[WSMDiscuss] World Social Forum: Pre-call to movements

Francine Mestrum mestrum at skynet.be
Fri May 8 13:20:13 CEST 2020

Dear Patrick,

Yes indeed, there are several good an interesting global initiatives, 
this is hopeful. But it will be starting all over again, hopefully 
learning the lessons of the past. Concerning the WSF, apparenbtly there 
is hardly anyone willing to invest in it as it has been hijacked by 
undemocratic and bureaucratic fundamentalists. One of my friends calls 
them 'talmudists'. A shame and a pity, but that is how it is.


Francine Mestrum


Op 08/05/2020 om 12:15 schreef Patrick Bond:
> Hi all, comrades and friends,
> With the problems apparently growing within the WSF, I had the 
> impression that instead, we would be seeing revitalised commitments to 
> internationalist networking and action - and also social movement 
> coordination - via 'sectoral' ('thematic') fora. Is that a misimpression?
> The danger of sector-segregated work is that it degenerates into 
> NGO-style "inside the silo" politics in which linkages across the 
> terrains of struggle are artificially truncated. Many of the 
> international NGO funders encourage just this sort of narrowness, in 
> part to prevent the Big Picture from emerging - and hence 
> non-reformist reforms from arising.
> However, over a few decades, we've witnessed an excellent set of 
> internationalist networks in various specific sectors - land, water, 
> climate justice, media and ICT, healthcare, feminism, indigenous 
> rights, trade, debt and perhaps also more general economic justice via 
> Occupiers or social-economy advocates - and these can always be 
> rebuilt where appropriate. Moving across and beyond sectors via the 
> WSF was one of its attractions.
> What I felt at a WSF event in 2018, here in Johannesburg in the form 
> of the anti-extractivism thematic forum, was a potential return of 
> that spirit (see below if you are interested in this case study). I 
> gather there was a Barcelona economic-thematic forum scheduled for 
> next month, but haven't heard the latest.
> Is this a way forward, after the Covid-19 dust settles and the global 
> progressive movement begins to regather our wits, and maybe even 
> reconvene in various ways to reformulate our desires for 
> internationalist solidarity? (I was on a call last weekend, of 
> international ecosocialists, who believe the 2021 Glasgow climate 
> mobilisation could be that sort of event.)
> Cheers,
> Patrick
> ***
>     Mining conflicts multiply, as critics of “extractivism” gather in
>     Johannesburg
>     <https://www.pambazuka.org/advocacy-campaigns/mining-conflicts-multiply-critics-%E2%80%9Cextractivism%E2%80%9D-gather-johannesburg>
> Printer-friendly version <https://www.pambazuka.org/print/99758>Send 
> by email <https://www.pambazuka.org/printmail/99758>PDF version 
> <https://www.pambazuka.org/printpdf/99758>
> Photo source: Zambian Eye
>     Patrick Bond <https://www.pambazuka.org/taxonomy/term/3429>
> Nov 10, 2018
> The World Social Forum’s “Thematic Forum on Mining and Extractivism 
> <https://www.thematicsocialforum.org/>” convenes from 12-15 November 
> 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa, just after the Southern Africa 
> People’s Tribunal on Transnational Corporations 
> <http://aidc.org.za/3rd-session-peoples-permanent-tribunal/>. In 
> between, at the notorious 2012 massacre site on the platinum belt to 
> the west, there is a launch of a new book – /Business as Usual after 
> Marikana/ 
> <http://www.jacana.co.za/book-categories/new-releases-65840/business-as-usual-after-marikana-detail>– 
> critical not only of the mining house Lonmin but of its international 
> financiers and buyers.
> This is the moment for a profoundly critical standpoint to take root, 
> unhindered by ineffectual reformism associated with Corporate Social 
> Responsibility 
> <https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781317906599/chapters/10.4324%2F9781315848341-18> gimmicks 
> and the mining sector’s civilised-society watchdogging at the mainly 
> uncritical 
> <https://www.pambazuka.org/global-south/we-need-real-%E2%80%9Calternatives-mining%E2%80%9D-indaba> Alternative 
> Mining Indaba. That non-governmental organisations-dominated event 
> occurs annually in Cape Town every February, at the same time and 
> place where the extractive mega-corporations gather.
> The Thematic Forum firmly opposes 
> <https://www.thematicsocialforum.org/> “extractivism.” Unlike the 
> Indaba 
> <https://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/13/disconnecting-the-minerals-energy-climate-dots/>, 
> it aims to connect the dots between oppressions, defining its target 
> as extraction of “so-called natural resources” in a way that is 
> “devastating and degrading,” since mining exacerbates “conditions of 
> global warming and climate injustice. It subjects local economies to a 
> logic of accumulation that privately benefits corporations,” and 
> 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 organisers are 
