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Ten Years Ago Today: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard

Ten Years Ago Today: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard

December 11, 2019

 

COP15, 2009: Lumumba Di-Aping of Sudan

One of the most inspiring leaders present at the COP15 was the ever so eloquent Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator of the G77. (The G77 bloc is the major group of developing countries, many of which are among the most threatened by effects of climate change, as well as the largest developing country bloc represented at the COP15.) Although  was Sudanese by birth, his parents (who called themselves “Lumumbist”) named Di-Aping after the famous Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. (Lumumba, the anti-colonialist democratically-elected prime minister of the Congo, was assassinated in 1960 having been deemed a severe threat by the U.S. due to his uncompromising ideas of freedom and African unity. He played a leading role in the struggle for the liberation of Africa and all of Africa’s resources.)

At the historic press conference which took place on November 11, 2009 in Copenhagen, Di-Aping addressed the international NGO community. The conference room was packed with representatives of the non-profit industrial complex and corporate media complex, which includes the so-called progressive media. In a most direct approach, Di-Aping asked NGOs to support the demand that developed countries cut emissions 52% by 2017; 65% by 2020; and 80% by 2030 (based on a 1990 baseline). Further, Di-Aping asked the NGOs to demand GHG emission cuts well above 100% by 2050, which would (perhaps) keep the global temperature from exceeding a rise of no more than 1.5ºC. These targets, if met, would perhaps allow Africa to merely stay alive.

A 2ºC rise in global temperature, which the non-profit industrial complex campaigned upon, would mean a 3.5ºC rise for Africa. This temperature is certain death for the African peoples – certain death for billions. In addition, a 2ºC global temperature rise guarantees a minimum 4ºC+ global temperature for future generations. In the film footage provided below, one bears witness to Di-Aping speaking directly to the Climate Action Network (International) representatives.

One must note the disturbing irony. After the press conference was finished, a standing ovation erupted. The room shook with an audience both inspired and enraptured. Depending on one’s depth of understanding of foundations, corporate power structures and the non-profit industrial complex, one may or may not be surprised at what happened afterwards, which was, quite simply, nothing. The white ivory towers, ever so acquiescent to their hegemonic rulers, wrote off the African people by continuing their “demand” for “a fair, ambitious, binding agreement.” In other words: “Sorry about your bad luck, Africa. Enjoy your future of hell on Earth … and fuck you.”

The non-profit industrial complex, with CAN and TckTckTck at the forefront, stuck to their 2ºC and other suicidal (non)targets. The climate justice groups dared on occasion to demand that temperatures not exceed 1.5ºC, while any discussion demanding that 1ºC be supported and campaigned upon sent this faction, too, running scared like frightened field mice. Climate justice amounted to nothing more than a branded trademark. Silence and compliance reigned as the champagne circuit discussed career options over cocktails.

Below are excerpts from the only transcript that exists.

“The second issue is the issue of reductions of emissions. There must be radical reductions of emissions starting from now. In our view, by 2017 we should cut, developed countries must cut by 52%, 65% by 2020, 80% by 2030, well above 100 [percent] by 2050. And this is very important because the more you defer action the more you condemn millions of people to immeasurable suffering. So the idea that you start from 4% today and you achieve 80 or 50 in 2050 simply means that you do not care about the lives of those who will be devastated in this period, until you pick up the pace.”

 

“… and I will say this to our colleagues from Western civil society — you have definitely sided with a small group of industrialists and their representatives and your representative branches. Nothing more than that. You have become an instrument of your governments. Whatever you say, whether you think it’s because it’s tactically shrewd or not, it’s an error that you should not continue to make.”

 

“So ask yourself, are your executive branches climate skeptics, notwithstanding their addresses like the prime minister of the UK that the cost of inaction on climate change is irreparable. His actions say he’s worse than the worst of climate skeptics. If he had asked bankers to pocket 300 billion dollars because of ‘incentivizing’ profit-seeking activities and he says 500 million is the maximum that the United Kingdom government can afford to pay to support climate change, what are we saying? What are you saying? I wonder what the distinguished colleagues from CAN are saying about that.”

 

“Many of you equally, and I will say this, and I would have never thought that one day I will accuse a civil society of such a thing. Dividing the G77, or helping divide the G77, is simply something that should be left to the CIAs, the KGBs and the rest [not the NGOs].”

