard by institutions such as the FAO and the UN Human Rights Council, and is broadly recognized among other social movements from local to global level.
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Golbalizing hope, globalizing the struggle!
La Via Campesina is built on a strong sense of unity and solidarity between small and medium-scale agricultural producers from the North and South. The main goal of the movement is to realize food sovereignty and stop the destructive neoliberal process. It is based on the conviction that small farmers, including peasant fisher-folk, pastoralists and indigenous people, who make up almost half the world's people, are capable of producing food for their communities and feeding the world in a sustainable and healthy way.

Women play a crucial role in the Via Campesina work. According to the FAO, women produce 70% of the food on earth but they are marginalized and oppressed by neoliberalism and patriarchy. The movement defends women rights and gender equality at all levels. It struggles against all forms of violence against women.



La Via Campesina: Fighting for food sovereignty, social justice, land rights and gender equity

by Ronit Ridberg

...Dena Hoff talks about La Via Campesina’s vision of social change, and how the agricultural challenges faced around the world are not always so different from those faced in the U.S.


Name: Dena Hoff

Affiliation: Co-coordinator for North America for La Via Campesina

Location: Eastern Montana

Bio: Dena Hoff is a farmer and activist in Eastern Montana, where she has raised sheep, cattle, alfalfa, corn, edible dry beans and other crops, with her husband since 1979. In addition to her work with Via Campesina, Hoff is Vice President of the National Family Farm Coalition and former Chair of the Northern Plains Resource Council.

Via Campesina has been credited with coining the term “food sovereignty.” Can you describe what it means and how your work supports and promotes it?

Food sovereignty is about a system of agriculture where people get to decide their own food and agricultural policies in their own countries without being dictated by foundations or institutions like the WTO or the IMF or the World Bank or trade agreements. People decide what they’re going to eat, who’s going to produce it, what’s going to be produced. And more than that, it’s a whole life system that is sustainable, that respects Mother Earth, that respects human rights and the rights of people to live in dignity, to be well-fed, to be reasonably taken care of, have a decent standard of living. Everything that food sovereignty encompasses is human rights, women’s rights and education: everything that makes a good life and protects the planet.

Via Campesina is a very large social movement. We’re not a legal entity at all, but we are made up of groups around the world. We think that we have as many as 300 million members, though we’ve never been able to get a direct number. We’re growing, growing, growing because people realize that we can only change the world into a place where everybody can live and a world where everybody wants to live by banding together, standing together, sharing each other’s stories and showing solidarity. We need to educate people: people who are not farmers but who of course are eaters, people who care about the environment, people who care about human rights and social justice and the environment – they need to be part of this movement. It’s going to take everyone.
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There are too few people who control the power, who control the resources, who control the wealth of the world, and the destiny of the rest of us. I don’t like anybody pulling my strings. I am not a puppet, I am an independent human being and I have wishes and dreams and fears for my own family, my children, my grandchildren, my nieces, my nephews, my community. And I want to see these things become reality and I’m just willing to just keep working forever.

The biggest part of that responsibility is educating other people, and getting them to stand up to power and that’s a very difficult thing. People do not like conflict, people do not like to stand up to power. They have some idea that the people who are in power are smarter than they are and have something that they don’t have – if only they knew that those people who are controlling their lives are just ordinary people!

Until we give people the confidence to take back control of their own lives and their communities, nothing is going to change. It’s a big, big, task. But it should hearten people to know that there are millions, and millions, and millions, and millions of people around the world who are very dedicated to doing this, and who are willing to do it.



What role does gender play in La Via Campesina’s work?

Gender is extremely important, because most of the world’s farmers are women! And a lot of those women are hungry women, because they are the people who are being forced off land, have no access to resources and no access to credit. We also started a campaign in Mozambique at our Fifth International Assembly against violence against women. So we have that international campaign, and the young people have just taken it up! They have put on plays, and they have dramas, and they are doing literature and are going around to communities and educating people on why it is so important that women have an equal voice, equal rights and equal opportunities.

