Tuesday, October 11, 2011


The time of the State is drawing to a close.  The Empire has arrived on the scene.  Yes, the state's are still there.  Yes, some of them like the USA have lots of power.  Real control, real power, however, in many ways has already passed on to the Empire of Global Capital.  The rest will follow shortly.  As Antonio Negri argues the flip side of that Empire is us...the Multitude.  The multitude is everyone exploited by capital and is everyone controlled by the Empire.  The multitude though makes everything and the multitude has the power to one day turn the Empire on its head and create something new, something wonderful.  The multitude strikes back in a thousand, million ways.  What you will read below is a fine example of a woman, a singularity, in the multitude telling the truth, organizing to strike a blow at Empire, trying to save her planet before it is too late.  The interview with Carolina Amaya I found at Upside Down World.  Following the interview you will find the  DECLARATION OF THE ALTERNATIVE FORUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE .

El Salvador: For Salvadoran Activist, It Is Necessary to Change the Development Paradigm
Written by Tatiana Félix, Adital   
Friday, 07 October 2011 14:09

Translated from Spanish by Maggie Von Vogt
Carolina Amaya (Source: Adital)
Panama City, Panama - Carolina Amaya, participant in the Alternative Forum on Climate Change held this weekend in Panama, member of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES), came from El Salvador to discuss "Climate Change: Responses from the Power and the Alternatives of Social Movements'.  In an interview with ADITAL she criticized the fact that the governments insist on carrying out a policy that causes the climate crisis and said that the challenge of social movements is to deconstruct the false paradigm of development that triggered the economic and environmental crisis that puts the life of our civilization at risk.

Amaya said that the current crisis that the planet is experiencing was caused by developed societies and warned that the limits of nature and the planet have already been exceeded. In the spaces in which she works, Carolina has the job of 'climate literacy'; to get people to understand the processes of change that are occurring globally.
The Alternative Forum on Climate Change took place on October 1st and 2nd as a response of social movements and peasant, environmental, and indigenous organizations to the preparatory meeting for the Durban Summit on Climate Change, where leaders from nearly 200 countries gather the Panamanian capital from October 1st to 7th. The primary demand of the grassroots movements is to participate in decision-making in government policies, since many of these communities are most affected by the impacts of environmental crises.

Read the interview:

ADITAL –In your opinion, what are the most divergent points from those presented by governments and community demands on the issue of climate change?

Carolina Amaya – Well, first there is a gap between vision and the path of the states and the vision and path of the people. States, despite clear evidence that there is a theoretical, scientific and lived evidence that this economic model is unsustainable and incompatible with nature's capacity and limits, instead of redirecting and transforming this development paradigm that has led to the climate crisis, they continue on the same route. States still insist on a green makeover, and that now the economy is a more friendly towards nature, which is the entire proposal in this time leading up to Rio +20. There is a whole infrastructure around the global green economy. But this model, this system, has failed.  It is an economic model that has led to this climatic chaos, and yet states continue along the same route that led to this crisis.

Within the social movements there are other expectations. In the social movements we propose: first, we must recognize that this crisis we are experiencing is different from others, different from other climate changes that have occurred in history from a natural origin and have been distributed in proportion to the time and space, and time is necessary in order to adapt to that change. What we are experiencing now is not natural.  It is a man-made change that has been constructed by society, and mainly by he developed societies.

Secondly, although all the information that climate change is anthropogenic and socially created exists, they deny that this is a social crisis. There are important perspectives of social movements that see this as a result of the predominant development model and propose that we restructure the development model in a way that is compatible with nature.  This is what we call social sustainability.

Where does socio-environmental sustainability start from, and where do we defer from the state perspective? First, we recognize that this crisis is associated with additional crises.  There has always been an economic crisis.  There has always been climate change, but now it meets every other crisis; it joins with the food crisis, it joins with the climate crisis, and it joins with the financial crisis.

We, as social movements, differentiate the climate crisis from other social crises, because this crisis has a component that cannot go unnoticed.   It is the component of capacity: to recognize the capacity that the planet has. What do we say? First, as social movements we have to deconstruct the false paradigm of development because societies that are rich don't want to give up this paradigm, and southern societies aspire to it, despite the fact that this is development that has lead us to climate change. The first challenge to the movements is to deconstruct the false paradigm of development that has led us to the climate chaos that threatens civilization.

Second, we need to reorient the way of life. We need to restructure our standard of living, according to the load bearing capacity of nature. Our ecosystem is finite, it has a limited capacity and this chaos is a result of exceeding the carrying capacity and limited capacities that the planet has.

This factor is the challenge we face. We must start placing limits and recognizing that we live in an ecosystem that is a planet that has limits and a limited capacity. This is our challenge because many of us also saw nature as infinite, but now we see it as a living organism, and that we are part of it, and can't keep seeing it as a commodity from which we take. This is the challenge that we must face as social movements.

ADITAL – What are the alternatives presented by the movement as a solution to the crisis?

Carolina – Personally, I think that indigenous people give us life lessons, with words of wisdom and life experiences that are alternatives and lead us to a new way of revaluing the land and our relationship with the land. If we have food, water, and somewhere to produce, that provides us with the basis for life.

