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25/01 : STOP CETA & Co.! Belgian – German border

STOP CETA & Co.! AGRICULTURE IS NOT FOR SALE!

Farmer border action for fair international trade

25th of January 11:30 a.m.

Belgian – German border (E40 exit 40, near Lichtenbusch)

Trans-European resistance against the CETA trade deal converges once again and takes the stage this 25 January.

Farming organisation ECVC with its members AbL (Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft – Germany), the FUGEA – Belgium, along with the European Milk Board (EMB), the MIG-Belgium (Milcherzeuger Interessengemeinschaft), and other organizations, are making a stand in the Belgian-German border to say NO to CETA and other free trade agreements (FTAs) contrived by European authorities on the backs of farmers and consumers.

Agricultural dumping, the privatisation of public services, sapping health and environmental regulation, are just a few of the toxic elements melded to the CETA, however, public pressure has managed to isolate one that, has a result, is being examined by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) : the ICS (investment court system, former ISDS). The ICS allows big business to circumvent the public court system and creates a special jurisdiction accessible only to them, where private judges, paid by the companies, scrutinize the cases. If a corporation considers that the recent implementation of a government’s public policy -like stricter environmental regulation or stricter labour laws- puts its profits at risk, then it can take the State to the ICS. This hijack our already fragile democracy and doesn’t benefit European nor Canadian peoples. Only corporate interests!

On the 29 January the ECJ will render its decision on the compatibility of the ICS with EU law. Against this backdrop, we, the European peasant movement, want to, once again, send a strong signal to European governments that the CETA and the other FTAs negotiated by the EU are bad for agriculture, food security, the environment, healthcare, labour and democracy.

Livestock farmers, peasants, citizens, let us unite this 25/01 against the CETA and other toxic free trade deals!!

To tractor drivers, farmers and civil society organisations interested in participating and/or supporting this action (signing the joint farmers’ declaration – read it here), please contact Berit Thomsen (AbL): Email: thomsen@abl-ev.de, Tel: ++492381-9053172

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LOGISTICAL INFORMATION

  • The action takes place on the highway bridge over the border motorway A3/E40 near Lichtenbusch (Access by E40, Exit 40) on Friday 25 January 2019 at 11:30 a.m.
  • Program: Tractors, banners, and people will rally on the bridge, where speeches will be given, the symbolic signing of the farmers’ declaration, pictures taken, and space given to interact with the media.
  • The tractors must not have a front loader with fork/bucket, trailers etc., must be empty to be allowed to drive on the bridge.

The post 25/01 : STOP CETA & Co.! Belgian – German border appeared first on Via Campesina English.

Pakistan: One tenant killed by security guards of Army Welfare Trust at Depalpur

Statement issued by Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee

Thousands protested on 13th January 2019 against the killing at Bail Gunj agriculture farm run by Army Welfare Trust. The protest took place in front of District police officer at Pakpattan, demanding the registration of a murder case for killing Shamshad , a tenant.  (Watch video)

On 12 January, the security guards of Army Welfare Trust opened direct fire on protesting tenants against removal of a electricity transformer that was the lifeline for the agricultural land cultivated by tenant farmers.

One person was killed, 16 others injured, among them one in critical condition. 

This is the latest incident in a series of repression of the tenants since 2001, who have been working for over a century on army controlled agri farms and has long been demanding rights over their land.

Over 14 tenants have lost their lives in such incidents. No one responsible for killing these tenants was ever convicted. On the contrary, the normal practice is that murder charges are registered against the leaders of Anjman Mozareen Punjab, the organisation that is leading the campaign for land rights. AMP is one important member of Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (PKRC). 

Over 1900 tenants have been arrested since 2001, nearly 200 of them are peasant women. Hundreds of false criminal cases have been registered against the tenant leaders, three are still in jail including the popular leader Mehar Abdul Sattar, who is now serving a 10 years jail sentence just for the “crime” of organising a demonstration.  Another peasant leader Younas Iqbal is also in jail on a false case of dacoity. 

The movement is not dying down despite all the repression.

Most of the tenants at Okara Military Farms have refused to pay the crop share to the administration claiming that military in not owner of this land, a claim now accepted by the Okara Military Farms administration. It is Punjab government that owns nearly 28000 acre of agriculture land in Okara and Pakpattan. 

At present, the  National Commission of Human Rights is dealing a case of gross violation of human rights at the these farms. Latest killing of a tenant adds to the wounds of the poor tenants who are demanding that the 12 acre of land given to them over a century earlier under their cultivation be given to them. 

On 9th January 2019, a 14 members Tenants Solidarity Committee (TSC) was established at the office of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan including leading human rights activists. It included representatives of Okara Military Farms, Khanewal Seed Farms and also from civil society organisations including Farooq Tariq, General Secretary of Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee.

After establishing this committee, a counter attack against this initiative was taken at Okara. The tenants leaders whose release were made possible by people’s efforts, were forced by intelligence agencies to address a press conference at Okara Press Club against establishment of this TSC). 

Now a new incident of killing of a young tenant has sparked a new wave of mass movement by the peasants this time at Pakpattan. 

We demand the arrest of all those responsible for the killing, land rights for all tenants, military out of agri business and land to the tillers. 

ALSO READ: After Decades of Farmers’ Struggles, Pakistan Army Admits It Does Not Own Farm Land

The post Pakistan: One tenant killed by security guards of Army Welfare Trust at Depalpur appeared first on Via Campesina English.

Climate Solidarity: Workers Vs. Warming

IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 18:09

By Jeremy Brecher - Labor Network for Sustainability, February 8, 2017

Workers have no greater interest than to prevent the destruction of the earth’s climate on behalf of themselves and their posterity. But workers often act as an organized force to oppose climate protection measures in the name of their interests as workers. How is such a paradoxical state of affairs possible? How did we get in such a state? How can we change it? How can the working class reorganize itself to fight for climate protection? Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming proposes answers to these questions.

Climate Solidarity presents a vision for the labor climate movement. It offers a comprehensive and at times provocative view of the past, present, and future of organized labor and climate change. It provides a substantive analysis for leaders and activists in the labor climate movement. It presents a well thought out, historically informed analysis both of climate change and of organized labor. Climate Solidarity will be read and discussed by those who will shape labor’s response to the climate crisis.

Jeremy Brecher is the author of more than a dozen books on labor and social movements, including the labor history classic Strike!, recently published in an expanded fortieth anniversary edition by PM Press. Climate Solidarity: Workers vs. Warming is part of Brecher’s Climate Insurgency Trilogy, along with Climate Insurgency: A Strategy for Survival and Against Doom: A Climate Insurgency Manual.

What’s in Climate Solidarity

The Introduction to Climate Solidarity, “Climate and Work,” poses the paradox of workers producing the greenhouse gases that are producing catastrophe for us and future generations.

Chapter 2, “The World Order of Climate Alienation,” describes the features of the modern world order that helped create and perpetuate climate alienation, including the nation state system, private property, markets, wage labor, and dependence on fossil fuels. It demonstrates how these features can lead workers and our organizations to pursue short-term particular interests at the expense of our long-term common interest in a sustainable, climate-safe planet. It shows how these same features render workers largely powerless to protect the climate should we wish and choose to do so. It explains how short-term particular interests and powerlessness interact to produce climate alienation. It concludes with a broad outline of how these features must be changed to make effective climate protection possible.

Chapter 3, “Worker Movements,” describes the ways in which workers have come together throughout modern history to act on common interests. It shows how worker actions have been rooted in patterns of mutual solidarity, self-organization, and challenge to authority. It describes how worker solidarity, organization, and action have often been restricted to limited groups and objectives. It indicates how those restrictions have limited the power of workers to influence our conditions of existence. And it tells how those limits have often been overcome in new forms of collective action.

Chapter 4, “Organized Labor and Climate Protection,” describes how the tension between the apparent short-term interests of particular groups of American workers in particular climate-destroying activities and workers’ common interest in climate protection have been expressed in two major trade union statements on global warming and in the controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Chapter 5, “The Emergence of Climate Solidarity,” shows many ways in which American workers are expressing our common interests in climate protection and finding ways to act on them.

Chapter 6, “A Climate-Protecting Workers’ Movement,” explores how workers could move beyond short-term special interests in climate-destroying activities to develop broader solidarity and self-organization through the struggle to protect the Earth’s climate.

Chapter 7, “A Worker Climate Action Plan,” proposes a program of social change that workers need to impose on those in authority to eliminate climate alienation.

Chapter 8, “Climate Solidarity vs. the Alienation of Labor,” sums up the central role of worker climate protection in both protection of the earth’s climate and in the self-liberation of workers from a destructive world order.

