The Nyéléni newsletter facilitates a pedagogy of peoples in the struggle for food sovereignty
In 2007 the Nyéléni Forum brought together representatives from organisations and movements of small-scale food providers, consumers and civil society organisations engaged in the struggle for food sovereignty. These participants shared knowledge, visions, strategies and practices for transforming their communities, societies and economies through the principles of food sovereignty. These discussions revealed the wealth of knowledge continuously created by food sovereignty practitioners even as they faced social, economic, environmental and political challenges. They also highlighted the centrality of food sovereignty as an alliance-building platform to resist neoliberalism, global capitalism, authoritarianism, and all forms of injustice, inequality and violence. Participants pledged to build solidarity within and across movements, genders, cultures and regions by strengthening communication, political education, awareness and peer-to-peer learning.
The Nyéléni newsletter was created to respond to all these commitments: to give voice to the priorities, concerns, experiences and knowledge of the food sovereignty movement, and to foster dialogue across sectors and actors.
The newsletter was conceived as an educational tool to contextualize and explain complex issues to movement actors—especially those at the grassroots and on the frontlines—as well as a vehicle to bring the first hand experiences of those actors to the fore. While allied researchers are invited to contribute articles, the newsletter mainly contains the movements’ analysis and views. These analyses are complemented by direct testimonies from grassroots actors, information about struggles and initiatives, and outreach materials from movements across the world. The movement members decide the topics of each edition. The articles are written in an accessible style that is easy to understand and translate into other languages. The newsletter can be downloaded/read online for free (in English, Spanish and French) at nyeleni.org and all content is copy-free.
Brasil de Fato: a popular communication alternative against the hegemony of the mass media
Brasil de Fato was officially launched on 25 January 2003 during the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre with the aim of breaking new ground in the hegemonic dispute in the field of communication. Since its creation, it has covered economic and political events; it promotes the activities and struggles of social movements in Brazil and Latin America from a left-wing point of view, presenting analyses of the current situation and national and international events.
As an alternative media it contributes to the analysis and contextualisation of another Brazil. It presents a Brazil in constant mobilisation and identifies the scenarios of political disputes in order to create a communication agenda by putting on the table issues that the mainstream media intentionally hide or minimise. The alternative media affirms the vision of another world proposed by leftist theorists, creating space for the approach of criticism and cultural valorisation from the popular classes, workers who defend their political interests and promote the debating of ideas. Brasil de Fato is also a space of denunciation deeply committed to transformation, with a vision of international solidarity, pluralist in its ideas, and a source of information and reflection for activists in support of the social struggle.
With media such as Brasil de Fato, a communication strategy is created in the face of the communication hegemony of the dominant groups and is able to transform the national and international political agenda by adding the voices of the movements that fight for the construction of another possible world.
 Brasil de Fato is a Brazilian online newspaper and a radio agency. https://www.brasildefato.com.br/
Peasant songs – The carriers of wisdom, memories and resistance
To understand the rich and diverse history and evolution of peasant and indigenous practices, one only needs to listen to the countless number of folklore and songs that exist among the people around the world. In this section we look at two peasant songs from Uganda and Turkey that communicate local struggles of the peasants and Indigenous Peoples.
Icamo Irudu Laki, Uganda (Luo/Lango language)
Composed during a period of food scarcity due to the community’s shift from growing local food crops whose seeds they had control of, to new crops introduced by the government. The harvest from the new crops was sold to middlemen cheaply, leaving farmers unable to buy food for them and their families. The new crops made farmers dependent on the seed traders and government for seeds since they could not save, multiply and freely share them, hence lost seed sovereignty. The song encourages small-scale farmers to go back to local food plants that promote a farmer-managed seed system and address malnutrition and hunger. The song also shows that when you eat local food plants, it’s as if you’re brushing your teeth because they are healthy and free from chemicals. When it’s being sung, there are some additional words that are said by women as they share their achievement stories about overcoming food scarcity in their households using traditional local food plants.
