Argentina: Disappearing Farmers, Disappearing Food

Worldwide, industrial mono-culture farming has displaced traditional food production and farmers, wreaking havoc on food prices and food sovereignty. This is particularly true for the global south, where land has been concentrated for crops destined for biodiesel and animal feed. In response, peasants and small farmers organized actions in more than 53 countries on October 15 for International Food Day as an initiative of Via Campesina, one of the largest independent social movement organizations, representing nearly 150 million people globally.

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Israelis Targeting Grassroots Activists

Source: IPS News

 (IPS) – Israeli authorities are increasingly targeting and intimidating non-violent Palestinian grassroots activists involved in anti-occupation activities who are drawing increased support from the international community.

Several weeks ago masked Israeli soldiers stormed the home of Ehab Jallad from The Jerusalem Popular Committee for the Celebration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Arab Culture for 2009.

"Around 3am the soldiers started kicking and banging on the door and threatened to break it down if I didn’t open immediately. My young daughters were terrified as they didn’t know what was happening," recalls Jallad, a young Palestinian architect from Jerusalem. read more


Damming Magdalena: Emgesa Threatens Colombian Communities

A small path descends from the town of La Jagua, crossing a field and forest until it ends at a cliff overlooking the Magdalena River. Pairs of buff-necked ibis take flight announcing their local name, "cocli cocli." Above the beach where children swim, the rock is carved by erosion and dotted with small holes occupied by birds. The landscape is dotted, too, every 100 meters, with concrete markers declaring the land, river, and everything else a "public utility" that Colombia has given to the energy company Emgesa as part of the Quimbo Hydroelectric Project.

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Indonesia: Presidential Inauguration Marked by Protests

Source: Green Left Weekly

Thousands of people from various sectors of society protested to mark the inauguration of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as president and Boediono as vice-president near the national parliament on October 20. Yudhoyono was elected to his second five-year term.

Spokeperson of the Street Parliament Alliance (APJ) Lalu Hilman Afriandi said: “Protesters demand the president end his neoliberal policies, because neoliberalism has brought suffering to the people of the world, including Indonesia.

“In the last five years, the government has been busy seeking foreign loans. Up to August, our debt reached US$160.64 billion and each year hundreds of trillion rupiah must be found in the state budget to repay the loans. read more

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Ecuador: The Battle for Natural Resources Deepens

Source: Americas Program

A new indigenous uprising began in defense of water sources threatened by open air mining in Ecuador in late September. This time indigenous organizations find themselves up against a government that claims to be anti-neoliberal, a player in the "socialism of the 21st century," and one that has begun a "citizen’s revolution."

"What happened in Cochabamba in the fight for water will be dwarfed by what is about to happen in Ecuador. An uprising is coming because it is coming," affirms a convinced Carlos Pérez Guartambel, president of the Azuay Union of Community Water Systems (Unión de Sistemas Comunitarios de Agua del Azuay).1 Pérez is referring to the Water War of Cochabamba, Bolivia, a vast social insurrection that put a stop to the privatization of water and, in April 2000, began a succession of protests that brought Evo Morales to the presidency. read more

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Agribusiness Versus the Omnivore: Gagging Michael Pollan

Source: Counterpunch

Even if agribusiness could shut Michael Pollan up, the outspoken author of Omnivore’s Dilemma and a journalism professor at University of California, Berkeley, it still has the Los Angeles Times to contend with.

Last week, the Times blasted California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo for downgrading a scheduled Pollan lecture because it received pressure from David E. Wood, a university donor who happens to be chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Co.

"Agribusiness gets plenty of opportunities to preach its point of view at agriculture schools such as Cal Poly, where the likes of Monsanto and Cargill fund research," the Times wrote, calling the 800-acre Harris Ranch, near Coalinga, whose "smell assaults passersby long before the panorama of thousands of cattle packed atop layers of their own manure,"–"Cowschwitz." Ouch. read more