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. http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=1748

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
http://klimatlager.wordpress.com):

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?

Participants:
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
enough.

Participants:
Azril Bacal, Uppsala Social Forum
Carmen Blanco Valera, Latin American teams
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition and active in the Climate Justice
NOW
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.

Participants:
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.
Participants:
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
things.

Participants:
Torgny Östling, Via Campesina Sweden
Carmen Blanco Valera, Latin American Groups
Leif Mettävainio, GS – The union for the forestry, wood and graphic
industry
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.

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

Urban and rural farming interested audience

11-13.00 Guerilla gardening

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

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.
Participants:
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
Growth
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) aktivism.info) in advance. Do you have instruments:
bring it gets funnier!

You find at lots of envrionmental songs gathered by Louise at http://meramusikimittliv.wordpress.com/ 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.

Participants:
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.

Participants:
Per Hulthén, Nature Conservation
Karin Sandqvist, researchers
Mr Zampa, Planka.nu

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
dsikussion.

Participants:
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.

Participants:
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 Planka.nu.

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.

Participants:
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
equality?

Participants:
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?

Participants:
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?

Participants:
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.

Participants:
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
justice.

Participants:
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)

Participants:
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.

Participants:
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
participation?

Participants:
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.

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

Closing cermony

12:30 to 13:00 Closing!

The end

Climate Justice and Class Struggles after Cochabamba

Electricians on hunger strike against privatization at Thematic World Social Forum at Zócalo in Mexico City 2010

Contribution made at Foro Social Mundial Tematico at Zocalo in the historical centre of Mexico City, 3rd of May, 2010 as a panelist on the theme: Change the system, not the climate saving the planet and constructing another way of life for humanity. The text has been constructed afterwards based on the notes made for the speech with alterations and additions, especially of quotes from declarations made in Copenhagen and Cochabamba.

Tord Björk

There are three cardinal points for solving the climate change issue. The first is the balance between rural and urban class struggle. The second hope. The third is the work for constructing alternatives to the dominant development model in the countryside, in the city and in the world by safeguarding existing or creating new ways of living well.

1. The balance of rural and urban class struggles

Climate change is a political question were the issue of social justice is central. Without social justice no long term solution can be found for the transition towards a sustainable society necessary for solving the climate dilemma. Thus both rural and urban class struggles are at the core of a solution to the problem. This social struggle is at times supplemented and even overshadowed by struggles that primarily are based on interests across class divisions as for transition to a carbon free economy, the nation state or the local community. Or struggles that are primarily focusing on ideological identities as reformism, degrowth, anti patriarchy, ecosocialism or revolutionary anti capitalism. Such ideologies are of importance to connect different local struggles. But in the end climate change is a material issue and thus class struggle with its immediate and situational conditions place a central role.

Climate justice is about changing our relationship with nature. Thus at the forefront are the direct producers in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. But also the direct producers in industry have a key role as workers in societies processing of raw material and material goods.

The importance of both rural and urban class struggles in important social issues and political struggles is not historically new. The first successful working class revolution started in Haiti 1791 among plantation slaves against the plantation owners who finally were thrown out of the country in 1804. The democratic and social progress during the 20th century built upon peasant revolutions in different parts of the world which paved the way for later industrial worker’s revolutions and reformist successes.

This has not been properly recognized. The left is primarily building its theory on an understanding were the urban proletariat is in conflict with capital ands rural population are considered as marginal or backward. Thus is the Russian revolution in 1902 that inaugurated the revolutionary era a hundred years ago made invisible in the way that the left wing writes history, in spite of that this peasant revolution was contributing the critical mass the coming decades to change the system in Russia. The Mexican peasant revolution in 1910 and the Indian peasant revolution beginning in 1917 shows the importance of the peasants world wide in struggling for social change against the system.

In Mexico we also see the differences between rural and urban class struggle were also left wing tendencies claiming to be more libertarian have shown its urban bias. In the 1910s the Mexican trade unions were among the strongest in all of Latin America if not the strongest. They worked in an Anarcho-syndicalist tradition in the Casa del Obrero Mundial preferring economic struggle and were critical towards political parties. Yet they quickly chose the side against agrarian revolution which they saw as an expression of backwardness and preferred seeing themselves as the civilized urban industrial vanguard. Furthermore they  were promoted by constitutionalist forces who struggled against both the old conservative institutions which threatened to recreate the dictatorship and the peasant revolution. With a constitutional reform the syndicates would in the future be given a role at the negotiation table of society. Thus the Anarcho-syndicalist trade union used its red battalions in the civil war against the Zapatismo. Once the peasant revolution was defeated with the help of the red battalions the constitutionalist forces that had promoted the trade unions turned against them, disbanded the red battalions and forcibly closed the syndicates. So much for the liberal promises of having a say at the stake holders negotiations tables.

The urban bias has been a problem in much of the struggle for social change the last one hundred years. Although anti colonialism and anti imperialism and the modern welfare state has been successes in many aspects the tendency is that the successes has been favouring the urban population more than the rural. Even when efforts are made to support production in rural areas the tendency has been to promote industrialisation of agriculture thus further moving power of the rural production out of the hands of rural communities to transnational companies and their offices in the cities or in the hands of state bureaucracies.

The main focus of the dominant struggles claimed to be left wing have also been either issues of redistribution of wealth or becoming a representative voice at different levels of governance as the Anarcho-syndicalists in Mexico hoped for in the 1910s. Recently this hope has especially developed around global institutions or renewed hopes for social partnership at the national or regional level, still a main strategy within the trade unions. The development model as such or the necessity of social revolutionary changes both rural and urban have been left out of focus.

That the urban bias still is a problem today is reflected after the globally important changes in government in Latin America. They are in many ways progressive and especially the Bolivian government puts an emphasis on the indigenous struggle and thus also the rural. The tendency is anyway that the dominant development model is continued including giving better conditions for the urban population while the rural population is lagging behind and environmentally and socially damaging extractive exploitation is continuing against the protests of local rural communities. This contradiction was also expressed at the Peoples Conference on Climate Change at Cochabamba in April 2010 when working group 18 (Mesa 18) that dealt with these issues was excluded from the conference

Thus the balance between rural and urban class struggles are important in all parts of the world as a key to understanding how to proceed in the struggle for climate justice. This is a balance that primarily is directed towards the need of the ongoing struggles and not any correct version of an ideology as when the Anarcho-syndicalists went to war against the Zapatistas in the 1910 as they were suspicious about the religious nature of the peasant revolution.

