Climate camp in Sweden

The main tent at the camp with banners against Shell plans to drill in South of Sweden.

Some 150 participants gathered the Climate Camp at Eda 50 km North of Stockholm on August 2 – 8. It was organized by Friends of the Earth Sweden and educational organizations with very broad partcipation from all strands of the climate movement as well as people’s movements representing workers, peasants, the samic people and others. People were participating from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Paraguay, Russia and Sweden. Here were many from the direct action networks as Klimax, an anarchist kitchen, Shut it down and the Nordic climate camp in the South of Sweden were some 60 people gathered in July. Here was also the climate network from the Swedish conservationist society, the transition town movement, field biologists, the anti nuclear movement, anti uranium mining activists, the new organization climate action and a number of local action groups as well as members of Friends of the Earth.

During the camp a solidarity statement was issued to support the antifascists arrested in Moscow due to the Khimki forest conflict, see:Why we need solidarity with Russian environmentalists and antifascists.

It is ten years ago since Friends of the Earth Sweden was able to organize a similar camp at Lindsberg with some 110 partcipants from all Nordic countries uniting the merging global justice movement. Since then summer camps have had not more than 35 participants and some years not been held at all.

The central camp building

As such the gathering was a traditional summer camp Swedish style out in the forest at a lake with good possibilities for swimming, walking and doing whatever you like close to nature except going to the toilet. There was a huge number of outdoor cabins fro this purpose instead. There was also possibilities to camp in tents or indoor in rather primitive houses. One of the provocative ideas coming out of the discussions at the camp was to organize next gathering in a suburb were the working class is living next time.

There was a lot of singing inspired by a workshop on the songs of the environmental movement. Most of the songs are from the 1970s and a renewal is necessary. This was done at the spot with a song against the airport which is planned to start for civilian traffic close to Uppsala. The next day an action took place in Uppsala against the plans with the help of a huge aircraft built in the camp.

A group discussion during the camp

The most heated debate at the camp was about strategy and how to translate the concept system change. Before the debate the young radicals working in the kitchen commented that the old reformists would not turn up. But this did not really become the case. In a typical Swedish manner the will was to be as concrete as possible and thus avoiding conflicts. So the main issue soon seemed to be only a question whether to be legal or not legal. Here it was easy to reach consensus. Even conservationists nowadays, at least those at the camp, can in principle say yes to civil disobedience depending on the situation. Furthermore there was a great majority or even consensus that it could include material damage as well as consensus that it could not include harming people. So the legal issue was no conflicting issue although in practice the Swedish environmental movement once strong in mass civil disobedience today is far less active.

Panel with all parliamentary parties at the camp

The other system critical issue was the question whether to work inside or outside the parliamentary system. This framing of the issue is popular among the left but something I cannot accept. A popular movement is independent and primarily not working as a negation of what tohers do but in its own merit possibly beyond both state and market. The discussion about parliamentary or not parliamentary strategies normally ends in coma by acknowledging both ways. Notably did the representative from the Norwegian climate network state that Norway was an exception as this state was completely democratic in its foundation and thus system critical non-parliamentary strategies was not necessary in this countries. This way of presenting Norwegian history was questioned by some Swedes and also the extreme belief in parliamentarism. This parliamentary approach was combined with a technocratic look at the climate issues which made the Norwegian position at the camp very isolated.

Kitchen crew with T-shirt stating Kein sex mit nazis, No sex with nazis.

The most interesting challenge in the discussion came from the Anarchist kitchen crew that stated that Friends of the Earth Sweden was not system critical as it is not opposing capitalism. As a notion that system critical must go beyond the division between economy and politics in our society and address the foundations of economy this was interesting. The fact that FoE Sweden only states that it is against neoliberalism while being reluctant to state that it is against capitalism could be seen as a proof that ti cannot justify stating that it is a system critical organization.

The answer partly stated in the discussion is that it depends on Whether system critical primarily is defined ideologically or what an organization is doing in practice. Furthermore it is a question whether capitalism is the only major criteria behind the present system or if there can be other factors too behind a development model that is causing both environmental and social crisis. In practice FoE sweden is more radical than most anticapitalist organization by addressing wider class alliances against what cab be described as both capitalist but also state centric development models.

Carmen Blanco Valer, quecha Indian, former metal worker and chair of Latin America Groups in Sweden, now at Färnebo Peoples High School discussing a climate justice network in Sweden and having next years camp in a suburb.

This was shown during the camp were peasants, Samic people and environmentalists came together to start mobilization for food sovereignty and a new model for agriculture and forestry. The main trend at the camp was in the spirit of Climate Justice Now with the help of Simone Lovera from Paraguay and System Change not climate change with the help of Matilde Kaalund from Klimaforum in Denmark. Klimaforum have not turned into a network for sustainable transition which inspired to make some similar initiative in Sweden.

There was also a debate with all the parliamentary parties as well as the Feminist Initiative. The Center party once close ally with the environmental movement was the most criticized in the panel.

The camp ended with energy strategy discussions and organizing coming actions against uranium mining.

White and grey haired antiuranium mine actvists from North of Sweden speaking with activists from Åland, a filmmaker and Gunnar Olesen from INfoRSE.

Google translated program you see below, (from the climate camp website

Monday, August 2

During the day in Eda:

The campaign Meatfree Monday quiz about food, environmental and human
rights. Before dinner the answers are looked through – the winners get
great prizes!

Bicycle Workshop – learn how tinkering with the bike, Part 1!

9:00 to 11:00 bike parade to the camp from Uppsala Central Station

Reports outside the entrance to the old station building. Do you not have
your own bike? Contact us and we will get one!

11.00-12 Opening including Staffan Lindberg!

Bolivian ambassador in the climate negotiation panel

Niclas Hällström presenting the failed negotiations and the hopeful Cochabamba climate meeting in Bolivia. Niclas have followed the negotiations oin behalf of the Swedish Conservation Society.

13:30 to 14:30 from Copenhagen via Cochabamba on the road to Mexico?

Climate negotiations in Copenhagen in which many world leaders were
unsuccessful. But Bolivia called for a climate for both governments and the
social movements and activists came several constructive proposals for
climate justice forward. How will the formal process to move forward? Will
the false solutions remain?

Simone Lovera, Paraguay, Global Forest Coalition and active in the Climate Justice
Now network
Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth Sweden
Niclas Hällström, What Next
Bolivian ambassador

Azril Bacal translating for the Bolivian ambassador. The ambassdor seemed at ease at the camp except when coming out from the outdoor toilet

15-18.00 System Change not Climate Change!

That was the slogan that emerged most clearly in Copenhagen, for example,
at demonstrations and on Klimaforum. But what do the movements mean when
they say system change? Criticism of neoliberalism, energy conversion,
leaving the fossil fuels in the ground? Opening panel discussion on how we
can move forward after Copenhagen and Cochabamba, locally and globally.
After group discussions on various themes and assembly.

Follow-up Klimaforum in Copenhagen
International Action Day October 12
Referendum from Cochabamba in October / November
Greenhouse Development Rights – a model for climate justice?

Local activism against fossil project with Heaven or sHell
The oil company Shell have done test drilling for natural gas in southern
Sweden, with the idea of extracting fossil gas commercially. Local people
rage, and warns of the effects on water, landscape, human health. Come and
learn more about how to organize themselves and how much resistance can be

Azril Bacal, Uppsala Social Forum
Carmen Blanco Valera, Latin American teams
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition and active in the Climate Justice
Mathilde Kaalund, Klimaforum
Johanne Linster, Network Heaven or sHell
Anna Frost, the Swedish Church’s youth
Per Capercaillie, active in the Network Shut It Down

The panel from the left, Carmen Blanco Valer, Azril Bacal, Ellie Cijvat, Simone Lovera, Anna Frost, Matilde Kaalund, Johanne Linster, and Per Capercaillie.

18:00 Awards Ceremony Meatfree Monday-quiz

19:30 to 20:30 Workshop Meatfree Monday

Our great demand for meat is one of the biggest causes of many of our most
serious environmental problems and the greatest threat to world food
supply. During this workshop we talk about these issues, but focuses mainly
on how to get involved in meat production will decrease.

Per-Anders Jande
Jonas Paulsson

19:30 to 20:30 Climate justice how? – Graffiti fence / wall Journal

Workshop to begin to make a graffiti fence for climate camp.
Kajsa Grebäck, Studiefrämjandet

20:30 Short films about climate

Two short films with discussion. Filmmakers from the course at Färnebo
Folkhögskola Branch in Gothenburg.
Henry Jackson, the course “Climate change and – with the film as a tool”

Tuesday, August 3

9:00 to 10:30 People’s Movement for Change

How does today’s social movements, they are left at all? Through time,
popular movements are always pushing forward social change. But do they
have a future? What is today’s and tomorrow’s biggest challenges?
Representatives of various movements emerge with different perspectives on

Torgny Östling, Via Campesina Sweden
Carmen Blanco Valera, Latin American Groups
Leif Mettävainio, GS – The union for the forestry, wood and graphic
Malin Hammar, Democratic Alternative
Jenny Gustavsson, active in the Nordic Climate Action Camp
Moderator Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth

9:30 to 10:30 Action Planning

Planning for Wednesday’s celebration in Uppsala.
Cast: climax

10:30 to 12:00 What about energy?

The potential for energy efficiency is enormous. Many municipalities have
long had great plans to reduce energy waste, but how do you achieve these?
Would energy conversion could be faster and, if so, why does it not?
Introduction of energy efficiency then examples from Knivsta Municipality
has been identified as a good example.

Hans Nilsson, international energy advisor, Four Fact
Christina Nystrom, operations controller and investigators Knivsta

Urban and rural farming interested audience

11-13.00 Guerilla gardening

Workshop with network growth from Stockholm, on how we can cultivate our

13:30 to 14:30 Nature Tours in the climate issue with Closenatureguuides

Gustav Jilker from the Samic nation

14-18.00 Can small farmers cool the planet?

Is it true that a small-scale farming can take advantage of renewable
energy, bring back the business and take advantage of ecosystem services in
a sustainable way? How do we present the global measurement system so that
small farmers benefit rather than be discouraged? A global sustainable
agriculture should be linked to issues of food sovereignty and rural
habitats. Is urban farming an option? How can we, as social movements
operate in a fair and democratic transition to a climate-agriculture?

Group discussions on:

To take advantage of renewable energy, bring back the business and
take advantage of ecosystem services in a sustainable manner.
food sovereignty in the North and South – How do we proceed?
Town Growing and peri-urban farming – what are the benefits? City
Farmer tell of their experiences and projects.
Torgny Ostling, Via Campesina Sweden
Åke Karlsson, Small farmers
Lennart Kjörling, MST support group
Gunnar Rundgren, international consultant organic farming etc..
Kristina Belfrage, researchers at CLU, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture
at SLU
Ylva Andersson and Marina Queiroz, Matparken Gottsunda
Christer Pettersson, Winter Bay Garden
Moderator Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth

Farming panel from the left, Torgny Östling, Gustaf Jillker, Christer Pettersson, Gunnar Rundgren, Marina Queiroz, Kristina Belfrage, Åke Karlsson, and Lennart Kjörling. In front Ellie Cijvat.

20-21.30 Environmental Movement’s songs!

What has been sung and sung in the environmental movement from 60/70-tal to
the present day?
When you sing? How did the songs come to? We tell and sing together.
Louise Pettersson leads. Please bring your songs and tell or tell Louise
(louise.pettersson (at) in advance. Do you have instruments:
bring it gets funnier!

You find at lots of envrionmental songs gathered by Louise at Miljörörelsens sånger, ablog with embedded videos and more.

Wednesday, August 4

9:00 to 10:30 Workshop Banner Drop

Theoretically and practically climbing on a building and hanging banners.

9-12 Prosperity without Growth

How do we solve the economy and welfare crises? What options exist for the
current growth-based market economy? Talk about welfare policies for
growth, but experience and ideas on how the question can be written into
the broader political scene.