Read More - Download PDF.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: green unionismgreen syndicalismJust TransitionLabor Network for Sustainabilityenergy democracyclimate justice

Growth and diversity in the U.S.clean energy industry

Work and Climate Change Report - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:34

Two new reports foresee employment growth in the U.S. renewable energy industry – despite the chilling effect of the tariffs on solar equipment imposed  by the Trump administration, as described in a Solar Energy Industry Association press release in December.   The first study, Clean Energy sweeps across rural America  (November 2018) by the Natural Resources Defence Council examines job growth in wind, solar, and energy efficiency in rural regions throughout the Midwest U.S., and finds that the number of clean energy jobs grew by 6 percent from 2015 to 2016 (a higher rate than the economic in general), to a total of  nearly 160,000 in 2017.  In 2017, in the rural parts of every midwestern state except North Dakota and Kansas, more people worked in clean energy than in the entire fossil fuel industry.  The report emphasizes the outsized impact of job opportunities in rural areas in which job growth is normally negligible or even negative. The report also profiles examples of  community solar programs operated by co-ops and investor-owned utilities.

A second report  models the impact of  replacing Colorado’s coal plants with a mix of wind and solar backed by battery storage and natural gas.  This report was prepared by consultants Vibrant Clean Energy and commissioned by energy developer Community Energy Inc., with a main focus on cost savings and carbon emissions.  However, it also forecasts job impacts under three scenarios (keeping coal plants to 2040, gradually retiring coal plants, and retiring all coal plants in 2025), and overall,  it forecasts a 52% increase in employment in the electricity industry.

The January 9 press release  quotes a representative from Community Energy Inc:  “The key to unlocking these benefits is to create a legal framework that enables utilities to voluntarily retire the coal plants. Otherwise, it could take years to negotiate or litigate utility cost recovery, replacement power costs and impact on local communities.” The full Coal Plant Retirement study is here .

Finally, the Solar Energy Industries Association issued a press release in early December, highlighting its 2018 initiatives to improve gender equity and diversity – including the creation of the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which includes summits to increase women’s leadership and various industry opportunities.  In September 2018,  the SEIA signed a Memorandum of Understanding  to help the solar industry recruit and employ more students from the 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  This will include hosting a national jobs fair, individual jobs fairs at the HBCU schools and bringing solar companies to campuses for recruitment.   A webinar series on diversity and inclusion is scheduled for SEIA member companies in 2019.

Canadian youth continue their climate strikes in frigid January weather

Work and Climate Change Report - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 09:52

Children in Canada and around the world  continue to demand climate action from their nations’ policy leaders, following the example of the  now-famous Greta Thunberg.  In the first week of January 2019, according  Greta’s Twitter feed, climate strikes were held in “South Africa, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Czech Rep, Uganda, Nigeria, Faroe Islands, Italy and many more”.    As you would expect, social media plays a huge part in the campaigns, centred on the #Fridays for Future Facebook page  and @fridaysforfuture Twitter account.

In Canada, Twitter accounts to watch are from  @Sophia Mathur , (the 11-year old  Sudbury girl who was the first to join the international campaign – profiled here ); @Student Climate Activist , and Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition , both from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Toronto Climate Future from Toronto and the GTHA , also with a Facebook page here .  The Citizens Climate Lobby is hosting an interactive map  to track climate strikes around the world, and The Climate Pledge Collective offers free resources to  help others organize FridaysforFuture events.

Traditional media have provided fairly limited coverage of the stoic students who  protested in Canadian cities on January 11: from the  Waterloo Record, “On a bitterly cold day in Waterloo, a new type of protest begins”   (Jan. 12) and “Children and youth strike against climate change in Waterloo Region” at KitchenerToday.com (Jan. 11); “Students, climate activists protest provincial climate plan at Queen’s Park” (Jan. 13) from The Varsity, the student newspaper of University of Toronto; and “I want to know the earth will be ok” from the Winnipeg Sun (Jan. 11).  CBC Vancouver reported the previous student climate strike on December 7 ; others are listed in the Work and Climate Change Report summary from December .

And another Canadian youth group to watch:  PowerShift: Young and Rising, who are gathering in Ottawa on February 14 – 18 .  From their announcement: “We will dig deep into discussions on topics including fracking, pipeline politics, Indigenous sovereignty, divestment, and green jobs. We will learn how to make lasting change through community organizing, direct action, art, storytelling, and using traditional and digital media. … PowerShift aims to ensure that once the convergence is over, the youth climate movement continues to grow through our networks, continued capacity building, and strategic action.”

 

 

Economists debate decarbonization: optimistic and pessimistic scenarios

Work and Climate Change Report - Mon, 01/14/2019 - 08:21

debate forum , Is Green Growth Possible? was hosted by the Institute for New Economic Thinking in December, consisting of papers by  economists debating whether catastrophic global warming can be stopped while maintaining current levels of economic growth. The arguments are summarized  for the non-economist in “The Case for ‘conditional optimism’ on climate change” by David Roberts in Vox (Dec. 31) .  Economists may be interested in the full papers, which  include “The Road to ‘Hothouse Earth’ is Paved with Good Intentions” and “Why Green Growth is an Illusion”, both by Enno Schröder and Servaas Storm.  The authors conclude that  “..  The world’s current economies are not capable of the emission reductions required to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees. If world leaders insist on maintaining historical rates of economic growth, and there are no step-change advances in technology, hitting that target requires a rate of reduction in carbon intensity for which there is simply no precedent. Despite all the recent hype about decoupling, there’s no historical evidence that current economies are decoupling at anything close to the rate required…. Without a concerted (global) policy shift to deep decarbonization, a rapid transition to renewable energy sources, structural change in production, consumption, and transportation, and a transformation of finance, … the decoupling will not even come close to what is needed.”

The Inconvenient Truth about Climate Change and the Economy”  by  Gregor Semieniuk, Lance Taylor, and Armon Rezai summarizes and analyzes the October 2018 IPCC report, Global Warming of 1.5 °C. ,  finding it overly optimistic about global productivity growth and fossil fuel energy use, and reiterating the argument that politics are holding back climate change solutions. They conclude that “a big mitigation push, perhaps financed by carbon taxes and/or reductions in subsidies, is possible macroeconomically even if the link between energy use and output is not severed. This, however, would require considerable modifications of countries’ macroeconomic arrangements. Needless to say, military establishments and recipients of energy subsidies wield political clout. Fossil fuel producers have at least as much. Whether national preferences will permit big shifts in the use of economic resources is the key question.”

Finally, in “Conditional Optimism: Economic Perspectives on Deep Decarbonization”, author Michael Grubb  takes issue with Schröder and Storm, saying that their papers rely on historical data and rates of change, and thus are characterized by a “pessimism about our ability to change what matters fast enough. ” Grubb states that this “may  be emblematic of a growing trend in energy-climate economics, of what we might term historical futures analysis.”  He lays out a  technical economic critique and suggests four fundamental principles for his own “conditional optimism”, which relies on analysis based on the rate of displacement of carbon intensive energy supply by the growth of alternate sources.

Can unions deliver good green jobs at Tesla?

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 15:07

The “Driving a Fair Future” website has documented the complaints against Tesla for years – including an analysis of  Tesla injury rates between 2014 and 2017 at its Freemont California plant, which showed that injuries were 31% higher than industry standards.  In June 2018, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board  began to hear some of the workers’ complaints of safety violations and anti-union harassment, with the United Auto Workers representing them.  Two themes have emerged in the saga of Tesla’s bad labour relations:  1. how can the apparently “green jobs” become decent, good jobs?  and  2. would unionization at Tesla give a toehold at other precarious Silicon Valley workplaces such as Google, Amazon, and their like.

“Tesla’s Union Battle Is About the Future of Our Planet” (Oct. 9) in Medium describes the union drive at the Freemont California electric vehicle  manufacturing plant, in light of its environmental mission. The article contends : “ This case isn’t just about Tesla. It’s about the future of an industry that sees itself as key to addressing the climate crisis. Clean tech companies peddle a progressive vision of a low-carbon future, but Tesla’s anti-union fervor suggests that some in the industry have lost sight of their work’s bigger point.”

Workers from Tesla’s solar panel factory in Buffalo New York  expressed similar sentiments in interviews with the  local news organization . Taking pride in their green jobs, they are seeking better pay, benefits, and job security through a unionization drive announced in December.  The Tesla Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo received $750 million in taxpayer funding for the state-of-the-art solar production facility, promising new jobs in a high unemployment area; the unionization campaign involves about 300 production and maintenance employees in a partnership between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the United Steelworkers. The drive is endorsed by the Labor Network for Sustainability , which states: “We are hearing a lot about the need for a Green New Deal that will provide millions of good jobs helping protect the climate. These Tesla workers represent the Green New Deal in action.” Follow developments on the Facebook page of the Coalition for Economic Justice Buffalo.

Implications for High Tech workers: Why Elon Musk’s latest legal bout with the United Auto Workers may have ripple effects across Silicon Valley” is a thorough overview  about the UAW unionization drive at Tesla’s auto  manufacturing plant at Freemont California, from CNBC   in early December.  Similar themes appeared in  “What Tesla’s union-busting trial means for the rest of Silicon Valley” appeared in Verge in September 2018,  chronicling the arguments of the UAW and Tesla management – including Elon Musk and his tweets – during the NLRB hearings  in June 2018.   The article concludes that “Tesla’s case [is] a bellwether — particularly for Amazon. … Tesla might be a car company, but it’s also a tech company — and if its workers can unionize, tech workers elsewhere are bound to start getting ideas.”

