[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) Anti-extractivism reports from Thematic Social Forum in Joburg
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Nov 16 17:26:11 CET 2018
Coming soon: the official declaration and plan of action from this
A twitter feed with more pics and videos:
Here's at least one youtube presentation (where Lidy Nacpil puts tough,
necessary questions to the anti-mining movement):
An update of my own spin (earlier, with URL links, here):
Activists go for weakened mining
An international forum draws strength from worldwide protests
* /Mail & Guardian/
* 16 Nov 2018
* Patrick Bond
The World Social Forum’s Thematic Forum on Mining and Extractivist
Economy, convened earlier this month in Johannesburg, hot on the heels
of the Southern Africa People’s Tribunal on Transnational Corporations.
Hundreds of activists, grounded in local grievances, met to agree on
This is the appropriate moment, here and around the world, for
grassroots groups to tackle issues relating to mining, oil and gas.
World economic chaos is deterring investment.
Mining houses cite not just South Africa’s black economic empowerment
ownership requirements but also many other structural problems: weak
commodity prices compared with the 2011-2015 plateau; China’s unstable
demand; higher production costs; embarrassing revelations about the
sector’s debilitating illicit financial flows (tax evasion); society’s
pushback against systemic corruption and violence; labour militancy,
especially against looming mass retrenchments; more effective localised
resistance campaigns and rising climate consciousness aimed not just at
fossil fuels but also at carbonintensive minerals smelting.
*Extractive sector reformism*
A stand against mining can now take root, in part because of ineffectual
reformism associated with corporate social responsibility gimmicks (such
as the World Bank’s longstanding celebration of Lonmin) and with the
mining sector’s civil society watchdogs. That occurs at the mainly
uncritical Alternative Mining Indaba, a nongovernmental
organisation-dominated event held annually in Cape Town as the
corporations gather nearby for the African Mining Indaba.
The thematic forum firmly opposes “extractivism”. Unlike the alternative
indaba, it aims to connect the dots between oppressions, defining its
target as extraction in a way that is “devastating and degrading”.
Mining exacerbates “conditions of global warming and climate injustice.
It subjects local economies to a logic of accumulation that privately
benefits corporations.” Mining represses “traditional, indigenous and
peasant communities by violations of human rights, affecting in
particular the lives of women and children”. The last point is not
incidental, as two of the main forum organisers were the Southern Africa
Rural Women’s Assembly and the Jo’burg-based WoMin network, African
Women Unite Against Destructive Resource Extraction.
Inspired by Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) activists led by Nonhle
Mbuthuma, the fight to halt titanium mining on the Eastern Cape’s Wild
Coast generated a popular new slogan, the #Right2SayNo.
(Meanwhile, at a Xolobeni conflict resolution meeting last month, Mining
Minister Gwede Mantashe revealed how desperately he wants investment by
the likes of even the aggressive Australian firm MRC.)
*No means no*
Such rights language proved invaluable in the Constitutional Court last
month when the Itireleng residents won a judgment against displacement
from their North West farm, which is under attack by a local platinum
On Tuesday, the forum, which gathered at Newtown’s Sci-Bono Discovery
Centre, interrupted lunch to demonstrate at the nearby headquarters of
AngloGold Ashanti. The JSE-listed firm was shamed in 2005 by Human
Rights Watch for its alliances with warlords responsible for the
minerals-related murder of millions of people in the eastern Democratic
Republic of the Congo.
In 2011, AngloGold Ashanti won the title of the “world’s most
irresponsible corporation” at the Davos Public Eye ceremony, organised
alongside the World Economic Forum, following criticism by a key forum
participant, Hannah Owusu Koranteng, from Ghana’s Wassa Association of
Communities Affected by Mining.
Since then, the firm has attracted even more protests by communities,
labour, feminists and environmentalists from Chile to Colombia, Ghana,
Guinea, Tanzania and South Africa about mass retrenchments, inadequate
pay and a delay over silicosis-related compensation payments. It’s a
sick company, and its local stock market price has fallen by more than
half since a mid2016 peak.
Criticised by investors who believe “AngloGold has not matched up to its
global peers”, in large part because of less profitable South African
holdings, AngloGold Ashanti is rapidly leaving its home base.
The firm made its fortune during the 20th-century era of apartheid
extractivism, when it was run by the Oppenheimer family. Its new boss,
Kelvin Dushnisky, previously led Toronto-based Barrick (the world’s
largest gold producer) during its recent reign of mining-related repression.
The mining corporations under fire at the forum are not only the typical
pinstriped, ethics-challenged cowboys from the
London-TorontoMelbourne-Jo’burg circuits. Next door in Mozambique,
Rio-based Vale’s coal-mining operations at Moatize were disrupted last
month because of “excessive pollution [and] acceleration of the decay of
houses due to explosion of dynamites”, documented by activists.
In Mozambique, Vale and the Indian firms Jindal, Coal of India and
Vedanta have been criticised for displacement and destruction.