It is also necessary to look more precisely at what political demands can specifically help the rural and urban class struggles built upon climate justice. There is a class struggle going on outside the context of climate justice but it is only by linking the demands to the climate issues the specific new possibilities for alliances can be built to further strengthen the direct producers in their struggle against owners of means of production.

This means that in the case of peasants it is the struggle against agroindustry and its dependence on oil economy and the support of agriculture built on the photosynthesis in the hands of family farmers and small peasants or local communities that is a key to success when using the alliances on climate change issues rather than food sovereignty although the latter partly can be used as a model for building a sustainable agriculture. Likewise it is the struggle against the way that the industrial production is organized by the owners of the means of production making workers powerless and taking their creativity away by directing production towards fossil fuel based models and individual consumerist goods rather than goods of use for collective consumption. A political and economical struggle for other sustainable content of the production than that ordered by the owners of capital and their allies.

Of importance are both rural and urban class struggles mobilizating in conflicts concerning both production and consumption and the way the society is organized. Struggles sometimes to defend positions already gained important for climate justice but under threat. Such as more equal distribution of wealth of importance for changing consumption patterns and challenging the power of the rich, occupying a wind power plant as on Isle of Wight in UK in an attempt to stop the closure, or struggling against mining and other exploitation threatening the life of rural working classes and local communities. Struggles were also solidarity action are of importance.

The balance between rural and urban class struggle is not only a question for peasants and workers but also for others. Also wage earners in service and other occupations may have strong interest in the results of a united struggle against those in power of the means of production. At times such social forces that are not rural or urban direct producers may have a more consistent view on the need for changing society in ecological or feminist perspectives. In the climate justice issue such cross class alliance is soemtimes of crucial importance.

The NGO policy industry working within the limitations of the system can at times find issues of wider importance. But there is a great risk that the issues are framed in a technical lobby language making them socially neutral. How the issues are connected to daily life and the daily class struggle is in this way made obscure. The tendency may instead become fragmentization of politics separating an international level or national policy area from politics of interest and possible to influence by lay persons in their daily struggle.

There is also an academic industry promoting the self appraisal among NGOs proclaiming that the class struggle is dead and we instead have the almost limitless success of new forms of organizations, often stating environmental and development NGOs as the most advanced forms in modern politics. A global civil society replacing class struggles with NGOs focusing on well defined rational areas or ways of ways of working. Or identity politics instead of struggles in solidarity for material interests were the important matter is to have your voice heard and not so much changes in material relationships between human beings or between human beings and the rest of nature.

Alberto from Via Campesina Mexico and Silvia Ribeiro from ETC group at seminar at Zócalo

Contrary to this view on politics the rural class struggle have been central to the emergence of the anti-globalization movement and the democratization of global popular movements allied to each other. The most decisive political actor that has united and radicalized the climate justice movement is the peasant movement Via Campesina. This influence has been strongly felt in global politics since the creation of People’s Global Action (PGA) in Geneva in 1998 and the successful anti privatization struggles in Cochabamba ten years ago were also a PGA meeting was held in 2001. Together with the mainly rural indigenous movements and the Zapatistas Via Campesina has been able to challenge the mainly urban NGO lobby industry. Especially successful since the creation of an alternative to the policy and lobby oriented Climate Action Network by the more political and popular movement oriented Climate Justice Now in 2007. This became clearly evident during the combination of mass activities during the climate summit in Copenhagen 2009. Here Via Campesina was the key mass movement that supported the Reclaim power direct action at the Bella Center fomenting the alliances between the different forms of struggle with the same political message – System change not climate change.

In Copenhagen the Klimaforum declaration System change not climate change clearly acknowledge a community-based approach but also the need for both rural and urban class struggle as well as other contradictions within a local community or society. Community based approaches are not enough ” On the contrary, it will need stronger alliances within and across all borders between direct producers in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and industry. Alliances also built on the strength of gender equality and on recognizing and overcoming unjust power relations at all levels.”

The Peoples Agreement issued at the Cochabamba meeting takes a step further in both criticising capitalism and promoting indigenous perspectives. But it is less clear about class struggle and which is the actor that can contribute to social revolutionary change. The primary actor in the agreement is a ”we” and capitalism as a system should be confronted to a large extent by demanding rights. Thus when it comes to class struggle and recognizing contradictions the Peoples Agreement from Cochabamba is a step backward.

The statement issued by the excluded working group 18 (Mesa 18) in Cochabamba have a message more similar to the Klimaforum declaration both in terms of its focus on community approach and social struggles: ”New Model of Managing Natural Resources to counter the capitalist production model still prevalent in Latin America. which is situated in industrial development and the consolidation of transnationals, funded in private property, individual gain and consumerism, aspects which have been put to judgement by the nations and the people of Latin America. The development plans of these governments, including the Bolivian government, only reproduce the development model of the past.

To challenge climate change humanity needs to remember its cultural collective communitarian roots – this means building a society based on collective property and in the communal and rational management of natural resources, where the peoples decide in a direct way the destiny of natural wealth in accordance with their organising structures, their self determination, their norms and procedures and their vision of how to manage their territories.

History teaches us that there is only one effective way to transform society and to construct a social alternative to capitalism, that is the permanent mobilisation and articulation of our struggles.
….
Because of the lack of the will from governments of the world – we demand the power, as social organisations and farmers/peasants, to define a new management model and direct control of natural patrimony. With direct control by the workers from the farm and the city to establish policies of managing biodiversity in relation to necessity and not the dependence of our countries.”

(From unofficial translation at: http://cochabamba2010.typepad.com/blog/2010/05/mesa-18-declaration-english-spanish.html)

So the Klimaforum declaration and the Mesa 18 declaration Cochabamba is a more important base for maintaining the understanding of a balance between rural and urban class struggle than the Peoples Agreement from Cochabamba. Making the balance of rural and urban class struggles is essential in the cooperation ahead which today means primarily to raise the awareness and solidarity with the class struggle of the peasants world wide, a task one can hope becomes central in the Mexican and international mobilization towards Cancun and COP16.

