By La Via Campesina North America on May 1, 2020
On this May 1st, the member organizations of La Via Campesina-North America stand with every food system worker in our common struggle against the exploitation, discrimination, and violence that too many of us endure.
We take this time to declare that essential workers’ rights are peasants’ rights. We also claim that the only path for a fair, just food system is towards food sovereignty – for the workers who get their hands dirty growing, harvesting, and preparing food, to establish democratic control over the system.
Food system workers don’t have the privilege to stay at home. Most of our members, including peasant farmers, farmworkers, and fishers, are told to work as the rest of most everyone else can shelter in place.
On this May 1st, we stand with all the other food system workers who are demanding justice – from the grocery store workers at places such as Whole Foods, to the restaurant workers at the countless number of establishments cooking food for take-out.
Our governments now call us “essential.” The truth is that we have always been essential. We feed our families, our communities, our countries. We have done so during this crisis, we did so before the pandemic, and we will do so into the future.
The truth is also that we have been treated for too long as if we are disposable. The women in the fields work often in fear of sexual violence, while family farmers receive next to nothing for their work as agribusiness firms and retailers rob them blind. Our seeds, lands, and produce are stolen from us by transnational companies. Our governments turn away when we need them to act, siding too often with those who chose to destroy the Earth instead of honoring it.
The coronavirus pandemic has made the already brutalizing, unjust nature of our current food system simply more apparent for everyone to see.
For these reasons, we support every worker who chooses to speak up on May 1st, in whatever form they chose.
Workers will resist because they know that everyone deserves a living wage. They also believe that every person who grows food harvests it, or distributes it needs to have the legal right to bargain with their employers. Workers stand up because no one should have to endure any form of sexual violence. They also know that every single person who does not have legal status wherever they live deserves the right to move wherever they want without fear of deportation, and to live a dignified life with good health and safety.
So, on May 1st, the member groups of La Via Campesina-North America declare that essential workers’ rights are peasants’ rights.
We call upon all our member organizations to support the call for a general strike on May 1 because the lives of workers in all sectors of the economy and their families matter more that the profits of capital.
We embrace the old union principle needed more now than ever that ¡An injury to one is an injury to all!
We call on everyone to make this May 1st count as we globalize hope and the struggle