ADITAL – What are your expectations from this forum in the sense that the governments listen to the communities?

Carolina – Well, you said that we continue to believe that another world is possible. We still believe in the power of resistance and struggle of our people. In this sense, we gather here as El Salvador to unite forces with colleagues from Panama, other regions, and all over the world to how to continue in this struggle of social movements and I would expect here that we can establish better mechanisms for coordination, for example, with our colleagues from Panama, who for those of us who come from El Salvador and we are very close by.

We come here because we believe that another world is possible, because we believe it is necessary to strengthen and articulate an alliance in the face of the social and environmental crisis, and third because the governments who come here with official country perspective need to know that citizens, communities, and organizations are watching and monitoring what they commit to and commit us to.

ADITAL – What are the activities UNES is involved in?

Carolina – We are part of a network called the Mesoamerican Climate Justice Campaign. We have organized ourselves to make our voices heard and continue pushing for the demands we have made. In this sense, there is a necessity to do climate literacy work, because this issue needs to be taken out of the scientific language and be made more collective, based on the experiences of the people. So literacy is to raise awareness about the climate change we are experiencing. These are not natural changes, but are socially constructed changes that have an economic, social, and political dimension.

Secondly, public policy advocacy, regardless of the official negotiations, is a space that moves very slowly and sometimes goes backward or stagnates. And much of what is discussed there are agreements that do not benefit the people. One very clear example is the agreement in Cancun. Our governments need to institutionalize and ensure policies and plans that make the communities, peoples, and territories better able to cope with the impacts.
We need to do advocacy on a government level in decision making, and for governments to convey the truth to our people, because it has always this way: the positions are far from benefiting all of those who are weak, and they are fragile against these major disasters that are predicted.