2. Celebration of hope

Jyri Jaakola with the Finnish solidarity ship Estelle

Hope is essential to us all. The hope that grows in our hearts when we struggle collectively without illusions and with love. With that almost all is said. I just want to add to the commemoration of the murdered activists Beatriz Carino and Jyri Jaakola killed a week ago in Oaxaca while defending an autonomous commune. As Jyri came from Finland I would like to honour him with a song from Finland. It comes from the Åland island which is a Swedish speaking part of the country. It has a content and a melody quite different from the way Beatriz was celebrated yesterday here at Forum Social Mundial with a standing applause. In the Nordic countries commemoration is rather made by calling for a minute of silence and our traditional songs are rather melancholic than moving hearts by clapping hands. I will sing the song first in Swedish and then explain it in Spanish.

In Swedish:

Vem kan segla förutan vind?
Vem kan ro utan åror?
Vem kan skiljas från vännen sin
utan att fälla tårar?

Jag kan segla förutan vind,
jag kan ro utan åror,
men ej skiljas från vännen min
utan att fälla tårar.

In Spanish:

Quien puede navegar sin velas?
Quien puede remar sin remos?
Quien se puede separar de un amigo
sin lagrimas?

Puedo Navegar sin velas,
Puedo remar sin remos,
Pero no me puedo separar de un amigo
sin lagrimar

(In English:

Who can sail without the wind,
Who can row without an oar,
Who can leave behind a friend,
Without just one tear to pour?

I can sail without the wind,
I can row without an oar,
But I cannot leave a friend,
Without just one tear to pour.)

The melody is simple. You find it at http://www.ifisk.net/svenskfinland/vemkansegla.htm

Tord Björk singing in honour of Jyri Jaakola

3. A constructive Program

How is it possible to combine hope and struggle? The key to this combination is a constructive program. Here Klimaforum09 is an example of how it is possible for small groups to do the impossible by focusing beyond demands in reaction to the official UN agenda. On the one hand by making alliances with the international popular movements built on democratic principles having a leadership that is representing the global majority and thus with strong third world influence to have a stable ground for rejecting the false solutions promoted inside the negotiations. On the other side primarily focusing on alternatives.

How is this than possible? International politics is both at the governmental and the so called civil society level dominated by the agenda set by governments. Highly specialized NGOs have emerged with professionals following these negotiations and scrutinizing the content. This is a necessary work to be able to understand and defend important political demands. But it is also important to win the hearts of people and make politics understandable to have a constructive program that shows ways to solve the social and ecological problem at hand.

This struggle for a constructive program is less of interest to main stream NGOs getting their legitimacy from contributing constructively within the frame work of the system to negotiations and public debate. At least if the constructive program concern conflicts and is not primarily ideas about how market mechanisms or technical improvements can solve the climate crisis or changes in individual moral or ideology.

In Denmark ahead of COP15 the problems was aggravated as main stream organizations were about thousand times bigger in membership than organizations promoting system critical constructive programs. With lack of economic resources and professional staff the system critical organizations seemed helpless compared to the huge organizations as the Danish Conservation Society with 140 000 members in a country with 5 million inhabitants.

Initiated by an international permaculture meeting in Brazil 2007 small Danish ecological organizations and soon also a small member organization of Via Campesina, an organization with fisherfolks and Attac started to prepare a proposal for a counter summit during COP15. As they all were small lacking resources they approached the big main stream NGOs for cooperation to be able to host the tens of thousands of expected visitors to the Climate Summit in Copenhagen and the many alternative activities. But the main stream NGOs refused as they saw no purpose in organizing such an peoples event. They had all the access to the politicians they wanted as they had gained accreditation to the official conference venue and was in no need of any other activity to reach their goal embedded as they are in the language and procedures of the official negotiations.

Thus the small organizations were left with no other choice than to go on by themselves and so they did. They applied for support from the right wing government that was faced by a severe problem of legitimacy as they more than the main stream NGOs knew that for the legitimacy of international negotiations to close the possibility for alternative independent voices to be heard is against international standards. The government did what they could to both give money for a civil society forum but hand the power of the money over to NGOs and the small organizations leaving to others to decide. This caused furious conflict between the big NGOs who now when there was money were eager to get control of the proposal for a Klimaforum and the small organizations that refused to back on their original plan for a Klimaforum based on refusal of false solutions against the interests of many main stream NGOs eager to present themselves as responsible and supporters of such things as carbon trading. The small organizations did not give in and thus Klimaforum could finally be established against the interest of both the Danish government and the main stream NGOs.

It was also partly against the interest of the well established network for popular movements and NGOs for Climate Justice policy making during the climate negotiations, CJN and of course against the interest of Climate Action Network, CAN that more firmly is adopted to the rules of the lobby system. The relationship between established international representative levels of organizations and the local and national level during such occasions as a summit is always problematic. The cooperation between different organizations internationally is already a delicate matter. Adding to that the specific circumstances in which every political culture acts and reacts to political initiatives makes the situation even more complicated. Not so much for specialized NGOs that can work far above local realities but certainly for popular movements with popular participation as their main force. This main force is primarily possible to mobilize inside the country were the summit takes place. It cannot with any sustained result be imported from other countries.

Thus there was a conflict between the Danish organizations and the established CJN network. The Danes wanting to built a broad alliance for climate justice focusing not only on demands towards the UN summit but mainly on alternatives and a sustainable transition while CJN saw a problem in yet one more statement and how problematic it is to get many organizations united. Against the will of the Danes to make a declaration at the Klimaforum CJN organizations noted that it took one year to come to consensus on three bullet points in their common CJN agenda.

But the Danes had already received good support for their declaration process especially from the third world and wanted to go along anyway, a difference of opinion that was finally solved by building on the positions of CJN in the part addressing the UN negotiations while going deeper into the issues of how a social change and a constructive program for agriculture, forestry, town planning, energy, transport and industry can be constructed. This was well received by 500 organizations world wide signing on to the declaration that gave a lot more political coherence to both the Klimaforum activities with 50 0000 participants and the political linkage of the system change not climate change bloc in the main demonstration 12´th of December and the Reclaim power action on 16th of December. There were differences in the views on what forms to chose for the struggle but not much concerning the content of the different climate justice mass activities in Copenhagen.

