Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Many struggles, one movement

Coming Home to la Tunisie

Coming to la Tunisie has always been a mix of emotions for me. This time was no different-

Chanting at the opening march to the World Social Forum

Chanting at the opening march to the World Social Forum

though there are now new circumstances for some of those emotions. I am filled with curiosity, pride, inspiration, joy, nervousness and some sadness to come back to my father’s home to be a part of building solidarity with what the Tunisian people are working to create here. As GGJ comrade Souha Ben Othman from l’Association des Tunisienne des Femmes Democrates said so well, Tunisia is in the process of a revolution. I am hopeful that la Tunisie will grow and transform through this practice of building a democracy for all her people.

Meeting Souha and Wafa from l’Association des Tunisienne des Femmes Democrates at our welcome dinner made my heart sing with hope. To speak with women who are actively

Souha Ben Othman and Wafa Francuis from l'Association des Tunisienne des Femmes Democrates

Souha Ben Othman and Wafa Francuis from l’Association des Tunisienne des Femmes Democrates

working within this very entrenched patriarchial society for the rights of women was humbling. The same feelings of hope and love followed me heading into the women’s convergence by the World March of Women. The energy in the room was electrifying. Speakers represented fierce revolutionary women from all over the world- Mozambique, Tunisie, Mexico, Cote D’Ivoire, Morocco, Palestine and France. Their messages resonated with the crowd and pumped them (and me) up on multiple occasions…the struggle continues for all women’s freedom from all forms of violence, socio-economic oppression and racism- all driven by capitalism; and solidarity with all women beyond the borders imposed by imperialist forces.

The chant was, “so-so-so…solidarity..avec les femmes…du monde entier!” (solidarity with women worldwide)

Mai-Stella and crew

Alvina, Anna and Mai-Stella at the Women’s Assembly.

It is difficult to imagine today was not even the official first day of the world social forum given the roller coaster of emotions-hope, love, inspiration, confusion, and exhaustion during the convergence and the opening day march. I look forward to continuing the ride this week and going back to Oakland rejuvenated in the spirit of revolution and transformative change.

–Mai-Stella Khantouche, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Oakland, Bay Area

Reflections on the People’s Summit on Climate Change and our Climate Justice Movement

by Sacajawea (Saki) Hall, Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

While attending the People’s Summit on Climate Change in Lima, Peru as a member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance delegation, my mind was focused on the relationship between the intensifying struggles at home with the deepening struggles throughout the world. I couldn’t help but think about how the intense protests against police violence and for greater living wages and worker protections, amongst others, could strengthen the struggle for system change being demanded throughout the global south to halt climate change and its escalating dangers. Lima affirmed that my work through Cooperation Jackson to create alternatives to the extractive economy in the heart of the United States by building economic democracy rooted in cooperative economics and social solidarity as a model, can be and is a significant contribution to the global struggle for a just transition.

In an article, “Notes for Understanding the Lima Outcome” Pablo Solon provides an analysis of the document coming out of the United Nation’s climate talks. Lima marked the 20th year of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, or Conference of Parties (COP) and the draft document coming out of the negotiations will be finalized in Paris this year as the governing international treaty on climate change. Solon states, “In synthesis, an “agreement” that does not close the emissions gap for this decade, that continues with voluntary contributions with no clear targets for the next decade, has no strong compliance mechanisms and more cheating carbon market mechanisms, puts the future of humanity and life as we know it on our planet Earth in serious jeopardy.” [Emphasis mine.] I arrived in Lima knowing a lot was at stake, and left clear that we are in a state of emergency. We have to step up our game and engage in more radical thought and action to address the gravity of our current situation.

Systemic Violence from the State and Capitalist System

I consider myself knowledgeable about the various forms that state violence manifests. I relate the struggle against poverty, for reproductive justice, racial justice, as fights against state violence, but this trip translated terms I hear all the time like environmental racism and genocide specifically into environmental and ecological violence. While this seems obvious, and I laughed at myself realizing surely its been said and quickly did a google search, it was my first time thinking of it that way and I couldn’t remember hearing the term. Violence is not only a physical and immediate brutal act of aggression, but a deliberate act that threatens life and shows no regard for it. Displacement, natural disasters, the human response to natural disasters, exposure to chemical toxins, loss of biodiversity, access to clean water and other impacts perpetrated by governments and corporations have to constantly be framed as environmental and ecological violence to define the severity and the urgency of our response.

