If We Want to Save the World – An Internationalist Declaration

The same imperialism that has caused so much damage to the Global South today continues expanding and threatening the whole planet. Consequently, the struggle for climate justice has converted into a struggle for the liberation of all workers, peasants, indigenous and ecosystems. The struggle against Empire is a struggle to save life on Earth.

(Originally published in Spanish at www.salvarlatierra.org )

It is necessary that we understand the “Empire” is not just an abstract concept, but exsits as a daily reality impacting everyone. The Empire is the exercise of the military and political power of the United States and its allies in the service of transnational capitalism. Its goal is the imposition of an exploitative, unsustainable and unjust economic system—neoliberalism. There are those who say that the global power of the United States is weak and in decay. In many ways, this is so. However, the size of its military power continues being without equal and compares to all the military might of the other nations of the world combined. The US has more than 1,000 military bases distributed throughtout the world. This capacity for intervention is increased by alliances and security accords with its allies, mercenaries and neocolonial agents, and by a gigantic network of “intelligence” that likewise facilitates its intervention, whether political or military, in whatever part of the world where it believes its interests are compromised or its hegemony challenged. Not all imperialism is US imperialism, but as the dominant power in the world today, it is clearly this Empire that has put the entire Earth at risk.

Marc Plattner is a Vice President of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), an organization that, despite its name, exists to manipulate electoral processes of other sovereign countries. He writes that, “Liberal democracy clearly favors those economic accords that foment globalization….The international order that sustains globalization is based on the predominance of the American military.” The international “order” of this degenerated military-neoliberal vision represents the imposition of international inequality. According to statistics cited by the humanitarian organization Oxfam, there are currently 80 persons whose personal possessions are more than the poorest half of the global population. They speculate that by 2016, one percent of the global population will have more economic riches than the rest of the 99%.

If one doubts the nefarious impact that the Empire causes to the planet, a few more statisticswill illustrate the situation simply and clearly. Only five companies are responsible for 12.5% of the greenhouse gasses that are emitted into the atmosphere: Chevron-Texaco, Exxon-Mobil, British Petroleum, Shell Oil and Conoco-Phillips. Their protector, the US armed forces is in turn the single governmental or corporate institution that consumes more petroleum products and emits more greenhouse gasses than any other in the world. Nevertheless, the US demands that the climate impact caused by the US military will not be brought up in any of the climate negotiations—and the UN accepts this. With respect to the health of the planet, since 1970, worldwide biodiversity has reduced by 30%, with a rate of 60% in tropical zones. We are in the midst of a great extinction event so much so that our own human lives are in the balance. For these reasons, today more than ever we require a united global movement for climate justice that is very clear in its objectives and intentions.

It is equally necessary that we recognize the many popular movements already existing that have effectively challenged the oppressor and opened up paths toward a more peaceful, just and sustainable world. We especially refer to the diverse struggles of indigenous, African heritage and rural peoples, and of workers. We express solidarity with island nations whose very existences are threatened by the rising sea level. We declare our support for communities in Tuvalu, Kiribati, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines who are seeking to hold fossil fuel companies legally responsible for the devastating impacts they are experiencing due to global warming. And we look to the Americas (or better, Abya Yala, a non-colonial name) where we are able to name hundreds of movements in resistance, from the Idle No More movement in North America to the Zapatistas in Mexico, to the peasant resistance in Peru against mining mega-projects like the Tía María in Arequipa and the Conga in Cajamarca, or the peasant movement in the Aguan Valley in Honduras where they struggle for agrarian reform and to reject transgenic crops. There is the popular movement in Colombia with its eagerness to defend its territories against transtionals and governments that only want to assist this foreign pillage. There are the people of Puerto Rico who struggle against colonization and an occupying military that has left the island of Vieques poisoned from years of US Navy weapons testing. Matching the long list of our peoples in resistance are the brutal and oppressive aggressions at the hands of the Empire and its neocolonial puppets against them. Assassinations, tortures and forced displacement have been the high price that these defenders of their people and Mother Earth have had to pay.

It is when we look at Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua and all the participatory democracies of the world, that we are able to see social, political and economic force with the necessary power to stop and reverse the advances of the Empire and to reclaim resources and communities in the name of the people and the planet. Even these governments are not perfect and commit their own mistakes. But, day by day, this concentration of popular power, united and allied in international solidarity associations, has developed the capacity to effectively challenge the Empire. If we want to change the system and not the climate, it is absolutely necessary that we recognize the value of their examples and that we act in solidarity with them against the interference of the United States and its allies.

