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Small farmers, Indigenous peoples condemn Doha climate talks: 'Governments produce blank pages for planet’s future'

Trade unionists joined a march in Doha for action on climate change to demand improved human rights for migrant workers. Photograph: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images.

Statement by the international peasant movement La Via Campesina,

December 7, 2012 – As the climate negotiations come to a close, the industrialised countries insist on inaction for the next decade, finding even more ways to escape their historical responsibility, create more carbon markets including one on agriculture and to keep business as usual of burning the planet.

While governments continue to prioritise the interests of industry and agribusiness, peasant farmers continue producing to feed the world’s people and the planet.

Hurricane Sandy is another blow to Haiti

Farmers in Haiti. Photo by Elizabeth Whelan.

By Roger Annis

November 10, 2012 -- Rabble, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Roger Annis's permission -- Hurricane Sandy struck another heavy blow to Haiti on October 23, 24, 2012. At least 54 people died and dozens more are missing. Several tens of thousands of people were flooded out of their homes or earthquake survivor camps. 

There are some 370,000 people stuck in appalling conditions in the camps while hundreds of thousands more have gone back to damaged homes or whatever other inadequate shelter they can find.

Most media reports focused almost entirely on the storm's impact on the United States, while mostly ignoring its severe consequences in the Caribbean. 

Media reports, and doesn’t report, on Sandy in Haiti

Land grabbing: A new colonialism

A nascent oil palm plantation in southeastern Sierra Leone owed by Socfin Agriculture Company, which in March 2011 signed a 50-year lease with the government of Serra Leone. Photo by Felicity Thompson/IRIN.

By Alan Broughton

November 6, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Since the global financial crisis of 2008 and its associated food crisis that sent another 200 million people into malnutrition, there has been a massive grab for land by large corporations around the world. Worst hit has been Africa, where food security is already non-existent for many people. Governments, including the Australian government, welcome this “investment” in agriculture, some bizarrely claiming that food security will be increased.

Nature’s matrix: Linking agriculture, conservation and food sovereignty

Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty
By Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, and Angus Wright
Earthscan, 2009

Review by Ian Angus

October 17, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In any discussion of biodiversity and species extinction, someone usually insists that overpopulation is the problem. More people equals more farms equals less wilderness equals more extinctions. Life is a zero-sum game: you can have people and farming OR wildlife and biodiversity, but not both.

Rio+20: Farmers, Indigenous peoples mobilise against green capitalism and the privatisation of nature

Rio de Janeiro, June 14, 2012 -- La Via Campesina -- About 3000 people from around the world will mobilise to say NO to the commodification of life and nature at the "Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice and in Defense of the Commons", the parallel opposition activity to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20.

The peoples' summit is a space for discussion, debate and construction of alternative proposals by the global civil society, social movements and peoples collective organisations. La Via Campesina -- the international organisation of small farmers -- has been actively participating in the construction of this activity in order to denounce the false solutions of the same failed economic model that are now being dressed in green under the name “green economy”. La Via Campesina is instead promoting peasants' sustainable agriculture as a true solution to the global climatic and environmental crises.

Raj Patel: Feeding 10 billion (audio)

January 11, 2012 -- In a Saskatoon lecture, writer and activist Raj Patel argues that the only way to feed everyone is to completely rethink agriculture and empower women. He outlines the history of the "Green Revolution" and how it was based on attempts to defeat "communism", control population and spread the market system. The lecture was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Ideas program.

The paradox of Cuban agriculture

By Miguel A. Altieri and Fernando R. Funes-Monzote

January 8, 2012 -- Monthly Review -- When Cuba faced the shock of lost trade relations with the Soviet bloc in the early 1990s, food production initially collapsed due to the loss of imported fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, parts and petroleum. The situation was so bad that Cuba posted the worst growth in per capita food production in all of Latin America and the Caribbean. But the island rapidly re-oriented its agriculture to depend less on imported synthetic chemical inputsand became a world-class case of ecological agriculture.1

This was such a successful turnaround that Cuba rebounded to show the best food production performance in Latin America and the Caribbean over the following period, a remarkable annual growth rate of 4.2 per cent per capita from 1996 through 2005, a period in which the regional average was zero per cent.2

Τι μπορεί να αναμένεται από τις συνομιλίες του Ντάρμπαν;

Νίμο Μπάσεϊ. Photo: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

[In English at (Αγγλική εκδοχή σε) http://links.org.au/node/2585.]

του Νίμο Μπάσεϊ

Μαρξιστική Σκέψη, τόμος 4, Ιανουάριος-Μάρτιος 2012, σελ. 416, 13€

Climate talks: 'Social movements must unite to cool the planet' -- 'Disastrous' Durban failure condemned

"Developed countries, led by the United States, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action.  And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world”, said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth International.

Indigenous peoples condemn climate talks fiasco and demand moratorium on REDD+

By the Global Justice Ecology Project

Latin America: Summit in Venezuela opens 'new phase in history'

By Federico Fuentes

December 3, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A summit of huge importance was held in Venezuela on December 2-3, 2011. Two hundred years after Latin America’s independence fighters first raised the battle cry for a united Latin America, 33 heads of state from across the region came together to form the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

For Latin America, the summit represented a further step away from its traditional role as the United States’ backyard and its emergence as a player in its own right in international politics.

The importance of this new institution in world politics cannot be overstated. The combined gross domestic product of the countries within CELAC make it the third-largest economic powerhouse in the world. It is also home to the world’s largest oil reserves and the first and third largest global producers of food and energy, respectively.

