Support the 9 Reykjavik and COP15 Activists!

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Support the 9 Reykjavik and COP15 Activists!

Support 9 activists on trial in Reykjavik as well as spokes persons for Climate Justice Action in Copenhagen. Their protests were nonviolent, but they are still accused of violent attack. Do this on facebook now:

http://www.causes.com/causes/567523-support-the-9-reykjavik-and-cop15-activists

WHY?

The Icelandic people are the only ones so far that has been able to oust their neoliberal government by a popular movement mass protests. Interestingly from a climate justice perspective that much of the rebellion was heralded by protests against the environmentally destructive corporate projects opposed by Saving Iceland. The struggle during the escalating economic crisis became so fierce that many windows of the parliament was smashed but only property and no persons was attacked while the police used tear gas for the first time since 1949 which did not stop the escalation. The government had not much choice according to the Icelandic call out for solidarity with rvk9. (http://www.savingiceland.org/2011/01/january-12th-16th-international-week-of-solidarity-with-the-reykjavik-nine/#more-5852). Give in or call in the Danish military who waited in the outer harbour on their ships as the country is to small for having police and military resources to control its people when they are making a rebellion. The government chose to resign and for the first time in 20 year the government was not dominated by the right wing party. As such the Icelandic have set an example for the rest of Europe. The only activists charged for anything during this rebellion are the nine accused of violent attack on the parliament when in fact it was a small non-violent action which one can see as heralding later more violent attacks and thus has been singled out by the general secretary of the parliament to tell the prosecutor to do something about, directly in contradiction with the rule of separation of power in a democracy.

Climate Justice Action have confronted the neoliberal climate carbon trading regime by a mass non-violent protests at the gates of the UN summit in Copenhagen opening a space for everyone including Bolivia’s government to challenge the present development model. In both cases the charges against the activists are that they have been in different ways promoting violent attacks, in both cases this is not true.

In both cases Nordic states that before were known to have more tolerance towards protests now seems to turn into spearheads in new ways of oppressing popular movements claiming non-violence to be sentenced as if it was violence. At the same time in both cases this has gone so far that the repressive systems shows some cracks. In Copenhagen spokes persons who were preventively arrested and thus not at the spot during the non-violent action have been sentenced by the court as not guilty and the mass arrests of thousands of demonstrators declared illegal by the court. In the case of Iceland all mass media have been promoting a view of the 9 activists as violent and also many politicians from all parties. But the foreign minister have now witnessed in the court in favor of the activists, he claimed to have done the same thing in 1976 without anyone then pushing charges and the social democratic prime minister have also on facebook stated that it is somewhat odd that the first trial that takes place after the economic collapse is against 9 activists when there has been much more severe things to address, which for everyone is interpreted as the severe economic corruption that sometimes lies behind the economic collapse were some few made fortunes and many lost much of their savings in both Iceland and abroad.

So by supporting the activists in Iceland and in Denmark you can make a difference and help dismantling the repressive politics carried out by a symbiosis between mass media and politicians and strengthen democracy which can be of international importance.

Tord Björk

Support the 9 Reykjavik and COP15 Activists!

Right now a trial takes place in Reykjavik of 9 activists who protested from the parliamentary gallery against the economic policies that brought Iceland to the brink of bankruptcy. Their protest was nonviolent, but they are still accused of violent attack with a term of imprisonment of minimum 1 year or up to life. Prosecutor redefines the traditional understanding of violence and makes the practice of much civil disobedience to violence. This is a gross assault on ordinary language and common sense of justice. If the charge is recognized, will Gandhi inspirational non-violent actions be ‘violent’ and it will in future be harder to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner.

Something similar happened recently in Copenhagen during the climate summit, as spokespersons for Climate Justice Action were convicted of violence and sentenced in a lower court to four months imprisonment because they as speakers had urged demonstrators to push the police cordon.

Support the 9 activists in Reykjavik!

Revoke the imprisonment sentences for Climate Justice Action spokes persons in Copenhagen!

A video tribute to tree huggers 1730, 1971 and 2010 Bishnoi, Stockholm, Khimki and Stuttgart

Tord Björk | civil disobedience,Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

2010 we see the outburst of tree hugging activism to protect a forest close to Moscow and a park in Stuttgart against large scale infrastructure projects. Both cases have seen heavy repression and wide spread support challenging the development model and those in power.

They have their roots in strong commitments to protect trees all over the world in old times and from the very beginning of environmental activism in the 1970s. The Chipko movement in India that inspired people all over the world started among Himalayan women in 1973 and sees its roots in the acts of Bishnoi women in 1730. One of the first confrontational environmentalism was the Elms battle in Stockholm 1971. With success the action protected the trees with mass civil disobedience forcing the police to withdraw and the politicians to change their minds and decision.

As a tribute to all tree huggers here is videos on the four tree hugging movements are collected:

The Chipko movement starting in the 1970s, its inspiration from the Bishnoi women martyrs 1730 and its Southern Indian counterpart the Appiko movement: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=2014

The Elms battle in Stockholm 1971 when some thousand activists stopped the ongoing felling of the trees and being celebrated by 250 000 visiting supporters during the continued occupation of the trees until the politicians changed their decision: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=2072

The Khimki battle during the end of this decade have seen the same mobilization methods as in Western Europe but have met heavy repression against journalists challenging the corruption behind the motor way project through a forest close to Moscow. Above are people with right wing extremist symbols on their clothes attacking the environmental camp in July 2010. A collection of videos you find here: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1757
A video on the situation now:
http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1967
The press release about the founding of the Coalition ”For the forest near Moscow”:
http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1954
The call for international solidarity actions in many languages and mcuh other material at the campaign website: www.khimkibattle.org