Thus Klimaforum09 was a breakthrough for going beyond a UN agenda addressing the need for social revolutionary constructive programs for rural, urban and industrial reforms. The Peoples agreement from Cochabamba was in this aspect a step backward as the main focus here was on demands in relationship to the UN negotiations or demanding a set of rights. Here again the working group 18 had more the same kind of focus as Kliamforum09.

Every movement needs to be able to defend itself, to mobilize enough resources for its actions and a critical mass that can make a difference. The Cochabamba meeting had these qualities. In spite of the limitations of the UN system it is also the result of earlier social struggles manifested by the victory over Nazi Germany in the World War II  and the declaration of indivisible social and democratic human rights. With all their limitations such rights have been important to defend people and overcome oppression at times. UN has also sometimes played a progressive role in the struggle against colonialism and imperialism and at least in earlier days on environmental issues as sulphur dioxide emissions. Contrary to many other global institutions as WTO, IMF or groupings as G8 or G20, UN is an institution that is not completely an expression of the will of the rich and powerful nations but poses a possibility for defending important principles in international affairs. But this possibility depends on the strength of popular movements and their influence on governments which in general at the present moment is weak in many countries. The Cochabamba meeting can be seen as an expression of challenging the super powers and the rich nations within the system in a way that creates important venues for differences among the elite which again can open up for new more offensive possibilities.

Thus focusing alone on well formulated demands in relationship to the UN climate negotiation agenda is far from enough. It is necessary to build further on both a more conflict oriented social struggles agenda and a broad based social revolutionary constructive program for land, urban and industrial reform. We need a transition of agriculture from fossil fuel based to photosynthesis based in the hands of direct producers, We need planting of nutritious native trees for local community needs, we need building and rebuilding of housing and other buildings including the energy and transport systems based on social needs and organized by commons or public efforts against the interest of privatizations of all services, we need town planning against the occupation of public space by consumerist propaganda and cars.

“The art of living well”, participants at the social forum at Zócalo 2010

In Copenhagen 40 percent of the population use bicycles for their daily transport and it is now discussed how to create waves on the bike paths to avoid the rush hour queuing at red traffic signal and instead make the cars wait. The construction workers in Denmark propose a program for rebuilding houses making them climate friendly and the Danish peasant organization member of Via Campesina promotes a land reform. In Malmö next to Copenhagen in Sweden young activist in the Reclaim the fields movement started by Via Campesina grow food for the activists that came to COP15 and served for free. Now they are building a urban farming movement to strengthen local communities. In the Cancun region local ecological groups in an area with very little social cohesion and heavy under pressure from tourism exploitation are trying to create solidarity economy and ecological alternatives to the dominant development model. All over the world constructive alternatives are possible to win and to struggle for and unite beyond alliances for demands towards international negotiations.

Thus one can hope that a combination of the Klimaforum declaration from Copenhagen and both the Peoples Agreement and Mesa 18 declarations from Cochabamba can inspire the Mexican initiatives towards Cancun and the international mobilization to bring us steps beyond the official UN agenda towards more of social struggle and a constructive program to solve the climate problem in a way that also can solve other social and ecological problems.

Tord Björk

Mensaje de organizaciones latinoamericanas sobre Klimaforum10

Climate panel at the Foro Social Mundial tematico seen as a model for Cancun by some Mexican actors as RMALC opposing Klimaforum10. To the left Alejandro Villamar from RMALC, in the middle and to the right Francois Houtart. Tord Björk was the fourth participant in the panel here taking the photo.

La Alianza Social Continental, Jubileo Sur/Américas, CLOC-Via Campesina, Amigos de la Tierra América Latina y el Caribe (ATALC), REBRIP, RMALC, Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres, Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas (CAOI), la Convergencia de los Movimientos de los Pueblos de las Américas (COMPA) y CADTM Abya Yala estamos comprometidos en la construcción de un proceso de movilización conjunta en torno a la problemática del Cambio Climático, sus causas estructurales y sus reales soluciones.En este proceso, identificamos algunos momentos importantes en los próximos meses, como la cumbre Enlazando Alternativas, el Foro Social Américas y la realización de la COP16 en Cancún. Dado que el tema de esta última es el cambio climático, será especialmente estratégica para el conjunto del movimiento mundial sobre justicia climática.

Como se mencionó en la carta de la Asamblea de Movimientos Sociales, realizada en el marco de la Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático en Cochabamba “Evaluamos que la cuestión del cambio climático es importante junto a otras manifestaciones de la crisis sistémica global. Para confrontar realmente la ofensiva imperialista debemos frenar la militarización de nuestros territorios y la criminalización de los movimientos sociales, toda la agenda neocolonial contenida en los Tratados de Libre Comercio, el endeudamiento ilegítimo, el poder de las transnacionales y especialmente el modelo del agronegocio y extractivo que promueven en la privatización de la vida y la naturaleza”.

Durante la conferencia de Cochabamba discutimos y avanzamos en consolidar las alianzas con el ánimo de afianzar un proceso de movilización hacia Cancún, lo suficientemente sólido para darle continuidad posteriormente. En ese sentido, se resaltó la importancia de  retomar y seguir construyendo a partir de las experiencias anteriores, como la de la lucha contra el ALCA, que permitió identificar puntos de encuentro y luchas comunes entre los movimientos sociales del continente que nos oponemos a este modelo económico y social. Estas luchas han sido visibilizadas de muchas maneras, incluyendo a través de la realización de Cumbres de los Pueblos, que son momentos de resistencia, debate, construcción colectiva y movilización. Estas Cumbres constituyen una tradición para los movimientos de todo el hemisferio y tienen una legitimidad ganada como espacio de lucha frente a las distintas iniciativas neoliberales en contra de los pueblos.

En consecuencia, frente a la COP16 en Cancún, consideramos que es fundamental fortalecer el proceso continental, articulando con redes y organizaciones de otras regiones del mundo, como lo hemos hecho también anteriormente. Si bien respetamos y valoramos la experiencia del Klimaforum, éste respondía al contexto europeo y danés, específicamente. Intentar trasladarlo o importarlo a nuestra región implica desconocer la realidad de nuestras luchas, así como la identidad y la historia de las movilizaciones en el continente.