Annika Lillemets, MP Parliamentary Candidate
Kajsa Pornainen, President Social democratic-students
Håkan Sundberg, Common Welfare and Attac

10:30 to 12:00 Guided Nature of growth with Närnaturguiderna

15:00 Markets Meeting in Uppsala

Music, speeches and street theater to the planned low-cost place (planned
for the week).

15:00 to 16:30 Nature Tours for those who stay on Eda

20:00 Fest!

On the scene:
Climatic climax reggae!
Clara Lindsjö!
Lissi Dancefloor Disaster!

Later: Instrumental improvisation with Andrew & co in the alcohol-free bar.

Ideological evening corner

Thursday, August 5

During the day at Eda:

Bicycle Workshop – learn how tinkering with the bike, Part 2!

9-11.00 Vision of the Climate Justice Town

How can a climate fair city look like and how we work to realize it?
Introductions of alternative urban plans, the car as the norm in the city
and the social aspects of the city and public transport. After two or three
groups of deepening and discussion.

Per Hulthén, Nature Conservation
Karin Sandqvist, researchers
Mr Zampa,

11:00 to 12:30 A strategy to stop the Bypass high way Stockholm
Introduction of the situation around the road project Bypass Stockholm and
the referendum as a possible strategy and how young people can be more
involved. Then work in groups, each with a strategic plan. Ends with common

Lars Igeland, Friends of the Earth
John Ottosson, Climate Action
Catherine Bergstrom, Field Biologists

10-12.00 Forum Games.

How can we break the internal and external oppression? Forum Games
discussion as a Brazilian and has spread worldwide. In the game getaltas
current problems and solutions. You may use the body, heart and brain.
Kajsa Bilius is director and drama teacher from Vang has also committed to
justice and the surrounding environment.
14-16.00 Conversion Sweden.

Why do we ask for and how can we work locally to do it? Presentation of the
International Transition movement and exchange of experiences between local
conversion groups in Sweden.

January Forsmark, Sweden, Sala Conversion
Anders Persson, Sweden and shift Söderhamn
Bjorn Lind Bergson, Conversion Group in Sigtuna

16-18.00 How to work with social media?

Workshop with

19:30 to 21:00 Just in time for fun

Gunlög Rosen has a humorous and thought-provoking idea of cultural
encounters and cultural clashes, Swedish and conventions, common sense and
our human behavior.

20:30 to 21:30 Non-alcoholic bar and music

Anders Persson and Stefan Stenmark play and sing.

Late evening corner

Friday, August 6

9-10.30 The food and the environment – with a focus on food

450 million of the billion people who are short of food in the world are
farm workers. It is not enough to buy local, organic or fair to change the
balance of power. There is union work across national borders in the global
business. There is less market, more democracy and more focus on the daily
basis to ensure that we have food on the table.

Gunnar Brulin and Malin Klingzell-Brulin, Journal of Food Workers’ Union
Case and the Mediterranean, up to date with the book Food for Thought

10:30 to 12:00 Climate, gender and power.

It is the poorest who suffer most from a warmer climate. A majority of them
are girls and women. Environmental movement needs a gender perspective? How
can the fight against climate change combined with the struggle for greater

Lisa Gålmark; writer and debater
Gerd Johnsson-Latham, Deputy Director
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition
Kajsa Lindqvist, Friends of the Earth

Simone Lovera criticizing neoliberalism at the camp

13:30 to 15:00 The world’s forests is more than sinks!

The rain forest is important for the climate and deforestation is a
significant factor in global emissions. But the rain forest become a
commodity on the stock market climate? How does it affect the origin and
forest people? Borealskogen is not as controversial as a carbon sink, but
it contains large amounts of carbon. What is happening to the climate
change track?

Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition
Amanda Tas, Protect Forests

14-15.00 Nuclear fuel chain

Is nuclear power is carbon neutral? How does nuclear power in Sweden and
other countries’ environmental security? And what happens to the waste is?

Miles Goldstick, Environmental Movement’s Nuclear Waste Secretariat (MILK)

3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Can we cope with climate without nuclear power?

Interview with Tomas Kåberger director general of the Energy Agency.

19-20.00 Nuclear power a threat to world peace!

Kerstin Grebäck, International President of the International Women’s League
for Peace and Freedom.

20:00 to 21:30 Inside or outside the system – how do we work?

Should we violate society’s laws fossils? Or cooperate with Vattenfall’s
CEO? There are all shades between conflict and dialogue, nothing is black
and white. A conversation about ethics, method and strategy in the fight
for climate justice.

Jennie Gustafsson, active in the Nordic Climate Action Camp
Per Capercaillie, active in the Shut It Down
Ellie Cijvat, Friends of the Earth
et al.

20:10 to 20:50 Hiroshima Day – a musical exposé on nuclear power, etc.

With My Leffler and Vimmelii

21:00 Open Stage

Welcome to behave with poetry, songs, theatrical or otherwise.

Jan Wiklund, long time Friends of the Earth/Alternative City Stockholm activist presenting his book Carriers of Democracy on the history of global people’s movements the last 2 500 years at open space.

Saturday, August 7

9-9.45 What does climate justice? – For the world, Sweden and locally

Introduction to morning programs on the conversion points for climate

Tomas Björnsson, Nature Conservation

10-12.00 A great and Democratic Transition to Renewable Energy in Europe –
how does it look?

Presentation Of The Friends of the Earth Europe and the Stockholm
Environment Institute study “The 40% Study – Mobilising Europe to Achieve
Climate Justice”, the INFORSE Scenario for Energy Transition in Europe and
a scenario on energy transition in Sweden. (In English with translation
into Swedish)

Silva Herrman, Global 2000 (Austria FOE)
Goran Bryntse, SERO Swedish Federation of Renewable Energy Association
Gunnar Boye Olesen, OVE and INFORSE Europe

10-12.00 Sustainable solutions in Europe

What is being done and how people have been ways to succeed? What are the
success factors? Ispirerande examples of innovative solutions, bicycle,
car-free cities, passive areas, lerhusbyar. If eco-villages, regions and
islands that produce their own energy by including wind, solar and
fjärrvärmekopperativ parks. If the exciting new climate movement and new
economic models.

Henrik Andersson, freelance journalist

13:00 to 14:00 Vattenfall on climate and energy

About Vattenfall’s investments in new nuclear, coal, carbon storage and
renewable energy. Hearing with Jesse Fahlestock from Vattenfall.

14-15.30 Politicians Debate – 4 weeks before the election!

16-18.00 Open forum – how do we proceed?

What happened during the camp? How can we move forward with the issues
discussed? How can we collaborate between organizations and groups? How we
take care of the initiatives and ideas that come up?

Open Space is a meeting format that makes it easier for participants to set
their own agenda. Meeting Manager is Kate Grebäck from Rainey.

20:00 Fest!

On the scene:
Markus Berjlund!
Rotor club!
Alcohol free bar!

Niclas Hällström sad after coming from UN climate negotiations in Bonn, glad to be back in the camp again.

Sunday, August 8
9-10.30 Climate Justice – by popular movements or experts?

The climate debate at scientists and other experts, a major role. Climate
models will be explained and percentages calculated. Ordinary people are
struggling to keep up with, while a broad business climate needed for the
conversion to take off. But there is a conflict between experts and public

Kajsa Grebäck, Nature Conservation’s Climate Network
Monica Sundström, Friends of the Earth
Jonathan Korsør, Democratic Alternative, etc.

(This point on  the agenda was cancelled in  favour of energy discussions. The issue had partly been covered by the discussion on strategy for climate justice.)

Russian Eco defence activists chatting with Göran Bryntse, chairman of Peoples Campaign against Nuclear power and Nuclear weapons

9:00 to 10:30 Nordic Exchange on Energy

Presentations from Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden on the situation of
the Transition to Renewable Energy – Opportunities, Obstacle & the Role of
Civil Society Organization. Discussion on Possibilities for joint action.
(In English with translation into Swedish)

10.30-12 Uranium mining in Sweden

Is it to break the current uranium in Sweden and other Nordic countries?
Exploration of multiple directions and opposition groups have been created.
Filmmaker Clara Sager Maliani showing clips from his current film project
on uranium resistance in Sweden. Then call and experience exchange with
uranmotståndesgrupper from different parts of Sweden.

Elsa Berglund, Friends of the Earth
Clear Sager Maliani, film producer
Diana Fernlund, Oviken Jämtland

Closing cermony

12:30 to 13:00 Closing!

The end

ESF-6 Istanbul 1-4th July 2010 Final Assembly of Social Movements

ASM – Assembly of Social Movements

ISTANBUL 1-4th  JULY 2010

(Notes taken, documents organized by Mariangela Casalucci and Elettra Anghelinas)

The final Assembly has been divided in two parts:

10 – 11.40        Information about the ESF, presentation of final declaration  and debate
11.40 – 13.00  Outcome from thematic assemblies and debate

It was significant to have an ESF in Istanbul, 3000 people participation, 200 meetings between workshops, seminars and assemblies and a very successful demo with more than 5000 people participating
We have held this ESF in the framework of the crisis. There were a lot of seminars and workshops focusing on this. All seminars have brought similarities and differences.
What is clear is that we want to work together and go further together without letting anybody destroying the wish of networking mobilizations all around Europe.
So we are here together to find spaces to coordinate our effort to struggle against the attack we are facing. There will be concrete actions and in the framework of the ESF we are going to join our forces

Final declaration

From the Final Assembly of the 6th European Social Forum
1- 4th July 2010
We, the participants at the Istanbul ESF, affirming that we have a strong  engagement against all war and occupation  and that we are for a political resolution of the Kurdish issue, have made the following resolution :
Act together in Europe against the crisis
In the context of a global crisis and faced with the EU, the governments and the IMF offensive to impose austerity and social regression policies, the social movements which have gathered in the ESF in Istanbul issue a call to act together in Europe.
Mobilisations and resistance movements are developing across Europe to challenge these policies. It is urgent to build, on the long term, a convergent struggle in Europe, which brings together social movements, trade unions, associations, organisations, and citizen networks. This is why we issue a call for a first step on the way to developing mobilisation across Europe, on the 29th of September and the surrounding days.
We must impose alternative policies, which enable us to fulfil social needs and ecological requirements.
All social movements call for a European assembly on the 23-24th of October (or 13-14th of November) in Paris to further our mobilisation and the coordination of our movements and also to make valuation and discuss the future of the ESF.

Outcome of the thematic assemblies and networks
held in the frame of the European Social Forum on the 3rd of July 2010
(please notice that the summaries are followed by the final declarations of each assembly in which are listed all the calls, the proposals and the appointments for the following months)

We are the people, women and men participating to workshops, seminars, assemblies and networks in the European Social Forum in Istanbul, 1st – 4th July 2010 and we call on social movements to participate and networking for the concrete actions which were discussed, proposed and now listed in the final declarations of the assemblies at the forum

Assembly on Freedom of movement, right to stay

We, the people and activist groups participating in the workshops, seminars and actions organized by the Migrant Network call on fighting for the freedom of movement and the right to stay. We call on movements, organizations, individuals all over Europe in order to struggle against the murderous European border regime in which Frontex is the driving force and for the closure of all detention centers.
We call on movements, organizations individuals all over Europe to support the struggles of workers focusing on the ones without papers and rights and to fight against the racism and the precarization and exploitation of migrants, increased in the context of the global economic crisis.
We support all the campaigns, initiatives and struggles and we call on people here on continuing and strengthening networking and proceed in common transnational struggles.

Antirepression network

We, the people involved in the initiatives of the antirepression network believe that the repression issue will be of much bigger importance in the near future because of the crisis and the social struggles emerging from this crisis. Intensify and special measures will be taken against those who right for their rights, their social security and diversity. Despite our different political opinions we call on the release of all the political prisoners, the closure of the black lists and any other measure of the global war against terror. We claim to shut down all the migrants’ detention camps and any kind of guantanamos.

