Philippine Banana Farmers:
Their Cooperatives and Struggle for Land Reform and Sustainable Agriculture

From FoodFirst,
by David Bacon, © 2020

PANABO, DAVAO, PHILIPPINES (8-31-19) – Workers harvest bananas in the field of the DARBCO cooperative in the Mindanao city of Panabo. Denmark Aguitas catches the bunnch of bananas on his shoulder as it’s cut from the tree, and carries it to the cableway where it’s hung from a hook and then pulled to the packing shed.
Copyright David Bacon

Thirty years ago many banana workers in the Philippines made a radical change in their work and lives. They transformed the militant unions they had organized to wrest a decent living from the multinational corporations that control much of the world’s food production. Instead of working for wages, they used the country’s land reform law to become the owners of the plantations where they had labored for generations.

It was not an easy process. They had to fight for market access and fair prices against the same companies that had been their employers. But they developed a unique organization to help them, that provided knowledge and resources for forming cooperatives. Twenty years ago FARMCOOP and these worker/grower cooperatives defeated the largest of the companies, Dole Fruit Company (in the Philippines called Stanfilco). As a result, today the standard of living for coop members has gone up, and workers have more control over how and what they produce.

FARMCOOP became the source of everything from financial planning and marketing skills to organic farming resources and political organizing strategy. FARMCOOP then developed an alliance with one of Mindanao’s indigenous communities, helping it start its own coops that combine the use of local traditions with organic and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

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AN URGENT CCDS MESSAGE: Take Action Now to Stop War with Iran!

Dear CCDS members and friends

Trump’s assassination of Iran’s military commander Qassem Soleimani has escalated with the news that missiles have been launched on U.S. bases in Iraq. We are at a “grave and serious moment” in the words of Rep. Barbara Lee.

Trump’s crazed plot to distract the public’s attention from his impeachment and pending trial in the Senate is putting U.S. troops in harm’s way. If the escalation continues, the safety of the entire world is at stake with the use of nuclear weapons an ever-present danger. We must do all we can to stop this madness.

CCDS is urging turn-out for protests on Thursday, January 9th. See below a message from MoveOn.org. If your area is not holding a protest, work to organize one. All hands on deck.

On Wednesday, January 8th at 8 PM ET, a national strategy call will take place organized by MoveOn, Indivisible and others. Join the call if at all possible.

CCDS National Executive Committee

**************

Dear MoveOn member,

Just as we were about to hit send on this email about nationwide anti-war protests Thursday, alarming news broke that Iran has launched an attack on the American al-Asad air base in Iraq in response to Donald Trump’s reckless, illegal provocations. News is continuing to develop, but it’s already clear that the following email has become even more important.

Assassinations don’t make us safer. Tonight’s attack is clear evidence of that. And that is why on Thursday, we will join together for a day of action across the country to protest and say #NoWarWithIran.

Trump’s unhinged foreign policy has needlessly endangered the lives of U.S. troops and Iraqi, Iranian, and countless other civilians.

We will not be led into another illegal war.

No War With Iran Nationwide Events

Join us on Thursday, January 9 for a #NoWarWithIran demonstration near you and make the anti-war majority in this country visible.

Don’t see an event near you? Sign up to host one.

People in the United States and across the globe are tired of war, from the military families who have seen multiple generations in the same conflicts, to the Iranian, Iraqi and Afghani families in the United States who worry for their loved ones back home.

We’ve learned our lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan and Yemen and global endless war. We will not be led into another costly, unnecessary war of choice. We will not allow our neighbors to be targeted by law enforcement. We will not be divided.

On Thursday, January 9, join MoveOn, Indivisible, Win Without War, the National Iranian American Council and About Face: Veterans Against The War to say #NoWarWithIran and oppose Trump’s war—and spread the word!

Already, we’ve seen Trump’s actions unleash xenophobia, with Iranian-Americans detained at the border in Washington state and asked about their political allegiance. That’s not the country we want to build in 2020. And tonight we’ve seen a dangerous response to these actions.

Where Trump acts with ignorance, fear, war, and moral weakness, we will show up with diplomacy and political courage. We are the majority, we stand united, and we oppose Trump’s war with Iran.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kate, Eric, Reggie, Jayne, and the rest of the team

P.S. Also, join us on Wednesday January 8th for a national strategy call at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT to hear from Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Barbara Lee, foreign policy experts, MoveOn leaders, and more to learn how we can take action together to prevent another endless war.

P.P.S. And say you’ll be there Thursday to make the anti-war majority in this country visible!

Want to support our work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump’s agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation’s pendulum back toward sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than ever. Will you stand with MoveOn?

Click here to chip in $3, or whatever you can afford.

Contributions to MoveOn Civic Action are not tax-deductible for income tax purposes. You’re receiving this email because you took action with MoveOn. This email was sent to Rafael Pizarro on January 8, 2020.

CCDS JOINS PEACE FORCES IN SAYING ‘NO WAR WITH IRAN’

January 5, 2020

The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) joins with progressive, peace, and socialist movements everywhere in condemning the United States assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020. We endorse the statements below by the United States Peace Council and Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). We also support the protest demonstrations against the illegal and immoral US assassination that were held January 4, 2020 all across the United States in over 80 communities with thousands of participants. We wish to express our solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi citizens who also mobilized against this act of war by the United States.

We condemn this political assassination as one more terrible crime committed by US imperialism and US capital in a generations-long history of attacks on the rights, land, and sovereignty of the peoples of the Middle East in the drive to obtain oil and other resources for US multi-national corporations and the US capitalist system.

We agree with the coalition of peace forces who organized the protest rallies on January 4 that along with the violations of international law and morality that we, in the United States, have a responsibility to organize a large peace and anti-intervention movement to stop US war aims, or this war will “engulf the whole region and could quickly turn into a global conflict of unpredictable scope and potentially the gravest consequences.”

We in CCDS join with our brothers and sisters at home and abroad in demanding:

  • No War Against Iran
  • The Elimination of Crippling Economic Sanctions Against Iran.
  • The Withdrawal of United States Military Forces and Bases, and the End to Arms Transfers in the Region
  • And a Qualitative Shift From Militarism to Diplomacy in Relations With the World

National Executive Committee
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS)

Statements:

United States Peace Council
Democratic Socialists of American (DSA)