Putting climate change and its effects in the context of violence not only broadens the definition, but broadens the need for radical action and see it as self-defense.

Climate Justice and Human Rights

A major highlight of the gathering in Lima was the Global People’s March in Defense of Mother Earth on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Although this mass mobilization took place on Human Rights Day, it was not apart of the messaging of the march. This made me realize that the human rights language and framework I’ve grown accustomed to at other gatherings that are parallel or outside alternatives to the United Nations was not present in Lima. Climate Justice as human rights were talked about in some spaces, but it was not central to the gathering as if it could not be used in the face of such blatant human rights violations and posturing. The irony was glaring as the United Nations process continued to be hijacked by corporations and watered down by states like the U.S with false solutions that contradict human rights principles and standards and even worse, further the human rights violations echoed by everyone at the People’s Summit and march. In fact there are no references to human rights in the final draft document, only in the preamble, which is not legally binding.

Although the tension between embracing human rights and rejecting the United Nations made sense, it didn’t sit right with me. Heavily recognizing the conditions imposed on our communities as human rights violations and asserting our rights as human rights seemed critical to me. Reading a reflection on Human Rights Day by Ajamu Baraka, a long-term US based human rights organizer, helped to contextualize the utter abuse and disregard for human rights in the COP 20. This quote from Baraka is instructive, “As a result of the cynical use of human rights by Western states, particularly the last two administrations in the U.S., there is deep dissatisfaction with the human rights idea. This is occurring right at the historical moment when the idea of human rights could provide an alternative ethical and policy guide for countering the global economic, political and social crises that governments and tens of millions of people are experiencing. Without a radical “de-colonization” of its basic tenets, methodologies and institutions, the orthodox human rights framework is unable to offer anything more than bland reforms and a “de-politicized” politics.”

As I reflected on the minimal presence of a human rights framework at the People’s Summit as dissatisfaction and even a rejection of it, I realized the value I placed on it is based on different type of human rights framework. My human rights training is rooted in the idea of a people’s centered human rights framework. I see the power and necessity in a people’s centered human rights framework that is able to do what Baraka speaks of “provide an alternative ethical and policy guide for countering the global economic, political and social crises…” At the same time I negotiate the contradictions with the existing legal and institutional frame based on understanding the values and limits of it.

A people’s centered human rights framework grows out of what oppressed people define for ourselves based on our struggles and goes beyond the limits of international legal text, it confronts white supremacy, settler-colonial capitalism, patriarchy and other systems of oppression that deny us our human agency and dignity. This framework is grounded in the understanding that we can only realize our full human rights when we change social relationships, structures and institutions.

In order to reclaim the mantle and strategic importance of the human rights framework, we have to get at the sources of the problem. One of the critical sources currently limiting the human rights framework is the doctrine and politics of “American Exceptionalism”. This doctrine maintains that the United States is simultaneously “a beacon on a hill” and the worlds rightful police force. And as a result, it can and must dictate the world’s agenda, and the rules and regulations that it imposes to implement this agenda, while it itself is immune to these rules and regulations.  We have to challenge this exceptionalism and the image that prevails of the U.S. exemplifying human rights and therefore the rightful international defender of it. We have to put forth our people-centered human rights framework, link it with the emerging Rights of Mother Earth Framework and the concept of “buen vivir” (roughly translated as “living well together”) and reclaim our agency, social space, and the right to live in harmony with each other and our provider and sustainer, Mother Earth.

Critical Questions

For me, critical questions going into Lima and coming out are, how do we challenge and confront the discourse as well as the policies, practices and implications? How do we make our solutions real with concrete, successful, examples? What do we need to do between now and COP 21 in Paris and beyond? What shifts will we need to make to confront the aftermath and consequences of the international protocols set to come out of Paris?

Answers to this question in theory and practice are developing all over the world, including here in the U.S. Cooperation Jackson is putting forth our ideas that we hope can be a model for other parts of the country. For us, answers to these questions are deepening through our alliances and networks like the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Climate Justice Alliance and the Our Power Campaign. As a pilot site of the Our Power Campaign we are deepening our praxis to support our development of concrete solutions for a just transition.

