Carbon Trading is Making a Killing and Destroying the Environment

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Press Release: Carbon Markets Violate Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Threaten Cultural Survival

“Indigenous Peoples are being forced to sign over their territories for REDD to the Gangsters of the Century, carbon traders, who are invading the world’s remaining forests that exist thanks to the knowledge of Indigenous Peoples,” denounced Marlon Santi, President of the CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, one of the most powerful native organizations in the world. “Our forests are spaces for life not carbon markets.”

Indigenous leader kidnapped and forced at gunpoint to surrender carbon rights for REDD in Papua New Guinea

New York, USA — As carbon traders hawk permits to pollute at the Second Annual Carbon Trading Summit, Indigenous Peoples denounced that selling the sky not only corrupts the sacred but also destroys the climate, violates human rights and threatens cultural survival.

“Carbon trading and carbon offsets are a crime against humanity and Creation,” said Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “The sky is sacred. This carbon market insanity privatizes the air and sells it to climate criminals like Shell so they can continue to pollute and destroy the climate and our future, rather than reducing their emissions at source.”

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Enclosure, inequality and the tediousness of Malthusianism

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This is a very short entry, but should provide food for thought about the misleading rhetoric derived from Malthusian thought, when put in the context of enclosure and the consequent extreme inequalities. Be warned, the following quotes from E. P. Thompson’s  “The making of the English working class” document what must have been a tremendous trauma:

“[We] should remember that the spirit of agricultural improvement in the 18th century was impelled less by altruistic desires to banish ugly wastes or – as the tedious phrase goes – to “feed a growing population” than by the desire for fatter rent-rools and larger profits” (Thompson 1963/1966: 217).

“The arguments of the enclosure propagandists were commonly phrased in terms of higher rental values and higher yield per acre. In village after village, enclosure destroyed the … subsistence economy of the poor – the cow or geese, fuel from the commons, gleanings, and all the rest. The cottager without legal proof of rights was rarely compensated. The cottager who was able to establish his claim was left with a parcel of land inadequate for subsistence and a disproportionate share of the very high enclosure costs: (Thompson 1963/1966: 217)

“For example, in the enclosure of Barton-on-Humber, where attention was paid to common rights, we find that out of nearly 6,000 acres, 63% (3,733 acres) was divided between three people, while fifty-one people were awarded between one and three acres: or, broken down another way, ten owners accounted for 81% of the land enclosed, while the reamining 19% was divided between 116 people. The average rental value of the arable land enclosed rose in five years (1794-9) from 6s. 6d. To 20s. an acre; and average rentals in the parish were more than trebled” (Thompson 1963/1966: 217; my italics)

That resistance fomented, riots broke out and uprisings were attempted repeatedly throughout the realm is hardly of surprise. Neither is it very surprising that consequently the systematic repression intensified and society became very polarised. “The profession of a soldier was held to be dishonourable” (Thompson 1963/1966: 81), the police was instituted as a preventative force of control and survelliance, deterrence and threat – although “[r]esistance to an effective police force continued well into the 19th century (ibid.) – and a very wide range of new “thanatocratic” laws to manage the effects of enclosure – vagrancy, poverty, despair, homelessness, hunger – were enacted. These processes have been covered in Peter Linebaugh’s “The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (Linebaugh 2003/2006; particularly 42-73). In very brief, these draconian laws to keep the poor in check well define what capitalist democracy looks like:

“The year 1661 saw the promulgation of the first slave code in English history, enacting that human beings become “real chattels” … Also in 1661 the thirty-six Articles of War were promulgated … twenty-two of which provide the death penalty … Besdies that thanatocratic code, discipline in the navy was maintained by “customs of the sea” [including]: the spead eagle, ducking, mastheading, keelhauling, marrying the gunner’s daughter, and the cat-of-nine-tails. In addition to the slave codes, the military codes and the Irish penal code, the criminal code with its “new” capital offences formed the characteristics of this era of substantive British law” (Linebaugh 2003/2006: 53).

Welcome to capitalist democracy – this is what its roots look like!

