Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Many struggles, one movement

Tag Archives: Indigenous peoples

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.

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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