Reconocemos la importancia de llevar a cabo articulaciones con otras regiones, en especial en torno a este tema, cuyas implicaciones afectan a los pueblos de todo el mundo. De acuerdo con el espíritu de lo acordado en Cochabamaba, la prioridad es nutrirse y articularse con las campañas, redes y organizaciones regionales y globales que en los últimos años han trabajado para enfrentar el cambio climático y defender los derechos de la Madre Tierra, y otras redes, organizaciones regionales y globales sectoriales y temáticas que han asumido el mismo compromiso. Muchas de nuestras redes y movimientos tienen trabajo a nivel mundial. En ese sentido, creemos que la convocatoria y las movilizaciones de Copenhague fueron muy importantes y es necesario darle continuidad a las alianzas que allí se consolidaron y que también venían de procesos anteriores. Sin embargo, ello no puede resultar en un desconocimiento de los procesos nacionales y regionales.

En relación con el trabajo que se está desarrollando en México, consideramos importante plantear algunas precisiones: existen varios grupos de organizaciones sociales de todo el país que está trabajando en consolidar un espacio amplio de convergencia y movilización. Este trabajo es el resultado de una autoconvocatoria de todos los interesados (entre ellos RMALC, las organizaciones mexicanas que forman parte de la campaña “Píntale la raya al cambio” , Otros Mundos, organizaciones de todos los sectores sociales incluidos miembros de Vía campesina, y algunas ONG’s comprometidas con estas luchas). Dado que se está buscando una coalición lo más amplia posible, basada en el trabajo con las organizaciones sociales, se trata de un proceso que requiere su tiempo, en el que es necesario hacer actividades de difusión, formación y discusión para construir consensos de carácter popular en torno a nuestras demandas por justicia climática.

Apoyamos este proceso desde el nivel regional y creemos que el espacio que se desarrolle frente a la COP16, debe ser amplio, tener un carácter político y de movilización, en el que sea posible debatir con las distintas redes y organizaciones sociales a nivel mundial, para alzar nuestras voces de rechazo al modelo económico y demandar justicia climática.

Message from Latinamerican organizations on Klimaforum10

Alejandro Villamar to the left from RMALC, Mexican Network against Free Trade  that have signed the letter from Latin American organization below. In the middle Nicola Bullard from CJN at the discussion on Cancun at Foro Social Mundial tematico in Mexico City before the letter was sent.

The Hemispheric Social Alliance, Jubilee South/Americas, CLOC-Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth (Latin America and the Caribbean), REBRIP, COMPA, Jubilee South/Americas, Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI), Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples, the World March of Women and the Mexican Network against Free Trade and CADTM Abya Yala are committed to work  together in the construction of a process of joint mobilization around the problem of climate change, its structural causes and true solutions.  We have identified several key points in the coming months including the Enlazando Alternatives Summit, the Americas Social Forum in Paraguay and COP16 in Cancun.  Since the theme of COP 16 is climate change, it is especially strategic for the worldwide climate justice movement.

As stated in the letter from the Assembly of Social Movements, held during the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba:  “We consider that the question of climate change is important, together with other manifestations of systemic global crisis. To truly confront the imperialist offensive we must stop; the militarization of our territories, the criminalization of social movements, the entire neo-colonial agenda contained in the Free Trade Agreements, illegitimate indebtedness, the power of transnational’s and especially the agro-business and extractive model which promotes the privatization of life and nature”.

During the Cochabamba conference, we discussed and advanced in the consolidation of alliances to build a process of mobilization for Cancun which is sufficiently solid to have subsequent continuity.  In this respect, the importance of building on pervious experiences such as the struggle against the FTAA, which enabled us to identify points of convergence and common struggles among the social movements of the continent opposed to this economic and social model.  These struggles are made known in many different ways including via Peoples’ Summits, which are moments of resistance, debate, collective construction and mobilization. These Summits are a tradition for the movements of the entire hemisphere and have earned legitimacy as spaces for struggle in the face of a plethora of neo-liberal initiatives against the peoples.

As a result, in the face of COP 16 in Cancun, we believe that it is crucial to strengthen the continental process, coordinating the efforts with networks and organizations from other regions of the world, as we have done in the past.  While we respect and value the experience of the Kilmaforum, it responds to the European and more specifically, Danish context.  An attempt to transfer or import it to our region would not respect the reality of our struggles, the identity or history of the mobilizations in our hemisphere.

We recognize the importance of joint actions with other regions, especially related to this theme, in light of the implications that affect the all of the peoples of the world.  In keeping with the spirit of agreements reached in Cochabamba, the priority is to strengthen ourselves and link eforts with the campaigns, networks, regional and global organizations that have worked in recent years to confront climate change and defend the rights of Mother Earth, as well as other regional and global sector networks and thematic organizations which have made the same commitment.  Many of our networks and movements are working at a global level.  In this respect, we believe that the convocation and mobilizations in Copenhagen were very important and it is necessary to continue the alliances that were consolidated there, and emerged from previous processes. However, this must not ignore national and regional processes.

In relation to the work that is happening in Mexico, we think it is important to make a few observations:  there are a number of social organizations around the country which are working to consolidate a broad space of convergence and mobilization. This work is the result of a call which went out among interested groups (including RMALC, the Mexican organizations which are a part of the “Drawing the line for Change” campaign, Other Worlds, organizations from all social sectors including members of Via Campesina and some NGOs which are a part of this struggle).  Given that the goal is the broadest possible coalition, based in the work of the social organizations; it is a process which requires time. Activities that provide information, formation and discussion must be carried out in order to construct popular consensus around our demands for climate justice.

We support this process from a regional level and we believe that the space being developed in preparation for COP16 must be broad, have a political character and be oriented towards mobilization, where a debate can be held with networks and social organizations at a global level, to raise our voices in rejection of the economic model and to demand climate justice.

