Another Future Possible—Social, Environmental Justice Peoples Summit Rio20
New paradigm Essential; variegated activist movement Imperative
Editing by Carolyn Bennett
Hundreds of millions of people embrace a construct of mass consumption and pursue a lifestyle exported by U.S. capitalism as an ideal of happiness.
They demand increasing amounts of flashy goods, manufactured according to the logic of planned obsolescence, private use, waste, and disposability. Thus they consume more and more resources: energy, raw materials, food, and environmental services.
This kind of growth feeds new and future crises in fuel, raw materials, and food; and accelerates greenhouse-gas emissions and global warming.
The only thing the world of capital can come up with is delusional promises that technological innovations will solve the problems. To ensure that nothing keeps the system from prospering, democracy is being corrupted by the power of money; whenever necessary, democracy is simply suppressed.
Corrosive, inordinate, concentrated power
Corporations have maintained their capital accumulation and market speculators have their profits guaranteed. Rich countries are being affected by stagnation and crisis but majorities are suffering deeply.
The majority world populations are suffering austerity policies, massive unemployment, the rise of inequalities, and the brunt of stronger and stronger conservative political currents and extreme-right policies, most notably publicized are those in the United States and Europe. And in the current global power structure controlled by vested interests of multinational corporations, the “developed” and “emerging” countries and powers controlling their economies have no real intention of challenging the ‘business (model) of development.’
However, there has been an enormous change in global geopolitics. Global capitalism now works at two speeds: the dynamics of accumulation in the core countries are disconnected from what are called emerging markets; thus posing new problems for social transformation. Therefore it is our belief that the necessary agenda for global democratic governance presupposes the end of the current situation, in which corporative interests have taken over multilateral arenas.
Though millions of people in Asia and Latin America are improving their standards of living and consuming a little more than they used to consume, social inequality is rising almost everywhere.
Deeply harmful countervailing forces are inherent in the prevailing model of inequality and income concentration, over-exploitation and job insecurity, environmental degradation, concentration of land ownership, growth of slums, ever poorer social services.
Small improvements are talked up and contradictions are ignored. An ‘all-is-well’ logic obstructs formation of a counter-hegemonic project. Thus all problems drag on—three years after the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression (1929), three years after speculation by financial giants caused devastating rises in commodities and food prices, four years after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of the urgent need to transition to a low-carbon economy—with no solution in perspective.
Business, the only concern of established powers, proceeds as usual. No lessons learned; no structural change. This suicidal trend grows number and intensity.
Shortcomings in uprisings
Indignant citizens are rebelling in many parts of the world but the dynamics of anti-system forces within, between and among continents and countries are deeply fragmented, unequal and disarticulated.
There has yet to occur an alliance among difference or variety, an articulation joining the diversity into a great irreversible movement.
Multifarious activist movement model a must
Change will inexorably require action by the greatest possible representation of social actors.
We must build a new paradigm of social, economic, and political organizations whose actions are enhanced by —
Judicious, foresighted use of existing material and technological conditions to establish the necessary, new forms of production, consumption, and political organization;
Learning from experiences of ongoing struggles in multifarious, variegated sectors:
Varieties of broad networks
Varieties of groups independent of governments
Varieties of social movements (e.g., among environmentalists, farmers and urban workers, women, youth networks, popular movements, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities facing discrimination, solidarity economy networks)
Sources and notes
“Another Future is Possible” (by Thematic Social Forum available in languages in addition to English: Working Paper compiled “of all the proposals taken from the texts produced by the Thematic Groups at the Thematic Social Forum of Porto Alegre (January 24-29, 2012). Bringing together the thematic groups under four core themes is a proposal for articulating the different themes… Come to Reinvent the World at Rio+20”), June 11, 2012, http://rio20.net/en/iniciativas/another-future-is-possible
The next Earth Summit Rio+20 (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development—will be held from June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
This summit comes twenty years after the first historic summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, ten years after the 2002 Johannesburg; and is a new attempt by the United Nations, in this new millennium, to advance the commitment of States and the world community in major transitions of the twenty-first century.
Meeting at the same time as the Earth Summit Rio+20 is the Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice.
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Labels: Another Future Possible, anti-consumerist model, Peoples Summit Rio20, Social Environmental Justice, strength in diversity, uprisings, weakness and strengths in movements