Delegates to the Our Oceans conference are gathering to discuss ocean sustainability, but there’s a big problem: their proposals will only sanitize continued resource extraction and environmental and ecological degradation.
Across the world, peasants, pastoralists, fishers, and indigenous peoples are losing their once effective control over the land, water, wetlands, pastures, fishing grounds and forests on which they depend including the right to decide how these natural resources will be used, when and by whom, at what scale and for what purposes, often for generations to come.
Prof John Ruggie has shared his comments on the Zero Draft treaty on TNCs and human rights on this blog earlier this month. His core concerns are that the zero draft has not adequately deal with ‘scale’ and ‘liability’. This response argues that Ruggie’s arguments in opposition to the binding treaty are misdirected and they fail to recognise the historic opportunity offered by the Human Right Council to create a human rights remedy system for corporate abuse across national boundaries.
Global pressure on land and natural resources is mounting, with mainstream narratives about climate change often intensifying pressure to replace so-called "inefficient" users of land, including small farmers and pastoralists with market-based dynamics and actors. This dynamic makes the pursuit of socially just land policy ever more important and urgent, while at the same time creating new challenges. The fundamental connections and tensions between agrarian and climate justice must be reckoned with, and movements on both sides must deepen their understanding.
The island of Bali is home to a rich and unique system of agriculture, based around traditional water management systems developed over the last 1200 years. However, growing pressure from the expansion of the tourist trade as well as the effects of climate change are putting these systems at risk. Farmers are fighting to preserve their livelihoods and maintain a base for local food sovereignty in Bali, but significant changes to policy and practice are needed to protect their rights to land, water, and seed.
The rapid pace of the land rush by foreign investors in Laos has prompted significant concern by international observers, Lao civil society, and certain sections of the government, regarding the impacts upon farmers that are dispossessed of their land and communal resources.
Law is fundamentally limited in its potential to challenge corporations' power and their harm, because the law has been created to facilitate capitalist accumulation and therefore the rights of the property-owning class to force others to submit to its will. It cannot, therefore, be expected to have any emancipatory potential.
Political impasse continues in Myanmar. Peace talks and general elections have failed to achieve national breakthroughs. All parties — both domestic and international — need to reflect on this failure. Civil society networks and representative governance must be strengthened at the community level if peace and democracy are to be built.
There is mounting evidence that neoliberal policies are losing legitimacy. The translation of such disaffection into positive commitment to an alternative, however, requires deeper disengagement from the dominant order and practical participation in creating alternatives. A social order built on escaping the pressures of democracy while at the same time depending on the capacities of many desiring democracy is unlikely to be stable. Thus the opaque and indirect forms of power typical of neoliberal rule are simultaneously sources of vulnerability and dependence, and breeding grounds for the power to subvert and transform.
In recent years, various actors, from big foreign and domestic corporate business and finance to governments, have initiated a large-scale worldwide enclosure of agricultural lands, mostly in the Global South but also elsewhere. This is done for large-scale industrial and industrial agriculture ventures and often packaged as large-scale investment for rural development. But rather than being investment to benefit the majority of rural people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, this process constitutes a new wave of land and water ‘grabbing’. It is a global phenomenon whereby the access, use and right to land and other closely associated natural resources is being taken over - on a large-scale and/or by large-scale capital – resulting in a cascade of negative impacts on rural livelihoods and ecologies, human rights, and local food security.
The Bail Out Business is the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the response to the 2008 financial crisis to understand who benefits from rescue packages in the EU. How effective were the bail out measures? What were the hidden costs to the taxpayer? and what was the role of the Big Four (audit firms) and financial consultancy firms in the business of designing and implementing bail out programs in EU Member States?
It was typical that as Javier was dying, just 10 days before he passed away, too sick to get to his computer, he should e-mail me on his mobile phone to introduce José Manual Mariscal as the new editor of the monthly magazine of the Spanish Communist Party (a part of the United Left coalition). “I'm quite sick,” he said, rather understating his personal problem, “so I can’t go on. But if you’re so kind, lend him your help as if he were me.” He knew our friendship was personally strong but also intrinsically political. And based on openness and collaboration, he deeply loyal to the Marxist Leninist Spanish Communist Party and I of a libertarian mould