Towards COP16 in Mexico

The discussion the second day at FSM tematico on Cancun initiatives

Five Mexican movement initiatives towards the Climate summit in Cancun were presented at two meetings during Foro Social Mundial tematico 2-4th of May in Mexico City and at an ad hoc meting during WSF international meeting. Partly the initiatives were linked to each other. Political content and what organizations actually backs which initiatives was somewhat unclear. Partly because some were not present at the first meeting as Klimaforum10 and Via Campesina, partly because what to do and what demands to put forward is still to be discussed. The five initiatives were:

Sandra Luna from CEMDA speaking and Jorge Villareal from Boell foundation charing the meeting during the first day of the discussion at FSM tematico on cooperacion towards Cancun

1. The meetings without a name, afterwards others have labeled these meetings Frente amplio, broad front, a classical Latin American left wing concept. 6 such meetings has taken place. Participants are networks cooperating internationally with Latin American movements on anti neoliberal and other issues, NGOs as Greenpeace and other rather main stream environmental organizations as well as ecological grass roots groups.

Alejandro Villamar from RMALC to the right together with Christophe Aguiton and Nicola Bullard during the second day of the Cancun discussions

2. Climate justice campaign towards Cancun, a Latin American campaign also still without a name supported by Mexican organizations as RMALC, the network against free trade that grow out of the struggle against NAFTA. This group  participates in the broad meetings and describes its purpose as participating in the open meetings to come to an agreement with the bigger environmental NGOs, often having international funding, on a common platform towards Cancun. (these environmental NGOs are sometimes mentioned as important as they are organizing the climate campaign “Pintale la Raya al Cambio Climatico” – http://pintalelaraya.org. It should also be noted that in general main stream environmental organizations and Climate Action Network (CAN) groups in Latin America are more radical than in the US or Europe but of course still far from the position of ecological grass roots groups and a clear Climate Justice Now standpoint, see Pintale la Raya al Cambio Climatico campaign as an example.

Silvia Ribeiro from ETC group at Via Campesina seminar discussing with local activist

3. Organicaciones de base ; almost grass roots organization, and partly or all Mexican Via Campesina. This was presented as a strand that was not completly integrated in the other initiatives.

From the left Eugenio and Ruben from Cambios and to the right Miguel Valencia from Ecomunidades, grass roots promoting Klimaforum10

4. Klimaforum 10 – an initiative by ecological grass roots organizations with social justice concerns on a radical platform similar to the Cochabamba and Klimaforum09 declarations excluding the Climate Action Network and tcktcktck campaigning promoted by Greenpeace and others. Some of the ecological groups behind the Klimaforum10 initiative have more radical demands on emissions, growth and social change than the environmental NGOs or even Climate Justice Now but want to have a broad platform for the Klimaforum10 based on the rights of Mother earth, Human rights and migrant rights and the system change not climate change declaration from Copenhagen.

In general Klimaforum10 people were more open about the content, both their own and what they wanted for a common platform. They stated also where the grass root ecological movements might differ from others. They said: they are for animal rights, and more to the point they are against capitalism but also oppose socialism when it is developmentalist (desarollistas) which is the case with many left wing political parties in Latin America and according to their experience in the Mexican capital region. This is why they are all for the Cochabamba declaration on the rights of Mother Earth with one exception, the notion of socialism. They have been the only force in the climate justice discussions here at FSM meetings on climate justice cooperation that have positively mentioned the Zapatista kind of struggle while being sceptical towards left wing parties. They were also the only ones mentioning the systemcritical Mesa 18 in Cochabamba were indigenous groups and ecological groups met opposing mining and other development projects causing social and environmental problems in Bolivia and ALBA countries. This Mesa 18 was not allowed to be part of the official Cochabamba meeting. That Klimaforum10 mentioned Mesa 18 was not seen positively by some other groups present belonging to the Cochabamba main stream.

Klimaforum10 have 18 people engaged voluntarily and meetings twice a week. They have contacted the foreign ministry for infrastructure support.

5. Local ecological grass root organizations in the Cancun region. Fundacion sin fronteras working on ecological issues and solidarity economy and likeminded small groups in the region presented the situation. Danish Peoples Climate Action (mostly big NGOs of the tcktcktck kind having a coordination during COP15 in Copenhagen) have visited Cancun and a meeting for all interested took place. The local “left wing” government have made and NGO with one person in key position previously in the government. As the local grass roots organizations are sceptical towards the left wing government and its record they have maintained their own cooperation but lack resources.

Discussion during the first day on initiatives towards Cancun

The first meeting was held on Monday. It was chaired by a young person from the Boell foundation which is linked to the German Green party and a main donor to many NGOs and environmental projects in Mexico. The chair intervened quite extensively in the discussion. The main contradiction in the Mexican work towards Cancun was said to be the relationship with government. On what issues was not presented which made the discussion obscure. Centro Mexicana de Derechos Ambientales seemed not against to have some contacts with the government while RMALC was opposed. Both groups participates in the broad meetings without name.

The discussion was extensive but did not make the political content much more clear. There is a strong Latin American cooperation between well established networks that used the meeting in Cochabamba to further develop their work towards Cancun. It was also clear that there were many Mexican grass roots organisations, especially rural, that had their own discussion on their own agenda. All Mexican groups stated that there was a need to develop more consciousness about climate change and climate justice in Mexico.

The most clear political agenda at the first meeting was promoted by RMALC, mainly stating it was climate justice and referring to Cochabamba and some general climate justice agenda as Latin American networks have formulated the issue. It was more presented as something that was well known already and not to be contested rather than in a critical manner showing what the differences could be in relation to other opinions or in relation to possible internal differences.

A more clear political discussion seems to be hard to have as the broad meetings was sometimes presented as only for information exchange and the participants so far in spite of many meetings have not made their opinion clear. At other times the purpose was presented as enabling to come to an initiative later.

The general Picture can be summarized: On the one hand there was a Mexican initiative emerging with RMALC as the key organization within the broad meetings getting their legitimation from their established position as a network working with many different summits and latin American networks as the Hemispheric Alliance. On the other hands Klimaforum10 with Ecomunidad and like minded organization as key groups that have a long term commitment to local ecological struggles also against the left wing regional government that was funding the FSM tematico. These groups lack international experience before going to Copenhagen, have coordinated the ecological part of Mexican social forums earlier when it was not as much in their mind coopted by the regional government. They also never recieved any international funding. Apart from these two groups the third dominant actor are environmental NGOs as Greenpeace and others often funded by Boell foundation who all have a key position in the Frente amplio meetings. These groups stated clearly their undecisiveness, that they wanted to have the situation open including cooperating with CAN and not only CJN. Via Campesina made it clear that they are going to have their own process to find out their agenda in different parts of Mexico.