 

“It’s mind boggling, and I say this having been the beneficiary of absolute support from civil society. Many of you may not know this, I come from southern Sudan. We’ve been through wars for almost 90% of our lives since independence, so I’m not sure what happened exactly to the civil society that I do know or at least knew.”

 

“If you have received help that enabled you to rebuild your economies and to become prosperous, how come suddenly you have turned mean? Because that 2.5 billion dollars is definitely what some of the big western industrialists lose without a sleep over a trade [lose over a trade without losing any sleep].”

Raw Footage, Lumumba Di-Aping, December 11, 2009 [Running time: 12:30]

 

FLASHBACK to 2009: The Most Important COP Briefing That No One Ever Heard | Truth, Lies, Racism & Omnicide

Against the Inclusion of Zionist Organizations In The People’s Climate March

Sept 19, 2014

by kat yang-stevens with contributions from Jonathan Sidney


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The People’s Climate March, preemptively billed as “the biggest climate march in history”, will take place in NYC on Sunday, September 21st and will precede a UN Summit on Climate Change by two whole days. The march was called for by some of the most recognized names in North American mainstream environmentalism, Avaaz and 350.org. Both organizations along with others involved in promoting and coordinating the event such as The Sierra Club, Energy Action Coalition, and Greenpeace (to name a few) are a part of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC). The NPIC has been defined by activist, author, and professor Dylan Rodriguez as: “a set of symbiotic relationships that link political and financial technologies of state and owning class control with surveillance over public political ideology, including and especially emergent progressive and leftist social movements.”Put another way, The NPIC is how state and corporate interests use colonial and exploitative practices (branded as social movements) to manipulate and control the ways that dissent from the public manifests and operates. In her essay, “In The Shadow Of The Shadow State”  – which details the relationship between state and non-profits as well as names the NPIC as the corollary to the Prison Industrial Complex– scholar, activist, prison abolitionist and co-founder of Critical Resistance, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, states: “…when it comes to building social movements, organizations are only as good as the united fronts they bring into being.” With this in mind consider that the People’s Climate March lists The Green Zionist Alliance as one of the organizations that is part of a coalition of partners organizing the event.

A wide variety of smaller grassroots organizations are involved in the organizing of this march, many from frontline communities. Their energy and efforts towards building power – both in their communities and for the march – should be valued and respected. The position of power the NPIC possesses through controlling resources and visibility for traditionally marginalized and underrepresented communities should also be considered. Many individual organizations and organizers participating in the event have publicly spoken out against the inclusion of Zionist organizations yet still the Green Zionist Alliance remains a partner in the People’s Climate March.

While this may be perceived by some as a reflection of “tolerance” or “diversity” towards the creation of a broad movement to confront climate change, this “inclusion” has the effect of greenwashing the violence committed in the name of Zionism. Never mind the fact the Israeli army’s recent escalation in genocidal violence is in part fueled by a move towards further exploitation of fossil fuels in Gaza. In any case, given the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) targeting the Israeli occupation, it is particularly politically irresponsible to cross an internationally recognized picket line by collaborating with organizations supportive of the Israeli state.

The Green Zionist Alliance is a North American based 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization operating primarily out of New York City. The Green Zionist Alliance’s website openly quotes and praises Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism. Zionism advocates the theft of indigenous Palestinians’ lands for the purpose of constructing Israeli settlements and establishing and maintaining Israel as a settler colonial state. The Green Zionist Alliance is a member of the American Zionist Movement who, according to their mission statement “Acts on behalf of Israel… and defends Israel’s cause with vigor and confidence”. The American Zionist Movement is a federation of Zionist groups affiliated with the World Zionist Organization which was founded by Theodor Herzl. In the book Der Judenstaat, which translates to “The Jewish State” Herzl wrote: “Supposing, for example, we were obliged to clear a country of wild beasts … we would organize a large and active hunting party, drive the animals together, and throw a gelignite bomb in their midst,”

2014 marks the 47th year of Israeli colonial occupation of indigenous Palestinians’ lands. For 50 days over the summer of 2014 Israeli forces seized the Palestinian city of Gaza bombing, kidnapping, sexually assaulting, maiming, shooting, and otherwise torturing Palestinians who were trapped in what was repeatedly described by Palestinians as an open air prison. Over 2,100 people, a large percentage children, were murdered. According to the Department of Culture and Information in the Palestinian Liberation Organization, more than 99% of “Area C” in the West Bank is now under control of the Israeli government for the purpose of expansion of Israeli settlements following this most recent round of vicious acts against humanity in Palestine. Palestinian civilians were deliberately targeted and systematically killed; acts of genocide were committed. The buildings of Gaza now lie in massive mountains of rubble, four million tons of rubble and debris contaminating water, food supplies, and air, four millions tons of Palestinians’ homes, schools, places of worship and gathering.

