Resist War and Plunder, Ban US President Trump in Asia Pacific!

Statement of the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) Commission 13 on the occasion of the 31st ASEAN Summit and 12th East Asia Summit

23600154_10210546629607934_1506970430_o

Young Filipino scientists and environmental advocates join anti-Trump rally in Manila.

Behind its lavish $300-million trappings of mutual benefit and parity, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia Summits to be held this year in Manila, Philippines are nothing but a staging ground for fierce imperialist rivalries in the region jockeying for economic and geopolitical control.

The meetings, in particular, highlight the growing competition between rising imperialist China and the superpower United States. ASEAN is host to vital trade routes such as the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, lanes which the US wants to secure from Chinese encroachment to ensure the continuous flow of its goods, supplies, raw materials and particularly oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels, all estimated to constitute one-third of global shipping.

The South China Sea itself is a resource conflict arena where claimant countries are competing in territorial and maritime disputes to secure natural resources in its waters. ExxonMobil, an oil and gas giant whose former executives now work in US President Donald Trump’s administration, has oil and gas exploration stakes together with Russian fossil fuel corporation Gazprom.

ASEAN member states are themselves sources of raw materials, strategic satellites along trade routes, and markets for surplus products of advanced capitalist countries. As such, the US, China, and other imperialist countries are working to establish lopsided Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to secure lucrative extractive and trade deals their overproduction.

Both countries have diverged in their tactics but remain the same in their imperialist designs. Trump has abandoned multilateral FTAs previously through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement in favor of bilateral agreements with individual countries to ensure that the US gets the upper hand.

China’s Xi Jinping continues to promote an even more expansive FTA through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as an assortment of financial tools such as its One Belt One Road Initiative and its capitalizations for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as against the US-dominated World Bank and Japanese-dominated Asian Development Bank.

To complete the neoliberal ‘carrot and stick’, full-scale militarism is employed as the main tool of imperialism to control the region. The US engages in “freedom of navigation” operations and holds muscle-flexing military exercises with the Philippines in areas adjacent to the South China Sea. US president Donald Trump has even made threats to put the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the hell of invasion and nuclear war. Meanwhile, Beijing continues to reclaim reefs in the South China Sea to establish military bases in the strategic area, now covering almost 2,000 hectares of marine expanses.

If the economic power grabs of US, China, and other imperialist interests in the Asia-Pacific region continue to play out, the dangers of unbridled war and plunder, and the catastrophic collapse of our environment and climate that will ensue from it, will affect millions of lives of the poor and dispossessed across the region.

Pollution and Plunder

Year by year, the concentration of excess greenhouse gas from man-made sources, such as carbon dioxide, is increasing. Recent measurements made by scientists on the ground and using orbiting satellites have shown that the concentration of carbon dioxide has passed beyond 400 parts per million (ppm). The last time that global carbon dioxide concentration was this high was over 3 million years ago. The rate of increase of carbon dioxide concentrations have also sped up, from 0.7 ppm per year to 2.1 ppm per year since 2005. At current rates, carbon dioxide concentration will hit 500 ppm by as early as the year 2050.

Sea-level rise is set to affect coastal cities and communities such as Manila, Bangkok, and Jakarta, and lead to flooding in those areas. Forest fires from drought and expansion of palm oil plantations will become the norm in Indonesia, affecting neighboring Malaysia, Singapore, and even Thailand and Cambodia with the thick smog from the fires which will also add to more GHG’s.

Warmer oceans means more energy to power typhoons, which is bad news for ASEAN countries in the typhoon belt, especially the Philippines. Ocean acidification, a twin sister of ocean warming and global warming, will impact coral reefs and carbonate organisms, impacting the livelihood of coastal dwellers in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Despite the global effects of increased GHG emissions, only a small minority of rich and powerful countries and corporations are responsible for releasing the most amounts of GHG’s while the poor and most vulnerable countries such as those lying in the Asia-Pacific and ASEAN region bear the brunt of the effects of climate crisis.

According to the Carbon Majors Report 2017, just 100 companies worldwide are responsible for around 71% of accumulated global GHG emissions since 1988. Among them was US oil giant Exxon Mobil, where the current US Secretary of State and climate change skeptic Rex Tillerson was the erstwhile Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In the same report was listed Chinese state-owned enterprises in coal which accounted for the highest emissions since 1988.