Climate justice Network

We from climate and social justice movements who gathered at the European Social Forum in Istanbul call for system change not climate change for a just transition towards a good life for all. Social and ecological justice, do not contradict each other. They are and have to be complementary. We are calling for a just transition in the way we work, in the structures of production and consumption.  We need to expand community-controlled renewable energies, food sovereignty as well as public services. This would create millions of socially and ecologically useful jobs.
We in Europe are only now starting on the road towards climate justice, creating and resisting in many different ways, such as direct action, the building of local alternatives, civil disobedience or public campaigning to name a few. We call upon social movements, trade unions and civil society in Europe to engage in the struggle for a good life for all.

Education Assembly Rise up! An other answer to the crisis is possible: Public Education

We, people of the public education, gathered in Istanbul for the sixth European Social Forum call for a period of mobilization next autumn
We want to use  the 29th  of September, a day of demonstration and trade union actions across every country of Europe and the surrounding dates, to extend the mobilization and  to act together in Europe on our platform.
During this period, from the end of September to the beginning October, we call for mobilizations,  strikes, demonstrations and actions all around Europe to reaffirm the right to free public education for everybody and to defend and increase  workers and unions rights on the basis of our platform.

War and peace Assembly

The war and peace assembly denounces that at a time of economic crisis, European states are increasing their military budgets and trade of weapons. The European Union  is not the “soft power” it meant to be. To protect peace and social needs, we call peace and antiwar movements to join the trade unions protest on the 29th of September and the Week of Action against the NATO summit of 15-21 November 2010 in Lisbon.  We call for an immediate end of the war in Afghanistan and we will mobilize for the tragic anniversary of the invasion on October 8-9. The assembly strongly supports the mobilization of Kurdish and Turkish movements for a peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish issue, and endorses the Palestinian civil society call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with Palestinian rights based on international law. There is no military way out of these conflict. We  support the demilitarization of Cyprus, the whole Caucasus and we stand in solidarity with the Iraqi civil society that is struggling to protect its people. All these causes and campaigns will be celebrated in the International Day of Peace, 21 September, and in the Thematic Social Forum for a Culture of Peace in Santiago de Compostela on 9-12 December.

Assembly on Labour

We call for support workers and TU in Turkey who are struggling for their rights against the severe oppression by the government and the huge attack of the transnational companies, information campaign all over Europe in order to strength unity and solidarity and prevent workers from being played out against each other; support across Europe the workers struggle against austerity programs and attacks on wages, working conditions, pensions and social programs; debate in European TU and social movements about how to adopt more aggressive initiative and strength the international prospective and coordination; the demonstrations planned for the 29th of September and surrounding days should be organized as European events in Brussels and general strikes where possible

Assembly “Solidarity of the East and the West

With regard to the upcoming European mobilisations it was said that it is preferable to develop simultaneous activities against crises, poverty, unemployment in many countries during the time of the big demonstration on 29th September in Brussels. The slogan ”Human beings are more important than banks” was suggested as well as the integration of our struggle against racism and xenophobia.
The open All-European Mobilizing Committee should support the co-operation and participation of CEE movements for the next EPAs and ESF, based upon the good experience with frequent Skype conferences.
The open-esf website should be renewed and continued with a better balanced participation of women and of CEE movements.
Everyone is invited to participate in the network “Prague Spring II” and to integrate other issues into its work, e.g. women’s issues, sustainability or social issues.
The next ESF should take place either in a CEE country or in one of the neighbouring countries like Austria.

Antimperialist Assembly (see the final declaration in the following part)

Final declarations
of the thematic Assemblies
held in Istanbul
on the 3rd of July 2010
VI European Social Forum

•    Education Assembly
Rise up! An other answer to the crisis is possible: Public Education

•    Migrants Assembly
“The freedom to move, the right to stay”

•    Assembly
“Solidarity of the East and the West”

•    From the network Climate justice
“System change, not climate change! A just transition towards a good life for all”

•    Assembly
“Peace and War”

•    Assembly on Labour

•    Antimperialist Assembly

ESF-6: Rise up! Another answer to the crisis is possible: Public Education

Tord Björk | education,ESF,Uncategorized | Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Assembly  Education
6th ESF Istanbul, 3rd  July 2010

Student activists from Istanbul at seminar during ESF

We, people of the public education, gathered in Istanbul for the sixth European Social Forum call for a period of mobilization next autumn

We want to use  the 29th  of September, a day of demonstration and trade union actions across every country of Europe and the surrounding dates ,to extend the mobilization and  to act together in Europe on our platform.

During this period, from the end of September to the beginning October,
we call for mobilizations,  strikes, demonstrations and actions all around Europe to reaffirm the right to free public education for everybody and to defend and increase  workers rights on the basis of the platform below.

We will  continue supporting, during the following two years, national demonstrations and counter summit against the European education ministers summits, as we did last May in Madrid.

We will organize  meetings in several european cities in order to involve more and more people,  in order to share our experiences and connect our struggles against neoliberal policies, we will actively approach students and workers organizations involved in the education struggles to participate in these meetings ;we will therefore issue a call for participating in the next meeting of education.

The crisis must be paid by those who caused it !

Our governments are using the crisis  to cancel all the workers rights obtained  by the movements in the last 100 years and to decrease salaries and pensions.
They are using the diktat of IMF and EU to approve  anti crisis measures paid only by workers (like in Greece , in Italy, Portugal, Spain ,France…) one of the solutions is to tax speculators. They have to pay the crisis!

Stop cuts of public spending in education, stop reduction of the curricula and  cuts to school time,  classes and subjects, stop privatization and  co modification of education systems:
we struggle for more investments in public education , for free education and research;
we struggle  to stop the casualization of  school workers in order to provide a better quality of education for everybody.

Stop the introduction of  evaluation tests based on skills determined by the market, stop teaching for competences oriented by the market:
we struggle for the right to free, secular, quality education , for the right to critical thinking, for the right, for every human being to have a full access to knowledge, and to become an aware and active citizen , to have equal rights for genders and not to have a patriarchal perspective of education.
We struggle for the right to education in one’s own tongue.

We support the Word Education Forum , in Santiago de Compostella from 10th to 13th December together with the WSF in Dakar and we’ll support the  World Education Forum in Palestine,  from 28th to 31st  October and we will work in order to organize there activities together with our Palestinian friends.

The Fall of the Bella Wall: Power Reclaimed

The invisible wall in our minds was going to fall. The wall between between the unprivileged and privileged humans must fall. Together with the wall between humankind and the larger living world they all fell on the 16th of December 2009. The wall of beautiful power, the Bella wall, came crumbling down when the people decided to lead towards a People’s Assembly at the Bella center of the World. The leaders of networks and organizations had to follow. Heads of states and the so called world leaders have to follow. Climate Justice is the cause. System change – not climate change the idea of how to achieve the goal. The People’s Assembly the goal and the starting point to tear down the wall between people and power liberating in one act both people inside and outside the parliamentary assemblies reuniting our bodies with our heads, and people with nature.

Reaching Tårnby square from the back it seemed already full of police attempting at arresting everybody. Photos by Tord Björk Creative Commons in this post unless otherwise stated.

We  started at Tårnby railway station in cold windy winter weather. I had locals guiding me on bike so we easily could move quick wherever we wanted strolling along the Bella center fences before we finally reached the place where the blue block were suppose to gather.

FoE Sweden activist in the midst of the wind and the crowd at Tårnby square

Classical finger tactics were supposed to be used. The idea behind this is to allow for some diversity of tactics so people can choose what degree of confrontation they like to be part of. As the whole Reclaim power action had agreed to strict non-violence code of conduct including not responding to violence from the police the room for diversity of tactics was quite small. As the Danish police had shown that it was prepared to use the new laws against peaceful non-violent protests arbitrary far beyond what can be sustained if the state wants to maintain order and democracy in the long run it was quite clear that the whole Reclaim power mass action could end in complete failure.

Map of Southern and Central Copenhagen with Tårnby at the exclamation on a red triangle at the bottom. The blue bloc was supposed to march via the yellow road to the North and then take a bend to the left to end at the gate of the Bella center, here marked as a volcano. Here people from the inside together with people pushing from the outside should create a space for a People’s Assembly for climate justice. After the Assembly a march could go back to the inner city on the West side of the Amager Fælled, the Amager Commons. Örestad, the gathering point for the green bloc is situated at the railway and motorway straight South of Bella Center.

The Blue block had applied and received a permit to march towards the Bella Center from Tårnby square, the green bloc were suppose to converge at Örestad railway station and then find their way to the same goal. Smaller affinity groups would find their own way. Our goal was to organize a People’s Assembly by somehow get into the Bella center area or at least after pushing as much as possible make the assembly at the fence together with people coming from the inside walking out.

Peasants from all over the world organized in La Via Campesina

The political core of the action was global mass movements with many representatives from the third world. In the last call-out for the Reclaim Power action it is stated: “The assembly will give a voice to those who are not being heard, it will be an opportunity to change the agenda, to discuss the real solutions, to send a clear message to the world calling for climate justice.”

People gathering at Tårnby under Jubilee South and Via Campesina flags

Originally there had been a bigger emphasis on voices from the third world. In the minutes from the Climate Justice Action meeting in June 2009 were the Reclaim Power action was decided it is stated about December 16: “On this day, the regular summit programme would be impossible. It would be the hour of the movements from below, who would speak for themselves and  decide the agenda. In particular, the voices of those affected by climate change from the Global South would have a forum.”

A very young disciplined Latin European bloc at the end ready to march at Tårnby in as good mood as everyone else.

The change from focus on being supporters particularly for voices from the South to only speak in general terms of all voices who have not been heard was a good move. Unprivileged people are everywhere and certainly among the many young activists that formed the back bone of the Reclaim Power action. The representatives from third world countries made the action strongly legitimate being able to manifest the interest of billions of people all over the world.

The mood was very good. The cause was rightful. The participants well prepared and willing to interact with whoever turned up. Everywhere there was a smile to find, a laughter to get, people willing to make humor married to politics so even the police could not resist from getting influenced.

To annoy us lobbyists for profitable climate solutions entered the scene making propaganda for the only realistic solutions.

Obviously they had a nice time in elegant white clothes, cocktails glasses in their hands, grapes to eat and posters like messages in a silent movie presenting the solutions to the world, Africa stop whining! Bangladesh buy rubber boots! or more to the point: STOP GLOBAL WHINING! But global wine drinking for all the rich is of course not to be stopped, on the contrary it is to be supported as we all know that when some get rich also some drops of wealth also will also drop on the impoverished, oh I am sorry, the poor. There is no end to the creativity of the rich and powerful entrepreneurs. They can at the same time both make all inventions necessary and write all soundbites necessary that makes the mass media happy. The act was so convincing from the beginning that some demonstrators thought it was for real.

But there is plenty of room for creativity also for everybody else in the march. Many cannot hold on to themselves and start singing. Especially British activists get more and more spirited with the help of an excellent vocalist giving us all the tune.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE – PEOPLE GOT THE POWER! The song and slogans gets us all in a better and better mood waiting for starting to move.

It is as all climate camp activists are with us from all over the world. Nothing can stop us now!

Are we ready to march? Yes we are ready to march! For Justice to fishermen (the blue banner), peasants (green Via Campesina flags), workers and everyone. For real solutions to the climate crisis and not false solutions like Nuclear power or a global market for carbon trading promoting land grabbing at the expense of sustainable food production by family farmers.

And of we go! Time to move towards the Bella center. According to Indymedia we were 500 at the Tårnby square. To me it looked as we were somewhat more.

The Reclaim Power March to the Bella Center

Along the road there were street lamps possible to climb. Well your feet will hurt a bit but you get another view. Using my bike I could go ahead and get a view from above. What will follow is an impression of the whole blue block on the way to Bella Center.

The march is surrounded by police walking, to the left also a whole row of police vans. Everywhere also police in plain clothes. Quite often easy to identify from there sturdy shoes, all the same, their branded black block look alike clothes and their standard Palestine scarfs. For a more systematic report on undercover police operations and surveillance at COP15, see:

No one is illegal anti racists and precarious united banners in the march. No borders actions to address the issue of climate and any refugees received attention on the 14th of December action.

