Category Archives: Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

For the Caribbean, a united front is key to weathering climate change

By Desmond Brown, July 3, 2014. Source: IPS

A seawall in Dominica. A recent report has called for specific measures to protect small islands from sea level rise. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

A seawall in Dominica. A recent report has called for specific measures to protect small islands from sea level rise. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

 

As the costs of climate change continue to mount, officials with the Commonwealth grouping say it is vital that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) stick together on issues such as per capita income classification.

Deputy Commonwealth Secretary General (Economic and Social Development) Deodat Maharaj told IPS the classification affects the ability of countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and others to access financing from the international financial institutions.

“To my mind, the international system has to take special consideration of countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and others,” he said. Continue reading

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Hungry for land — Small farmers feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland

May 28, 2014. Source: GRAIN

Growing cassava on the banks of the Mekong: small farms tend to prioritise food production over commodity or export crop production. (Photo: New Mandala)

Growing cassava on the banks of the Mekong: small farms tend to prioritise food production over commodity or export crop production. (Photo: New Mandala)

Governments and international agencies frequently boast that small farmers control the largest share of the world’s agricultural land. When the director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization inaugurated 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming, he sang the praises of family farmers but didn’t once mention the need for land reform. Instead, he announced that family farms already manage most of the world’s farmland – a whopping 70%, according to his team.

But a new review of the data carried out by GRAIN reveals that the opposite is true. Small farms, which produce most of the world’s food, are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world’s farmland – or less than one fifth if you leave out China and India.

“We are fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands of the rich and powerful,” said Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN. “The overwhelming majority of farming families today have less than two hectares to cultivate and that share is shrinking. If we do nothing to reverse this trend, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Intersectionality isn’t just a win-win; it’s the only way out

By Henia Belalia, May 27, 2014. Source: Waging Nonviolence

A meme published by the Pachamama Alliance highlights how scientific discovery has been catching up to indigenous knowledge for centuries. (Pachamama Alliance)

A meme published by the Pachamama Alliance highlights how scientific discovery has been catching up to indigenous knowledge for centuries. (Pachamama Alliance)

In 2012, the Pachamama Alliance, a U.S.-based organization working in partnership with indigenous Achuar people in Ecuador, published a meme showing two native men discussing a new “scientific discovery”: the fact that our world is deeply interconnected. The joke, of course, is the idea that these scientists could “discover” a concept that is age-old wisdom for indigenous peoples across the world. I was delighted by the two-fold genius of the cartoon, the way it both highlights the importance of understanding the world we live in while pointedly calling out the dangers of cultural and intellectual appropriation. 

This question of intersectionality isn’t the first time that science is playing catch-up to traditional knowledge, and it won’t be the last. As Pachamama Alliance’s accompanying blog explains: “Scientific research is bringing knowledge of the natural world full circle, offering biological and theoretical authority to the enduring truth of indigenous wisdom.” Yet, among all of these enduring truths, intersectionality is one of the most central. “Perhaps the most universal indigenous perspective is the idea of a world inextricably interconnected, on all levels, and across time,” the Pachamama Alliance wrote.

As an organizer in the climate justice movement and, more recently, in the migrant justice movement, I often think about how ancient wisdom translates into my analysis, my actions and my commitment to the slow time of resistance and healing. I see interconnectedness manifested in multiple ways: in the systems of oppression we’re fighting against, such as white supremacy, colonialism and patriarchy; in our complicated identities; and within our own relationships. I also trust that all our organizing could benefit from not only a firm understanding of  what intersectionality is, but also ways to translate this analysis into our various struggles and daily organizing. Continue reading

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Bolivia’s Conamaq Indigenous Movement: “We will not sell ourselves to any government or political party”

By Pablo Peralta M. of Página SieteTranslation by Benjamin Dangl, May 26, 2014. Source: Source: Upside Down World

 

0-1-0-leyminera22Translator’s note: Bolivia’s Conamaq indigenous movement is currently a major grassroots critic of the policies of the Evo Morales government and its Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party. Because of this critical stance, the government helped to violently oust the Conamaq from their offices in La Paz this past December, and create a parallel, pro-MAS Conamaq. Mama Nilda Rojas is a leader of the dissident, or organic, Conamaq, and is interviewed here by Pablo Peralta M. of Bolivia’s Página Sietenewspaper. While ex-Conamaq leader Rafael Quispe is seeking to run for president against Morales, the current Conamaq of Nilda Rojas rejects all political parties and alliances with any governments, and remains one of the few critical social movements outside the umbrella of the MAS party, along with a radical base of followers and a progressive vision for the country.