FTAs will pave the way for the further plunder of natural resources and destruction of the environment. Palm oil plantations are being expanded in Indonesia, in Malaysia, in Thailand, and in the Philippines to meet the increasing demand by foreign multinational companies in the food and cosmetics industry, as well as increasing demand for biodiesel fuel, supposedly a more environmentally-friendly fuel.

Malaysia and Indonesia together account for 80% of global palm oil production, with the Philippines trying to expand its share of the palm oil export market by clearing up forests in Palawan and in Mindanao. Thousands of hectares of forests in the palm oil-producing countries are being cleared or are set to be cleared to pave the way for the expansion of palm oil plantations. Other monoculture cash crops intended for cleared forests are coffee, rubber, and exotic tree species such as acacia.

Aside from the purpose of expanding plantations, the forests are also being targeted for precious hardwood timber, such as teak in Myanmar and in the Philippines. Deforestation threatens wildlife living in the targeted forests, such as the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros of Indonesia, saola of Vietnam, and the Philippine Mouse deer of Palawan, contributing to biodiversity loss. The Philippines has already lost 93% of its forest cover, most of which occurred during the American colonial regime and the neocolonial governments that followed it. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that Indonesia will lose 98% of its forest cover by 2022 at the rates of deforestation it had in 2007. The clearing of forests which serve as carbon dioxide sinks and the associated forest fires that come from plantation clearing would also aggravate the problem of climate change and global warming.

The specter of mining plunder is also expected to worsen. ASEAN members host among the most enviable mineral resources in the world: sapphires in Laos and Vietnam, nickel in the Philippines and Indonesia, bauxite in Malaysia, tin in Thailand, and jade and asbestos in Myanmar. Mining companies from China, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US are salivating over the prospects of profits from these mineral resources, while industrial companies in these countries are eager to get their hands on these cheap minerals to be processed into materials with higher value.

Megadam projects in the ASEAN are also set to set fire a construction boom that will adversely affect the people and the environment. The Mekong River traversing Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia has witnessed the construction of dams along its upstream parts, such as the Xayaburi Dam in Laos.

The fisheries livelihood of downstream dwellers were affected as fish migrations and the flow of fish food sources from upstream were blocked and downstream flood cycles disrupted by the dams. The megadams will also reduce the flow of nutrients downstream and threaten the food security of the entire region as bulk of rice production in ASEAN occurs at the Mekong River delta downstream. The Jalaur megadam in Iloilo threatens to inundate communities living adjacent the proposed dam embankment.

Country governments that will attempt to regulate these big businesses will be hostage to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms inscribed in FTAs. Corporations can file multi-billion lawsuits against countries while governments cannot slap charges back at businesses.

Militarism and War

Competing economic interests between imperialist countries drive increasing militarization within the ASEAN and Asia-Pacific region. US combat exercises, nuclear tests, and establishment of bases left toxic wastes and pollutants in their wake. Concentrations of heavy metals such as mercury and lead along Subic Bay were found to be higher than safety standards. The heavy metals could have come from batteries, weapons, and heavy equipment that the US troops used and deployed for their training. Sewage and bilge water from US military facilities have been also casually dumped into the bay, as what the recent case of the MT Glenn Guardian showed.

Globally recognized protected areas are not safe from militarization. The South Korean Supreme Court upheld the legality of the construction of a joint US-South Korea Naval Base in the Jeju Island in South Korea, threatening the safety of soft corals and marine denizens living in the area which has been designated as a Biosphere Conservation Area by the UNESCO.

Meanwhile, US warship USS Guardian ran aground the Tubbataha Reef Protected Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The US only paid the Philippines a paltry sum of $1.97 million for the damages to the reef. Donald Trump’s son even had the gall to complain over the costs that his government incurred in salvaging the ship, saying that retrieving the ship intact was more important than the protecting the reef.

Radioactive fallout deposits from the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests of the US during the late 1940s up to the early 1970s still pose a hazard to Pacific Islanders up to the present with the radioactive materials’ half-lives being very slow, needing several more decades to decay before the radiation levels become safe for humans again.