What is life like for these high tech workers? A New Kind of Labor Movement in Silicon Valley” in The Atlantic (Sept. 4  )  gives a good overview, and introduces nascent groups as Silicon Valley Rising  and Tech Workers Coalition  .

 

Economists weigh in on deceptive carbon pricing messages

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 12:32

Economist Brenda Frank contributes to the ongoing battle of ideas about carbon pricing in Canada with his  January 9 blog : “Carbon pricing works even when emissions are rising”. Frank begins:  “An old, debunked argument against carbon taxes has flared up recently: If total emissions aren’t falling, the tax must not be working. Let’s quash that myth.”  Continuing the arguments he published in a 2017 blog, “The curious case of counterfactuals”, his central question is, “if emissions are still rising, how fast would they have been rising without a carbon price?”  He cites recent studies, such as “The Impact of British Columbia’s Carbon Tax on Residential Natural Gas Consumption” (in  Energy Economics, Dec. 2018), as well as  the extensive carbon pricing reports produced by the Ecofiscal Commission, most recently Clearing the Air: How carbon pricing helps Canada fight climate change (April 2018).  The  conclusion: carbon pricing is more “complicated than something you can fit in a tweet”, and  complex analysis demonstrates that it does work.

Marc Hafstead , U.S. economist and Director of the Carbon Pricing Initiative pursues a similar theme in  “Buyer Beware: An Analysis of the Latest Flawed Carbon Tax Report” ( November 28).   Hafstead contends that “some papers can introduce confusion and misinformation”, and demonstrates how this is done in  The Carbon Tax: Analysis of Six Potential Scenarios , a study commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research and conducted by Capital Alpha Partners.  Hafstead critiques the modelling assumptions and concludes they are flawed ; he also charges that the paper fails to explain its differences from the prevailing academic literature.

Even without Hafstead’s economic skills, one might be wary of the U.S. paper after a check of the DeSmog’s  Global Warming Disinformation Database , which provides mind-blowing detail about the financial and personnel connections between the Institute for Energy Research and  Koch Industries . DeSmog maintains records on organizations and individuals engaged in “climate change disinformation” in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

Review of Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan and carbon levy; updates on renewables and methane regulations

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/11/2019 - 08:21

Environmental Defence released a report in December 2018, Carbon Pricing in Alberta: A review of its success and impacts  . According to the report, Alberta’s carbon levy, introduced in 2017 as part of the broader Climate Leadership Plan, has had no detrimental effect on the economy, and in fact, all key economic indicators (weekly consumer spending, consumer price index,and gross domestic product) improved in 2017. The report also documents how the carbon levy revenues have been invested: for example, over $1 billion used to fund consumer rebates and popular energy efficiency initiatives in 2017; support for Indigenous communities, including employment programs; a 500% growth in solar installations; funding for an expansion of light rail transit systems in Calgary and Edmonton; and prevention of an estimated 20,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. The conclusion: the Climate Leadership Plan and its carbon levy is off to a good start, but improvement is needed on promised methane reduction regulations , and the regulations to enforce the legislated cap on oil sands emissions need to be released.

Methane Regulations:    The Alberta Environmental Law Centre published a report in 2017 evaluating the province’s methane emissions regulations. On December 13, the government released new, final regulations governing methane. On December 19, the Alberta Environmental Law Centre published a summary of the new Regulations here  

Since the Environmental Defence study, on December 17, the government announced  agreement on five new wind projects funded by Carbon Leadership revenues, through the  Renewable Electricity Program. Three of the five projects are private-sector partnerships with First Nations, and include a minimum 25 per cent Indigenous equity component to stimulate jobs, skills training and other  economic benefits. The government claims that all five projects will generate 1000 jobs.

On  December 19 the government also  announced   new funding of  $50 million from Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan for the existing  Sector-specific Industrial Energy Efficiency Program , to support technology improvements in the  trade-exposed industries of pulp and paper, chemical, fertilizer, minerals and metals facilities.

Balanced against this, a December 31 government press release summarized how its “Made in Alberta ” policies have supported the oil and gas industry: including doubling of support for petrochemical upgrading to $2.1 billion; creation of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) investment team to work directly with industry to expedite fossil fuel projects; political fights for new pipelines (claiming that “Premier Notley’s advocacy was instrumental in the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline”), and the ubiquitous Keep Canada Working  advertisements promoting the benefits of the Trans Mountain pipeline . The press release also references the November announcement that the province will buy rail cars  to ship oil in the medium term,  and the December 11 press release announcing that the province is  exploring  private-sector interest in building a new oil refinery .

Canada joins the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Work and Climate Change Report - Thu, 01/10/2019 - 08:44

Canada officially became a member of the the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)  on January 9th, on the eve of the 9th Session of the Assembly in Abu Dhabi, where  1,200 delegates from more than 160 governments, the private sector and civil society met. IRENA describes itself as: “an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.”

Canada’s membership  brings to 160 the number of countries participating in IRENA, and will make it easier for Canadians to place their renewable energy development in an international context, by inclusion such flagship publications , such as the  Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review  . Recently, Vancouver B.C. was profiled as a case study in the IRENA publication Scaling up Renewables in Cities: Opportunities for Municipal Governments .

The official press release from Canada’s ministry of Natural Resources was brief, and did not indicate any future plans for Canada’s involvement in IRENA research activities.   Some context is provided in a news item from the National Observer  . 

Updated: Agreement reached between RCMP and Wet’suwet’en First Nation protesters after arrests in B.C.

Work and Climate Change Report - Wed, 01/09/2019 - 12:14

Despite the high praise for British Columbia’s new Clean B.C. strategy released  on December 5,  B.C. has a problem – supporting the $40 billion LNG Canada facility makes it almost impossible for the province to reach its GHG reduction targets. (Marc Lee his most recent critique in “BC’s shiny new climate plan: A look under the hood”.)  And on January 7, the headlines began screaming about another problem related to LNG Canada, as the RCMP began to enforce an injunction granted by B.C.’s Supreme Court, arresting fourteen members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.

The Wet’suwet’en  built a fortified barrier on a remote forest service road near Houston, B.C., about 300 kilometres west of Prince George, to prevent construction workers from TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Corp.) and their pipeline subsidiary Coastal GasLink. The company maintains that they have signed agreements with all First Nations along the pipeline route, but those agreements have been made with elected chiefs and councils of the five Wet’suwet’en bands. The hereditary chiefs maintain that the agreements do not apply to traditional lands.  The Vancouver Sun provides good local coverage atFourteen people arrested after RCMP break down anti-pipeline checkpoint“;   The Tyee explains the background and issues in “Nine Things You Need to Know about the Unist’ot’en Blockade” ; The Energy Mix  writes “Negotiations Seek ‘Peaceful Solution’ At Unist’ot’en After RCMP Arrest 14 Blocking Coastal Gaslink Pipeline” (Jan. 9) .

First Nations viewpoint appears in a series of posts at APTN News, including: “An act of war’: Gidimt’en clan prepares for police raid on Wet’suwet’en Territory” (Jan. 5);  “Researchers say RCMP action against Wet’suwet’en would place corporate interests over Indigenous rights” (Jan. 6) ; and “RCMP set up ‘exclusion zones’ for public and media as raid on B.C. camps start (Jan. 7) . According to those reports, “The Gidmit’en Clan, whose members are at the second check point, have called any RCMP raid an “act of war.”

Not all First Nations oppose the LNG Canada project.  In a summary of a Canada 2020 conference in Ottawa on December 13 , First Nations speakers  included Larry Villeneueve, Aboriginal Liaison with Local 92 of LiUNA, (involved in four training sites in western Canada for a skilled Indigenous workforce); Phil Fontaine, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, now Co-Chair of Indigenous Affairs Committee at LiUNA; and Crystal Smith, Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation.  In An open letter to opponents and critics of LNG development   on the Haisla Nation website, Crystal Smith writes: “We urge you to think strongly about how your opposition to LNG developments is causing harm to our people and our wellbeing. Opposition does nothing towards empowering our Nation, but rather dismisses our Rights and Title and works towards separating our people from real benefits.” As this issue has heated up, on January 8 she posted “Investing in ourselves is not selling out” .

Rallies in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en resistance have been coordinated through a Facebook campaign, International Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en , and reports indicate turnout across Canada, including Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Halifax, Montreal, New Brunswick, Whitehorse, and Calgary.  The APTNews  (Jan. 9) includes photos and video;  Regional CBC outlets have also covered the story:  “Protesters across Canada support Wet’suwet’en anti-pipeline camps  (Jan. 8);  “Protesters, counter protesters gather in downtown Calgary after B.C. pipeline arrests” ; “Protests in Regina, Saskatoon show solidarity with B.C. First Nation fighting pipelines”  (Jan. 8).  The National Observer reports that the Prime Minister was forced by protesters to change the time and venue of his address to First Nations leaders in Ottawa on January 8th. Prime Minister Trudeau is visiting Kamloops on January 9 but has declined to visit the protest camp.