Members of rural communities and social organizations, indigenous peoples,    Afrodescendants, scholars, students, women, from throughout the      Mesoamerican region, gathered on the occasion of the Alternative Forum on  Climate Change, held in Panama City, October 1-2, 2011,
1. That the crisis of climate change, generated by the polluting industries and  agribusiness of industrialized countries, the use of fossil fuels, is a reality and its  effects are palpable across the globe, especially for those peoples who have the  east responsibility for the existence of the causes of climate change.
2. That the peoples of the world are mobilizing in the search for alternatives given the indifference of governments to the needs of the people. Such exclusion poses a strong challenge to the principle of representativity, since in these circumstances states do not represent their people, nor can they represent them as long as there continues to exist a situation of internal colonialism of the diverse peoples living within the borders of states, as well as subordination of public interest and state authority  to the centers of political, economic, and military power:  transnational corporations and financial institutions (World Bank and International Monetary Fund).
3. Official talks in the framework of the Conference on Climate Change, taking place from October 1 to 7 in Panama City, despite
being paid for with public monies that are the fruit of the people’s labor, are undertaken in a closed, exclusive and antidemocratic manner.
4. The undemocratic nature of the Conference on Climate Change blocks any possibility of dialogue among different kinds of knowledge as well as the participation of the victims in the search for real solutions to the global problem of climate change, limiting the options to actions that do not solve the problem because they do not address its political, economic, and cultural causes.
5. The Conference on Climate Change reduces the problem to a choice of options for mitigation, adaptation, and financing, presented in a discourse that is not accessible to most people, in a bureaucratic and technocratic setting, under a false environmental discourse but with a strictly economistic decision-making rationality, tied to the power asymmetries of the “international community”, without consideration of the justness of the options and the system of political and economic thought from which they arise.
6. That as inhabitants of the planet, children of Mother Earth, we have a duty to question, debate, and offer proposals on this subject of paramount importance for humanity on the planet.
1. Economic processes promoted by the predatory and polluting capitalist system are based on the violation of the human rights of indigenous native peoples, peasant communities, traditional fishers  and a growing number of people, through dispossession and exploitation in extractive and energy projects or unnecessary or unproductive activities aimed at profit and the satisfaction of the desires of a minority of humanity, with ecological consequences that also violate the human rights of victims.
2. One of these consequences is the climate crisis that bring us together now, froas a result of which they want to impose on people, under the discourse of development, false solutions such as carbon markets, “clean development mechanisms”, REDD among others, based on the same logic of profit, speculation, hoarding of common goods and exploitation of the majority.
3. Among the consequences of economic activity guided by the dominant logic of profit, competition and economic growth, and the climate crisis such activity has generated, are deforestation, loss of the productive capacity of the soil, floods, droughts, changes in temperature and patterns of wet and dry seasons, loss of crops needed for food and the use of foodstuffs for other purposes, chemical and biological contamination of food, loss of family and community income, malnutrition that causes poor academic performance, loss of medicinal plants and trees to build homes and means of transport that are harmonious with nature, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, overexploitation and extinction of animal and plant species of land and water that are the staple food of peoples,  rising prices, increased pollution, decreased river flows, pests and diseases, and an overall decline in living conditions of people.
4. These consequences affect all humanity, without distinction of social class, ethnicity, place of residence, gender, ideology, or any other sign of difference, but they provoke particularly severe impacts on those human groups traditionally most exploited: indigenous, Afrodescendants, farmers, urban poor, women, migrants and children, including future generations of humans.
5. Governments and international bodies do not respond to the needs of the inhabitants of any state nor defend their interests; they do not educate them as subjects with rights but rather as factors of production and consumers, indifferent and subjected individuals, without room for creativity.  They do not defend our freedom, our rights, peoples’ land and food sovereignty more than they do the freedom of capitalist enterprise, the rights of corporations, the grabbing of public goods and legal certainty for investors. They do not inform, nor consult, nor respect, nor represent us.
6. The deterioration or destruction of nature, the essence of life, impoverishes the relationship with Mother Earth and weakens the perspectives and traditional knowledge of peoples that is hidden or denied by so-called Western modernity, but which is capable of providing real answers to address the climate crisis.
1. Recognize Mother Earth as the sole source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of balance between everyone and everything, complementarity, solidarity and equity, collective well-being and satisfaction of the basic needs of all while respecting the rights of Mother Earth; recognition of human dignity and respect for human rights, elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism, peace and justice among peoples and with Mother Earth.
2. Conceive development and carry out actions that tend to it, away from the paradigm of economic growth and competition among countries and people, and contained rather in the paradigm of the solidarity economy, of well living, social welfare and the integral realization of the human being in harmony with the community and nature. In this regard, we reject the development of extractive and energy projects that are contaminating and not oriented according to the above mentioned principles.
3. Think politics as the need to build real democracy to effectively address the problems of the community, and democracy as the participation of individuals and peoples, which is impossible without the implementation of all individual and collective rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights, respecting the rights of Mother Earth which is the basis of all human possibility.
4. Build democracy through the promotion of participation and the development of mechanisms to this end, requiring the use and effectiveness of those existing for the population to decide, on different territorial scales and on varying topics of interest, through the knowledge and defense of human rights and the law, the dissemination of information to communities, the use and / or creation of communications media, the strengthening of the autonomy, self-management, education, organization and coordination among community and social movements, civil society and other approaches related to the principles expressed in this statement.
5. Develop programs of urban and family organic farming,  traditional methods of production, agrotourism, inventories and native seed banks, revive traditional forms of production, recovery and protection of lands, waters and territories, networks  for the support and fair trading of healthy products and knowledge among communities and small producers, the systematization and dissemination of successful experiences, civic and political participation from and for the care and solving of community problems, considering in particular women, children, youth and older adults.
6. Demand policies, legislation and environmental practices for the ecological management of marine and coastal goods, protection of water, rivers and forests, waste management, access to information, consultation and public participation, education, social justice and environmental advocacy, human rights and gender equity.
7. Reject the false solutions to climate change, closed conferences on issues affecting all humanity, undemocratic decision-making mechanisms within governments and international organizations, free trade policies, the granting of concessions for extractive and energy megaprojects that have no community interest and that prolong the dispossession and culminate in forced displacements, and the use of transgenics, agrotoxins and pesticides that contaminate and alter nature, including human beings.
8. Promote and defend food sovereignty programs, in which all individuals and groups in their cultural diversity, define and organize their sources and models of food production in order to access them in a sustained, adequate, safe, supportive and widespread manner, using their own seeds, common goods such as water and land, collective work and freely transmitted traditional forms, respectful of the earth, of nature and the rights of others, producing what is necessary in a self-sufficient manner without pollution or trade restrictions.
9. We urge governments to recognize, respect and ensure the effective implementation of human rights in particular the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention 169, among other pertinent instruments, in the negotiations, policies, and measures that are taken to address the challenges posed by climate change. In particular, we call on governments to legally recognize the prior existence of territorial rights on indigenous and peasant lands and natural resources therein, to enable and strengthen traditional ways of life and continue to contribute to the solution of climate change.
The solutions to the climate crisis are found in the daily activities of families, communities and peoples. They are not found in grandiose speeches ane incomprehensible vocabularies that hide the reality of its causes and effects, promoting them with different names so as to keep doing the same things without resolving anything.
We call for support in an organized and peaceful manner, of the different demonstrations that will take place in our country and throughout the region in commemoration of October 12, for remembrance and for the future, for food sovereignty, against the neo-liberal political vision, and for the overcoming of the capitalist system.
We call to participate in the Global Week of Action Against Financial and Ecological Debt and International Financial Institutions (Interamerican Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Bank),  October 8 to 16.
We call for support in an organized and peaceful manner, of community and organizational activities  on October 16, international day of food sovereignty in defense of native seeds and Mother Earth.
We call for the realization of organized and peaceful days of action with regard to the United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), to be held in Brazil from June 4 to 6, 2012.
We demand of governments that they respect our voices and lives during the realization of our demonstrations, activities and actions; it is the only way to ensure their peaceful and organized nature.
Rivers for Life, Not for Death 
The land is not to be sold, but to be defended. 
This is our home, no matter what our color or race, and we must defend it against these threats. 
REDD and CDM No, Food Sovereignty Yes.

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