China has also began reclaiming the reefs it occupies in the South China Sea to assert its control over the vital sea lanes that cross the area. Its reclamation activities have led to the degradation of almost 2,000 hectares of coral reefs and consequently, the death and disturbance of marine life living and dependent upon the reefs for food and habitat. It has encouraged poaching of marine wildlife as part of its assertion of sole sovereignty over wide swaths of the South China Sea.

As Trump continues saber rattling against North Korea’s assertion of sovereignty instead of negotiating a diplomatic solution, the threat of nuclear war hitting home looms wherever US military forces are present, including its many bases across Asia and the Pacific.

Solidarity and Resistance

The peoples of ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific are facing the challenge to strengthen the people’s unity, determination, and resistance against imperialist plunder and intervention in the region and across the entire world. We will need bigger and broader solidarity among the people of the world in standing up against US imperialism and the various emerging elite powers in this increasingly multipolar world.

As we remain vigilant and militant in opposing big business plunder from various imperialist nation, we must also be steadfast in standing up against what remains to be the biggest war machine in the world–US imperialism. We must intensify our protests and various other forms of action to stop imperialist plunder and war.

Trump is not welcome in Asia. He shall be met by massive protests by the people. The ASEAN and East Asia Summits happening now in the Philippines will become a battlefield of the people’s anti-imperialist resistance as we clamor to #BanTrump and the plunder and war he promotes from our homeland.

US IMPERIALIST, No. 1 POLLUTER!

US-TRUMP, NO. 1 CLIMATE DENIER AND CRIMINAL!

STOP THE PLUNDER IN SOUTHEAST ASIA!

Advertisements

Address the roots of the climate crisis by resisting imperialism: US’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement reflects the crisis of overproduction

Statement of the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) Commission 13 on the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement

09 June 2017

The International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) Commission 13 on Science, Technology and the Environment stands in solidarity with the peoples of the world who bear the brunt of the climate crisis, and echoes its strong condemnation of the continuous denial of the US, particularly, its President Donald Trump, on the scientific realities of climate change.

Trump’s climate denial was mentioned repeatedly during his presidency campaign. In fact, among his first executive orders upon setting foot as President of the White House was to remove any mention of climate change in all government documents. He also abolished the Inter-agency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases, which has all the technical documents that make up the scientific and economic basis for the calculation of the social cost of carbon. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also continuously being threatened, particularly, now that it has the lowest budget allocation among government agencies.

Historically, the United States has been consistently a top carbon emitter and in 2011 was second only to China with 5,490.63 million metric tons or 17% of global total carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The resource-dependent and consumptive nature of US industries have historically contributed to the aggravation of the climate crisis as well as degradation of the environment, particularly, in the least-developed and developing countries.

Trump’s decision to pull out from the Paris Agreement is no surprise and is actually expected in the light of US’ performance on climate negotiations in the past.

However, while the world criticizes Trump and the US from withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, it should also be highlighted that the latter has no substantial effect on mitigating the climate crisis as science requires. The INDC or the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions does not guarantee the amount of cuts that each country would commit, and is also voluntary. A July 2016 study by no less than the US National Center for Atmospheric Research has shown that existing commitments on emissions reductions under the agreement are unlikely to prevent global warming above 2°C of pre-industrial temperatures by 2100. Furthermore, the Paris Agreement does not recognize the historical responsibility of big polluters like the US, EU and Japan. In fact, it does not require commitments on financing by developed countries after 2020.

The principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacities  (CBDR-RC) was also diluted in the agreement and takes away the fact that developed countries should commit more in addressing not just adaptation and mitigation, but also to bring needed funds, technology and support to developing countries who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

The agreement is also silent on the contributions to the climate crisis of the military industrial complex and fossil fuel-driven proxy wars being waged by industrialized countries. The promotion of renewable energy within the Paris Agreement framework is also no different from previous policy agreements such as the clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, composed of large-scale renewable energy projects such as mega-dams and biofuel plantations among others, which provided a convenient way out for top polluters to evade obligations to cut emissions. It has also led to the displacement indigenous communities and small farmers from their lands, and led to further biodiversity loss and disrupted ecosystems.

The Paris Agreement indeed fails to address the roots of the climate crisis, which is the monopoly capitalist system of production that aggressively exploits the world’s natural resources in the name of profit, and with little regard for the protection of the planet and the welfare of its inhabitants.

