[WSMDiscuss] (Fwd) Anti-extractivism reports from Thematic Social Forum in Joburg

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri Nov 16 17:26:11 CET 2018

Coming soon: the official declaration and plan of action from this 
excellent event...

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
    against extraction

  * /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 
their approach.

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 
mining house.

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.

*After extractivism*

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 
social reproduction.

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?


CIDSE blog: 

*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 & 
Extractivist Economy.

*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*
URL: http://www.yestolifenotomining.org

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.


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
Time: 1PM
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...
URL: <https://lists.openspaceforum.net/pipermail/wsm-discuss/attachments/20181116/b3bde9a6/attachment.htm>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: dagjoioaaaeaeaao.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 169407 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://lists.openspaceforum.net/pipermail/wsm-discuss/attachments/20181116/b3bde9a6/attachment.jpg>

More information about the WSM-Discuss mailing list