Protests against foreign companies are prolific in the coal-rich Tete
province. Further east, on the Mozambican coastline, the beach sands
have been destroyed by the Chinese firm Haiyu. As several Zimbabweans
testified, the looting of $13-billion in diamonds from Marange was done
jointly since 2008 by Anjin from China and generals from Harare.
Vedanta boss Anil Agarwal is perhaps the target of the most sustained
criticism, including a mass protest in May against Vedanta’s Thoothukudi
Sterlite copper plant. Police responded with the massacre of at least 10
Indians who had demanded an end to pollution.
Protest against Africa’s largest copper mine, Vedanta-owned Konkola,
centres on 1826 Zambian farms poisoned by toxic waste. Just before the
London Stock Exchange delisting of Vedanta last month, reggae musician
Maiko Zulu protested (and was arrested) at the British high commission
in Lusaka, demanding that authorities deny Agarwal his escape from
London before justice was served. Agarwal bought Konkola for just
$25-million in 2004 and a decade later bragged that he had taken home
between $500-million and $1-billion a year from Konkola.
Such Western-plus-Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)
exploitation exemplifies the mineral, oil and gas looting underway
across Africa. The extraction of nonrenewable resources that is
uncompensated by reinvested profits amounts to an estimated $150-billion
annually, far more even than the $80-billion that the African Union’s
Thabo Mbeki commission on illicit financial flows identified, and
disappears mainly via mining and petroleum firms.
But, increasingly, corporations are pushing the people and the
environment too far and resistance is rising. According to Rosa
Luxemburg Foundation officer Tadzio Mueller, a key strategist of
Germany’s anti-coal movement, “we are doing here what effective social
movements have always done: identify our opponents’ power and shut it down”.
As Anglo American leader Mark Cutifani remarked in 2015, “there’s
something like $25-billion worth of projects tied up or stopped” by
mining critics around the world. How activists can increase that figure
motivated the week’s discussions.
More difficult, though, was overcoming North-South intra-movement
contradictions, and moving from criticism to strategies for
post-extractivist systems of political economy, political ecology and
The central questions remained to be explored at future events: what
minimally necessary mining can be justified; how can those benefits be
“socialised”; and how can the costs of business as usual be prevented?
*12 November 2018
/Panel on “ Perspectives for Just Transition and Alternative Development”/
« AMANDLA », and the public shouts in response “Awethu”, which means
“POWER – To the people”. This is the motto that resonates in the opening
plenary of the first Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractive
Economy. CIDSE and its members are gathered in Johannesburg with
partners and other organizations from over 60 countries from all over
the world to celebrate people’s resistance to mining and to its
devastating impacts. The first day of this thematic social forum was
dedicated to self-organized activities.CIDSE staff and members had the
opportunity to engage in reflections on the urgent need for a change of
paradigm in order to shift away from the current global extractivist
economy. This was for us an opportunity to share the outcomes of CIDSE’s
April 2018 Systemic Change Forum, within a panel on “ Perspectives for
Just Transition and Alternative Development”, co-organized with MISEREOR
and partners such as Red Muqui, WoMin and Accion Ecologica. We also
participated in the launch of Iglesias y Mineria divestment campaign.
This campaign is aimed at countering the dominant narrative of major
mining companies who keep on presenting mining projects as opportunities
for development, promising jobs and a so called “sustainable” mining.
The Divestment campaign aims at engaging with church actors from all
over the world to demand that they screen their own investments and
divest from harmful mining investments. Many comrades from African
countries showed great interest in this approach and were keen to make
links with the Iglesias y Mineria network. CIDSE also co-organized a
panel reflection on “Dialogue as a transformative action” with Iglesias
y Mineria and the People’s Dialogue. This was for us an occasion to
recall the longstanding experience of Latin American partners on
liberation theology and deepening the concept of dialogue including the
basic conditions to engage in a sound dialogue rather than a
negotiation, which implies unbalanced power relations.
*13 November 2018
The second day of the Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractivist
Industries started with songs of resistance from south African
communities affected by mining. After this cultural opening, a strong
panel of four women shared their social struggles around extractivist
activities in Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria and the US. They agreed
on the dramatic increase of extractive activities in the past 15 years
while seeing at the same time an increased resistance to it. All over
the globe, women essentially sustain the social resistance against
extractivist activities. The second panel delivered a sharp analysis of
the global capitalist system based on extractive economies that brings
along massive social and environmental destruction and climate change.
The message was clear: we urgently need substantial systemic changes to
save the planet. After the plenary sessions, the participants of the TSF
took action and brought their strong messages in a loud and colorful
protest march to the headquarters of Anglogold Ashanti, one of biggest
gold mining corporations in the world. In the afternoon, ten different
thematic assemblies started to develop strategies and building networks
around a variety of key issues, such as the new emerging threats of deep
sea mining or the increased pressure of the shift to “green energy”,
requiring always more minerals. This goes along with an ever increasing
criminalization of social struggle in many countries. Padre Dario Bossi
from Iglesias y Minería outlined the responsibility of the Catholic
Church as a global actor in protecting affected communities.
