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Report Finds Big Ag's Global Land Grab Expanding to New Frontiers


Report Finds Big Ag's Global Land Grab Expanding to New Frontiers

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

Big Ag's global land grab is huge, growing, and "extending its reach to new frontiers," according to a new report from the international non-profit GRAIN.

A follow-up to its October 2008 analysis—which "exposed how a new wave of land grabbing was sweeping the planet"—GRAIN's latest publication paints a "disturbing" picture, showing that "while some deals have fallen by the wayside, the global farmland grab is far from over."


Make no mistake about it, of the significant driving factors behind the Ukraine crisis is desire for western transnational control of the Russian Steppe---some of the most arable and fertile land remaining on the planet.


From the Via Campesina statement:

"Capital is appropriating our territories. Hence, we must respond by turning the struggle for land into a struggle for territory. This will require forging unions between—on one side—peasant farmers, day laborers, indigenous peoples, nomad shepherds, artisan fishermen, forest peoples and other rural communities, and—on another—city dwellers, especially those in suburban communities and consumers. It will require producing healthy food using agroecology and know-how handed down from our ancestors and steeped in popular traditions. We must show that land in community hands is better for society and Mother Earth than land which is at the mercy of capital."

i appreciate that as a practical matter, it makes sense for the peasant farmers and smallholders organized globally under Via Campesina to directly seek alliances with city dwellers and consumers against the transnational and sovereign land grabs and their financiers.

i believe that the modern urban consumerist lifestyle, currently almost totally reliant on transnational industrial commodity agriculture, is thoroughly unsustainable, and not in the long term but in the near term.

But i also think that many of what are now modern urban consumers, will soon need to become modern ecological agriculturalists, agroecologists, permaculture practitioners, if humanity is to have any chance to avert ecological catastrophe.

i also think that the financiers, profiteers, corporatists and profiteers who have constructed the current regime of transnational industrial commodity agriculture, will not easily be removed from their seats of power simply by organizing "market resistance movements" of peasant farmers, smallholders, and enlightened consumers, but will also need to be directly confronted by organized popular movements that have strategies and tactics to complete a transition from corporate globalism as the organizing principle, to a web of locally-rooted ecological communitarianism.

And i fear that city-dwellers, suburban communities and consumers are very uncertain allies for "peasant farmers, day laborers, indigenous peoples, nomad shepherds, artisan fishermen, forest peoples and other rural communities."

Most of us in these threads are in the urban, suburban and consumer categories. Please think about how we can be solid, solidary allies to these peasant movements, to reclaim territory and transform agriculture from the corporate industrial commodifiers and land-grabbing states and corporations.


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I think a huge effort is in order to break the back of the corporate land grabbers and to return lands back to the commons. This will mean going after corporations and governments who profess fundamental beliefs in private property rights, the USA chief among them.


You mentioned the 'commons' and that brought to mind the Enclosure movement in the 18th century that shifted the lands known as the commons from public use (peasant farmers and villagers) to private use (wealthy nobility and landlords). This is in fact a similar (almost exactly the same in fact) process whereby lands used by the indigenous and small farmers etc. are grabbed up and made privately owned land for industrial agriculture.

This is what legitimately might be called the Neo-Enclosure movement of the modern era.


World Turned Upside Down
by Leon Rosselson

In 1649
To St George's Hill
A ragged band they called the Diggers
Came to show the people's will
They defied the landlords
They defied the laws
They were the dispossessed
Reclaiming what was theirs

'We come in peace' they said
'To dig and sow
We come to work the land in common
And to make the waste land grow
This earth divided
We will make whole
So it can be
A common treasury for all

'The sin of property
We do disdain
No one has any right to buy and sell
The earth for private gain
By theft and murder
They took the land
Now everywhere the walls
Rise up at their command

'They make the laws
To chain us well
The clergy dazzle us with heaven
Or they damn us into hell
We will not worship
The God they serve
The God of greed who feeds the rich
While poor men starve

'We work, we eat together
We need no swords
We will not bow to masters
Or pay rent to the lords
We are free men
Though we are poor'
You Diggers all stand up for glory
Stand up now

From the men of property
The orders came
They sent the hired men and troopers
To wipe out the Diggers claim
Tear down their cottages
Destroy their corn
They were dispersed -
Only the vision lingers on

'You poor take courage
You rich take care
The earth was made a common treasury
For everyone to share
All things in common
All people one
We come in peace'-
The order came to cut them down


I agree that this is the problem, the European concept of land ownership, which is so sacrosanct to the European ethos that there are few in the West for whom land is a commons rather than a commodity.

Land is a commons and the path back to a sane relationship with the earth.


The sickness must be stopped at all costs.
Make it happen people.


I fully empathize with your points but there is no mechanism for putting them into practice. One of the things rarely mentioned when people talk of the disparity of wealth between the 1% and the rest of us are things like this. By virtue of unassailable wealth, individuals and corporations can purchase huge tracts of land ( pressuring holdouts and strong arming indigenous as well as bribing corrupt officials) that is a modern equivalent of the ancient Enclosure laws of the 18th century.

The problem is that we can't just say don't do that! We can't just say give it all back either. However governments can enact laws limiting purchases even if only by geographical area. A land ownership can be regulated by too big to sell laws that prohibit such vast areas being sold in one solid piece. Similarly laws could force the break up of these giant tracks simply in economic terms in that a huge plantation or industrial farm occupies too much land and reduces economic activity over that vast area. Hypothetically a whole country could be purchased and owned by a ingle individual. While that couldn't actually happen, one can easily imagine a quarter or a third of the mot valuable agricultural land in an area being controlled by an individual or group.

Pursuant to your point, in the future there will have to be limits placed on size (too much land in one geographical area owned by one Perron or company) and on access ( too much money exerting too much control over the politics and economies of poor regions which effectively recreates a modern equivalent of feudalism).

The problem as we see is that big money elects the politicians who would be the ones asked to limit the power of big money. Sigh!