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Renewable Energy is (Mostly) Green and Not Inherently Capitalist, Volume 1: Wind Power (REVISED)

By Steve Ongerth - IWW Eco Union Caucus, Revised January 16, 2024

Is renewable energy actually green? Are wind, solar, and storage infrastructure projects a climate and/or envi­ronmental solution or are they just feel-good, greenwashing, false "solutions" that either perpetuate the deep­ening climate and environmental crisis or just represent further extractivism by the capitalist class and the privileged Global North at the expense of front-line communities and the Global South? 

This document argues that, while there is no guarantee that renewable energy projects will ultimately be truly "green", there is nothing inherent in the technology itself that precludes them from being so. Ultimately the "green"-ness of the project depends on the level of rank-and-file, democratic, front-line community and working-class grassroots power with the orga­nized leverage to counter the forces that would use renewable energy to perpetuate the capitalist, colonialist, extractivist system that created the cli­mate and environmental crisis in which we find ourselves.

In‌ order to do that, we mustn't fall prey to the misconceptions and inaccuracies that paint renewable energy infrastructure projects as inherently anti-green. This series attempts to do just that. This first Volume, on utility scale wind power addresses several arguments made against it, including (but not limited to) the following misconceptions:

  • Humanity must abandon electricity completely;
  • Degrowth is the only solution;
  • New wind developments only expand overall consumption;
  • Wind power is unreliable and intermittent;
  • Wind power is just another form of "green" capitalism;
  • The extraction of resources necessary to build wind power negates any of their alleged green benefits;
  • Wind power is an extinction-level event threat to birds, bats, whales, and other wildlife (and possibly humans);
  • Only locally distributed renewable energy arrayed in microgrids should be built without any--even a small percentage--of utility scale wind developments;
  • Only nationalized and/or state-owned utility scale renewable energy developments should be built;
  • No wind power developments will be green unless we first organize a socialist revolution, because eve­rything else represents misplaced faith in capitalist market forces.

In fact, none of the above arguments are automatically true (and the majority are almost completely untrue). However, they're often repeated, sometimes ignorantly, but not too infrequently in bad faith. This document is offered as an inoculation and antidote to these misconceptions and misinformation.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Eco Socialism: The Only Way To Save Our World?

Declaration of the 1st International Meeting of Diversities and Supporters

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 18, 2023

From the 1st Meeting of Diversities in the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina, we, LVC peasants who identify ourselves as sexually and gender diverse, and our allies, want to celebrate the creation of this space. Here, we meet to exchange ideas, debate and reflect on a reality that drives us, as an international organization, to continue transforming the ways we relate to one another in order to end all the discrimination, prejudice and all forms of violence that gender non-conforming people experience.

We are certain that a new society free of all oppression on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, diverse abilities and class will only be possible when all the people who make up La Via Campesina can treat each other with respect, guaranteeing basic human rights, peasant rights, as well as the rights that have been historically denied to sexually and gender diverse persons and that aim at creating emancipated human relations.

We celebrate the diversity in our soil, waters, forests, farms, and territories. We celebrate our communities’ social and cultural diversity because it builds strength and resilience. As people who embody these diversities, we do not ask to be tolerated; this is not about pity or charity. This is about knowing that a socially diverse movement for agroecology and food sovereignty is a stronger movement and that the liberation of everyone is intertwined with the liberation of our societies.

Declaration of Solidarity and Commitment to the rights of Migrants and Refugees around the world

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 18, 2023

#18D23 On the International Day of Migrants and Refugees, La Via Campesina calls on states to ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Migrants and their Families. LVC rejects the proposed EU agreement on migration and proposes a Global Solidarity Pact for the rights of migrants and refugees.

