Ramón Fernández Durán – A Tribute

12 May 2011

Ramón Fernández Durán, Spanish activist and Global thinker, died on May 10 in Madrid after a long struggle for his health and life...

Ramón Fernández Durán – A Tribute from TNI

12 May 2011

Ramón Fernández Durán, Spanish activist and Global thinker, died on May 10 in Madrid after a long struggle for his health and life. Ramón has been a regular speaker at many TNI Conferences on different continents – to which he brought his incisive analysis, his creative politics, his warm spirit of collaboration and his deep commitment to find solutions to the urgent and pressing crises of the world and the planet.

While today many mourn his passing - not only in Spain and Europe, but also in Latin America, Asia and Africa, it will be in the context of affirming his spirit and honouring the challenges he has left with us.

Ramón is indeed PRESENTE!
He will always be PRESENT to our continuing struggles for transformation and alternatives.

See also: Articles by Ramón (in Spanish)

Ramón's blog: La explosión del desorden… El blog sobre Ramón Fernández Durán (in Spanish)

Tribute from Ecologistas: a leading social ecologist.

 Tribute to Ramón by Ecologistas en action (in Spanish)

Ramón Fernández Durán, a member of Spain’s Ecologists in Action died yesterday morning. His death did not come as a surprise during the morning of May 10th .In March, this intellectual, and militant ecologist for more than thirty years made public a letter of farewell. In it he claimed the right to a dignified death and reviewed his life. “I am sad to have to disappear at a time when History seems to be accelerating, for it has moved forward irresistibly since we were told in the 1990’s about the End of History. This new movement of History is propelled by the crisis in energy, ecology and climate that threatens the planet and its human societies. In the short term, the energy crisis, is particularly important for it signals the beginning of the end of fossil fuels, and will mean a total break with the past. In the last 60-70 years alone, the worlds urban-agricultural-industrial system has used up about half of the planets fossil fuels. That is unsustainable, and we are about to see the decline of fossil energy. What we face in the next decades will certainly be very tough.”

Ramón Fernández Durán, born in Seville in 1947 was a civil engineer who was awarded Spain’s National Prize for City Planing. He began his political activism in the struggle against the Franco regime in Madrid in the 1960´s. He left his job as a civil servant and chose for intellectual creation and political-social activism. Instead of constructing bridges of cement, Ramón built political bridges that were more difficult and more fragile. In the 1970’s he participated in neighborhood-based organizations; and the 1980’s he was a key figure in the campaign against Spain’s joining NATO. In the 1990’s he promoted a number of movements, including “Unmask ‘1992’”; “50 Years Are Enough--Other Voices of the Planet” against the World Bank and the IMF; and the Movement against Maastricht Europe and Economical Globalization, all of which were precursors of the anti-global movements. He was also a key founder of Ecologists in Action in 1998. Thanks to him, we have a better understanding of the economics of finance, the role of fossil fuels in capitalism and the unforeseen social and ecological consequences of the European Union.

He has been an important theorist for social movements and has published books including: “La explosión del desorden; La metrópoli como espacio de la crisis global” (1993); “La compleja construcción de la Europa superpotencia” (2005), “El tsunami urbanizador Español y Mundial” (2006); “El Crepusculo de la Era Trágica del Petróleo” (2008); “El Antropoceno” (2011); “La quiebra del capitalismo global 2000-2030. Preparándonos para el comienzo del colapso de la Civilización Industrial.” (2011).

Those who knew Ramón from demonstrations, meetings, universities and forums will remember his exceptionally human side - his openness to learn from others, his humility, his sense of humor and the radical congruence between his ideas and his way of life. He has taught us day by day with work: his caring, his knowing how to live and how to combine great intellectual capacity with other tasks, so invisible and important like carrying posters or not leaving a party without doing the dishes.

For him, living was a celebration of life: whether with his loving family--his partner the active feminist Ana Hernando; or with the wider family- incomplete, diverse, nonconformist, rebellious and imperfect—and that of social movements of which he was a part.

With his principled life and his example, he leaves us a great lesson: “Dare to imagine a future in order to have an effect on it.” We will, companion.