Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

Reclaiming Peoples Power, Our Right to Say No!

Johannesburg, South Africa 15.11.2018 Partecipanti al Forum sociale tematico sull'economia mineraria ed estrattiva Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

Coming from 60 countries, including from 28 African countries, from America, Asia Pacific and Europe, they were representing a variety groups of the civil society. Recognising that they were bound together by their desire for a future free from the destructive effects of extractivism they made a statement on extractivism (Edited by Jpic-jp.org)

Extractivism is a destructive model based on the exploitation of so-called "natural resources" and people of which mining is a prime case. Over the last decades, we have seen the intensification of this colonial model, based on the fantasy of the possibility of endless economic growth on a limited planet. It is rapidly undermining the conditions that make life possible on earth. In the name of progress and development, it has been devastating and degrading. It has involved the super-exploitation of workers, the systematic dispossession of communities, intensifying conditions of global warming and climate injustice. It subjects local economies to a logic of wealth accumulation that benefits transnational corporations – the new rulers of the world. Their driving logic is to exploit the crisis through the deepening of the assault of nature, opening up new frontiers for further commodification and financialization. Oceans, rivers, forests, entire ecosystems are set to be put at the service of profit making. Accompanying this process of recolonization and the scramble to control scarce strategic resources by competing global and regional powers, lies the spectre of new genocidal wars, which will see the extermination of the ‘excluded’ and marginalised.

Peasants, small-scale farmers, migrants, refugees, pastoralists, displaced persons, indigenous and working class women are enslaved by this extractivist development model. They work hard to guarantee the survival of family and community under increasingly precarious conditions. Their labour of care, subsistence production, social reproduction and the recreation of fragile threatened ecosystems is invisible, unrecognised and undervalued and it subsidises capital’s profits. Furthermore, extractivism is leading to the undermining of workers’ rights – where they exist. Health and safety regulations are systematically violated, workers are informalized and wages are being driven down. Militant trade unionism is attacked and only compliant unions are permitted.

Communities resisting destructive extractive projects are divided through corruption and false development promises, and deprived of social goods and public services to force their submission.  Community activists are increasingly criminalized, threatened, abducted, assaulted and murdered. When this State and corporate sponsored violence is against women who dissent, it often takes a sexualised form. Even youth and children are targeted. Communities refusing to consent to mining and other extractivist projects, and militant trade unions are attacked by the combined forces of the state and corporations. Generally, the space for resistance is deeply threatened and being closed down.  

We, peasant, small-scale farmer communities, indigenous people and others across the world, are resisting this systematic attack on our territories that, through displacement, deforestation and the destruction of water sources, threaten to destroy our way of life. Women play a particularly important role in these struggles. Women are demanding the right to say no!

We say NO to this model of extractivism. We converge on that all remaining coal, gas and oil must remain underground; on that circular economies recycle and bring back into production minerals and metals for a sustainable future. Moving into new frontiers of extractivism, such as deep sea mining, is a false solution; the excessive consumption of all in the global north and south must be curbed, based on the principles of sufficiency. Productive, endless growth and accumulation for accumulation’s sake must be reversed. ‘We do not live to produce but we produce to live’.

This claim to the right to say NO, is at the same time a clear YES to other alternative ways of living in harmony with the rest of the web of life. YES to the right to decide how to live our own lives. YES to the recognition that nature cannot be conceived as a collection of so-called resources to be exploited at will in search of (maximising) profit. YES to valuing the work of subsistence and care over economic growth and profit. YES to production for use and not above all for exchange. YES to valuing of indigenous identity, knowledge and perspectives. YES to a new sustainable economic order, sensitive to social and environmental justice.

We actively support the ongoing Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity. Corporate privilege and power, institutionalised through investment and trade agreements, must be abolished. The ongoing negotiations at the United Nations for an internationally legally binding treaty for corporations with regards to human rights, are particularly critical and the process should be accelerated.

The planetary emergency rising from capitalist extractivism requires a deep transformation not just of our energy systems but of how we produce, consume and organise our lives. A ‘just transition’ from the current fossil fuel and extractive based regime is not just necessary to confront the climate crisis but contains the embryo of a new, democratic, eco-feminist, post-capitalist order. It is a myth that stopping climate change and shutting down the polluting extractive industries increases unemployment. Decent livelihoods and work can flourish in building the socially owned renewable energy industries, agro-ecological food systems, land and ecosystems restoration, community health and social housing. Just transitions are already alive in the resistances of women to their way of life, of communities resisting mining and nurturing their food systems, and of workers fighting insecurity and privatisation. A just transition, based on industrial conversion, would retrain workers in polluting industries to do socially and ecologically work. Those unable to transition would be guaranteed an income and essential public services by redirecting existing subsidies of the extractives industry, by halting illicit financial flows and by taxing transnational corporations.

Local initiatives are the needed foundation to challenge the system. We are convinced of the need for the expansion of the commons. Nature, climate, water, resources and all forms of life are not on sale! They are the commons that we have to protect and share with all peoples and future generations. The right to the commons and respecting its preservation is an ethical imperative and the guarantee for peace and social justice.

We are inspired by our peoples, indigenous groups and communities who affirm the rights of nature and understand that nature is not a property: every ecosystem has the right to live and flourish, ‘water has the right to flow and birds to drink and fly’. Rivers and land are rights-bearing entities, and we need to recognize their sacredness. The convergences and solidarities forged in this Thematic Social Forum provide the inspiration for collective campaigns, actions, global alliances and assemblies of the peoples to guarantee our common future.

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