UPDATES: On January 9, the National Observer reported on a press conference with B.C. Premier Horgan, at which he asserted that “his government believed it had met its obligations to consult with Indigenous nations in approving TransCanada’s Coastal Gaslink project by receiving the “free, prior, and informed” consent that is referenced in United Nations declarations on indigenous rights.”  He sees sees “no quick fix” to the issue and did not set out any path forward.

An “uneasy peace” was reached between the RCMP and the Wet’suwet’en protesters on January 9, allowing workers access to the  Coastal GasLink pipeline construction site in order to avoid a second RCMP raid on the protest camp. According to  “‘Peaceful Resolution’ to Unist’ot’en Blockade Allows Access, Not Construction, Chiefs Say” in The Energy Mix (Jan. 11)    and a related CBC report, “it’s a temporary solution to de-escalate things while everyone figures out their next moves.”

What comes next? Construction of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline is certainly not settled, not only because of the issue of  Wet’suwet’en permission to build on heriditary lands  (that issue explained here ).  There is also dispute over whether or not the pipeline falls under provincial or federal jurisdiction – an issue to be addressed by the National Energy Board in April. Read Andrew Nikoforuk in “Is Coastal GasLink an Illegal Pipeline?” in The Tyee (Jan. 11) or  “Coastal GasLink pipeline permitted through illegal process, lawsuit contends” in The Narwhal .

An analysis in The Energy Mix, “Pipeline Investment ‘Goes Palliative’ in Wake of Unist’ot’en Blockade”  (Jan. 13) compiles responses to the blockade from several media outlets, and sketches out two themes. The first, Canada has provided yet another example of how unattractive and uncertain it is to energy investors; the second: First Nations concerns are represented by  both hereditary and elected leaders. “As long as they [the government]  are willing to resort to force instead of diplomacy, we haven’t even begun to engage in meaningful reconciliation.”

 

Green New Deal – an opportunity for the U.S. and for Labour

Work and Climate Change Report - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 10:45

As the U.S. Congress returned for its 116th Session in January 2019, newly-elected Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Green New Deal  have become the symbols of the “freshmen” class in Washington. The term is now everywhere – as shown by  “What’s the Deal with the Green New Deal” from the Energy Institute at Haas, University of California at Berkeley, which coins the acronym “GND” and shows a graph of the Twitter traffic on the topic.  More substantially, the article critiques the economic, job creation proposals in the Green New Deal proposal, as does economist Edward B. Barbier in “How to make the next Green New Deal work” in Nature.com on January 1. From a Canadian, much less conservative viewpoint, Thomas Clayton-Muller discussed a Canadian version called the “Good work Guarantee”, as proposed by 350.org.  in “Canada needs its own Green New Deal. Here’s what it could look like” in the National Observer (Nov. 29) , and Matt Price urged unions to follow the lead in “Unions Should Go Big on a Green New Deal for Canada” in an Opinion piece in The Tyee  (Dec. 10) .

Jeremy Brecher and Joe Uehlein of the  Labor Network for Sustainability write “The Green New Deal provides a visionary program for labor and can provide a role for unions in defining and leading a new vision for America” in “12 Reasons Labor Should Demand a Green New Deal” in Portside. The article reviews the history of the original U.S. New Deal, but more importantly, shows how the Green New Deal can help U.S. labour unions reclaim bargaining power, political power, and good jobs.  They conclude with a long list of Labour goals for any Green New Deal, including: Restore the right to organize: Bargain collectively and engage in concerted action on the job; Guarantee the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech and assembly in the workplace; Restore the right to strike; Guarantee the right to a safe and healthy work environment; Provide a fair and just transition for workers whose jobs may be threatened by economic change; Establish fair labor standards; Establish strong state and local prevailing wage laws; Encourage industry-wide bargaining; Establish a “buy fair” and “buy local” procurement policy. They conclude with suggestions for how unions can support a Green New Deal .  Héctor Figueroa ,  President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union also urges other unions to support the GND, and describes its importance for his union in “For the Future of Our Communities, Labor Support for The Green New Deal” in Common Dreams (Dec. 13) .

The political story of the Green New Deal revolves around the negotiations to form a House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, summarized in a great article from Inside Climate News, “New Congress Members See Climate Solutions and Jobs in a Green New Deal” (Jan. 3).  HR-1, the first Bill tabled by the Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party in the new House of Representatives is a  60-page statement, which establishes the mandate of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in Section 104, (pages 46-49). Reaction from the Sunrise Movement  stated:  “The mandate for @nancypelosi‘s Climate Select Committee is out, and it’s everything we feared. No mandate to create a plan on the timeline mandated by top scientists; No language on economic & racial justice, or a just transition; Allows members to accept fossil fuel money. As well, it lacks power to supoena.” Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash is extensively quoted in  “They Failed Us Once Again’: House Democrats Denounced for Dashing Hopes of Green New Deal”  from Common Dreams (Jan. 3), and though disappointed, she states: “In losing this fight on the Select Committee, we have won the biggest breakthrough on climate change in my lifetime.”

The Select Committee is  not the only political avenue to deal with climate change. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Democractic Representative Frank Pallone, announced it will hold its first hearing on climate change, as reported by The Hill  . And prospective Democratic presidential candidates are under pressure, as described in “Green Leftists Prepare to Give Democratic Candidates Hell” in the New Republic (Jan. 4) .

Canadian press coverage of pipelines lacks workers’ voices

Work and Climate Change Report - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 09:24

Jobs vs the Environment? Mainstream and alternative media coverage of pipeline controversies  examines how the press—classified into corporate and alternative outlets —treats the relationship between jobs and the environment, and how frequent and influential are the voices of workers and labour unions. The report uses two sophisticated methods of communications analysis – content analysis and critical discourse analysis – to examine two samples:  The first sample comprises 129 articles about Canadian pipeline projects from the Vancouver Sun, the Edmonton Journal  and the Toronto  Globe and Mail  representing corporate media; articles from Ricochet, The Tyee, and the National Observer  represent alternative media.  The second examination was slightly different, made up of 170 articles about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion which appeared in the Vancouver Sun and two commuter tabloids in Vancouver, and including Rabble.ca  to the previously examined alternative sources of  Ricochet, The Tyee, and National Observer.

The analysis is detailed and makes many interesting observations. Briefly, the authors conclude from these samples that both  mainstream and alternative media frequently reinforce the assumption that there is a trade-off between environmental protection and job creation. Though alternative media are more critical  of pipeline projects and provide more of the  perspectives of Indigenous people and environmentalists, the authors conclude that  “neither corporate nor alternative media gave much voice to the perspectives of workers and their unions.” And  “while job creation is often touted as a rationale for pipeline projects, the actual workers and their unions—the presumed beneficiaries of fossil fuel expansion—appear to be largely missing from news reportage.”

To sum up, they write that : “… alternative media provide analyses and sources that help counterbalance the apparent extractivist orientation of the corporate press. They make a valuable contribution to well-rounded public discussion and offer perspectives on energy, climate and economic policies that are evidently under-represented in the corporate press.

The authors briefly discuss the labour press – mentioning Rank and File.ca  specifically, and see a role for the labour media in the climate and energy debate. They state: “….. labour’s voice in the media system is muted. There are many reasons why a movement for a just transition has not gained greater traction. Governments have not sufficiently committed to retraining and other supportive measures, and thus there are few working examples for just transition advocates to highlight. But part of the problem lies in the lack of public arenas for exploring the common ground between workers and environmentalists regarding a low-carbon economy. Engaging the public imagination about such a necessary transition would be a valuable goal for corporate and alternative media, as well as media produced by the labour movement itself.”

The authors are Robert A. Hackett, a professor emeritus, and  Philippa R. Adams, a PhD student, both from the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.  The publisher is the Corporate Mapping Project, a research and public engagement initiative investigating the power of the fossil fuel industry,  jointly led by the University of Victoria, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC and Saskatchewan Offices and the Parkland Institute.

Canada: the year past and the battle over carbon pricing in the year ahead

Work and Climate Change Report - Tue, 01/08/2019 - 09:00

The Energy Mix Yearbook Review for 2018 is undoubtedly the most thorough and informed review of 2018 climate issues for Canadians.  It compiles its newsletter coverage of 2018 stories and adds context and analysis, as well as a multitude of links to further reading.  The sections of exceptional interest include “Jobs and Just Transition: Renewables and Efficiency Jobs Surge while Fossil Employment Sags “; “Fossils go for Broke”  and “Canada’s Contradiction: Low-Carbon Leader or Perpetual Petro-State?”  .  Other, briefer overviews for Canada include “State of Play 2018”  from EcoJustice, highlighting legal issues;  “ 10 wins for Canadian energy and climate action in 2018: Year in review” with a positive slant from the Pembina Institute (Dec. 20) ; and from the Council of Canadians 2018 in Review: Offshore drilling (December 21),  a chronology from Atlantic Canada.