A longer article with links on the subject: ”Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists” at http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1748

The struggle against the development project Stuttgart 21 have escalated and caused mass demonstrations with larger and larger number of partcipants, with 100 000 partcipants according to organizers as well as mass civil disobedience actins under heavy attack by the police. A collection of videos you find here: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1999

Call out for solidarity: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=2089The situation by Hanno Böck: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1990

One of the tree huggers in 1971 on her way to win the battle

Chipko tree hugger movement videos

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

The Chipko movement started in 1973 in Indian Himalaya to protect trees from being cut by hugging them making it hard for the men coming and felling the trees. It spread all over India and inspired similar tree hugger movement all over the world. It was inspired by the Bishnois and the tragic but successful struggle to protect their forest in 1730. Below there are some videos about what happened in 1730, part of a documentary with one of the main activists Sudesha Devi and the story how the movement developed, a documentary on both the Chipko and Appiko movement, the story of Chandi Prasad and on Mirabehn.

From Youtube presentation: The Bishnois are a community of nature worshippers in the state of Rajasthan, India. They also have a sizeable presence in the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat,Haryana, Punjab and Delhi. Bishnois can be called the first environmentalists of India because they have been religiously following rules of environment and wild life protection and conservation since 1485, when environmentalist saint Guru Jambeshwar made it part of the Bishnoi religion by incorporating two cardinal rules: “you shall not cut green trees”, “you shall be compassionate to all living beings”.

Unlike most Hindu communities, Bishnois bury their dead instead of cremating them. This is because of the strict prohibition on the felling of trees, the wood of which is required for cremation.

For centuries, the Bishnois have been following these rules undeterred by the trying conditions in the arid desert. By doing so, they live in perfect harmony with the environment.

(The illustration) is a painting inspired by the very brave Bishnoi ”Amrita Devi” (1730 A.D.), credited to have started the famous ”Chipko” (hindi: ”to stick together”) movement. There is also a picture of Chipko movement activists:

From Youtube presentation: A clip from Sudesha, a 1983 documentary film by Deepa Dhanraj for Faust Films.

Part of the series “As Women See It.”

An unsung heroine of the Chipko movement, Sudesha Devi is still active in the Henwalghati Valley of Tehri District, now working alongside Chipko veterans on the Beej Bachao Andolan.

The video has many stories and pictures:

From Youtube presentation: Along with the more-famed Chipko movement in North India, villagers in the South also resorted to hugging trees. Two-and-half decades ago, they used this as a means of protecting their forests. Pandurang Hegde, the leader of the Appikko movement, explains to FN what it has achieved, some 25 years later.

In the tradition of Gandhi and the Chipko movement,they used direct action to save the forests of the Western Ghats. An inspirational story of a non-violent grass-roots movement that arose in the vilages of Southern India.

In the tradition of Gandhi and the Chipko movement,they used direct action to save the forests of the Western Ghats. An inspirational story of a non-violent grass-roots movement that arose in the villages of Southern India (including a long part on the Chipko movment.)

Some pictures from the video:

CNN IBN on Chandi Prasad, grassroot Ghandian and one of the founders of the Chipko movement

A long documentary “Die Bäume umarmen” (Hug the trees) in German on Mirabehn, the follower of Gandhi from Great Britain and her struggle for the Himalayan forests.

The Battle of the Elms 1971 videos

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

The Battle of the Elms was one of the first violent environmental conflicts broadcasted world wide in 1971. After years of tearing down old buildings in the city center and youth counter culture protesting against commercialized culture and authoritarian society the plan to cut down the Elms in the very heart of the city was strongly opposed. In the night between 12 and 13th of May some thousand activists gathered to prevent the authorities that secretly had planned the felling of the trees during the night. All policemen on duty with batons, dogs and horses were sent to the spot to protect the workers. The main organization , Alternativ stad (Alternative city, today a local chapter of Friends of the Earth) behind the protests had a policy of non-violence which was the reason why so many were there. But when the chain saws started to cut into the trees some people were able to break through with some violence the police line, stop the workers and climb the trees. The police used their batons strongly at times and the horses became dangerous as their were whipped by some mounted policemen. Some very few stones and sand was thrown against the police and a crane sabotaged. When the people had occupied the trees the police ordered the workers to stop and withdraw.

The politicians continued to state that the Elms had to be cut down according to democratic rules. Earlier during the conflict the municipality of Stockholm turned the issue over to the government who confirmed the decision already made. The politicians claimed that the felling of the trees was necessary to not prolong the building of a new subway, the subway company stated this was wrong. The only thing that changed if the elms were not cut down was the size of a subway entrance hall.

250 000 participated in the many weeks of celebrations that followed the first victory. After five days the politicians gave up and decided in favor of the opponents. 70 percent was for the Elms in opinion polls and 30 percent also supported the methods used by the activists. Schools were heavily involved. The organization of pupils had promised to mobilize schools after each other in the whole Stockholm area to guard the trees for months. In fact the Battle of the Elms was a military defeat against representative democracy which went down in Swedish history as a victory for peoples democracy. During the millenium celebrations in Stockholm organized by the municipality the Battle of the Elms was a main symbol for democratization of society.

News video from 13.5

The day after public service monopoly TV including the clashes during the night. Politicians and authorities still claim that the elms have to be cut down. The police says they want to avoid serious personal damage and that they did not have enough policemen during the night for avoiding that.

More from this video:

The workers start to cut a tree. The tree is still standing today.

Trying to hold the police line

Sitting down in front of mounted police

News on the Battle of the Elms starting with aerial photos and interviewing Alternativ Stad (Alternativ City) the organisation behind the protests.