> the Southern Africa Rural Women’s Assembly 
> <https://www.facebook.com/SARuralWomen/?fref=mentions&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARD2VrKCXK7yqD6rKMom_LW-6VGnCS9Imhl70G2O_nUmjBvNx6LR_TsMqsq8kkxd_sGdBOX-kXp0H6kcjoQMvp1ZhvT3CmkqXD_ohBwVANwOrcoEdqRRWRBJzU-ZU9Ycc2uKiNZykrD8yrsRV_i4qc7pcMUSw8e940KT8T054yK95L_jUsPTYi5ajei5E7KdGXaR9TKsoS7a-eCIRN0NpSs-Mwc&__tn__=K-R> and 
> the WoMin <https://womin.org.za/> network: “African Women Unite 
> Against Destructive Resource Extraction.” Inspired by Amadiba Crisis 
> Committee activists in the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast, they have 
> campaigned hard for the #Right2SayNo 
> <https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/right2sayno?source=feed_text&__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARD2VrKCXK7yqD6rKMom_LW-6VGnCS9Imhl70G2O_nUmjBvNx6LR_TsMqsq8kkxd_sGdBOX-kXp0H6kcjoQMvp1ZhvT3CmkqXD_ohBwVANwOrcoEdqRRWRBJzU-ZU9Ycc2uKiNZykrD8yrsRV_i4qc7pcMUSw8e940KT8T054yK95L_jUsPTYi5ajei5E7KdGXaR9TKsoS7a-eCIRN0NpSs-Mwc&__tn__=%2ANK-R>. 
> Last month, such rights language proved invaluable in the 
> Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, when the Itireleng community won 
> <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-11-01-maledu-judgment-victory-for-the-constitution-over-mining-evictions/> a 
> judgement <http://www.saflii.org/za/cases/ZACC/2018/41.html> against 
> displacement from their farm, under attack by a local platinum mining 
> house. (This was pleasantly surprising to many of us who are Court 
> critics, given how much corporate power 
> <https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Corporate+rights+in+South+Africa.-a019528162> is 
> hardwired into South Africa’s founding document.)
> On the Wild Coast last month, South Africa’s Mining Minister Gwede 
> Mantashe 
> <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-09-27-from-xolobeni-to-the-mining-charter-community-members-marginalised/> had 
> shown how desperately he wants investment by the likes of aggressive 
> Australian titanium mining firm MRC 
> <https://www.moneyweb.co.za/mineweb/mining-companies-investment/awkward-questions-get-short-shrift-at-mrc-annual-general-meeting/>. 
> But the Amadiba Crisis Committee 
> <https://www.facebook.com/amadibacrisiscommittee/> and its allies have 
> consistently shown their ability to say “No!”
> *No means no*
> The Forum’s opening morning features a demonstration at the nearby 
> world headquarters of AngloGold Ashanti, the locally listed firm 
> shamed in 2005 by Human Rights Watch 
> <https://www.hrw.org/report/2005/06/01/curse-gold> for its alliances 
> with warlords during the minerals-related murder of millions of people 
> in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2011, AngloGold 
> Ashanti won the title “world’s most irresponsible corporation” at the 
> “Davos Public Eye” ceremony 
> <https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=202199> organised 
> outside the World Economic Forum by Greenpeace and the Berne Declaration.
> Since then the firm has attracted even more intense community, labour, 
> feminist and environmental protests from Chile 
> <http://ejatlas.org/conflict/mina-cerro-vanguardia> to Colombia 
> <https://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2018/03/27/how-a-tiny-colombian-village-beat-the-worlds-third-largest-gold-mining-company/> to 
> Ghana 
> <http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2017/mar/30/profiteering-mars-record-black-african-gold-mining/> to 
> Guinea 
> <http://www.miningweekly.com/article/anglogold-ashantis-guinea-mine-hit-by-violent-power-cuts-protests-2018-06-28> to 
> Tanzania <https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9276/1/1/3/htm>, as well as in 
> South Africa 
> <https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-06-29-miners-rise-up-and-march-as-anglo-gold-ashanti-fires-salvo-to-cut-8500-jobs/> over 
> mass retrenchments, inadequate pay and delay of silicosis-related 
> compensation payments. It is a sick company, with its Johannesburg 
> Stock Exchange (JSE) price having fallen by more than half since a 
> mid-2016 peak (and even further from its 2006-12 JSE valuations).
> Criticised 
> <https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/mining/2018-07-23-anglogold-ashanti-appoints-barricks-kelvin-dushnisky-as-ceo/> 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 exiting its home country. The 
> firm 
> <https://books.google.co.za/books/about/Anglo_American_and_the_rise_of_modern_So.html?id=cYhkAAAAIAAJ&redir_esc=y> made 
> its fortune during the notorious 20th century era of extreme apartheid 
> extractivism when it was run by the Oppenheimer family. Perhaps even 
> worse is the new boss, Kelvin Dushnisky 
> <https://tanzaniabusinessethics.wordpress.com/2018/09/13/kelvin-dushnisky-accountable-for-crimes-violations-human-rights-abuses-damages/>, 
> who has presided over Toronto-based Barrick (the world’s largest gold 
> producer, known in Africa as Acacia) during its recent reign of mining 
