The debate on the G8 and its New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is hotting up. Following on from the critical pieces listed at the bottom of the previous post, George Monbiot has weighed in with a timely critique in the Guardian comparing the New Alliance to the colonial scramble for Africa back in 1884. As noted previously, African farmers’ movements and civil society groups have used the same language to condemn the New Alliance, denouncing it as part of a “new wave of colonialism” launched by the G8. The highly respected author on food issues Raj Patel has also slammed the G8’s approach to malnutrition for stripping away the politics of poverty in order to open the way for corporate takeover.
In response, two representatives of the ONE campaign have attacked Monbiot for backing the call of African civil society, accusing him of “perpetuating ill-informed stereotypes” rather than listening to the heads of government and agribusiness that attended the New Alliance summit on Saturday. George has responded in turn, and others have commented below the article querying what ONE hopes to gain from such a misplaced political intervention. From the NGO side, the Fairtrade Foundation’s Barbara Crowther has supported Monbiot in highlighting the New Alliance’s hypocrisy for demanding that African countries should be the only ones to change their agricultural regimes.
Other members of the IF campaign have pointed to their organisations’ policy positions criticising the New Alliance. Yet holding critical policy positions and suggesting the initiative needs to be reformed is not the issue. What’s needed is active opposition, voiced strongly and publicly, and a concerted UK campaign in solidarity with the international movement mobilising against the New Alliance and other corporate agribusiness initiatives. In this regard, have a look at the final political declaration coming out of the VI conference of La Via Campesina, issued in Jakarta earlier today.