Local communities from around the world, and particularly, the global south are saying enough is enough to the corporate plunder of our natural resources.
Extractivism – the over-exploitation of natural resources through mining, intensive agriculture, large-scale fishing, logging and oil and gas extraction – is ravaging our natural environment and destroying and displacing communities and their way of life.
Extractivism is violent, brutal, exploitative and has no regard for community, the earth and the welfare of people.
This week, nearly 500 activists who are resisting extractivism in different contexts around the world, are here in South Africa for the first Thematic Social Forum on Mining & the Extractivist Economy.
They have come together to build a common, global political platform that can consolidate resistance and advance alternatives to the domineering extractivist model.
On the 9th to the 11th of November, an esteemed jury panel heard testimonies from community representatives across southern Africa on how Transnational Corporations are operating with impunity and in collusion with state actors in their brutal pursuit of profit in the region. The testimonies were delivered as part of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) on Transnational Corporations.
Most of the testimonies reflected a growing complexity and sophistication in the relationship between states and corporations, who together facilitate the exploitation of natural resources and promote development to the detriment of communities.
Mining companies have the financial muscle to bribe governments and capture the state so that governments turn a blind eye to the injustices caused by extractive industries.
Not only has mining destroyed the community commons, it has made formerly sustainable communities dependent on resource rents. Local landscapes are no longer sites of productivity, but scenes of loss. They no longer provide people with security but confront them with new risks and insecurity.
One example of the epitome of corporate impunity is the Grand Inga 3 Hydroelectric dam project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The building of the dam by Spanish and Chinese companies and the involvement of South Africa (which has provided a guaranteed market), will irreparably damage local communities who have not been properly consulted.
Transnational corporations have over the years been associated with human and ecological rights abuses, including the persecution, criminalization and even assassination of those who oppose their destructive projects.
Among the main forces of resistance against extractivism have been workers, women, indigenous peoples, traditional communities, social movements, people’s lawyers, NGOs, environmentalists and church groups.
The Thematic Social Forum as well as the Permanent People’s Tribunal are key gatherings that will strengthen a growing global movement to entrench people’s right to say NO! to extractivism and the destruction and insecurity it imposes.
List of spokespersons:
Caroline Ntaopane – South Africa
Rodrigo Peret – People’s Dialogue, Brazil
Brid Brennan – Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power
Mercia Andrews – Trust for Community Outreach and Education, South Africa
Ange Asanzi – International Rivers
Rommel de Veira – Friends of Earth Asia Pacific
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
Hassen Lorgat on 082 362 6180; OR
Raashied Galant on 079 525 9866