CONFENIAE on REDD: Ecuadorian Indigenous Peoples’ Statement

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This is an unofficial translation of a Ecuadorian indigenous peoples’ statement on REDD:

(Logo and letterhead, list of members including organizations of the Shuar, Kichwa, Achuar, Waorani, Siona, Secoya, Cofan, Zapara, Shiwiar and Andoa Peoples)

Unión Base, Puyo August 3rd, 2009


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Yet Another Video: The Struggle of the Adivasis

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This is reposted from “Adivasi Struggle” by Food Energy Nexus and is a “short and entertaining video depicting the adivasi struggle in India [and] is well worth a view. The short music video focuses on land, resources and importantly adivasi way of life and being undermined by a range of developments. Although there is no footage of biofuels the broader concerns of displacement is captured well in this playful video.

The short video is based on a song entitled: We Will Not Leave Our Village“:

Global war against indigenous peoples: grabbing the last resources on Earth!

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The Guardian’s John Vidal recently wrote a welcome piece – ‘We are fighting for our lives and our dignity’ –  that connect some of the dots in the current end game for the Earth’s natural resources most of which are on indigenous land inhabited for thousands of years by people who care for it, worship and respect it. Transnational corporations drilling for oil, mining for minerals or cutting down all the trees and polluting the rivers – and so on – are competing to grab hold of the Earth’s last resources – and there really is not much left! (See also: UN expert puts forward measures to regulate ‘land grabbing’).

“An aggressive drive is taking place to extract the last remaining resources from indigenous territories,” says Victoria Tauli-Corpus, an indigenous Filipino and chair of the UN permanent forum on indigenous issues. “There is a crisis of human rights. There are more and more arrests, killings and abuses.
“This is happening in Russia, Canada, the Philippines, Cambodia, Mongolia, Nigeria, the Amazon, all over Latin America, Papua New Guinea and Africa. It is global. We are seeing a human rights emergency. A battle is taking place for natural resources everywhere. Much of the world’s natural capital – oil, gas, timber, minerals – lies on or beneath lands occupied by indigenous people,” says Tauli-Corpus.

What until quite recently were isolated incidents of indigenous peoples in conflict with states and corporations are now becoming common as government-backed companies move deeper on to lands long ignored as unproductive or wild. As countries and the World Bank increase spending on major infrastructural projects to counter the economic crisis, the conflicts are expected to grow.

It is a pretty good article – constituting a very important step to bring together these issues in a coherent analytical manner and to the attention of mainstream readers – but one could really have wished for something more to the point with regard to the Ecuadorian context – it is widely known and well documented that the Chevron pits are still there, even mainstream U.S television have shown such images.

“In Ecuador, Chevron may be fined billions of dollars in the next few months if an epic court case goes against them. The company is accused of dumping, in the 1970s and 1980s, more than 19bn gallons of toxic waste and millions of gallons of crude oil into waste pits in the forests, leading to more than 1,400 cancer deaths and devastation of indigenous communities. The pits are said to be still there, mixing chemicals with groundwater and killing fish and wildlife.”

To use the expression “are said to be still there” is really not appropriate, when anyone having spend five seconds googling the issue will have seen horrible, terrifying images:

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The Pirate Bay Guilty of Helping Sharing People?

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The Swedish legal system – running errands of Hollywood and the recording industries – have decided that helping people to share their digital data across the Internet is illegal. They might be guilty in the eyes of a corrupt court of law and in the corporate press, but in my book they are fine people, caring and sharing. It is the new world against those of old who hold on to their power and money – accumulated through exploitation over centuries and generations.

In a landmark ruling, the Stockholm district court sentenced Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom to one year each in prison.

They were also ordered to pay damages of 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) to a series of entertainment companies, including Warner Bros, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI and Columbia Pictures.

The Pirate Bay provides a forum for its estimated 22 million users to download content through so-called torrent files. The site has become the entertainment industry’s enemy No. 1 after successful court actions against file-swapping sites such as Grokster and Kazaa.”

– more here from a Wired blog (see also BBC) as well as Alan Toner’s two extensive commentaries [1/2].

“The Pirate Bay founders got their start in Sweden, a country that once was considered a bastion of piracy. The trial changed that image, along with a new law that took effect April 1 that allows content owners to force internet service providers to reveal subscriber data in piracy investigations.

