By Alliance of Agrarian Reform Movement (AGRA)

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The Alliance of Agrarian Reform Movement/Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA), an Indonesian militant peasant organization, mobilized thousands of its members to Jakarta to campaign against land confiscation, reject World Trade Organization (WTO) and rising fuel prices. Rahmat, secretary general of AGRA said that this mobilization is to confirm to the Indonesian Government the position of the Indonesian peasantry in these issues.

“The Indonesian peasantry is being oppressed by the policies and the actions implemented by the Government on the issue of land. Millions of acres of peasant lands were seized by the government in the name of development and public interest, but what really happens is that they use land for large-scale plantations, mining, military construction and real estate projects. Such a policy must be stopped, and the land should be distributed back to the farmers through genuine agrarian reform. If the government refuses to do this, do not blame the peasants when they carry out actions to defend themselves and take back their land”, said Rahmat in his speech to the Indonesian National Institute for Land. (4/6)

The same position was expressed by Deputy Secretary General of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), a progressive regional alliance of peasant organizations in Asia. “It is true, what Rahmat says, millions of peasants across Asia shed their blood and tears in order to defend or regain the land that is legitimately theirs.  There are some victories and defeats, but every action taken by the peasants will always become an inspiration and valuable lesson to advance in the campaign against land grabbing”.

“Not only in Indonesia are the peasants launching campaigns against land grabbing. Land expropriation occurs not only in Indonesia but also throughout Asia, including in Latin America, Middle East and Europe. We join with those who show perseverance in carrying out the campaign against land grabbing and genuine agrarian reform, because these are the objective demands of the peasants. Therefore, we must be clear and in the peasant movement people should distinguish us from others. Those who are still playing around with the lives of the peasants through their fake organizations will be abandoned. Because a true and militant peasant organization is the only one capable of providing leadership to the peasant movement”, explained Rahmat to the masses in the rally.

In addition to land-grabbing issues, the mobilization of the peasants also aims to emphasize its stance against the WTO Ministerial Meeting to be held in December 9 in Indonesia. In this case, the position of AGRA, as a member of the Indonesian People Alliance, is clear. The WTO does not provide any benefit to the peasantry. By contrast, the WTO, through the national government with a wide range of policies, such as the Agreement on Agriculture, the removal of agricultural subsidies, the import policy in agriculture, and intellectual property rights on seeds, has stripped the peasants.

“The policies of the WTO have been effeciently implemented by the Indonesian government. The result is the loss of our sovereignty in food; our agricultural market is flooded with imported products and, on the pretext of competition, the government revoked the agricultural subsidies. These policies expose the true nature of the Indonesian government. The Government is not in favor of its own people, but is on the side of the foreign monopoly capital. We’re not going to take it anymore. Peasants need a trade to serve the people and to defend the sovereignty in which mutual benefit can be realized,” said Rahmat during the rally.

The Indonesian People’s Alliance, a movement for sovereignty and commerce to serve the people, supports AGRA’s position towards the WTO. In his message of solidarity with the mobilization of peasants, Ario Adityo of the Secretariat of the Indonesian People’s Alliance said that it was imperative that Indonesian peasants stopped the Ninth Ministerial Meeting of the WTO because agriculture will be one of the three main agendas in the Bali package.

“The workers and peasants are sectors of the population who would suffer most if the WTO reached a new agreement in the forthcoming meeting. Therefore, we must prevent them from reaching an agreement. We strive to make the people’s voice heard in the upcoming meeting. Our message is, we are not going to take it more! Junk WTO! “added Ario.

AGRA is also calling the peasant movement in Indonesia to consolidate their ranks toward the WTO meeting. AGRA is asking to hold a National Peasants Consultation on the WTO in this upcoming month. Mobilizations and conferences will be held in coordination with the World People’s Camp to be organized in December.

{rsmediagallery tags=”AGRA Indonesia, Stop landgrabbing, Junk WTO”}


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