More pictures from this video

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms from 1971, part I

More pictures from this video

Signature campaign gathering 40 000 names in a few days before the action

The planned subway entrance which according to the politicians made it necessary to fell the Elms

Citizens arguing against the politicians

The head of the subway in his US car

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms, part II

More pictures from the video

Girl hurt during the action

Climbing the trees

Boy with flute in the trees

Mounted police looking up at the people he no longer can reach

Girl in the trees looking down

Worker pointing at the people in the trees

Wounded by batons in hospital

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms, part III

More pictures from the video

Organizing continued protests

Pupils from schools organized by their central organization SECO  guard the trees preparing for doing it the whole summer

Dancing

All the time music

Documentary about the Battle of the Elms, part IV

More pictures from the video

Announcing the victory under the elms

Alternativ stad cleaning up and planting new trees in the park after the actions

Women supporting the protests believing that if this battle is won other things in society also can become better

A youth perspective of the times 1965-1971 starting short with youth mods culture 1965 and then the Battle of the Elms and some clippings from the picture “Upp till kamp” – raise up and fight.

More pctures from the video

Stuttgart 21 police violence and protest videos

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010

Police violence in the park 30.9

A collection of videos from the conflict concerning a new plan for railway and city construction in Stuttgart

23.4 Demo and background with pictures and english song:

Promotion video for the project:

27.4 Banana song against S21 at Monday demo

17.5 “Oben bleiben” (Stay above) rap live at Monday demo

The same Oben bleiben rap as music video:

12.6 Demo in Stuttgart against the crisis – and a police state

24.6 “Oben bleiben” (Stay above), Jazzvideo supporting the resistance

7.8 demo

13.8 Parkpropaganda video

13.8 protest song

13.8 evening demo

14.8 civil disobedience training and 20000 demo mixed with Die letze schlacht gewinnen wir (The last battle we will win)

17.8 “Wir sind das volk” protest and back ground

19.8 protests against demolishing parts of the railway station

20.8 30000 in silent Demo

20.8 Silent march documentation

20.8 music after silent demo

20.8 Unofficial demo inside the railway station

25.8

27.8 40000 demo under the rainbow

27.8 ARD on 50000 demo after 40 weeks of demonstrations every monday

7.9 Tree house evacuated by the police

30.9 Morning, police operation against tent city

30.9 escalation in the park

30.9 water cannons against protesters in the park

30.9 Full conflict, 200 wounded

30.9 Merkel, ARD and ZDF on the S21 protests ending with the reporter comment: It is unbelievable that the protests still are peaceful (after reporting on the massive polcie violence):

30.9 Evening photos with music “Horror in the park”

1.10 One tree down:

1.10 Stuttgart 21 demo trailer

1.10 rap on 30.9 protest and police behaviour

1.10 Tagesschau

1.10 100000 demo, “Find yourself another people” placard

1.10 The day after Stuttgarter Nachricten video with links to many more videos and artcles about the conflict (in German)

Wenn the state even use teargas against pupils, what will they use against us?

We were peaceful – what were you?

We are the people – the classical slogan in front of those in power in DDR, Eastern Germany 1989.

Call for support in the struggle against Stuttgart 21

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Monday, October 4th, 2010


Dear Friends,

we, activists against “Stuttgart 21 (S21)” in Germany are asking for
your solidarity and support in our struggle to stop Europe’s “largest
infrastructure-project”, to protect our city and to achieve true democracy.

Two days ago, Thursday September 30th, the escalation began: a massive
police force – using water-canons, pepper spray and batons – pushed
aside over 10.000 peaceful protesters, who were trying to protect their
park and its trees with acts of civil disobedience, simply refusing to
get out of the way. The demonstration of state-power was shocking. Over
300 protesters were injured, some seriously, many of them
school-children, who had been participating in a students protest-march
officially scheduled for that day a long time in advance. Four people
had to have eye-surgery after being hit by the water-canon, one may
loose an eye. In the night the shredders moved in and began turning the
beautiful old trees into sawdust in front of thousands of shocked but,
strong and peaceful demonstrators. Yesterday, 100.000 (one hundred
thousand) demonstrated peacefully against this act of state violence –
the largest protest against S21 ever.

Below we give some background-information on the project. But it is
important to consider that this struggle is not just about a railway
station in a German provincial-capital.
It is about overcoming the arrogance of those in power, it is about
peoples voices being heard, it is about real democracy. And it will not
only affect people in Stuttgart or in Germany: if we stop Europe’s
“largest project” in the centre of one of its most conservative and
economically powerful corners, we can change Europe from the bottom up!

Please sign on the letter below (and attached) – asking for an end of
police-violence, a moratorium and to let the citizens of Stuttgart
decide – and send your signatures to
johanneslauterbach@gmx.net and carol.bergin@gmx.net
by Saturday 9th October.
We will deliver the letter with the list of signatories to the local,
regional and federal government and also to the media.

Please, also send messages of solidarity and support to the activists –
we will try to publish these and read them at the rallies

In solidarity
Johannes Lauterbach and Carol Bergin
Colibri e.V.

