Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Many struggles, one movement

Tag Archives: GGJ

Press Release: WTO Protesters Denounce REDD Rice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 6, 2013

Reject carbon trading with food
Contacts: Indra Lubis, Via Campesina, SPI, +6281266660561 (Bahasa and English)
Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, +62 812 3724 2271 – Indonesia
+ 1 218 760 0442 – USA
Denpasar, Indonesia – As the WTO struggles to resurrect itself in Bali, protesters denounced what No-REDD-Ricethey are calling “REDD Rice” – using GMO rice for the carbon market trading regime – and voiced concerns it could cause land grabs, impoverish peasants and privatize nature.
Over 75 organizations from all over the world including Indonesian groups, launched the No REDD Rice Manifesto to defend this sacred staple crop which feeds billions of people, from the clutches of carbon traders and the WTO.
According to the No REDD Rice Manifesto, “The United Nations, World Bank and fossil fuel polluters like Shell and Chevron and mining company Rio Tinto, have been pushing a carbon trading regime called REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD+ uses agricultural land, soils, forests and tree plantations as sponges for greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Evidence is mounting which indicates that climate polluters want to use rice cultivation as an offset for their pollution instead of reducing emissions at source”, says Tom BK Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an international indigenous organization that has been denouncing human rights violations linked to REDD-type projects and carbon forestry. Read more of this post

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No REDD Rice Manifesto

No WTO! No REDD!
No to using Rice for Carbon Markets!
December 6, 2013 ● Bali, Indonesia
We, the undersigned Indigenous Peoples, peasants, fisherfolks, immigrants, women, youth, cooks No-REDD-Rice-2-weband civil society of the world gathered in Bali to protest the WTO, know that rice is a sacred staple crop which feeds billions of peoples worldwide. We, who courageously resist efforts to impose the use of genetically modified so-called “Golden Rice” of Monsanto, now unite to defend rice from being used as a part of capitalism of nature and carbon markets – “REDD Rice”.
Since 2007, the United Nations, World Bank and fossil fuel polluters like Shell and Chevron and mining company Rio Tinto, have been pushing a carbon trading regime called REDD** (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). REDD uses agricultural land, soils, forests and tree plantations as sponges for greenhouse gas emissions. Now these climate polluters want to use rice as an offset for their pollution instead of reducing emissions at source. Market-based solutions for addressing the climate crisis are a false solution.
We do not want our rice paddies or rice beds to be excuses for more pollution which causes global warming and typhoons. For peasant farmers, REDD+ constitutes a worldwide counter-agrarian reform and perverts the task of growing food into “farming carbon.” The UN and northern industrialized countries have introduced other false solutions to climate change such as “Climate-Smart Agriculture”. In Africa, where climate-smart carbon credit projects are being promoted, peasant farmers are starting to resist the use of their lands and soil for carbon sequestration, which is a carbon market scheme of capitalism. These new soil carbon markets are opening the door for more GMO crops and land grabs. Read more of this post

An Economy for the People and the Planet #EndWTO

by Edgar Franks, Community to Community

Many times we are asked about what does an alternative to capitalism and free trade look like? Trade has been part of our history and contributes to our human interaction. To be clear, the total elimination of trade is not a solution to modern transnational trade pacts and agreements. However a critique and analysis from the grassroots has established that trade and neoliberalism is tearing apart the fabric of communities and nations. Capitalism is far too destructive.   It can not be reformed because of the economic and environmental crises caused by it’s need for endless growth and consumption.

Cindy Wiesner co-facilitating the Economic Justice Assembly with Riza Damanik of Indonesia for Global Justice.

Now more than ever, we need an economic model that prioritizes the harmony between people and Mother Earth over unsustainable forms of production and accumulation of wealth and resources. We the people from the grassroots not the corporations or corrupt politicians and governments will be determining our own path to an economic model that is designed to respect human dignity.

The second day of convergence at the #EndWTO Week of Action in Bali, focused around what an alternative to Capitalism and Free Trade would look like from a peoples perspective. Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA) released the alternative economy vision statement as the foundational document for the economic justice assembly. The SMAA “Economy for life in our Earth Community” document emphasized social and environmental justice and universal human rights.  In this vision of an economy of a new type, the contributions from all sectors will be represented and all people will have a space where they belong in community with others.

“We feel it is important for this gathering to happen because we want to join Gerak Lawan and SMAA in showing everyone that the WTO and other Free Trade Agreements do not benefit farmers, workers, youth or local developing economies,” said Indi Hikam of the Youth Food Movement Caravan.  “The WTO is a tool that only benefitted Western Countries like the US an European Nations as a form if modern colonialism where important resources are extracted and commodified in a way that destroys emerging local countries.”