In order to confront climate change, we demand:hugo_chavez_and_che

  • Enforceable international agreements, with a goal of zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, that do not unduly penalize “developing” nations but put primary responsibility on “developed” nations;

  • Reparations by the “developed” countries to the countries “in the process of development” for the cataclysmic impact caused by the plunder of their natural resources and peoples;

  • The rejection of REDD (the UN Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and whatever capitalist schemes that serve to consolidate inequality among nations;

  • An end to all exceptions in climate negotiations regarding the environmental impact of the US military;

  • The closure, dismantlement and environmental clean-up of all foreign US military bases;

  • Respect for the national sovereignty and the rejection of interference in the internal and electoral matters of other countries on the part of the United States, its allies and the “private” entities funded by them (interferences which undermine the adoption of environmental protection laws);

  • The rejection and repeal of Free Trade Agreements that remove whatever obstacle might be raised against unsustainable development and the transnational sacking of natural resources;

  • Recognition of the existence of environmental as well as political and economic refugees as a result of the bad policies of imperialist neoliberalism. (Nations that have benefitted not only from the exploitation and destruction of lands, but from the exploitation of laborers among these refugees,must assume moral and economic responsibility for the damage suffered by these populations).

We find ourselves in a revolutionary epoch that has seen the surge of social movements and the election of socialist and/or popular governments as a response to the pressures from below and from the left. This Revolutionary epoch and the actors who comprise it see climate injustice as the major crisis of our times. From the deforestation and monoculture in Africa and India, to the extractivism in the Americas and beyond, we demand more than the empty resolutions that have until now been the legacy of the climate summits of the United Nations COP (Conference of the Parties) process and that do nothing significant or adequate to reverse already existing harmful policies. We make a call to the international movement, that it be focused on the rights, virtues and dignity of the South within its historic context on which the destiny of all the rest of the peoples of the world depends.

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  • Fensuagro, National Unified Federation of Agricultural Workers Unions (Colombia)

  • MAS, Movimiento de Afirmación Social – Movement for Social Affirmation (Perú)

  • Argentine Leauge for the Rights of Man – Liga Agrentina por los Derechos del Hombre

  • Comite Ambientalista Pachamama – Pachamama Ecological Committee (Venezuela)

  • Juventud Comunista de México – Communist Youth of Mexico
  • Echoes of Silence (Nicaragua)

  • Komite Internazionalistak – Internationalist Committee (Euskal Herria/Basque Country)

  • Fundación Mundubat – World Foundation (Euskal Herria/Basque Country and Spain)

  • Alliance for Global Justice (US)
  • Juventud Comunista del Perú – Patria Roja – Communist Youth of Peru – Patria Roja (Perú)

  • Lazos de Dignidad – Links of Dignity (Colombia)

  • Colectivo MAIZAL / Frente Nacional Ecosocialista por la Vida, Caracas(Venezuela)

  • Movimiento 27 de Octubre – October 27th Movement (Venezuela)

  • Casa Baltimore/Limay (Nicaragua and US)

  • Askapena – Liberation (Euskal Herria/Basque Country)

  • Poor Peoples Economic and Human Rights Campaign (US)

  • Fundación Venancio Cálido – Venancio Cálido Foundation (Venezuela)

  • Agencia Estudiantil de Prensa – Student Press Agency (Colombia)

  • Centro de Excursionismo y Ecología de la Universidad de Carabobo (CEEUC) – Center for Hiking and Ecology at the University of Carabobo, Valencia (Venezuela)

  • El Tribunal Popular contra las Transnacionales en la Guajira – Guajira Popular Tribunal against the Transnationals (Colombia)

  • Nicaragua Network (US)

  • Fundación de Investigación y Desarrollo Ecológico Integral (FIDEI), Maracay– Foundation for Investigation and Integral Ecological Development, Maracay (Venezuela)

  • La Guajira Resiste – Guajira Resists (Colombia)

  • KUYAIMÁ Hiking Center, Maracay – Centro excursionista KUYAIMÁ. Maracay (Venezuela)

  • Aragua Carabobo Regional Ecological Front – Frente Ecológico Regional Aragua Carabobo (FERAC). Aragua y Carabobo. (Venezuela)

  • US Peace Council

  • ANSWER Coalition (US)

  • UNAC, United National Anti-war Committee (US)

  • International Action Center (US)

  • Workers World Party (US)

  • Freedom Road Socialist Organization (US)
  • Nicaraguan Cultural Alliance (US)

  • Party for Socialism and Liberation (US)

  • Coalición de Derechos Humanos – Human Rights Coalition (US)

  • May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights (US)

  • Comité de Solidaridad con Cuba y Venezuela – The Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity Committee (US)

"From our mountains surge the water and the energy that they deny us every day." There can be no just peace without land reform and the protection of Colombia's natural resources utilized for the good of the people above the profits of the wealthy and the transnational corporations. Photo by James Jordan.

“From our mountains surge the water and the energy that they deny us every day.”