Background:

The Stuttgart 21 project is advertised as part of the “Magistrale for
Europe”, a high-speed railway line from Paris/France to
Bratislava/Slovakia. As such, it is part of the neoliberal EU agenda,
which places infrastructure in the service of corporate interests above
the interests of local communities. It involves the building of an
entirely new railway station in the centre of Stuttgart, which will be
built deep underground as a drive-through station to replace the 19th
century terminus. To achieve this
a large section of the city’s central park with hundreds of beautiful
old trees will be destroyed
one of the best working railway stations in Germany, with easy one-level
access to all trains, will be turned into a narrow tunnel, threatening
to become a bottle neck due to limitations in size of the tunnel and
forcing passengers to climb up and down long stairways
parts of the railway building – a national heritage – are being
dismantled: this destruction has already started and roused the anger of
tens of thousands of citizens
the tunnel is posing a potential threat to precious mineral-water
sources, which are located a few miles downhill
a series of tunnels will be built into sensitive geological formations,
threatening the stability of Stuttgart’s hillside, and likely going to
produce massive additional costs
Estimates calculate the resulting gain in travel time at 1-2 minutes.
But then, this project offers huge real-estate deals and
billion-Euro-contracts for tunnel-building companies – which we now know
to have close ties to decision-makers.
While billions of Euros (estimated costs officially are 4.1 billion,
critical sources estimate rather 10 billion) are lavished on this
prestige-project, urgent improvements in the local and regional railway
system – needed to help remove traffic from the roads to reduce
fuel-consumption and carbon-emissions – are being neglected in the name
of speeding up long distance-travel by a few minutes.

From the early planning stages in the nineties, this project was
opposed by a growing citizens movement. A faked citizens-participation
was offered, in which the one issue not to be discussed was, if the
project should be built at all, or if there were any alternatives.
Demands for a referendum – backed by over 60.000 signatures (more than
10% of Stuttgart’s population) – were denied by those in power. Opinion
polls show, that 54% of citizens are against the project (with only 35%
in favour). There were massive demonstrations, growing in numbers every
week. A new movement emerged: the “park-protectors” – who prepared
themselves for non-violent action with over 2.000 people having pledged
to chain themselves to the trees when the chainsaws move in.
But building permissions were pushed through and this summer the
machines started to attack the old railway building.
The authorities however, underestimated the peoples willingness to
resist. Immediately mass rallies with ten thousands of protesters took
place in addition to acts of peaceful civil disobedience, blocking the
streets for hours. Since July, people are guarding the park and the
building site around the clock, providing early warning. And an amazing
new culture has emerged in the centre of the city, with people holding
meetings in the park, sharing food and talk, joining in art-performances
and strangers having conversations in the public buses. With the state
now using massive police force against its own citizens this struggle
has reached a new dimension.

article in English about S21:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/rail-plan-could-be-terminal-for-merkels-coalition-2047321.html

further info (in German only):
http://www.kopfbahnhof-21.de

videos from protest:
blockades and police-action 30.09.10:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c17cIyO3S4Q&feature=youtube_gdata_player
killing trees 01.10.10 early morning:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goXwtSKJNqU
Demonstration 01.10.2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZgogP5jCCY

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Open letter / Offener Brief

To / an
Angela Merkel, chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Stefan Mappus, Minister-President of the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg
Wolfgang Schuster, Mayor of Stuttgart

We, active citizens, civil-society organisations and social movements
from all over the world are deeply concerned about the recent events in
the city of Stuttgart related to the controversies about the
infra-structure project „Stuttgart 21“.
We are shocked to hear that, police used water-canons, pepper-spray and
batons against citizens engaging in peaceful acts of civil disobedience
on 30th September, injuring hundreds of people, including many
school-children.
Germany has a reputation as a democratic country, which owes its
existence to active citizens taking to the streets in the face of state
oppression. We are very disturbed to hear that, in this country today
police-force is used against its own people to implement a highly
controversial project.

Given that:
– the Park “Mittlerer Schlossgarten” and its trees have a special place
in the heart of the people of Stuttgart
– opinion polls show, that over 50% of citizens in Stuttgart and
Baden-Wuerttemberg are opposed to this project
– there have been increasing numbers of reports giving evidence of
potential technical problems and uncertainties in costs, some of of
which have even reached international media attention (see article in
The Independent from 09th August 2010)
– people already have been severely injured and any further enforcement
would result in an escalation
we call upon you
– to stop the use of police-force,
– to put a moratorium on the project, and
– to let the people of Stuttgart decide

We would highly appreciate to see Germany setting an example in peaceful
and democratic conflict resolution, that is giving priority to the
concerns of citizens

(Germans trans.)
Wir, aktive Bürgerinnen und Bürger, Organisationen der Zivilgesellschaft
und soziale Bewegungen aus der ganzen Welt sind tief besorgt über die
jüngsten Ereignisse in Stuttgart bezüglich der Kontroversen um das
Infrastruktur-Projekt “Stuttgart 21”.
Wir sind schockiert zu hören, daß die Polizei Wasserwerfer,
Pfeffer-Spray und Schlagstöcke gegen Bürgerinnen und Bürger einsetzte,
die friedlich zivilen Ungehorsam ausübten und dabei hunderte Personen
verletzte, darunter viele Schulkinder.
Deutschland ist im Ruf eine Demokratie zu sein, deren Dasein aktiven
Bürgerinnen und Bürgern zu verdanken ist, die im Angesicht staatlicher
Unterdrückung auf die Straße gingen. Wir sind sehr verstört zu erfahren,
daß in diesem Land heute Polizeigewalt gegen die eigene Bevölkerung
eingesetzt wird, um ein hoch umstrittenes Projekt durchzusetzen.