Reflecting on Lima and events at the end of 2014, I think we need to strengthen our work around shifting the narrative, step up our collective action here in the U.S. and strategically come up with sustained coordinated global action to bring about the systems change we call for. At the same time, deepen our relationships and exchanges here in the U.S. and with international allies to continue developing alternatives to the extractive economy and examples of our solutions. We need to leverage international gatherings this year, like Paris and the World Social Forum in Tunisia to plan targeted coordinated actions and exchanges.

I see placing our struggles in the context of systemic violence and human rights as challenging the discourse that validates the false solutions presented as so called “climate action” coming out of the UN COP process. Being clear about what we are up against, the violent nature of oppression and who perpetrates it is critical to putting forth our own narrative. Not only climate change is life threatening, but the “climate action” in the form of REDD, Climate Smart Agriculture, Carbon Markets and the like are acts of violence against Mother Earth and our communities. We must intensify our resistance by finding every way to confront and disrupt the destructive, extractive economy. This includes incorporating the lessons from the mass non-compliant movements of the 20th century that we see potentially re-emerging through the current fight against police violence and campaigns for better wages and employee protections.

The human rights framework not only directly confronts systems of oppression and the actors that perpetrate it, but also offers an alternative policy. A crucial component of Cooperation Jackson’s work to build economic democracy and sustainable communities includes our effort to make Jackson, Mississippi a human rights city with a human rights commission and charter developed through a people’s centered process. In creating a human rights city, a system can be set up to protect the advances we make in economic democracy and structuring sustainable communities. If we are truly talking about changing the system and a just transition, it has to include developing an alternative set of principles, values, morals and policies. The people’s centered human rights framework demands that all rights are universal, interdependent, indivisible, and inalienable. It demands a system that ensures the rights of people and the rights of nature are equally respected, policies that protect these rights, and a system that is obligated to fulfill these rights by creating the conditions and providing the resources necessary.

I’m looking forward to the road to Paris, but even more so to the road beyond. I’m exciting about the possibilities. We have our work cut out for us in such challenging times, but it is our duty to win!

Lima, the People’s Summit, and the Road Ahead

By Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

2014 was a critical year for the Climate Justice Movement, which is arguably the most important social justice movement of our time. In the minds of many 2014 will be duly noted as the year when the movement transformed from being a resistance movement focused on altering the policies and practices of the national states and trans-national corporations, to one that is beginning to focus on system change and a just transition from the extractive economy.

This transition is in large part the result of grassroots resistance from Indigenous peoples, oppressed peoples, and working class forces throughout the world who have pressed for immediate action to address clear and present dangers and clear the way for a sustainable future. One of the leading forces in North America helping to lead this charge has been the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), which is composed of nearly 60 grassroots organizations from throughout the United States, including the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM).

In early December, I had the honor and the privilege of being a delegate on the GGJ delegation to Lima, Peru for the People’s Summit on Climate Change to continue the push for a just transition and system change. The People’s IMG_0815 - Copy Summits are traditionally the social movements and civil society alternative to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, more commonly known as the Congress of Parties or COP. This People’s Summit, however focused little on COP 20 (for the 20th year of the UN Framework Negotiation process), and instead focused its attention on building links between social movements, confronting state repression, and promoting alternatives. It also focused on expanding the movement and promoting a just transition from the extractive economy on a global scale to wholeheartedly reject the final climate change framework that is expected at the COP 21 in Paris, France in 2015. To expand the movement and make the rejection as clear as possible, the majority of the civil society
organizations and social movements who participated in the People’s Summit are now building what is being dubbed “the Road to Paris”, which will culminate in a demonstration on the last day of the COP 21 negotiations. This demonstration is projected to top the one in New York City in September 2014 and be the largest in history against Climate Change.