*14 November 2018
We started this day with a reporting back from the interesting debates
that took place in the thematic assemblies yesterday. Striking ideas
that emerged were the need to decolonize territories, minds and bodies.
The suffering of communities must stop and solutions such as the blue
and green economy were dismantled and criticized as continuing the
capitalist agenda. This was followed by a plenary on mining, climate and
ecological crisis. Representatives from Accion Ecologica shared some
experiences from Ecuador, highlighting that the right of Nature can be a
powerful tool and raised the question on how to integrate this concept
in our work. We were then provoked on many issues by a representative
from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, for example on the ambivalence of
climate justice actions in Northern countries: the movements to stop
coal or nuclear energy (in Germany but also other European countries)
must take into consideration that this reduction does not stimulate the
import of raw materials which are produced with extremely negative
social and environmental impacts. Global climate justice must take into
account all possible negative impacts on everybody wherever they live.
So one important question is how we must deal with conflicts of
interests within our movements. In the afternoon eight converging
commissions took place with the clear intention to identify
convergences, divergences and plans of action. In those groups, topics
such as the right to say no, alternatives to extractivism, struggles of
communities and against companies or international treaties were
discussed. Concrete suggestions were made and exchanged in the plenary.
Those suggestions now lay the basis for the final declaration of the
Thematic Social Forum on Mining and the extractive economy on Thursday,
including an action plan for the future. To be continued on Thursday
15th November, last day of the thematic social forum on Mining &
*15 November 2018
After the initial dancing and singing, the last day of the forum started
with a panel on “Just transition and extractives”. A representative from
the Latin-American “Sí a la vida, No a la Minería” network, told us the
story of two communities from Colombia who stopped mining projects in
their territories, not only by protesting on the streets, but also by
creating socioeconomic alternatives around sustainable agriculture and
ecotourism projects. A panellist from Muqui Network (Peru), reminded us
of the importance of building up new collective identities and
narratives around the idea of well-being, understood in broad terms, to
challenge the narrowness of conventional views on economic growth. He
also pointed out the need to reach the younger generations with the
message of ecology because the future is in their hands. The morning
continued with the presentation of the first draft declaration which was
discussed afterwards in the working groups. There was consensus on the
main points, but also important concerns were raised in the following
debate, such as the framing of “artisanal mining”. Finally, it was
agreed to introduce some amendments in the original draft and the
steering committee of the forum will write a final version of the
declaration, which will be launched in the coming days.
*Yes to Life no to Mining*
Thematic Social Forum on Extractivism: Communities say No to
extractivism and corporate plunder!
Wed, 11/14/2018 - 05:34
On 12th November 2018 the Thematic Social Forum on Extractivism got
under way in South Africa, bringing together over 400 community
spokespeople & activists to explore how we can go beyond extractivism.
Follow #TSFMining, #Right2SayNo and #YestoLifeNotoMining on Twitter and
Facebook to stay up to date. Press release from our friends WoMin below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Johannesburg, South Africa – November 12, 2018
Multi-national corporations are running rampant across the world, and
particularly in Africa. They violate human rights and extract natural
resources through mining, intense mega-agriculture projects and
large-scale fishing. All of this is done in the name of profit &
development. Communities are shown smoke and mirrors along with false
promises – but not everyone is captured. From Xolobeni in the Eastern
Cape, to Tete in Mozambique; to communities in the Bundi Valley in
Democratic Republic of Congo whose land and livelihoods are under threat
from a large-scale dam – people are rising and saying NO! to extractivism.
The extractivist capitalist model, resulting in the over-exploitation of
natural resources, has devastated the environment; cut of the access to
water; exacerbated climate change. In many cases corporate power has
displaced, destroyed and dislocated communities and their way of life.
Often, women bear the brunt of the violence of corporate plunder. This
brutal, exploitative system disintegrates the basic social fabric of
communities and divorces them from their culture and identity.
Members of the media are invited to a press conference on Tuesday
November 13 where conveners of the Thematic Social Forum on Mining and
the Extractivist Economy, currently taking place in Johannesburg, and
the Peoples Permanent Tribunal on Transnational Corporations , which was
convened from the 9th -11th of November will shed more light on the
global efforts to oppose corporate impunity and building collective
power. The Thematic Social Forum on Mining and Extractivism is currently
hosting up to 500 international delegates from 60 countries representing
communities from around the world affected by extractivism.
Venue: SCI-BONO Centre, Newtown, Johannesburg
Contact: Hassen Lorgat on 082 362 6180; OR
Raashied Galant on 079 525 9866
The post Thematic Social Forum on Extractivism: Communities say No to
extractivism and corporate plunder! appeared first on Yes to Life no to
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Size: 169407 bytes
Desc: not available
More information about the WSM-Discuss