The situation of millions of migrant people and families around the world continues to worsen. Every day, the grabbing and plundering of resources and the destruction of local economies, mainly by transnational economic powers, in addition to wars, terrorism, and environmental and climate disasters, are increasing. All of this is made worse by global capitalism and colonialism, forcing people from their territories. Authoritarian governments and international institutions are complicit, putting in place a regulatory and military structure that stigmatizes, represses, and murders those who decide to migrate at the borders. Once they reach their destination, these people (many of whom are in the agricultural sector) suffer exploitation, discrimination, and racism. In economies that take advantage of migrant labor, such as Europe or the United States, and in countries through which migration passes, the segregation and oppression these people face are made worse by policies of hate and violence against the most vulnerable. This is promoted by the extreme right and fascism, playing into the political and economic power of those who already own our planet.

La Via Campesina includes many organizations of migrants and rural waged workers. The movement continues to demand the recognition and support of both the peasants who remain and fight in their territories and those who decide to migrate to improve their lives and their communities.

Peasant Youth Unveils Vision: 5th International Youth Assembly Declaration

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 16, 2023

We have on this land all of that which makes life worth living
On this land
The lady of our land
The mother of all beginnings
And the mother of all ends
She was called Palestine

Mahmoud Darwish

We, the young peasants, convened our 5th International Assembly of the Youth Articulation of La Vía Campesina in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 1, 2023. We started our gathering by centering our sense of belonging to the land that we come from. We reaffirmed our solidarity and shared all of our love with the people of Palestine and their longstanding struggle for liberation, especially in the current context of blatant genocide, violent occupation, and the siege of Gaza by Israel. We commit to continue amplifying the message of their struggles with our communities and the general public and engage in direct and ongoing actions in support of the Palestinian people.

We gathered to address and contemplate the profound crises gripping global agriculture and food systems while sharpening our strategies, actions and solutions . We engaged in vital discussions, sharing experiences and wisdom of our people, focusing on four critical themes: the crisis of generational continuity in agriculture, climate justice and agroecology, a critical analysis of new digital technologies, and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People working in Rural Areas from a youth perspective.

Committed to advancing collective visions and proposals rooted in solidarity, internationalism, and systemic transformation, we presented our consolidated ideas at the 8th Conference of La Via Campesina. Consequently, our 5th International Youth Assembly was a landmark event to reinvigorate our strategies and commitment to the movement. As we transition from one International Coordination Committee (ICC) youth member per continent to one ICC youth member per region we further strengthen and expand our active participation with commitment to inclusivity, balance, diversity and intergenerational exchange thus strengthening our work within and from our regions thus strengthening our work within and from our regions.

VIIIth International Conference, La Via Campesina: Bogotá Declaration

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 9, 2023

More than 400 delegates of La Via Campesina, representing 185 organizations and movements in 83 countries, together with allies, are gathered in Bogotá, Colombia to celebrate our 8th International Conference from the 1st to the 8th of December of 2023.

We, the peasants, rural workers, landless, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, artisanal fisherfolk, forest dwellers, rural women, youth and diversities and other peoples who work in the countryside around the world and united within La Via Campesina, declare that “Faced with global crises, we build food sovereignty to ensure a future for humanity!” towards a just and decent food system for all, recognizing peoples’ needs, respecting nature, putting people before profit and resisting corporate capture.

The 8th Conference is happening at a time when the Colombian social movements are celebrating a major political victory, the creation of an agrarian jurisdiction, and the constitutional recognition of peasants as political subjects with rights. Our participation in the monitoring and follow-up of the peace agreement in Colombia inspires us as peasants to continue building peace worldwide.

Historical Challenges for Peasant Movements around the World

By Joao Pedro Stedile - La Via Campesina, December 6, 2023

In these two days we did a collective exercise to diagnose the situation and now we are going to debate what to do for the next 5-10 years, so I wanted to ask for your attention to bring some reflections that can help systematize common elements around the world.

We have to make an effort to understand what the global issues are, as they confront us and affect everyone.