The defendants, though, say their servers are scattered throughout the world– hidden out of reach of the Swedish authorities.

One minute after the judgment was public Friday, Sweden’s Pirate Party issued a press release claiming: “The verdict is our ticket to the EU Parliament”, referring to the election that takes place in the beginning of June.

The party’s top candidate, Christian Engström, comments: “Sweden has now outlawed one of our most successful ambassadors. We have long been a leading IT nation but with these kind of actions we will be left behind and become dependent on other nations’ arbitrary views”.”

God forbid that people should use the new technologies – Imagine if people had just started printing pamphlets and bibles and things like that, just because the printing press has been invented?!?! Or started to make use of the photographic lense to produce cultural artifacts?!?! That could have led to thriving economies, such as news corporations, movie and music recording industries – Oh, hold on – that DID happen?!?! But this is as far as we go, it seems. The conservative, capitalist shareholders and their lawyers have decided that we have reached the end. They are now – as enemies of progress, sharing and community – legitimate targets for political action by any decent means necessary.

However, they are not sent off to do hard time just yet. The Guardian writes:

A Stockholm court found the four defendants guilty of making 33 specific files accessible for illegal sharing through The Pirate Bay, which means they will have to pay compensation to 17 different music and media companies including Sony BMG, Universal, EMI, Warner, MGM and 20th Century Fox.

All four have pledged to appeal against the decision though the process may take several years.

One of the defendants, Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, admitted on Twitter that Pirate Bay had lost its case.

“Stay calm – nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or filesharing what so ever. This is just a theatre for the media,” he said.

“Really, it’s a bit LOL. It used to be only movies, now even verdicts are out before the official release.”

In Politiken one of the pirates is quoted as saying “a confused and poor judgement” while some lawyer for a musician association reckons that ThePirateBay takes away the “daily bread” of the musicians and that the pirates blow their own trumpets in the name Robin Hood – and typical of his creed he invokes emotional sentiments, when he that musicians cannot buy baby clothes. For crying out loud? Is that the argumentative capacity of a lawyer representing artists?

Funny that, last time I talked to a musician who wasn’t in the pocket of the recording industry they were very enthusiastic about the new distribution and advertising platform that P2P offers. Last time I checked how, say, David Bowie and Madonna were doing financially, they did not seem to suffer AT ALL?!? It has never been too easy to be an artist, but new ways of reaching audiences are great for all, but the corporate shareholders, perhaps, but who in the heaven’s name cares for them?

See also the Wikipedia entry for the Piratebay case.


Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Mapping Indigenous Mexico for whom?

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US Academics Are Mapping Resources in Mexico; Corporations and the US Military Are the Beneficiaries of the Data

By Silvia Ribeiro

La Jornada February 3, 2009

colonos are reproducing here an investigation by the ETC Group, also posted on NarcoNews

As the Union of Organization of the Sierra Juarez [Unión de Organización de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca] has complained (Unosjo, 15/1/09), they have been victimized by a new type of appropriations in their communities: “geo-piracy”. This refers to using (and abusing) the local wisdom of the indigenous and rural villages to make digital highly detailed maps of their geography, resources, (hydrology, natural and cultivated biodiversity, archeology, social, cultural) to place all this on electronic pages with open access, at the disposition of whoever wants to use it. For example, corporations, institutions, or the army of the United States, which financed the project in Oaxaca. What is true, is that previously the project was carried out in nine communities of the Potosi Huasteca, and it is going on in the Sierra Tarahumara.

The implications of this type of activity are so vast, that it is difficult to sum them up. The detailed and precise map of the territories is only possible if it is extracted from local knowledge of those who live there. On processing this knowledge with new technologies, such as systems of digital geographic information, superimposed on satellite maps freely accessible on Google, one obtains an enormous volume of information which is not known or can not be appraised. These maps are of great utility for military ends and for counterinsurgency, but also for industrial purposes (exploitation of resources like minerals, plants, animals and biodiversity; mapping access roads already constructed or “necessary”, sources of water, settlements, social maps of possible resistance or acceptance of projects, etcetera). Read the rest of this entry »