In Anbetracht, dass
– der Park „Mittlerer Schlossgarten“ und seine Bäume der Stuttgarter
Bevölkerung ans Herz gewachsen sind
– Meinungsumfragen zeigen, daß 54 % der Bürgerinnen und Bürger das
Projekt ablehnen
– es eine zunehmende Anzahl von Berichten gibt, die auf mögliche
technische Schwierigkeiten und Kostenunsicherheiten hinweisen, über die
selbst in der internationalen Presse berichtet wird (s. The Independent
vom 09. August 2010)
– bereits viele Menschen schwer verletzt wurden und eine weitere
Erzwingung nur zu einer Eskalation führen würde
rufen wir Sie auf
– den Einsatz von polizeilicher Gewalt zu beenden
– ein Moratorium über das Projekt zu verhängen und
– die Bevölkerung Stuttgarts selbst entscheiden zu lassen

Wir würden es sehr begrüßen, wenn Deutschland ein Beispiel für eine
friedliche und demokratische Konfliktlösung geben würde, bei der die
Sorgen der Bevölkerung im Mittelpunkt stehen

Police violence for Stuttgart 21

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Friday, October 1st, 2010

Friday, October 1. 2010, 17:27

Massive struggles in Stuttgart when thousands are willing to protect trees from being cut down in the middle of the city to give room for profitable development. Are we seeing a new protest wave against the current exploitation in city areas were people in common create new alliances and confront the present development model? From Khimki near Moscow to the heart of Stuttgart? Here is a report from Hanno Böck:

In the City Stuttgart in Germany, a massive police operation against environmental protesters took place. More than hundred people got injured at the eviction of a local park in order to cut down trees for the construction of a new train station. There are many reports about police violence. A pupils’ demonstration took place before the event, so lots of young children got injured Also, the protest is deeply rooted in the local population, so many average citizens took part.

The project in question, Stuttgart 21, is the plan to bring Stuttgart’s main train station underground. The current railhead station is planned to be replaced by a through station. The majority of the local population is opposed to that project for various reasons. The new station has only eight tracks while the current one has 16. Before the project has even started, the costs have more than doubled, currently five billion Euros are expected – but even the governor of Baden-Württemberg, Stefan Mappus, admitted that it probably will be more than seven billion. Critics expect it to be much more.

For that, local public transport services have been cut down in the area. Various other savings in social services were done in order to finance the megaproject, for example the subsidies for pupils’ bus tickets have been cut. Stuttgart 21 is not a public transport project, it’s a public transport cut down. It is mainly an urban construction project, because it will free a large area of rail tracks. The city’s mayor Wolfgang Schuster promised a referendum after his last election if the costs of the project raise – he lied, the referendum never took place. Two years ago, environmentalists tried to enforce a referendum by collecting signatures. But it was not approved due to legal reasons – the laws for direct democracy in Baden-Württemberg are upon the worst in whole Germany.

In the park beside the station 300 trees need to be cut for the project. For that reason, activists from the envrionmental organization Robin Wood and others have built tree platforms in some of them in the past weeks. Many average people had declared in advance that they will take part on acts of civil dissobedience to protect the park and called themselves „Parkschützer“ (park protectors).

The violent operation took place on the 30th september. Thousands of policemen evicted the park with water cannons, pepper spray and police batons. In the night, about 20 trees got cut. Afterwards, the local Interior Minister Heribert Rech defended the police act by saying that the protestors had thrown stones. Some hours later he had to admit that this was a false information. Still, and despite of hundrets who got injured, he and the local governor Stefan Mappus from the CDU (conservative party) claimed the police act was completely legitimate.

Video from the occupied trees during the police action: http://bambuser.com/channel/terminal.21/broadcast/1053579
For (german) information see:
http://www.kopfbahnhof-21.de/
http://www.parkschuetzer.de/
http://www.bei-abriss-aufstand.de/

Climate Dialogue space in Cancun/COP16

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Call-out Invitation to participate in the open and independent Climate Dialogue space in Cancun/COP16

Jun 172010

From November 29 to December 10, 2010, the 16th U.N. Conference of the Parties (COP16) on Climate Change will be in Cancun, Mexico,. Many networks, organizations and movements in Mexico and Latin America, are organizing an open and inclusive, alternative and independent space, the “CLIMATE DIALOGUE”- a gathering of the voices of the peoples and the movements confronting the climate crisis; where we will holding conferences, workshops, seminars, panels, meetings, and a general exchange of experience, etc.. in addition to the demonstrations and marches. Mexican organizations will organize the physical space and logistics in Cancun along with the potential help of international organizations. We will get periodic update on the preperations of this space, which is for social movements, indigenous organizations, peasants, women, urban-groups, and for civil society in general, with a clear political stance: anti-capitalist, no political parties nor governments, no religious institutions or private companies, no to the carbon market, and no to false solutions to climate change (such as CDM or the REDD mechanisms.) While we have few political differences, the Climate Dialogue space is important to hear and honor other voices confronting the positions being negotiated between governments within the COP16 meeting.

Regardless of whether you can be physically in Cancun or not (you may consider organizing local events in your respective region or country), we are interested if you are willing to endorse and promote this call for an alternative and independent space to the official COP16 summit in Cancun. You can endorse at any organizational level; netowrks, organizations, and collectives. Groups that are willing to endorse, we are reqeusting that your group sends us the names of the networks and /or endorsing organizations, and if you are able and willing to participate in the organization and coordination work toward Cancun- name and email address of a point-person. The organizations will appear in alphabetical order. Those who can join, please send your information as soon as possible.

We are currently building a website and mailing list for articles and other information relating to the COP16 in Cancun, and all the necessary information on how to get involved and participate.

More info: http://www.dialogoclimatico.org

2nd Mexican statement towards Cancún

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Mexican flag above the World Social Fourm Tematico at Zocalo in Mexico City were the different strand of the climate movements in Mexico came together in May 2010.