I am going to divide my reflection into 3 chapters:

Peasants from 81 countries around the world reflect on the past 30 years and look to the future

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 5, 2023

The International Peasants movement, La Via Campesina, opened its 8th International Conference on the 3rd of December in Bogotá, Colombia. Comprised of 182 farmers’ organizations from 81 countries, La Via Campesina holds its International Conference every four years, but the 8th was held six years after the 7th Conference held in Bilbao, Spain in 2017 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the opening of the plenary session, the Youth Assembly was held on the first day, and then the Women’s, Men Against Patriarchy, and Gender Diversity assemblies were held on the second day. The 8th International Conference is scheduled to run for eight days from December, 1 to 8.

From South Korea, Kim Jung-yeol, ICC member for La Via Campesina Southeast and East Asia, Yoon Geum-soon, former ICC member for Southeast and East Asia, Kwon Oh-hyun, Vice Chair of the Korean Peasants League (KPL), Yang Ok-hee, President of the Korean Women Peasants Association (KWPA), Lee Jun-kyu, secretary general of the Goesan KPL, and Kim Ji-young, secretary general of the Jeju Daejeong-eup KWPA are participating as delegates.

The 8th International Conference will mark the 30th anniversary of La Via Campesina, which was founded in 1993, and will focus on reflecting on its progress, sharing the experiences of peasants around the world in the face of climate change, war, and other threats, and outlining the activities of La Via Campesina’s affiliated farmer organizations around the world for the next four years. In particular, the Conference will consolidate the meaning of the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Peasants on December 17th, 2018, and will focus more on the need to strengthen international solidarity for the realization of peasants’ rights and the achievement of food sovereignty.

The opening ceremony, which took place on the 3rd of December, was led by the Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations Council (CLOC), which played a key role in the preparation of the Conference. On that day, CLOC held a symbolic ceremony emphasizing solidarity, struggle, and unity, holding up signs on communication, agroecology, and land reform, and eliciting a response from the anticolonialist participants.

Food Sovereignty from the perspective of La Via Campesina

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 5, 2023

Food sovereignty is the grassroots demand for a rights-based re-organization of the food system, grounded in gender equality, agroecology, and solidarity. La Via Campesina first proposed the concept of food sovereignty in 1996, and over the last several decades, this transnational movement has been working tirelessly to deepen critical analyses of the obstacles and opportunities towards building food sovereignty.

On Monday, December 4th, the second day of the 8th International Conference of La Vía Campesina, two sessions were devoted to expanding conceptions of food sovereignty. Drawing upon the perspectives of grassroots activists from across the globe, movement leaders drew attention to the impact of transnational financial mechanisms, international institutions, and multinational corporations in creating and perpetuating a structurally inequitable food system. With clarity about the struggles of the global food system, activists shared experiences and strategies of grassroots activism, providing context for one of LVC’s slogans, which is being strongly emphasized throughout the Conference: “Globalize the struggle, globalize hope.”

Unity in Diversity: Women and Young Peasants Change the World

By staff - La Via Campesina, December 5, 2023

La Via Campesina’s 8th International Conference, held in Bogotá, Colombia, after a six-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was filled with excitement even before it opened. The conference opened on the 3rd of December, but before that, the Youth Assembly was held on the 1st of December, and the Women’s Assembly, Men Against Patriarchy meeting, and Gender Diversities meeting were held on the 2nd of December. The Men Against Patriarchy meeting and Gender Diversity meeting were held for the first time at La Via Campesina at an international conference and were a great example of how important diversity, equality, and solidarity are to the global peasant movement.

The 5th Youth Assembly, which took place on the first day, was organized under the slogans “Unity in Diversity, Young Peasants Change the World”.

First of all, Pramesh Pokharel from Nepal said, “There are a lot of social movements around the world, but I don’t think there’s one that’s as diversity-oriented as La Via Campesina. We’re here today to talk about the challenges that young people in agriculture and young peasants face in rural communities, and how young people are not able to own land. In particular, at the 5th Assembly, we will be electing youth delegates from each region to strengthen youth leadership. We will also collectively address how to design the agenda.”

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