Over 1000, 1-percenters are meeting at Waldorf Astoria (April 23-25), for a major farmland investment event that will decide the fate of millions of Africans.
Dubbed as “the next big thing in finance” some of the largest hedge funds, private equity groups, university endowment managers, and other high rollers will meet to discuss how to continue to make money from food and water shortages. The event is organized by HighQuest Partners, a heavy hitter in the hedge fund market of big agro, bio-tech and bio-fuel companies. Entrance fee to attend is a mere $3,000.
These money managers are there because they are promised to make more than 25% return on investments in areas of the world where there exists incredible food insecurity. In 2009 only, nearly 60 million hectares of arable land – an area the size of France – was purchased or leased, 70 percent of it in Africa. It’s impossible to acquire that much of land without the continued taking of land previously held by small indigenous farmers. That number has only been increasing as more and more land has been leased off to companies and governments in Africa – by corrupt dictators, that have no moral qualms about displacing millions from their ancestral lands. On their website, HighQuest partners brag about representing $3.5 trillion in aggregated institutional assets and 25 million acres under cultivation in 2011 alone. This year they are expecting to double. BTW 25 million acres is the size of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts combined together, OR 11 times the size of Yellowstone National Park.
Please join in solidarity with food justice activists, Environmental ORGs, OWS groups, African students and communities in exposing these cabal of evil doers -that their “next big thing in finance” is nothing more than the next financial bubble with far more ill-consequences for humanity and the planet.
Day of Action: April 24 2012
Where: The Waldorf-Astoria
301 Park Avenue. NY, NY
“We Are Farmers, We Grow Food for the People”
This video by Anthony Lappe offers an inspiring glimpse into this new “Occupy Food” movement. Check it out and then go to Food Democracy Now, a grassroots community dedicated to building a sustainable food system, to find out how you can help.
Head into Liberty Plaza in Lower Manhattan, and one is immediately struck by the self-governing nature of the “Occupy” encampment.
A community which adheres to non-hierarchical decision making, Occupy conducts General Assembly meetings which are transparent and open to the public. Meals too are prepared communally, and there’s even a public library. On the other hand, it’s not as if Occupy is putting novel ideas into practice, since the encampment harks back historically to the co-operative movement.
According to the International Co-operative Alliance, an independent non-governmental organisation founded over a century ago, a co-operative is “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise”.
Co-ops, which tend to aspire to other values besides pure profit-making, can be heterogeneous and may range from small-scale businesses to multimillion-dollar enterprises.
Though co-operatives are now a global phenomenon, they hark back originally to England in the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1844, a small group of cotton artisans from the town of Rochdale established the first modern co-operative business, known as the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society. By pooling their resources and working together, the workers were able to access basic goods at a lower price. Such democratic principles continue to inform the thinking of co-operatives today, even within the bustle of highly capitalistic cities like New York.
With Occupy now sweeping the nation, some may wonder whether the co-operative movement could be poised to seriously take off. One particularly successful business is the Park Slope Food co-op, a market located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, New York. The business was established in 1973 by a small group of committed neighbours who sought to make healthy and affordable food available to everyone who sought it.
Today, business is booming and the co-op has more than 12,000 members. By working once every four weeks for three and a half hours, members receive a whopping 20-40 per cent savings on groceries.