Gender balance is very important to us. There will never be any real equity in the world until women are seen as equal partners, standing shoulder to shoulder with men. One of our original seven pillars was gender. We also fought very hard in 2000 for gender parity on our coordinating committee, and we got it – we have a male and a female for each of the assigned regions.

We have a lot of programs in a lot of countries also for training women: in agriculture, in literacy, and also in political training. So that they have an understanding of what’s impacting their lives. We also have programs that help them develop means of making a living, so it’s very important.
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What are some of the similarities between what’s happening to agriculture across the world, and what’s happening here in the U.S.?

Land grabs happen in this country too (see: Large Scale Land Investments Do Not Benefit Local Communities). In my neighborhood, groups of bankers or lawyers or investors are investing in farmland because I guess they think they’re going to get a better return than on some other thing. And farmers have no recourse. I mean no-one here who wanted to expand or who wanted to help one of their children get started in agriculture, they can’t possibly match those prices. The land is lost for agriculture. A great big and lovely farming ranch along the Yellowstone River went to a real estate developer from Maryland who’s now running for the legislature in Montana. Land is being turned into hunting or fishing places or little retreats – it’s not being used for agriculture.

Look at what’s happening in Detroit. They have torn down about forty buildings in downtown Detroit, they’re going to tear down about that many more. And there are a lot of vacant lots that can be used for urban agriculture. But, there’s a big developer who wants to commercialize it for profits instead of the city giving the lots over to the community for urban farming. So there’s a big fight going on in Detroit – that’s land grabbing, isn’t it?

I belong to the Northern Plains Resource Council, that’s my state organization in Montana. They have, for years, been trying to protect family agriculture, educate people about the importance of it and protect it from energy developers and speculators. The National Family Farm Coalition has been involved since 1987 in policy work in Washington, DC, trying to get a decent farm bill so that we can protect our family agriculture. But when you go lobby, you hear “We don’t need American farmers, we can import everything cheaper.” Congressmen will actually say that to you.

So my question has always been: If transportation, communication and energy are a matter of national security, shouldn’t food be a matter of national security? Shouldn’t water be a matter of national security? Instead of just a commodity for someone to make money from?


How does global agriculture and trade policy affect the environment, global hunger, and poverty?

We had all the hype about how industrial agriculture was going to end hunger, how GMOs were going to end hunger, and look what’s happened. There’s a billion hungry people, almost a half a million of those are in the United States. Hunger is increasing, poverty is increasing, and all of the industrialization hasn’t done one single thing to end hunger, and we’ve been destroying the environment. So the solution actually turned out to be very, very damaging – far more damaging than the problems that we had before industrial agriculture was proposed as the solution to hunger and the environment.

Look at the deforestation for biofuels in Brazil, the destruction of traditional agriculture in Indonesia in favor of palm plantations for biofuels. Shoving people off the land and forcing them to the cities where there are no livelihoods is not the solution. Or forcing them to become slaves as is happening all over the world. We like to think that we’re in the twenty-first century, and slavery is something of the past: it isn’t. It’s worse. It’s getting worse every day. There are so many examples of people being forced into slavery, literally having their livelihoods taken away from them because somebody else wants to make a profit off of the resources that they made a modest living with. And then if they wish to survive they can become practically slave labor for these people who just took away their livelihood. So if that’s not slavery, I don’t know what the definition is.
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Why are large scale land acquisitions, or land-grabs, problematic?

It’s problematic because there are a lot of places where land is owned communally, or there’s not a deed to the land, and it’s just land that communities have made their living with, in some places for over 1000 years, maybe more. And suddenly, this has a value beyond somebody’s livelihood, beyond somebody having to have food and shelter. And someone finds out they can make a profit, and they come in and take it.

Now in the case of Mali, Mali has put food sovereignty in their constitution – and then their President leases large amounts of arable land to the Saudis, for ten years. That’s totally against the constitution, it’s totally illegal, but there doesn’t seem to be a national or international mechanism to force governments to abide by their own laws and their own constitution. It just seems like increasingly the world is a more lawless place, where anything goes if it makes money.


What policies or programs are needed for more robust protection of land rights and land reform?