La Via Campesina: 'No deal better than a bad deal that condemns humanity to climate catastrophe'

 

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Assembly of the Oppressed, December 5, 2011, Durban, South Africa

As the Assembly of the Oppressed we are gathered here to demand the transformation of the entire neoliberal capitalist system. The fight against climate change is a fight against neoliberal capitalism, landlessness, dispossession, hunger, poverty and the re-colonisation of the territories of the people’s of Africa and the global South. We are here to declare that direct action is the only weapon of the oppressed people of the world to end all forms of oppression in the world.

We are here in Durban, South Africa, where the 17th United Nations Conference of Parties [COP17] is taking place and are discussing false solutions to the climate crisis. And we can see that the future of Mother Earth and of humanity is in peril as those responsible for nature’s destruction are attempting to escape their responsibility and erase history.

South Africa: Rural women demand action on climate change

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Memorandum from the Rural Women's Assembly to the UNFCCC, the government of the Republic of South Africa and the governments of Africa

December 4, 2011 -- We the Rural Women's Assembly of Southern Africa, meeting in Durban on the event of the 17th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC in Durban [COP17] from November 30 to December 5, 2011, demand that governments take the following immediate steps to address the clear and present danger posed to rural communities by the climate crisis.

1. A climate deal that will take meaningful steps to halt the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions. Historical emitters who are responsible for 75% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) must face trade and investment sanctions if they refuse to cut emissions, particularly from African governments, as Africa has contributed least to climate change, but is the worst affected.

#OccupyCOP17, Durban climate talks: African and Indigenous voices for real climate justice, not false solutions

About 50 protesters held a pre-COP17 action on November 25, chanting "Phansi [down with] CDMs, phansi!" In the background is the World Cup white elephant, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, a few kilometres north of the extremely well-guarded International Convention Centre.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

#OccupyCop17: Climate justice general assembly

Below is the call for a general assembly from www.occupycop17.org.

Nnimmo Bassey on what to expect from Durban climate talks

Nnimmo Bassey (centre). Photo: Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

November 2, 2011 -- It’s unlikely there will be "an equitable outcome" from the COP17 climate talks, to be held in Durban in December 2011, but it will be "a great moment to intensify campaigns against the business-as-usual manner" in which climate negotiations have been conducted so far, Friends of the Earth International's Nnimmo Bassey told Pambazuka News.

* * *

Pambazuka News: What role will Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth International be playing at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban? What will you be pushing for?

Photo essay: World Food Day protest at Monsanto's world headquarters

Photos by Don Fitz and Barbara Chicherio

October 17, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It ain’t easy organising anti-Monsanto pickets in St. Louis, where it seems that every other person has a relative, neighbour or friend who works for the corporate demon and is worried about its retaliation. Nevertheless, the Gateway Green Alliance and Safe Food Action St. Louis planned a demonstration as part of the October 16, 2011, World Food Day and Millions Against Monsanto nationwide events put together by the Organic Consumers Association.

 Several dozen activists fighting the company’s efforts to force GMOs (genetically modified organisms) on everyone who eats food, as well as its attempt to destroy small farmers in the US and across the globe, met at the Monsanto's world headquarters on the afternoon of October 16. Soon we were joined by a couple of carloads from Occupy St. Louis and had a lively group of 50.

A big problem with picketing Monsanto’s headquarters is that Olive Boulavard traffic whizzes by at 40–50 miles per hour, meaning that drivers can’t read a sign with small or thin letters. But several of us remembered the old Burma Shave signs on two-lane highways.These are photos of the picket.

New film preview: 'Growing Change: A Journey Inside Venezuela's Food Revolution'

October 7, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Growing Change: A Journey into Venezuela's Food Revolution follows filmmaker Simon Cunich's journey to understand why current food systems leave hundreds of millions of people in hunger. It's a journey to understand how the world will feed itself in the future in the face of major environmental challenges. 

The documentary begins with an investigation of the 2008 global food crisis, looking at the long-term underlying causes. Will expanding large-scale, energy-intensive agriculture be the solution? If we already produce enough food to feed the world, why do so many people go hungry?

After hearing about efforts in Venezuela to develop a more equitable and sustainable food and agriculture system, Cunich heads there to see if it's working and to find out what we might learn from this giant experiment.

Durban climate talks: 'Only people-driven and democratic solutions offer genuine ways out of climate crisis'

Protests at COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, December 2010. Protests are being organised to take place at COP17in Durban, November-December 2011.

People's Dialogue statement on climate change, COP17 and Rio+20

Durban, September 2011 -- The People's Dialogue is a network that brings southern Africa and South American rural and popular activists and social movements together to share experiences and strengthen linkages in challenging injustice and building alternatives. The People's Dialogue held a meeting in Durban from September 21-23,  2011, to engage with the issue of climate change and the challenges it poses for rural movements, moving towards COP17 [to be in held Durban in November-December] and Rio+20 [to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 4-6, 2012].

Marxism has an ecological heart

Credit: Galen Johnson/Canadian Dimension.

By Ash Pemberton

August 13, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- We all know there’s a big problem with the environment and it needs drastic action to fix it. So does a Marxist analysis of the problem bring anything new to the table?

Marxism redefines the terms of the mainstream environmental debate. Instead of seeing the problem as one of humans versus nature, the problem is framed as one where humans and nature are intrinsically linked and ecological crises arise in which the relationship between the two is thrown into imbalance.

I think a Marxist analysis best describes the connection between human society and the rest of nature in a historical perspective. From this we can better understand the current crises and humanity’s task for the foreseeable future.

Capitalism

First, a few things to keep in mind about capitalism. Under the laws of the capitalist system, profits must continually expand or the system will collapse. This expansion has taken new forms over history, involving different combinations of exploitation of people, the environment and a fair share of economic trickery and speculation.

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