The world will desperately need it, because the framework that is set to be agreed upon in Paris next December is nothing short of a crime against mother earth and humanity. What the final framework sets in place is in effect the recolonization of much of Africa, Asia, and Latin America in the name of “preservation”. Under the final framework the wealthier nations of North America, Europe, and East Asia along with transnational corporations are being allowed to “buy” the remaining forests and wetlands of the world to allegedly “protect” them from deforestation and encroachment. What it really amounts to is allowing these nations and corporations to continue polluting the earth at the same rate they currently are, and holding these forests as “offsets”. This practice is already threatening millions of Indigenous people throughout the planet, and is ensuring that the remaining “commons” are owned and controlled by the imperialist powers and the transnationals as conditions continue to worsen as they refuse to stop

march on the path to extinction. One of the most callous parts of the final framework is that the United States had human rights utterly removed from the negotiated text! Keep in in mind, that this is a United Nations document, which allegedly created to protect the human rights of everyone on the planet. This demonstrated how far capital is willing to go to put profits over people and the planet itself.

If anything, COP 20 demonstrated how desperately we need system change, and how critical a just transition is to get us there. From the perspective of Cooperation Jackson, a just transition is about creating an “economy for
the people and the planet” through economic democracy, which must be rooted in cooperative economics and social solidarity, and the utilization ofproductive processes that are not dependent on the extractive economy. Through the work of Cooperation Jackson, my contributions towards a just transition in 2015 will support the “Road to Paris” in the following ways:

  1. It will focus on instituting practical alternatives in the form of Cooperation Jackson’s organic Urban Farming and Recycling Cooperatives.
  2. It will focus on continuing to expand and deepen the human rights framework Cooperation Jackson lead the city of Jackson to adopt in December 2014, to include the Rights of Mother Earth.
  3. It will focus on getting the city of Jackson to adopt “zero waste” policies and practices, and to gradually become a zero waste city in 10 years.
  4. It will focus on hosting a People’s Assembly on a Just Transition in September 2015 to create greater community and regional buy-in for the framework.

The future is truly in our hands. We have to ensure that our children’s children and their children’s children inherit a world of abundance for themselves and all our relations.

First day at Cumbre De Los Pueblos 2014

Conferencia Internacional de Sistemas de Produccion Ecologica y Cambio Climatico

by Arturo Trejo, Southwest Workers’ Union

When I was introduced to agroecologia by the Roots of Change Cooperative in San Antonio, the concept seemed very simple; a discipline of climate consciousness, land sustainability in agriculture—of both urban and rural—and the practice of food sovereignty.  In the inter-disciplinary concept that Roots Of Change Cooperativa has set in it’s community is to thrive and accomplish work on it’s own land; by opening the work to community volunteers (collectivism), using techniques of reusable sources for regional and local crops; compost, sowing seeds, seasonal crops; and food justice for local farming and access to fresh, organic and non-GMO foods.

Day one and those that followed at Cumbre De Los Pueblos in Lima, Perú, has given me a new approach of such praxis of agroecologia. My envisioned questions are, “What is agroecologia in Latino America?” “What is agroecologia for a new-coming member of the community?” and “How do we transition such rooted concept in Sudamerica to an urban community?”  As an advocate from the US urban perspective of agroecológia through Roots Of Change Cooperativa, these discussions at the Cumbre De Los Pueblos; I will witness a new outlook of grassroots and political action.

The title of the conference Conferencia Internacional de Sistemas de Produccion Ecologica y Cambio Climatico (Conference of the International Systems of Ecological Production and Climate Change), reflected on work of biodiversityadaptation, self-sustainability and self-management of the lands of Perú. Biodiversity was a main topic during these dialogues, at a time when the Northern Western agriculture focuses on the production of mono-crop for our diets and promises the land to privately owned US companies, Western culture dismissed the current exploited land of Sudamerica from it’s own crops and import it to our markets. The trend of quinoa in our diet has been a proof of this argument, such grain has been taken away from it’s own land and sold in a large profitable-margin; a similarity in the trails of NAFTA, where maize, a native crop of Mexico, is taken and re-sold to it’s own producer; quinoa is at the same pedestal of it’s own economy.

Three speakers stood out to me and gave a new value into the meaning of agroecológia, Board Director, Gladys Rurush of the ARPO ANCASH (http://www.anpeperu.org), agrarian reform advocate Victoriano Fernández of the city of Huánuco  and agrícola leader Faustino Morales of the ARPPE Piura is a second base organization that belongs to ANPE PERÚ along with 12 agricultural associates—who explained, the input and outcome of biodiversity in their land, has helped the development of new techniques of water supply, nurtured crops and leadership. Such leadership has established Juntas Directivas (Board Directors) in the transformation, as well, as the local and national socio-economic impact of Perú.