On December 20, easily overlooked because of the holiday season,  Environment and Climate Change Canada published five separate review reports.  Clean Canada:  Protecting the Environment and Growing our Economy   is a snapshot of Canada’s federal climate action policies and expenditures, and seems intended for a wide popular audience.  Second Annual Synthesis Report regarding the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Action   (French version here )  is a more detailed accounting of the policies and programs by the federal and provincial governments in 2018, organized in chapters relating to carbon pricing, complementary measures (buildings, transportation, electricity, agriculture, etc.); adaptation and resilience; clean technology and innovation and jobs; reporting and oversight; federal engagement and partnership with Indigenous people .  2018 Canada’s Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollutant Emissions Projections Report  (French version here ) provides, again,  a policy overview but its main purpose is to continue the series of annual reports (since 2011) of detailed emissions data for economic sector and  geographic region. It also includes emissions projections to 2030 under two different scenarios – (spoiler alert: oil and gas will be Canada’s leading source of emissions, followed by transportation and heavy industry).

Other substantial reports published on December 20 will form the basis for consultations in 2019.  The new draft for the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2019 to 2022 will inform a public consultation until April 2, 2019. (The companion 2018 Progress Report on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy  evaluates the 2016 to 2019 strategy goals and the activities of  41 federal departments and agencies.)

The final Clean Fuel Standard Regulatory Design Paper focuses on the liquid fuels regulations, with comments requested by February 1, 2019. The draft regulation is scheduled to be published in 2019 and a final regulation by 2020, bringing to an end a complex consultation process that began in 2016 (summarized by WCR  in January 2018).  The Clean Fuel Standard will apply to the full life cycle of all fuels, gasoline and diesel, aviation fuel, natural gas for heating, and metallurgical coal, and has been called the single most important policy tool to achieve Canada’s emissions reductions target for 2030.

And finally, a regulatory proposal relating to the most publicized issue for 2019: carbon pricing.  Next Steps in Implementing the Federal Pollution Pricing System for Large Industry (the “Output Based Pricing System”)  was released on December 20, and carries  a deadline for public comments of February 15, 2019. The Output Based Pricing System registration system went live on November 1, 2018, with reporting and verification requirements starting on January 1, 2019.

The coming battles over Carbon tax in 2019:   As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in late October 2018,  the federal government has not backed down on its determination to impose a carbon pricing policy across all Canadian jurisdictions in 2019, despite resistance and constitutional challenges led by the premiers of Saskatchewan and Ontario.  In some provinces – British Columbia , Alberta , Quebec  – established carbon pricing systems continue; in Nova Scotia , Prince Edward Island , Newfoundland and Labrador –  newly approved systems which meet the government’s benchmarks under the Pan-Canadian Framework will begin.   In the other provinces who have opposed the federal plan – Manitoba , Saskatchewan , New Brunswick and Ontario  –  the federal backstop fuel charge will be imposed starting in April 2019, sweetened by a “Climate Action Incentive”,  whereby all carbon revenue collected by the federal government will go directly back to people in the provinces from which it was generated.  The Annex of the Second Annual Synthesis Report of the Pan-Canadian Framework  provides up to date summaries for the situation in each province.

Public opinion supports the government’s carbon tax actions, though barely, according to polling made public by Global News on January 3 . Based on a November 9 internal poll conducted for the Liberal party, 46 per cent supported and 44 per cent opposed the plan  in Saskatchewan and Manitoba ; in Ontario, 43 per cent were in support and 32 per cent opposed. Nationally, support was at 47 per cent and opposition was at 29 per cent, with women more supportive than men.

Recently, one article appeared in the labour press, supporting carbon pricing:  “Pricing carbon first step to tackling climate change” in CUPE’s Economy at Work newsletter (Jan. 2).  The mainstream press has been far more active, with general support for a carbon tax: for example,  an editorial in  the Globe and Mail newspaper is titled: “ Do you want a carbon tax, or do you want to be lied to? “(Dec. 26) . The editorial is critical of the Ontario government’s Ontario Carbon Trust proposal, about which it states:  “One emerging conservative alternative to carbon pricing is working with business to spur the development of green technology. What that usually means is taxpayers giving subsidies to business.… “Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives ….say they will dish out $400-million on a “Carbon Trust” that will collaborate with industry on emissions cuts. They can rail against carbon pricing all they want; spending taxpayer money has the same effect on pocketbooks as asking consumers to pay more.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce was also widely cited as supporting a carbon tax, to the extent that they issued a press release on December 17 2018, clarifying their position:  “While some of the [media] coverage notes the Chamber’s support for carbon pricing, it neglects to include that the support is contingent upon significant caveats. The report calls for government to take concrete steps to reduce the overall regulatory burden on businesses in Canada, and to return the revenues from the carbon tax to business to help them lower their carbon emissions and their energy costs.”  The report referred to, outlining the full arguments, is   A Competitive Transition: How smarter climate policy can help Canada lead the way to a low carbon economy, which was published in December 2018.

Take it to the Courts!  Saskatchewan filed its challenge to the constitutionality of the federal price on carbon pollution in April 2018; the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal announced that it will hear the case in February 13 and 14, 2019, and released the lengthly list of intervenors which it has allowed to appear.  Intervenors include the provinces  of Ontario and New Brunswick on the side of Saskatchewan, and the province of British Columbia on the side of the federal government; other intervenors include the Canadian Public Health AssociationEcoJustice, representing the David Suzuki Foundation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; and the Council of Canadians , as part of a  group of seven other civil society groups, including the National Farmers Union and  Climate Justice Saskatoon.

A separate case  was filed by the Government of Ontario and will be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal in April 2019.  The full list of intervenors, as well as the court filings by the Ontario government, appear at the Court of Appeal website here . British Columbia and New Brunswick have also applied for intervenor status in this case.

How will the courts decide?   “Courts should not have to decide climate change policy” appeared on December 21  in Policy Options,  with a discussion of the carbon pricing cases as well as the recent litigation by Quebec’s ENvironnement JEUnesse . Co-authors Nathalie Chalifour and Jason Maclean  argue that “only a collaborative  approach to policy-making is capable of delivering the kinds of rapid, forward-looking and systemic changes in how industries and societies function that are necessary to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. Litigation, by contrast, is necessarily reactive and typically divisive, time-consuming and influenced by the incremental development of legal precedent.”  Regarding the provincial carbon tax challenges, they state that “the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is an example par excellence of cooperative federalism.”…. “There’s little doubt that the courts will confirm the federal government’s jurisdictional authority to regulate GHG emissions. They may even decide that the Constitution obliges the government to take more serious climate action.”

A complex road is ahead, as indicated by a C.D. Howe Institute Memo published in October 2018:   “Federal carbon-pricing backstop is new constitutional territory”.

 

Canada at COP24: Summary and reaction

Work and Climate Change Report - Fri, 01/04/2019 - 10:05

In the wee hours of Saturday December 16, after a dramatic extension of negotiations, the Katowice Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP24) concluded with the adoption of  the Katowice Climate Package.   The meetings had brought together over 22,000 participants, including nearly 14,000 government officials, over 7,000 representatives from UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and civil society organizations, and 1,500 members of the media.  What was accomplished?    IISD Reporting Services provides an overview summary of accomplishments,  and a 34-page compilation of official decisions . For a more readable general overview, the UNFCC summarizes and links to the highlights in a release on December 14 , including reports and developments of civil society participants. Next steps for the international negotiators: Another round at  COP 25 in Chile in November 2019.  In preparation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will convene a Climate Summit in New York City in September 2019 .

Canadian reaction to COP24:  As characterized by Elizabeth May, leader of Canada’s Green Party – there was a dual agenda at the COP24  meetings: first,  to agree on  the “Paris Rule Book”,  which will govern a shared approach to calculating and reporting on the specific items required under the  Paris Agreement, and secondly, to respond to the urgency and dire warnings of the October IPCC report to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees C.  Recognizing the difficulty of achieving any level of agreement in the politically fraught atmosphere of 2018, reaction in Canada and internationally was generally positive and aimed to put the best light possible on the failure to resolve other points, such as more ambitious GHG reduction targets.

From Canadian sources:COP24 delivers progress, but nations fail to heed warnings of scientists”  (Dec. 15) from the Climate Action Network Canada; “The Hard Work Starts Now as COP Delivers Incomplete Rule Book, Low Ambition”   from the Energy Mix (Dec. 18); “Environmental activists frustrated COP24 deal not strong enough” at CBC ; and from Greenpeace Canada  “COP24 ends without firm promises to raise climate action and ambition.”   More critical comments come in “Trudeau government fails to take bold action at COP24 to avoid climate breakdown” (Dec. 16)  and  “McKenna’s global carbon market plan more charade than genuine climate action”   both  by Brent Patterson in Rabble.ca.  On December 14, CBC broadcast an interview with Elizabeth May , where she asks  “Do we want to survive or not?” , criticizing the focus on bureaucratic process which interfered with addressing the fundamental question of how to reduce emissions.

What did Canada achieve at COP24?:  Canada’s  Minister of Environment and Climate Change pledged to improve Canada’s emission reduction targets on December 5 before she travelled to Katowice, and once there, signed on to the statement of the “High Ambition Coalition” , (along with    the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Ethiopia, EU, Norway, U.K., Germany,  New Zealand and Mexico), pledging to enhance their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement by 2020.

