Broxtowe Labour Political Education Officer, Professor Andreas Bieler, reports back from the latest event in our education programme for members
‘It is not only biodiversity, which is endangered in the Amazon rainforest. People living in this area too need protection’, declared Edel Moraes, the Vice President of the National Council of Extractivist People (CNS) in Brazil, in her presentation to the Broxtowe CLP on Thursday, 26 April 2018. With mining corporations and large agribusinesses eying the rainforest for further expansion, these people who live in and maintain the natural environment in a sustainable way are an obstacle to powerful capitalist interests.
One segment of traditional communities is extractivist people. They are agents of sustainable production, with their own tradition, way of life, ancestry, culture and they inhabit the Amazon forest and other natural units. CNS is a non-profit, social movement, which was formed to defend the rights of these extractivist people of the Amazon, the guardians of the forest, against large corporations.
Extractivist people’s way of life, managing the resources of the Amazon not as individual possession but as common property, is under threat. While their activists are being assassinated, their general livelihood is endangered by the operations of large national and transnational corporations. Only in February 2018, a toxic spill by the Norwegian company Hydro Alunorte, mining for bauxite, devastated large areas in the Amazon basin. At the same time, the French company Total and the British company BP intend to drill for oil close to various natural conservation areas and traditional communities. Illegal loggers constantly press further into the rainforest.
It is these corporations that concentrate the exploitation of natural resources in a few big companies. They control the supply of agricultural production, impose agrochemicals, transgenics, and patented seeds, destroy the biodiversity, human health and contaminate food. They alter the natural environment and generate ecological imbalance. They sell false solutions, such as climate-smart agriculture and green capitalism, determine the decisions of governments, and undermine democracy.
‘Mother earth is not able to cope with our human profit and to fight against this is the responsibility of all of us who live in this world’, concluded Edel Moraes.
There is clearly a need for international solidarity today. After years in government with a strong record of policies towards more equality and social justice in society, first President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party was removed from power in a coup in 2016, now her predecessor as President Lula has even been imprisoned.
‘Lula livre’ – ‘Freedom for Lula’, this has to be the new slogan.