An example of transformation, in a time frame of 5 years, she went from picking one box of mangos to now successfully collecting up to 10-15 boxes. She continues her new methodology as a campesina in the low lands of 2,5000 km to the higher lands of 3,000 km above sea level.  As Victoriano followed, he emphasized the importance of the organic versus natural. His objective was to reinforce his community’s decision of being a commune of libre de transgenicos (GMO-free) farmers; supporting it by their continuous growth of local crops, like humus. The validation of Eco-Ferias (Eco-Fair) where seed trading and other exchange of their work; my interpretation of a Farmer’s Market, as a member of the audience asked why should campesinxs pursue these new trends of local fairs, as he simply replied, it sustains our work, and it challenges the extractive corporations.

During the end of the conference, Faustino explained in a very brief manner, it is about the development of a local, a collective society and the survival of their culture.

My three new understandings of agroecológia are simple and bigger; human participation, through Gladys diverse talks of non-binary labor and harvest. I learned, biodiversity does not occur naturally, for it is a tool of engineering of soil enrichment, resilient vegetation and self-sustainability. Gladys tackled the importance of womyn in the role of labor, decisions making and leadership, as her organization is a non-patriarchal and non-hierarchal. In the subject of economy– mainly local– as Victoriano said, “Eco-ferias (local eco-friendly fairs) are the window to our production and harvest,” with such demand of organic foods and communal labor availability for the manner of practicing self-management and self-sustainability. Ending with the subject of society, in which Faustino found all their labor credible to be inclusive and broader. There is no need for transnational corporates to hold the socio-economical survival of Perú and kidnap their lands with contaminated water, exploited soil, mining and GMOs.

From Lima, Perú,

From San Antonio,TX to Lima: Peru the Pueblos Call for System Change NOT Climate Change

by Diana Lopez, Southwest Workers Union

The Cumbre de los Pueblos in coordination with COP20 took place in Lima, Peru the second week of December. The summit split into 5 tracks which all addressed a piece of climate change, from food to rights of mother earth to alternative energy and economies. While the People’s Cumbre was happening at the Parque de la Exposision, down the street the 20th Conference of the Parties/ Meeting of the Parties, referred to as COP 20 held hundreds of politicos and heads of state that were meeting in reference to the Kyoto Protocol.photo-2

The overall mood of the Cumbre was very solutions-based and highlighted local work, although there seemed to be three different moods depending on who was leading the workshop. On one level you have global funders, who made space for their grantees to speak about their work.  On another there were more academic, technology and policy spaces and finally there were the organizer spaces, which were self-organized and concentrated on front line experiences, movement building and alignment around solutions.

People seem tired and frustrated talking about policy and what the government should be doing. While its important to know and keep track the policies that will ultimately affect our communities the most, people are passionate about shifting towards a systemic change framework. The UN process does not provide that space for people to create and build together while uplifting local solutions and struggle. During the trip the GGJ delegation and SWU focused on the Cumbre to build on existing relationships with social movements from the South and to share our local solutions.

The pueblos are interested in learning how to integrate new sustainable technology into traditional farming practices while still healing mother earth. We are talking about fighting against the extreme corporations that continue to destroy communities while developing an alternative space where our people can thrive and begin the healing of Pachamama.

The message is clear that in order to really create solutions to climate change we must also talk about the disparities among funding, patriarchy within our own movement and the role US plays in the destruction of communities. IMG_0509

One of the main reasons why I participated was to exchange knowledge around how we create systemic change. A central question I have is “What is the work that needs to happen on the ground these next few years to begin to see small shifts within our communities?” The other piece is strengthening our ties with the global south people’s movements and talking about aligning the work happening on the ground in the US. This year we have been through heartache around police violence and the attack of women, students and over all people of color so part of this is also addressing violence and gender issues within our community. If corporations and governments value power and money over everything else what makes us believe that they will fight for mother earth. These are only a few initial questions and thought that will lead us the our next work of implementing our goals at the local level while maintaining a national/global vision for change.

