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Bucks, Bread and Bullets: Farming Under the Gun

By       Message M. Davis       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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No food, no life. It's pure and simple. If we do not have access to food, we starve.

This simple equation is not so simple in many places around the world, as tribal, family and subsistence farmers are run off land by large conglomerates, or, even worse, by war.

From Peru to Pakistan and Somalia, family farmers are increasingly at the mercy of jihadists, revolutionaries, land pirates, whose wars and conflicts maim and kill millions every year. Even worse, as in the case in Cambodia, the weapons left behind by war often make land too deadly to till.

The world of agriculture is an increasingly volatile segment of the world economy, torn apart by the tectonic forces of war, decreased land availability and corporatism. Corporate farming operations are contributing to deforestation and death in many parts of the world, including Brazil and Indonesia, where tribal people are displaced from their jungle habitats by encroaching corporate farming operations who run tribal farmers off the land at gunpoint.

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In many parts of the world, ethanol's corn crops are fertilized by the figurative blood of those who gave their lives, but lost their land. Corporate farm operations enforce their possession by gunpoint, and, in some cases, there are reports that these farm operators are also enslaving natives to labor in their fields.

In India in 2002, a communist politician denounced the introduction of American corporate farming to an Indian province.

The PCMKP President, Syed Azeem, talking to newsmen here, claimed that the proposed (agriculture corporate farming) CAF system would provide opportunities to the US multi-national corporations to strengthen their grip on the socio-political environment of the country.

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Besides, it would also change the status of tenants from agriculture labour to "slavery", he said, adding that it would also help the feudal lords to "corporatise" their big land-holdings, depriving the tenants of their rights under the 1997 Tenancy Act.
Around the world, jungles are being burned in an ecologically disastrous slash and burn campaign, which is destroying millions of acres of atmosphere-producing rain forest. The land's former inhabitants are displaced and are now on the move, looking for a place to call home.In South America, they are moving north-north to Mexico and beyond, perhaps to the United States. And, wherever they travel, their numbers are viewed as a threat. As the United States continues its war on illegal immigration, many nativists are calling for a closure of the "southern borders.

In what some see as racist, but others see as a matter of national security, Border Patrol agents have stepped up the pressure on undocumented immigration. A Dallas newspaper reports that:

Last fiscal year, the Border Patrol apprehended 54,911 illegal immigrants in the Del Rio Sector. In Laredo, it caught more than 90,000 illegal immigrants – 74,840 from Mexico alone. (Dallas Morning News, 11-1-07) Looking at those figures, we can see that nearly 20 per cent of the "illegals" came from countries other than Mexico. The upheaval in the South American farming industry is driving millions of peasants and Indians out of the jungle, creating a great tide of displaced farmers and villagers.
According to a 2003 CNN news report:
The proportion of the illegal immigrants who are Mexican has increased to nearly 70 percent from less than 60 percent, the INS said. Although California is home to the most undocumented immigrants, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina have the greatest rate of increase, the figures showed. (CNN, 2-1-03)
One critic of corporate farming says the main reason that many South American peasants are illegally migrating to the United States is that corporate farming operations are driving them from their traditional lands. Survival is motivating untold millions to move, and moving they are, often at incredible distances.

Referring to the reforms by the Mexican President, an article in the Christian Sciences Monitor in June noted that:

Any reforms would do little to stem migration, however, unless they reach the poorest regions in the south, such as Chiapas and Michoacán. These areas are the main source of migrants to the US, and a better economy there would help keep valuable workers in Mexico. Among his reforms, Calderón has offered help to young entrepreneurs and launched job-training programs. (Monitor, 6-20-07)

Two years ago, a small town Kentucky police officer was called into use the language skills he acquired in the Army's prestigious language school at the Presidio. The officers on the scene thought the man they were interviewing was speaking Spanish. He wasn't. He was speaking Quechua, which is a language native to inhabitants of the mountains of Peru, thousands of miles south of Kentucky.

It is often incomprehensible to Americans that in many parts of the world, the majority of the people do NOT live in cities. Many live on the same land that their ancestors farmed for hundreds of years, eking a small living, surviving by the skin of their teeth.

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In Pakistan, the situation is increasingly dire for millions of subsistence farmers and peasants. According to one source:

Most of the farmer community [in Pakistan], approximately 80%, constitute haris, or agricultural labourers, men and women, who do not own any land. To make a living, these haris cultivate the lands of landowners as sharecroppers, traditionally sharing the harvest 50/ 50 with the zamindars. Some more oppressive zamindars give the haris only 25% of their harvest. (The International Development and Relief Foundation.


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Land, Legacy and Lynching: Building the Future for Black America

Urban Asylum: Politics, Lunatics and the Refrigerator (more...)

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