In this interview, Rojas mentions the MAS-supportedMining Law, which gives members of the mining industry the right to use public water for its water-intensive and toxic operation, while disregarding the rights of rural and farming communities to that same water. Furthermore, the law criminalizes protest against mining operations. Conamaq’s struggle is part of a Latin America-wide grassroots push not just against extractivism, but also for respecting the rights of communities in the cross hairs of extractivism to prior consultation, an end to the criminalization of protest against extractive industries, and for a diversification of the economy beyond just the export of raw materials. The Conamaq stands beside many regional movements advocating the development of an economy and politics which respects the environment and indigenous rights while providing support and empowerment for a majority of the population. Continue reading

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Social movements and power: Change from below in the Dominican Republic

By Beverly Bell, May 20, 2014. Source: Other Worlds

​"Easy tasks are not for people who want to create change." - Pedro Franco. Photo: Beverly Bell

​”Easy tasks are not for people who want to create change.” – Pedro Franco. Photo: Beverly Bell

An interview with Pedro Franco, an organizer of social movements and mutual-aid cooperatives from Santo Domingo. He is also a member of CoopHabitat, which promotes housing coops.

Previous theories of social transformation could be constructed based on the American Far West movies, where the stagecoach came through the desert with those who stole, guarded, and transported the gold. The revolutionaries waited to raid the coach.

Revolutions – the October Revolution, all of them – were based on that image of the assault on power. This is an anti-Zapatista image, which instead is of building power from the community, from below. This image requires a new vision. Our problem nowadays is how to build power and a new economy from below. There are many factors to take into account in doing this, but first and foremost: human beings.

There had been some social movements in the city: traditional movements as well as the union movements and so-called “housewife” movements; cultural and youth clubs that worked on popular art, popular education and sports; the literary movement… During times of dictatorship, the youth movement and the teachers’ movement were those that had the most staying-power.

With the global crisis of perspectives with the fall of the Berlin Wall, many grassroots movements and labor unions here suffered a very negative impact. The global, unipolar domination that we are now so familiar with was born. In the mid-1980s, urban social movements re-emerged in the country. These community-based, poor-people’s movements took up the struggle against the neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Justice for Galeano: Stop the war against the Zapatista communities!

Source: An attack on the Zapatistas is an attack on us all

Image: An Attack On Us All

Image: An Attack On Us All

Week of action: May 18th-24th, (Day of remembrance May 24th)

SUMMARY OF RECENT EVENTS:

On May 2, 2014, in the Zapatista territory of La Realidad, Chiapas, Mexico, the group CIOAC-Histórica [with the participation of the Green Ecological Party and the National Action Party (PAN)], planned and executed a paramilitary attack on unarmed Zapatista civilians. An autonomous Zapatista school and clinic was destroyed, 15 people were ambushed and injured and Jose Luis Solis Lopez (Galeano), teacher at the Zapatista Little School, was murdered. The mainstream media is falsely reporting this attack on the Zapatistas as an intra-community confrontation, but in fact this attack is the result of a long-term counterinsurgency strategy promoted by the Mexican government.

Given the experience of the 1997 massacre at Acteal, we are concerned about the mounting paramilitary activity against Zapatista bases of support. It is clear that if we do not take action now, the current situation in Chiapas may also lead to an even more tragic end. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Chiapas, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

The browning of the world

By Christy Rodgers, April 29, 2014. Source: Dissident Voice

There are a lot of seemingly disparate things happening at various levels of scale in the world outside my window these days. But there is one color that describes them more than any other.

My world is browning. As deserts grow and forests shrink, as smog, soot and dust clouds fill the skies horizon to horizon, as average heat levels (represented by yellows, oranges and browns on maps where they are most intense) increase, you start to see that color everywhere, eating away at the greens and blues of our old picture of the planet. What is the color of drought, which has struck the place where I live with an intensity not seen for 500 years? Brown. What is the color of oil slicks on oceans and chemical spills in rivers and mudslides on denuded hills? Brown. What is the color from space of barren ranges that were once clothed in glaciers and yearlong snows? Of flooded rivers filled with the irreplaceable topsoil, thousands of years old, which washes into them every year from giant monoculture farms? Brown. Our gentle euphemism for the toxic waste dumps that fester at the edges of cities and towns is “brownfields.”

The world’s human population is browning too. Northern European and European American populations, never a majority in the world, are losing even the percentage share they once had, while overall their proportion of the world’s income and consumption of its resources remains grossly, disproportionately large. But the ranks of global billionaires are browning as well, for whatever you think that’s worth (it’s currently worth about as much for the 2100 of them as what 2 billion of the rest of us possess). And the mostly white middle class, shrinking in my country, is growing in many others, like India, China, and Brazil, while desperate poverty there is shrinking – for the time being.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Solutions

Native resistance to ecological destruction: An evening with Tom Goldtooth of Indigenous Environmental Network

Note: Tom Goldtooth is a good friend of Global Justice Ecology Project.  Indigenous Environmental Network is on the Steering Committee for the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees.

April 28, 2014. Source: CCTV

north-cop-tom-goldtooth0912Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) speaks at St. Michael’s College on the vast destruction of the air, water and land (including many indigenous lands), taking place all over the world and what his organization and other native communities and organizations are doing to stop it. He shares stories and his perspective as a Native American and sings a traditional song.

Watch the video here

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Tar Sands