Monday, December 06, 2010

For Life, Environment & Justice

By Colin Rajah, reporting from Cancun, Mexico
December 6th, 2010

The international farmers' movement, La Via Campesina (LVC) began its Global Forum for Life, Environment and Social Justice this past weekend with a dynamic march through downtown Cancun and a series of plenaries denouncing the carbon markets that governments are trying to legitimize in their negotiations at COP 16 (see previous post.)

[Left: LVC caravans arrive into Cancun]

Its unique, welcoming and fun-filled camp is juxtaposed against the seriousness and sense of urgency felt in its actions, plenaries and other discussions.

[Right: LVC camp]

NNIRR was fortunate to be invited to present on a plenary at the forum this evening on migration.

[Left: Haitian participants sing before migration panel]

Alongside speakers from the Farmworkers Association of Florida, the Border Agricultural Workers Project (BAWP) and the Mouvement Paysan de Papaye (Peasant Movement of Papaya) from Haiti, the forces displacing communities and the critical conditions facing migrants were raised. In particular, we highlighted how the dominant capitalist economic agenda has concentrated wealth in a few elites, while exposing communities (especially rural and peasant ones) to exploitation and criminalization.

[Right: NNIRR's Colin Rajah, Carlos Marentes Sr. and other Migration panelists during LVC's Global Forum for Life, Environment, Justice. Photo credit: Sharon Lungo.]

Carlos Marentes Sr. from BAWP, a member of NNIRR and LVC, stated how climate change caused by global socio-economic and political policies are displacing communities, and denounced immigration enforcement by the same polluting governments who then criminalize the very communities they have displaced. In particular, Carlos named the US-Mexico Border wall installed by the US as a form of containing and controlling migrants. He then committed to continue working in collaboration with NNIRR and our other members to build an international grassroots movement to challenge these.

[Left: Climate Justice banner at LVC camp]

Tomorrow, we join LVC in their very anticipated day of action when thousands will march up to the Moon Palace, site of the COP 16, where like-minded government and civil society allies will come out to join us in symbolic solidarity. It is hard to anticipate the police and military response, but to say it will be intense, is an understatement. This only underscores the vast chasm between the government negotiations and current text of the climate convention, and the mass people's movements.

On Wednesday, we will also be speaking on a panel on climate, migration and militarization at the Espacio Mexico or Esmex. Reports from all these will be forthcoming.

[Right: Corn sculpture outside Esmex forum]

In the meantime, enjoy a short clip from Bolivian farmers and musicians at the LVC camp spontaneously engaging forum participants in dance:

Viva Campesinos, Viva Migrantes!


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