(Diálogo Cambio Climático – Espacio Mexicano frente a la Crisis Climática)

August, 2010

The  Espacio Mexicano frente a la Crisis Climática[1] (ES-MEX) and the Diálogo Climático, Encuentro de las voces de los pueblos y los movimientos frente a la crisis climática[2], join together civil society and social movement actors interested in exchanging information, discussing the main topics of the climate crisis, promoting political mobilization and bringing together educational actions and others in order to spread information in face of the next (16th) Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 16), which will take place between 29th November –  10th December 2010 in Cancún, Mexico.

It is a pluralistic and open space, in which different opinions, strategies and political cultures are expressed, and at the same time it is organized based on a clear political stance for common action.

The Diálogo Climático and ES-MEX consider the creation of consensus as an open and honest process of dialogue and discussion, recognizing that there exist different initiatives and groups acting in the COP 16 process and afterwards both at a national and at an international level. The Diálogo Climático and ES-MEX are considered to be part of the Mexican social movement and therefore we invite other national and international initiatives to an open dialogue in order to establish the agreements needed to unify the national and international civil society actions. Thus we have called for the Diálogo Climático, Encuentro de las voces de los pueblos y los movimientos frente a la crisis climática, with the aim to create a platform of both the national and international civil society actors towards the COP 16, as well as of the actions organized both in Cancún and in other parts of the country and the world.

The opportunity of common actions and strategies is based on a shared political position towards the main topics and actors within the global climate crisis and as well as on the will of giving a voice to the civil society, thus putting consensus in the center. Simultaneously, a debate about topics and strategies, on which different ideas and positions exist, is favored, with the aim of deepening the analysis and the exchange of ideas and information.

OUR BASIC POSITIONS

The Diálogo Climático and ES-MEX consider climate change not only an environmental problem, but  the reflection of a global crisis with multiple dimensions: economic, social, cultural and political. The main problem is an unjust and unsustainable model of production and consumption, which has caused climate change, social inequalities, poverty, exclusion, gender inequity and environmental exploitation.

As citizens, we recognize that we are responsible for the environmental deterioration and the damage of the earth, and we assume that it is necessary to act as a consequence exerting our citizen rights. Nevertheless we put emphasis on the necessity to face the structural causes of the climate crisis which are to be found, as mentioned above, in the unsustainable model of production and consumption being the most responsible the highly industrialized economies , as it is already recognized in the  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The disastrous failure of COP 15 and the Copenhagen “agreement” show that the governments are far from making real commitments when it comes to the reduction of emissions and to the changes needed to get to the root of the problem. Therefore it is urgent and necessary to increase the power of the people and the organized civil society in order to favour a real solution to the climate crisis.

The proposal we impel is not circumscribed to actions within the ongoing international meetings, in this case COP 16, but to the creation of  local and national agendas to unite the global movement for climate justice. This implies multiple and decentralized processes which include the commitment of many organizations and movements of every state and region in Mexico and from all over the world.

We state that it is necessary to analyze, to understand, and to revive those civil society documents and declarations which came up in international events, in particular the agreement drawn up at Rio ’92 “For fair, democratic and sustainable cities, villages and settlements” and the Peoples’ Declaration about Climate Change, emanated from the Cochabamba Peoples Summit last April.

We promote the analysis of the different governmental positions and of other actors intervening in the international negotiations and debates, but we hold the view that the articulation of Mexican movements can only come from local organizations and not from international nominations. As a civil society platform we are autonomous form the government and political parties.

The organizations which promote this initiative provide their links to international organizations in order to strengthen a common platform on which Mexican organizations host a space for the global movement within the preparation process towards Cancún.

PROPOSALS OF ACTIONS TOWARDS CANCUN

We declare that we promote at least five types of strategies which will make the proposals and claims of the people and the organized civil society in the COP 16 process visible.

1.      Analysis and discussion in order to reach consent on positions and proposals towards the climate crisis by means of organizing seminars, round-table conferences, workshops etc. jointly between national and international organizations or through the initiatives of multiple actors, previously and during the COP 16.

2.      Realization of a new session of the International Climate Justice Tribunal as an international initiative which we join and consider a privileged space for Mexican and international movements to denounce their cases.

3.      Social mobilization that expresses the voice of the peoples and social movements in the streets by means of organizing protest marches, meetings, sit-ins and cultural and educational events.  The organization of an unitary march in Cancún and concerted actions at other places throughout the country and the whole world at the same time, are desirable.

4.      Joining together local, national and international organizations in order to generate a geographic space and an activity calendar spread unitarily which facilitates the diversity of proposals, opinions, strategies and actions. This implies a register of participants and self-organized events, in order to look for coverage of the basic logistic requests of the different national and international action initiatives.

5.      Information and public spreading in the media of proposals and actions that give visibility to civil society, strengthen the educational work and the local, national and international struggles by means of writing declarations, documents, press releases, communiqués etc.

We respect organizations which decide to combine advocacy and mobilization strategies (the “inside and outside” strategy) at the COP 16, but we do not accept any initiatives that declare themselves as being the sole representative of civil society.

We call for persons, organizations, networks and movements to join the creation of a strong and unitary forum towards the climate crisis by means of:

1.      Signing on to the announcement of  “Diálogo Climático, Encuentro de las voces de los pueblos y los movimientos frente a la crisis climática” and the registration of participation in Cancún, which can be found at: www.dialogoclimatico.org

2.      Registering activities to be made in Cancún, which we suggest to be concentrated between December 6th and 10th.

3.      Organization of seminars, round-table conferences, workshops and meetings in order to discuss the climate crisis and participate in the construction of a local, national and international agenda about the climate crisis, which gives way to a discussion agenda and the positioning of the Mexican and the international movement in Cancún.