Regarding coal phase-out, the government’s official  statement  was issued on December 13,  highlighting  Canada’s continuing leadership role in the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was co-founded by Canada and the U.K. in 2017.   On  December 12, Canada made good on its 2016 pledge to phase out traditional coal-fired electricity by 2030 by publishing the final regulations for that effort in the Canada Gazette .

Regarding Just Transition:  Previous WCR posts (Dec. 6  and Dec. 11  ) summarized the many Just Transition publications and events at COP24.  Canada, along with 40 other jurisdictions, was a signatory to the  Solidarity and Just Transition  Silesia Declaration  put forth by host country Poland.  In the Climate Action Network Canada  press release at the conclusion of COP24, Donald Lafleur, Executive Vice-President, Canadian Labour Congress is quoted by Climate Action Network as saying:   “Canada’s trade unions applaud Canada and other parties for signing on to the Solidarity and Just Transition Silesia Declaration. We hope to see a commitment to a just transition that is tied to human rights and helps drive a more ambitious climate action plan designed to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.”  The Environment and Climate Change Minister joined the Canadian Labour Congress and the Just Transition Centre at the side event,  Unions in Action on Just Transition,  on December 10, yet she did not release the recommendations of the federal Task Force on Just Transition for Canadian Coal Power Workers and Communities .  Personal testimony of Just Transition came  from Roy Milne, a coal miner and the president of United Steelworkers Local 1595 in Wabamun, Alberta, who calls himself part of the first group at the first coal mine to be  phased out in Canada. “Some jobs in new energy industries come with a pay cut of $50K: coal miner” is an interview with Mr. Milne, was broadcast on CBC’s The Current on Dec. 13, in which he states that currently, “a basic operator earns $80,000-$100,000 per year, with additional benefits and a defined pension scheme. An electrician retraining as a renewable energy technician would go from that salary to $45,000-$50,000 per year.”

Other issues: The Minister’s  own Statement at the conclusion of COP24 says that “Canada also played a leading role in laying the groundwork for a global carbon market, to help mobilize the billions of dollars of investments needed to tackle climate change” and “ Canada took part in the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, encouraging all countries around the world to use the most cost-effective tool to reduce emissions.”  The details of that global carbon market remain unspecified.  In another press release,  the government announced that it will support increased participation by Indigenous people in international climate talks, by  providing  $800,000 over four years to to enable the creation of the Indigenous Peoples Focal Point at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “The Focal Point will coordinate and lead work on issues related to Indigenous Peoples and climate change, promote awareness of Indigenous perspectives on climate change, and serve as a technical expert and advisor.”

And yet, with all the pledges and announcements, it must be noted that right after COP24, on December 18, the government of Canada announced    a $1.6 billion aid package for Alberta’s oil companies.  The National Observer article summarizes this in “Sohi announces $1.6 billion to help Alberta oil patch”  and quotes Minister Sohi: “ These are commercial loans, made available on commercial terms. We have committed to phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and we stand by that commitment.” However, as stated in a press release from Environmental Defence    “At COP24 in Katowice, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna announced that Canada would increase the ambition of its targets to cut carbon pollution. Less than two weeks later, her Cabinet colleagues, Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi and Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr, are using public money to make Canada’s already-weak targets even harder to achieve.”

 

 

 

MADR TOUR RECAP: FALL 2018

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief - Sat, 12/29/2018 - 13:48

December 29th, 2018

At the end of a long year, our second workshop tour is complete! Over the course of three months, we worked our way from Albuquerque to San Diego, then north toward Seattle, and across the midwest into Wisconsin, making a total of 21 stops.

The MADR Network has only been around a couple years, and is mostly focused on supporting response efforts to hurricanes on the east and gulf coasts. In traveling west, we wanted to understand the unique disasters that communities are facing, the lessons they’ve already learned, and explore how a grassroots network could carry resources, information, and stories across the so-called U.S.

When calamity strikes, it’s not uncommon for people to ask why the Red Cross has failed to help, leaving them to rely on those closest for support. We say that the true first responders aren’t paramedics or fire crews – and they certainly aren’t the police. They’re the people most directly impacted on the ground. On tour, we emphasized cooperation and self-determination, rather than waiting for aid to swoop in from above. If you missed us, plan to host a training in your hometown, or simply want to review our materials, please download and share the first draft of our evolving facilitator toolkit. We’d love feedback on this!

Our workshops began by acknowledging disasters as much more than the acute catastrophes of climate chaos or sudden ruptures of infrastructure. We live in the disasters of colonization and capitalism every day, and it’s these systemic disasters we spend our time responding to after the embers have gone cold or the waters clear. Earth’s natural cycles aren’t the problem. The disaster is the way institutions capitalize from and create inequality. It’s the power structure that holds a monopoly on aid, but refuses to distribute it to those in most dire need.

In defining “disaster” this way, we casted a broad net, met with communities that had different levels of preparedness, and brainstormed the logistics of an intersectional approach to organizing that learns from the past and builds survival programs for the future. We spent a lot of time with our new friends discussing hopes and fears, the collective work of grief, and how necessary it is to move forward at the speed of trust – to create a commons of care rather than a culture of burnout. A major theme we shared was that our “audacity is our capacity.”


We constantly refined the content and narrative of our lessons to evoke more magic in our conversations. Our intimate team supported each other to make quick decisions, plot logistics, craft Instagram posts, drive long-distance, and manage funds, all while providing each other constructive feedback and making occasional time to stop in nature.

This work is heavy, but, we joined tour with a whole lot of heart, and, as we traveled some 5,000 miles, were replenished with so much care and inspiration by the people who invited us into their communities.

We understand that everyone, regardless of how rich, racist, or capitalist they are, can practice mutual aid in their daily life. However, it’s the capitalist, patriarchal, colonial cultures that stratify care. Right wing militias have their own form of mutual aid work in response to crisis. Of course, the demographic they offer support to is blatantly narrow, and their aim is to gain power in the greater white community.

In Grants Pass, OR, the Oath Keepers have been cooking for the firefighters and organizing evacuations for the white, middle class residents and their animals. Along with State of Jefferson advocates, they’ve taken advantage of the public’s goodwill to grab more seats of power at the city and county levels, and are pushing anti-immigrant, racist, and classist policies into law. Similarly, MADR folx responding to Hurricane Michael have been dealing with the League of the South presence in the panhandle.

In common, we’re all witnessing the crises of gentrification, lack of affordable housing, vanishing public infrastructure, a growing white supremacist movement, and an increasingly toxic environment. Many of us have witnessed the State fail to respond in the wake of acute disasters, and many of us are seeking ways to take direct action.

Along the west coast, people are discussing the lack of institutional preparedness for the next big earthquake along the San Andreas or Cascadia faults. While a tsunami following the earthquake would add to the crisis, a lack of adequate infrastructure in poor areas and bare minimum evacuation plans for disabled and senior populations are expected to exacerbate this type of disaster as well.

Despite such a daunting landscape, we found people preparing their communities for responses to acute disasters while organizing mutual aid efforts that seek to collectively address the ongoing ones, too. After our tour stops, some communities have been meeting around the topic of preparedness to build upon pre-existing trainings, resource-sharing, and relationships of solidarity in advance of crisis. Folx we met in Chico, CA, have begun organizing under the name North Valley Mutual Aid and are sorting out the pressures of immediate response and long-term planning as the smoke clears from the most destructive wildfire in state history.

From many angles, it seems like we’ve been losing ground. We’re told it’s too late; that humanity is forgone. We watch dark clouds loom over communities. But, on tour we met with countless organizers who are walking forward to meet the bright alternatives they’ve been imagining. One of the best parts of tour was hearing people express gratitude for the opportunity our stops opened to gather with people across their regions and hold a little space for each other to talk about the nightmares that keep them up at night, and the dreams that keep them going.

The MADR Network has a few intentional conversations to have before we can discuss future workshops. We’re sitting on some big questions, and have been humbled by thoughtful feedback regarding our content, outreach, and accessibility. Now, we’re taking time to reflect on how to come in a good way, in response to crisis and on tour as well.

We’re focusing on how best to make collective decisions, what it means to actually uplift the most marginalized voices, and how people outside of the often white, anarchist demographic can be empowered to host trainings in their communities, too. In the meantime, we want to support folx in connecting with each other and growing their communities.

We’re beyond thankful for those who took us in, cared for us, and trusted us to hold a little space in their communities, and we really are so inspired by the work we see folx doing. People are organizing, and, as a network, we hope to carry those projects and stories together.

Stay tuned for more updates by checking out our website to join the mailing list, or by following us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

In love and light,

The MADR Fall Tour Crew

Draft Resolution - Stop Line 3

IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 17:36

Draft Resolution - IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus, December 24, 2018

The following resolution is a draft only and has not yet been adopted by any IWW branch or the union as a whole. We will update this post if and when that changes. We are posting it here as a recommended resolution.

