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Family farmers, indigenous people, environmentalists, and food activists in Chile just won a critical five year fight against multinational agribusiness giant Monsanto.

The government of Michelle Bachelet just withdrew legislation referred to as the Monsanto Law that would have allowed agribusiness to register patents on newly developed seeds and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Opponents knew the law would have required small farmers to pay for similar seeds that had been developed naturally through generations by family farmers and indigenous people.

Just a few months ago Michelle Bachelet’s Left coalition was elected to lead the government of Chile. She is now one of a growing number of leftists and progressives across Latin America who lead democratic governments that were once ruled by cruel tyrants and military dictatorships.

The struggle for people-driven democracies in Latin America has taken decades, even generations for once brutally suppressed people to win.

Bachelet was once imprisoned and tortured at the hands of the Augusto Pinochet regime which kidnapped, killed, and tortured thousands of Chileans who fought for democracy. Bachelet is a socialist.

While we in the United States struggle to save our imperfect and faltering democracy, our brothers and sisters to the south have overcome armies, dictators, torture, imprisonment, and kidnapping to create mass movements that have swept to power electorally in country after country including Brazil, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Bolivia, and other countries.

The fight in Chile to defeat the Monsanto Law has been waged for at least five years preceding the Bachelet election. This victory is an incredibly important example of what a progressive government with an organized and activist base can do to win against giant seemingly all-powerful multinational corporations.

Our American democracy is so compromised by the power of money, tainted media, anti-science, anti-labor, anti-worker, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia that we need an explicitly pro-democracy coalition and movement that focuses on rebuilding democracy and democratic values in America. We no longer have a viable political party that is not compromised by the ever more powerful plutocratic class.

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