4.      Contribute to the construction of a concerted action platform of civil society previously to and during Cancún.

Dicussions at WSF Tematico in Mxico City in May on Cancun

Mexican organizations:

Peasant Organizations:
Consejo Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas (CONOC)
Coordinadora Nacional Plan de Ayala (CNPA)
Asociación Mexicana de Uniones de Crédito del Sector Social (AMUCSS)
Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC)
Alianza Nacional de Agropecuaria y Pesquera, El Barzón
Movimiento Agrario Indígena Zapatista (MAIZ)
Frente Democrática Campesino de Chihuahua (FDC)
Red Mexicana de Organizaciones Campesinas Forestales (RED MOCAF)
Unión de Pueblos de Morelos (UPM)

Environmental Organizations:
Asociación Interamericana de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (AIDA)
Bio TU
Bios-Iguana, A.C.
Bionero
Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (CEMDA)
Greenpeace
Grupo de Estudios Ambientales (GEA)
Coalición de Organizaciones Mexicanas por el Derecho al Agua (COMDA)
Presencia Ciudadana Mexicana AC
Otros Mundos Chiapas- Amigos de la Tierra México
350 Org
Guardianes de los Volcanes
Marea Creciente México
Sakbe Comunicación Ambiental
Fondo para la Comunicación y la Educación Ambiental, A.C.
Red Manglar México
Caza Imagen
Red de Organizaciones Ambientalistas de Zihuatanejo (ROGAZ)
Centro de Capacitacion Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico en Energía y Sustentabilidad, A.C.  (CCIDTE)
Colectivo Ecologista de Jalisco.
Movimientos ecologistas de tabasco METAB. A.C

Organizations for Gender Justice:
Red Nacional Género y Economía
Red de Género y Medio Ambiente.
Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia, A.C.
Asociación Mexicana de Mujeres Líderes Microempresarias
Frente Cívico Netzahualcoyotl, A.C
Servicios Integrales para Mujeres Emprendedoras A.C. (SIEMBRA)
Red de Investigadoras por la Vida y la Libertad de las Mujeres
Centro de Apoyo Solidario, Documentación y Estudio A.C.
Colectivo Feminista Binacional-Baja California
Mujeres Organizadas en Pie de Lucha A.C.
Unión Campesina Democrática-Tlaxcala
Mujeres por México en Chihuahua. A.C.
Mujeres para el Dialogo  (MpD)
Red de Investigadoras por la Vida y la Libertad de las Mujeres A.C
Centro Laboral México, IAP
Colectivo de Mujeres de Sonora
Mujeres Trabajadoras Unidas, A.C.
Red de Mujeres Radialistas
Red de Mujeres Lideres por la Equidad y una Vida Libre de Violencia, A.C.
Centro de Apoyo para el Movimiento Popular de Occidente A.C.
Alianza Feminista de Nuevo León
Mujer y Medio Ambiente
Masculinidad y Políticas, A.C.

Organizations of the Urban Popular Movement, Unions and Workers Organizations:
Unión Popular Revolucionaria Emiliano Zapata (UPREZ)
Unión Popular Valle Gómez
Movimiento Urbano Popular-CND / RMALC
Patria Nueva
Comité de Lucha Popular
Barzón de la Ciudad de México.
Unión Popular Benita Galeana.
Coordinadora de Organizaciones Sociales Unión de Colonias Populares
Asamblea de Barrios Santa Maria la Ribera
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores
Asamblea de Barrios Ciudad de México
Federación de Organizaciones del Autotransporte de Turismo Similares y Conexos de la República Mexicana
Sociedad Organizada en Lucha
FUOSYC
Proyectos Populares.
Frente Auténtico del Trabajo
Unión Popular Democrática. Cancún
Cooperativa de Vivienda Digna
Fundación Valle Verde
Asociación para la Vivienda y el Bienestar Social
Taller de Comunicación Popular – UPD, Quintana Roo
Unión de Colonos Inquilinos y Solicitantes de Vivienda de Veracruz (UCISVER)
Alianza Internacional de Habitantes (AIH – México)
Asamblea de Barrios Vanguardia Ciudadana
Coordinadora Metropolitana de Movimientos Sociales
Frente Nacional del Movimiento Urbano Popular
Fuerza Ciudadana
Superbarrio Gómez
UPREZ – Benito Juárez
UPREZ – Centro
Movimiento Popular Francisco Villa
CCAT-UCAI
Central Unitaria de Trabajadores
Siervos de la Nación
Unión de Colonias Populares
Consejo de Defensa de la Vivienda
Consejo Campesino Urbano Popular Obrero
Unión de Asociaciones Civiles de Cuajimalpa
Sindicato de Trabajadores Administrativos de la Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco (STAIUJAT).

Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del Seguro Social (SNTSS) sección XXVI
Sindicato de Telefonistas de la República Mexicana (STRM) sección 80.
Sindicato Independiente Nacional de Trabajadores de la Salud (SINTS) sección Tabasco.
Comité Nacional de Estudios de la Energía (CNEE) Tabasco.

Organizations and movements against megaprojects, dams and free trade:
Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositores a la Presa la Parota (CECOP)
Alianza Mexicana por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos (AMAP)
Red Mexicana de Acción Frente al Libre Comercio (RMALC)
Red Mexicana de Afectados por la Minería (REMA)
Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (MAPDER)

Organizations from civil society and the academic field:
Centro Operacional de Vivienda y Poblamiento (COPEVI)
Colectivo ADA
Colectivo Luna Sexta
El Poder del Consumidor
Instituto Maya
Instituto Mexicano de Educación para el Consumo, A. C
Abogados Democráticos de Quintana Roo
Fundar Centro de Análisis

Foundations
Fundación Heinrich Böll Stiftung. Oficina Regional para México, Centroamérica y El Caribe

This is still opened for signatures

Thousands of Cancuns for climate justice!