The demo van in the end of the blue bloc

The police with the full support of the government have been attacking the Reclaim power action by many different means. Mass lodging had been raided at several occasions starting more than a week in advance. CJA spoke persons of any kind have had up to six civilian police following them from the foot step their home to were they were going. More than 900 people were mass arrested, hand cuffed and abused with degrading treatment sitting on the street for hours with many forced to pee in their pants resulting in finally three people getting accused for something. Most were put in cages in a special “climate prison” were the unbroken spirit of the demonstrators made the police attacking the imprisoned with pepper spray to maintain total control. A massive police action against innocent protesters with the full support not only from the right-wing government but also in practice by the social democrats and socialist people’s party stating that their opposition to the new laws making this possible was not necessarily on principle and once they were used arbitrarily leading politicians from both parties showed a strong defense of the police as their primary task. It could not be stated more clearly, the police can do whatever they want and the organized Denmark will support them.

Our climate is not your business banner ready to continue the march. This message was one of the messages among protesters in Copenhagen that received attention by a whole day of action on the 11th of December heavily repressed by the police.

Apart from arbitrary mass arrests and degrading treatment to scare people from participating targeted actions against anyone that appeared to be coordinator of the action was also used as a means to further create disorder. This tactic to destroy the leadership of a movement was once used centuries ago before democratic development paved the way for the understanding that arresting the leaders for things they had not done but what was perceived as that the movement might do was an old fashion contra-productive way of handling social unrest and needed to be modernized. Thus it became committed acts of violence or explicit support of violent acts that was criminalized and not general support of revolution or leadership of a movement were someone might do something criminal that became the rule.

But not so in Denmark 2009. Here Tadzio Müller on the eve of the Reclaim Power action was arrested on no grounds what so ever. This was an arrest on fake grounds and he will not be sentenced in any normally working European court of justice. The Reclaim power action have been non-violent in its code of conduct from the very beginning and so has Tadzio Müller presented it. The arrest was once more a way to show that the Danish state with almost full parliamentary support was willing to do anything to intimidate, criminalize and oppress a regularly non-violent civil disobedience action and even normal demonstrations. The organized Denmark acted almost in unison as if thousands of participants in the Systems Change not Climate Change bloc in the December 12 demonstration and the Reclaim Power action were part of militaristically planned operations in need to be met by similar militaristic means while still maintaining a democratic face to the world. Targeted and mass arrests to scare people but still  letting those who did not want to adjust their moral to the rules of the Danish state and were willing to take risks to save the planet march under constant insecurity.

Especially risky for the Danish state was the presence of people from the third world in the march. As Denmark in the official negotiations have systematically avoided to listen to the impoverished nations and instead used its privileged power to make UN a power game for the rich and powerful it would be utterly dangerous to also on the streets attack the interest of the global majority. Thus were people from the third world released immediately after they were identified during the mass arrest at the demonstration 12th of December. At least this was the case of all third world people in a delegation were 40 people were for a longer time arrested with the exception of those from Lebanon and Corea. It may well be so that what safe guarded the Reclaim Power action were the participants from mass movements in the South. And as the march was allowed the van with loudspeakers was also a symbol of acceptance of democratic rights.

But for the rest the police constantly attacked everything else that could be seen as possible coordination following the militaristic logic which the government had approved. Nicolas Haeringer, one more of CJA spokes persons was suddenly attacked when marching by civilians not presenting themselves turning out to be policemen.

Small groups of well equipped and coordinated policemen could attack and take out whatever they wanted from the demonstration. Here above you can see them in happy mood after violently beating Nicolas to the ground and then arresting him as their successful goal was attained.

Meanwhile the green bloc was also arrested at the Örestad meeting point en masse.

Some were able to escape and made it to the Reclaim Power action at the Bella center.

Meanwhile the blue bloc had to make it and establish a People’s Assembly. Contrary to the militaristic thinking of the police the Reclaim power action functions differently. All the way to the Bella center we are chanting, what do we want – climate justice, how do we act – non-violence. The van in the back of the march repeats the messages and we follow suit. For the first time in many decades I also here from the van and people responding, we are disciplined, we are non-violent the whole code of conduct of non-violence against the police is not only soemthing written on a piece of paper, it is embedded in our bodies while we walk and talk, or rather dancing and singing our way to the Bella center.

May I take a photo and put it on my blog? Yes of course! An activist from the Italian large environmental movement Lega Ambiente is happily with many of here friends carrying a No nuke banner in the Reclaim power action to make her and their statement at Bella center.

The first time I encountered this profound way of collective discipline, joyful and knowledgeable cooperation in a mass of politically motivated people were at Järntorget in Gothenburg 2001. 800 riot policemen surrounded 500 people who were protesting at the violent behaviour of the police during three days at an EU-Summit. After many proactive mass arrests and violent attacks at demonstrations triggering riots the police shot one demonstrator whose life at the time of the protest still was in danger. Now when the EU Summit was over the police could use its full force and so it did. With the riot shields were the demonstrators pushed into a small spot and completely surrounded. The mass arrest of everyone was supposed to begin, at least for six hours detention in a special EU prison set up for the Summit with cages.

But it took time to implement the arrests. Policemen dressed up as black bloc went around outside the police cordon and tried to identify people and then the police tried to ran into the mass and grab someone. This was not popular and people stuck to each other. The proposal to leave voluntarily making it easier for the police to arrest the rest was met with the same stubbornness, here it was the time to stick together. Thus slowly  the police were able to bring out people one by one now stating that everyone still there should be arrested.

Meanwhile the chanting of slogans, singing and political teachings started. As the mass was big the way to repeat what was said was used, the same method that now was used in the reclaim power  march. The right to protest was underlined. All the songs one could think of from the International to We shall overcome and most popular Swedish children songs was sung with enthusiasm making people in a good mood. My task was to be a negotiator. Peeing was a problem. Soon some handful needed to pee so I went to the police. After a while it was possible to get contact with one of them. It was obvious that it was a problem none had thought of and that the police wanted to take a solution into consideration. He asked how many it was and I turned around asking how many needed to pee, hans up! Almost the whole square raised their hands and seemed to need to immediately go to the toilet. I could not but laugh and so we all did, the protesters and the police. The solution was than that people went to the side of the square at the building and made what they needed to in the open air.

While the police as gently as possible arrested people one by one the mass meeting continued in a better and better mood. As the demonstrations had demanded that the public sector and nature should not be commodified protection of public service was one of the political themes discussed. We came to the conclusion that there has to be better wages for the employed in the public sector, and soon the logics of the argument ened in the demand Better wages for the police! By now the barriers between the police and the demonstrators after many hours together started to brake down. Policemen were seen giving their bananas to the encircled mass of protesters. Finally after almost five hours the police in charge sent a message to the central command stating that he could see no law paragraph that allowed him to continue forcing people from leaving. If there were no answer in three minutes he would give order to the riot police to go away. There were no answer and so he left with 800 hundred policemen and two hundred or more protesters had a party.

Now the feeling was the same of commitment, humor and communication with everyone willing to listen. The predominantly very young activists were walking and talking, chanting and singing their way to Bella center. The van filled in and addressed the police, we know it, the chant went, but we seldom say it, you sexy, you sexy beneath that uniform, the message was clear to take of the uniform.

To get the march working there are lots of functions necessary. The music made by the drums gives energy to everybody and a meaningful task to many using the sticks in a rythm we all like. The clowns are a constant reminder of another world walking behind, in front or anywhere repeating the body language of the policemen until not even the police can resist and must smile or even laugh. The animals are many. Any kind of animal, polar bears, leopards, elephants, you name it. In general quite a few demonstrators hare small wonders of joyful dramatic acts. Top hats, rainbow caps, Inka caps, anything on top of your head. And banners of any kind and any color.

Another important function are the medics team and the legal team. The medics you can spot by their black cross with appropriate backpack. Alternative media is everywhere so the message does not get distorted, corporate media as media often is labeled among activists are also well represented. The large amount of media can one also suspect means that there are many policemen using media as a disguise for registering participants. After corporate mass media makes it a scandal that one of the plain clothes policemen had been wearing a DR jacket only to be used by the Danish public service TV. This recieves in main strem medie almost as much attention as the coverage of the whole Reclaim power action. But of course also many of the more anonymous media attention could have been policemen at work.

Communication is another function of importance, a function that the police on purpose tried to destroy as much as possible by arresting targeted person in advance and during the march to make as much harm as possible to the action as well as the capability to give messages to the press. The attempt works according to a militaristic principle to constantly separate the enemy scaring the supposed rank and file participant from doing any confrontational act and diminishing the capacity of the leadership to communicate at all accept for the van were communication can be heard of everyone and is necessary to maintain an image of still existing democratic rights.

Communication is still a task necessary for a march to be able to have some knowledge what the rest of the action is doing and in this case also what is going on inside the Bella center. When it comes to mass civil disobedience the mistake by the police is to believe that this is lead by someone and when the leadership disappears than the civil disobedience disappears as well. The kind of horizontal mass education and unification by means of consensus decisions before and chanting during the protest makes it very hard to penetrate and weakening an action by taking away the leadership, only brutal force is fit for that and this is maybe also the idea behind much of the police tactics supported by the politicians in Denmark. Non-violent protests should be treated as if it actually is directly violent and those stating themselves willing to use non-violence should know that they will be treated as if they are inherently violent and can be beaten and criminalized for whatever they think of doing if they oppose the government and its laws.

One of the groups strongly present at all actions and demonstrations in Copenhagen were Robin Wood from Germany. This organizations regularly carries out civil disobedience in the protection of rain forests or the climate. They had their share of people getting hand cuffed and arrested in Copenhagen as one can see on their well illustrated blog with reports from the very start of COP15 to the end. Here they are making their statement: Shopping center vegetables = Climate killers. because of this: Luxury for everyone – bio (ecological food) for all!

And here they are in the Reclaim power march approaching Bella Center stating leave it in the ground! No more new open pit mining. More pictures and reports in German you find at their blog:

To totally wipe out the possibility for non-violent civil disobedience would mean to say goodbye to anything but secret violent resistance and goodbye to more than a hundred year of establishing democracy with civil disobedience as a main tool. Thus it was necessary to allow the Reclaim power march under the threat of immediate arrest of everyone with the most random excuse. But the capacity to communicate should be wiped out by arrests on fake grounds.

System change not climate change banner from the not so well funded network Climate Justice now with Bella Center visible to us all at the horizon.

But similar to the capacity for mass civil disobedience the capacity is there for filling the ranks of special functions. In general the kind of flat organizational structure which is characteristic for both networks organizing the action, Climate Justice Action and Climate Justice Now means there is very few involved in any central coordination. Normally this would mean that by taking some people out the whole coordinating capacity would be paralyzed. But what happens instead is that new coordination functions are established on the spot. I have seen it working in Geneva once at an international anti WTO demonstration. All the locals had left us alone to take part in another demonstration organized by Swiss organizations and there we were without knowing where to go or what to do. Somehow order in the demonstration had to be established by stopping one person from doing unnecessary things while others made us find the way. The problem is of course that by drastically taking away leadership as the Danish police systematically did more disorder can follow rather than their possible aim to maintain order.

Stop consumer terror banner very few steps from the main Bella center entrance.

It can of course result in a split among the participants causing some to make more confrontative action while others gets passive, which might be seen as the exact strategy of the Danish government. When they argued that the new law package was directed against violence when in fact according to the Danish ministry of justice it was only directed against acts of non-violent behavior the government showed the way. Create total confusion to enable a situation were any act of non-violent civil disobedience immediately is regarded as violent and thus give the police free hands to use military tactics to create constant split among protesters. What was the final purpose of this governmental strategy? To stop any social unrest in Denmark from becoming better organized also in the future as all the trade unions in Copenhagen have stated. The new law package is directed against us, against picketing, strikes or any kind of civil disobedience that have brought us democracy. The trade unions accused the government for wanting to establish a police state. Should they succeed?