Thus, we see the Paris Agreement as another empty gesture from the world’s governments. The US withdrawal from the agreement is nothing extraordinary, and has indeed reaffirmed the protracted crisis of overproduction characterized by the intensified plunder of natural resources, war, and the worsening oppression and exploitation of workers and peoples not just by the US but by other rising economic powers like Russia and China. The United States with or without the empty Paris Agreement will continue its path to imperialist domination. On the other hand, the Paris Agreement stands to offer false hopes and obfuscate the roots of the crisis.

Amid this backdrop, people’s movements around the world are uniting against the continuous plunder of their resources, and are working together to expose and oppose imperialism as the root cause of the climate crisis. In the past few years immense climate marches have taken place, and more recently scientists have mobilized against climate denial. At the same time liberation movements have fought transnational corporations wreaking havoc on the environment and the peoples of countries like El Salvador, Colombia, India, and the Philippines.

More than anything, it is the people’s collective assertion of their right to life, a healthy planet, and sovereignty that can topple down the rotting system of imperialism. The people’s resistance against imperialist domination that aggravates the global environmental and climate crisis is key to a socially just, equitable, and environmentally sound system that puts people’s needs and the judicious use of resources at the heart of production.

Address the roots of the climate crisis!

Stop the exploitation of the people and the planet!

Down with US imperialism!

MARCH FOR SCIENCE, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND THE PEOPLE! RESIST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION, AND DECEIT!

MARCH FOR SCIENCE, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND THE PEOPLE!
RESIST IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION, AND DECEIT!

ILPS Commission 13 Sign On Statement
March 25, 2017

The people and the planet are now more than ever facing grave threats from the voracious thirst for profits and plunder by multinational and transnational corporations, and their financial institutions that embody the global monopoly capitalist system.

US President Donald Trump, true to his character as a monopoly capitalist drummer boy and mouthpiece, is now pulling out all the stops in blurring, if not outright erasing, the reality of the global climate crisis. In his first week in office, a gag order was issued preventing federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency from publicly disclosing research findings. What used to be publicly available government data on environment and climate change is being removed from agency websites and data repositories. Now, the U.S. administration under Trump is backing the Keystone XL and Dakota Oil Access Pipeline projects, withdrawing from commitments to the Green Climate Fund, and dismantling regulatory frameworks and policies related to climate change and environmental protection.

Trump, a multi-billionaire businessman with millions of dollars in investments in oil and gas industries, is a desperate face of U.S. imperialism. Unable to rule in the old way amid public rage over human and financial costs of the U.S. war machine, the mortgage meltdown, loss of social protections, and a weakening economy kept alive by foreign loans and precarious financial speculation, Trump won a contested US vote amid promises of economic protectionism, crackdowns on immigrants and minorities, and a “safe” conservative rule. Now in power, he and his cohorts are wielding alternative truths like holy gospels to remove restrictions on US oil and gas production.

These recent events are prompting scientists and environmental defenders to stand side by side with marginalized peoples of the world in condemning climate change denial and the continuous violation of peoples’ fundamental right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment.

We believe that scientists from across the world must forge a strong alliance not only with fellow scientists but also with the people suffering from the impacts of imperialist plunder and monopoly capitalism. Scientists must unite with the broadest sections of the society who are disproportionately affected by climate change, and together, work for meaningful,just, and truly sustainable changes in the current economic and social order.

We are now at a crucial point of struggle. On Earth Day, the 22nd of April, a March for Science will be held worldwide by the scientific community and the people against US imperialist exploitation of global resources, climate change denial, environmental plunder, and the continuous violation of people’s rights.

We enjoin you to take part in the March for Science by holding a satellite march in your respective area and/or by signing up the petition here to show your support for this global initiative.

YES TO A PRO-PEOPLE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY!

NO TO IMPERIALIST PLUNDER, ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION, AND DECEIT!

No Time for False Hopes: End Imperialism to Solve the Climate Crisis!

Image

The world is facing an immense environmental and socio-economic crisis as manifested in the climate crisis– a crisis rooted and continuously worsened by the unsustainable, wasteful and profit-oriented production of the current world economy.

