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European Union, food sovereignty and social movements

European Union, food sovereignty and social movements

By Pilar Galindo

We must address the food insecurity caused by the international food model, not only in poor countries but also in rich countries. But that also makes us accomplices of hunger in impoverished countries because it is the multinationals that we make big with our consumption that ruin the peasants and promote mass migration.


Food sovereignty and food security

The scourge of hunger in impoverished countries is linked to the effects of junk food in rich countries. Food insecurity on both sides affects the majority of the world's population. The victims are millions of sick and starving people there and from diseases linked to excess and toxicity of food here. The causes and beneficiaries of this food catastrophe are the multinationals of the food business and the globalizing and alter-globalizing governments.

That is why you cannot talk about Food Sovereignty without talking about Food Security. Pretending that, while governments talk about Food Security, we must specialize in Food Sovereignty, is irrational. We must address the food insecurity caused by the international food model, not only in poor countries but also in rich countries. The consequences of food insecurity here are: junk food, advertising-induced bad eating habits, cancer, obesity and other food diseases that are growing alarmingly, especially among our boys and girls.

Food Sovereignty is the condition for Food Security and has different contents according to the countries. In the Spanish State, Food Sovereignty contains four necessary approaches:

a) agroecological food production, claiming the figure of the peasant as opposed to that of the agricultural entrepreneur and standing up to the commercial, industrial and globalized food production.

b) self-managed and popular agroecological responsible consumption, as a social movement capable of politically expressing food insecurity and assuming the production of agroecological peasants.

c) the decisive confrontation with the world distribution of food developing short circuits of commercialization of agro-ecological products. It is not about getting better placed by respecting the rules of the free food trade game, but about interrupting it. The narcissistic, Eurocentric and ecoyuppie gaze is part of the problem.

d) a social subject that politically expresses food insecurity and articulates agroecology and responsible consumption, developing agroecological production beyond profit and food consumption, beyond consumerism.

Without the development of this consumer movement, it is impossible to develop ecological agriculture, understood as the production of food free of toxic, transgenic, mass production, large-scale distribution, multinational companies and state subsidies. The fight against hunger in dependent countries is linked to the fight against junk food in rich countries like the heads and tails of a coin. Its causes and beneficiaries - globalizing businessmen and politicians - are the same and their victims, millions of deaths from hunger there and millions of deaths from diseases linked to excess and toxicity of food here.

The articulation of the countryside and the city around free trade in food explains the current food tragedy. The production of food for the world market is the cause of food insecurity, the destruction of biodiversity and the disappearance of the peasantry. Consumerism is the place where free trade ties in with our will and legitimates itself as democratic.


A new articulation of the countryside and the city is necessary. Agroecological production can only grow from the confederation of small and medium farmers, in cooperation with consumer groups, also confederated. To grow among the population you have to do more than conferences and campaigns. We need cultural and ideological autonomy, but also economic. The agroecology and responsible consumption movement requires a professional, social and economic dimension. This dimension can only be achieved through cooperation between organized consumer and farmer networks that, through mutual support, look in the same direction.

In responsible consumption, this model is very far from the current situation dominated by individualistic consumers and self-referential consumer groups that limit their own growth because their members have already managed to eat healthy at affordable prices. Some of its leaders have also managed to be hired to generalize this impotence. In food production, hardworking organic farmers and ranchers despair, within the marginal ecological sectors of large agrarian unions embarking on production for world markets, consultation with the government and double language. The agroecology that grows out of this stream is a subsidized, power-dependent agroecology doomed to death by chemical and transgenic agriculture. We must avoid being sucked into it.

The effects of European agricultural and food policies

Treating food insecurity only in terms of poor countries is typical of the opposition practiced by the capitalist and compassionate left. But that also makes us accomplices of hunger in impoverished countries because it is the multinationals that we make big with our consumption that ruin the peasants and promote mass migration.

Without these contents, the message may be sufficient for the large NGOs that make solidarity with Latin America, but not for the accumulation of anti-capitalist forces here, in the field of food production and consumption. That is why we must not limit our work to the consequences of the CAP in dependent countries. It is necessary to clarify the common cause of the different manifestations of food insecurity. Political solidarity requires supporting the peoples in struggle for their right to dispose of their own resources and food, but it also requires that we be a people in struggle.

In the IV Spanish Presidency of the EU, many groups are involved in a campaign to denounce, from our own social intervention, the food policies of the EU. Some of us already did so in the Third Presidency (first semester of 2002) and in the Second (second semester of 1995). Today, things have changed for the worse regarding the autonomy and strength of social movements. We must respect the historical memory of the Movement against the Europe of Capital, Globalization and War as powerful as it is ephemeral (June 2000-March 2003).

Sharing space with a macro-initiative where there are many resources of all kinds should not harm our autonomy. As always, very different things can be done with the same words. Despite the danger of old and new “dangerous friends” that swarm through social movements such as Pedro at home, the presence of anti-capitalist groups encourages us to try to re-establish a pluralism that, for us, has been unfeasible for years. It is about working with others, because this is a very large and very right-wing society, but not for others.

Pilar Galindo. Konsumo Self-Managed Groups (GAKs). May 10, 2010 - 9th Delivery of the Campaign against the Spanish Presidency of the EU. http://www.nodo50.org/lagarbancitaecologica/garbancita/

Let's break the silence before the Spanish presidency of the European Union and the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit.

Link to their website: http://www.rompamoselsilencio.net/2010/?Rompamos-el-Silencio-ante-la

From May 15 to 20, 2010


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