Nicola Bullard to the left from Climate Justice Now and Focus on the Global Sotuh together with Alberto from Via Campesina Mexico and Silvia Ribeiro from ETC group

A problem seems that many Mexican groups except for the ecological grass roots groups who have for long been working on climate and environmental issues and RMALC who have a long record in international cooperation with other networks are uncertain about the issue and want to wait and see tofind out were possible cooperation partners are. RMALC and their closest cooperation partners seems especially looking at tactics in relation to election that will take place in the whole region of Cancun the following months. Thus a clear political picture is not possible until after this according some estimations. To get support from the regional government is seen as a key element for getting  resources by this group and then go to the federal government. Via Campesina had announced a sceptical meeting in Mexico City in connection to both FSM tematico and WSF International committee meeting. But this was postponed due to Mexican Via Campesina that needs more time to discuss their position.

Tord Björk

Miljöförbundet Jordens Vänner, Friends of the Earth Sweden

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: http://indymedia.dk/articles/1983

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: http://www.robinwood.de/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, www.vanwaardenphoto.com

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!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: Climate!

    PROTESTERS: Justice!

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

    PROTESTERS: Power!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: Reclaim!

    PROTESTERS: Power!

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

    PROTESTERS: The talks!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: Take back!

    PROTESTERS: The talks!

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

    PROTESTERS: Justice!

    JOSHUA KAHN RUSSELL: Climate!

    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, http://avenirclimat.info

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, http://avenirclimat.info

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, http://avenirclimat.info

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

Photo with restricted copyright, http://avenirclimat.info

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, www.vanwaardenphoto.com

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, www.vanwaardenphoto.com

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: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/12/16/police_tear_gas_beat_back_protesters

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, socialism.nu,  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 http://1000.blogsport.de/2009/12/17/images-from-copenhagen-4

Photos and report from Indymedia, http://indymedia.dk/articles/1880

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: http://www.gipfelsoli.org/Home/Copenhagen_2009/COP15_2009_Pictures/8069.html and: http://www.gipfelsoli.org/Home/Copenhagen_2009/COP15_2009_Pictures/8073.html

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: http://links.org.au/node/1413

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.”: http://links.org.au/node/1416

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: https://publish.indymedia.dk/articles/1956

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!

Henry, Nnimmo and Naomi opened Klimaforum09

Tord Björk | civil disobedience,Climate,Friends of the Earth,Klimaforum,Summits,Via Campesina | Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

With small economic resources the small Danish organisations behind the Klimaforum arranged a grand and promising opening of the alternative summit.

 

 

I must admit that I had some thoughts for a while. The whole atmosphere was high-tech superprofessional in a huge hall for the kind of events separating a passive audience from the artists and speakers upon the scene with two enourmous screens as back drops. The acoustic music in the beginning seemed to continue for ever. Activists were murmuring and asked when will the speeches begin.

 

 

But then finally Henry Saragi from Indonesia and general secretary of Via Campesina International entered the scene in his traditional Indonesian hat. Here was the leader of the biggest popular movement in our time with 200 million peasants. Henry is timid, it is at first hard to believe that he is a key person in modern world politics, but he addresses consistently the concerns of food sovereignity and climate justice.

 

 

Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, chair of Friends of the Earth International followed. When he started to shout slogans the audience immediately followed, the diffrerence between the audience and the speakers were gone. We all knew that now have the People’s Copenhagen Summit started. Resist and transform, that is what we are here for.

 

 

Naomi Klein from Canada was the last key note speaker bringing the spirit from Seattle and stating the need for civil disobedience. Thus the peasants, the environmentalists and the global justice movement were united. The Danes that for many months against late funding troubles and almost all odds had organized the Klimaforum were pleased and so were the rest of us. Expectation was in the air.

4 000 in anti WTO demo in Geneva November 28

4000 people joined the march November 28in Geneva protesting ahead of the WTO meeting in an International demonstration as part of a week of action and debate around the WTO Ministerial which runs from 30th November to 2nd December.

The mobilisation was seen very much in relation to the COP15 UN climate conference taking place in Copenhagen 7th – 18th December – Economic Crisis, Climate Crisis, Social Crisis: It’s Time to Change Course! (see http://www.anti-omc2009.org/spip.php?article8).

Indymedia reports in German states that activists without any provocation from the police broke out of the demonstration from the very start and smashed cars and windows and then came back. At the beginning targeted against banks but soon against anything, a bijouterie and other shops, many cars and bikes, a bus stop. When at least four cars also was set on fire the police attacked trying to separate demonstrators from people causing property damage. Police used tear gas, concussion grenades and water cannon. The police claimed they could identify about 200 members of what was labelled the black bloc: “violent elements that join other demonstrations to cause damage.” The police said they were spread out along the route and police had to separate them from the other protesters. No injuries to police or protesters were reported, police said.

An hour after the police separated the demo some thousand people gathered again and moved towards the demo final in a park. Most went then in the direction of the WTO conference building but was finally stopped again by tear gas and water cannon. A bank was smashed but otherwise there was little to destroy in this district close to the railway station.

People gathered than in the park close to the railway station, still one could see families with children and listening to a concert. Finally the police, this time without being much provoked a lot of tear gas into the park and the people fled without much resistance towards the railway station. The police followed also filling the railway station with tear gas. Some were shouting slogans against the police and than moved away into the immigrant district nearby. One component at this last moment was “immigrantenkids” as a sign of domestic social unrest.

The outcome of the demonstration have caused different reactions. One international participant states “Speaking for folks in the South, we will not allow ourselves to be used as cannon fodder for privileged white middle class youth from the North seeking to work off their “animal spirits,” to borrow a term from Keynes”. Via Campesina made the following press release:

Also on the Swiss Indymedia website some reactions are strong also from people normally accepting strong actions: “What is the political message to smash the window of a bus stop? That we want a more bad public transport? That we want higher taxes? Or simply a reduction of the profit of insurance companies of 0,00001 promille?”

The claim that only rich peoples cars were smashed are challenged by others stating the opposite including destruction of bikes and the like. Activists defending the actions claim they were targeted with a few exceptions, how few the present police were in the beginning, how the police tactic was confused ending with: “im dezember nach kopenhagen!”