Original version in Luo/Lango ICAMO IRUDU LAKI Icamo irudu laki X3 Can dek rac Gin omio lango camo ajonga doo Can dek rac Nen ibot Joci gi doo Can dek rac Gin omio lango camo ajonga doo Can dek rac
Translation EAT AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH Eat local food plants and brush your teeth X3 Food scarcity is bad The reason why Langis* eat local foods plants without pasting or frying Food scarcity is bad Look at it from those of Joci** Food scarcity is bad The reason why Langis eat local food plants without pasting or frying Food scarcity is bad
*Langis are people from the Lango sub-region in the northern region of Uganda, most of who grow crops and keep livestock.
** Joci is the name of a person/neighbour whose household is struggling with food scarcity. It can be replaced with any name of anyone in the community struggling with food scarcity.
İşkencedere’den (Eşkincidere) elime kalan bir çakıl taşı, Turkey
This song was composed during the resistance of the Ikızdere people against a private company with strong ties to the government and a bad history of environmental/land destruction. The company, through a presidential decree, is now destroying the İşkencedere valley for the quarry needed for port construction in İkizdere, Rize. Ikızdere villagers, led by peasant women took action to stop this destruction of their valley by keeping watch over it while seeking legal recourse and an interdict. Women are in the front line defending their land and the rights of the nature. People are keeping watch on the trees, using the mountain, forest roads as their roads are blocked by the military.
Original version in Turkish İşkencedere’den (Eşkincidere) elime kalan bir çakıl taşı Bir gün Boğacak seni anaların gözyaşı Hep bulanık akıyor İşkencedereleri İki tabur askerle beklersin dozerleri Ben köyümde büyüdüm Bilmiyorum şehri Vermedin insanlara, dozer kadar değeri
Translation A pebble left in my hands from Eşkencidere. One day, the tears of mothers will suffocate you. The Eşkencidere running muddy now. You put two battalions of soldiers to wait for the bulldozers. I was born in a village, I do not know the city. You didn’t give value to the people as you have given to the bulldozers!
CLOC-Via Campesina school of communication
The Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina) held the fifth Continental School of Communication in 2020 as part of its process of technical, political and ideological training for organisational purposes. After several events held in different countries, always for communicators from the organisations that make up CLOC and its historical allies, the 2020 School was virtual.
CLOC is a continental organisation that brings together peasant, Indigenous, Afro-descendant and women’s organisations from 21 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This fifth School made it possible to study the current context of the dispute in communication; on the one hand, as an instrument of manipulation used by imperialism against progressive countries and social movements, and on the other hand, as a popular tool for the construction and strengthening of the peasant movement. They were also able to deepen their understanding of internationalism and its implications for popular struggles.
During the process, the communicators got to know and evaluate the current communication work of the CLOC at the continental level, as a strategy against hegemony in the class struggle, and in favour of food sovereignty, agrarian reform and agroecology.
This fifth School also organised practical workshops with expert facilitators and activists from CLOC and allied organisations, such as ALBA Movimientos, the Continental Day for Democracy and against Neoliberalism, Real World Radio, Código Sur, and communicators from former progressive governments, such as that of Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Through these workshops, the communicators strengthened their skills in areas such as photography, video, audio, graphic design, social networks, newsletters and internal communication.
“It was an important space for exchanging knowledge and updating knowledge, given the great activity that we develop as activists and communicators of the organisations. In general terms, our expectations were fulfilled, although it is never enough when it comes to improving in order to contribute to the great battle for ideas in the communications arena”. Participant of the 5th CLOC School of Communication.
The very rich process of training in popular communication in this fifth school provided many lessons, challenges and, above all, a collective that is growing in transformative dreams and hopes, strengthened in the revolutionary and internationalist spirit.
Communicating to build and to transform. From Our Lands, Unity, Struggle and Resistance, for Socialism and the Sovereignty of Our Peoples!