After the weeks of the 20th Meeting of the Parties the final negotiations coming out of the UN meetings did not meet the standards for the pueblo and truthfully an agreement will probably never fully focus on community and mother earth healing while corporations and trans-national organizations are the only ones that have access to those spaces. Leading up to Paris COP 21, where a climate agreement is scheduled to come out, there needs to be an increase in negotiators that value the local expertise of the community and that will fully focus on community solutions and not corporate bail outs. And while our allies will continue to represent our communities on the inside we will support on the outside by voicing our demands, uplifting front line struggles and building the community we want to see.

We are saying Enough is Enough. No War, No warming, its time to Build an Economy for the People and the Planet!

Report from Rights of Nature International Tribunal, Lima, Peru

Part 1 of a series by Dania Flores – Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island

Dania Flores is one of 12 members on the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance delegation to Lima, Peru for the People’s Summit on Climate Change. 

Monday December 8, Day 1: After preparing with each other by conference calls for the past month, we finally were all together for our first morning meeting at 7AM in our great Hostal Las Camelias. We started the day by hearing some context on what had happened in the last 3 days, including the Rights of Nature International Tribunal and the work of people inside and outside the UN negotiations, the difference in the dynamics. Tom Goldtooth described it as “Schizophrenic” – like night and day: the agenda of the UN is about extraction, market and remediation/mitigation, a capitalist one. Here at the peoples summit we have a conversation about sustainability and life one of respect, human rights and nature rights, that painted a frame work for us of what it was to come. Last night we had dinner and bonded, we all had been very excited of the different things we are about to witness and also be part of, I am loving this… We are loving this.

Report on the Rights of Mother Nature Tribunal.

TribunalTo see the list of judges on the diverse international panel, and the cases and lead presenters, visit this website: http://therightsofnature.org/lima-2014-tribunal/

As the world looks to Lima, Peru for the 20th UN COP on Climate Change, the International Rights of Nature Tribunal convened in Lima. The Tribunal heard twelve international cases that were aligned with UNFCCC COP 20 priorities. What was unique to this hearing is that each case was reviewed within a framework based on Rights of Nature and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

“We the people assume the authority to conduct an International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. We will investigate cases of environmental destruction which violate the Rights of Nature,” declared Prosecutor for the Earth, Ramiro Avila during the opening of the world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature on Friday January 17, 2014 in Quito, Ecuador.

Indigenous rights activist Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca from Oklahoma, USA) and Patricia Gualinga, an indigenous of the Amazon and director of Sarayaku, provided expert witness testimony on the critical importance of Rights of Nature.

TribunalThe Global Alliance for Rights of Nature was founded at a gathering in Ecuador in 2010, two years after Ecuador became the first nation in the world to adopt Rights of Nature in its Constitution and Bolivia passed its Law of the Rights of Mother Earth. Across the United States dozens of communities have adopted local rights of nature laws within the framework of a Community Bill of Rights in recent years. Click here for more on the declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

The Rights of Nature movement draws on the wisdom and cosmovision of indigenous peoples in positing a new jurisprudence that recognizes the right of nature in all its forms to exist, persist, evolve and regenerate.

One of the most impacting stories was the Yasuní National Park Oil drilling struggle. Anyone would think that if you have a national park that is conserved and preserved as a nature preserve, this would mean to keep and safeguard the natural state. But this case has been a perfect example of governmental land grabbing with a legal instrument, and instead of saving it for the preservation of the planet, it has been sold to the powers of the capitalist elite who have criminalized community organizers. By labeling organizers as “terrorist” the elite have twisted the stories of social fights to stop a public referendum that is guaranteed by the constitution and by standards of the law of Ecuador. Click here to learn more about the Yasuni struggle to defend their land

Read more of this post

COP 20: Conference Of Phony climate “solutions”

by Matt Feinstein, Worcester Roots Project

COP 20, the Conference Of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is meeting in Lima, Peru to advance false solutions to climate change. These solutions are market-based and flawed by the same economic system that has created this climate crisis. Or they are technological fixes such as “climate-smart agriculture” that will strengthen agribusiness and other large corporations at the expense of indigenous peoples, farming communities and poor folks. As an activist with No REDD+ Africa in Kenya, Ruth Nyambura, states, “market mechanisms are not solutions to the climate crisis. A primary mechanism thatDelegation_Group_Cumbre the UN proposes, REDD+ (Reducing of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), is not a solution, in fact it violates the rights of indigenous people and mother nature. The market is made for profit, not to safeguard nature.”