Automatic metro public transport passing above the demonstrators, a means of transport many climate justice movements asks for besides bicycles.

The other strategy might have been to avoid by all means that Denmark could be seen as having the same strategy on the streets as inside the negotiations to silence all unwanted voices. To make it appear as the only voices inside that really opposed the deal that rich countries including the merging powers in the South were about to make were very small and marginal has been crucial to the strategy of Denmark. I made a mistake in my pre-assessment of repression during the summit that Denmark would avoid repression of UN delegates walking out of Bella center. Such a repression would be a great obstacle for the future of the UN. At stake was a long tradition of the image of Nordic countries supporting the voices of impoverished countries and protecting the environment in the self interest of maintaining the UN as a legal way to strengthen small nations in world politics. But maybe the Danish agenda was different. Maybe it was to maintain a media image of being democratic by allowing protests under constant repression presented as the only way to avoid violence on the street while at the same time repressing the impoverished nations inside and de facto establish a new world order without any UN there to protect the rights of every nation. In such a case a People’s Assembly would be an extreme threat to the wishes of Denmark to completely handicap the UN and the impoverished countries. The media image of isolated marginal and obstructive countries would be impossible to effectively be maintained when people from the inside were going to meet people from the outside representing mass movements from all over the world. Whatever the Danish arguments were against a People’s assembly- should they succeed stopping it, one way or another?

No nuke protesters arriving at the spot where the attempts for pushing for climate justice and establishing a People´s Assembly soon will be made. The anti nuclear activists supported by more than 800 organizations also made strong actions throughout COP15 demanding that nuclear power should not be included in any climate agreement.

These were questions to ask on our way to Bella Center. But we also had to get there by knowing wich direction to go. The march was saved by the police when it came to the crossing were it was supposed to bend to the left without knowing what to do. But soon communication was established between the front and the van as well as with the walk out action inside the Bella Center. We were approaching the main gates were we at 12 should start the Peoples Assembly by pushing from the outside and meeting those coming from the inside.

Reclaim power and push for climate justice from the inside

Inside Bella center Reclaim power action. Photo with restricted copyright,

The participation from the inside became massive. With banners stating Reclaim power and chanting a hundreds of people with many of the leaders of the global movements participating started the walk out. The indigenous in the front as during the mass demonstration on December 12. It was the same inside as outside with lively chants keeping the collective together while the blue block advanced towards the main gates (From Democracy Now report):

The chant began with Josh Kahn Russell making the announcement.

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: When I say “climate,” you say “justice”! Climate!

    PROTESTERS: Justice!


    PROTESTERS: Justice!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: When I say “reclaim,” you say “power”! Reclaim!

    PROTESTERS: Power!


    PROTESTERS: Power!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: When I say “take back,” you say “the talks”! Take back!

    PROTESTERS: The talks!


    PROTESTERS: The talks!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: When I say “climate,” you say “justice”! Climate!

    PROTESTERS: Justice!


    PROTESTERS: Justice! Reclaim power! Reclaim power! Reclaim power! Join the People’s Assembly! Join the People’s Assembly! Join the People’s Assembly! Take back the talks! Take back the talks! Climate justice now! Bolivia! Bolivia!

    TOM GOLDTOOTH: We’re here to support our brother. We’re here to support our brother Evo Morales, who is coming today. He has given us direction, that these negotiators need to make a commitment. We need to save Mother Earth by having strong binding agreements. They are demanding 49 percent reduction targets—49 percent reduction targets by 2020, not a sellout position like United States, who’s coming here saying they’re entertaining four percent reduction levels. That’s an outrage. They are here to demand that the Annex I countries pay up, pay up their ecological debt. So this is a support of Bolivia.

    PROTESTERS: Join the People’s Assembly! Join the People’s Assembly! Join the People’s Assembly! Join the People’s Assembly! Take back the talks! Take back the talks!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: So what’s going right now is that we’ve had a group of people from civil society inside the talks who have come outside the talks to have a People’s Assembly to put a new agenda for the talks, to reset the dirty, false solutions that are being discussed in there, to put real solutions for communities.

    PROTESTERS: We are peaceful! What are you?

Photo with restricted copyright,

Here the insider protesters with Tom Goldtoth from Indigenous Environmental network behind the drummer and Ricardo Navarro to the right from Friends of the Earth El Salvador (with a badge from another organization).

Photo with restricted copyright,

Here were Henry Saragi, general sectretary of La Via Campesina International to the right, a mass movement with 200 million members.

Photo with restricted copyright,

Here were Wahu Kaara from Kenya Debt Relief Network, representing the international alliance of People’s movement on Climate Change.

Photo with restricted copyright,

And many others but not Friends of the Earth International who had chosen to stage their own protest against being thrown out of the Bella center. Instead of supporting their claimed main cooperation partner Via Campesina who participated fully both in the inside and on the outside. FOEI chosed to stand aside and make their own sit in to protest against the treatment of themselves and some few other NGOs temporarily stopped from coming inside.

The Reclaim Power march from the inside became powerful with a lot of commitment, chanting and music.

Meanwhile the blue bloc came closer and closer to the main gates of the Bella center and were soon to be seen some 200 meters away by the bloc with yellow UN badges of walk out people from the inside. The question is what should happen?

Survival Media’s photostream at Flickr web site

The walk out bloc moved towards the fence from the inside. The police had told them not to in spite of that the situation was totally under control and the bridge over some muddy water were the inside Reclaim power could come out in the right direction was very narrow an allowed only a few to come across at the time. Thus it would have been easy to arrange so that few people at a time in good order could join the march on the outside.

Photo with restricted copyright,

The walk out bloc advanced when the police started to beat the UN accredited delegates violently. I must admit that this I thought never would be possible. That the host country of a UN conference beats up masses of UN accredited persons to stop them from walking out to attend a People’s Assembly.

Photo with restricted copyright,

On that bridge only 20 meters close to the people outside history was made. For each beating of danish sticks a grave was dug for the future of governments from small nations to have a say in world politics. Only the people in these nations allied across boundaries with people in other nations can now save the small countries from disappearing as a voice in international affairs.

For a full length commented video coverage of this action, see:

The outside push for climate justice

Meanwhile the lack of communication in the blue block caused some confusion. The march went to far and a group that was not supposed to come in front of the fence was suddenly facing the need for making a push which they were willing to but others as well. Some people from the front had to make their way through to some to the spot were the push for climate justice should start. But things were sorted out quite quickly it seemed. The number of participants was all the time limited and in general the whole code of conduct was such that any serious attempt of entering the Bella Center area more than symbolically for some meters and together with people from the inside there establish a Peoples Assembly had always been the only possible option. And so it was now with the second option to arrange a People’s Assembly and the Bella center fences on the outside.

Photo from Climate Justice Action website, Logan Dogan

The police started to kettle the demonstration coming with a row of sturdy police vans from the East. Order to go away in the name of the Queen was issued three times each in different languages. Loud and clear. Old mistakes on this point by the Danish police causing chaos should not be repeated.

Photo from Climate Justice Action website, Logan Dogan

The police advanced slowly. People were getting prepared.

Medic teams stayed closed to take care of people if necessary. Here everyone was necessary. People willing to push, people willing to be there, people prepared with treatment against the panic that easily took the grip of anyone getting pepper spray in her or his eyes, clowns making everybody happy and maybe even those who mainly were observers as myself trying to maybe do the best we could.

People were mainly young but there were also elderly. The situation became more and more tense.

In front of the police vans a barricade of bicycles was made to protect the van belonging to the demonstrators. The van was seen as crucial to maintain togetherness among the participants.

A first attempt at pushing towards the fence was made.

The police in action. Photo from Indymedia

The van was soon lost and two more CJA spokespersons arrested. People continued to push. In Swedish activist discussion forum,,  there has been some criticism of the unrealistic way the whole action was planned and how the continued attempts at pushing caused harm to many. In the front were some 30 people pepper sprayed making their eyes burning and 10 people got injured according to Indymedia reports. One activist were able to climb on top of a police van but was beaten to the ground by the police.

Many people have problems or get treated for getting pepper spray in the eyes while others are prepared for action with goggles.

People that were pepper sprayed by the police got helped by the medics to ease the intense buring feeling that easily causes panic.

Mass arrests started. In total some 250 people were arrested during the Reclaim power action.

The black and white photos above are from

Photos and report from Indymedia,

Also other made attempts and some actually succeeded. A raft was constructed and people advanced across a dike. Here they were pepper sprayed and met by a dog but made it anyway to the other side thus entering the Bella center area. The People’s Assembly had managed to establish a bridge head inside at least symbolically. The people were very quickly arrested.

Seven young farmers also made an attempt according to a report made by the representative from Via Campesina at the Post-COP15 session at the Klimaforum. In line with the slogan of the young movement, Reclaim the fields, the golf course directly close to  the Bella Center was occupied to enable further advancing towards The Bella center area. Police dogs were quickly  chasing the young farmers who escaped in a tree until they were caught by the police.

Later in the evening six activists was once more able to enter the Bella center area by sneaking through the main entrance but quickly taken them as well.

The affinity group tactics made at least one symbolic victory but in general it failed. What was left after that both the affinity groups and the walk out bloc had not succeeded to establish any significant people’s Assembly inside the Bella center area was the blue bloc outside. The only remaining mass force in the action able of doing something.

But this group was heavily surrounded by police. From the North police vans came closer with riot police advancing in military style behind each van kettling the mass action completely from the North and the East. To the South was the well protected Bella center area. When no stones were in sight the police came forward and advanced in chains chasing people in front of them. Far to the West one could see police vans also approaching. The only escape now seemed to be through the marsh probably getting once feet wet.

The push for climate justice from the outside and the inside at the main gate seemed to have failed and the remaining forces trapped alone outside.

For very many pictures from the confrontations outside and some inside, see: and:

Renewed support from the inside

The police continued to push the masses away from the main gate into what still looked like a kettle operation enabling the police to arrest everyone at any moment.

I could not come out anymore but let myself to go aside on an isolated island in the midst of the kettled area.

Here one could see behind us three gigantic statues as witnesses with the Copenhagen coal power plant run by the Swedish state owned Vattenfall in the back ground.

Someone waved his rain bow peace flag facing Bella Center.

On top of a construction on the island others put a huge banner with a democracy arrow pointing at one direction and a Copenhagen arrow pointing at the other direction.

At the same time inside the Bella Center there came renewed support for the protesters outside and this time not possible to silence. From the main speakers tribune in the general plenary of the COP15 negotiations president Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez addressed the protesters and messages on the streets. The inside – outside action for climate justice was still there, highly present at the moment and for the future.

Hugo Chavez speaking to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen. Photo from Telesur.

In his statement he made it clear:

“There are many people outside… I’ve read in the news that there were some arrests, some intense protests there in the streets of Copenhagen, and I salute all those people out there, the majority of them youth… They are young people concerned for the world’s future,”

and furthermore:

“I have been reading some of the slogans painted in the streets… One said, ‘Don’t Change the Climate, Change the System!’ And I bring that on board for us. Let’s not change the climate. Let’s change the system! And as a consequence, we will begin to save the planet. Capitalism is a destructive development model that is putting an end to life, that threatens to put a definitive end to the human species.”

The complete speech you find here:

Evo Morales equally addressed the voices of protests outside in the general assembly at COP15. Yoiu can read an interview by Democracy Now with him here about his position, “policies of unlimited industrialization are what destroys the environment.”:

Miguel Palacin, chairman of the Andean coordination of indigenous people protesting at the Reclaim power action just before leaving for the airport. He is standing in front police vans and actvists at the Bella center were Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales were speaking on behalf of the Andean and Carribean people in the ALBA alliance.

After a while the police also cleansed the island where I had been standing for a while. I managed to get out. Here I met people being arrested.