Members of the Youth Food Movement marching in BALI. #EndWTO

The first day of the convergence introduced the history and context of why we are in Bali. The second day focused on visioning an alternative economic vision and a call for social movements to begin practicing alternative models at the local levels of our communities.

No matter the language you speak, the language of struggle is universal. The growing leadership from the grassroots movements in Asia and the global South are leading us into a direction to a world where many worlds can live and have a space.  People from the Global South know the serious implications that neoliberalism has caused within their communities and nations. They know that reforming or compromising is a false solution.

This reality has yet to take hold within mainstream society in North America. The oppressed and marginalized of our own country are fighting and struggling with the harmful effects of capitalism. Indigenous people, immigrants, African Americans, working class white people and the LGBT community have been at the forefront of fighting against this exploitative system. Within our own country with all of its wealth, a vast number of people are beginning to recognize that help is not on its way. The only thing we have left is to organize as a way of survival.

Through actions like the #EndWTO Week of Action in Bali, grassroots movements within the US are deepening our alignment with the movements of the Global South.  The social movements in Asia are showing us all how to create an alternative economy and world.

Update from the #EndWTO Week of Action in Bali!

By: Edgar Franks, Community to Community Development

Solidarity between different fronts of struggle was apparent at the opening day of the #EndWTO Bali Week of Action.  From the Philippines to Thailand to Korea to Africa, every speaker called out that the current economic and governing systems and the expansion of neoliberal and neocolonial policies are hurting people and endangering the planet.  They called for the end of the WTO, the end of free trade agreements, and the creation of true people’s alternatives in its place.

GGJ delegates with Pablo Salon of Focus on the Global South.

GGJ delegates with Pablo Salon of Focus on the Global South.

The solidarity proposed by the speakers and presenters made it clear that no matter where you are from or what is your fight, the liberation of one group is directly connected to the liberation of another. Allies and networks can be formed with groups and individuals we may have never considered before but because of the current climate and economic crises’ it is crucial to make those links and connections.

I was particularly moved by the testimony of a sex worker from Cambodia who shared her story of how the self-terminating seeds from Monsanto have destabilized the countryside forcing many women to migrate into the cities for survival.  With profound sincerity and clarity she connected the role of multi-national corporations in the destruction of local communities, to the increasing exploitation of women who are pushed into the sex industry for survival.  The margin between survival and disaster becomes smaller and the urgency to create change becomes a matter of life or death.

The grassroots are at the forefront of this movement.  In the end of the day leaders from social movements in the Philippines, Korea, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Japan, and Taiwan filled the stage to declare the formation of a new hemispheric alliance called Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA).   This alliance has been years in development, since the 2005 protests against the WTO in Hong Kong.

Grassroots leaders from social movements across Asia tie their scarves together at the declaration of the SMAA hemispheric alliance.

Grassroots leaders from social movements across Asia tie their scarves together at the declaration of the SMAA hemispheric alliance.

Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA) and Gerak Lawan declared the unity and action is what is needed at this moment.  We are living in a historic moment where struggles are confronting unchecked, unregulated free markets all across the globe.  The moment calls for us to build and stand side by side with the people of Asia. The moment call for us to engage participatory process in our communities where we get to decide who and what power really is.  It is up to us to create our own alternatives and to demonstrate that another world is possible.

Resistance! and other alternatives: WSF Climate Space kicks off

Wednesday kicked off the WSF Climate Space anchored by GGJ and framed by organizers, trade unions, faith communities, indigenous people, women, and others. The morning’s first session set the tone for connecting environmental struggles to the siloed social struggles we face and organize against daily. The global group of panelists made it clear that the climate crisis was not going to be solved in a UN space, but rather in popular spaces such as this one where ideas could be put forth and contested to forge a new way forward.

Participants attending the first session in the Climate Space

Participants attending the first session in the Climate Space

The session focused on the invisible communities left unseen to international forces and neoliberal agendas, such as the peasants, bus riders, indigenous communities, poor and landless people that are on the frontlines of the falsely created tension between the environment and the economy. These are often the communities that are offered false solutions that provide quick fixes rather than transformation and building towards a broader movement based on dignity and justice. The panelists stressed the complexity of the issues and the forces we face, but more so a need for collective strategy and direction, which includes challenging these false solutions as well as creating our own real alternatives. Read more of this post