> terrorism <http://protestbarrick.net/>, including mass rape 
> <http://protestbarrick.net/article.php@id=1007.html>.
> The mining corporations under fire at the Forum are not only the 
> typical pinstriped, ethics-challenged cowboys from the 
> London-Toronto-Melbourne-Johannesburg circuits. Next door in 
> Mozambique, Rio-based Vale’s coal-mining operations at Moatize were 
> disrupted last month, according 
> <https://clubofmozambique.com/news/vale-mozambique-suspends-activities-in-moatize-after-protests-watch/> to 
> activist allies at the /Associação de Apoio e Assistência Jurídica às 
> Comunidades/, due to “excessive pollution [and] acceleration of the 
> decay of houses due to explosion of dynamites.”
> Albeit trying to “mask brutal exploitation with the language of 
> South-South solidarity,” as documented 
> <https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/11/vale-corporation-brazil-mining-lula-mozambique-brics> by 
> Canadian researcher Judith Marshall, Vale is brutal in numerous 
> jurisdictions, judged by the Berne Declaration and the Brazilian 
> Movement of Landless Workers as the worst company in the world 
> <https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2012/01/30/worst-company-in-the-world-award-goes-to/#76f601d76a0a> in 
> 2012 due to “its labour relations, community impact and environmental 
> record.”
> In Mozambique, Vale as well as the Indian firms Coal of India, Vedanta 
> and Jindal have been criticised for displacement and destruction. 
> Community protests 
> <https://clubofmozambique.com/news/mzoambique-coal-and-resettlement-by-joseph-hanlon/> against 
> foreign companies are prolific in coal-rich Tete Province. Further 
> east, on the Mozambican coastline, beach sands in some communities 
> have been destroyed by the voracious Chinese firm Haiyu. “They owe us 
> because they have taken our beautiful sand from us and left nothing. 
> We don’t know the quantity of the sand that they took over seven 
> years, but we know that they profited from it and we want our dues. 
> They have taken all the riches here and left us with nothing,” 
> complains 
> <https://mg.co.za/article/2018-10-16-they-have-taken-our-beautiful-sand-from-us-and-left-nothing> Nassire 
> Omar, a local resident who can no longer carry out fishing subsistence.
> But it may be that Vedanta <http://www.foilvedanta.org/> and its boss 
> Anil Agarwal – who is also Anglo American Corporation’s largest single 
> investor with more than 20 percent of shares – has witnessed the most 
> sustained protest, including a mass protest in May 2018 against 
> the Thoothukudi Sterlite copper plant, which his officials responded 
> to with a massacre of 13 Indians demanding an end to pollution.
> Protest against Africa’s largest copper mine, Konkola, centres on 
> 1,826 Zambian farmers 
> <http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/publications/158040/emlungowe-v-vedantaem-appeal-highlights-important-points-regarding-parent-company-liability> poisoned 
> by Vedanta. Just before the London Stock Exchange delisting of Vedanta 
> last month, popular reggae musician Maiko Zulu protested 
> <https://www.lusakatimes.com/2018/09/28/maiko-zulu-released-after-kcm-protest/> (and 
> was arrested) at the British High Commission in Lusaka, demanding that 
> authorities deny Agarwal his escape from London prior to justice being 
> served. Agarwal bought <http://www.foilvedanta.org/?s=Konkola> that 
> mine for US $25 million in 2004 and a decade later bragged 
> <https://www.lusakaftimes.com/2014/05/13/video-vedanta-boss-saying-kcm-makes-500-million-profit-per-year/> that 
> ever since he had taken US $500 million to $US 1 billion home from 
> Konkola annually.
> *After extractivism*
> These sorts of Western plus BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and 
> South Africa] modes of super-exploitation exemplify the mineral, oil 
> and gas looting 
> <https://www.pambazuka.org/economics/new-evidence-africa%E2%80%99s-systematic-looting-provided-increasingly-schizophrenic-world-bank> underway 
> across Africa. The uncompensated extraction of non-renewable resources 
> amounts to an estimated US $150 billion annually, far more even than 
> the US $50-80 billion Illicit Financial Flows and US $50 billion in 
> legal profit repatriation from Africa by mining and petroleum firms.
> But increasingly, mining houses are pushing the people and environment 
> too far, and resistance is rising. As Anglo American Corporation 
> leader Mark Cutifani remarked 
> <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-17/miners-offer-clinics-bull-rings-as-protests-tie-up-25-billion> in 
> 2015, “There is something like US $25 billion worth of projects tied 
> up or stopped” by mining critics across the world.
> How activists can increase that figure is the topic of next week’s 
> discussions, along with moving from these critiques to strategies for 
> post-extractivist systems of political economy, political ecology and 
> social reproduction.
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