The Danish security police have stated in the mass media last week in general that activists aiming at property damage use the tactic to hide in broader demonstrations. Some Southern activists seems tired of undisciplined Western demonstrations and want a more strict non-violent behaviour. The old fashion way of dealing with these problems was demonstration guards keeping provocations both from the police and among the participants out of the demonstration. But the falling apart of collective organisation culture and the growing social unrest in Europe caused by growing social inequalities and promotion of individualistic consumer culture causes problems for coherent political protest. Hopefully lessons can be learned for Copenhagen.

Tord Björk

Sources: Indymedia, Germany, Switzerland, German and French, Berlingske Denmark

Press release about the demonstration by Via Campesina:

Geneva mobilization: where is the real violence?

Geneva mobilisation: where is the real violence?

Tord Björk | Action,International action,Summits,Via Campesina,WTO | Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Press release about the demonstration by Via Campesina:

Geneva mobilisation : where is the real violence?

Sunday, 29 November 2009
Press Release

Via Campesina was present with an important delegation at the protest of Saturday 28 November against the World Trade Organization (WTO). The mobilization was strong with around 5000 people in the streets of Geneva. The objective of these people, as well as that of Via Campesina, was to demonstrate in a non-violent manner, but with a strong and radical message regarding the WTO.

Because of the dramatic consequences of liberalization on peasant agriculture around the world, we ask that the WTO get out of agriculture. We regret that material violence did not allow us to express this message in front of the WTO building in Geneva. Without minimizing yesterday’s events, we remark nonetheless that another form of violence – social, political and economic – is directed on a daily basis towards a large part of the world population, including farmers. Let us not forget that one billion people do not have access to sufficient food. That violent political decisions criminalize certain unions on a daily basis: this was the case for our three Korean delegates who were not able to join us for the various mobilizations and who have been detained at the airport since Friday November 27th, 11 pm.

Our delegates traveled several thousand kilometers to come testify here in Geneva and propose alternatives. Since they were not able to do this during the demonstration, we invite journalists to take advantage of their presence in the coming days.

For any additional information, please contact:
Valentina Hemmeler Maïga,
Solenne Piriou, La Via Campesina,

Complementary position of Uniterre on the Swiss aspects of the demonstration of 28 November:

* We wonder whether it is opportune to welcome international organizations of this scale if the only response to yesterday’s violent incidents is – for some people – the plain and simple prohibition to protest. This could lead to the impression that the authorities are not capable of dealing with events of this size while at the same time letting democracy express itself.
* We are also surprised that the Swiss authorities were able to obtain the names of three Korean delegates and detain them before a demonstration but that they are not able to identify 200 possible “rioters”.

The Heat Is On, nr 3 Copenhagen process update

While the official COP15 process runs into more and more problems the movements are getting better and better organised for the Copenhagen summit in December. US has taken the lead dragging EU along on forgetting about the Kyoto protocol and replacing it with self regulation. With India wanting to split the G77 and opt for an alliance with the US positions to put the good parts of the Kyoto protocol aside and replace it with a non-agreement the situation becomes more shaky than ever. In Denmark the chief negotiator have left the process.  It seems like it is only the Danish environmental and energy minister and incoming COP15 president, Connie Hedegaard, that keeps smiling presenting the idea of agreeing on a non-agreement without a protocol as a successful outcome – “I think what matters is that we, when we depart from Copenhagen, with credibility can say we brought the world on the right track, on a track that makes it credible that we can stay below the two degrees average increase in temperature worldwide. That is basically the success criteria we must try to deliver on.” She also stress that there must be some money from developed countries to the developing world. A new agreement is no longer a goal. It is thoughtful if the most badly hit countries will accept a less strong decision than the already too weak Kyoto protocol when it becomes more and more evident that the climate change is worsening.

For an interview with Connie Hedegard read
http://en.cop15.dk/news/view+news?newsid=2257

Analysis over the present negotiation situation you will find at many places.

Content The Heat Is On nr 3 issued October 25 2009

1. Biggest environmental action day ever October 24.

” The outcome must be described as successful. The creativity used all across the globe to present the message of the campaign have shown that many wants to participate in new ways that was first used very broadly at the Anti Iraq war demonstrations in 2003. The large number of activities shows the effectiveness of American campaigning. ”

” One way that the climate justice movement used the October 24 international action day was to expose carbon trading scam.”

Read more: http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=710

2. International Climate Justice Tribunal 13-14 October

In Cochabamba in Bolivia an International Climate Justice Tribunal was organised on October 13-14. Seven cases was addressed by the tribunal in Bolia, El Salvador, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Accused were rich countries that are included in the Kyoto agreement in Annex 1,the Dutch foundation Forest Absorbing Carbon Emissions and a number of other economic organisations.

Reda more at http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=707

3. The crucial role of migrants in the climate justice movement

” Both at a meeting called Inspiration Latin America in Stockholm an at a consultation organised by People’s Movement on Climate Change in Copenhagen it became evident that migrants will play a crucial role in the Copenhagen process.”

Read more at http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=692

4. Climate Justice Now cooperates more closely with CJA and Klimaforum

“A Climate Justice Action meeting took place in Copenhagen to prepare for actions in December October 15-18 and a Klimaforum meeting on October 18. At both occasions Climate Justice Now organisations as Via Campesina was a strong cooperation partner.”

http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=703

5. December 16 more non-violent than December 12?

” One thing is for sure. Some organisers of the broad climate demonstration on December 12 as representatives of Climate Action in Sweden tries to claim that they are doing a good non-violent manifestation while Climate Justice Action on December 16 is doing something more violent. Now it is clear. They do not know what they talk about. ”

Read more at http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=679

6. Repression unifies.

“A proposal for new legislation against riots in Denmark can severely effect the demonstrations during COP15. Sentences for a number of acts like staying in a demonstration after it has been dissolved by the police or other crimes that are hard to define in a grey zone is supposed to be followed by much higher sentences in prison or fines than before.

This has caused also main stream NGOs to react apart from active work from Danish CJA activists.”

Including some notes concerning repression in Denmark from a Swedish perspective

“The Danish political culture is rather repressive. This is not only due to the government, the political parties, the police and the media but also highly competiveness between organisations.”

Read more at http://www.aktivism.info/socialforumjourney/?p=690

Next Page »