Whereas: The existing Line 3 is an Enbridge pipeline that transports crude oil from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin spanning northern Minnesota and crossing the Leech Lake and Fond du Lac reservations and the 1855, 1854, and 1842 treaty areas;

Whereas: Since Enbridge Line 3’s construction in 1961 it has experienced severe corrosion that has led to countless spills and ruptures;

Whereas: Instead of decommissioning Line 3 and paying for its removal and the rehabilitation of the lands it has despoiled, Enbridge is pushing to expand and replace it (they call it a "replacement" but it is larger, with a higher volume and in a new corridor);

Whereas: At $7.5 billion, the proposed new Line 3 would be the “largest project in Enbridge’s history” and one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the world, carrying up to 915,000 barrels per day of one of the dirtiest fuels on earth, tar sands crude;

Whereas: Line 3 is poised to be a linchpin in tar-sands infrastructure, committed for decades to advancing a dying industry that is a major source of greenhouse gases, poses a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of indigenous communities, and creates a perpetual risk to large sources of clean water including Lake Superior (also a large part of Minnesota’s tourist economy and a potent symbol to the region’s people);

Whereas: Economically, the tar-sands are doomed; and environmentally, they are a disaster;

Whereas: In approving Line 3, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission failed to adhere to even its modest mandate “to balance the private and public interest,” instead prioritizing the short-term profits of foreign corporations and their phony claims of “good jobs” over the will of Native communities, the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans (hundreds of thousands of whom have spoken out in opposition), and the very future of the planet without which there can be no “public”;

Whereas: In issuing a Certificate of Need for Line 3, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission also ignored the findings of the reviewing administrative law judge who said there is no need for a new pipeline on Enbridge’s preferred route;

Whereas: Line 3 will provide nowhere near the number of permanent union jobs the the project’s promoters promise they will (Enbridge itself estimates the number at around 25; its marketing and lobbying campaigns are designed to obscure this fact) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce has indicated that more local and long term jobs would actually be created by decommissioning the existing pipeline;

Whereas: More jobs could instead be created by investing in the infrastructure our communities actually need, such as clean water, affordable and livable housing, and widespread public transportation;

Whereas: Far more permanent union jobs can be created at comparable wages by repairing other aging and far more vital pipeline infrastructure, such as water mains in Flint, Michigan and elsewhere, or repairing leaks in existing oil and gas pipelines which, if unfixed, release harmful amounts of methane--a known greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming at a rate multiples greater than carbon dioxide;

Whereas: Far more jobs currently exist in the growing renewable energy sector than in the declining fossil fuel sector;

Whereas: Though these renewable energy jobs are currently typically nonunion, unions, if so determined, could easily develop a successful organizing program using solidarity unionism that could revitalize the struggling labor movement;

Whereas: Enbridge Line 3 will not deliver the promised "energy security" or "energy independence" promised by its promoters (many building trades and AFL-CIO union officials among them);

Whereas: Oil pipelines such as the proposed Line 3 “replacement” tend to leak and create unnecessary risks to the surrounding environment, both through methane gas leaks as well as crude oil spills--which in the case of heavy tar sands oil are literally impossible to clean up as the toxic substance sinks deep into the ground and into aquifers that supply millions of people with water;

Whereas: Such pipelines endanger the communities along their routes, including many indigenous communities whose tribal sovereignty has been ignored and violated during permitting processes by agencies subject to regulatory capture by the capitalist interests that promote them;

Whereas: Continued new construction of such pipelines will contribute massively to the acceleration of already dangerous levels of greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn are contributing to already dangerous levels of climate change and could lead to a dead planet with no jobs of any kind;

Be it Resolved that: the IWW declares and reiterates its steadfast opposition to the construction of the Line 3 “replacement”;

Be it Further Resolved that: the IWW stands in solidarity with First Nations, union members, environmental activists, and community members who oppose it;

Be it Further Resolved that: the IWW urges rank-and-file members of building trades unions, the Teamsters, and other unions who have declared support for Enbridge Line 3 to agitate and call upon their elected officials to reverse their support; and

Be it Finally Resolved that: the IWW supports a just transition away from fossil-fueled colonial capitalism which countless workers and activists of all stripes have been developing and visioning for decades, and declares its intention to fight for the implementation of a real and transformative--in other words, anti-capitalist and anti-racist--Green New Deal.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Tags: Line 3green unionismgreen syndicalismIWWblockadiaindigenous resistance

Finally, UN General Assembly adopts Peasant Rights declaration! Now focus is on its implementation

Today, 17 December 2018, the 73 Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 73) in New York adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. Now that the declaration is an international legal instrument, La Via Campesina (LVC) and its allies will mobilise to support regional and national implementation processes.

The final vote of today represents the culmination of a historic process for rural communities. With 121 votes in favour, 8 votes against and 54 abstentions, the forum of UNGA representing 193 Member States, ushered in a new promising chapter in the struggle for the rights of peasants and other rural communities throughout the world. The 17-year long process, initiated by the international peasant movement La Via Campesina, supported by numerous social movements and allied organizations, such as FIAN and CETIM, has been a great source of inspiration and has strengthened the peasant communities in all regions of the globe.

2018 was decisive for the process of the Declaration:

  • Geneva: in April, after 6 years of negotiations, the 5th Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group of the Human Rights Council (HRC) concluded the debates on the content, finalizing the text. In September, the HRC (39th Session) adopted the Declaration by a majority vote.
  • Rome: in October, during the 45th Forum of the Global Committee for Food Security, La Via Campesina together with the Civil Society Mechanism and with the support of several countries and UN institutions, organized a political event promoting the Declaration under the framework of the Decade for Family Farming.
  • New York: in November the Declaration reached the process of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). On November 19th, the Declaration was voted and approved with a large majority by the Third Committee of UNGA, responsible for social, humanitarian and cultural matters. Lastly, UNGA’s plenary vote from today concluded the adoption process. A new stage will follow, a stage of implementation, transforming the aspirations of La Via Campesina into solutions for daily struggles of the rural society!

”This declaration is an important tool which should guarantee and realize the rights of the peasants and other working people in rural areas. We urge all states to implement the declaration in a  conscientiousness and transparent manner, guaranteeing peasants and rural communities the access to and control over land, peasant’s seeds, water and other natural resources. As peasants we need the protection and the respect for our values and our role in society to achieve food sovereignty,” said Elizabeth Mpofu, a peasant farmer from Zimbabwe and La Via Campesina General Coordinator.

As peasants all over the world, we are going to mobilize and we will join hands in our respective countries to lobby for the establishment of policies and strategies that contribute towards recognition, enforcement and accountability. Violations of our rights through land grabbing, forced evictions, gender discrimination, lack of social protection, failing rural development policies and criminalization can now, with the formal international recognition of this Declaration, be addressed with increased legal and political weight.

Peasants Rights are Human Rights!

Globalize the struggle! Globalize hope!

For more information, contact: 

Elizabeth Mpofu (English) +263 772 443 716, eliz.mpofu@gmail.com

Ramona Duminicioiu (English, French): +40 746 337 022, ramona@ecoruralis.ro

Jessie MacInnis: (English): +1 (902) 292-1040, jessiemacinnis@gmail.com

Diego Monton (Spanish):+54 9 261 561-5062, diegomonton@gmail.com

Henry Saragih (English): +62 811 655 668,: hspetani@gmail.com

Ndiakhate Fall (French): +221 77 550 89 07, fallriso@yahoo.fr

NOTES:

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What Is Left After The Ruins?: Tent City Cleared After Nonprofit Took Charge Of “Aid” Efforts

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 06:54

On December 11, 2018, in Panama City, Florida, a large tent city located in the parking lot of a church was transformed into a demolition site. Hundreds of people were left with nowhere to go, and many had all of their possessions destroyed. The eviction was overseen by UMCOR, an international relief nonprofit. Below is the story of how they mislead and manipulated the most vulnerable people in Panama City, and left hundreds worse off than before they arrived.

Coffee with Comrades

“That coffee is too weak,” one volunteer suggested. “Let’s make the next batch extra strong and combine them so it will even itself out.” We were preparing to visit the nearby tent city on the morning of December 11, 2018. The previous night, Panama City saw temperatures in the 30s, and we wanted to continue our support of the residents of the makeshift community who were housed in vehicles, tents and tarps.

While we were serving the coffee on site at Forest Park United Methodist Church, six police cars arrived.

Police talked briefly with United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) officials inside the church, then began their mobile loudspeaker warnings, telling residents they had three hours to pack up all their belongings and leave the premises or they would be arrested. The Panama City mayor backed the eviction saying, “This cannot exist.”

The tent city had sprung up about one month earlier, as families displaced by Hurricane Michael found themselves with no place to go and migrant laborers arrived in the city looking to aid the rebuilding efforts. Several weeks after the tent city’s spontaneous formation, the first representative from UMCOR arrived. UMCOR is an international nonprofit with over $100 million in assets, and is the “humanitarian relief and development arm of The United Methodist Church”. A week before the eviction, an UMCOR representative, Shawn York, made a rousing speech about being a people of faith who would resist the city’s stated intention of evicting the camp. As the days wore on, representatives of UMCOR made more promises to camp residents about helping to solve their problems, and “not just kicking you out to the curb.” However, as it became apparent on the day of the eviction, not only did UMCOR fail to resist, they actively supervised and directed the police eviction.