No REDD+

This movement to stop REDD+ is one of the strongest campaigns represented here in Lima at the People’s Summit on Climate Change – a four-day conference convening hundreds of organizations from around the world, including Grassroots Global Justice Alliance. As Indigenous Environmental Network coordinator, Tom Goldtooth explains, “REDD+ means the privatization of nature on a scale so massive that it boggles our minds.” He goes on to say “REDD+ is like carbon stocks,” allowing corporations and governments to continue to pollute by IMG_7475purchasing credits that are then often used to fund the false solutions such as large unsustainable agrofuels.

When asked what one can do about stopping REDD+, Ruth brings a systemic critique. “Divestment can have an impact, but let’s be careful about focusing on the individual. Real system change comes from strong grassroots organizations.” Tom Goldtooth adds to this, “We have to organize. We have to mobilize our resistance. We have to be strategic.”

Energy Sovereignty

Similar to food sovereignty – where people have local control and can ensure sustainability of resources – energy sovereignty is a central theme here at the People’s Summit on Climate Change. Read more of this post

In the face of conquest, Palestinians’ existence is resistance

Ashley_Sussiya 3By Ashley Franklin, Labor/Community Strategy Center, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ)

Ashley was one of two GGJ members who participated in the Grassroots International Travel for Change delegation to Palestine, from October 27-November 6, 2014. Delegates participated in the olive harvest and learned about the struggle of the Palestinian people for self determination and food sovereignty. Stay tuned for a reportback conference call this winter.

To Exist is To Resist

In the face of conquest, Palestinians’ existence is resistance. This was made evident in the 10 days that I spent with the Grassroots International Delegation in Palestine. Below is an explanation of the Israeli occupation through a compilation of Palestinian experiences and resistance focusing on colonial settlement, land grabs, the use of political prisoners to suppress movements through fear, intimidation and dehumanization.

Land Grabs and the Israeli Occupation

As the Israeli Authorities continue on a quest to build an Israeli state, they have used land theft, demolition expansion, and policies of settler colonialism to uproot entire Palestinian families in the West Bank, steal farmland and usurp water supply. A critical component to the Israeli agenda is to use a barrier wall—“apartheid wall” —that surrounds entire villages, isolates others, or threatens to expel villages from their Israeli resident status. Read more of this post

One Struggle: From Burque to the West Bank and Back

Rodrigo_Mohammed Jboor (UAWC farmer)By Rodrigo Rodriguez, SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ)

Rodrigo was one of two GGJ members who participated in the Grassroots International Travel for Change delegation to Palestine, from October 27-November 6, 2014. Delegates participated in the olive harvest and learned about the struggle of the Palestinian people for self determination and food sovereignty. Stay tuned for a reportback conference call this winter.

The occupied territories of Palestine sit almost 7000 miles away from my home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

IMaizet is literally half a world away. But in many ways it felt like I never left.

I grew up in the occupied territories of the Rocky Mountain west of the North American continent, in the heart of Aztlan. Much like the occupied territories of Palestine it is an intensely beautiful part of the world with an intensely brutal history. It is a history of colonization, of land grabs, and genocide; but also a history of struggle and resistance.

Read more of this post

People’s Climate Activities were Historic… UN Climate Summit, Not So Much.

by Sha Grogan-Brown, Grassroots Global Justice

Ebulletin-banner-PCMYou probably heard this many times last week, but it’s worth saying again—the People’s Climate March on Sunday September 21, 2014 was a major historic event. It was historic because of the sheer numbers who came out to march (it’s being called the largest climate march in history, with estimates around 400,000 people in the streets of New York City). It was historic because the participants and leaders of the march reflected the voices and bodies of the people on the frontlines of the crisis, who are most impacted by climate change and the economic crisis. It was historic because of the way that the grassroots organizing sector and climate policy organizations came together to collaborate in the planning of the march, and laid the groundwork for strengthened relationships and a broader united movement for climate justice.

In the days following the march, people took action to continue pressuring the United Nations and global leaders to take real community-led action on Climate Change. Read more of this post

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.