Once more I could see the spontaneous disciplined organization at work. Or rather the verb organize rather than organization working. Immediately when the arrested boy came towards the police van someone approached him and asked about his name and the causes for his arrest.

Afterwards I saw the women talking to someone in the legal team. I asked her if she was a member of the legal team herself. She was not. But it was easy she said. Anyone could do it. It was just to ask for basic information if someone got arrested so none would be taken unnoticed and all should feel that their voice is getting heard. Horizontal, spontaneous and specialized functions in action. Needless to say food for the actvists all over Copenhagen was organized the same way by volunteers. In the streets and at the alternative media centers people worked hard to sustain correct information serving the movement in Copenhagen and the rest of the world. Hundreds and hundreds of unpaid volunteers each doing their task to help the collective effort.

I continued towards my borrowed bike hoping it still was placed were I left it. So it was. Now it was easy to make a long tour around the the police cordon and advancing towards the remaining blue bloc through the Amager commons marsh.

The People’s Assembly

And there it was after making ones feet a bit wet! Finally I were in the midst of the People’s Assembly. All the friends from the unified rural and urban struggle for food sovereignty, against economic globalization and for social justice everywhere also on the countryside and not only for urban and industrial people seemed to be there. There were Friends of the Earth Uruguay who together with Friends of the Earth Finland and Sweden were present already when People’s Global Action against “Free Trade” and WTO was established in Geneva in February 1998. Now we met again only missing our absent Finnish friends. The confrontational left were nowhere to be seen, at least their banners were gone. This was a gathering of the global South and their allies, with Jubilee South still proudly wavering their banner demanding: Change trade – not our climate and the people from Via Campesina wearing their green scarfs.

The People’s Assembly had been going on for quite a while. Documentation is easy to find via Indymedia: “The Peoples Assembly was streamed live thanks to the IMC-Radio crew, which was a great thing. Due to cop violence we missed the initial opening of the assembly (there was much chaos and running about)” You find three long webcast radio files at:

Photo by Climate Justice Action

Above all were there at the People’s Assembly many green Via Campesina flags and foremost Josie Riffaud, my favourite flower farmer from Bordeaux in France. Someone helped us and I could get the photograph made below with the Climate Justice Now! banner in the background.

Josie Riffaud to the left from Via Campesina International and Tord Björk, member of Friends of the Earth Sweden Climate Group and the author of this report in the hat with a Reclaim Gandhi sticker on the coat.

The Assembly was going to move after a while. The good mood from the whole march from Tårnby to the Bella center was still there. At the police line stopping us from going to the west were young people playing limbo with the plastic band stopping us from leaving.

The march to the city center

Now we were ready for marching again, a long march to the city center. The helicopter above us was ready borrowed for the occasion from the Swedish police to be able to carry heavy video machinery. All the police vans following us were ready, all the policeman walking at both sides of us were ready and so were we. Once more I tried the man in the hat trick. It did not work inside the kettle in front of the Bella center but here I hoped it could work as many times before. And so it did. I was able to get out to find my bike again and recatch the march later cycling through the Amager Commons.

So I did. The march was still in the very good mood it had been for the whole day.

Surrounded by the police we marched on and on.

Here I used the opportunity to finally escape and get a final view from a house far above the demonstrators coming from the Peoples Assembly. A long action day was over. The Bella Wall between people and power will never be the same.

Tord Björk

New call to action – Reclaim Power!

On the 16th of December, at the start of the high-level “ministerial” phase of the two-week summit, we, the movements for global justice, will take over the conference for one day and transform it into a Peoples Assembly.

Our goal is to disrupt the sessions and open a space inside the UN area to hold the Assembly. The assembly will give a voice to those who are not being heard, it will be an opportunity to change the agenda, to discuss the real solutions, to send a clear message to the world calling for climate justice.

There will be a legalized starting point, which will be announced to the media and the police. From there, the climate justice bloc will move on towards the Bella Center. Affinity groups will make their way to the border of the conference area from various directions. The aim is for all groups coming from the outside to start entering the UN Area at 10am. At the same time, groups inside the Summit will start to disrupt the sessions and mobilize people to leave the  negotiations and participate in the Peoples Assembly. The assembly will start at 12pm at the main entrance to the Bella Center inside the UN Area.

Reclaim Power! is a confrontational mass action of non-violent civil disobedience. We will overcome any physical barriers that stand in our way – but we will not respond with violence if the police try to escalate the situation, nor create unsafe situations; we will be there to make our voices heard!

The Peoples Assembly, in opposition to the false solutions being negotiated at the Climate Summits, will highlight alternatives that provide real and just solutions: leaving fossil fuels in the ground; reasserting peoples’ and community control over resources; relocalising food production; massively reducing overconsumption, particularly in the North; recognising the ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations; and respecting  indigenous and forest peoples’ rights.

After 15 years of negotiations and no real solutions to the climate crisis, we say enough! No more markets based solutions, no to corporate greed and short term politics deciding our future! No to colonialism and the land-grabs taking place in local and indigenous communities!

In December, we, from our many different backgrounds and movements, experiences and struggles, will come together. We are indigenous peoples and farmers, workers and environmentalists, feminists and anticapitalists.
Now, our diverse struggles for social and ecological justice are finding common ground in the struggle for climate justice, and in our desire to reclaim power over our own future.

See you on the streets!

December 6: Call for celebration, funerals and alternatives

Tord Björk | Action,Climate,education,NGO,political culture,Summits | Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Call for celebration, funerals and alternatives at Climate Bottom meeting and for many other activities today

3a. Climate Justice Now

CJN! Have their first planning meeting today. They call upon everyone to come and celebrate at the CJN! Assembly at the Klimaforum on Sunday 13th of December: 15:00 – 18:00. “Bring your ideas to take the fight for climate justice back to their homes, onto the streets, and into the UN. Indigenous leaders, farmers, women and workers, community activists, singers, poets and story tellers will educate, inspire and give testimony. The hot issues in the negotiations will be debated and ideas for action / alternatives shared. Join us to learn about climate justice and to build our movement.”

3b. Climate Bottom Meeting – Windows of Hope Burying the American Dream

The Climate Bottom meeting started December 5: “Indigenous peoples from our Bottom Meeting go together and make a ceremony for the entire meeting and simultaneously will one from the Peace Watch light a torch by the eternal fire of the Peace-Watchers.”

The Climate Bottom meeting is one of the most ambitious initiatives during COP primarily taking place at Christiania but also at Klimaforum and the city centre. “A number of practical sustainable cities and eco-village initiatives around the world will be presented, showing different solutions to overcome the world’s ecological, social, spiritual and economic challenges.

There will be a variety of lectures, workshops, dance, and music. Throughout the conference, representatives from indigenous groups from all over the world will hold ceremonies as an inspiration and guidance to us all. Our hope is that the fusion of indigenous knowledge and practices with the lifestyles of eco-villages and sustainable urban communities will offer the fresh ideas and impulses that we need to lead Earth-friendly lives.

Organizers are, Christiania Culture Association, The Network for the Conservation of Christiania as a Green Urban-biotope, two Agenda 21 centers in Copenhagen (Sundby and Inner City), LØS, The Danish Association for Eco-villages, and GEN, Global Eco-village Network – in collaboration with many individuals, associations and groups.

The Climate Bottom Meeting will offer workshops, presentations and political debates mixed with entertainment activities, such as singing, dancing and music. In addition, there will also be a special youth forum and child program. We have invited experts, lay people, and politicians to lecture on a broad range of topics.”

Every day there will be a funeral when some phenomena that needs to be left behind is buried. It started by burying egoism. Today American life style is buried.

“The unambiguous focus on individuals and their freedom of expression makes the American Dream a dangerous dream. This is partially to due to a lack of concern for others, and partially because it is propagating a way of life that is rapidly decimating our shared natural environment, the very means of our existence. The American Dream sees the world as a free-for-all buffet and completely lacks an understanding of the ecological limitations of our planet.

We have been capable at giving our dreams and our existence concrete material expressions. Our identities are also strongly tied to material symbols. By parting with the American Dream we must increasingly turn to community life, gather around immaterial goods, and learn, to a much greater extent that today, to search for our identities, existence, and development in immaterial values.”

Read more and have fun at:

There is a lot more to chose from only today even before the official conference starts apart from preparatory meetings. Have a choice of Danish summit activities:

3c. Ride to Copenhagen

Is the collective final effort of a 15 000 km and 16 month long bike tour from Australia to Copenhagen read more at:

3d. Climate pilgrims

From Køge in the South, Elsinore in the North, Roskilde in the West and Lund in the East people from all directions will walk to Vår Frues Kirke in the middle of Copenhagen. Read more

3e. Seven meters art project

Danish artist Jens Galschiøt starts today his visualisation of the consequences of a seven meters increase of sea level. A 24 km long line of red lights seven meters high up will create the image of the potential new sea level. Read more at: To those interested in visiting the famous mermaid statue sh is now accompanied by another metal women, this time a very fat person on the backs of an impoverished person celebrating the fatness of the oppressing rich countries, also an artistic intervention by Galschiøt. Watch out, Copenhagen is full of surprises.

3f. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

At 13 o’clock a new film with Bob Dylan’s well known song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” will be screened for the first time at Kongens Nytorv. Bob Dylan is singing his song and photographies from the project Hard Rain are shown in this project presented by UNEP. Read more at:
At the same place UNEP have a climate labyrinth mad by banners signed by thosuands of people from all over the world to support the UN “Seal the Deal!” campaign.

3g. Climate for dummies

Danish Peoples High School organizes café evenings at Borup’s high school each day until December 12 were no questions are to stupid and mr and mrs Denmark can ask experts about the climate. Read more at:

3h. Alternative conference for climate scepticism

Danish People’s Party organizes a conference with domestic and foreign scientists as speakers in Christiansborg, the parliament. Read more at:

3i. Copenhagen Consensus Center banners against climate action
Lomborg is a Danish scientist and head of an institute that the government give millions of euro recently increased due to pressure from Danish peoples party. This Institute called Copenhagen Consensus Center a think tank under under Copenhagen Business School, will put banners up all over the city, on videos in the Metro and on postcards with the message to stop climate action. “Ionstead of using many hundreds of billions of dollars each year to stop emissions of CO2 should the resources for research and development of green energy be increased to a level up to 0,2 percent of global BNI”. At the most used climate website in Denmark with 5000 visits each day climate scepticism is now dominating the discussion forum.

3j. Copenhagen Climate Exchange
The biggest environmental NGO in Denmark, Danish Conservation Society organizes a fair at Øksnehallen in DGI-byen excepting 25 000 visitors. The focus is climate initiatives all over the world. The fair started on December 3 and ends today December 6. Read more at:

3k. Climate Spark night club business forum during COP15

Network and meet hundreds of business executives, entrepreneurs, investors and listen to a world-class panel of 5 CEOs from Suzlon, JP Morgan, Google, Climate Change Capital, Generation Investment Management, Danfoss, HSBC, Solar Century, Carbon Disclosure Project and 40 other companies about solutions to climate change — the full programme is at

MST organizational principles and pedagogy

Tord Björk | education,MST | Sunday, March 29th, 2009

” MST pedagogy based on direct democracy, social and self consciousness is what every school should be based upon everywhere in the world.”

Pertti Simula

Pertti Simula at MST Headqarters in Sao Paulo

Interview with Pertti Simula, bar Cortas, Avenida Alfonso Bovero, esquina Rua Apinajes, 18.1 2009, Sao Paulo

Food time at Jair Costa MST camp

What are the key organizing principles behind Movimento Sem Terra?

Their model of social organisation is based on participatory democracy locally in groups with about 10 families each, so called nucleo de base. This makes it possible to have all important decision making be taken through a direct democratic process. In MST this is called organizidade – it means more than just organisation – it is a living organisation.

The other important aspects of organizidade is ”critica – auto critica”. That means that everybody is supposed to take part with a process of selfconsciousness. This takes place in collective forms for instance once a year or when needed. So that everybody in the collective gets an idea how others are seeing upon ones performance in relation to work and collective actvitity.