When we construct an idea of what “the environment” actually is beyond the basic popular mainstream conception of the environment as simply consisting of vast wilderness and pristine nature we can come to the more realistic conclusion that the environment is in fact the land and earth that sustains plant, animal, and human life. For Palestinians, the thousands murdered and the tens of thousands displaced, Gaza was their environment. For those who survived the most recent relentless assaults on life, Gaza is their environment. The concept of environmental justice defines the environment to include public and human health concerns. Surely genocide is a public and human health concern.

Acts of genocide and structures of colonization that the indigenous peoples of Palestine are being forced to endure are similarly a part of the very construction and foundations of the settler colonial nation states of the so-called United States and Canada. Given that the Green Zionist Alliance has not only been included in the coalition of organizers for the march but also defended by PCM organizers and supporters/attendees it should come as no surprise that there is no mention on any of the promotional materials for the event that the Manhattan borough, in what is now known as New York City, sits upon stolen and occupied indigenous land. Buried underneath the concrete that 100,000 plus people will march upon are the ancestral homelands of the Lenni-Lenape. Ironically The People’s Climate March will begin at Columbus Circle.

Ultimately the People’s Climate March is being controlled by the Big Greens. Make no mistake, the green branch of the non-profit industrial complex is at the helm, making top down decisions to include Zionist organizations and manipulating, controlling, and dictating what they have repeatedly referred to as “the movement of movements”. As part of the NPIC, the Big Greens funding and facilitating logistics of the main event CAN NOT incorporate intersectional and anti-colonial analyses necessary for collective liberation.

Instead these Big Greens contribute to the maintenance of structural social inequalities and work to quell effective, meaningful alliance building and resistance. This includes working closely with the world’s seventh largest standing military, also known as the NYPD, as stated on the PCM’s website. The NYPD is well known for stalking, harassing, and inciting psychological fear in Muslim communities through widespread surveillance programs. These unconscionable tactics never returned any proof that Muslim communities in NYC constitute any threat to their fellow community members and neighbors whatsoever. The NYPD are also notoriously racist and anti-Black. They specifically target Black and Brown people through a form of legalized racial profiling and harassment called Stop & Frisk.  Through the program the NYPD terrorize these communities and work to funnel people of color into the Prison Industrial Complex (remember Ruth Wilson Gilmore named the NPIC as the natural corollary to the PIC).

Environmental justice does not look like Big Greens controlling resource distribution to grassroots organizations or using their political and social capital to push false solutions and narratives that conveniently exclude connections between environmental and social justice issues. People’s Climate March organizers who insist that “solving the climate crisis” looks like working with the NYPD or Zionist organizations supporting genocide and colonization in Palestine are not only dangerous but reveal an alarming level of ignorance regarding the concept of justice itself.

Refusal (whether active or passive) to acknowledge that large forces and structures work together to ensure  increased attacks on the lives and sovereignty of indigenous peoples worldwide – as well as the continued commodification of the earth for the purposes of industrial capitalism – is really nothing other than a refusal to work for any kind of justice, climate or otherwise. There can be no climate justice without justice for Palestine. There can be no environmental justice without a serious understanding of the ways that settler colonialism, white supremacy, anti-Black racism, border imperialism, cis-hetero-patriarchy, militarism, orientalism, and other systems/structures collectively inform, facilitate, and sustain environmental degradation and resource extraction and create and contribute to climate change.

In Solidarity For A Free Palestine & With Indigenous Peoples Worldwide For The Abolition of Colonialism


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Reflections On Power Shift 2013: An Impromptu Interview

Groundwork for Praxis

October 27, 2013

powershift collage

See Also: “Are Mainstream Environmental Groups Keeping Racism Alive?” By Kat Stevens.

*Notes Via Kat Stevens: “This piece originally appeared as part of a series called, “Millenials Take On Climate Change” on the website, Policy Mic. The title I had wanted to go with for this piece was, “How  Big Green NGOs Are Harming the Environmental Movement”. Only 800 words were allowed. Policy Mic asked me to become a regular contributor after this piece but I declined once they repeatedly told me that a piece featuring an interview with a frontline indigenous organizer fighting tar sands pipelines wasn’t relevant for their readers.”

 

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