Well, first of all I wish the international court would actually take a look at what’s happening in countries where a lot of land grabbing is going on, and tell governments that this is not acceptable, and that you are being held up to international public scrutiny, and we’re not going to allow you to do this. Ultimately I guess it’s just the people having to take control. And that’s difficult, especially in governments where they just send the army in to kill you if you protest.
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Do you think there’s any role for multinational corporations to play in improving the situation for farmers and peasants here and across the world?

I’m not sure that’s the role they want. Their mission is their bottom line, to pay dividends to their investors. Their mission is not to do good. Their mission is not to protect the environment or nurture societies. They’re doing what they’re set up to do, and they’ve been given far too many rights and too much power. I mean, equal protection under the law for a corporation? A friend of mine who was inside used to say, “What kind of craziness is that?” Corporations have no soul to save and no ass to kick and they are totally unaccountable to anyone.

What happens when they do something ugly that causes people to lose their lives? If I would do something accidentally like kill someone in a traffic accident, that would be manslaughter, I would be brought up on charges, I would have to suffer the consequences. You don’t really hear about anyone in a corporation having to take responsibility for the lives they cause to be lost through their greed and negligence. They have the same protection as any individual, but I guess they don’t have the same responsibility.


How could agencies like the World Bank and UN Food and Agriculture Organization do a better job to support La Via Campesina’s mission?

They could do a better job by ensuring that people in countries that need food aid have access to means of production so that they can feed themselves, and not rely on charity. To make them self-reliant. Education, condemning the privatization of water, health care – the poorest people don’t get those basic things and they don’t get basic services, because they simply can’t pay. And all this hype about corporations being able to produce more – producing more is not the answer. You can go to the markets in the poorest countries and you can see mountains of food, and people starving to death right nearby. If they have no means to a livelihood, they have no means to feed themselves, and no means to make a living, then they can’t buy food. There can be all the extra food in the world, but if they don’t have money, they die.
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How can people get involved to help La Via Campesina’s efforts?

We always need people to hook up with our organizations in all of our countries, and support legislation in those countries that will turn governments around – so that they do the right thing for civil society and are not totally governed by corporations. We have six organizations in the U.S. that belong to Via Campesina. And we’re always looking for people who can help with translation.

We want people to take an interest in the policies of their own countries, in the plight of family agriculture, family fishermen, migrant workers and landless workers, and get educated about what these people face. And also how it impacts you! Because even if you think you are isolated and insulated from all the trouble that’s happening, it impacts everybody because everybody eats. Everybody eats!

If there are only huge massive plantations producing our food with basically slave labor, if workers have no rights, and the environment is just sneered at (because no-one enforces environmental laws), if human rights are not protected, and people are allowed to be brought into the country illegally or otherwise and then just dumped if they’re injured or hurt, and are not well paid – that does not reflect very well on us as a society or as people. Especially people that like to call themselves “good Christians”, and think that anybody who doesn’t look just like them should be shipped out, or denied services. That they shouldn’t be allowed to eat, that they shouldn’t have health care, that they shouldn’t be allowed to be educated because they “don’t belong.”

My family came as immigrants from Europe, and they had things to overcome too. I think people in this country should realize that unless you’re a Native American, you’re an immigrant – and [they should] identify with the new immigrants.


So much of La Via Campesina’s work is about mobilizing people. What agricultural or economic policies do you think could be implemented to address the needs of small-scale farmers and agricultural producers in order to help create the change you envision?

Certainly a decent farm bill with a farmer-owned reserve, and a farm bill that actually gives farmers a price so that they can live and support their communities. Because it isn’t just about farmers –I mean, the money they make supports a whole entire community, our states. And I think people need to understand the importance of agriculture to this country, and what happens to countries that let their agriculture go, and depend on importing all their food from somewhere else. There are plenty of examples in the world of countries that can no longer feed themselves because somebody decided it was cheaper or more intelligent to buy all their food from somebody else, and concentrate on economies that don’t feed people, and concentrate the wealth into the hands of just a very few.
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http://www.viacampesina.org
http://www.energybulletin.net
 


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