Focus Web 17 April 2017
To mark the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, Focus on the Global South releases this special edition that puts together articles on issues that small farmers and peasants continue to face. These pieces also highlight the different forms of resistance that farmers and peasants put up amidst these challenges.
Mary Ann Manahan of Focus-Philippines remembers the hard work of her grandfather, a small farmer who eked out a living from his small farm of coffee and fruit, and died with hardly anything to pass on to his family but his small plot and his pride for being a farmer. Ms Manahan would realize the bigger context of her grandfather’s hardships as she grows up, studies, and becomes involved in the agrarian reform struggle in the Philippines.
Niabdulghafar Tohming from Focus-Thailand tells the story of communities in forest lands who have been harassed, criminalized, and dispossessed because of the military government’s Forestry Plan. Similarly, in India, tenanted farmers are under attack via state-led repression, with many of those affected getting imprisoned under false charges, but they pledge to forge ahead with their resistance.
Raphael Baladad’s (Focus-Philippines) reflections on youth power gives us something to be hopeful about, in the midst of the decades-long struggle of Filipino peasants. Peasant leaders have grown “tired and weary, and literally old,” but the involvement of students and youth in their struggle are seen as means to not only re-energize the peasant movement but the youth’s as well.