We are in a situation where industrialized countries historically responsible for climate change– their governments, transnational (TNCs) and multinational corporations (MNCs), their international financial institutions- the same institutions and players of monopoly capital have promoted the overproduction of goods in pursuit of super-profits have destroyed and plundered the world’s natural resources. They are aided by the governments and the ruling elite of developing countries who impede the genuine development of the world’s poor and marginalized communities and sectors by facilitating the plunder of their countries’ resources. It makes us — indigenous peoples, peasants and fisherfolk, women and children, the elderly, and other sectors even more vulnerable and marginalized.

12342525_797981190335675_761602805061439162_n

Almost twenty-two years of living under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has done little to abate the steeply-rising global greenhouse gas emissions and ease the lives of the poor. At best, the UN climate negotiations have exposed the callous greed of the industrialized countries and the persistence of corporate and financial enterprise interests behind their agenda.

The UNFCCC which has now turned into an imperialist tool is no longer the arena to address people’s demand for climate justice. It discounts the obligation and responsibility of imperialist nations and offers them safety nets and privileges.

The current discussions on climate clearly points to the industrialized countries having dominance and command over global resources and the power to define the agendas and economies of weaker countries according to their needs. The industrialized countries led by the US continue to avoid their historical and current accountability and evade their responsibility to cut down emissions. Instead, they are bullying developing countries to embark on mitigation efforts despite our state of underdevelopment and chronic poverty brought about by our colonial past.

The Paris Agreement, for its part, is still far from the scale of action needed to address the present climate crisis. Commitments on the table are on a pathway to holding the world to a 3.5º warming scenario over the course of this century. It has not defined clearer targets on how to finance the pathway or a reference to Indigenous Peoples rights and capacity as a barrier to technology transfer. Furthermore, it puts pressure on developing countries, especially emerging economies, to do much more than even expected of developed countries in implementing their climate actions and obligations, including mitigation. It has also failed to reach and provide concrete steps and actions that fulfil the 2 degree Celsius pathway, let alone 1.5 degrees, demanded by environmental activists.

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22), slated to take place November 7 – 18, 2016, declared the “COP of Action” shows no concrete indications of a sufficient increase in ambition for commitments for emissions cuts, climate financing, capacity building, technology transfer, and loss and damage.

We, the people, are made to suffer the cost of this imperialist plunder and war and at the same time are the ones exposed to the increased hazards due to climate change. The increasing number of climate refugees have aggravated political conflicts, economic pressure, and war of aggression. Intensified plunder and exploitation of their natural resources under the banner of neoliberal globalization makes them victims of imperialism twice over due to global warming.

slide1The vulnerability of developing countries is increased with imperialist countries making underdeveloped countries major dumping grounds for their waste and obsolete technologies while avoiding to address the problem of overproduction for profit which is the root cause of the climate crisis in the first place.

When the imperialists cannot get what they want, they force their way in through direct aggression and invasion. In fact, the global Military Industrial Complex ranks second in global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions with the United states being one of the top spenders. They are presently orchestrating regime change, bombing campaigns and the invasion of Syria to secure pipelines, markets and resources much like what they did in Yugoslavia, in Iraq and Iran, and their Pivot to Asia. The US military has even made climate disasters as an excuse to deploy troops on the ground in the guise of humanitarian service such as in Haiti and in the Philippines during Haiyan.

We have and continue to express appreciation of staunch country delegations and civil society groups who will debate with power-wielders at COP22 in Marrakech. We commend them for asserting our right to develop and push for a “common but differentiated responsibility” as a framework for climate solutions. We stand with them as they continue to reiterate the red lines on the table including people-centered mechanisms for adaptation, loss and damage, finance and technology. We demand that all these be justly addressed. However, the token gains are offset by the windows and opportunities for monopoly capital to go on with their demonic ways as they create new avenues to profit from climate change problems.