Confusion and Panic: A New Disaster

What had began as a calm morning sharing coffee with residents of the encampment rapidly escalated into a panic as families rushed to pack their belongings under the threat of imminent arrest.

To our dismay, the sight of panicked disaster survivors being forced into a secondary diaspora was not what troubled the UMCOR representatives–even though tents holding precious personal belongings, life-saving medications, collected food and drink and other supplies needed for surviving outdoors, new and donated by the local community, were all being bulldozed and destroyed.  What troubled UMCOR was the sight of people filming this wholesale destruction of people’s lives. People videotaping or assisting tent city residents in salvaging their belongings were one by one trespassed from the property. UMCOR then stepped up their threats of arrest, impounding vehicles (many of which doubled as people’s homes), tents, personal belongings, and tens of thousands of dollars. An UMCOR representative noted that a couple people who fit the right profile and who they thought were worthy were helped into apartments by UMCOR. But the only “help” UMCOR offered most tent city residents was a bus ride to a $10-per-night shelter in Pensacola. Those who did not accept were left two options: disperse to the margins or face arrest.

Here is just some of what we witnessed as the day wore on:

  • An elderly man slowly pushed a shopping cart, piled high with all his belongings, away from tent city. Where? He didn’t know. Just away.
  • One of us drove a man to his place of employment for the last time. Without the tent city, he couldn’t continue his job and would have to start over at a shelter in Tallahassee. Before she dropped him off, she emptied her wallet into his hands. It was everything, but it didn’t feel like enough.
  • A man suffering from dehydration, upper respiratory issues, and now heightened anxiety and panic, stood on the sidewalk. He had been delaying his needed hospital visit because he suspected that if he were to go to the hospital, by the time he got out, everything to his name would have disappeared. We helped him stow his belongings so he could be taken to the hospital, and helped him find temporary shelter afterwards.
  • A woman in crisis mode paced back and forth. After losing almost everything in Hurricane Michael, the truck and trailer was all that she and her partner had left. Their truck and trailer had been disabled since somebody tried, unsuccessfully, to steal it several days before. An UMCOR representative had promised to help repair the vehicle and ensured them that they had at least ten more days. An hour later, the same representative told the couple that their vehicle and home were minutes from being impounded. We towed the trailer and truck away ourselves.
  • A woman searched through piles of bulldozed trash, frantically looking for her diabetes medication and other important items. Her family’s van was impounded after UMCOR called a towing company to tow all the remaining vehicles and trailers.
  • Dozens of people, including a family with eight children, returned from their jobs and schools, to find their tents, clothing, and other items bulldozed into a pile of garbage.
  • A single mom, illegally evicted from her apartment in Lynn Haven after the storm, then again evicted from tent city, brought U-Haul trucks and trailers to salvage people’s belongings but was turned away and not allowed onto the property by UMCOR. Not to be moved, she is now pooling funds with other families with children to try to get everybody into apartments, even if multiple families have to share one apartment.

“We survived Hurricane Michael, just to go through another hurricane: ‘Hurricane tent city,’” one resident noted after nearly all her belongings, including sentimental items passed down from her mother, were lost in the eviction. Echoing the experiences of poor people who lived through Hurricanes Katrina, Maria and Florence, natural disasters are always followed by disasters of human design. Hurricane Michael has been no exception.

Slum Clearance as Disaster Relief

Stigma and condescension marked almost every interaction that UMCOR and the church had with tent city’s residents, despite their flowery rhetoric of “restoring dignity to the people of tent city.” Residents were not only kept from attending church on Sundays, but were reportedly required to walk around to the outer perimeter of the church, barred from going near the entrances and exits during services due to the perceived “threat” residents embodied.

Upon its arrival, UMCOR erected a tent big enough for a wedding, where they sat and waited for residents to enter and ask for help. The whispers about eviction had begun weeks before, but nobody seemed to have a full grasp on when the date was going to be and what measures UMCOR might take to help people before the final date. Although members of the church and UMCOR seemed to share a desire to help people get a move on, nobody seemed to put forward a serious effort to disseminate straightforward information. No signs were posted, and nobody spoke to the camp on a loudspeaker until three hours before the eviction. Shawn York of UMCOR embodied UMCOR’s vision of “respect and best practices” by overseeing jovial Panama City police officers employing intimidation stratagems in a tent-by-tent verbal eviction of horrified, stranded survivors and workers under threat of arrest–with three hours notice.  Even hurricane Michael gave Panama City more warning than UMCOR did.

The forcefully scattered tent city populous now suffers from further displacement and additional trauma at a time when they most desperately needed care and dignity to own their recovery. People from tent city who are still struggling with capitalism, climate catastrophe, class war and poverty still remain – now just conveniently out of sight.

To add insult to injury, one day before the surprise eviction, the Alabama-West Florida Conference of UMCOR (the branch of UMCOR in Panama City) “joyfully announced” themselves to be recipients of a $628,768 grant won in part for by their grand role in supporting the displaced residents. Although we can’t confirm any relationship between the grant and the eviction, we think that the coincidental timing only gives further credence to the idea of UMCOR as a disaster profiteer.

Disaster colonialism includes both the hard occupation by armed forces such as the US Army, National Guard, ICE, for-profit mercenary groups, and law enforcement, and the “soft” colonialism of the nonprofit industrial complex which seeks to subvert spontaneous manifestations of mutual aid and experiments in self-organized communal survival efforts. In traditional charity models, non-profit professionals insert themselves as managers and enforce a sharp separation between so called “givers” of aid and “receivers”. In Chico, California, a Walmart parking lot briefly became a space of possibility and refuge after the historic Camp Fire, only to be cleared by Walmart Bronsan security and Red Cross officials. In our eviction and theirs, the lines between nonprofit worker, private security and police were eerily blurred.

We think it is important to recognize, in this moment of pain and trauma, that setting personal limits is a crucial part of doing any kind of relief work; but we are able to do it in a way that is either responsible or irresponsible. We recognize that any church, homeless shelter, or other aid group will have limits to what they can reasonably accomplish and that they will not be able to help everyone forever. But we also witnessed firsthand as UMCOR’s abhorrence of the poor led directly to this violent eviction, which was at best irresponsible, and at worst cruel and inhumane. UMCOR’s inability to communicate effectively, their false promises, and their violent disregard for life and personal property created a crisis for hundreds of people already living in extreme poverty.

One resident from Callaway who moved to the encampment after a tree fell on their home and whose belongings were then crushed by a bulldozer during the eviction of tent city reflects, “After you go from one tragic situation to another, it tears you down…I thought they were genuinely helping people, but they were con artists…What it was made out to be, and what it actually was were two totally separate visions.”

Despair is not an Option

When our survival and the survival of our loved ones is at stake, despair is not an option. The traumas can cut deep. We often can’t fight back the tears. But the traumas don’t cut as deep as the wells within us that we tap into when we envision a better world together, a world we bring into existence in spite of (or, perhaps, because of) our broken hearts, our calloused hands, and our weary feet.

What is left after the ruins? Just our ties with one another, our shared sorrow, and the knowledge that not every seed sprouts and grows into an Oak or a Redwood or a Northwest Florida Pine. But every mighty tree once began as a seed. So we will keep planting, keep watering, learn, heal, and strategize. Power stands above, with an air of condescension and seemingly unlimited resources to destroy, Truth may forever be on the gallows, but the future is shaped from there, from below.

Still dreaming of what we will build tomorrow,

-Mutual Aid Disaster Relief

 

 

Global Compact for Migration (GCM) does not represent a change in the current offensive against migrants and refugees : La Via Campesina

At the People’s Summit for a Global Pact of Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees, held in Marrakech December 8th and 9th of 2018, hosted by La Via Campesina and its member organisations of the Middle East and North Africa (MeNa) Process, the global peasant movement and its allies have issued a scathing critique of the Global Compact on Migration and rejected it.

The Agreement on an International Pact of Solidarity and Unity Of Action For The Full Rights Of All Migrants And Refugees, issued at the summit says;

“In this summit, we have concluded that the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) does not represent a change in the anti-migrant policies and current offensive against migrants and refugees being waged by many States, especially of the North. The GCM is more of the same: migrants as cheap labour, criminalised for simply being migrants. Analysing it further, we consider the GCM a step backwards with respect to human rights and the protection of migrants and our families as established in past International Conventions approved by the United Nations and other institutions such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

While it is true that some countries have decided not to sign the GCM, this is not the result of their  is agreement with the agreement which represent a step backward regarding migrant rights. Their disagreement is motivated by a refusal of any multi-lateral engagement on migration. Those state have clearly stated their anti-migrant position. The GCM proposes to discipline and organise migration to serve the interests of States and their true owners, transnational corporations and financial capital. Other than a few apparent mentions of migrants, human rights are left beneath security concerns of states and economies.

For the above reasons, we express our public rejection of the Global Compact for Migration and place in the hands of social movements, collectives for the protection of migrants’ human rights, progressive States and civil society, our alternative that brings together the spirit, conclusions and recommendations of our Summit.”

Download the Complete Agreement

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