A third point could be that organizadade is a loose and open form of organisation. Local as well as state level are independent and it is not possible to command the organisation from the national level.

Besides this two other aspects are important:
1.    Rotation principle for different functions and responsibilities in the movement, everybody is nourished to leran so many activities and functions as possible.
2.    The women schould be represented by 50 percent in coordinating positions, Many times hard to live up to but it is always addressed.

In organizidade there are a traditional representative democratic organization, too, that means that in the local , state and national levels representatives and cooprdinators are elected to different activities. To speak in the name of MST one refers to his/her area of responsability.

Pupils cleaning at Escuela Educar in Rio Grande do Sul

How do you look upon the pedagogy of MST?

I Believe that MST pedagogy is based very much on Paulo Freire and Anton Makarenko. A pedagogy very much based on social consciousness, participatory organized school forms with direct democracy and self consciousness. The children take part in the discussion in pedagogical methods and in developing rules and cooperation principles. It is a challenging process.

Pertti Simula to the right educating in the field

You have been to the schools. How would you say that the key problems are in implementing the vision both in terms of the different aspects?

As the teachers usually have the normal pedagogical schooling, they are not familiarized in participatory school systems. First they have to ”buy” the idea and then can implement it with the children. The social and self consciousness are also matters that teachers who come outside the MST culture have to learn first. The classroom of for instance 60 students is divided in 6 basic teams (nucleo de base). And the discussions in decision processes start from these units, their recomendations are taken to the group of coordenators. It´s members are elected by usual democratic process. The group of coordinators analyzes the recomendations and then formulates the decision. The democratic decision is taken to the executive organization to be implemented. Basic teams discuss everything, like  pedagogical goals, pedagogical methods, the rules of how to cooperate, how to maintain discipline, the criteria of evaluation of students and educators.

Group educational work at Cooptar

The student support concerning the individual and social well-being, pedagogical development and discipline is organized  partly by the students selves. E.g. when one class graduates a couple of students are invited to follow up the next class.

Pedagogical goals are mainly decided by the board of the school but students can discuss and analyze them. I have especially contact with schools like ITERRA, CEAGRO, Educar and Escola Nova Sociedade. There are differences between the schools, they are in different phases of the process.

The public schools at the settlement areas have special difficulties to implement the principles which are not standard. This means that there is a constant discussion and gradual implementing.

MST meeting at Vuoma

What is the problem when MST ideals collides the ideals of the public schools system?

In an ordinary public school the students are prepared to be laborforce (employees), not to think and analyze the social structure, not to create a critical look, not to create participatory manners. But the goal is to submit the children to the capitalism. MST will develop a critical view on social problems and injustice. MST want people to take responsibility and initiative in their lives instead of developing dependency on employers or/and state. MST will that people can really participate, that they develop self confidence and self consciousness, so they can live a happy life. MST want to foster social responsibility, so that everybody feels responsible for others,  and cooperation as the main principles of the society instead of competition and individualism. MST want to protect the nature against the exploitive agrobusiness. MST want that all the people have the same power and not power based on how many dollars or euros one has. MST want democracy in economy. So you see that there are a lot of conflicts with the existing power structure. But conflicts makes it possibilities to create something better. It is through conflicts that we grow to more mature and caring people.

Pupils at MST cooperative

How can MST show that these principles can be good base to be applied in the rich countries?

MST pedagogy based on direct democracy, social and self consciousness is what every school should be based upon everywhere in the world. We are exporting this kind of experience to Sweden and Finland. In Scandinavia the schools are rich materially but are poor in human aspect. There are lot of passivity, loneliness, individualism, depression, nothing matters –attitude, disturbing, bulling and  violence. The schools atmosphere suffer the common economical and social values. In November 2007 five school directors from Sweden and Finland visited  some MST schools in Brazil. This group became convinced that the MST model really works. Especially they pointed out the importance of nucleo the base (basic teams) as a real direct democratic alternative, because it is generally known that representative democracy does not work, people are alienated from decision making. The MST school model is a vanguarda,. Now in Finland and Sweden there are many schools which apply these principles in different and colourful ways. The model is applied by many teachers and directors in loose way, what they feel is best, easeast and most important, experimenting. There are a permanent discussion group which systemizes the ideas and results and develop the documenation.

Tord Björk

School for landless at Ministerial entrance

Tord Björk | education,MST,Repression,Women | Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

At the entrance of the Ministry for Agriculture in Brasilia, the peasant women established School for Landless Paulo Freire, with about 50 children, in protest against the recent decision of the Public Ministry of Rio Grande do Sul in closing the schools of the MST (Rural Landless Movement dosTrabalhadores) in gauchos encampements.

Public school for Landless – Closing schools is a crime!

Supporting MST at Brazilian embassy in Helsinki

Tord Björk | education,MST,Repression | Monday, March 9th, 2009

Noora Oljala speaking to embassy reprsentative in Helsinki

Friends of the Landless and Friends of the Earth Finland support MST schools that has been closed by Rio Grande do Sul authors. Organizations  are worried about the state of education and democracy in Rio Grande do Sul. Representatives from Friends of the Landless and Friends of the Earth Finland (Taru Salmenkari and Noora Ojala) handed the petition today to Brazilian embassy in Helsinki.

Read and sign the petiton!

Detengan el cierre de escuelas para los sin tierra

Tord Björk | education,International action,MST,Repression,WSF | Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Llamado internacional a la acción:
Firmá la protesta y apoyá al MST y al FSM el 9 de Marzo y el 17 de Abril

El 3 de Marzo de 2009 las autoridades de Río Grande del Sur están procediendo a cerrar todas las escuelas itinerantes de los campamentos del Movimiento de Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra (MST). Unite a las protestas internacionales! Firmá la petición y movilizate!

Children in MST camp  Photo Pertti Simula

Detengan el cierre de escuelas para los sin tierra y los ataques oficiales en Brasil contra el Foro Social Mundial:

Nosotros, los abajo firmantes,

1.    Protestamos enérgicamente contra el cierre de las escuelas de los sin tierra y el ataque a las alianzas del Foro Social Mundial (FSM) realizado por figuras políticas y autoridades de Río Grande del Sur, lugar de nacimiento de tanto, las escuelas del movimiento de los sin tierra como del FSM, quienes están trayendo esperanza a la educación rural y a la democratización del mundo.
2.    Demandamos que se continúe con el apoyo y el financiamiento público a las escuelas de los campamentos y establecimientos del MST en el interior.
3.    Demandamos que las autoridades en Río Grande del Sur retiren la descripción realizada por un miembro del Consejo Superior del Ministerio Público, Sr. Thums, que aludió al Foro Social Mundial como un espacio de encuentro de “terroristas y marginales”. Thums se encuentra también entre los responsables por el cierre de las escuelas itinerantes y por los intentos de ilegalizar al MST. Utilizar una oficina pública para sostener semejante ofensa no está dentro de los intereses del estado de Río Grande del Sur ni de la integridad de ningún servicio público.
4.    Protestamos contra la interferencia de corporaciones transnacionales como Stora Enso en la política doméstica, ya que esto le otorga medios a quienes tienen dinero para influir en la política local de manera no democrática.

También apoyamos la declaración del MST que figura a continuación:

Desde el inicio de la lucha por la tierra, la preocupación por la escolarización de los niños y adolescentes de los campamentos del MST/RS acompañó la trayectoria del Movimiento. Considerando esta realidad, se recorrió mucha lucha y trabajo para concretizar el derecho a la educación formal dentro de los campamentos. Por esto, declaramos nuestro total apoyo a las Escuelas Itinerantes de los campamentos del MST, atacados por el gobierno de Río Grande del Sur y de sectores del Ministerio Público que al inicio de 2009, llegaron a declarar su extinción.

El MST es un Movimiento social y legítimo, por tanto, tiene derecho a una educación de calidad y que tenga en cuenta la Itinerancia de la lucha por la tierra y la educación del campo, en la realidad en que los niños y adolescentes están insertos, es decir, junto a su familia y a la comunidad.

Exigimos la continuidad de las Escuelas Itinerantes de los campamentos del MST

(nombre de la persona, nombre de la organización, si corresponde y país)

Envíen sus protestas a:

Autoridades Públicas:

Yeda Crusius
Governadora do Estado do RS
E.mail  agenda (at)

Ivar Pavan
Presidente da Assembléia Legislativa do Estado do RS
E.mail  ivar.pavan (at)

Mariza Abreu
Secretaria de Estado de Educación
E.mail  gabinetese (at)

Mauro Renner
Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de RS (via website only)

Envien también copias al MST y a los grupos de apoyo

MST Secretaría General:  sgeral (at)

MST Río Grande del Sur; Elizabete Witcel: betieduc (at)

Amigos de la Tierra Suecia: MSTsupport (at)

Firmen la petición y contacten  otros para hacerlo

Llamamos a organizaciones de la educación, ambientalistas, de derechos humanos, por la paz, campesinas, rural, bienestar social, sindicatos, asociaciones de las naciones unidas, mujeres y cualquier otra organización comprometida con la justicia social, los foros sociales, lo ambiental y rural, a firmar la declaración y enviar su protesta a las direcciones de mail que figuran encima. También te invitamos a que contactes otras organizaciones y les informes sobre la campaña para la adhesión al comunicado y a la protesta.

Firme la petición internacional en ingles en:

Si es posible, también esperamos que puedan traducir la protesta y enviarla a otras organizaciones en sus países y recolectar firmas en diferentes idiomas.

Movilizarse en las embajadas Brasileras el 9 de Marzo y el 17 de Abril

También apelamos a la acción conjunta en dos etapas. Primero, la reacción rápida en los países donde sea posible una noticia breve. Proponemos que presenten de la forma más creativa posible su protesta para el 9 de Marzo a la embajada brasilera y tomen fotos o videos que puedan compartir en Flickr y Youtube. Subanlo con una etiqueta que diga MST y “escuelas para los sin tierra”. También llamamos a un día conjunto de protesta en las embajadas brasileras o consulados el Día Internacional de la Lucha Campesina establecido por la Vía Campesina en memoria de la masacre de militantes del MST, el día 17 de Abril. Pueden encontrar direcciones a las embajadas brasileras en: y a consulados en:

Attac Hungría
Amigos de la Tierra Brasil
Amigos de la Tierra Finlandia
Amigos de la Tierra Suecia
Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay
Amigos del MST Finlandia
Amigos del MST Suecia

Pueden hacer seguimiento de las acciones de apoyo al MST en:

Información Complementaria:

Detengan el cierre de las escuelas de los sin tierra y los ataques oficiales contra el Foro Social Mundial:

Autoridades de Río Grande del Sur controladas por figuras políticas que han recibido apoyo de la transnacional sueco-finlandesa Stora Enso, están ahora cerrando las escuelas de los sin tierra argumentando que están cumpliendo con la ley federal. Esta repentina decisión de cerrar las escuelas que fueron iniciadas por el MST surge luego de un conflicto creciente entre Stora Enso y el MST, un movimiento que defiende la soberanía alimentaria, la agroecología como forma sustentable de producción agrícola y la diversidad biológica en contra del agronegocio del monocultivo forestal liderado por corporaciones transnacionales de la celulosa.

Un representante de las mismas autoridades que están cerrando las escuelas ha simultáneamente atacado al Foro Social Mundial (FSM) cuya primera edición se realiza en la capital de Río Grande del Sur, Porto Alegre, y que por muchos años se ha llevado a cabo allí. El FSM es ampliamente respetado en Brasil y en el mundo por considerarlo una fuerte inspiración de democracia global, incluso mostrando como el Sur puede democratizar el mundo. Sin embargo ahora está siendo acusado por autoridades de Río Grande del Sur de ser un espacio para albergar terroristas y fuerzas de poco interés para la mayoría.