12107740_10153498684154425_5211118304579978421_n

There is no more time for the world and the people to wait. The social crisis that the people’s of the world will continue to worsen with the effects of climate change unless we confront monopoly capital’s stranglehold of the world’s resources and end it’s wasteful production system. Our only choice is to fight relentlessly, organize and mobilize our ranks in all arenas to wage the needed battles to end imperialism and bring about justice for the people and planet. #cop22

Imperialism Must Pay For Its Crimes Against Humanity and the Environment

Statement by the ILPS Commission 13 on the occasion of the World Earth Day

April 22, 2016

As different organizations, peoples, governments and institutions celebrate World Mother Earth Day, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle Commission 13 echoes its call for the peoples of the world to resist imperialist plunder and war and to hold monopoly capitalism accountable for its crimes against humanity and the environment.

Imperialism’s unceasing thirst for profits has led to the rapid exhaustion of the world’s natural resources. The world’s richest countries and transnational corporations have appropriated most of the Earth’s natural resources for themselves and subjected it to ever rapacious extraction, production, use, and consumption. The world’s remaining forests are disappearing at an unprecedented rate to make way for monocrop mega-farms, industrial livestock facilities, and large-scale mining operations. Mega-factories and industrial agriculture are rapidly depleting and polluting water bodies that are vital resources to ecosystems and communities. The production centers of monopoly capitalism, along with the gas-guzzling machines that they unleash on the consuming public, are also releasing increasing amounts of toxins and greenhouse gases to the planet’s atmosphere. Each day species are wiped off the face of the planet lost due to the rapacious destruction caused by imperialism to natural habitats.

Meanwhile, U.S.-led wars of aggression, backed by their international partners, have further aggravated the precarious situation of the world’s ecology. These genocidal wars, apart from killing people and destroying life-supporting infrastructures, have directly and indirectly worsened greenhouse gas emissions, environmental pollution, and biodiversity annihilation. Continue reading

ILPS Commission 13 Statement on the Assassination of Berta Caceres and Nelson Garcia

In view of the continuing attacks against environmental activists, the Commission 13 of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) condemns in strongest terms the killings of Berta Caceres and Nelson Garcia, both members of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras (COPINH) and staunch defenders of indigenous peoples’ lands and rights against imperialist aggression and plunder.

Nelson Garcia was gunned down less than two weeks after the assassination of Berta Caceres, a 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize awardee. He was brutally shot four times in the face in Rio Chiquito community.

Caceres and Garcia are stalwart community leaders vocally and actively opposed to recent plans to construct the Agua Zarca hydroelectric plant in the Gualcarque river basin. This project is led by Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned company, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in collusion with a Honduran company, Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA). Communities have been vehemently opposing the project because the river is sacred to the Lenca indigenous people. The heightened resistance of the Honduran people is met by harassment and intimidation by Honduran military forces.

The relentless imperialist plunder of natural resources the world over has not only caused serious environmental disasters. It has also displaced millions of indigenous peoples, peasants and other marginalized sectors of society. Natural resource plunder is the ugly face of our covetous global political and economic system that causes extreme poverty, injustice, human rights violations, and conflicts in many communities across the globe. Continue reading

Resist Imperialist Plunder by Mining TNCs, Struggle to Defend People’s Rights Over Our Lands and Resources

On the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, ILPS Commission 13 on Science and Technology and the Environment calls on peoples of the world to steadfastly resist imperialist plunder and destruction and to struggle for the defense of rights, the environment, and our common future.

The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 (PMA1995) was legislated in the Philippines twenty-one years ago at the prodding of imperialist financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It effectively opened up the Philippines’ rich mineral resources for large-scale plunder and destruction. In exchange for a pittance in royalties that line the pockets of corrupt bureaucrats, mining TNCs are able to amass billions in profits through the exploitation of the Philippines’ cheap labor, lax regulatory mechanisms, and loose environmental protection rules. Even worse, mining TNCs in collusion with state armed forces forcibly evict farmers, indigenous peoples and settlers living in mineral-rich territories and leave a spate of gruesome human rights violations in their wake.

Transnational mining giants through the IMF, WB and WTO have similarly pushed for the liberalization of mining regimes in other mineral-rich countries. In the 1990s, more than 80 countries enacted and changed their laws to allow the privatization of state-owned mining firms, the granting of the same rights or even preferential treatment for foreign mining companies to local firms, and the deregulation of mining industries. Since this time, millions of people in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the Asia Pacific have found their mountains and forests leveled off and destroyed, their rivers and shores polluted, and their rights violated in the name of profit for a handful of mining TNCs. Continue reading