Tord Björk | Uncategorized | Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Via Campesina at COP15 in Copenhagen

La Via Campesina calls on social movements and all people to mobilize around the world

Social movements from around the world are mobilizing for the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December 2010.

The COP 15 in Copenhagen demonstrated governments’ incapacity to tackle the root causes of the current climate chaos. At the very last moment, the US undemocratically pushed through the so called “Copenhagen accord”, in an attempt to move the debate out of the UN and the Kyoto promises and to favor even more voluntarily free market solutions.

The climate negotiations have turned into a huge market place. Developed countries, historically responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions are inventing all possible tricks to avoid reducing their own emissions. For example, the “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) under the Kyoto protocol allows countries to continue polluting and consuming as usual, while paying low prices supposedly so that developing countries reduce their emissions. What actually occurs is that companies profit doubly: to contaminate and to sell false solutions.

Monsanto tries to convince us that monoculture plantations of its GMO Roundup Ready soybeans qualify for carbon credits because they contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases that heat the planet by accumulating organic matter in the soil. Communities living nearby soy monoculture plantations are a living example of the mortal and destructive effects of these monocultures. Similar false arguments are used to sell carbon credits based on forest monocultures, agrofuel crops, or industrial animal production.

Many governments of developing countries, attracted by the potential profits, are betting on these false solutions and refusing to implement measures that effectively confront climate change, such as supporting sustainable peasant agriculture, orienting production towards internal markets, establishing effective energy saving policies for industry, etc.

Silvia Ribeira at Via Campesina seminar on climate and agricultural crisis during World Socila Forum tematico in Mexico City in May 20101

We demand the application of thousands of people’s solutions to climate change

It is now time for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to embark on resolute policies to contribute to solve the climate chaos. Countries need to take strong and binding commitments to radically cut gas emissions and radically change their mode of production and consumption.

Climate change also is worsening the migration crisis. The droughts, the terrible floods caused by severe storms, water contamination, soil erosion and degradation, as well as other destructive impacts of the neoliberal environmental disaster, are bringing about the displacement of thousands of people, mainly women and ruined farmers, from their rural communities and forcing them towards the cities and the North in a desperate search for the means of survival for them and their families. It is estimated that 50 million people have been forced to migrate due to the effects of climate change. These “climate displaced people” have come to swell the ranks of the more than 200 million human beings, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), that today represent the worse crisis of migration that humanity has faced.

Solutions do exist. More than 35,000 people gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia at the People Conference on Climate Change and for the Rights of Mother Earth broadening new visions and proposals to save the planet. These thousands of solutions coming from the people effectively confront the climate crisis.

We demand that the UNFCCC endorse the Cochabamba People’s Agreement proposals and to reject all false solutions being cooked up for the moment. Among them:

Defend land and forest rights: The REDD + initiative (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) should be rejected. Protecting forests and reforesting degraded forests is an obligation of all governments that should be implemented without limiting the autonomy, the rights or the control of indigenous and peasant peoples over the land and their territories, and without serving as an excuse so that other countries and corporations continue contaminating and planting tree monocultures. Territorial and cultural rights of indigenous and peasant peoples should be explicitly recognized in any climate accord.

Reject geoengineering: Large-scale proposals to deliberately alter the climate, such as biochar; genetically modified plants to supposedly increase reflectivity and resistance to drought, heat and salt; the fertilization of the ocean or the massive creation of clouds, only create new unmanageable problems, they are not solutions. Geoengineering is only one example of how transnational companies are willing to play with the future of the planet and humanity in order to create new sources profit.

Reject all carbon trading schemes and Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM): Carbon trading has proven extremely lucrative in terms of generating investor dividends, but has completely failed in reducing greenhouse gas. In the new invented “carbon market” the price of carbon keeps dropping to rock bottom, which encourages further pollution. All carbon emissions should be reduced from the source, rather than allowing payment for the right to pollute.

Reject any participation of the World Bank in the management of funds and policies related to climate change.

We need millions and millions of peasant communities and indigenous territories to feed humanity and cool the planet.

Scientific research shows that peasant and indigenous peoples could reduce current global emissions to 75% by increasing biodiversity, recuperating soil organic matter, replacing industrial meat production with small-scale diversified food production, expanding local markets, halting deforestation and practicing integrated forest management.

Peasant agriculture not only contribute positively to the carbon balance of the planet, it also gives employment to 2.8 billion people, women and men around the world, and it remains the best way to combat hunger, malnutrition and the current food crisis.

The right to land and the reclaiming for territories, food sovereignty, access to water as a common good and a human right, the right to use, conserve and exchange seeds, the de-concentration and promotion of local markets, are the indispensable conditions so that peasant and indigenous peoples continue feeding the world and cooling the planet.

Join us to organize thousands of Cancuns!

Together with diverse organizations we will set up in Cancun, during the dates of the COP 16, the Alternative Global Forum “For life, and environmental and social justice”, which will unite the force and resistance of peasant peoples of the world, who are already cooling the planet (the Agenda towards Cancun 2010 is attached).

We call on social movements, popular organizations and all people of the world to organize on December 7, 2010, thousands of protests and actions to reject the false and market-based solutions. We declare ourselves in permanent mobilization until we defeat the big market negotiations in Cancun in December.

Peasants are cooling down the planet!

Globalize the struggle!

Globalize hope!

http://viacampesina.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=941:the-people-create-thousands-of-solutions-to-confront-climate-change&catid=48:-climate-change-and-agrofuels&Itemid=75

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