A inicios de 2009, Gilberto Thums, un miembro del Consejo Superior del Ministerio Público Estadual de Río Grande del Sur responsable de educación, atacó de forma simultánea a ambos, al FSM y al MST. En una declaración al diario Expansão, Thums describe al FSM como un espacio de reunión de “terroristas y marginales”. Hace un poco más de un año, en Diciembre de 2007, Thums integraba un plan donde un grupo de fiscales llevaron al MST a juicio con el objetivo de “disolver el MST y declararlo ilegal”. Este plan fracasó pero ahora las autoridades están realizando nuevos intentos para atacar al movimiento. En Febrero de 2009, Thums y la gobernadora del estado Yeda Crusius estuvieron detrás del cierre de 7 escuelas en los campamentos del MST. Un artículo de la Revista Veja de hace cinco años fue citado en el Informe que se utilizó como argumento en el cierre de las mismas. El artículo acusaba a las escuelas de los campamentos y establecimientos del MST de “defender el socialismo”, “desarrollar una ideología revolucionaria”, y “apoyar la intolerancia”. La “ideología agresiva” del MST está siendo utilizada como argumento oficial para el cierre de las escuelas.

El MST de Río Grande del Sur fue pionero hace 12 años en la implementación de legislación brasilera para apoyar las escuelas del interior del país y se ha convertido en un modelo para el resto del país. UNICEF en Brasil ha galardonado el trabajo educativo que se ha desarrollado gracias al MST como modelo de educación entre niños y niñas en condiciones socio-económicas vulnerables. El sindicato de docentes en Río Grande del Sur también otorgó un premio a estas escuelas. Casi 200.000 estudiantes concurrieron a las escuelas de los campamentos y establecimientos del MST. Casi más de la mitad de las escuelas se mantienen con fondos públicos, y el resto de ellas de forma voluntaria por el MST.

El MST no solo lucha por implementar la reforma agraria y la educación en el campo, sino que también está comprometido en trabajos de importancia para la sobrevivencia del planeta. El objetivo de los 1.5 millones de participantes del movimiento  está puesto en la agricultura ecológica. Su trabajo se ve directamente amenazado por corporaciones transnacionales que generan lucro a través de la producción de plantas manipuladas genéticamente y de monocultivos forestales para la industria de la celulosa y de los agrocombustibles. Uno de los enemigos principales del MST es Stora Enso. Para fortalecer su influencia política, Stora Enso financió la campaña electoral de aquellas fuerzas políticas que ahora están intentando detener al MST e imposibilitar la continuación de la reforma agraria que apoya el movimiento. La gobernadora Yeda, que fue directamente apoyada por Stora Enso, declaró inmediatamente después de cerrar las escuelas, que se debería hacer todo lo necesario para ayudar a la empresa forestal Stora Enso a establecerse en el estado de Río Grande del Sur, afirmando que “es el camino al desarrollo y no renunciaremos a ello”.

Nos oponemos a las políticas de interés de las corporaciones transnacionales europeas y a la acusación del FSM como fuerza no democrática e ilegítima.

Nosotros en (Amigos de la Tierra ….) solicitamos la adhesión de todos quienes defienden las escuelas itinerantes del Movimiento de Trabajadores Rurales Sin Tierra y al FSM.
•    Las cuatro demandas arriba expuestas
•    La declaración del MST en Río Grande del Sur contra el cierre de las escuelas en los campamentos del MST en el estado.


Expansão: (only latest issue)
Expansão, citas de Enero 2009 respecto del tema:

Material relacionado a la criminalización del MST:
En inglés:
En francés:
En portugués:
Información sobre los documentos que sostienen la disolución del MST:
Página oficial del Ministerio Público de Río Grande del Sur – nota de un diario sobre el papel de Thums en el intento de dissolver el MST:
Manifestación contra la criminalización del MST (Video de 20 minutos):

Material sobre el cierre de las escuelas de los campamentos del MST en Río Grande del Sur:
Fundamentalismo de derecha cierra escuelas itinerantes del MST y deja 310 niños y noñas sin educación. Leandro Scalabrin, miembro de la Comisión de derechos humanos OAB – Passo Fundo – RS.
Texto en extenso con citas del documento oficial que hace referencia al Articulo de Veja:
Madraçais do MST:
Comisión Pastoral de la Tierra – Terrorismo cultural en Río Grande del Sur: Cierre de escuelas en campamentos:
Escuelas itinerantes del MST. Es un crimen cerrarlas. Entrevista especial con Altair Morback e Isabela Braga del Instituto Humanitas Unisinos:
Opinion: Por que Yeda cerró la Escuela Itinerante?:
Cámara de Diputados manifiesta repudio al cierre de escuelas en RS; Comisión de Derechos Humanos y Minorías. Brasliai, 19 de febrero de 2009:

Material sobre Stora Enso y su apoyo a Yeda:
Informe oficial sobre contribuciones a la campaña electoral:

Material sobre acusaciones de corrupción contra Yeda:
Ex-asesor de Yeda Crusius es encontrado muerto en el lago Paraná, en Brasilia, Folha de São Paulo:

Información general del MST:
Branford, Sue and Rocha, Jan. “Cutting the Wire: The story of the landless movement in Brazil”. 2002. Latin American Bureau, London.
Harnecker, Marta; “Landless people: building a social movement”, Editora Expressão Popular
Kjörling, Lennart, Så länge det finns hunger, Ordfront, review of book:
Linton, Magnus, Americanos, Atlas, review of book:
Review of video: “Cutting the Wire”
Review of Video in spanish/portuguese with english subtitles: Landless Workers’ Movement: History did not end.
MST: Los Sin Tierra por los caminos de America, video by AbyaYalaUnida:
Landreform i Brasilien och Movimento dos Sem Terra – MST, Sveriges ambassad Brasilien,  PM, 2007-07-03   1(10)  Brasilia, Karin Wallensteen (Report on MST by Swedish embassy in Brasilia)
Friends of MST, US with english material:

Sitio Oficial del MST:

Sitio Oficial UDR, opositor del MST:

Información sobre Stora Enso, su poder económico y los impactos que genera:
“Dossier Stora Enso” en REDES – Amigos de la Tierra Uruguay:

Información sobre movilizaciones del MST en contra de Stora Enso en:
Agencia de Noticias Chasque:
Radio Mundo Real (RMR):
Jornal Brasil de Fato:

Stoppa stängningen av de jordlösa skolor

Tord Björk | education,International action,MST,Repression,WSF | Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Life in MST camp  Photo Pertti Simula

MST upprop,

Vi undertecknare

1 Protesterar kraftfullt mot att de jordlösas skolor stängs och att World Social Forum (WSF) angrips av politiker och myndigheter i Rio Grande del Sul, den delstat där både både de jordlösas rörelse (MST) och WSF föddes. Dessa rörelser ger hopp om utvekling på landsbygden och en demokratiserad värld.

2 Kräver att MSTs skolor i läger och bosättningar på landsbygden skall kunna fortsätta med offentligt stöd

3 Kräver att myndigheterna i Rio Grande del Sul tar tillbaka den beskrivning som gjorts av Thums från Ministerio Publico om att WSF är en samlingsplats för ”terrorister och banditer”. Thums är också en av de ansvariga för att stänga MSTs skolor och försöken att kriminalisera MST. Det är inte i delstaten Rio Grande do Suls intressen att använda ett offentligt ämbete för att förolämpa WSF.

4 Protesterar mot att transnationella företag som Stora Enso blandar sig i nationell politik, eftersom detta ger de som är rika möjligheter att på ett odemokratiskt sätt påverka politiken.

Vi stödjer också MSTs eget uttalande nedan:

Sedan början av kampen för jorden har omsorgen om barnen och ungdomarnas utbildning varit en del av MST/RS arbete. Mycket kraft har ägnats åt kampen för rätten till en formell utbildning i lägren. Därför uttrycker vi vårt fulla stöd till de skolor i MSTs läger som attackerats av regeringen i Rio Grande del Sul och delar av Ministerio Publico och som i början av 2009 deklarerade dessa skolor som stängda.

MST är en legitim och social rörelse, som har rätten till en kvalitativ utbildning som kämpar för jord och utbildning på landsbygden, i den verklighet där barnen och föräldrarna lever, tillsammans med familjen och lokalsamhället

Vi kräver att MSTs skolor på landsbygden skall kunna fortsätta


Underteckna på

Här under följer en förklaring till bakgrunden

Gilberto Thums vid Ministerio Publico i delstaten Rio Grande do Sul i Brasilien har i början av 2009 gått till samtidig attack mot World Social Forum och de jordlösas rörelse MST. I ett uttalande i tidningen Expansão beskriver han WSF som ett möte för ”terrorister och marginella”. I december 2007 drev Thums på en plan för att skapa en grupp åklagare som skulle ställa MST inför domstol med syftet att ”upplösa MST och döma den som illegal”. Planen avslöjades men nu går myndigheterna till förnyad handling mot rörelsen. I februari ligger Thums och guvernören Yeda bakom stängningen av sju skolor i MST:s läger. I en rapport som ligger till grund för stängningen används en fem år gammal artikel från tidningen Veja som anklagar skolorna i MST:s bosättningar och läger för att ”försvara socialismen”, ”utveckla en revolutionär ideologi” och stå för intolerans. I motivet för stängningen riktar man sig särskilt mot skolornas påstådda aggressiva ideologi.

Här under ett pressmeddelande från Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner
09 02 24 Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner protesterar mot stängning av jordlösas skolor och terroriststämpling av WSF

Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner (MJV) protesterar mot att politiska krafter som fått ekonomiskt stöd av det finsk-svenska skogsbolaget Stora Enso nu stänger de jordlösas skolor i delstaten Rio Grande do Sul i Brasilien. Det plötsliga ingripandet mot skolor i de läger som startats av de jordlösas rörelse Movimento Sem Terra (MST) sker efter växande konflikter mellan Stora Enso och rörelsen som försvarar den biologiska mångfalden mot cellulosaindustrins intressen. Företrädare för samma myndighet som nu stänger de jordlösas skolor attackerar samtidigt World Social Forum som fick sin start i Rio Grande do Sul och allmänt erkänns som en av den globala demokratins viktigaste inspirationskällor för att vara en samling för terrorister och marginella.

– Det är en skam att världens äldsta bolag som fortfarande ägs till delar av nordiska statliga intressen aktivt gripit in och gett ekonomiskt stöd i valrörelsen i Rio Grande do Sul, till de krafter som nu undergräver demokratin i Brasilien och globalt, säger Ellie Cijvat, ordförande i Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner.

MST:s läger i Rio Grande do Sul var först i landet med att få genomfört en ny lag om landsbygdskolor och är ett föredöme för hela Brasilien. FN ser det skolarbete som växt fram tack vare MST som ett internationellt föredöme. Närmare 200 000 elever går i skolor i MST:s bosättningar och läger.

MST för inte bara en kamp för den antagna jordreformen och utbildning på landsbygden utan också en kamp av betydelse för hela jordens ekologiska överlevnad.

– Genom att de 1,5 miljoner deltagarna i rörelsen satsar på ekologiskt jordbruk är de ett föredöme för landsbygdsbefolkning i hela världen och för alla som vill värna om planetens överlevnad och biologisk mångfald, säger Tord Björk, som nyligen deltagit på MST:s 25 årsjubileum i Rio Grande do Sul som representant för MJV.

En av de stora motståndarna till MST är det finsk-svenska skogsbolaget Stora Enso. För att öka sitt politiska inflytande har Stora Enso i senaste valrörelsen i Rio Grande do Sul gett ekonomiskt stöd till de politiska krafter som nu är ute efter att på olika sätt stoppa folkrörelsen MST. Den av Stora Enso understödda guvernören Yeda går nu ut direkt efter stängningen av de jordlösas skolor med uttalandet att man kommer att bereda mark för att Stora Enso ska satsa i delstaten – ”det är vägen för utveckling och vi kommer inte att vika från den”.

Myndigheternas agerande för att stänga de jordlösas skolor visar hur långt man är beredd att gå för att tillfredställa nordiska storföretags intressen. MJV förespråkar istället landbygdsutvecklingen och värnande om miljö.

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